If you have trouble sleeping because you constantly feel the urge to move, you’re not alone. Roughly 10% of Americans struggle with restless leg syndrome (RLS), a condition that causes unpleasant sensations in the legs.
- Memory foam and encased coils
- Comfort and support
- Three firmness levels
- Supports optimal spine alignment
Restless leg syndrome can develop at any time, though it is most common in middle age and tends to affect women twice as often as men. It isn’t a life-threatening condition, but it can lead to sleep disturbance which may trigger other issues including daytime sleepiness and depression.
The bad news is there’s no cure for restless leg syndrome.
What is the Best Mattress for Restless Leg Syndrome?
The good news is there are options for management and treatment. Talking to your doctor is the first step and, from there, you can consider additional steps that might help relieve your symptoms. Switching to a more comfortable, supportive mattress might even help.
In this article, we’ll explore the subject of restless leg syndrome and how changing your mattress might help you manage your symptoms. You’ll learn what to look for in a new mattress and see our top picks.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes unpleasant sensations in the legs paired with a powerful urge to move them. For many people with RLS, the urge becomes more intense when you’re relaxed or trying to sleep.
Here are some of the most common restless leg syndrome symptoms:
- Abnormal, unpleasant sensations in the legs or feet
- Crawling, creeping, pulling, or throbbing feelings within the limb
- Sensations begin after rest, particularly extended periods
- Relief with movement like stretching or walking
- Worsening of symptoms in the evening, nighttime leg twitching
Because restless leg syndrome symptoms often occur at night, it can interfere with your sleep which can cause fatigue and daytime sleepiness. Not only do these things affect your ability to work or attend school, but they can increase your risk for getting in a car accident. Sleep deprivation paired with RLS can also put you at risk for other health problems like depression.
The symptoms of restless leg syndrome can be difficult to explain and even more difficult to live with. One night of poor sleep is bad enough, but if you experience restless legs at night you may find that sleep deprivation becomes a daily reality.
The underlying cause of RLS remains unknown, though researchers suspect there may be a genetic component. Treatment often involves lifestyle changes and/or medication, but something as simple as changing your mattress could help as well. Read on to learn more.
Could Changing Your Mattress Help?
Many who experience restless leg syndrome find their symptoms worsen at night which makes it difficult to sleep. If you share your bed with a partner, your condition could make it harder for them to sleep as well – especially if you are constantly moving around.
Unfortunately, there is no tried-and-true cure for this condition, so changing your mattress won’t provide immediate relief. Sleeping on the wrong mattress could, however, worsen your condition. An unsupportive mattress could lead to additional aches and pains that keep you from sleeping or make you feel worse when you wake up in the morning.
Finding a mattress that relieves pressure points could help – it will also help reduce motion transfer for your partner. Certain sleeping styles could make your symptoms worse by compressing the nerves in your legs. The right mattress will support your body while providing pressure point relief.
What to Look for in a New Mattress
Now that you know there isn’t a miracle RLS-curing mattress out there, you may be wondering about the point of getting a new mattress at all. Whether the mattress completely relieves your symptoms or not, there are benefits to getting an upgrade.
The Better Sleep Council says most mattresses need to be replaced after 7 years or so, depending on the quality and materials. It’s a good indication that it’s time for a new mattress if you wake up stiff, sore, or in pain and if you find you sleep better in a bed that’s not your own (such as a hotel). If your mattress shows visible signs of age or your preferences for firmness have changed, it’s time to say goodbye.
Here are some things to look for in a mattress for RLS:
- Quality Materials – Higher quality materials last longer, so weigh the pros and cons of choosing a cheaper option. If you’re buying memory foam, make sure it’s CertiPUR-US® Certified.
- Multi-Layer Design – Most mattresses have different layers for different functions. You need a supportive base layers with additional layers for pressure relief and transition.
- Spine Alignment – Keeping your spine properly aligned is the key to a good night’s sleep, so consider your sleeping style to choose a mattress that works well.
- Motion Transfer – If you sleep with a partner, low motion transfer is an important factor to consider – especially if you have restless leg syndrome.
- Temperature Regulation – Staying cool at night is an element of comfort, so look for materials that promote temperature neutrality instead of trapping body heat.
- Comfort and Firmness – When it comes to features like pillow tops and firmness levels, it’s really just a matter of preference what you find most comfortable.
Having a general idea what to look for in a mattress is good, but you also need to know what’s out there. Read on to see a summary of the most common types of mattresses on the market.
The Different Types of Mattresses
All mattresses are not created equal, as similar as they may look on the outside. The truth is most mattresses are made up of a number of layers, each of which serves a different purpose to provide the ideal combination of comfort and support. Different materials may focus on different benefits.
These are the most common types of mattresses:
- Innerspring – These mattresses have been around since the 1990s and are made with steel coils that compress under your weight – many have continuous coils made of an interlinked wire.
- Pocketed Coils – A variation on the traditional innerspring mattress, this model features individually encased coils which move independently to support motion isolation.
- Memory Foam – Originally invented by NASA in the 1960s, memory foam sinks around the body, cradling it to provide both comfort and support.
- Gel Foam – Similar in function to memory foam, gel foam offsets the heat-trapping effects of memory foam for a cooler sleep experience.
- Latex – Also similar to memory foam, latex offers pressure relief and contouring but it doesn’t sink as much – it has a little more bounce to it.
- Hybrid – One of the newer options out there, hybrid mattresses typically have a layer of coiled springs on the bottom under one or several layers of latex or memory foam.
In the end, choosing a mattress is all about preference. Head to your local mattress store to try out a few different options to determine whether you prefer the feel of an innerspring mattress to memory foam. Once you have a place to start, take your shopping online where you’ll find better prices, greater variety, and (in many cases) the convenience of free shipping.
The Best Mattress for Restless Leg Syndrome
No miracle mattress exists that will cure restless leg syndrome. That being said, there are many benefits associated with a mattress that provides support and pressure point relief. If you’re already struggling with RLS symptoms at night, why make things worse with an uncomfortable, unsupportive mattress?
Many people with restless leg syndrome find that memory foam mattresses work best, especially when it comes to minimizes nighttime disturbances for a partner. We’ve done our best to assemble a list of the best memory foam mattress options out there with a few alternatives thrown in.
Here are our top picks for the best mattresses for restless leg syndrome:
Best Overall (Price for Queen: $1,299): Because there’s no best mattress for restless leg syndrome, it really comes down to finding a company that provides options. Choosing a mattress depends on your sleeping style and your preference for firmness and comfort. The Saatva Classic is a hybrid innerspring mattress that comes in 3 firmness levels.
This luxurious mattress features a tufted Euro pillow top for optimal comfort with the support of an encased spring system and pressure relief from high-quality memory foam. Choose from Plush Soft (3), Luxury Firm (5-7), or Firm (8) according to your preference. All three models come with a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty as well as free white glove delivery.
Though Saatva may not design their mattresses specifically for restless leg syndrome, they do offer excellent spine support for reduced back and joint pain. You’ll enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep while your partner enjoys superior motion isolation.
- Pros: Three firmness levels, supports optimal spine alignment, hybrid design with coils and foam
- Cons: Very heavy compared to some models, somewhat pricy compared to other options
Best Budget-Friendly ( Nectar Price for Queen: $1,198) – It’s difficult to say whether a new mattress will improve your restless leg symptoms or not, so you may not want to spend a small fortune right away. If you’re looking for an affordable option that still provides excellent support, consider the budget-friendly Nectar mattress.
The original Nectar memory foam mattress measures 11 inches deep and features an all-foam construction with a Tencel fiber cover. On top you’ll find a quilted memory foam mattress cover followed by a cooling layer of gel memory foam. Next comes an transition layer of adaptive hi-core memory foam, followed by the base layer of high-density support foam.
The Nectar mattress is rated 6.5 on a 10-point firmness scale, making it an ideal choice for both comfort and support. Each mattress comes with a generous 365-night trial period with free shipping and returns.
- Pros: Multi-layer foam construction, quilted cooling cover, long trial period
- Cons: May not be firm enough for heavy sleepers, foam may be slow to respond
Best Luxury: Helix (Price Queen: $1,499) – Sometimes you just want the best of the best and the Birch mattress by Helix is sure to deliver. This organic, luxury mattress is made from top-quality materials and designed for comfort and support. It combines ultra-comfy wool, pressure-relieving latex, and body contouring springs in an ergonomic hybrid design you’re sure to love.
The Birch mattress delivers ergonomic pressure relief to give you the most comfortable night’s sleep of your life. This mattress is free from toxic chemicals which means no off-gassing, making it extremely safe for you and your family. It comes with a 100-night trial period, free shipping, and a 25-year warranty. It may cost more, but you’ll receive 0% financing which makes it well worth it.
- Pros: Made from organic luxury materials, ergonomic hybrid design, comfort and pressure relief
- Cons: Somewhat more expensive than many models
Best Latex: Zenhaven (Price for Queen: $1,999) – Some people enjoy the feel of sinking into a memory foam mattress but if you suffer from restless leg syndrome, this might make it more difficult to move and relieve symptoms. Latex is an alternative material that provides similar benefits in terms of contouring and pressure relief, but it has a little more bounce to it. The Zenhaven mattress our top pick for the best latex mattress.
The Zenhaven mattress is made from natural latex foam, designed to respond to every curve of your body for pressure-free support. It offers excellent durability, naturally resisting mold and microbes, and it has a flame-retardant outer cover made from 100% organic New Zealand wool. This mattress measures 10 inches in total height and comes in two different options: luxury plush (4-5) or gentle firm (7-8), so you can choose the best option for your sleeping style.
- Pros: Made from natural latex materials, contouring and pressure relief, two firmness options
- Cons: May not be the best for side sleepers, might have too much bounce for some
Best Hybrid: DreamCloud (Price Queen: $1,399) – When you don’t want to choose between comfort and support, a hybrid mattress that combines an innerspring base with memory foam is a good option. DreamCloud is our top pick for the best hybrid mattress because it gives you the best of both worlds.
The DreamCloud mattress is a luxury hybrid mattress that features a quilted memory foam top and cashmere blend cover. It has a base of individually encased coils and internal layers of premium memory foam. This unique design provides plenty of support for optimal spine alignment while the quilted memory foam top ensures pressure relief. The individually encased coils are ideal for motion isolation, making sure your partner isn’t disturbed if you move during the night.
- Pros: Hybrid design with foam and encased coils, comfort and support, luxury materials and design
- Cons: Hybrid mattresses tend to be fairly heavy
Best Gel Foam: Aslan (Price Queen: $949) – While traditional memory foam offers cushioning comfort, cradling the body for pressure point relief, it has a tendency to trap heat. Gel foam, on the other hand, provides similar benefits but keeps you cooler at night. Our top pick for the best gel foam mattress is Aslan.
The Aslan 10-inch gel foam mattress features three specialized foam layers. On top you have a layer of memory foam that combines three cooling technologies: phase change material, beaded gel foam, and open-cell viscoelastic. Next comes a responsive transition layer of Next Generation Memory Foam (NGMF) with a base layer of Active Support Foam for spine alignment.
All foams are US-made and CertiPUR-US® Certified for safety and quality. Plus, Aslan mattresses come with fast, free shipping and a generous 365-night trial period.
- Pros: Cooling technology, support and pressure relief, generous trial period, free fast shipping
- Cons: Only one firmness/thickness option, sleep trial requires 50 night break-in period
Best Eco-Friendly: Amerisleep (Price Queen: $1,399 AS3) – If you’re looking for a mattress company that provides plenty of options, Amerisleep is the way to go. Not only does this company offer 5 different models ranging from 10 to 14 inches, but all of their mattresses are made in the USA with eco-friendly materials and and CertiPUR-US® Certified.
The softest Amerisleep mattress is the AS5, a 14-inch mattress with 4 layers of foam and an ultra-breathable cover. The AS1 is the firmest option, ideal for stomach and back sleepers, made with 2 layers of foam and measuring 10 inches. There are three 12-inch mattresses to choose from, all with 3 layers of foam, that range from medium soft to medium firm. All mattresses come with a 100-night sleep trial along with free shipping and returns.
- Pros: Five models to choose from, options for all sleeping styles, eco-friendly materials, made in USA
- Cons: Edge support could be stronger, very little bounce (may have too much sink for some sleepers)
Best for Hot Sleepers: Bear (Price Queen: $1,090) – Though a memory foam mattress will cushion your body in comfort, relieving pressure points, some sleepers find that they trap body heat. If you’re looking for a foam mattress that keeps you cool and comfortable all night long, Bear is a company to consider. The Bear mattress comes in three different models, including the Bear Pro which features the advanced cooling of copper-infused foam.
The Bear Pro mattress features 4 layers and measures 12 inches high, coming in at a 6.5/10 which makes it medium-firm. This mattress offers both contouring and cradling with just a touch of softness, not to mention cooling comfort from CertiPUR-US® Certified copper-infused foam. The Bear Pro mattress is made with a Celliant Infrared-Yarn cover and is compatible with all types of solid foundation. You’ll enjoy free shipping and returns as well as a 100-night trial period.
- Pros: Copper-infused foam for cooling comfort, medium-firm feel, compatible with all foundations
- Cons: May be too firm for some sleepers, may not be supportive enough for very heavy sleepers
Best for Side Sleepers: Layla (Price Queen: $999) – Side sleepers often experience hip and shoulder pain because these areas take the most pressure. You need a mattress that sinks under the contours of your body while providing support for your core to ensure optimal spine alignment. Our top pick is the Layla mattress, a two-sided mattress that enables you to choose from a firm side, a soft side, or to switch as you like.
The Layla mattress is more than just a memory foam mattress – it is made with copper-infused foam that sleeps cooler than traditional memory foam. This mattress features a 4-inch support core foam layer in the middle, surrounded by layers of Max Airflow support foam, copper-gel memory foam, and topped with a cooling cover that incorporates Thermo-Gel cooling technology.
- Pros: Flippable two-sided design, copper-infused memory foam for cooling, comfort and support
- Cons: Slow response foam may make it tough to change positions
Best for Back Sleepers: Leesa (Price Queen: $999) – If you prefer to sleep on your back, you need plenty of support from your mattress to ensure optimal spine alignment. The Leesa Original mattress is a 10-inch mattress made up of 3 layers of premium memory foam with a cooling top layer that contours your body.
The Leesa Original memory foam mattress delivers the ideal combination of comfort and support, giving you the contouring hug you need for pressure relief without compromising on back support. It features a twill cover that is soft and breathable which, combined with cooling memory foam, ensures a comfortable night of sleep. Each mattress comes with a risk-free 100-night sleep trial as well as free delivery and a 10-year warranty.
- Pros: Ideal combination of hug and support, breathable memory foam, affordable price tag
- Cons: Shorter warranty than some (10 years), may sleep too warm for some
Best for Stomach Sleepers: Loom & Leaf (Price Queen: $1,599) – Stomach sleepers often struggle with neck and lower back pain because they don’t get the support they need from their mattress. When you sleep on your side, you need just enough cushion to relieve pressure points with enough support to keep your midsection from sinking. The Loom & Leaf mattress is a great option because it delivers the optimal combination of comfort and support.
The Loom & Leaf mattress comes in two firmness levels: Relaxed Firm and Firm. This is important if you are a heavyweight sleeper or if you simply prefer a firmer mattress. The mattress features a quilted organic cotton cover with a layer of cooling spinal gel underneath to ensure optimal temperature regulation. Next comes a layer of eco-friendly premium foam over a supportive layer of base foam. This combination of premium materials provides plenty of comfort and support for a full night’s sleep.
- Pros: Two firmness options, cooling comfort for temperature regulation, firmer for stomach sleepers
- Cons: Fairly expensive compared to many models, may be too firm for some users
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your health and daytime function. Unfortunately, if you have restless leg syndrome that’s easier said than done.
Restless leg syndrome is a chronic condition that doesn’t have a predetermined cure. Treatment options are available, but it may take some experimentation to find the one that works for you. In the meantime, doing what you can to improve your sleep is important because sleep deprivation caused by RLS can lead to serious complications down the road.
Switching to a mattress you find comfortable and supportive will be very beneficial, whether or not it reduces your RLS symptoms. Take what you’ve learned here to heart when shopping for a new mattress and consider the options we’ve reviewed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do you stop restless legs at night? – Restless leg syndrome is a chronic condition that often worsens with age and at night. There may not be anything you can do to completely put an end to your symptoms, but there are certain things you can do to stop restless legs at night. Try taking a warm bath and massage your legs before bed. Apply warm or cold packs for relief and include exercise in your daily routine. Establishing good sleep hygiene and following a bedtime routine may help your body relax as well, improving your quality of sleep.
- What is the best sleeping position for restless leg syndrome? – Symptoms of restless leg syndrome often occur at night no matter your sleeping position. You may, however, find that one position is more comfortable than another, so it doesn’t hurt to try a few different options. If you sleep on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees to avoid compressing the nerves in your legs.
- What is the best mattress for restless leg syndrome? – Unfortunately, a new mattress won’t cure restless leg syndrome, but it may improve your comfort and that of your partner. Memory foam mattresses are a popular choice because they provide pressure relief which may reduce compression on the nerves in your legs. These mattresses also reduce motion transfer which will prevent your partner from being disturbed if you move during the night.
- Is a firm or soft mattress better for restless legs? – The best mattress for restless legs is one you find comfortable. The firmness of your mattress may or may not affect your symptoms, but it could make it more or less comfortable which will determine how well you sleep. If you sleep on your back or stomach, a slightly firmer mattress may be more comfortable. For side sleepers, a slightly softer mattress or at least a plush top will provide the optimal degree of pressure point relief.
- What is the best treatment for restless leg syndrome? – The best treatment for restless leg syndrome varies from one case to another. If your doctor suspects iron deficiency may play a role in your condition, iron infusions or oral supplements could help. Some people benefit from medications that increase dopamine levels in the brain or those that affect calcium channels. Muscle relaxants and sleep medications may help you sleep at night, though they won’t eliminate the sensations in your legs and could cause daytime drowsiness. Ultimately, the best treatment is the one that works for you.