- Article medically reviewed and fact-checked by Dr. Dimitar Marinov (M.D, Ph.D, RDN) for accuracy.
Hip pain can have many causes.
But if you’re waking up with hip pain then you may be wondering if your mattress is the underlying problem.
A mattress can cause hip pain if the mattress is sagging more than 1-1.5 inches, has indents, is too firm, is too soft, and/or has a broken support core that may be causing you to sleep in bad posture or experience painful pressure points.
The rest of this article explains in more detail how a mattress can cause hip pain, how to fix these issues, and how to find a new mattress to help combat your hip pain.
Alternatively: if you’re ready for a new mattress, then check out my list of the best mattresses and adjustable beds for hip and back pain to buy in 2021 for some high-quality options.
5 Ways a Mattress Can Cause Hip Pain
If you have hip pain then the first thing that you should do is consult your doctor because there are many potential causes that have nothing to do with your mattress.
Some of the most common medical causes of hip pain include osteoarthritis (including rheumatoid, psoriatic, and septic arthritis), hip tendonitis, sciatica, hip bursitis, cancer, osteonecrosis, pregnancy, and other conditions .
However, if you’re waking up with hip pain that tends to wear off during the day and then return the next morning when you wake up, then this could be a sign that it’s your mattress that’s causing your hip pain.
And if you inspect your mattress and find one or more of the following five conditions to be true, then this suggests an even stronger correlation between your hip pain and your mattress.
An Important Note From Dr. Marinov:
‘The most common cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis and the pain is often more severe during the night. This study explains that when the daytime activity was higher (standing, shopping, etc.) the pain increased at night.
Therefore, if you wake up in the middle of the night with hip pain it is not necessarily the mattress. If the pain increases during the night when trying to fall asleep, it might be osteoarthritis; if it is strongest in the morning, might be the mattress.’
1: Sagging – Causes Poor Posture
A sagging mattress is one where there’s a dip of 1-1.5 inches or more across a significant area of the mattress surface to the point where it causes you to sleep in poor posture which can result in hip pain, back pain, neck pain, and general musculoskeletal discomfort.
You can check to see if your mattress is sagging by placing a broom/mop handle across your mattress, getting down to eye level, and measuring any gaps that you can see (as shown in the video below):
If you have a mattress that’s only sagging slightly, then you may be able to temporarily fix this issue by placing a mattress topper on your mattress to even out the surface and help you stay in good posture as you sleep.
However, you’ll need to make sure that you buy a mattress topper that’s of the correct firmness and made of the right materials relative to your body type (see the next section for more guidance on how to do this).
But to properly fix a sagging mattress – especially if your mattress is more than 5-7 years old – then you should buy a new mattress that’s well suited to your physical characteristics and dominant sleeping position.
Check out my list of the best anti-sag mattresses for some high quality options.
2: Indents – Increase Pressure On Your Hips
Mattress indents are concentrated impressions that may be less than a few inches in diameter but potentially up to several inches in depth and may cause hip pain by increasing the pressure on your muscles, joints, and nerves due to the uneven mattress surface that they create.
Indents may happen due to a number of reasons such as broken innersprings, deformed/warped foams, and exposure to repeated and concentrated pressure – the consequences of which can be easily seen when pulling back the flat/fitted sheet.
In many cases, localized areas of indents can be covered up by a mattress topper of a suitable firmness to reduce the pressure points that they may cause – although a new mattress may be required in more extreme cases.
3: Too Firm – Prevents Natural Sinkage
A mattress that’s too firm can cause hip pain by increasing the amount of pressure on your hip joints and preventing you from sinking far enough into the mattress materials so that you can rest in good posture.
If your mattress is brand new, then it’s quite normal for your mattress to feel too firm due to the materials having not yet softened in response to your body weight and physical characteristics.
The solution here is to sleep on your mattress every night for at least 30 nights to allow the materials to break in and adjust to your body type.
If the mattress is still too firm for you, then you should be able to return it under the terms of the sleep trial for a refund or exchange if you bought a mattress online that comes with a generous sleep trial.
Alternatively, if your mattress is too firm and you can’t return it, then you could buy a soft mattress topper to help decrease the amount of pressure being placed on your body and potentially experience a reduction in hip pain.
4: Too Soft – Causes Excessive Sinkage
If your mattress is too soft, then you may experience hip pain as a result of sinking too far into the mattress materials and breaking ideal posture.
Your mattress may feel too soft if the support core has worn out, or if you ordered a mattress in a firmness that’s too soft relative to your body weight, body type, and/or dominant sleeping position.
To fix a mattress that’s too soft, you can either place a firmer mattress topper over it or – if your mattress is brand new – see if you can return it under the terms of the sleep trial.
5: Broken Support Core – Creates Bad Posture and Pressure
A broken or worn-out support core (common in mattresses older than 5-7 years) can result in hip pain as you sleep due to the knock-on effect that it has on the integrity of the mattress – potentially resulting in sagging, indents, softening, and creating an uncomfortable sleeping surface.
The only real fix for a mattress with a broken support core is to buy a new mattress because the structure of the mattress is so compromised that using a mattress topper will likely be insufficient in offsetting the damage.
How to Buy a Mattress For Hip Pain
If you have hip pain, then you should ask your doctor if buying a new mattress is the right step forward relative to your situation.
And if they are in agreement, then you can follow the three steps below to help you find a suitable mattress to replace your old one and help you manage your hip pain:
1: Choose the Right Firmness
Mattress firmness describes how hard or soft the surface of the mattress feels when you lie down on it.
Choosing the right mattress firmness isn’t an exact science because the final comfort setting depends on your unique body type, body weight, and your preferred sleeping position.
But to make the selection process easier, here’s a summary of which mattress firmness you should consider relative to your sleeping style:
Medium firmness mattresses are typically best suited to front, back, and side sleepers in the 130 – 230 lbs range (around 80% of sleepers).
Soft mattresses are typically better for lighter weighted sleepers under 150 lbs, side sleepers, and/or sleepers with a lower body fat percentage due to the extra pressure relief they can provide.
Firm mattresses are better suited to heavier weighted sleepers over 230 lbs, and/or front or back sleepers because the increased surface tension can help to guard against sinkage to help keep you in good posture.
Some mattresses may have zoned firmness and/or zoned support where there’s more support around the hip/lower back region to prevent bad posture, whilst there’s more ‘give’ around the shoulders to reduce pressure and allow you to sleep in good posture.
2: Select the Right Materials
Beyond the firmness, you should also take the time to select the right mattress materials to help with your hip pain as follows:
Memory foam can be a good choice if you have hip pain because the highly adaptive nature of the materials means that you can sleep on a surface that’s unique to your body shape for better posture and reduced pressure.
Latex foam can also adapt to your body shape to potentially alleviate hip pain whilst also providing more bounce and breathability than memory foam which can benefit restless sleepers and warmer sleepers that need to stay cool and dry.
Mattresses with individually wrapped pocket coils in the support core can be especially beneficial for sleepers with hip pain because the coils can adapt one-by-one to provide better support and help maintain good posture more effectively than a regular spring mattress with a fused coil core that responds as a unit to your body weight.
3: Consider an Adjustable Base
If you have hip pain then you may find that investing in an adjustable bed frame is an excellent decision because you can manipulate the angle of your sleeping surface to shift the effects of gravity and help to distribute your body weight in a manner that eases your hip pain.
However, it’s very important that you purchase an adjustable bed frame that works with your mattress.
Here are the concise answers to some of the most common questions related to mattresses and hip pain:
What Type of Mattress is Best For Hip Pain?
The best type of mattress for hip pain is one that’s ideally suited to your body weight, body type, and dominant sleeping position in terms of the firmness and the material selection – with memory foam or latex foam topped hybrid spring mattresses being a good choice for those with hip pain.
Can a Memory Foam Mattress Cause Hip Pain?
A memory foam mattress can cause hip pain if it is too firm, too soft, or otherwise unsuitable for your body weight, body type, and sleeping style.
Can a Mattress Topper Help With Hip Pain?
A soft mattress topper may help to alleviate hip pain if your mattress is too firm and causing pressure points on your hips, whilst a firm mattress topper may help to combat hip pain if your mattress is too soft and causing bad posture.
Conclusion: Replace Your Old Mattress
If your doctor is in agreement that a new mattress may be able to help combat your hip pain, then you should give extra weight to their advice if your mattress is more than 5-7 years old, is sagging, has indents, is too soft, too firm, and/or has a compromised support core.
Click the button below to see my list of the best mattresses to help combat back and hip pain now.
No part of this article or website is intended to provide medical advice – please consult with a qualified medical professional if you require such guidance.
References and Sources
 WebMD – Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment. Accessed 26/11/20.
Image Attribution and Licencing
Main image: ‘Woman Waking Up in the Morning Suffering With Backache’ by Tommaso79 (Getty Images), used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.