Are Sofa Beds Bad for Your Back?

Woman stretching her back on the sofa bed

An occasional night spent on a sofa bed mattress isn’t cause for concern. But if you’re going to be staying with a friend or relative for a while, or are renovating your bedroom and plan to sleep on a sleeper sofa mattress for weeks, months or indefinitely, you may wonder if sofa beds are bad for your back. The answer to that question is: it depends.

Finding a comfortable sofa bed mattress

There are comfortable sofa bed mattresses out there. If your sleeper sofa is decades old and the mattress has never been changed, it’s likely to be rather uncomfortable. But if you’re sleeping on a newer sleeper sofa, or you replaced your sleeper sofa mattress, it’s far less likely to cause you issues. Even adding a new topper on the old mattress might help.

Be prepared for a firmer feel to the mattress

Sofa beds aren’t like a regular bed. You fold them up and hide them away, which means the mattress needs to be more flexible – but to keep you from feeling the mechanism that folds the mattress up, it also needs to be firmer. Sofa bed mattresses use a high density, high resiliency foam core to make sure that you get the best support possible. High compression foam is also used to ensure that the mattress doesn’t compress fully when you lie down on it, thus ensuring that you don’t feel the bar or mechanism that closes the bed up when not in use (read more about foam used in hide-a-bed mattresses here).

Look for a specific firmness if you already have back pain

Medium firmness mattresses are ideal for those who already suffer from back pain to avoid increasing their pain, if you sleep on your back. If you sleep on your side, or think the mattress is too firm, consider investing in a good mattress topper. It also helps to use props, such as a small pillow beneath your knees if you sleep on our back, or between your knees if you sleep on your side.

Discomfort with a new mattress is to be expected

Once you bought a new sofa bed mattress and you start sleeping on it, you may notice some discomfort the first couple of nights. This is normal, even if the mattress is helping you. Think of it like going to the gym when you haven’t gone in a while: your workout does your body good, even though you may feel sore for a day or two afterward.

A sofa bed mattress doesn’t have to cause you pain. Update or upgrade your sleeper sofa mattress and you’ll notice the difference. You’ll sleep better and feel better.


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