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

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.

The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

MATTRESS NERD’S TOP 10 PICKS

Are you a side sleeper looking for the best mattress? The Nerd Squad recommends the following brands:


 

Purple

Editor's Pick

The proprietary hyper-elastic polymer in the mattress offers unrivaled pressure relief designed to cradle the hips and shoulders — exactly what side sleepers need.

Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Medium Firm: 6/10

Trial

100 nights

Reason to Buy

Superior pressure relief

Purple markets its product as “the ultimate no-pressure mattress,” which sounds pretty appealing for side sleepers. It’s 10” thick and features a combination of foams and Purple’s Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ Smart Comfort Grid™, which is designed to contour closely to the body. 

There isn’t much on the market like the Purple, and there are many reasons to take an interest, ranging from the company’s innovative approach to the pressure-releasing comfort, minimal motion transfer, and cool sleep offered. Purple’s design caters to side sleepers as it’s firm enough to allow your spine to rest in a straight, natural position while the hyper-elastic polymer contours to the neck and shoulders, for pressure relief.


 

Brooklyn Aurora

Best Cooling

Brooklyn Bedding’s luxury Aurora mattress is offered at three firmness levels. The medium is the best seller and serves side sleepers well, striking the perfect balance between comfort for the shoulders and support for the torso.

Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Available in soft, medium and firm.

Trial

120 nights

Reason to Buy

Superior cooling

The Aurora is a hybrid mattress that combines memory foam, pocketed coils, and proprietary foams designed by the company. The top layer is infused with a phase change molecule known as TitanCool™, which creates a notably cool sleeping surface.

Side sleepers who sleep hot will rave about this bed, as the company’s gone to great lengths to deliver cool sleep in this hybrid. It’s designed to allow the proper amount of cooling to be transferred on contact, and the combination of foam cradles the body, providing pressure relief in the hips and shoulders. It also comes in three levels of firmness, allowing sleepers to choose what they prefer.


 

Puffy Lux

Best Pressure Relief

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.

Customer Rating
5 / 5
Firmness

Medium: 5/10

Trial Period

101 nights

Reason to Buy

Made with patent-pending comfort foam known for their cooling properties.

The Puffy Lux is an all-foam, two-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 plush, luxurious sleeping surface.

Think of the Puffy Lux as the premium version of the original Puffy. It offers the same pressure relief, weight distribution, contour, and cooling benefits of the original with the addition of the third layer for a weightless feel. 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.


 

Casper Hybrid

Best Hybrid

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.

Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Medium: 5/10

Trial

100 nights

Reason to Buy

Great for cradling hips and shoulders

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.


 

Leesa

Best Memory Foam

Leesa hugs you in all the right places, supporting your torso and cradling your curves. The responsive layers in the Leesa are great at responding to movement.

Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Medium-firm: 6/10

Trial

100 nights

Reason to Buy

Responsive memory foam layers

The Leesa is a multilayer memory foam mattress and a bed-in-a-box. It’s made of three layers of foam, and the top layer is breathable, sleeps cool, has bounce, and provides hip and shoulder pressure relief for side sleepers.

The foam layers in the Leesa will adapt to all types of sleepers, but it seems tailored to side sleepers. Value props on the company’s website even highlight the mattress’ benefits for this type. Whether temperature control, body contouring, or pressure relief, each of the three layers provide a unique benefit to side sleepers. It has a medium to medium-soft feel, comes with a 10-year limited warranty, and is reasonably priced.


 

Nectar

Best Value

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

Customer Rating
5 / 5
Firmness

Medium Firm: 6/10

Trial

365 nights

Reason to Buy

Unbeatable trial period

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.


 

Layla

Best Dual-Firmness

Dual-sided, the Layla mattress satisfies multiple comfort preferences for side sleepers who may not know which firmness is best for them.

Customer Rating
5 / 5
Firmness

Dual-Sided

Trial

100 nights

Reason to Buy

Custom firmness

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. 


 

Nolah Signature 12

Best Soft Mattress

Made with proprietary AirFoam, the Nolah Signature is soft and pressure relieving. Its responsive layers are desirable for side sleepers.

Customer Rating
4.8 / 5
Firmness

Medium-Soft: 4/10

Trial

120 nights

Reason to Buy

Exceptional pressure relief with unrivaled soft comfort

The Nolah Signature 12 is a medium-soft, double-sided polyfoam mattress that features four 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. 

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. The soft side is best for side sleepers and is also the side with the best motion transfer reduction, meaning you won’t be bothered by your partner’s movements throughout the night.


 

Tuft & Needle Mint

Best for Couples

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.

Customer Rating
4.9 / 5
Firmness

Medium: 5/10

Trial

120 nights

Reason to Buy

Exceptional contour and cooling

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.


What Side Sleepers Should Look for in a Mattress

Pressure Relief

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: 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. 

Firmness

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.

Materials

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’ 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. 

Contour

Like we’ve mentioned, contour is especially important for side sleepers because they require a substantial amount of it at the shoulders and hips. Memory foam products are known for their ease in contouring to the body and the slow return back to 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. 

Spine 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. While the spine has a natural ‘S’ curve when viewed from the side, it should be completely straight from an anterior or posterior 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.

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.

Benefits of Sleeping on Your Side

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 here!


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