Updated September 24, 2020

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

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Side sleepers can put too much pressure on some body parts. Without proper support, you may wake up with aches and pains. But the right mattress can help. Read our guide to find the best mattresses for side sleepers.

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Side sleeping: It's the number 1 most popular sleeping position among adults.[1]

But with the wrong mattress, it can mean hip pain, back pain, or the dreaded crushed shoulder.

Sound familiar? You're probably sleeping on the wrong mattress if you consistently run into these issues. For the best side sleeping experience, check out these top mattresses that won't strain your body.

Here are the top 10 best mattresses for side sleepers:

Best Overall: Leesa

The Leesa mattress provides the perfect amount of body contouring. It evenly distributes your body weight, which promotes spine alignment. The foam cushions your pressure points and is comfortable for all body types.

Sleeping on your side puts a lot of pressure on your hips and shoulders. Side sleepers need a mattress that offers great pressure relief. The foam on the Leesa Hybrid is quite soft and gentle on the body. But it also has enough support to keep you from sinking in too much.

This is a great mattress for side sleepers of all body types. It's cozy while still being supportive. Plus, it doesn't suck you in like some foam mattresses do. The top comfort layer of the mattress is also made of a breathable foam, so you won't overheat.

Leesa Hybrid Features

  • Price: $$
  • Medium-firm
  • 10-year warranty
  • 100-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns (except in AK and HI)

Why You Should Consider It
Leesa is a versatile mattress that works with many body types. It's a good, pressure-relieving mattress that won't leave you stiff in the morning.

Which type of mattress is best for side sleepers?
Mattresses with a lot of pressure relief are great for side sleeping. Look for comfort layers made of memory foam or latex. These materials cushion your pressure points: the hips and shoulders.

Lower Back Pain: Saatva Classic

If you have back pain, you need a mattress with just enough support to keep your spine aligned. As a side sleeper, you also need a good amount of pressure relief. The Saatva Classic is a supportive mattress with soft comfort layers on top.

It's an innerspring mattress, so it has coils for support. But don't worry, that doesn't mean it's hard and uncomfortable. Side sleepers will do well on their Luxury Firm (medium-firm) and Plush Soft models.

The mattress has a plush Euro pillow top—basically, a comfy cloud to cushion your body. But it also has targeted support around the lower back to keep you from sinking in too deep. This is a great combination if you suffer from aches and pains.

Saatva Classic Features

  • Price: $$
  • Plush Soft, Luxury Firm (medium-firm), and Firm models available
  • 15-year warranty
  • 180-night trial period
  • $99 transportation fee for returns

Why You Should Consider It
If you suffer from back pain, you need a mattress that pays extra attention to your problem areas. The Saatva Classic is designed with back support in mind to keep you comfy.

How firm should a mattress be for a side sleeper?
Side sleepers need a mattress that's on the softer side, but it also depends on your body type. If you're petite, a medium-soft mattress could work great. If you're heavy, a medium-firm or even firm might be better for you.

When in doubt, try a medium-firm mattress. It's the firmness level that works best for many types of sleepers.

Hip Pain: Amerisleep AS3

Hip pain can be caused by a mattress that's too soft or too firm. Luckily, the Amerisleep AS3 has a medium feel that strikes the right balance for side sleepers. It's soft enough to cradle your pressure points. But it also supports your back for all-night comfort.

This is an all-foam bed, but it's different from traditional memory foam. The mattress is made of an open-cell foam that lets air flow throughout. This keeps you much cooler than traditional memory foam.

The material also bounces back faster than memory foam. This is good news if you tend to shift around in your sleep. It makes it much easier to move and change positions.

Amerisleep AS3 Features

  • Price: $$$
  • Medium firmness
  • 20-year warranty
  • 100-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns (except AK and HI)

Why You Should Consider It
The Amerisleep AS3 blends the right amount of comfort and support to relieve hip pain. It offers a good amount of pressure relief without letting your body sag.

Is a pillow top mattress good for side sleepers?
Pillow top mattresses can be a great option for side sleepers. They offer a lot of plush cushion, which is great for relieving pressure around your hips and shoulders.

Shoulder Pain: DreamCloud Premier

Does it ever feel like your shoulder is getting crushed under you? You might need a mattress with a more cushioned comfort layer if that's the case. The DreamCloud Hybrid mattress has an extra soft, high-loft eurotop. It's pretty much a cloud your shoulders can comfortably sink into.

Even though the mattress feels soft on top, it doesn't lack in support. The mattress has pocketed coils in its support layer, which contour the body as it holds you up.

At 15" in height, the DreamCloud Premier feels pretty luxurious. It gives you plenty to sink into. That's especially important for side sleepers. Your mattress should have enough space and cushion to accommodate your hips and shoulders.

DreamCloud Premier Features

  • Price: $$$
  • Medium-firm
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 365-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns (except AK and HI)

Why You Should Consider It
The DreamCloud Premier has extra loft and softness for your shoulders to sink into. It does this without sacrificing the support you need for proper spinal alignment.

Can a side sleeper sleep on a firm mattress?
Most sleepers won't get enough pressure relief from a firm mattress. But, there are exceptions: heavy side sleepers who find most mattresses too soft can definitely sleep well on a firm mattress.

Best Budget Mattress: Tuft & Needle Original

A good mattress doesn't have to break the bank. If you don't want to spend $1,000+ on a mattress, you still have options. The Tuft & Needle Original is a simple, 2-layer mattress that costs around $600. But make no mistake, this mattress delivers when it comes to comfort.

It's made of a special graphite- and gel-infused foam. This material wicks away body heat while keeping you cozy. The mattress works well for side sleeping, but it's great if you roll over on your back or stomach too.

For the price, you get high-quality foam that really forms to your body. The pressure relief and responsiveness of the mattress definitely doesn't feel "budget."

Tuft & Needle Original Features

  • Price: $
  • Medium-firm
  • 10-year warranty
  • 100-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns (except in AK and HI)

Why You Should Consider It
The Tuft & Needle Original is a 2-layer mattress that packs a lot of punch. The foam hugs the body and works well for many types of sleepers.

Effect of Side Sleeping on Health Issues
Side sleeping is considered one of the best sleep positions because it can help with common health problems. Side sleeping decreases airway obstructions in adults with sleep apnea.[2] Left-side sleeping has been shown to reduce acid reflux,[3]

Hot Sleepers: Layla

It can be hard to sleep if your mattress makes you hot. The Layla mattress is designed to specifically to help hot sleepers feel comfortable all night. This helps you sleep cooler so you can fall asleep—and stay asleep—more easily.

The mattress has copper-infused memory foam. This material is quickly carries heat away from your body instead of holding onto it like traditional memory foam. The copper gel is also antimicrobial, which fights odor-causing bacteria.

This unique mattress is flippable. It has a firm side and a soft side. The soft side is perfect for side sleepers. You'll feel cool and cradled without sacrificing any of the pressure relief you need.

Layla Features

  • Price: $$
  • Flippable soft and firm side
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 120-night trial period
  • Free shipping (except in AK and HI), free returns (including AK and HI)

What kind of pillow should a side sleeper use?
A pillow with a high loft works well for side sleepers. When you sleep on your side, there's a big gap between your neck and the mattress. The right pillow will fill in that gap to prevent neck strain.

Heavy People: WinkBed

Many side sleepers need a mattress that's a bit on the softer side. But if you're a heavy sleeper, a true medium-firm mattress can actually be a better choice. The WinkBed is a hybrid mattress with innerspring coils. It has a good amount of pressure relief, plus a strong support layer.

The mattress comes in 4 firmness levels, one of which is an extra firm bed designed specifically for heavy folks. But if you're a heavy side sleeper, you might want to consider their medium-firm or firm options. Those mattresses will feel closer to a medium-soft.

It also comes with a cool cover and ventilated design. This is important for heavy folks who often struggle with sleeping hot.

WinkBed Features

  • Price: $$$
  • Available in soft, medium-firm, firm, and extra firm for plus-size people
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 120-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns (except in AK and HI)

Couples: Nolah Original

For side sleeping couples, foam mattresses do double duty. They provide pressure relief of course, but they also prevent motion transfer from becoming an issue. The Nolah Original mattress is an all-foam mattress that'll make both you and your partner happy.

Motion transfer is when you feel your partner's movement on your side of the bed. It's an issue that can get annoying for couples, especially if you're a light sleeper. Nolah mattresses use a special material called AirFoam that cuts down on movement and contours your body.

The mattress also includes a latex alternative that's bouncier and more resilient than traditional memory foam.

Nolah Original Features

  • Price: $$
  • Medium firmness
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 120-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns (except in AK and HI)

Why You Should Consider It
The Nolah Original is designed for side and back sleepers. It emphasizes pressure relief and works very well for couples who prioritize comfort.

Best Mattress for Side and Stomach Sleepers
Side and stomach combination sleepers can have a hard time finding the right mattress. Side sleeping requires more cushion, while stomach sleeping requires a firmer surface. Try a medium-firm mattress like the Brooklyn Aurora that can work with both positions.

Best Plush Mattress: Casper Nova Hybrid

Side sleepers tend to gravitate toward softer mattress. The Casper Nova is one of the softest mattresses you can get without sacrificing support. It's a hybrid mattress with velvety comfort layers on top of a pocket spring support layer.

The mattress has zoned support. This means it's firmer only where you need extra support. For side sleepers, that's under the waist. Everywhere else is extra plush and luxurious, so you can feel like you're lying on a cloud.

This premium mattress does come with a hefty price tag, but it may be worth it for the perfectly soft sleeping surface.

Casper Nova Features

  • Price: $$$$
  • Medium-soft
  • 10-year warranty
  • 100-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns (except in AK and HI)

Why You Should Consider It
The Casper Nova is a medium-soft mattress that actually feel supportive. The zoned support layer makes it a great choice for side sleepers.

Best Hybrid: Helix

Few online mattress companies have as many options as Helix. Helix is a high-quality hybrid mattress that comes in six different configurations. Each mattress caters to a different sleep position and firmness preference.

Check out the Helix Sunset and Helix Midnight for comfortable side sleeping. The Sunset is great for soft mattress lovers and petite sleepers. The Helix Midnight mattress is perfect for average or heavy sleepers with its medium feel.

It's easy to find a mattress that suits you since they have a larger range to pick from. If you're unsure of which mattress to choose, they also have a sleep quiz that you can take on their website.

Helix Features

  • Price: $$
  • Soft, medium, and firm options
  • 10-year warranty
  • 100-night trial period
  • Free shipping and returns, including AK and HI

Why You Should Consider It
Helix makes it easy to find the right mattress for you. It comes in a variety of firmness levels and is an all-around good hybrid mattress.

What to Look for in a Mattress for Side Sleepers

No matter your preferred sleeping position, you deserve good rest. Side sleepers in particular have specific needs. Here's what to look for when you shop for your mattress:

Pressure Relief
This is the most important factor for side sleeping. Side sleepers put more pressure on the body than back sleepers or stomach sleepers. Look for a mattress with lush comfort layers that really cushion the body.

Support
Your mattress should keep your spine relatively straight with no uncomfortable sagging or bending. A mattress with zoned support can help provide proper support and keep your spine healthy.[4] These mattresses have different zones of firmness—softer around the hips and shoulders, and firmer under the lower back.

Mattress Type
Memory foam and latex foam are some of the best choices for side sleepers. These materials comfortably shape to your body to reduce pressure. But not all foams are created equal. Polyfoam mattresses, though affordable, have been shown to create more pressure in side, back, and stomach sleepers.[5]

Firmness
Many side sleepers benefit from a medium mattress. This softer-than-average firmness level helps prevent pressure points from forming. Firmness is quite personal though, and it all depends on your body weight. Find out more below.

Body Weight and Side Sleeping

Firmness isn't universal. What feels soft to one person might feel more like medium-firm to another. How does that happen? It depends on your weight.

Lightweight Sleepers
Sleepers who weigh less than 130 lbs need a medium-soft to medium mattress. Petite people don't sink in as deeply as heavy sleepers. So, they only feel the soft upper layers of most mattresses. It's important to find a softer mattress so you can actually benefit from the bottom support layers.

Average Weight Sleepers
Side sleepers weighing 130–200 pounds should consider a medium-firm mattresses. Medium-firm works for a wide range of sleepers. It offers a good amount of pressure relief while still being firm enough to support your waist and back.

Heavyweight Sleepers
Sleepers who weigh more than 200 pounds can consider medium-firm to firm mattresses. If your mattress is too soft, your spine will sag into the mattress. This can cause or worsen pain. Make sure your mattress offers enough support if you're a heavy sleeper.

Bottom Line

Pressure relief is key when it comes to a good side sleeping mattress. For this high-pressure sleeping position, you'll welcome the extra cushion.

That said, not all side sleepers are alike. Pay attention to your unique sleep preferences and body when picking out your mattress. When you lie down on the right mattress, your spine will rest in a natural position and you won't feel excess pressure. (No more limbs falling asleep!)

Choosing the right mattress isn't always easy, but it's worth the effort once you get that good night's sleep.

References

  1. ^ Nature and Science of Sleep. Sleep positions and nocturnal body movements based on free-living accelerometer recordings: association with demographics, lifestyle, and insomnia symptoms. Accessed Nov 24 2020.
  2. ^ ISRN Otolaryngology. Influence of Body Position on Severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.
  3. ^ Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. A Novel Sleep Positioning Device Reduces Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.
  4. ^ BioMedical Engineering OnLine. Spine alignment in men during lateral sleep position: experimental study and modeling. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.
  5. ^ Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. Effects of Mattress Material on Body Pressure Profiles in Different Sleeping Postures. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.

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