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Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Side sleeping is a tricky business. Though the position can be super supportive and healthy for the spine, it can also put undue stress on the shoulders and hips. And it makes sense! The longer you spend on your side over the course of a night, the more pressure you exert on these sensitive body parts. The result? Tension and jamming, which can lead to serious pain the morning after. But thankfully, there are ways to avoid the pitfalls of side sleeping without skimping on any of its benefits.

First and foremost, you need to snag a super soft mattress. These beds are designed to cradle the shoulders and hips, alleviating tension by providing space for these body parts to slowly sink into the structure. But softness doesn’t mean unsupportive, so you’ll also want to find a bed that bolsters the lower back to keep your spine feeling fine all night long.

So, which beds strike the perfect balance between support and pressure relief? Well, we’re so glad you asked! Below, we’re going to introduce you to some of our favorite beds for side sleepers. Then, we’ll go over the methodology we used to select them as well as a few tips you can use on your search.

Editor’s Choice

Lucid

Most side sleepers will want to land on a plush mattress that allows them to sink deeply into the structure for pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. For our money, there is no bed that satisfies this need more than the 14” Memory Foam Mattress from Lucid. Here, thick sections of gentle foam cradle the body while providing enough support to keep the spine in a healthy alignment. 

Pros 

  • If you love memory foam, you’ll likely love this Lucid model, as it features a ton of the material in its top layers. 
  • This bed is also built with a bamboo-charcoal infusion, which helps to mitigate the overheating properties of memory foam to keep things nice and cool throughout the evening. 
  • Side sleepers in general will likely feel well supported by the gentle all-foam construction, as it’ll help bolster the shoulders, hips, and lower back. 

Cons 

  • Stomach sleepers may find the structure a bit too soft for their needs, as the memory foam top layers will likely sink their hips out of alignment with their shoulders. 
  • This isn’t a very bouncy structure, so may not be a good fit for folks who need to move around and change positions in the night.
Lucid
Lucid

The 14” Memory Foam Mattress from Lucid has thick sections of gentle foam cradle the body while providing enough support to keep the spine in a healthy alignment. 

Best Memory Foam

Live and Sleep

It’s no secret that side sleepers tend to favor a little memory foam, and few beds do this material quite like the Live and Sleep mattress. Outfitted with plush, cooling top layers of memory foam and firm high-density poly foam, this bed delivers a one-two punch of pressure relief and support that could work wonders for those who doze on their sides. Plus, the materials are hypoallergenic and antibacterial! 

Pros 

  • If you enjoy sinking into your mattress, you’ll find a lot to love in this bed’s soft memory foam comfort layer. 
  • This gentle foam not only contours to the shoulders, but fills in the space at the lower back, helping to set the spine in a healthy alignment. 
  • In addition to back sleepers, side sleepers will likely enjoy the deep pressure relief they’ll receive as they press into the structure. 

Cons

  • This isn’t the bounciest mattress on the market, so may not work for folks who like a lively lift and high mobility. 
  • Stomach sleepers may find that the top layer of memory foam causes their hips to sink out of alignment with their shoulders, which will likely cause uncomfortable bowing at the lower back.
Live and Sleep
Live and Sleep

The Live and Sleep is outfitted with plush, cooling top layers of memory foam and firm high-density poly foam, this bed delivers a one-two punch of pressure relief and support that could work wonders for those who doze on their sides.

Best Pressure Relief

Ashley Furniture

If you want pressure relief, but don’t want to skimp on the bounce of a traditional innerspring mattress, the 12” Chime Express hybrid from Ashley Furniture could be the one for you. Built with two rows of individually wrapped coils, this mattress is sturdy, bouncy, and supportive. To offset this firmness, Ashley Furniture has overlaid the coils with a layer of memory foam to provide relief to the shoulders and lower back. 

Pros 

  • Side sleepers who need a buoyant lift will likely be satisfied by the hearty bounce of this structure, which helps to position the sleeper more on top of the bed than in it. 
  • The foam materials are also hypoallergenic, ensuring they’re free of allergens and other airborne pests. 
  • This mattress also provides pretty uniform pressure relief across the body, notably at the shoulders, hips, and lower back. 

Cons 

  • This bed is definitely on the firm side, so may not be the best fit for folks who need a soft, gentle structure. 
  • If you’re someone who likes to feel more “in” your bed than “on top” of it, this may not be the mattress for you, as the bouncy coils work to lift the sleeper up and out of the bed. 
Ashley Furniture
Ashley Furniture

If you want pressure relief, but don’t want to skimp on the bounce of a traditional innerspring mattress, the 12” Chime Express hybrid from Ashley Furniture could be the one for you.

Best Hybrid

Lucid

On the market for a bouncy hybrid? Then you may want to consider snagging the 10” latex hybrid from Lucid. Here, a buoyant top layer of gentle latex overlays sections of memory foam and pocketed coils, creating a structure that’s both lively and pressure-relieving. 

Pros 

  • This is one bouncy bed! The buoyant lift from the latex coupled with the strong bounce of the pocketed coils produces excellent mobility, a nice feature for combo sleepers. 
  • Another big selling point for the mattress is that its layer of contouring memory foam is overlaid by a top layer of latex.  By doing this, the naturally cooling latex foam is able to quell the overheating tendencies of memory foam, resulting in a much cooler sleep. You also get some nice pressure relief without feeling too “stuck” in the bed. 
  • Lastly, the section of foam edge support around the bed could be a great feature for couples who need to use the entire surface area of the mattress. 

Cons 

  • If you want to really sink into your bed, this may not be the model for you, as you’re likely to feel more “on top” of it. 
  • In general, this bed would probably be best-suited for side/combo sleepers, as spending the entire night on your side with this bed could result in some uncomfortable jamming.
Lucid
Lucid

The Lucid Hybrid has a buoyant top layer of gentle latex overlays sections of memory foam and pocketed coils, creating a structure that’s both lively and pressure-relieving.

Best Mattress Topper

Lucid Memory Foam Topper

If you like the vibe of your mattress, but feel like it use a little oomph, you may want to snag a mattress topper. Though there are a lot on the market, the best one for side sleepers is likely the 3” Memory Foam Topper from Lucid, which brings a ton of extra pressure relief to the game. Plus, it’s infused with gel, so helps regulate temperatures throughout the night. 

Pros 

  • This topper could be a great fit for memory foam lovers, as it embodies all the sinkage and body-contouring properties of the material. 
  • It also sleeps super cool, so could work well for those sleepers who tend to overheat in the night. 
  • In general, side sleepers will enjoy the pressure relief they’ll get from this topper, which should alleviate tension at the shoulders, hips, and lower back. 

Cons 

  • Memory foam is excellent at dampening motion, which means you’re not going to get a lot of bounce with this topper. 
  • Additionally, stomach and back sleepers may find the topper to be too soft for their specific sleep needs.
Lucid Memory Foam Topper
Lucid Memory Foam Topper

Though there are a lot on the market, the best one for side sleepers is likely the 3” Memory Foam Topper from Lucid, which brings a ton of extra pressure relief to the game.

How We Picked

Now that we’ve gone over our picks, let’s chat about how we picked them! To do that, we’re going to break down all the most important factors to consider when looking for a mattress to satisfy your side-sleeping needs.

Pressure Relief

This one probably feels like a no brainer at this point, but it’s worth repeating: Pressure relief is going to be crucial for side sleepers. The easiest way to achieve high-quality pressure relief is to invest in high-quality materials, like dense memory foam. Unlike other popular bedding materials, this one contours to the curves and swerves of the body, essentially creating a cushiony landing pad for your shoulders and hips. This will help to prevent jamming and alleviate tension throughout the night.

Firmness

In terms of firmness, side sleepers will want to look for something soft to moderate on the firmness scale. While many folks assume firmer mattresses are the most supportive, a special exception needs to be made for those who spend most of their slumber time on their sides.

Therefore, side sleepers should stick to a firmness of 4.5-6/10 on the firmness scale (with 6.5 being the industry standard for medium firmness). Most brands will advertise how firm their mattresses are on their websites, so play close attention to the specs when doing your research. You’ll want to stick with a soft structure as it’s going to provide the most sink for pressure relief at your shoulders and hips.

Support

Support is an important factor for all sleepers to consider, but especially so for side sleepers, who tend to contort their bodies into positions that aren’t always conducive to a healthy spine alignment (like, say, the fetal position). A mattress with fantastic support will adapt to the body no matter the shape, making sure the body is in perfect synergy.

Again, it’s worth noting that support is not the same thing as firmness, and a soft mattress can bolster a sleeper just as well as a firm one. When looking for a new mattress that’ll support your side sleeper needs, make sure you find one that contours to your body’s unique shape. You’ll also want to be extra wary of how the bed supports your hips and shoulders as you move and change positions. Bonus points if you can land on a bed that does all this without making you feel “swallowed” by the pressure-relieving materials.

Pelvic Rotation

Pelvic rotation results from a situation in which the pelvis (inclusive of the hip and pubic bones) tilts forward. It’s caused when sleepers twist or curl their legs up in opposition to the position of the upper body and can lead to severe pain in the morning. Though not unique to side sleepers, this group does experience more pelvic rotation than other types of sleepers. That’s why it’s so crucial for side sleepers to find a mattress that cushions the body while also lifting the hips in alignment with the shoulders. This mix of pressure relief and support can be found in beds that combine memory foam and latex as well as ones that feature pocketed coil systems overlaid by gentle memory foam.

Sleepopolis Tips

Still not sure how to pick the mattress that’s going to be right for you? No worries! We’re going to wrap up this guide with a few tips you can use to find the bed of your side-sleeping dreams.

  • Memory foam, memory foam, memory foam! We’ve said it once, we’ll say it a million more times — this is the material for you. Thick, dense, and plush, this foam is the one best equipped to cradle your shoulders and hips as you press into your mattress.
  • But with deep sinkage comes overheating, so make sure your memory foam is outfitted with some cooling properties. Gel infusions are the most effective, followed by open-cell or ventilated foam designs.
  • In general, you’ll want to make sure your bed falls somewhere between the 4.5-6/10 range on the firmness scale. 6.5 is the industry standard for medium firmness, so skewing a little less than that will help you land on a structure that’s gentle enough for your needs.
  • Waiting for your new mattress to arrive and need a quick fix solution for your side-sleeping woes? Tuck a pillow between your knees! This will help to set the spine in a more neutral state and encourage relaxing slumber.

Wrapping Up

Well, that does it for our guide to the best beds for side sleepers! Whether you’re looking to hunker down into a thick memory foam mattress or bounce around a supportive hybrid, you’re now equipped with all the mattress know-how you need to make your bedding search a success.

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Logan Block

Logan is the content director of Sleepopolis, which means he not only reviews new mattresses every week, but also curates all the comparisons, best of pages, and video guides on the site. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews and endeavors to give viewers an objective look at each new product he tries out. Logan has perfected his method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so he’s not only able to discern the overall vibe of a specific bed, but to contextualize its feel within the bed-in-a-box market as a whole.

Logan Block

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