Best Mattress Guides

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

A guide for side sleepers to find the best mattress for their sleep position and the benefits of sleeping on your side.

By Natalie Yerger

Mattress Nerd consulted Dr. Tom Ingegno to ensure that this article met our editorial standards

Did you know that almost 70 percent of adults sleep on their sides for at least a portion of the night? For many, myself included, there’s no cozier position than side sleeping. Whether you like to extend your legs fully, keep one straight, or revert to the fetal position, curling up on one side is certainly a comforting way to rest.

Much like back and stomach sleepers, side sleepers need a mattress that supports their unique needs. A mattress that allows the pelvis to sit too high or low can place undue pressure on the spine, which translates to pain in the hips and shoulders.

In this guide, we’re covering our top mattresses for side sleepers along with a detailed list of qualities to look for and the benefits of sleeping on your side.  Alternately, click here if you want to see our best mattresses overall.

Disclosure: By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Nerd may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

  • Editor’s Pick – Helix Midnight
  • Best Innerspring Mattress for Side Sleepers – Saatva
  • Best Memory Foam Mattress – Nectar
  • Best Hybrid Mattress for Side Sleepers – Casper Hybrid
  • Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Hip Pain – Puffy
  • Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain- Leesa Hybrid
  • Best Mattress for Side & Back Sleepers – GhostBed Luxe
  • Best Mattress for Heavy Side Sleepers – Layla
  • Best Mattress for Pressure Relief – Nolah Evolution
  • Best Mattress for Hot Side Sleepers – Bear Pro

Editor’s Pick: Helix Midnight

Helix Midnight

Editor's Pick
The Helix Midnight provides tailored support and a medium-firmness feel geared specifically for side sleepers. The hybrid construction promotes airflow to keep you cool, while the foam layers provide cradling and support where you need it.
helix midnight mattress
4.8 / 5.0


Trial period

100 nights

Reason to buy

Made for side sleepers

The Helix Midnight is our pick for the best mattress for side sleepers.  It’s an all-around great mattress that is good for every sleeping position, for couples, for cooling, for just about anything you could want—Helix makes their mattresses with all sleeping preferences in mind.

All Helix mattresses are hybrids, which means they contain a mix of foam and coils. Coils mean more support, but the Midnight and Midnight LUXE models are made with contouring foam and support specifically for side sleepers. The hips, shoulders and neck have targeted support while the Comfort Foam keeps your spine aligned, which is essential for waking up without pain and stiffness.

The Helix Midnight is also great for side sleepers with back pain because its zoned support helps with spinal alignment, while still being soft enough to provide good pressure relief for your shoulders. Basically, if you sleep on your side, we think you’ll love the Helix Midnight. 

But hey, maybe you’re also concerned with the movements of a restless partner, or overheating under the covers during the increasingly long summers. Well, we’re happy to report that the Helix Midnight has you covered in these departments as well. 

The Helix’s top layer of memory plus foam doesn’t just enhance comfort, it also absorbs motions. This means that when your restless partner tosses and turns, or simply gets out of bed for a glass of water, their motion waves will be stifled rather than reverberate across the bed’s surface.

As for cooling, the Helix Midnight cover has a breathable design that improves airflow, meaning your body heat won’t as easily affect the temperature of the mattress surface. More importantly though, the hybrid construction of the mattress means that not only is the cover breathable, the entire bed is breathable! While a memory foam mattress can tend to trap heat in its thick layers, the Helix Midnight simply allows it to flow out.

Can you see why the Helix Midnight earned Editor’s Pick?

Read our full Helix Midnight mattress review to learn more.

Best Innerspring Mattress for Side Sleepers: Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic

Best Innerspring for Side Sleepers

Saatva is one of the first direct-to-consumer online mattress companies. The Saatva mattress is a little different from the other “bed-in-a-box” companies out there because this one doesn’t come in a box at all. It’s a regular innerspring mattress delivered to your door by delivery professionals.

Saatva Classic Mattress
4.7 / 5.0


Trial period

180 nights

Reason to buy

High quality and custom firmness options

The Saatva is our pick for the best innerspring mattress for side sleepers. The Saatva contains two layers of coils: one of individually encased coils that provides contouring and pressure relief, and one of support coils that contributes to the Saatva being one of the most durable mattresses we’ve ever tested at Mattress Nerd.

While the Saatva earns a spot on our list as the best innerspring mattress for side sleepers, it has a lot more going for it than just two impressive coil layers. First off, it’s important to note that in addition to these highly durable springs, the Saatva also has a softer top layer of memory foam, making this mattress a hybrid. The hybrid construction balances out the durability, support, and breathability with cradling and comfort; a recipe that results in perfect scores in the categories of edge support, ease of movement, temperature, and breathability.

It is also customizable (both firmness and height), meaning that it can work well for almost any sleeper, regardless of body weight or sleeping style. Firmness options include Plush Soft (4), Luxury Firm (6), and Firm (7.5), and you can choose from 11.5- and 14.5-inch profiles. 

While we’re clearly in love with the Saatva at Mattress Nerd, keep in mind that its responsiveness, while great for those who switch positions often, may make it unpleasant if you wake easily at the movements of a partner, as it doesn’t shine in the motion isolation department.

Read our full Saatva mattress review to learn more!

Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers: Nectar


Best Memory Foam for Side Sleepers

Competitively priced memory foam mattress that doesn’t compromise on quality. Great for motion isolation.

4.7 / 5.0


Trial period


Reason to buy

Best Bed-in-a-box on a budget

Our award of best memory foam mattress for side sleepers goes to the original Nectar mattress. The Nectar is a memory foam mattress with a cover of cooling Tencel, one inch of gel memory foam for a plush feel on top, a transitional layer with quick response time, and a supportive, durable base layer at its foundation. While appropriate for any sleep position, this is an especially great option for average weight (130 – 230 lbs) side sleepers.

The Nectar’s memory foam allows for just the right amount of sinkage, meaning that average weight and some heavier side sleepers should experience the right amount of contouring around their shoulders and hips, keeping these sensitive pressure points ache-free while also keeping the spine aligned to its proper curve. 

The Nectar comes in at a very friendly price point without sacrificing any of the features side sleepers need. It delivers pressure relief throughout the entire body for exceptional value, with a queen size coming in just shy of $1,200. And because the company usually has a sale running, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to score this gem for under $900. 

At such a reasonable price, you may be questioning the durability and lifespan of the Nectar. Well, in testing the quality of the Nectar’s materials, we landed at a durability score of 4 out of 5 for this mattress. That’s quite impressive for something so affordable. In fact, Nectar feels so confident in the longevity of their mattress, the company offers a 365 night trial period, free shipping and returns, and their Forever Warranty.

Read our full Nectar mattress review to learn more! 

Best Hybrid Mattress: Casper Hybrid

Casper Hybrid

Best Hybrid Mattress

Striking the perfect balance between the contour of memory foam and the bounce of pocket-coils, the Casper Hybrid offers the best of both worlds when it comes to superior comfort and support.

Casper Original Hybrid Mattress
4.9 / 5.0


Trial period

100 nights

Reason to buy

Zoned comfort and the addition of a coil layer

This hybrid mattress takes features from the original Casper, an all-foam mattress, and marries them to other materials that sleepers desire in a mattress. Pocketed coils steal the spotlight in its makeup and add extra bounce. Other materials include latex, memory foam, and poly foam, a winning combination for support and comfort.

Casper aims to provide a balance of comfort and support with this hybrid, and we think they nailed it. If you’re a side sleeper who occasionally sleeps on your back, we recommend this option because it’s supportive enough for both positions but feels softer when you’re on your side. While some sinking will occur in the top foam layers, it should be just enough to provide satisfying relief for side sleepers while distributing body weight evenly throughout the mattress.

Hybrid mattresses tend to sleep cooler than all-foam beds because the layer of coils allows heat to flow through and out of the mattress, rather than becoming trapped in it. This is certainly true of the Casper Hybrid, but we even found this mattress to be even cooler than the average hybrid bed, thanks in large part to the top layer of perforated foam, which works in tandem with the coil layer to increase overall breathability. 

We have a ton of great things to say about the Casper Hybrid, but we’ll sum them up simply by letting you know that this mattress scored an impressive 4.5 out of 5 on all of our tests, including motion isolation, ease of movement, and durability.

Read our full Casper Hybrid review to learn more! 

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Hip Pain: Puffy Original


Best for Hip Pain
Coined by some as "the internet's most comfortable mattress," this three-layer mattress is on the firmer side and suits back and stomach sleepers very well.
Puffy Mattresses
4.8 / 5.0


Trial period

101 days

Reason to buy

One of the most well-rounded mattresses

Strict side sleepers will find the medium-firm Puffy, rated a 6/10 on the firmness scale, provides contouring and pressure relief to help prevent pressure buildup under the hips, which can relieve pain in this sensitive area. The three layers of foam offer a gentle hugging feeling that supports and comforts the heaviest areas of your body that make contact with the mattress surface, so not only the hips, but the shoulders as well.

If you sleep with a partner, you’ll be happy to hear that the Puffy does a great job of isolating motion to each sleeper’s side of the bed. The three thick foam layers absorb and stifle motion, so when your partner tosses and turns or gets out of bed, you aren’t likely to feel it. However, you may want to consider which sleeping position your partner prefers before committing to a Puffy. The mattress doesn’t perform well for most stomach sleepers and some back sleepers.

One of the Puffy’s biggest selling points is the price. Because Puffy almost always has a sale running, purchasing one of their flagship mattresses for less than $1,000 should not be too much of a challenge. Then, once you’ve purchased the mattress, you’ll have 101 nights to try the mattress out, risk free. Finally, after you’ve inevitably fallen in love with your new Puffy, you’ll be happy to learn that the company provides a lifetime warranty. How’s that for confidence in quality?

For more information, check out our Puffy Mattress Review.

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain: Leesa Hybrid

Leesa Hybrid

Best for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain
This luxury hybrid mattress by Leesa combines supportive coils with premium foam for cradling and comfort. The foam is perforated to reduce heat trapping, and the coils provide excellent edge support.
Leesa Hybrid Mattress
4.5 / 5.0


Trial period

100 days

Reason to buy

Advanced comfort and support

If you suffer from shoulder pain, side sleeping can be a challenge. Still though, we know how difficult changing your preferred sleeping position can be. If you want to be able to sleep comfortably on your side without worry of your shoulder pain being exacerbated, then you’ll need to find a mattress built with this in mind. Luckily, we’ve done that for you.

The Leesa Hybrid has earned a spot on our list as the best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain. This mattress has a great balance of give and support, so you will not feel like your shoulders are jamming against the mattress when you lie down, and you will also feel like the rest of your body, but especially your spine, is aligned.

This is also a great option for couples, even couples who have different sleeping positions from one another. The Leesa Hybrid performs above average for all sleeping positions, so if you and your partner have differing concerns about a mattress you may find this one is a happy medium. Since it is a hybrid, you will get a nice amount of airflow to keep you cool throughout the night.

Plus, the Mattress Nerd durability score of 4.5/5 means that the Layla Hybrid will support just about all body types, and should last a very long time. If you’re still concerned about dropping a good amount of money on something you may not be thrilled with, the 101 night trial period, during which you may return the Leesa at any time, should put your mind at ease.

Read our full Leesa Hybrid review for more info! 

Best Mattress for Side & Back Sleepers: GhostBed Luxe

GhostBed Luxe

Best for Side & Back Sleepers

A unique combination, the GhostBed Luxe can provide pressure relief for side sleepers while still remaining firm enough to support the spinal alignment of back sleepers.

ghostbed lux hero image
4.7 / 5.0


Trial period

101 nights

Reason to buy

Top-of-the-line cooling technology

With a firmness of 5/10, the GhostBed Luxe lands squarely in the middle of the firmness scale, making it perfect for those who switch between side and back sleeping. For a memory foam mattress, the GhostBed Luxe has some of the qualities of a latex mattress, thanks largely to the Ghost Bounce Layer. In other words, unlike some other memory foam beds, the GhostBed Luxe has solid responsiveness. This makes it easier to move around on the mattress and stay comfortable in multiple positions. Both types of sleepers will find their weight evenly distributed across the mattress. Lightweight and average weight back and side sleepers will sleep soundly on the three firm layers that balance comfort and support. 

Another plus of the GhostBed Luxe is the Ghost Ice layer, which absorbs and releases heat rather than allowing it to become trapped inside the dense foam. This makes the GhostBed Luxe great for people who tend to sleep hot or like to snuggle with a partner. Speaking of partners, the four solid layers of foam do a wonderful job of suppressing motion, so you won’t feel your bed-mate flopping around or getting up for a cup of valerian tea.

If you’re still on the fence, maybe GhostBed’s 101 night trial period, during which you can return your mattress for a full refund, or their generous 25 year warranty will perk up your ears. With these, you can rest easy knowing that if it isn’t a good fit, you can always return the mattress without issue, and if it is a good fit, you’ll be enjoying high-quality, fully-covered sleep for 25 years.

Read our GhostBed Luxe Mattress Review for more information.

Best Mattress for Heavy Side Sleepers: Layla


Best for Heavy Side Sleepers
The original Layla memory foam mattress features two sides with different firmness options: one soft and one firm. Its copper-infused foam helps to cool the mattress and increase recovery times.
Layla Mattress Banner
4.7 / 5.0

Soft side and firm side

Trial period

120 days

Reason to buy

Dual-sided design.

The Layla is a copper-infused memory foam mattress that’s double-sided, allowing you to choose from two firmness levels in the same mattress. The medium-soft side is pressure-relieving, and the firm side provides more support. We recommend the medium-soft side for most side sleepers, but heavier individuals may enjoy the firm side.

Regardless of which side you choose, the cover design on this bed will keep you cool and makes flipping the bed a cinch. As an added bonus, the foam in this mattress is copper-infused, which keeps you cool by drawing heat away from the body. The copper also kills bacteria naturally, helping extend Layla’s lifespan.

If the bacteria-killing cover doesn’t ease your concerns regarding lifespan, then perhaps the incredibly generous lifetime warranty will! Layla also provides customers with a trial period of 120 nights, so you can take several risk-free months to decide whether this mattress is right for you. And speaking of who this mattress is right for, Mattress Nerd team member Daniel happens to sleep on a Layla every night. Why don’t we hear what he thinks of this mattress?

“I’m a side sleeper and, ya know, a pretty big guy, and now that I’ve tried the Layla I couldn’t imagine sleeping on anything else. I used to have nightmares, and now I have dreams. I sleep on the firm side, by the way”

Thanks, Daniel! Sounds like a ringing endorsement to us.

Read our in-depth Layla Mattress Review

Best Mattress for Pressure Relief: Nolah Evolution

Nolah Evolution

Best Pressure Relief
The Nolah Evolution 15" mattress is a robust hybrid bed that's a bit softer than the average mattress: great for back sleepers and side sleepers. The supportive individually wrapped coils include zoned support, which helps promote adequate spinal alignment. Surrounding the coils is a thick layer of foam as well, which helps promote edge support to keep sleepers comfortable no matter where they lie on the mattress.
4.5 / 5.0


Trial period

120 nights

Reason to buy

A soft cooling mattress that's great for side sleepers

The Nolah Evolution, with a firmness rating of 6/10, earns our pick for the best pressure relieving mattress for side sleepers. The soft layers of foam allow hips and shoulders to sink comfortably into the surface, providing them with the cushy support that is essential to relieving pressure in these sensitive areas. 

When a mattress allows these areas to sink into the mattress, there’s always the chance that the hips and shoulders will sink too far beneath the surface, thereby throwing the sleepers spine out of alignment. The Nolah Evolution, on the other hand, provides just the right amount of support to keep the spine supported and aligned to its natural curve. 

In addition to the substantial comfort and support, the responsive foam surface of the Nolah Evolution makes it easy for you to change position on the mattress. Do you find yourself switching positions frequently throughout the night? On the Nolah Evolution, you should find it quite easy to get out of your current position and settle into a new one. 

Side sleepers looking for something on the cooler side will also appreciate the graphite infused layer of AirFoamICE, which helps to comfortably regulate the temperature of the sleeper. Also, since the Nolah Evolution has a hybrid construction that employs a layer of support coils, heat will more easily be able to escape the mattress, rather than becoming trapped inside.

If all that isn’t enough, the lifetime warranty that Nolah offers will keep you sleeping comfortably for a long time.

See our Nolah Evolution Mattress Review to learn more. 

Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers: Bear Pro Mattress

Bear Pro Mattress

Best for Hot Sleepers
The Bear Pro is one of Bear's newer all-foam mattresses. With four foam layers, including a copper-infused comfort layer designed for enhanced cooling, the Pro offers more of a cradling feeling than the original Bear mattress.
bear pro mattress
4.7 / 5.0


Trial period

100 nights

Reason to buy

Comfier, plusher version of Bear's original cooling all-foam mattress

Bear mattresses are known for helping sleepers stay cool. The Bear Pro is no exception, made of gel memory foam and a Celliant cover designed to wick away excess heat from the body. The Copper infused foam also contributes to an overall neutral temperature feel, while still soft enough to protect the pressure points of side sleepers.

The memory foam will contour around the body but has enough bounce for sleepers to change positions as needed. There is also a two-layer comfort section that contours around the shoulders and hips, an appreciated aspect for many side sleepers

If you’re one of those side sleepers that occasionally spends some time on your back or stomach (referred to as a combination sleeper), don’t worry, the Bear Pro has you covered. This mattress’s polyfoam transition layer makes for a responsive surface, which means switching positions should not be a challenge. That may not sound like the most exciting praise, but high responsiveness can be difficult to find in all-foam beds.

Last, let’s take a look at Bear’s pricing and policies. A Queen size Bear pro can be purchased for just $1,295, but because the company often runs sales, you may be able to score one for just under $1,000. The trial period and warranty are industry standard, 100 nights and 10 years, respectively. 

If you’re after a cooling mattress that will support your side sleeper ways, then you can’t do much better than the Bear Pro.

See our Bear Pro Mattress Review to learn more. 

Side Sleeping Buyer’s Guide

If you’re one of the roughly 65% of Americans who sleep on their side, then you’ll be happy to know that it is the healthiest sleeping position, according to experts! When you sleep on your side, your shoulders, spine, and pelvis remain properly aligned, which can help reduce or prevent pain in these sensitive areas. Another bonus of sleeping on your side is the resulting breath circulation—side sleepers tend to snore less than back sleepers because their air passages remain more open throughout the night.

All that said, it’s still important to shop for a mattress that supports your particular brand of side sleeping. First, you’ll want to decide on the type of mattress material that best fits your personal preferences. Once you’ve made a decision between memory foam, latex, innerspring, or hybrid, you’ll need to think about mattress firmness.

Related: What is the best sleeping position?

Best Mattress Materials for Side Sleepers

There’s no single mattress type that will suit side sleepers across the board. From innerspring to hybrid, memory foam, and latex, each type has benefits, so long as quality materials are used in the bed’s construction. Whether or not a mattress is ideal for an individual is dependent upon the mattress’ construction and the sleeper’s preferences, size, and build.

Memory Foam

Memory foam beds provide a hugging feel that can lead to greater pressure point relief in sensitive areas for side sleepers. Despite this softness, memory foam mattresses usually have a dense layer of base foam that provides the durability that is necessary to keep larger people from sinking too far into the surface, which is why many of the best mattresses for heavy people often contain dense support foam. But if you’re one of the many people who get uncomfortably warm during the night, it should be noted that memory foam tends to trap more heat than innerspring or hybrid mattresses. Our favorite memory foam mattress for side sleepers is the Nectar original. For more information, take a look at our article on the best memory foam mattresses.


Latex is a mattress material that is naturally hypo-allergenic, temperature neutral, and very supportive. The durability that latex provides contributes to longer-than-average lifespan, as well as solid structure for heavier side sleepers. Latex mattresses are often quite a bit pricier than the alternatives, and they have a bouncy feel that may not be for everyone, but if you are concerned with the way in which sourcing materials affects the environment then latex can be a wonderful option. The Awara is a good latex mattress for side sleepers, but if you want more information you can check out our article on the best latex mattresses of 2021.


Most innerspring mattresses are made of one layer of steel coils, topped with several layers of polyfoam. These layers combine to make a mattress that provides comfort and support. Some side sleepers may find that innerspring beds do not sufficiently contour to their body’s natural curves, but many companies, such as Saatva, construct their innerspring mattresses in such a way to mimic the adaptive feel of memory foam. If you’re a side sleeper who overheats, then innerspring might be the way to go, as they are more breathable than the average foam mattress. For more information on the wonders of innerspring, take a look at our best innerspring mattresses list.


For those who want the best of both worlds, a hybrid mattress is the way to go. A memory foam layer provides the pressure relief that side sleepers appreciate, and a durable base of coils promotes breathability and edge support. If hybrid sounds like the right choice for you, head over to our best hybrid mattresses article for a more comprehensive look at what makes them great.

Side Sleepers and Mattress Firmness

Most shoppers think of firmness only in terms of preference, but the firmness of a mattress will impact how it sleeps. Mattresses are generally rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely soft and 10 being extremely firm.

Side sleepers need a mattress that’s soft enough to contour to their body’s curves. A lack of contouring means a lack of support, resulting in pressure that can lead to back, neck, and shoulder aches and pains. That said, your body type can also affect which firmness level works best for you. A heavy side sleeper will likely prefer something different than a lighter side sleeper.


Anything under a 5 on the firmness scale is considered soft. If you’re petite (less than 130 lbs), a softer mattress may feel supportive enough for you. People with average or larger body types, however, will likely find that their hips and shoulders sink too far into the surface of softer mattresses when they are on their sides.

Related: Best Soft Mattresses


Medium-firm beds fall anywhere between a 5 and a 7 on the firmness scale. The average side sleeper usually gravitates towards this, what we refer to as Goldilocks firmness: not too firm, not too soft. We have found that a firmness around 5 makes for an ideal sleeping surface for a side sleeper of average weight (between 130 and 230 lbs).


A mattress is considered firm when it falls above a 7 on the firmness scale. If you’re on the heavier side or have a large build (over 230 lbs), your shoulders and hips sink further into the mattress the softer it is. As such, you may find that firmer mattresses provide the support that you need. For more information, check out our article on the best mattresses for plus-size sleepers.

Related: Best Firm Mattresses

What Else Should Side Sleepers Consider?

Aside from firmness and mattress material, there are several other factors that side sleepers should take into consideration when shopping for a new mattress.

Pressure Relief

The shoulders and hips are the areas in most need of support for side sleepers, as they press further into the mattress than the rest of your body. There’s a delicate balance that needs to be achieved, where these areas sink into the surface of your bed, but not too far in.

If you’re sleeping on your side and have the wrong mattress, one of the first red flags is pain or numbness in these areas upon waking. A mattress that’s healthy for side sleeping will contour to the body and provide just enough give to allow these areas to relax throughout the night.


Contouring ability is one of the more important mattress features for side sleepers. The better a bed is at contouring, the more support your pressure points will receive when you are on your side.

We recommend memory foam mattresses for side sleepers because they are known for their ease in contouring to the body and the slow return back to the original form once the pressure is released. Hybrid versions of innerspring mattresses will offer a greater degree of contouring than traditional innerspring styles. To some, latex mattresses surpass even memory foam in their ability to contour. Natural latex has a less pronounced contour than memory foam, meaning that sleepers will feel supported even if they move throughout the night.

Spinal Alignment

When you’re lying on your side, the ideal alignment for the spine is straight. This often surprises people who imagine sinking deeply into a mattress to sleep. Though your spine will of course bend on occasion, it isn’t healthy for it to remain that way for too long. It’s crucial to side sleepers’ long-term health to find a mattress that encourages proper spinal alignment. It needn’t be excessively firm but should prevent exaggerated bending of the spine.

Neck Pain Relief

If you find that you wake up with neck pain after a night of side sleeping, the culprit may not be your mattress. If your pillow is too thick or too thin, it will cause your head to lie at an angle that throws your neck out of alignment with your spine, hence the neck pain. Since the perfect size pillow will depend on who’s looking, we put together a helpful best pillows for side sleepers guide. But for the sake of convenience, we’ll say that an adjustable pillow is always the safest bet. 

Back Pain Relief

It is important to note, if you do suffer from back pain you should see a doctor if possible, rather than trying to diagnose the problem yourself. There are many reasons why one might be experiencing this, and a professional consultation will help you better identify the root of the problem.

That said, if you have come to the conclusion that a new mattress can help, then there are a few things you’ll want to consider, especially as a side sleeper. Back pain can be helped by a medium-firm mattress with a strong support system, but it’s important for side sleepers that the surface be soft enough to relieve pressure in their hips and shoulders; these two factors can easily cancel one another out. As we mentioned above, we think that the Helix Midnight Luxe is a good option in this case, but for more options and information you should take a look at our article on the best mattresses for back pain

Temperature Regulation

When you learned that side sleepers may be better served by softer mattresses, you may have then jumped to the conclusion that a memory foam mattress would be your best bet, and for good reason. Memory foam often has an innate softness that lands it on the lower end of the medium-firm range. However, something you should consider before making your decision is that memory foam sometimes makes for a warmer night’s sleep, since heat can become trapped in the thick layers. If this is something you’re concerned about, consider a hybrid mattress, an innerspring mattress with a cooling mattress topper, or a foam mattress that directly addresses this issue with cooling gel layers or copper infusions. Take a look at our list of best cooling mattresses for more information.

Related: Memory Foam vs. Hybrid 

Benefits of Sleeping on Your Side

Side sleeping offers many health benefits when done properly. It’s gentler on the neck than stomach sleeping, which is known to cause snoring, sleep apnea, and back problems and, for many, more comfortable than back sleeping.

Related: Understanding Sleep Apnea

If you think sleeping on the left or right side is little more than the flip of a coin, think again. It’s been proven that sleeping on the left is more beneficial. Sleeping on the right side can aggravate acid reflux and heartburn, both of which left-side sleeping alleviates. Due to the location of the body’s organs, sleeping on the left also boosts digestion, improves circulation, assists brain waste filtering, and stimulates lymphatic drainage. For more information, check out our articles on what is the best side to sleep on and how to properly sleep on your side.

Drawbacks of Sleeping on Your Side

While there are many benefits to sleeping on your side, there are also some notable issues that side sleepers may face. One of the most common problems for side sleepers is shoulder pain. When you are sleeping on your side, your body weight can put a significant amount of pressure on your shoulders, which can result in shoulder pain over time. As a result, we typically recommend softer mattresses for side sleepers to help with pressure relief.

Another common problem that side sleepers face is lower back pain and neck pain. This is usually caused by pelvic rotation, which results from the misalignment of the back muscles and lumbar spine. While this can’t necessarily be remedied completely, there are some preventative measures you can take, such as choosing a mattress that offers proper support and softness or keeping a pillow in between your legs while you sleep. If you’re thinking about changing up your preferred position, be sure to look at our best mattresses for back sleepersbest mattresses for stomach sleepers and best mattresses for combination sleepers guides.

Related: How to Train Yourself to Sleep on Your Back

Still, need guidance in your mattress buying journey? Check out our ultimate mattress buying guide!

Sleep Accessories for Side Sleepers

Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers

If you aren’t quite ready to purchase a new mattress, a mattress topper can go a long way in improving the quality of your old one. While shopping for a topper, you should be mindful of the same things that you would be while shopping for a mattress.

Say, for example, your current mattress causes soreness in your shoulders and hips when you sleep on your side. Well, it’s probably too firm for a side sleeper. A soft memory foam mattress topper can be added to the bed in order to aid in pressure relief, so you get a better night’s sleep for a lot less than the price of a new mattress.

That is not to say, however, that this is a permanent solution. A new mattress topper is a good stopgap, and a great way to test out mattress materials, but there’s no substitute for a new mattress that is built in a way to accommodate side sleepers. If you’re interested in more information, take a look at our best mattress toppers for side sleepers.

Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

When revamping your sleeping situation, you need to consider your accessories as well as your mattress. For side sleepers, one of the most important factors contributing to a good night’s sleep is the pillow. A pillow with too much loft, or not enough loft, will hold your head in an awkward position and can result in neck pain.

For this reason, we highly recommend customizable pillows for side sleepers, so you can make adjustments in order to find the perfect level of pillow-thickness for you. One of our favorites is the Helix pillow, but for more options check out our full list of best pillows for side sleepers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain?

Our pick for the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain is the Helix Midnight Luxe. From our testing, the zoned support helps with spinal alignment, while still being soft enough to provide good pressure relief for your should while sleeping on your side.

What is edge support and is it important for side sleepers?

Edge support is a measurement of how well the perimeter of a mattress holds up under the weight of a sleeper. The lower the score, the more a mattress is prone to sag around the edges. If you sometimes find yourself waking up on the outskirts of your mattress’ surface, as can happen to many side sleepers, then you should consider edge support when shopping for your new bed.

Related: What is Edge Support in a Mattress?

Are memory foam mattresses good for side sleepers?

Memory foam mattresses can a good fit for side sleepers because it contours to the shape of your body and supports the natural curvature of your spine. Memory foam mattresses are also excellent at equally distributing your body weight when you’re sleeping on your side. When choosing a memory foam mattress for side sleepers, you will want to choose one with a softer firmness level as this will help with pressure relief in your shoulders.

Are innerspring mattresses good for side sleepers?

Innerspring mattresses can be a good fit for side sleepers provided they are soft enough. Innerspring mattresses tend to be on the firmer side, so when looking for an innerspring mattress for side sleepers, look for one that has a thicker comfort layer or a pillow top to help with pressure relief. You might also want to consider a hybrid mattress because they incorporate softer foam in the comfort layers while still having a layer of springs for support.

How long does it take to break in a new mattress?

Most companies recommend that you allow at least one month for your new mattress to settle in before making a decision on whether or not you’d like to keep it. It can take a few weeks before a mattress comes into its own, so don’t worry if it feels a little bit stiff immediately out of the box.

Recap of the Top Rated Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Mattress Model Award
Helix Midnight Editor’s Pick
Saatva  Best Innerspring Mattress for Side Sleepers
Nectar Best Memory Foam Mattress
Casper Hybrid Best Hybrid Mattress for Side Sleepers
Puffy Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Hip Pain
Leesa  Best for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain
GhostBed Luxe Best Mattress for Side & Back Sleepers
Layla Best Mattress for Heavy Side Sleepers
Nolah Evolution Best for Pressure Relief
Bear Pro Best Mattress for Hot Side Sleepers

Dr. Tom Ingegno is part of our panel of medical expert contributors on the subject of sleep health. They provide important perspectives on the topics we discuss to help make our content as accurate and dependable as possible. They do not personally endorse any products, nor are they associated with any brands featured in our review content.