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Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers – 2019 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Our Research

170
Mattresses Considered
700
Hours of Research
15
Mattress Executives Interviewed
3
Sleep Experts Consulted

Quick Overview

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.

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

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.

Our Top 6 Picks

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers - Reviewed

Editor's Pick – Nectar Mattress

Editor's Pick – Nectar Mattress

Highlights

  • Two layers of pressure-relieving memory foams
  • Medium firm (6)
  • Polyfoam transition layer to prevent sagging
  • Excellent motion isolation
  • Minimal heat retention for an all-foam bed
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Editor’s Choice Overview

Side sleepers need a mattress that can cushion their pressure points but that won’t give way entirely. A mattress that falls between ‘Medium Soft’ and ‘Medium Firm’ ensures the sleep surface will provide some body conforming and pain/pressure relief without sagging too deeply beneath their weight. The Nectar is our top pick for side sleepers because it offers these benefits at a price-point that is significantly below average for a quality memory foam mattress.

The Nectar is designed with comfort layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam, which provide a consistent hug throughout the sleeper’s body and can help improve spinal alignment. The Nectar also features a dual-layer support core with high-density polyfoam layers; these materials reinforce the bed to help maintain an even surface. Unlike many of its competitors, the Nectar also sleeps fairly cool, due in part to its breathable cotton/lyocell cover. Other benefits include great motion isolation and no noise when bearing weight.

Nectar offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., as well as White Glove delivery for an additional charge. The mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial – one of the longest trial periods available anywhere – as well as a lifetime warranty.

Good for:
  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Those who tend to sleep hot on all-foam beds

Best Value – Tuft & Needle Mattress

Best Value – Tuft & Needle Mattress

Highlights

  • Foam infused with gel and graphite for better breathability
  • Excellent motion isolation and minimal noise
  • Highly affordable
  • 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
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Best Value Overview

With quality materials, an effective design, and an accessible price point, the original Tuft & Needle mattress stands out as our Best Value pick for side sleepers. It makes use of the company’s specialty Adaptive Foam that offers noticeable contouring while keeping a meaningful amount of bounce. This material compresses in response to body weight to ensure that the sharpest pressure points get the cushioning that they need to keep the spine well-aligned.

The Adaptive Foam layer is 3” thick and is infused with gel and graphite, both of which work to keep the foam from accumulating heat during the night. It effectively isolates motion to prevent being disturbed by a partner moving in the bed, and it is virtually noiseless, further avoiding potential sleep disruptions. This 3” comfort layer rests on top of a 7” polyfoam support core that contributes a strong base of stability and a barrier against excessive sinking into the bed.

The comfort feel of the Tuft & Needle is about a 6.5, which is a Medium Firm level that fits the preferences of the majority of side sleepers. It can appeal to sleepers of all weights but usually is the best match for people of average weight and above. With a price point far below most foam beds, it delivers excellent performance for the cost.

Tuft & Needle provides free standard shipping along with a 100-night sleep trial to try out the mattress risk-free. A 10-year warranty provides a remedy if the mattress has any defects in materials or workmanship.

Good for:
  • Value seekers
  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Sleepers who prefer moderate contouring
  • Couples

Best Luxury– Brooklyn Bedding Aurora

Best Luxury– Brooklyn Bedding Aurora

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (3, 6, 8)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Cooling phase-change cover
  • Strong edge support
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Best Luxury Overview

Our Best Luxury pick is the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora, a hybrid mattress that offers a cool, comfortable experience for side sleepers who are willing to spend a little extra. The Aurora is available in three firmness settings: ‘Soft’ (3), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (8). This range is suitable for most side sleepers regardless of their weight; the softer option provides deep conforming and improves spinal alignment for lighter individuals, while the firmer options offer sturdy support and moderate yet consistent conforming for heavier people.

The Aurora also sleeps exceptionally cool, even by hybrid standards. This is due in part to its cover made of phase-change material (PCM), which absorbs body heat until the sleeper’s body reaches a certain temperature and allows the bed to remain cool and comfortable for most. The PCM is also infused with copper, which can promote bloodflow in sleepers with poor circulation. Good airflow through the pocketed coil layer also helps the bed stay temperature-neutral. Another strong point is edge support; the 8″ coil layer provides strong reinforcement to the entire bed and helps minimize sinkage around the perimeter.

The Aurora has a current price-point of $1,699 in a Queen size; this is higher than the cost of the average mattress, but a relatively low price-point for hybrid models. Brooklyn Bedding offers free shipping in the contiguous U.S., and backs the Aurora with a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Good for:
  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
  • Couples
  • Those with poor circulation

Best for Lightweight Sleepers – Layla Mattress

Best for Lightweight Sleepers – Layla Mattress

Highlights

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

Many side sleepers have firmness preferences that change from 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).

Having two choices lets lightweight sleepers find just the right fit based on their comfort preferences while knowing that either option will cushion their pressure points. Most side sleepers under 130 pounds find the Firm side to be just right, but people who like a more plush feel can opt for the Medium Soft side.

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
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Couples
  • People who want flexibility in choosing the firmness level

Best for Average Weight Sleepers – Saatva Mattress

Best for Average Weight Sleepers – Saatva Mattress

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4, 6, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
  • Strong edge support
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Best for Average Weight Sleepers Overview

Innersprings are notoriously hard on side sleepers. Most are constructed with thin foam comfort layers that do not conform very closely, and this can result in poor spinal alignment and added aches and pains. The Saatva – our pick for the Best for Average Weight Sleepers – is a notable exception. This innerspring is constructed with comfort layers of memory foam, polyfoam, and pocketed coils that cradle the body and target pressure points in the sleeper’s most sensitive areas. A Euro-top layer is also included for extra padding. The support core contains bonnell coils, which help reinforce the bed and prevent sinkage around the edges.

Because of its double-layer of coils, it excels in providing both the stability and responsiveness that most sleepers need. It has enough conforming to appeal to average weight sleepers but not so much as to risk sinking deeply into the bed.

The Saatva also offers multiple designs to accommodate different preferences. The bed is available in three firmness settings: ‘Medium Soft’ (4), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (7.5), and the Medium Firm works best for most average weight sleepers. . The bed also comes in 11 1/2? and 14 1/2? profiles. Additionally, the Saatva offers strong airflow through the coil layers that helps cool off the surface of the bed, making it optimal for those who tend to sleep hot.

Saatva offers free White Glove delivery – including in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal – to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The Saatva is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.

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

Best for Heavyweight Sleepers – Helix Midnight

Best for Heavyweight Sleepers – Helix Midnight

Highlights

  • 'Medium' (5.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10- or 15-year warranty
  • Exceptional cushioning and body conforming
  • Strong edge support
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Best for Heavyweight Sleepers Overview

The Helix Midnight is one of nine luxury hybrids released by Helix in 2018. It is considered ‘Medium’ (5.5) in terms of firmness, and offers good conforming and better spinal alignment for heavier side sleepers. Two versions of the Helix Midnight are available: the Standard design, which measures 10″ thick; and the Luxe design, which measures 14″ thick. Both versions have memory foam comfort layers that conform comfortably to the sleepers body without sagging excessively (a common issue among heavier people with memory foam mattresses). The Luxe also has a Euro-top cushion for side sleepers who like extra padding.

The Helix Midnight also has a high-density polyfoam transitional layer and a pocketed coil support core reinforced with a dense foam base. The coils have a multi-gauge configuration, with thicker springs beneath areas of the sleeper’s body where more weight is centered (such as the shoulders and midsection), while thinner coils support the spine, legs, and other lighter areas. This zoned system results in targeted pain and pressure relief for many heavier side sleepers. The mattress also sleeps fairly cool due to strong airflow throughout the support core and minimizes a fair amount of motion isolation, which can be helpful for couples.

The Standard Helix Midnight is backed by a 10-year warranty while the Luxe is backed by a 15-year warranty. Both mattresses also come with a 100-night sleep trial and Helix offers free shipping throughout the contiguous U.S.

Good for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Hot sleepers

Mattress Buying Guide for Side Sleepers

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 Weight Most Suitable Firmness Range Explanation
Less than 130 pounds Medium Soft or softer People 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 pounds Medium to Medium Firm People with average body weight often prefer ‘happy medium’ mattresses that are neither too soft nor too firm.
More than 230 pounds Medium Firm or firmer Heavier 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 Type Foam Latex Innerspring Hybrid Airbed
Construction At 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 Lifespan 5 to 6 years 7 to 8 years 4 to 6 years 6 to 7 years 7 to 9 years
Pros for Side Sleepers Close 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 Sleepers Sleeps 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 non-prorated 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.
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