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.
So, what’s the best mattress for side sleepers in 2020? It’s a bit of a Goldilocks question, but it largely depends on your body weight and how you like your mattress to feel.
Whether you’re looking to save or splurge, we share our top mattress picks for side sleepers. All of our mattresses are selected based on verified customer and owner reviews, as well as intensive product research and analysis. Read on to learn more about important considerations for side sleepers, and get your mattress questions answered in our comprehensive Mattress Buyer’s Guide for Side Sleepers.
The Nolah Evolution 15 is a hybrid mattress that comes in three different firmness levels, plush (5), luxury firm (6), and firm (8). For all three options, the bed pairs triple-zoned support with proprietary foam engineered to stay cool while providing deep pressure relief. The array of firmness options and performance features makes this an overall solid pick for a variety of sleepers.
The Nolah Evolution 15 features a quilted Euro-top padded with soft foam, followed by two additional foam layers. Nolah incorporates proprietary ArcticTex fibers and graphite-infused foam into these layers to help the surface remain cool. A gusseted border along the edge of the mattress also enhances breathability and temperature neutrality.
Side sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds will likely prefer the plush option, which cushions the body and provides pressure relief to areas such as the hips and shoulders. Side sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds or those who prefer a slightly firmer surface may prefer the luxury firm option. However, the firm option may not conform closely enough to alleviate pressure for side sleepers.
Nolah offers free shipping for orders in the contiguous United States. The Evolution 15 Mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial, though shoppers should note that there is a mandatory 30-day break-in period in this trial. The mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty.
The Bottom Line.
The Nolah Evolution 15 uses zoned support and thick comfort layers to support side sleepers of all body types. It is available in three different firmness options and excels in pressure relief and temperature neutrality.
Sleepers who tend to overheat. The graphite-infused foam, ArcticTex fibers, and breathable gusset allow this mattress to remain cool throughout the night.
Side sleepers of all body types. With three firmness options to choose from, this mattress offers enough support and pressure relief to perform well for side sleepers of all body types.
Sleepers who value a responsive feel. The coil support core gives this mattress a slightly bouncy feel that enhances movement and may be preferable for some sleepers.
Not Recommended for:
Shoppers who prefer a shorter mattress. The 15-inch profile is considered slightly taller than average, which may be too tall for those who prefer shorter beds.
Sleepers who enjoy a deeply conforming feel. While the comfort layers of this mattress are designed to cushion the body and provide ample pressure relief, they do not contour deeply and provide the “hugging” sensation that some sleepers prefer.
Best Memory FoamDreamCloud
Medium firm (6.5)
365-night sleep trial
Breathable construction ensures above-average temperature control
Side sleepers need a mattress with the right blend of pressure point relief and support. Your hips and shoulders often bear the most weight if you sleep on your side, which can create an uncomfortable build-up of pressure. The DreamCloud is a medium firm (6.5) hybrid mattress that cushions and supports without feeling overly soft.
This mattress’ support core contains pocketed coils reinforced with high-density base polyfoam. It also features a polyfoam transitional layer and a comfort system comprised of gel-infused memory foam and quilted polyfoam. The cover is made from a Mongolian cashmere blend that’s exceptionally soft. The mattress is considered a high-profile model at 14 inches tall.
Side sleepers weighing more than 130 pounds will likely enjoy this mattress the most. Though the comfort system includes memory foam, you won’t feel the contouring body-hug you’d get from an all-foam mattress. Side sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds may find the mattress a bit too firm, but those who weigh more should be comfortable.
Strong edge support makes the DreamCloud a good choice for couples and those who have a tough time getting in and out of bed. People who suffer from chronic back pain may find that its lumbar support offers relief. The mattress is also well suited to hot sleepers because the coils promote steady air circulation and the cover is quite breathable.
Compared to the average hybrid model, the DreamCloud has an exceptionally low price-point. The company also offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed with a lifetime limited warranty and 365-night sleep trial.
The Bottom Line.
Side sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds are most likely to enjoy the DreamCloud’s medium firm feel. This durable, temperature-neutral mattress has a very approachable price-point compared to other luxury hybrids.
People with back pain. Sleepers who have chronic back pain may find relief from the DreamCloud’s balance of cushioning and support.
Couples. The hybrid construction lends itself well to couples who prioritize noise reduction and ease of movement.
Sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds. Heavyweight sleepers of all types found it has a beneficial mix of comfort and support.
Side sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds. Our average weight and heavyweight testers most enjoyed this mattress’ medium firm surface.
Not Recommended for:
Side sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds.This may be too firm a mattress for lightweight side sleepers.
Individuals who like to feel hugged by their mattress.The memory foam layer in this mattress lightly cushions, rather than closely conforming.
Most ComfortableLayla Mattress
Flippable with dual firmness (4, 7)
120-night sleep trial
Memory foam layers infused with copper for extra cooling
The Layla Mattress is a flippable model, meaning the top and bottom sides feature sleep surfaces. One side has a medium soft (4) feel and offers close contouring, which can be especially helpful for side sleepers and people with back pain. The opposite side is firm (7) and best suited to back and stomach sleepers. The mattress weighs 80 pounds in a queen size, so we recommend enlisting in a partner whenever a rotation is needed.
Both sides are constructed with memory foam comfort layers infused with copper, which has antimicrobial properties and also helps the mattress sleep cool. A shared support core of high-density polyfoam stabilizes the entire mattress and prevents people who weigh 230 pounds or less from sinking excessively – especially side and back sleepers.
The Layla Mattress also offers great motion isolation. This can be attributed to the memory foam layers, which absorb movement quite well and prevent transfer across the surface. As a result, the mattress is a good option for couples – especially those who have found other coil mattresses too disruptive.
The sticker price for this mattress is very reasonable, and customers can bundle their purchase with pillows, sheets, or foundations to save some money. Shipping is also free throughout the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.
The Bottom Line.
The reversible Layla Mattress offers two sleep surfaces in one and is suitable for anyone who wants a softer feel one night and a firmer feel the next. Copper-infused memory foam layers also provide precise contouring and help the mattress sleep cool.
Those who are intrigued by the idea of a flippable mattress. The bed’s reversible design allows owners to change the firmness level whenever they wish – though lifting it will most likely require at least two people.
Hot sleepers. The copper-infused memory foam layers shouldn’t trap too much body heat, allowing the Layla Mattress to sleep cooler than many competing memory foam models.
Couples. The Layla Mattress isolates motion very well and does not make any noise, so most people can sleep soundly without disturbances when their partner moves in bed.
People with back pain. Whether they prefer the medium soft or firm side, the Layla Mattress is constructed with memory foam layers that cushion the spine and alleviate discomfort in sensitive areas.
Not Recommended for:
Shoppers looking for a mattress with strong edge support. Like most all-foam beds, the Layla Mattress tends to sink a bit when people sleep near or sit along the perimeter.
The Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress is an all-foam model with a thick comfort system designed to cradle the body and relieve pressure points. With a medium firm (6) feel and plush foam layers, this mattress provides ample support and conforming for side sleepers of all body types.
The topmost layers of the Mint Mattress are constructed using 3 inches of graphite-infused polyfoam over 2 inches of gel-infused polyfoam. While thick layers of foam tend to trap heat, the graphite and gel infusions are intended to cool the mattress while still allowing hug against the body. The foam also has an open-cell composition, which can minimize heat buildup. Side sleepers and those with sensitive joints will likely enjoy the deep cushioning feel of these foam layers.
Beneath the comfort system is a 6.5-inch support core made of high-density polyfoam. The core helps absorb motion, which can be useful for couples who are sensitive to each other’s movements throughout the night. For an additional charge, customers can request a HeiQ antimicrobial treatment for their mattress.
Tuft & Needle provides free shipping to addresses in the contiguous United States, and customers can choose to add on a White Glove delivery for an extra fee. The Mint Mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year limited warranty.
The Bottom Line.
The Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress is an all-foam model that uses gel and graphite infusions to help cool the surface while still offering pressure relief and a plush feel. The mattress should perform well for side sleepers of all body types.
Side sleepers of all body types. The medium firm feel and ample pressure relief provides the perfect mixture of support and cushioning for side sleepers of all body types.
Sleepers who run warm. This mattress incorporates graphite- and gel-infused foam, which is meant to draw heat away from the body and prevent overheating.
Couples in a shared bed. The all-foam construction allows this mattress to absorb and isolate motion, which can be useful for sleep partners.
Not Recommended for:
Sleepers who dislike a deeply contouring surface. The thick foam layers hug closely to the body, which may be uncomfortable for sleepers who do not like conforming surfaces.
Stomach sleepers weighing more than 230 pounds. This mattress may sink too deep for stomach sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds, which can negatively impact spinal alignment.
The Nectar is a great value option because its price-point is significantly below-average. However, the mattress provides the same comfortable body conforming, pain and pressure relief, and improved spinal alignment as many of its more expensive competing models. With a medium firm feel, the mattress is optimal for sleepers in any position weighing between 130 and 230 pounds, as well as lighter or heavier sleepers who prefer a balance of cushioning and support.
The Nectar bed is constructed with two memory foam layers, including a top quilted gel memory foam layer. These materials provide moderate contouring and good weight distribution. The mattress also sleeps fairly cool, thanks in part to a breathable cover made of cotton and Tencel lyocell.
Two layers of high-density polyfoam reinforce the bed, resulting in minimal sagging and good edge support. And because the Nectar isolates motion well and doesn’t make any noise, it is a great option for couples.
Nectar provides free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, both of which are much longer than average.
The Bottom Line.
Due to its quality construction, The Nectar mattress offers cushioning and support on par with more expensive models, but for a significantly lower price point. Side sleepers on a budget will appreciate this bed’s conforming yet cool sleep surface.
Side sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy). Quality materials and construction provide support for a range of sleepers.
Those who tend to sleep hot on all-foam beds. The Tencel cotton cover and gel memory foam help neutralize the mattress’s temperature.
Couples. The mattress absorbs movement well and provides a near-silent sleep surface.
Value seekers. This is a quality mattress for a very good price.
Not Recommended for...
Those who don’t like the characteristic “hug” of memory foam. With the Nectar, you will feel like you are sleeping “in” the mattress, not “on” it.
Those who prefer a softer mattress. This mattress may feel too firm for some.
Best Pressure ReliefAmerisleep AS3
100-night sleep trial
Closely contours to relieve pressure
All-foam construction limits noise and motion transfer
The all-foam AS3 from Amerisleep has a medium (5) firmness level and provides average weight side sleepers with a good balance of support and pressure relief. It’s crafted from dense, high-quality foams that contour evenly to alleviate pressure and resist deep impressions over time.
The support core contains 7 inches of high-density polyfoam. Zoned transitional polyfoam delivers added reinforcement. This middle layer has more give under high-pressure areas like your hips and shoulders while providing added support under your back, neck, and legs. The resulting surface helps to align your spine and relieve pressure, which may benefit side sleepers in particular. The comfort layer consists of Bio-Pur memory foam, a proprietary material that is both dense and relatively durable. The mattress also includes a cotton and polyester cover.
The AS3 isolates motion well which means couples and people who sleep with kids or pets are less likely to wake up from movement on the other side of the bed. The mattress is also completely silent thanks to its all-foam construction.
Measuring 12 inches tall, the AS3 is available in seven sizes from twin to split king. Amerisleep offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S., and backs the mattress with a 100-night sleep trial and 20-year warranty.
The Bottom Line.
The Amerisleep AS3 is a luxury all-foam mattress that provides significant pressure relief and performs well for sleepers who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds. Couples, light sleepers, and side sleepers are likely to enjoy this mattress.
Couples. This mattress isolates motion and limits noise well, which could be a benefit for couples with different sleep schedules.
Sleepers who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds. Testers in the light and average weight groups most enjoyed this mattress’ close-conforming feel.
Side sleepers. Side sleepers are likely to prefer the medium firmness level this mattress provides instead one that’s firmer.
Shoppers who want a mattress that excels at pressure relief.The all-foam construction cradles hips and shoulders to reduce pressure points.
Not Recommended for...
Hot sleepers. All-foam mattresses typically sleep hotter than hybrid or innerspring mattresses. This mattress retains body heat and could be too warm for some.
Sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds. Sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds may sink too deeply into the mattress and might prefer a firmer surface.
Best for Hip PainWinkBed
Multiple firmness options (4.5, 6.5, 7.5, 8)
120-night sleep trial
Excellent edge support thanks to zoned coil system
Steady air circulation ensures comfortable cooling
The WinkBed is a deluxe hybrid mattress sold in four different firmness levels. The standard design is available with medium soft (4.5), medium firm (6.5), and firm (7.5) feels. These models are constructed with two comfort layers of adaptive polyfoam and a transitional layer of pocketed minicoils, creating a comfortable balance of contouring and responsiveness.
The fourth option is the WinkBed Plus, a firm (8) model specifically designed for heavier individuals. This model swaps out the transitional minicoils for 2.5 inches of supportive latex. All WinkBed mattresses feature support cores of pocketed coils divided into zones based on gauge. Thicker coils line the perimeter to prevent sinkage along the edges while thinner coils are placed beneath the sleeper’s body for added comfort.
All versions of the WinkBed sleep quite cool. For standard models, both coil layers promote steady airflow to help maintain a comfortable core temperature. The WinkBed Plus also sleeps cool thanks to its latex layer, which doesn’t absorb as much body heat as foam.
The WinkBed is competitively priced for a hybrid, but all orders in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free ground shipping. Customers receive a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.
The Bottom Line.
The WinkBed stands out thanks to a supportive design and excellent temperature control. Customers can select from four firmness levels based on their body type, sleep position, and general comfort preferences.
Hot sleepers. Whether they opt for the standard WinkBed or WinkBed Plus, all versions of this mattress sleep quite cool thanks to steady airflow through the coil layer(s).
People who prefer very responsive mattresses. Regardless of selected firmness level, the WinkBed/WinkBed Plus feel quite springy on the surface thanks to their coil layers.
Those who are unsure about their ideal firmness. The WinkBed is available in four different firmness levels. Customers who are dissatisfied with their initial choice can exchange their mattress for a softer or firmer model during the 120-night sleep trial.
Shoppers looking for an exceptionally durable mattress. The WinkBed and WinkBed Plus are well-constructed and supportive. Extra support along the perimeter means the mattresses won’t sink too much when people get in and out of bed.
Not Recommended for:
Sleepers who prefer deep body-contouring. The WinkBed’s foam layers offer some conforming – especially for models with medium soft feels – but the mattress doesn’t offer the deep body-hug sensation of an all-foam mattress.
Because of its double-layer of coils, the Saatva excels in providing both the stability and responsiveness that most side sleepers need. It has enough conforming to appeal to average weight sleepers but not so much as to risk sinking deeply into the bed.
This innerspring bed 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.
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 11.5-inch and 14.5-inch 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 180-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.
The Bottom Line.
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 is a notable exception.
Side sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups. A strong coil support core helps this mattress stays supportive for a long time.
Back pain sufferers. The Saatva’s comfort layers relieve pressure points, while the coils prevent sleepers from sinking too deeply and straining their back.
Couples. While innerspring mattresses can be noisy, the foam comfort layers minimize disturbances during the night.
Those who tend to sleep hot. The coil layers provide sufficient airflow, enabling the mattress to stay cool throughout the night.
Not Recommended for:
Sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. The Saatva may feel too firm for these sleepers.
Anyone wanting a memory foam sink. A true innerspring, the Saatva doesn’t have the conforming hug of an all-foam mattress.
Best for Back PainSpineAlign Luxury Hybrid
Multiple firmness options (3, 5, 7)
100-night sleep trial
Exceptional cooling thanks in part to PCM cover
Deep foam layers deliver excellent pressure relief
SpineAlign is a mattress and bedding brand specializing in products that correct alignment and reduce pressure in the lower back and other areas along the spine. The SpineAlign Luxury Hybrid is constructed with two comfort layers of adaptive polyfoam that contour evenly to distribute the sleeper’s weight and alleviate discomfort, while transitional polyfoam and pocketed coil layers stabilize the mattress to prevent excessive sinkage.
Customers can choose between three firmness levels for their Luxury Hybrid. The soft (3) option is best suited to people who weigh less than 130 pounds – side sleepers in particular. The firm (7) option will probably be more comfortable for heavier individuals, those who sleep on their back or stomach, and anyone else who needs extra support from their mattress. The medium (5) option offers the most balanced feel, and is ideal for anyone who weighs 130-230 pounds.
The coil layer promotes steady airflow to help the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature. Another cooling component is the cover, which is infused with phase-change material that draws heat away from the sleeper’s body. Edge support is another strength of the Luxury Hybrid thanks to its thick coil system.
SpineAlign ships the mattress free of charge to all customers in the lower 48 states. The Luxury Hybrid is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
The Bottom Line.
The SpineAlign Luxury Hybrid lives up to its brand’s name by contouring evenly along the spine to improve alignment and reduce pain. For added comfort, customers can choose from three distinct firmness levels.
People who frequently experience back pain. The SpineAlign Luxury Hybrid contours evenly to distribute the sleeper’s weight and improve their alignment, alleviating back pain in the process.
Hot sleepers. A cover infused with phase-change material and a coil system that generates steady air circulation help the Luxury Hybrid sleep cool.
Couples. Thanks to its deep foam layers, the mattress provides better motion isolation than many competing hybrids. This makes it a good choice for people who wake up easily from their co-sleeper’s movements.
Those who are unsure about their preferred firmness level. As part of the 100-night sleep trial, customers who are not satisfied with their initial mattress can exchange it for a softer or firmer model at no extra charge.
Not Recommended for:
People who want an ultra-responsive hybrid. Due to its thick foam comfort and transitional layers, the Luxury Hybrid is not as bouncy as many competing hybrids.
For environmentally conscious side sleepers, Joybed LXP is a standout model in terms of sustainable design. This can be attributed to its “foam-free” construction. Rather than using polyurethane or latex, the LXP features layers of cotton and wool batting over a support core of pocketed coils. The cotton and wool provide the same level of cushioning as other comfort layers materials without developing impressions over time or absorbing body heat from sleepers.
The LXP comes in two firmness levels, but we recommend shoppers opt for the medium soft (4) build instead of the medium firm (5.5). The medium soft LXP provides more give and conforming that side sleepers require., easing pressure on typical pain points in the hips and shoulders.
The LXP has earned numerous accolades for its components and overall design. These include certifications from Oregon Tilth for sustainable wool production, OEKO-TEX for wool toxicology, and the GOTS for organically grown cotton. The pocketed coils are also bound with plant-based glue, rather than a synthetic chemical adhesive.
Considering eco-friendly mattresses can be quite expensive, the Joybed LXP is very affordable. The company also provides free ground shipping anywhere in the lower 48 states. All customers receive a sleep trial with their purchase that allows them to test our the LXP for up to 120 nights, as well as a 10-year warranty.
The Bottom Line.
The “foam-free” Joybed LXP is a great option for side sleeping shoppers who don’t want foams or latex in their mattress. The bed also holds up well over time thanks to its durable components.
Side sleepers looking for alternatives to polyurethane and/or latex foam. The Joybed LXP features cotton and wool in its comfort system, and no foams of any kind. These materials provide decent cushioning and support to alleviate pressure for sleepers, but they won’t hug the body too closely.
Hot sleepers. Cotton and wool are both naturally breathable, so the LXP’s comfort layers shouldn’t retain too much body heat, while the pocketed coils promote steady air circulation throughout the interior.
Eco-conscious shoppers. The mattress has received certifications attesting to its organic materials and sustainable production.
Value seekers. The Joybed LXP has a very approachable price-point compared to other natural mattresses.
Not Recommended for...
Sleepers who prefer close body-contouring. The unconventional feel of cotton and wool batting is an advantage to some, but sleepers who enjoy the body-hug of memory foam or the gentle conforming of latex may not find this mattress very comfortable.
Heavy side sleepers weighing 230 pounds or more. Regardless of selected firmness level, side sleepers in the heavier weight groups will likely sink too much into the Joybed LXP.
Mattress Buying Guide for Side Sleepers
Below, we share everything side sleepers need to consider when buying a new mattress, along with our best tips for buying a mattress (regardless of your sleep position).
Side sleeping is the most popular sleep position. Roughly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. prefer to sleep on their side.
According to most sleep experts, it’s also the healthiest sleep position! 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). Side sleeping has been linked to better heart health, as well.
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.
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. If you sleep in one of these positions, a mattress promising superior pressure point relief should be at the top of your shopping list.
Choosing the Best Mattress for Side Sleeping
Side sleepers require a mattress that provides the support and contouring needed to keep their spine aligned throughout the night. To find this mattress, you’ll need to take into account three things:
Any other considerations that may impact your sleep quality
We review each of these below.
Selecting Your Firmness Level
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 (‘Soft’) to 8 (‘Extra Firm’).
For most side sleepers, a ‘Medium’ or ‘Medium Firm’ mattress will be most comfortable (around a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10). These surfaces provide even support, which is necessary for proper spinal alignment, while also having enough “give” to conform to the sleeper’s body, alleviating pain and pressure points as they sleep.
To find your ideal mattress firmness rating, you can use your body weight as a guide. Lighter sleepers typically require a softer mattress, while heavier sleepers require a firmer mattress. Please check out the table below for more information.
Side Sleeper Weight
Most Suitable Firmness Range
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.
Selecting Your Mattress Type
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.
Which mattresses are best (or worst) for side sleepers? Generally, side sleepers find foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses to be the most supportive. Although, some sleepers prefer the traditional feel of an innerspring mattress. The Saatva mattress is an innerspring bed, and it’s our top pick for side sleepers of average weight!
Ultimately, it’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons and finding the mattress that makes you feel the most comfortable. Below we review the five most common mattress types and explain which ones are best for side sleeping.
Foam mattresses feature a high-density polyfoam support core, with at least one layer of polyfoam or memory foam in the comfort layer. Higher-density foams speak to a higher-quality, more durable mattress. Side sleepers can benefit from mattresses with plush memory foam comfort layers, which hug their pressure points and provide stabilizing, comforting pressure point relief.
Latex mattresses feature a latex or high-density polyfoam support core, with at least one layer of natural or synthetic latex in the comfort layer. Latex mattresses have a bouncier feel than memory foam, but still provide good contour. They’re often preferred by those who sleep hot, or sleepers who have allergies or environmental concerns, as these mattresses are often (but not always) made from organic, naturally more breathable materials.
Hybrid mattresses feature a support core of individual pocket coils, surrounded by base polyfoam, along with at least 2 inches of latex and/or memory foam in the comfort layer. They’re an updated take, or hybrid, that combines features from various mattress types: the bounce of an innerspring, with the contouring comfort of foam and latex.
Innerspring mattresses feature evenly spaced steel springs in the support core, plus base polyfoam layers and a polyfoam comfort layer. Traditionally, due to the uniform nature of the coil grid, innerspring beds don’t provide sufficient contour for side sleepers. However, modern mattress manufacturers, like Saatva, incorporate plush comfort layers and different coil configurations to counteract this and provide more give and pressure point relief.
Airbeds feature individual, adjustable air chambers in the support core that can be manually or remote-controlled, allowing sleepers to fit the mattress to their desired firmness level. Topped with a foam comfort layer, these beds can provide good contour for side sleepers, but they’re typically expensive and require a bit more hands-on adjustment than some sleepers prefer.
Average price (Queen): $2,282.75
Expected lifespan: 7 to 9 years
Benefits for side sleepers:
Close conforming and good pressure relief
Adjustable firmness settings
Drawbacks for side sleepers:
Temperature neutrality issues for some
Other Considerations for Side Sleepers
Finally, there are a few more considerations side sleepers may want to keep in mind when buying a mattress. Review the following questions. If you answer yes to any of them, expand the section to learn more about the best mattress options for you.
Do You Sleep with a Partner or Pet?
People who sleep with a partner or can benefit from a mattress with good motion isolation. This refers to the mattress’s ability to absorb movement. Mattresses with good motion isolation tend to provide a quieter sleep surface, which can benefit people who sleep with someone who moves around a lot during the night. If that describes your situation, opt for memory foam or latex mattresses.
Do You Have Allergies?
To sleep easy, you need to breathe easy. Side sleepers with allergies or asthma may sleep easier with organic latex mattresses. These are made from all-natural, hypoallergenic materials that are more resistant to allergens, bacteria, and mold than other types of mattresses.
Do You Tend to Sleep Hot or Cold?
If you’re a hot sleeper, you may sleep more comfortably on a latex or innerspring mattress. Organic latex mattresses are made from naturally breathable materials, while the construction of an innerspring mattress promotes airflow. If you’re a side sleeper who gets cold at night, a memory foam mattress can be ideal. Not only does the foam contour to your body, but that characteristic “hug” can be more likely to trap heat.
If you’re a hot sleeper who loves the feel of memory foam, keep an eye out for mattresses with cooling materials in their comfort layers, like the gel layer of the Nectar mattress. The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora sleeps even cooler, thanks to a hybrid construction and the copper-infused phase-change material in its cover.
Do You Have Chronic Pain?
Side sleepers living with chronic pain will particularly benefit from the pressure-relieving qualities of memory foam mattresses. The foam cradles your body, enabling pressure points to sink deeper into the mattress surface while your spine stays supported and aligned.
Side sleepers also need to choose their pillows wisely. Make sure the pillow has an appropriate loft (ideally, it matches the span between your shoulder and your neck) to allow your spine to lie flat and prevent neck or shoulder pain.
Tips for Buying a Mattress
Once you’ve decided on a mattress type, keep the following questions in mind as you shop for a new mattress
How Much Does a Mattress Cost?
Mattress pricing varies significantly. The average quality 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.
How Does the Sleep Trial Work?
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.
What’s Covered by the Mattress Warranty?
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.
Match Your Pillows & Bedding
Once you’ve decided on a mattress, you need to grab a pillow (or two) to match as well! Here’s what side sleepers need to know about pillows.
When buying a pillow as a side sleeper, the most important thing to note is the loft, or height, of the pillow. You’ll want to find a pillow that matches the length between your shoulder and the nape of your neck. This supports good spinal alignment while you sleep, preventing you from waking up with aches or pain in your neck.
Keep in mind that the loft may need to be adjusted slightly depending on the mattress you selected. If you purchased a mattress with a plush comfort layer, your shoulder may sink more deeply into the mattress surface. In that case, you’ll want a pillow with a slightly lower loft to make up the difference. If you purchased a firmer mattress and don’t expect to sink too deeply, the traditional loft can work.
Do you tend to shift your legs or hips during the night? If you’re waking up with lower back pain after sleeping on your side, try sleeping with a thin pillow between your legs. This can prevent pelvic rotation and help you maintain spinal alignment.
What Types of Mattresses are Best for Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers typically require mattresses with the right balance of comfort and support. Softer hybrids, foam, and latex beds are all great choices for side sleepers.
Their hips and shoulders need a mattress with some give, so they can sink in far enough to align the spine and not put too much pressure on any one spot. That being said, they also need a mattress that is sturdy enough to not sag too much or spinal misalignment might happen in the other direction.
What Mattress Firmness is Best for Sleeping on Your Side?
While an individual’s firmness preference is going to be personal, there are commonalities in needs and wants between different kinds of sleepers. We find that side sleepers are typically most satisfied with sleeping on plusher mattresses of a 4-6 on our firmness scale. This range ensures that the mattress will provide enough support, while also cushioning the shoulders and hips to keep the spine properly aligned through the night. Lighter side sleepers should go for the softer end of the spectrum, whereas heavier side sleepers may need more support and should consider going up to a 7 firmness.
What Mattresses are Best for Side Sleepers with Back Pain?
Foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses are two of the most recommended types of mattresses for side sleepers with back pain. For proper spinal alignment, side sleepers need to have their shoulders and hips cradled as well as supported. Foam mattresses that are dense enough to prevent excessive sink and hybrids with significant comfort layers will perform both of these functions well.
Regardless of mattress type, tucking a pillow between the knees can help to take a little pressure off of the back.
What Types of Pillows are Best for Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers should look for a pillow that has a medium to high loft, or pillow thickness, which translates to a minimum of 3 inches thick. Side sleeping creates the largest gap between a sleeper’s head and the bed compared to other positions. A thicker pillow will fill this gap most effectively and help to keep a side sleeper’s neck in proper alignment with their spine.