Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers of 2022
Sep 29th, 2022 •
As a side sleeper, you need a mattress that provides the right balance of comfort and support. The good news is that since most people are side sleepers, you have many great options to choose from.
To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve selected our 10 best mattresses for side sleepers. Compare our top picks and learn what to look for in our buyer’s guide for side sleepers.
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Best Mattress for Side Sleepers: Our Top Picks
- Best Pillow Top Mattress – DreamCloud Premier
- Best Budget Mattress – Nectar
- Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers – Helix Midnight Luxe
- Best Mattress for Shoulder Pain – Saatva Classic
- Best Mattress for Couples – Puffy
- Best Mattress for Back Pain – WinkBed GravityLux
- Best Mattress for Heavy People – Plank Firm
- Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers – Nolah Signature 12″
- Best Hypoallergenic Mattress – Bear Pro
- Best Hybrid Mattress – Brooklyn Signature Hybrid
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When we evaluate mattresses for side sleepers, we expand our review process to put additional focus on two factors of special importance to the side sleeping position:
- Pressure Relief. Alleviating pressure in the shoulders, hips, and lower back
- Spine Alignment. Promoting neutral alignment from the neck to the base of the spine
See our recap to find out how our featured mattresses stack up against these criteria.
Best Pillow Top Mattress
- All sleeping positions
- Those with back pain
The DreamCloud Premier is an outstanding pillow top mattress that features a plush layer of cashmere and quilted foam. Supporting the top layer are foam and innerspring coil layers designed to provide balanced support and body contouring, two key factors for people who sleep on their side.
Related: Best Pillow Top Mattresses
Scoring 9/10 on the motion transfer, pressure relief, and responsiveness tests, this mattress is more than a great option for side sleepers. It also provides the springiness that is necessary for restless sleepers to move around with ease, and the movement isolation that can help you sleep soundly even as your partner tosses and turns throughout the night.
The multi-layered DreamCloud Premier is heavier than the average mattress, so setting it up is most likely a two-person job. You’ll also notice a mild chemical smell (known as off-gassing) after unpacking that will take a few hours to subside.
Read our full DreamCloud Premier mattress review.
Best Budget Mattress
- Budget shoppers
- Sleeping on the edge
Nectar’s quilted gel memory foam comfort layer provides great pressure relief (8.5/10 Mattress Advisor score) at a competitive price point that frugal side sleepers will appreciate. How competitive? You can currently get a queen-size Nectar for $899.
Related: Best Budget Mattresses
The Nectar provides the the trademark “hugging” feeling of memory foam so that you can sink gently into the mattress. It also has an 8.5/10 score for responsiveness, a good sign for restless side sleepers who toss and turn.
While this product offers a cooling cover and breathable foam layers, its 7.5/10 cooling score illustrates a common problem with all-foam mattresses. Also, side sleepers with neck pain or lower back pain might prefer a mattress that scores higher in the category of spine alignment.
Read our full Nectar mattress review.
Helix Midnight Luxe
Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers
- Hot sleepers
- People seeking pressure relief
- Those who seek durability
Medium firm: 6/10
In addition to being a good mattress for side sleepers, the Helix Midnight Luxe earns a positively chilly 9.5/10 cooling score in Mattress Advisor testing. Helix’s Soft Touch Design technology is designed to provide maximum breathability for optimal airflow and a cool night’s sleep.
Related: Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers
The top layer of memory foam is designed to be pressure relieving for your hips and shoulders, something side sleepers need in order to avoid aches and pains. The pocketed coils limit motion transfer, so couples can sleep soundly, and they add superior edge support.
As great as the Helix Midnight Luxe is for couples, people with aches and pains, and hot sleepers, it’s not ideal for the bargain hunter. Regular price for a queen-size is just over $2,000.
Read our full Helix Midnight Luxe mattress review.
Best Mattress for Shoulder Pain
- Side sleepers with shoulder pain
- Edge support
Side sleepers tend to put a lot of strain on their down-side shoulder, but the Saatva Classic has the materials and design to offer some much-needed relief. As one of our best mattresses for shoulder pain, this supportive foam-innerspring hybrid provides exceptional spine alignment. In this critical category for side sleepers, our testing process gives it a perfect 10/10.
Related: Best Mattresses for Shoulder Pain
With two coil layers helping to promote airflow, the Saatva scores 9/10 for cooling in our sleep lab. Free white-glove service means you can leave the set-up to your delivery person, an especially nice perk for seniors.
Although not an ultra-luxury product, the Saatva Classic isn’t cheap. A queen-size Saatva costs nearly $1,800. Also, if you’re strictly a memory foam mattress fan, this foam-innerspring hybrid isn’t the best choice for you.
Read our full Saatva Classic mattress review.
Best Mattress for Couples
- Couples and co-sleepers
- Fans of memory foam
- Ease of set-up
The original Puffy mattress is a great choice for couples (and sleepers who occasionally share space with their kids or pets) because of its superior testing results for motion transfer. In fact, we give it a sparkling 9.25/10. That score is a promising sign for people who’d rather not wake up every time their sleep partner tosses, turns, or gets out of bed early.
Related: Best Mattresses for Couples
This mattress is also a solid choice for side sleepers thanks in part to its performance in spine alignment (8.75/10) and pressure relief (8/10). We give the Puffy a 9.5/10 score for set-up since our testers found the unboxing process to be a breeze.
Some customers have reported that the Puffy classic is prone to sag from the soft and cradling comfort layer. If that’s a concern for you, you may want to consider a foam/innerspring hybrid that’s more likely to resist sagging.
Read our full Puffy mattress review.
Best Mattress for Back Pain
- People with back pain
- Mutiple firmness options
- Fans of memory foam
Soft, medium, and firm options
A key feature that the WinkBeds Gravity Lux uses to address back pain is the layer of Progression Foam, designed to provide targeted support in the hips and lumbar region. This all-foam bed scores 9/10 for both pressure relief and spine alignment, two important performance categories for side sleepers with back pain.
Related: Best Mattresses for Back Pain
This mattress offers three firmness options. We would recommend either the Soft (4/10) or Medium option (5/10) for side sleepers, who typically find the most comfort when they can sink slightly into their mattress.
A queen-size Gravity Lux runs about $1,800, so budget shoppers will need to take advantage of holiday sales or discounts to get a lower price. Since your mattress will be built to order, it could take about 2 weeks to receive your mattress.
Read our full WinkBeds Gravity Lux mattress review.
Best Mattress for Heavy People
- Side sleepers weighing 230+ lbs
- People who like a firmer mattress
- Easy unpacking and set-up
The Plank Firm is a good candidate for heavier side sleepers trying to solve the firmness dilemma—where do you find a firm mattress that doesn’t put too much pressure on the hips? This Brooklyn Bedding mattress is flippable with dual firmness, but side sleepers should stick with the 7/10 side and let the pressure-relieving qualities (9/10 pressure relief score) do the rest.
Related: Best Mattresses for Heavy People
The layer of TitanFlex foam, a latex alternative, is designed to provide the pressure relief of memory foam with a firmer feel. The Plank Firm earns an 8.75/10 spine alignment score in Mattress Advisor testing.
As you might expect with an all-foam bed, the Plank Firm is good but not great for cooling (8/10 cooling score). Very hot sleepers should consider adding the optional Glaciotex cooling cover, although it will cost an extra $100-$200 depending on mattress size.
Read our full Plank Firm mattress review.
Nolah Signature 12''
Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers
- Side/back combination sleepers
- Restless sleepers
- Pressure relief
Let’s say you’re primarily a side sleeper but you sometimes roll onto your back for brief periods during the night. You might be a part-time combination sleeper. Fortunately, the versatile Nolah Signature 12” has qualities to support combination sleepers like you.
For the side sleeping position, the Nolah Signature excels in pressure relief (9.25/10 Mattress Advisor score). It’s when you change to back sleeping that you’ll really appreciate its responsiveness, where it scores a near-perfect 9.5/10.
If you have serious back or neck pain, the 7.75/10 spine alignment score could be less than ideal. Also, people who like a medium-firm feel should take note of the Nolah Signature’s 4.5/10 firmness rating— not plush, but a bit below average.
Read our full Nolah Signature 12″ mattress review.
Best Hypoallergenic Mattress
- People with allergies and skin sensitivities
- Hot sleepers
The Bear Pro mattress is designed to give allergy sufferers another tool to defend themselves against allergens as they sleep: a top foam layer infused with naturally antimicrobial copper. The top layer also provides extra cushioning, a plus for side sleepers, and the heat-conducting properties of copper promote cooling.
Related: Best Hypoallergenic Mattresses
In addition to copper-infused foam, the Bear Pro has other qualities to help keep your sleeping space free of irritants. The mattress is GREENGUARD Gold Certified and uses CertiPUR-US certified foams. To further improve cooling, inner layers are made with gel foam and open-cell foam.
As you might expect given the quality of materials, the Bear Pro is a bit on the pricey side. You’ll probably need to take advantage of special discounts or a holiday sale to get a queen-size for less than $1,300. Since it’s an all-foam mattress, you might notice an off-gassing odor for a while after unpacking.
Read our full Bear Pro mattress review.
Brooklyn Signature Hybrid
Best Hybrid Mattress
- People who like a foam/coil mattress
- Sleepers who need edge support
- Hot sleepers
Choose your preference: Available in soft, medium or firm
Side sleepers who like the pressure relief of foam and the springy support of coils might find what their ideal combination in the Brooklyn Signature Hybrid. Two of its three firmness options should work well for side sleepers—the 4/10 Soft if you’re average weight, or the 6/10 Medium if you’re closer to 200 lbs.
Related: Best Hybrid Mattresses
Side sleepers will likely appreciate this Brooklyn Bedding hybrid’s performance in pressure relief (9.5/10 score) and spine alignment (8.5/10 score). We give it an 8.5/10 cooling score, thanks in part to the airflow provided by the layer of individually encased coils.
The Brooklyn Signature Hybrid’s 7.25/10 motion transfer score is a potential red flag for couples who are prone to disturbing their sleep partners by tossing and turning. Brooklyn Bedding’s 10-year warranty and 120-night sleep trial are only average by industry standards.
Read our full Brooklyn Signature Hybrid mattress review.
How to Choose the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
If you sleep on your side, you’re far from alone. Side sleeping is the most common sleeping position—in humans and animals—and is generally recognized as the second-healthiest position, after back sleeping.
Each sleeping position has unique characteristics that create the need for a mattress with specific qualities, and side sleeping is no exception. In this guide, we’ll offer expert advice on choosing the best mattress for side sleepers and share some tips on sleeping comfortably in the lateral position.
- Best Type of Mattress for Side Sleeping
- What to Look for in a Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Tips for Side Sleepers
Here’s a look at how certain types of materials and designs make the best mattress for side sleepers, and which type of mattress you should avoid.
✓ Memory Foam
The best side sleeper mattresses use some type of memory foam, whether it’s standard memory foam or gel-infused foam. The top and middle layers are made for comfort and the base layer is often made of high-density polyfoam to add durability.
Some mattresses use foam infused with copper, gel, or graphite to provide extra cooling and pain relief benefits. Memory foam does a great job of providing even weight distribution and gently contouring around pressure points. It also supports the natural curve of your spine.
Latex mattresses use latex foam as their main feature. Latex foam can be derived from either natural latex or synthetic latex; regardless, the material is cooling, buoyant, and pressure relieving. Organic latex foam provides a good base for some of the best organic mattresses for side sleepers.
Latex foam and gel-infused foam quickly bounce back to their normal shape when people shift positions at night, better than regular memory foam—great for side sleepers who also find that they are back or stomach sleepers.
A hybrid mattress may be a good choice if you’re a side sleeper who likes the feel of an innerspring mattress. The best hybrid mattresses for side sleepers provide the supportive bounce of an innerspring core layer with other materials in the upper layers for comfort and contouring.
Hybrid beds often have layers of high-quality foam (either latex foam, memory foam, or both) that cradles the hips and shoulders for pressure relief and pain relief.
While they’re great at providing bounce and overall support, innerspring mattresses tend to fall short in pressure relief. Generally, the coiled spring systems don’t provide the kind of contouring cushion you get from memory foam and latex.
If you’re a side sleeper looking at an innerspring mattress, we recommend you consider adding a memory foam mattress topper to provide additional contouring or look for a hybrid mattress with foam or latex upper layers.
Everyone has unique needs that must be met in the mattress they choose. Whether you’re a heavy sleeper, hot sleeper, part of a couple, or sleeping alone, there’s some component of your lifestyle or sleeping environment that you should consider when choosing a mattress.
For side sleepers, it’s important to find a mattress that meets your unique need for a balance in comfort and support. Sleeping on your side can be great for your sleep and health, or it can be a nightmare if you don’t sleep on a surface that properly supports body alignment and contouring in the necessary zones.
Here’s how we see the ideal mattress for side sleepers:
- A memory foam or memory foam hybrid
- Medium-soft, medium, or medium-firm on the firmness scale (4.5/10 – 6.5/10)
- Excellent spine alignment and pressure relief
The previous section describes how memory foam’s pressure-reliving and contouring properties make it the best material for side sleeping. Below, we’ll take a deeper dive into pressure relief, spine alignment, and firmness.
Side sleepers naturally put more weight on their hips, thighs, and shoulders as they lie down, causing those areas to be pressure-sensitive over time. That’s why side sleepers should search for a pressure-relieving mattress to keep away morning aches and pains—especially if you’re prone to hip pain and shoulder pain.
The right amount of pushback in your mattress will help distribute your body weight more evenly, meaning your hips, thighs, and shoulders won’t sink in more than the rest of your body. This also helps to prevent aches and soreness in those high-pressure areas.
For every mattress we test at Mattress Advisor, we measure how well a mattress performs at relieving pressure using a pressure mapping device. Below you will see an example of a mattress that performed well in our pressure relief test and one that did not, for the side position. The cooler the color, the lower the pressure. Look for these diagrams on our individual mattress reviews.
Read More: Why is Pressure Relief so Important?
It’s important for side sleepers to select a mattress that will hug their bodies in the right places but not cause them to sink into the mattress too far. A mattress that pushes back just enough when you lie down will support your body’s natural curves and keep your spine aligned.
This is especially helpful for side sleepers with lower back pain. When your spine is out of alignment, gravity pushes down on the unsupported area, causing a similar result as having poor posture while standing. Over time, misalignment leads to back pain and trouble sleeping. Side sleepers should look for a mattress that can keep their spine in a healthy, neutral alignment as they sleep, from their neck all the way to their lower back.
Read More: Why Spine Alignment is Important
Choosing the ideal firmness according to sleeping position is pretty straightforward for side sleepers. You should avoid an extremely firm or extremely soft mattress and instead look for one that falls within the medium-soft to medium-firm range of the firmness scale, between 4.5/10 and 6.5/10.
If the mattress is too firm, you’re likely to feel joint pain and tension. But a mattress that’s too soft won’t provide enough support. Look for a mattress that’s supportive but also soft enough to minimize stress on the hips and shoulders.
Tips for Side Sleepers
While sleeping on the right mattress is one of the most important factors in getting quality sleep, there are other things you can do as a side sleeper to help ensure you wake up feeling well-rested and pain-free.
Sleep on your Left Side
Many doctors and researchers recommend sleeping on your left side instead of your right. Benefits of left-side sleeping include:
- Reducing snoring
- Reducing pressure on the stomach and digestive tract
- Promoting healthier blood flow
- Reducing acid reflux and heartburn
- Alleviating conditions that contribute to sleep apnea
Sleeping on your side—particularly your left side—is also the recommended sleeping position during pregnancy. Side sleeping’s benefits for expecting mothers include more comfort and improved blood circulation.
Related: Best Mattresses for Pregnancy
Use Pillows Wisely
We’ve mentioned how critical it is that your mattress supports your body’s natural alignment, but your pillows play a huge role in this as well. If your neck is too high or too low, the cervical vertebrae of the spine will be in misalignment. Average pillows typically fall too flat, so side sleepers should look for a thicker, firmer pillow.
Related: Best Pillows for Side Sleepers
A good rule of thumb when selecting a pillow for side sleeping is to look for one that is thicker or higher under the neck than the head in order to keep your spine aligned.
Dr. Nate Vogan, DPT at Stewart Physical Therapy, tells us: “If you are a side sleeper, it’s important to make sure your neck is square to your shoulders and not sagging to one side. The implications of this is a muscular issue. It can create impingements of the joints in your neck. These impingements cause pain and tightness in the neck and under the arms.”
You can also use a knee pillow placed between your knees to reduce strain on your hips.
Choose a Good Mattress Topper
Side sleepers can also benefit from using a mattress topper with their bed. Mattress toppers add an extra layer of cushion and comfort to the surface of the mattress and are a good option for side sleepers looking to make their mattress softer.
The best mattress toppers for side sleepers are made of either memory foam or latex foam. These foam accessories offer contouring pressure relief for the shoulders and hips. If you find that memory foam sleeps hot (as some do), we recommend a cooling mattress topper that uses gel-infused foam or open-cell design.
In evaluating our best mattresses for side sleepers, we put additional emphasis on two testing categories that are especially important to those who sleep on their side: spine alignment and pressure relief. Here’s a look at how our picks performed in the Mattress Advisor Sleep Lab:
|MATTRESS||AVERAGE SCORE (OUT OF 10) FOR PRESSURE RELIEF AND SPINE ALIGNMENT|
|Helix Midnight Luxe||8.8|
|Nolah Signature 12″||8.5|
|Brooklyn Signature Hybrid||9.0|
Note: Testing scores for the Bear Pro are coming soon.
Side Sleeper FAQs
Is sleeping on your side bad for you?
Not generally, no. Back sleeping is widely recognized as the healthiest sleeping position, but side sleeping comes in second.
Despite the fact that it can put strain on your down-side shoulder, side sleeping does have some well-documented health benefits. Reducing the incidence of snoring is probably the best known. Some research suggests that side sleeping also helps the glymphatic pathway more efficiently remove waste from the brain, possibly reducing the risk of neurological disease.
Because of the way your digestive organs are arranged inside your body, sleeping on your left side aids in digestion. It’s also the recommended position for pregnancy.
Still, if you want to make a change to the healthiest sleeping position, check out our How to Sleep on Your Back guide.
Which mattress is best for side sleepers with back pain?
For side sleepers with back pain, spine alignment is a critical component of a mattress. Memory foam and latex mattresses are well-known for providing great spine alignment. Foam or latex hybrid mattresses with a layer of pocketed coils also provide support in key areas, such as your hips and shoulders, and help keep you aligned through the night.
You should also consider a medium-firm mattress. Our featured mattress for side sleepers for back pain is the WinkBed, which offers the Luxury Firm option (6.5/10 on the firmness scale).
For side sleepers dealing with different kinds of discomfort:
- What is the best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain? Side sleepers with shoulder pain need a mattress that provides exceptional pressure relief. The best mattresses for this type of pain use memory foam to cradle sensitive pressure points around the shoulder and other areas. One example is the Saatva Classic hybrid, although you can also get great pressure relief with an all-foam memory foam mattress.
- What is the best mattress for side sleepers with hip pain? Foam-innerspring hybrids are some of the best. When combined with layers of memory foam, a hybrid’s innerspring layer creates a strong foundation to support the body. The pressure-relieving foam cradles around the hips and prevents them from sinking too deeply into the mattress. The foam/innerspring hybrid Leesa Legend is a good example.
Is it safe for children to sleep on their side?
The consensus from medical experts is: not until the child is 1 year old, at the earliest. Back sleeping is recognized as the safest sleeping position for newborns and infants to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Children will gravitate toward their preferred sleeping position as they get older, and side sleeping should be safe for your child from ages 1 and up. If you have concerns, talk to your family doctor or pediatrician—or check out our sleep guide for parents.
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