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Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers – Top Picks and Buying Guide

Written by Keith Cushner

Quick Summary

Though side-sleeping is highly popular and considered relatively healthy, this position can be problematic on overly firm mattresses. Sleepers need extra cushioning beneath the shoulders and hips in order to align the head, spine, and pelvis. If the spine is not properly aligned, then pressure points are likely to develop. Many sleepers soften their existing mattress with toppers, individual layers of padding that rest on the bed’s surface.

The best mattress toppers for side-sleepers conform to the body without sagging or feeling too firm, resulting in balanced support and consistent spinal alignment. Other important topper qualities include temperature neutrality, durability, and noise potential.

This guide will discuss common topper materials and designs, as well as some important considerations for first-time shoppers. Our topper picks for side-sleepers are outlined below. These selections are based on verified owner and customer experiences, as well as our own product research and analysis.

Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers

Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers – Reviewed

Best OverallGhostBed Memory Foam Topper

Best Overall – GhostBed Memory Foam Topper

Highlights

  • Zoned, gel-infused memory foam
  • 3” profile
  • Firmness varies across five zones
  • Proprietary Ghost Ice fabric cover
  • 5-year warranty
Get the best price on a GhostBed Memory Foam Topper.
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Best OverallGhostBed Memory Foam Topper

ghostbed.com

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GhostBed’s Memory Foam Topper has a zoned design with variable firmness to provide targeted support to the head, shoulders, torso, legs, and feet. Meanwhile, the foam construction significantly relieves pressure, and enhanced cooling technology regulates temperature.

A cover made from proprietary Ghost Ice fabric encases the topper. This waterproof fabric is designed to keep the surface dry and cool to the touch, and it is fully machine washable. The interior features 3 inches of gel-infused memory foam. Memory foam provides close contouring to relieve pressure buildup, and the gel infusion is meant to absorb and dissipate excess body heat. The zoned design is channeled to encourage airflow and keep the surface cool. The included GhostGrip elastic band secures the topper to the mattress.

The Memory Foam Topper comes in seven sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, and split king. GhostBed offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. Topper purchases come with a 5-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who like the “body hug” from memory foam
  • People with pressure-induced pain in the hips or shoulders
  • Shoppers looking for a waterproof topper cover

Most ComfortableBirch Organic Mattress Topper

Most Comfortable – Birch Organic Mattress Topper

Highlights

  • Wool and natural latex
  • 3" profile
  • Medium feel
  • Exceptionally breathable
  • 100-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty
Buy a Birch Organic Mattress Topper at the lowest price today.
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Most ComfortableBirch Organic Mattress Topper

birchliving.com

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An excellent choice for eco-conscious sleepers, the Birch Organic Mattress Topper is a standout pick due in large part to its material composition. The topper is constructed with a top layer of wool batting, which wicks away moisture from the sleeper’s body and also serves a natural fire barrier.

The bottom layer of the topper is made of durable natural latex, which provides an even balance of body-conforming and sleeper support. A quilted organic cotton cover encases the topper for added breathability.

With a medium feel, the Organic Mattress Topper is ideal for side sleepers who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds, as well as some lighter individuals.

The topper has an above-average price-point, making it a good option for shoppers with bigger budgets. Birch offers free shipping to all 50 states. The topper is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers who weigh 230 lbs. or less
  • Those who tend to sleep hot
  • Eco-conscious shoppers

Best LuxuryPacific Coast Feather Company Down on Top Featherbed

Best Luxury – Pacific Coast Feather Company Down on Top Featherbed

Highlights

  • 525 fill power down and feather fill
  • 4"
  • Soft feel
  • Durable baffle-box design prevents fill from escaping
  • 30-night sleep trial, 3-year warranty
Buy a Down on Top Featherbed at the lowest price today.
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Best LuxuryPacific Coast Feather Company Down on Top Featherbed

pacificcoast.com

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Many side sleepers prefer toppers filled with down and feathers. Although these natural materials do not conform as closely as memory foam or latex, they supply exceptional softness that offers good cushioning to the shoulders and hips. One example of a luxury topper pick is the Down on Top Featherbed from Pacific Coast Feather Company.

The topper has a chambered design, allowing it to provide better support than many competing featherbeds. The top chamber contains 525 fill power down, which has an ultra-plush feel and also sleeps cool. The bottom chamber is filled with feathers, which are longer and coarser than down. As a result, the featherbed won’t sink excessively. Durable box-stitching houses the down and feathers in tight baffles to prevent the fill from escaping.

Because some people have down and feather allergies, Pacific Coast Feather Company offers an ‘allergy-free’ limited warranty, as well as a three-year warranty for the topper itself. It is also backed by a 30-night sleep trial.

Good for:

  • People who sleep in any position (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers who weigh 230 lbs. or less
  • Those who prefer an ultrasoft quilted surface
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Best Firmness OptionsTurmerry Organic Latex Mattress Topper

Best Firmness Options – Turmerry Organic Latex Mattress Topper

Highlights

  • Organic Dunlop latex
  • 2” to 3” profile
  • Choice of soft, medium, or medium firm feel
  • 100% organic cotton cover
  • 60-night sleep trial and 5-year warranty
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Best Firmness OptionsTurmerry Organic Latex Mattress Topper

turmerry.com

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Depending on a sleeper’s preferred sleeping position and body weight, their firmness needs can vary widely. Turmerry’s Organic Latex Mattress Topper offers two profile options and three different firmnesses — soft (3), medium (5), and medium firm (6) — to suit a range of sleepers.

A cover made from organic cotton encases the topper. Cotton’s natural breathability keeps the surface cool to the touch. The cover is fully removable and machine washable for easy cleanup. The topper features GOLS and USDA-certified organic Dunlop latex. Dunlop has a naturally responsive feel with very slight contouring that traps less heat. The latex is also ventilated to promote airflow. Side sleepers and those under 130 pounds should appreciate the soft feel and thicker profile that allows them to sink into the surface comfortably. Sleepers who are at least 130 pounds may prefer the medium or medium firm feel and thinner profile for extra support.

The Organic Latex Mattress Topper comes in all standard sizes, from twin to California king. Turmerry offers free ground shipping to the contiguous U.S. and a 60-night sleep trial. Topper purchases come with a generous 5-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Those looking for multiple firmness options
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers who prefer a more responsive surface
  • Eco-minded shoppers

Buying Guide – How to Find a Mattress Topper for Side Sleeping

Despite its popularity, side-sleeping can lead to aches and pains for sleepers if the surface does not provide even support to their body. Because the midsection tends to sag more than other areas of the body, many find that extra cushioning beneath the shoulders and hips results in better alignment.

Fortunately, side-sleepers who find their current mattress unsupportive may not need to purchase a new bed. Using a mattress topper can significantly alter the mattress surface to improve spinal alignment, reduce discomfort, and prevent new pressure points from forming. In this guide, we’ll look at what toppers are and how they work, common designs and material options, and some key considerations for first-time buyers.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Side Sleeping

Side-sleeping is the most common sleep position among adults in the U.S. There are several variations on the side-sleeping position, including:

  • Fetal: The legs are tucked in at the knees and the back is arched, which resembles a common position for fetuses in the womb. Roughly 40 percent of adults use the fetal position.
  • Log: Arms align with the body, legs are extended, and the back is straight, resulting in a uniform line from head to toe. Roughly 12% of adults use the log position.
  • Yearner: The arms are extended outward, but the back and legs are straight. Roughly 5 percent of adults use the yearner position.
  • Sprinter: The back is straight and arms are aligned with the body. One leg is curled at the knee while the other is extended to resemble running in place. Roughly 2-3 percent of adults use the sprinter position.

side sleeper positions

Side-sleeping is also considered one of the healthiest positions. Those who sleep on their sides typically experience fewer aches and pains than back- or stomach-sleepers. The position also opens up the airway, making it suitable for heavy snorers and those with chronic conditions such as sleep apnea or acid reflux. Side-sleeping is often the most comfortable option for pregnant women, as well.

There are some disadvantages of side-sleeping, as well. Those who sleep with one side of their face pressed against a pillow are more susceptible to wrinkles. Women may also experience sagging in their breasts. Additionally, there are issues associated with specific positions. The fetal position, for instance, can lead to breathing problems and exacerbate symptoms of arthritis.

Poor spinal alignment can be another drawback. Both the back- and stomach-sleeping positions naturally align the head, spine, and pelvis, which can reduce pain and pressure points in sensitive areas. For side-sleepers, the midsection tends to sag more than other parts of the body, resulting in poor alignment. The hips and shoulders need extra cushioning to level out the sleeper’s body. For this reason, most side sleepers prefer surfaces with a softer feel.

As previously mentioned, a topper can significantly alter the feel of the mattress. Those who own firmer beds may find that a softer topper results in better alignment and less discomfort. In the next section, we’ll look at common topper designs and materials to determine which models are best for side-sleepers.

Choosing the Best Topper for Side Sleeping

A topper is, by definition, a layer of padding material that rests on the mattress surface. Owners may tuck their topper beneath a fitted sheet or let it rest freely on top of the bed. Most toppers make beds feel softer, though they can also be used to make an excessively soft mattress feel firmer. Toppers can also be useful for sleep areas with relatively uncomfortable surfaces, such as foldout couches, RVs, or tents.

A topper’s primary purpose is to adjust the firmness of the mattress and provide supplemental comfort. This differentiates toppers from mattress pads and protectors, which are primarily used to safeguard the mattress against stains, dust, and other contaminants.

Below we’ll analyze different topper materials. First, let’s look at three key specifications and features to consider when selecting a new topper:

  • Firmness: Those who weigh less than 130 pounds usually prefer softer toppers because they conform more closely, whereas firmer toppers may not conform enough. People weighing 130 to 230 pounds often prefer medium-soft to medium-firm settings, which offer close conforming without sagging too much. Those who weigh more than 230 pounds may find that firmer toppers are the best option, as softer ones may sag too much and cause discomfort issues.
  • Thickness: Most toppers measure between 2 and 4 inches thick, though thinner and thicker models are available. Those measuring at least 4 inches tend to have a softer feel and conform closer to the sleeper’s body, making them a good option for lighter side sleepers. Toppers with profiles of 3 inches or less are usually medium-firm or firmer. This is an optimal setting for most side sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds.
  • Density: Density is calculated by dividing the topper’s mass by its volume. Generally, denser topper materials tend to provide better cushioning, conform closer, and withstand sagging better than low-density materials. The density for memory foam, polyfoam, and other common topper materials is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF).

The ideal firmness, thickness, and density settings are all relative to the side-sleeper’s body weight. The table below lists the most popular settings for side sleepers in different weight groups. Please note that these findings are based on sleeper feedback and are highly subjective.

Sleep Position Weight Group Ideal Topper Firmness Ideal Topper Thickness Ideal Topper Density
Side Less than 130 lbs. Soft to medium-soft 3 1/2″ or higher 2.5 PCF or lower
130 to 230 lbs. Medium-soft to medium 2 to 3 1/2″ 2.5 to 4 PCF
More than 230 lbs. Medium-firm to firm 2 1/2″ or lower 4 PCF or higher

Other important topper considerations include the following:

  • Durability: The average topper will need to be replaced after four to five years of nightly or semi-nightly use. The materials deteriorate over time, resulting in sagging and indentations in the sleep surface that compromise overall support. Some materials are more durable than others (see table below for more information). Occasional use may extend the topper’s lifespan by several years.
  • Conforming Ability: Some topper materials conform more closely to the body than others. Conforming level is also tied to firmness and density. However, regardless of conforming level, the term ‘conforming ability’ refers to how evenly the material contours to the sleeper’s body and distributes their weight.
  • Breathability: Like mattresses, toppers can absorb body heat from sleepers and feel uncomfortably warm. Some toppers have top layers infused with cooling materials such as gel, copper, or graphite. Additionally, toppers with covers made of organic cotton, rayon from bamboo, mesh material, and other breathable materials can maintain comfortable temperatures for sleeping.
  • Motion Isolation: Many of today’s toppers are designed to absorb motion whenever someone moves in bed, which prevents their movement from transferring to other areas of the sleep surface. This characteristic is particularly important for couples.
  • Noise: Most toppers are relatively silent. However, some contain materials that rustle or squeak during the night. These components can disrupt sleep.
  • Stability: Most toppers are relatively light, meaning they can slip out of place easily when someone moves in bed and cause sleep disruptions. Some models remedy this issue with elastic or adjustable straps at all four corners, and/or bases made from slip-free material. Toppers without either of these components may be more prone to slipping.
  • Size: The length and width of a topper should correspond to that of the mattress. For this reason, many toppers sold today come in sizes that correspond with the six standard mattress sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king. However, some toppers offer a more limited selection. For instance, many omit the twin XL and California king options. Shoppers should make sure the topper they want comes in a size that matches their current bed.
  • Weight: The topper’s weight is important for determining its density. Additionally, heavier toppers are less likely to slip out during the night.

Topper Material Ratings

Based on the criteria listed above, let’s take a closer look at the most commonly used topper materials. The table below lists information and ratings for these materials. For more information about these topper types, please visit the links found in the table’s topmost row.

Mattress Topper Buying Tips

In addition to the topper features and characteristics listed above, first-time topper buyers should research the following as they browse different brands and models.

Shipping Costs

Most companies offer free shipping for toppers throughout the contiguous U.S., and some extend this perk to customers in Alaska, Hawaii, and/or Canada. However, select brands level additional fees for standard topper deliveries. Expedited delivery may also result in upcharges. Shoppers should investigate shipping rates relevant to their home’s location to ensure the product is still within their budget.

Sleep Trial

Like mattresses, most toppers come with a sleep trial. This allows customers to test out their topper for a predetermined length of time – usually 30 to 100 nights – and then return it before the trial expires for a full or partial refund if they are not satisfied. Sleep trials can be very beneficial for those who are unsure whether the topper will be suitable for their needs.

However, customers should take time to read the fine print. Some trials are tied to expensive shipping and return fees that can reduce the refund amount by a substantial margin. The customer may also be required to ship the topper to the company in order to collect their refund, which can result in time and financial costs. Comparatively, some brands offer free shipping and full refunds for all returns.

Warranty

Because toppers have an average lifespan of four to five years, most come with warranties that cover the product for five years or less. Warranties are useful in the event a defect develops with the topper, such as excessive sagging or unusual material deterioration.

Like mattress warranties, some topper warranties guarantee against surface-level sagging to a certain depth. This ensures the owner can have their topper repaired, replaced, or refunded if deep indentations lead to uneven support and discomfort issues. However, many topper warranties do not cover excessive sagging.

Moreover, some warranties require owners to cover shipping and transportation costs for topper repairs, replacements, or returns.

The bottom line: a topper warranty can be invaluable when dealing with a defective product, but owners should still plan to replace their topper after four to five years of frequent use – regardless of the warranty’s length.

Additional Resources

For more information about mattress toppers, please visit the following guides on Tuck Sleep

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