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Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers – 2022 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jenny Iyo

Written by Tuck Staff

Quick Overview

Side sleeping can benefit those with frequent back pain, pregnant people, and heavy snorers. However, using the side position on a mattress that lacks adequate support can lead to poor alignment and sharp pressure points along the spine. The best mattress for side sleepers cradles the body, promotes even alignment, and contours closely enough to alleviate pressure points in sensitive areas.

Important factors to consider as a side sleeper when choosing a mattress include firmness level, the mattress’ material composition, your body weight, and whether you frequently switch to back or stomach sleeping during the night. After personally testing hundreds of mattresses, we’ve selected the models below as our top picks for side sleepers. Check the profiles below to learn more about our best mattresses for side sleepers, then scroll down further for our comprehensive mattress buyer’s guide.

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
First Time Buying a Mattress?

Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best mattress for side sleepers.

 

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers - Reviewed

Best OverallNolah Evolution 15

Best Overall – Nolah Evolution 15

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (5, 6, 8)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Cooling quilted Euro-top
  • Triple-zoned support system

Best OverallNolah Evolution 15

nolahmattress.com

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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 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 ValueNectar Mattress

Best Value – Nectar Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium firm (6)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Excellent motion isolation and no noise
  • Sleeps relatively cool
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Best ValueNectar Mattress

nectarsleep.com

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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.

Most ComfortableDreamCloud Mattress

Most Comfortable – DreamCloud Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium firm (6.5)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Competitively priced
  • Breathable construction ensures above-average temperature control
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Most ComfortableDreamCloud Mattress

dreamcloudsleep.com

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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 Mattress 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 Mattress 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 Mattress’ 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.

Best LuxurySaatva Classic

Best Luxury – Saatva Classic

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4, 6, 7.5)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
  • Strong edge support
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Best LuxurySaatva Classic

saatva.com

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Because of its double-layer of coils, the Saatva Classic 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 Classic 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 Classic is backed by a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime 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 Classic 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 Classic’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 Classic 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 Memory FoamLayla Mattress

Best Memory Foam – Layla Mattress

Highlights

  • Flippable with dual firmness (4, 7)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Memory foam layers infused with copper for extra cooling
  • Excellent motion isolation
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Best Memory FoamLayla Mattress

laylasleep.com

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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.

Best CoolingTuft & Needle Mint

Best Cooling – Tuft & Needle Mint

Highlights

  • Medium firm (6)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Above-average motion isolation
  • Excellent temperature control
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Best CoolingTuft & Needle Mint

tuftandneedle.com

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The Tuft & Needle Mint 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 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. HeiQ antimicrobial protectant embedded in the cover is meant to safeguard the mattress against harmful bacteria. For added cleanliness, owners can zip off the top half of the cover and machine wash it.

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 comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year limited warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The Tuft & Needle Mint 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.

Best for Back PainSofter WinkBed

Best for Back Pain – Softer WinkBed

Highlights

  • Medium soft (4.5) feel
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Excellent edge support thanks to zoned coil system
  • Steady air circulation ensures comfortable cooling
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Best for Back PainSofter WinkBed

winkbeds.com

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The WinkBed is a deluxe hybrid mattress sold in four different firmness levels: medium soft (4.5), medium firm (6.5), and firm (7.5) feels. The medium soft option, the Softer WinkBed, caters especially to side sleepers. It is constructed with a plush quilted Euro-top and a layer of adaptive polyfoam, followed by a support core of pocketed coils. Altogether the design offers a comfortable balance of contouring and responsiveness.

The Softer WinkBed’s coil support core is 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. The bed sleeps quite cool, thanks to steady airflow through the coils. This model is best suited for sleepers under 130 pounds. Sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds should still find the bed comfortable, though they are more likely to sink into the mattress and receive less support.

For sleepers above 300 pounds, the WinkBed Plus is a firm (8) model specifically designed for heavier individuals. This model swaps out foam for latex, which is firmer. The WinkBed Plus also sleeps cooler 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 Softer 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. The Softer WinkBed sleeps quite cool for a mattress with such a plush surface, thanks to steady airflow through the coil layer.
  • People who prefer very responsive mattresses. Even with its soft surface, the Softer WinkBed has a springy quality thanks to the 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 is 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.

Best for Hip PainSpineAlign Luxury Hybrid

Best for Hip Pain – SpineAlign Luxury Hybrid

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (3, 5, 7)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Exceptional cooling thanks in part to PCM cover
  • Deep foam layers deliver excellent pressure relief
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Best for Hip PainSpineAlign Luxury Hybrid

spinealign.com

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SpineAlign is a mattress and bedding brand specializing in products that correct alignment and reduce pressure in the hips and lower back. 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 in the hips. 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.

Best NaturalJoybed LXP

Best Natural – Joybed LXP

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4, 5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Natural foam-free design
  • Excellent durability and temperature control
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Best NaturalJoybed LXP

joybeds.com

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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 looking for a new mattress, along with our tips for buying a mattress (regardless of your sleep position).

Important Sleep Considerations for Side Sleepers

Surveys show side sleeping is the most popular sleep position. Popular variations of side sleeping include the log with arms and legs pointing downward, the fetal with arms straight and knees tucked, and the yearner with both arms and legs fully extended.

side sleeper positions

One potential advantage of sleeping on your side is fewer aches and pains in the shoulders, lower back, and hips. People who snore or experience acid reflux can also benefit from this position because it facilitates airflow through the breathing passages. In order to enjoy these benefits, side sleepers need a mattress that offers the right balance of cushioning and support.

By the same token, side sleeping can lead to added discomfort in certain areas of the body if a mattress is too soft or too firm. Understanding how side sleeping affects the body can help you choose a mattress that meets your needs.

Does Side Sleeping Affect Spinal Alignment?

side sleeping spinal alignment

Sleeping on your side can improve or interfere with spinal alignment, depending on the mattress you choose. Proper alignment means the spine is in an even, neutral position from the neck and shoulders down to the lower back and hips. A mattress that contours evenly based on weight distribution will cradle the spine, promote even alignment, and reduce pressure points in pressure-sensitive areas along the spine.

If your mattress is too soft, then the heavier areas of your body may sink too deeply into the mattress and cause the spine to misalign. Overly firm mattresses that don’t provide adequate cushioning for the shoulders and hips can have the same effect. This is why many side sleepers prefer a mattress with a mid-level firmness that cushions the body without sacrificing support.

Can Side Sleeping Cause Pain?

For many, side sleeping reduces pain in the lower back and hips. This is especially true for pregnant people. However, sleeping on a mattress that is not compatible with your body type can worsen existing back pain and cause new pain to occur. Side sleepers can further alleviate lower back and hip pain by tucking a pillow between their knees or beneath their legs.

This position can also place extra pressure on the left or right shoulder, depending on which side you primarily use for sleeping. A mattress that feels firm and supportive enough can reduce this pressure and prevent shoulder pain. You should also use a pillow with enough loft to keep the neck and shoulders evenly aligned with the spine. Most side sleepers need medium- to high-loft pillows for optimal alignment.

What Should Side Sleepers Look for in a Mattress

Important mattress qualities to consider as a side sleeper include:

  • Contouring: The best mattresses for side sleeping contour evenly based on where weight is concentrated. This ensures extra support for heavier areas of the body like the torso and hips, and gentler cushioning for the head and legs. Mattresses with thick comfort layers and medium to medium firm feels or latex typically provide the best contouring.
  • Support: While contouring is key, you’ll probably sink too much into a mattress that feels excessively soft. Mattresses with sturdy support systems push back against the body and help maintain an even sleep surface, which is important for spinal alignment.
  • Pressure Relief: A mattress that reduces pressure is important for side sleepers since this position can create pressure buildup in the shoulders, lower back, and hips. Deep cushioning, even contouring, and adequate support around these areas are needed to alleviate pressure.
  • Material Quality and Longevity: A mattress made from durable, high-quality materials is better for side sleeping. Mattresses with components that wear out after a few years of use may sag or develop indentations on the surface that affects the overall support level.

What Is the Best Mattress Firmness for Side Sleepers?

Your sleep position and body weight will likely dictate which firmness level feels most comfortable. For this reason, the firmness preferences of a side sleeper who weighs less than 130 pounds may significantly differ from a side sleeper weighing more than 230 pounds.

The following firmness recommendations are based on extensive hands-on evaluations using testers who belong to different weight groups. These recommendations are subjective and may not apply to your individual preferences, but they reflect our findings for the majority of side sleepers. Please note we judge firmness using a 10-point scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest.

Side Sleeper Weight Group Optimal Firmness Level Typical Firmness Preferences
Less than 130 pounds Soft (2-3) to Medium (5) Side sleepers in this weight group often need close body contouring to reduce pressure points in the shoulders and hips. Firmer mattresses don’t provide this level of cushioning, and may feel too stiff as a result
130 to 230 pounds Medium Soft (4) to Medium Firm (6) A mid-level firmness should be adequate for this weight group. Moderate contouring combined with stable support helps ensure good pressure relief without too much sinkage.
More than 230 pounds Medium Firm (6) to Firm (7-8) People in this weight group need extra reinforcement to prevent their bodies from sinking too deeply into the mattress. A medium firm or firm mattress should deliver adequate support – but if this isn’t the case, then an extra firm (9-10) mattress may be needed.

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

What Type of Mattress Is Best for Side Sleeping?

Every individual mattress model is unique, but the vast majority fall into one of five general construction categories. Each category has advantages and disadvantages, but some are better equipped for side sleepers.

Foam Mattresses

A foam mattress features top layers of memory foam or adaptive polyfoam, followed by support layers of dense polyfoam. These mattresses usually excel at even contouring and weight distribution, which can promote spinal alignment and alleviate pressure for side sleepers.

  • Downsides: Many foam mattresses absorb and retain excess body heat. Foam doesn’t provide the same stability as metal coils, so edge support and ease of movement may also be lacking.
  • Average Price (Queen): $800 to $1,100
Hybrid Mattresses

A hybrid is a type of innerspring with thick comfort layers of foam, latex, and/or microcoils. The support system almost always contains individually pocketed coils, which reinforce the sleep surface without generating too much motion transfer. Hybrids are a good choice for side sleepers who want a balance of cushioning and stability, but not too much of either.

  • Downsides: Disadvantages of hybrids often depend on the design. For instance, hybrids with thick foam layers can retain too much body heat and feel unstable along the edges, while firmer hybrids with thin comfort layers may not alleviate pressure or isolation motion well. Hybrids can also be somewhat expensive.
  • Average Price (Queen): $1,500 to $2,200
Latex Mattresses

Latex is a naturally responsive material derived from rubber tree plants. An all-latex mattress usually features a softer, more adaptive comfort layer over denser support layers. Latex is highly durable, so these mattresses tend to last a long time, and those with ventilated layers don’t retain as much heat as foam mattresses.

  • Downsides: Latex gently cushions the body rather than contouring closely, so these mattresses may not alleviate enough pressure for side sleepers. They are also fairly costly, as latex is expensive to process.
  • Average Price (Queen): $1,600 to $2,200
Innerspring Mattresses

Traditional innersprings have thin comfort layers of foam or fiber padding, followed by thick coil systems. Side sleepers may not receive enough pressure relief from innersprings due to their lack of cushioning material, but these mattresses are responsive and easy to move across. Most innersprings also sleep cool due to steady airflow through the coil layer.

  • Downsides: Innersprings have an average lifespan of five to six years, making them the least durable mattress type. Side sleepers will likely prefer the thick cushioning layers of a hybrid model over the thin padding of an innerspring.
  • Average Price (Queen): $700 to $1,000
Airbed Mattresses

Airbeds feature support cores with adjustable air chambers. By adding or releasing air from these chambers, you can make certain areas of the mattress feel softer or firmer. This level of customization makes airbeds a good choice for side sleepers who need extra cushioning one night and more support the next. Most airbeds have comfort layers of memory foam or polyfoam, but some high-end models also contain latex and microcoils.

  • Downsides: Airbeds are by far the most expensive mattress type on average. Compared to other mattress types, they are unmatched in terms of customized comfort – but be prepared to pay a hefty sticker price.
  • Average Price (Queen): $2,400 to $3,000

Mattress Accessories 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.

Choosing the right mattress is key for sleeping comfortably on your side, but other components of your sleep surface also play an important role. The goal for any side sleeper should be to optimize every aspect of their sleep area to accommodate this sleep position.

Pillows for Side Sleepers

As with mattresses, pillows can affect alignment for side sleepers. When resting on your side, adequate reinforcement is needed to keep the head and neck aligned with the spine.

Side sleepers should focus on loft, or thickness, when choosing a pillow. A medium- or high-loft pillow should properly support the head and neck. Most side sleepers prefer pillows that measure 4 to 7 inches thick.

Material composition is also important. A pillow with fill that sinks when weight is applied – such as down, feathers, and down alternative fibers – may not keep the head and neck upright even if the loft is high. Pillows with memory foam, latex, and buckwheat hulls usually provide the best support and won’t sink as much beneath the weight of your head.

Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers

If your mattress feels too soft or too firm to accommodate you while sleeping in the side position, buying a new mattress may be the best solution. However, mattresses are an expensive investment. A mattress topper can provide a temporary fix while you save up for a new bed.

Toppers are layers of cushioning material that rest on your sleep surface, serving as a buffer between your body and the mattress. You should consider a softer topper if your mattress feels too firm. Likewise, a firmer topper can provide extra support if your mattress feels too soft. Generally, the thicker a topper’s profile is, the softer it will be. Most toppers sold today measure 1.5 to 4 inches thick.

Since cushioning is important for side sleepers, the best toppers for this position usually contain solid memory foam, polyfoam, and latex. Those who prefer a very soft feel may also feel comfortable on toppers containing down and feathers, which are also known as featherbeds.

Tips for Comfortable Side Sleeping

Optimizing your mattress and sleep accessories is an important step for side sleeping, but there are other measures you can take to sleep comfortably. These include the following

  • Sleep with both legs outstretched: Extending the legs promotes even alignment compared to tucking the legs or bending the knees into a fetal position.
  • Lie in the middle of the mattress: Even the sturdiest mattresses buckle a bit when you sleep along their edges. Positioning yourself in the middle of a mattress can help ensure a more even sleep surface.
  • Consider a pillow with adjustable loft: Some pillows contain fill that can be added or removed to make them thicker or thinner. Adjusting the loft can ease pressure in the shoulder that occurs during side sleeping, and may also be useful if you’re a combination sleeper who also sleeps on your back and/or stomach from time to time.
  • Hug a pillow while you sleep: Wrapping your arms around a pillow can provide upper body support needed for even alignment.
  • Use another pillow to cushion the lower body: If you’re a side sleeper with frequent back pain, you may find relief by placing a pillow under your lumbar region, between your knees, or beneath your legs. Thinner pillows typically work best for this purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find answers to some common questions side sleepers ask about choosing and buying a new mattress.

  • 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.

    When it comes to pillows for the knees, side sleepers can use a standard pillow, but there are also pillows specifically designed for the purpose.

  • 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 Do Sleep Trials 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 Under a 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.

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