Night after night, many people find themselves turning to their side for a restful night’s sleep, so what makes the best mattress for side sleepers? Firmness, support, and pelvic rotation are all key factors to consider when selecting your next new mattress. Unlike back sleepers, side sleepers are less likely to struggle with snoring or airflow issues, but they can suffer from hip, back, or neck pain.
What Is the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers?
The best mattress for a side sleeper is one that aligns your spine and relieves pressure points on your hips and shoulders. Here are some recommendations from me to help get you started.
Nine Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
- Hybrid: Tomorrow Sleep
- Luxury: Casper Wave
- Shoulder/Hip Pain: Layla
- Pressure Relief: Purple
- Innerspring: WinkBeds
- Memory Foam: Amerisleep
- Back Pain: Nest Alexander Hybrid
- Custom-Made for You: Helix
- Couples: Nolah
What Makes These the Top Mattress Picks?
Again, the above is highly based on my personal preferences and biases, but read on for why I put each of these on my best side sleeping list (plus I’ll provide some additional recommendations).
Best Hybrid Mattress for Side Sleeping
Tomorrow Sleep is backed by one of the biggest bed manufacturers in the business (Serta Simmons), so they are definitely pros when it comes to mattress construction.
The mattress has a great mixed feel of foam and springs and provides two firmness options, so you can choose which one you think can get you aligned and relieve pressure best for your own preferences.
Get the full story in my Tomorrow Sleep mattress review.
Best Luxury Mattress for Side Sleeping
The Casper Wave is a higher-end mattress that has zoning technology specifically for side sleepers. The mattress is designed to actually provide different construction at the shoulders and hips so that your spine is better aligned when sleeping on your side.
Learn more about the construction in my full Casper Wave review.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers With Shoulder Pain or Hip Pain
- Layla Mattress
- Leesa Mattress
- Ghost Bed
I like the Layla mattress for side sleepers with shoulder and hip pain because it is flippable: It has two sides that could work for side sleepers. There is no magic formula to fix shoulder and hip pain, after all; it really depends on you and your preferences (which can shift over time)! Thus, having a mattress where you can have two options to adjust to your preferences can be a great solution for side sleepers with hip or shoulder pain. Learn more about this mattress in my Layla mattress review.
Best Mattress for Side Sleeping Pressure Relief
The Purple mattress has a unique gel comfort layer construction that results in some of the best pressure relief we have tested at Sleepopolis, particularly when lying on your side. Though you may have thought the “raw egg test” was just a marketing ploy, it actually does demonstrate the fact that the Purple mattress really does stand apart in terms of pressure relief.
The Purple mattress does a great job of relieving pressure but also providing a feeling of support. The gel layer that Purple uses is unlike anything else I’ve tested on the market. Though it can take a little getting used to, I think it’s amazingly comfortable.
Learn more about its unique construction and pressure relief in my full Purple mattress review.
There are many other mattresses on the market that are great for pressure relief and side sleeping, but two other mattresses that are great for side sleeping pressure relief are the Nest Bedding Alexander Hybrid Contour (read review) and the GhostBed Luxe (read review).
Best Innerspring Mattress for Side Sleeping
I like the WinkBeds mattress for side sleeping because it has a bit of extra foam on top compared to most innerspring mattresses on the market.
While it still has that traditional innerspring feel that many people love, the extra foam provides just enough extra pressure relief on the hips and shoulders to make a noticeable difference for side sleepers.
WinkBeds also offers a soft option, which some side sleepers may prefer, as well as an option for heavy sleepers. Learn more in my full WinkBeds mattress review.
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleeping
Amerisleep has a few memory foam mattresses in their line that are good options for side sleeping. They range from AS1 to AS5, with AS3, AS4, and AS5 being on the softer side and good options for side sleeping (in my opinion). These mattresses are high-quality memory foam, offering that classic contouring and supportive feel that many side sleepers adore. Learn more about the whole Amerisleep line on my Amerisleep mattress reviews page.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers With Back Pain
Though many mattresses can help with back pain when side-sleeping, the first that came to mind was the Alexander Hybrid from Nest Bedding. Two other great mattress options that come to mind for back pain are the Brooklyn Bedding signature mattress (read review) and the Casper mattress (read review).
The Alexander Hybrid offers a great comfort and support trade-off that makes it easy to adjust your sleeping position slightly to align the spine and deal with pressure points on your body. Learn more in my Nest Bedding Alexander Hybrid review.
Best Custom-Made-for-You Mattress for Side Sleeping
Helix Sleep offers a great solution for side sleepers because they actually create the mattress to your preferences and specifications. When done right, this process will get you aligned, supported, and comfortable in a great position, a side sleeper’s dream!
The process requires that you complete a quiz about your body characteristics and preferences and allows couples to complete a quiz so that each side of the bed can cater to each sleeper.
Learn more in my full Helix mattress review.
Best Mattress for Side-Sleeping Couples
Nolah uses their proprietary AirFoam in the comfort layer of the mattress to provide a soft feel that really lets you sink in for pressure relief. This layer gives the Nolah the contouring you may expect from a memory foam, with a bit of a feeling of sinking into bed. I should also mention that like memory foam, AirFoam does a good job of isolating motion transfer, which is a huge plus for couples.
While the Nolah AirFoam has some of the positives that people like in memory foam, it also does a good job of avoiding the tendency to trap heat that memory foam has been known for. This ability to dissipate heat creates a cool sleeping environment.
If you’re interested, you can read more in my full Nolah review.
Best Mattress Firmness for Side Sleepers
Side sleepers will want to look for something soft to moderate on the firmness scale. A soft mattress (with great support) will help to relieve pressure from your neck and back. A soft or medium firmness mattress will allow your body to sink into the mattress a bit more, which will let the mattress contour to your shape. Look for a mattress in the 3-6 out of 10 firmness range.
Firmness is perhaps the most important attribute for side sleepers. This is due to the very nature of the position. In order to provide proper support, the mattress must be able to contour to the curves of your body (yes, men, even you have curves on your side).
A mattress with great support will relieve pressure points and keep your spine, neck, and back in alignment. For side sleepers, this is especially important, since your spine may be misaligned already. It’s important to note that support is not the same thing as firmness: A softer mattress can still provide great support. When looking for a new mattress that will meet your side sleeper needs, you’ll want to look for one that contours to your body’s shape. Foam mattresses offer many advantages for side sleepers, but well-built and well-designed innerspring mattresses can be effective also.
The actual positions of side sleepers can differ drastically. Some of the most popular ones include forms like:
- The log: Legs fully extended
- The sprinter: One leg straight, one leg bent
- The fetal: Both legs curled at the knee
Due to the nightly variation of a side sleeper’s position, support is key to ensure that your mattress is properly contouring to your body throughout the night.
Pelvic rotation is the result of misalignment of the back muscles and lumbar spine. It is caused when sleepers twist or curl their legs up in opposition to the position of the upper body. Take, for example, “the sprinter.” This person sleeps with one leg fairly straight and the other bent, which tends to rotate their upper body into a stomach-sleeping position while the lower body remains on the side. This type of rotation can lead to or worsen any lower back and neck pain, so it’s important to take preventative measures before it starts hurting.
There aren’t any perfect solutions to preventing pelvic rotation, but there are a few things you can do to help.
- Try to train yourself to sleep in side sleeping positions that keep your spine in alignment.
- Use a pillow between your legs to maintain spinal alignment (see below).
- Buy a good mattress with proper support and softness. That will help to prevent pressure points that might be currently causing you to sleep in positions that cause more pelvic rotation.
Side Sleeper Pillow Needs
Good pillows are just as important as a good mattress. You may have an exceptionally well-made and comfortable mattress, but without a good pillow, you may still find that your sleeping experience is less than ideal. A quality pillow is critically important for side sleepers due to the increased (and somewhat more complex) support needs. Pillows made from latex, shredded foam, memory foam, or other poly foam help provide consistent and stable support by responding to the varying pressures of your head and neck. You’ll want to look for a pillow that is tall enough to cradle your head and neck but not so tall that you introduce a new form of pressure.
Additionally, many side sleepers use pillows between their legs. This can help to resist pelvic rotation while also relieving lower back pressure.
The advent of foam pillows in the 1990s was nothing short of a miracle for side sleepers. Foam pillows are able to provide great support and softness and properly cradle a side sleeper’s head and neck. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my full list of pillow reviews. My personal favorite is the fully adjustable Nest Bedding Easy Breather pillow.
What’s the Best Mattress for a Side Sleeper?
Sleepopolis recommends the following mattresses for side sleepers. These mattresses:
- Provide great support
- Have a soft to moderately firm feel (3-6 out of 10 on the firmness scale, where 10 is the most firm)
- Are supportive enough to prevent or limit pelvic rotation
- Contour to the natural curves created by lying on your side
- Breathe well and improve the cooling of the mattress
|Mattress||Best For||Mattress Brand||Description||Price (Queen Size)||Coupon||Review|
|Tomorrow Sleep||Hybrid||Coil-on-coil + pillow top design. From Serta Simmons.||$990||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|Casper Wave||Luxury||Casper Wave - Proprietary foam + memory foam design. Zoned for side sleepers.||$1,850||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|Layla||Shoulder/Hip Pain||Copper infused memory foam. Flippable to provide two firmness options.||$899||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|Purple||Pressure Relief||Gel polymer + poly foam design. Modern thin cover. Available in medium firmness.||$999||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|WinkBeds||Innerspring||Coil-on-coil + pillow top design. Euro-style pillow topper cover. Available in soft, medium, and hard firmness.||$1,299||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|Amerisleep||Memory Foam||Advanced memory foam. Modern thin cover. Medium feel.||$999-$1899||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|Nest Bedding Alexander Hybrid||Back Pain||Alexander Hybrid - Pocketed coils + memory foam design. Traditional quilted cover. Available in medium firmness.||$1,199||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|Helix||Custom Made for You||Latex + poly foam design. Modern thin cover. Available in customized firmness levels.||$995||See Current Offer||Read Review|
|Nolah||Couples||The Nolah mattress uses their proprietary AirFoam to provide a memory foam like contour and pressure relief, without the heat trapping and stuck feeling that memory foam is sometimes known for. It's a softer mattress that is designed with side sleepers in mind.||$949||See Current Offer||Read My Review!|
*Prices reflect queen-size mattresses and include any Sleepopolis coupons available
Be sure to try a wide range of firmnesses when shopping for the best mattress for you. Depending on your size, weight, and body type, you may find different firmness levels affect your body differently. When trying out a new mattress, it helps to lie on it exactly as you would sleep. Try to give it at least 10 minutes. Softer mattresses for side sleepers contour and react to your body very quickly, as soon as you lie down, so it may feel different after only 5 minutes.
If you’re shopping online, make sure to select a company with a solid trial period. Many of the top online mattress companies back their product with a great trial period (e.g., Leesa’s 100-day trial, Purple’s 100 night trial, or Loom & Leaf’s 120-day trial), so if you find that it’s not right for you, you can swap it out for one that is.
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