Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers – Top 6 Beds and Buying Guide (2018) | Tuck Sleep

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers – Top-6 Beds and Buyer’s Guide

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Quick Summary

Side sleeping is the most popular sleep position – and according to most sleep experts, also the healthiest. Spinal alignment is one reason; side sleeping aligns the shoulders, spine, and pelvis, which helps minimize pressure points in the neck, lower back, and other sensitive areas. Side sleepers also have better airway circulation, which can be beneficial for people with sleep apnea (as well as heavy snorers). The side sleeping position has been linked to healthier hearts, as well.

In order to enjoy these health benefits, side sleepers must invest in a mattress that will provide adequate support. Most side sleepers prefer mattresses that are on the softer side because they cushion the shoulders and hips, which is essential for proper alignment. However, heavier individuals who sleep on their sides may prefer a firmer mattress that won’t sink too deeply. Material composition is also important, as some mattress types provide more cushioning and better support than others.

Read on to learn more about important considerations for side sleepers, as well as our picks for the best mattresses for side sleeping that are sold today. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner reviews, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Editor’s Pick – Layla Mattress

Best Value – Nolah Original

Best Luxury – Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Flex Collection

Best for Lightweight Sleepers – The Original Purple

Best for Average Weight Sleepers – Loom & Leaf

Best for Heavyweight Sleepers – The New Purple

How We Decided

 

147 mattresses considered –– 125 hours of research –– 15 mattress executives interviewed –– 3 sleep experts consulted

Mattresses for Side Sleepers – Tuck's Top 6 Beds

Layla Mattress – Editor's Pick

Highlights
  • Flippable with dual firmness (4, 7)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Very good motion isolation
  • Close conforming and pressure relief

Many side sleepers have firmness preferences that change night to night. The Layla Mattress addresses these needs with a flippable design that features a different firmness on each side. One side is ‘Medium Soft’ (4 on the 1-10 firmness scale), and the other side is ‘Firm’ (7).

Both sides of the mattress have copper-infused memory foam comfort layers. This material conforms closely to the sleeper’s body in order to improve spinal alignment and minimize pressure points. The copper element also helps improve circulation for sleepers, and the ‘Medium Soft’ side has an additional layer of convoluted polyfoam for extra cushioning. The shared middle layer made of high-density polyfoam ensures an even, supportive sleep surface.

The Layla Mattress also minimizes and reduces motion transfer to a significant extent, and is virtually silent when bearing weight. For these reasons, the mattress is suitable for couples – particularly if one or both of the sleepers awaken easily due to movement or noise. The mattress is also quite light, making it easy to flip for most people.

Layla Sleep ships mattresses anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, and customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free delivery. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial, which is longer than average, as well as a lifetime warranty.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Couples

Check Price | Read Our Full Layla Mattress Review

Nolah Original – Best Value

Highlights
  • Medium (5.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Supportive mixed-foam construction
  • Above-average pain and pressure relief

The Nolah Original, the flagship mattress from Nolah Sleep, is a mixed-polyfoam model specifically designed to support side sleepers. The Nolah Original is also relatively affordable compared to other foam-based mattress models.

Comfort layers of Nolah Airfoam and high-resilience polyfoam offer a balance of support and conforming for optimal cushioning in areas of the body that need it the most. A high-density polyfoam base layer reinforces the sleep surface, and a moisture-wicking cover allows the bed to sleep fairly cool compared to other foam-based mattresses.

In terms of firmness, the Nolah Original is a Medium (5.5), which is one of the most popular settings for sleepers today. The 10-inch profile also accommodates most sleepers regardless of weight. And at 74 pounds in a Queen-size, the Nolah Original is light and easy to move even by foam mattress standards.

The Nolah Original comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a nonprorated 15-year warranty. Seven percent of the purchase price goes toward protecting an endangered or threatened animal species of the customer’s choice.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Those who normally sleep hot on foam beds

Check Price | Read Our Full Nolah Original Mattress Review

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Flex Collection – Best Luxury

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness options (4, 5, 6)
  • 90-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Responsive, pressure-relieving hybrid construction
  • Very good motion isolation

The TEMPUR-Flex hybrid collection from Tempur-Pedic consists of four mattress models: Prima, Supreme, Elite, and Supreme Breeze. These beds range in firmness from ‘Medium Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm,’ and are available in three different height profiles to accommodate sleepers with different preferences.

TEMPUR-Flex hybrids feature thick memory foam comfort layers designed to conform very closely and target pressure points throughout the body. The material also isolates motion to a significant extent. The pocketed coil support core reinforces the bed well and minimizes sinkage around the edges where owners tend to sit. This component also improves airflow circulation, allowing the mattress to sleep fairly cool, and pocketed coils are quieter than other spring types.

Prices are above-average for TEMPUR-Flex hybrids, making them suitable for shoppers with bigger mattress budgets. In exchange, Tempur-Pedic offers White Glove delivery – which includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal – for a flat fee of $25; this rate is much less expensive than the same service from most competitors.

Good for:

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Those who prefer thicker beds

Check Price | Read Our Full Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Flex Collection Mattress Review

The Original Purple – Best for Lightweight Sleepers

Highlights
  • Medium Firm (6.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Innovative ‘Smart Grid’ construction
  • Good motion isolation and close conforming

The Original Purple mattress features a unique, durable design that provides support and comfort to side sleepers who fall in the lightweight group (less than 130 pounds), but the bed may also accommodate heavier individuals as well.

The mattress features a ‘Smart Grid’ comfort layer consisting of buckling-column gel in a flexible polymer grid. This design offers conforming and pressure relief that is comparable to memory foam or latex, but the durable polymer construction ensures a longer-than-average lifespan with minimal chance of early deterioration. The Original Purple’s cover also contains viscose and Lycra® spandex, allowing the bed to sleep fairly cool, while a high-density polyfoam support core keeps the surface even and comfortable.

The Original Purple is a good option for couples because it provides above-average motion isolation and makes no noise when bearing weight. The mattress also has a price-point that is lower than the average memory foam model.

Purple ships mattresses for free to customers in the contiguous U.S. The mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a nonprorated 10-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
  • Couples
  • Those who sleep hot

Check Price | Read Our Full Original Purple Mattress Review

Loom & Leaf – Best for Average Weight Sleepers

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness options (5.5, 8)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Excellent motion isolation and close conforming
  • Free White Glove delivery

The Loom & Leaf by Saatva is constructed from pressure-relieving memory foam and offered in two firmness settings, Medium (5.5) and Firm (8). This selection makes the mattress a good choice for side sleepers in the average weight group (130 to 230 pounds).

Comfort layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam offer close body-contouring and good spinal alignment. The mattress also features a foam-quilted organic cotton cover for added cushioning, as well as a supportive, high-density polyfoam base layer to help maintain an even sleep surface.

Motion isolation is a key strength of the Loom & Leaf mattress; the mattress absorbs enough transfer to significantly cut down on nighttime disruptions. The bed is also virtually silent.

Like other mattresses from Saatva, the Loom & Leaf qualifies for free White Glove delivery within the contiguous U.S.; most competing manufacturers assess an additional charge of $100 or more for this service. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, as well.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Couples

Check Price | Read Our Full Loom & Leaf Mattress Review

The New Purple – Best for Heavyweight Sleepers

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness options (4.5, 5.5, 6.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Innovative ‘Smart Grid’ construction
  • Close conforming and pressure relief

Introduced in 2018, the New Purple mattress combines the ‘Smart Grid’ design of the Original Purple with pocketed coil hybrid construction. The result is a thick, supportive mattress that is highly suitable for individuals in the heavyweight group (more than 230 pounds).

The New Purple is available in three firmness settings: Medium Soft (4.5), Medium (5.5), and Medium Firm (6.5). These range in thickness from 11″ to 13″, giving the mattress a thicker-than-average profile regardless of the selected firmness. This height, combined with the pressure-relieving buckling-column gel grid, provides adequate support for most heavier people.

The New Purple also isolates motion well and produces minimal noise, both of which can be problematic issues for hybrid owners. The pocketed coils reinforce the edges to help minimize sinkage, and also allow the bed to sleep exceptionally cool.

Prices vary for the New Purple, with the thickest model being the most expensive. Customers in the contiguous U.S. will receive free shipping for their mattress order.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • Those who sleep hot
  • Shoppers with a bigger mattress budget

Check Price | Read Our Full New Purple Mattress Review

Mattresses for Side Sleepers Buyer's Guide

Roughly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. prefer side sleeping positions. The term ‘side sleeping’ usually refers to one of these four positions:

  • Fetal: Both legs are curled at the knees and the back is hunched to create a ‘curled up look’ similar to babies in the womb. This is the most common position among side sleepers, and represents roughly 40% of the population.
  • Log: Arms and legs are extended, and the back is straight. Roughly 14% of adults sleep in the log position.
  • Yearner: Arms are stretched out, and back and legs are straight. Approximately 5% of sleepers choose this position.
  • Sprinter: Arms and back are straight, and one leg is curled at the knee while the other is fully extended. This is the least common side sleeping position, representing roughly 2% to 3% of the population.

side sleeper positions

None of these positions are ‘correct’ or ‘better’ than the others. However, positions like the log and yearner that require full leg extensions can reduce pelvic rotation during the night. This may lead to spinal misalignment, which increases the potential for pain and pressure points.

|What You Need to Know about Sleeping on Your Side|

You’re in luck if side sleeping is your preferred position. Most sleep experts agree side sleeping is healthier than sleeping on one’s back or stomach. Health benefits of side sleeping include:

  • Spinal alignment: Sleeping with your back and pelvis aligned can help reduce pain and pressure throughout the body.
  • Improved airway circulation: People who sleep on their side tend to snore less, making this position suitable for people with sleep apnea. It may also be helpful for people who experience acid reflux.
  • Better heart health: Sleeping on one’s left side avoids putting pressure on the heart, which can alleviate heartburn and improve blood circulation.

|Choosing the Best Mattress for Side Sleeping|

side sleeping spinal alignmentSide sleepers require a mattress that provides the support and contouring needed to keep their spine aligned. Firmness is one of the most important factors for choosing a mattress. Firmness is assigned using a 1 to 10 scale, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the firmest. Most mattresses sold today range from 3, or ‘Soft,’ to 8, or ‘Extra Firm.’  

For most side sleepers, a ‘medium’ or ‘medium firm’ mattress will be most comfortable. These surfaces will provide even support, which is necessary for spinal alignment, and also conform to the sleeper’s body in order to alleviate pain and pressure points.

However, each sleeper should take his or her body weight into consideration when choosing a mattress based on firmness. Please check out the table below for more information.

Side Sleeper WeightMost Suitable Firmness RangeExplanation
Less than 130 poundsMedium Soft or softerPeople who are lighter than average do not sink as deeply into their mattress. Beds that are overly firm may experience discomfort because the sleep surface doesn’t conform closely enough.
130 to 230 poundsMedium to Medium FirmPeople with average body weight often prefer ‘happy medium’ mattresses that are neither too soft nor too firm.
More than 230 poundsMedium Firm or firmerHeavier individuals may sink too deeply into mattresses that are overly soft. This can cause spinal misalignment and lead to more aches and pains. They tend to sink less on firmer sleep surfaces.

The diagram below illustrates the most preferred firmness settings for side sleepers in all three weight groups.

|Which Mattresses Are Best/Worst for Side Sleepers?|

In addition to firmness and sleeper weight, the material composition of a mattress is also important for side sleepers. A mattress with steel coils in the support system will provide a much different sleeping experience than one with foam, latex, or air chambers.

The next table compares the five most common mattress types and explains which ones are most suitable for side sleeping.

Mattress TypeFoamLatexInnerspringHybridAirbed
ConstructionAt least one layer of polyfoam or memory foam in the comfort layer
High-density polyfoam support core
At least one layer of natural or synthetic latex in the comfort layer
Latex or high-density polyfoam support core
Polyfoam comfort layer
Evenly spaced steel springs in the support core, plus base polyfoam layers
At least 2″ or latex and/or memory foam in the comfort layer
Pocketed coils in the support core, plus base polyfoam layers
Foam comfort layer
Individual, adjustable air chambers in the support core that can be manually or remote-controlled.
Average Price (Queen)$1,044.16$1,970.51$1,037.97$2,076.70$2,282.75
Average Lifespan5 to 6 years7 to 8 years4 to 6 years6 to 7 years7 to 9 years
Pros for Side SleepersClose conforming and good pressure relief
Above-average motion isolation and no noise
Widely available
Close conforming and good pressure relief
Above-average motion isolation and no noise
Sleeps cooler than foam
Strong edge support
Inexpensive Widely available
Sleep cool for most
Strong edge support
Better conforming than innersprings
Sleep cool for most
Close conforming and good pressure relief
Adjustable firmness settings
Highly durable
Cons for Side SleepersSleeps hot for some
Some sagging reported
Minimal edge support
Above-average price
Some sagging reported
Minimal edge support 
Minimal conforming and pressure relief
Shorter-than-average lifespan
Noise potential
Above-average price
Noise potential
Above-average price
Temperature neutrality issues for some
Noise potential

|Tips for Buying a Mattress|

Once you have chosen a suitable mattress type, here are a few important points to remember before purchasing a new model.

  • Prices vary significantly. The average mattress costs more than $1,000, but costs per model range from less than $100 to more than $5,000. After selecting a mattress type, calculate an optimal price range based on the averages listed above, as well as your personal budget. Be sure to include shipping costs if you live in a remote location or outside the contiguous U.S.
  • Sleep trials can be helpful — and expensive. Most mattress brands offer sleep trials that last at least 90 nights in length. As part of a sleep trial, customers can test out the mattress at home and return it before the trial period ends if they are not satisfied. Sleep trials are ideal for mattress shoppers who are unsure about what to buy — but not all brands offer free returns and shipping the mattress back can lead to additional costs.
  • Read the fine print on product warranties. Most mattress warranties cover the product against defects for at least 10 years, and many extend beyond the 20-year mark. However, the overall length is not as important as the length of nonprorated coverage, which allows customers to repair or replace defective mattresses at little (if any) extra cost. Prorated coverage, on the other hand, requires owners to pay a percentage of the original product price for repairs or replacements. Be sure to note these periods in different warranties; in some cases, warranties lasting 10 years or longer will only offer one or two years of nonprorated coverage.

|Additional Tuck Resources|