Expert-Reviewed by Dr. Navin Ramchandani, MD.
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 or here to see our best mattresses for back sleepers.
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Luxury zoned support made for side sleepers
If you’re in the market for a new mattress, Helix probably makes one for your needs. Created for every sleeping position, for couples, for cooling, for plus-size sleepers, for anything you could want– Helix makes their mattresses with preferences in mind.
All Helix mattresses are hybrids, which means they’re 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.
Read our full Helix mattress review to learn more.
Competitively priced memory foam mattress that doesn’t compromise on quality. Great for motion isolation.
Best Bed-in-a-box on a budget
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 affordable option for side sleepers.
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 $800. Bolstering its appeal, 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!
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.
High quality and custom firmness options
The Saatva is 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. Keep in mind that the Saatva’s responsiveness 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!
Dual-sided, the Layla mattress satisfies multiple comfort preferences for side sleepers who may not know which firmness is best for them.
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.
Regardless of which side you choose, the cover design on this bed will keep you cool and makes flipping the bed a cinch. We recommend the medium-soft side for most side sleepers, but heavier individuals may enjoy the firm side. 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.
Read our in-depth Layla Mattress Review!
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.
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 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.
Read our full Casper Hybrid review to learn more!
The Puffy Lux is a premium memory foam mattress known for its pressure-relieving abilities and patent-pending foam layers that work in tandem to protect side sleepers’ joints.
Absorbs your body heat to keep you cool all night
The Puffy Lux is an all-foam, four-layer, bed-in-a-box mattress with a soft feel. The company took its original mattress, the Puffy, and added a 2” gel-infused foam to create the Puffy Lux; the extra layer not only gives the bed a thicker profile but creates a more supportive surface while still being a luxurious mattress.
Think of the Puffy Lux as the step up from the original Puffy. It offers the same pressure relief, weight distribution, contour, and cooling benefits of the original with the addition of a layer for added spinal support and comfort. This added layer, made of Body Adapting Dual Cloud Foam, is supportive enough for side sleepers but appeals to those who enjoy an especially cushioned feel.
Read our full Puffy Lux review to learn more!
Birch makes high-quality all-natural mattresses affordable, so you can sleep healthily and comfortably.
Affordable, all natural hybrid
This eco-conscious mattress from Birch features an organic wool topper, all-natural Talalay latex made without synthetic chemical, individually wrapped coils and an organic cotton base layer. The support from the coils is padded by the two layers of latex and cotton, creating the cradling and cushion that side sleepers need.
Latex is higher-density than memory foam, but provides more bounce and cooling. The Talalay latex in the Birch is ventilated too, so what little heat is retained can move freely. Coupled with the cushioned wool cover on the top, this mattress provides a just-soft-enough organic sleep surface for eco-conscious side sleepers.
Read our full Birch mattress review to learn more.
Made with proprietary AirFoam, the Nolah is soft and pressure relieving. Its responsive layers are desirable for side sleepers.
Unique AirFoam that cradles the hips and shoulders
The Nolah Original mattress is a medium-soft, polyfoam mattress that features three layers of foam and an organic cover. The 2.5” top layer is made of Nolah’s cooling, extra-deep AirFoam, which creates motion isolation, especially on the soft side (related: best soft mattresses).
The fact that this mattress is not memory foam bears reiterating. In fact, Nolah claims that the AirFoam sleeps cooler, provides four times the pressure relief, and is 300% more durable than memory foam. It is a great mattress for side sleepers, hot sleepers, and couples, due to great motion transfer reduction, meaning you won’t be bothered by your partner’s movements throughout the night.
Check out our full Nolah mattress review!
Calling all hot side sleepers, the Cocoon is here to change your life!
Top of the line cooling technology
When shopping for a mattress there are only a few things as important as sleep position to consider, and one of those is how hot you tend to sleep. Not only is the Cocoon Chill engineered to allow the hips and shoulders of side sleepers to be cradled and supported without them feeling jammed, but it is also one of the coolest memory foam beds ever made.
Some side sleepers think they have to compromise when it comes to memory foam, seeing as it is usually one of the most popular options so they can receive the contouring and pressure relief they need on sensitive areas. However, when Sealy made the Cocoon they knew they wanted to create a mattress that didn’t compromise anywhere, and made it available at a budget-friendly price point.
See our full Cocoon Chill mattress review for more info.
Made with Adaptive foam layers that protect and cradle the hips and shoulders, the Mint is an appealing memory foam mattress option for side sleepers. Not to mention, its layers are infused with heat-wicking graphite to maintain a cool sleeping surface.
Exceptional cooling and contour
A newcomer to the market in 2018, the Mint from Tuft & Needle is an all-foam mattress that’s two inches thicker than the company’s original design. The Mint is comprised of three layers and an OEKO-TEX® certified cover that makes the mattress extra cozy.
For side sleepers who love cozy, soft mattresses, finding one that keeps you cool and doesn’t allow the spine to collapse can be a challenge. The first layer is three inches of T&N Adaptive Foam and responds quicker than traditional memory foam. This, in combination with the cover, provides a very deep hug. However, the harder you press into the bed, the more support you’ll feel, meaning this bed will help align the spine. It’s our choice for side sleepers who enjoy the sensation of sinking in but also need support. Related: Best mattress for couples
Check out our full Tuft and Needle Mint review!
According to Dr. Navin Ramchandani, “Every sleeping position creates zones of pressure along the body. For side sleepers, these occur at naturally contoured areas that press deeper into a surface when you’re lying laterally (on your side): the shoulders and hips.”
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.
Most shoppers think of firmness only in terms of preference, but the firmness of a mattress will impact how it sleeps. Side sleepers need a mattress that’s soft enough to contour to their body’s curves. A lack of contour means a lack of support, creating pressure points that lead to back, neck, and shoulder aches and pains.
For the majority of side sleepers, soft to medium-firm mattress strikes a balance, but keep in mind that this will vary by size. If you’re on the heavier side or have a large build, you’ll sink further into the mattress and may find better support in a firmer setting. If you’re petite, a softer mattress may feel supportive enough for you.
“For side sleepers, its important to find a mattress that is soft enough to contour to your body’s curves. A lack of contouring means a lack of support, which can lead to other issues like creating pressure points that lead to the back and neck. This can lead to shoulder pains and aches,” according to Dr. Navin Ramchandani.
Memory foam products 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.
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. “While the spine has a natural ‘S’ curve when viewed from the side, it should be completely straight from an anterior (front) or posterior (back) view. Bending to the side occasionally is completely normal, but remaining in that position for more than a few seconds, much less throughout the night, isn’t healthy,” says Dr. Navin Ramchandani, MD.
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.
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. Whether or not a mattress is ideal for an individual is dependent upon the mattress’s construction and the sleeper’s preferences, size, and build.
We can, however, find commonalities in materials used in the top-ranked beds for this sleeping type. For example, memory foam is often used for pressure relief in the top layers of these mattresses. Additionally, we noticed that mattresses with inner springs that support body weight yet allow for body contouring were common.
There’s no single “right” material, but be on the lookout for these two. Beyond them, it’s up to preference: pocketed coils reduce motion from a partner, memory foam can have a firmer base, latex is eco-friendly, and so on.
Side sleeping is the second most recommended sleeping position by doctors, and it 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.
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 alleviate. 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.
Still need guidance in your mattress buying journey? Check out our ultimate mattress buying guide!
|Mattress Model||Award||Nerd Score|
|Helix Midnight Luxe||Editor’s Pick||4.7/5|
|Nectar||Best Memory Foam||4.9/5|
|Saatva||Best for Back Pain||4.7/5|
|Layla||Best for Heavy Side Sleepers||4.7/5|
|Casper Hybrid||Best Hybrid for Side Sleepers||4.9/5|
|Puffy Lux||Best for Back and Side Sleepers||4.9/5|
|Nolah||Best Pressure Relief||4.8/5|
|Cocoon Chill||Best for Hot Sleepers||4.8/5|
|Tuft & Needle Mint||Best for Shoulder Pain||4.9/5|
See the best latex mattresses sold online and learn the benefits of sleeping on a natural Talalay or Dunlop mattress.
Check out the best memory foam mattresses online and learn the benefits of sleeping on memory foam.
Dr. Navin Ramchandani is a Medical Doctor/ Diagnostician and Owner of R&R Medical Centre in Barbados. He is also an Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) International instructor with the Advanced Life Support Group (ALSG), and a Paediatric BASIC (Basic Assessment and Support in Intensive Care) international instructor. His passion is diagnosing and treating/helping people with complicated health issues to improve their overall health and quality of life.