Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers in 2022

These top-rated mattresses provide the right amount of support and comfort.

If you find yourself sleeping on your side throughout most of the night, then your sleeping habits are among the most popular and the most healthful. "The majority of adults appear to be side sleepers," according to Michael J. Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author who specializes in the science of sleep. "One advantage of side sleeping includes better digestion (when sleeping on the left side). This position also allows the discs in our backs to rehydrate, which can help us avoid back pain."

However, sleeping on the wrong type of mattress can negate all the positives and actually worsen lower back pain and shoulder pain. "Choosing the right mattress firmness will help stabilize the spine for proper alignment while side sleeping," said Dr. Breus.

"Aches and pains in pressure points like your hips, shoulders, [and] upper and lower back can often be aggravated, or even caused, by a mattress that doesn't support side sleeping well," said Timothy Canty, MD, who specializes in treating pain disorders and serves as the chief medical officer at Manhattan Restorative Health Sciences. "The best mattress for side sleepers will provide pressure relief for joints and contouring support to promote proper spine alignment. In particular, a memory foam mattress or hybrid mattress with a soft top layer can help equally distribute your body weight to help prevent soreness and provide a comfortable sleep surface."

While there are many elements to consider when searching for a mattress, a lot of great options cater specifically to side sleepers. The expert review team at Mattress Advisor evaluates hundreds of mattresses by putting them through a 14-point test. Their top 10 beds for side sleepers, listed below, aim to improve the quality of your shut-eye.

Our recommendations:

Note: The delivery dates listed below may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The best mattresses for side sleepers

01 of 10

Best Overall Mattress: Helix Midnight

Helix Mattress
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.9/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6/10)
  • Delivery: Free shipping; delivered within 10 days of order
  • Coverage: 100-night sleep trial; 15-year warranty

Who it's best for: Side sleepers will benefit from the durable edge support; the breathable cover and hybrid construction provide adequate airflow for hot sleepers; combination sleepers will appreciate the bed's responsiveness.

Not recommended for: Sleepers who prefer memory foam and people who consciously shop at companies with robust social initiatives (Mattress Advisor gives Helix a 5 out of 10 for social impact).

How it feels: Due to its construction of memory foam and innerspring coils, the Helix Midnight feels bouncy and is easy to move around on.

Pros: If you toss and turn at night, you'll find that the Helix Midnight is responsive to your movements. For side sleepers, the bed relieves pressure at the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders (it scored an 8.5 out of 10 for pressure relief).

Cons: According to testers, there is a slight off-gassing smell when you first open the mattress. Still, the Helix Midnight uses certified non-toxic foams, and reviewers said the odor dissipated once the mattress aired out.

What it's made of: Under the soft-touch cover is a layer of memory foam. Beneath it, a tier of sturdy polyfoam sits atop individually wrapped coils. At the bottom, a dense layer of foundational foam secures the entire mattress.

The Helix Midnight is the most popular hybrid bed in Helix's mattress lineup. Its mix of memory foam and individually wrapped coils make for a comfortable yet supportive sleep surface that's ideal for side sleepers, according to Mattress Advisor testers. The memory foam layer provides pressure relief while the pocketed coils help limit motion transfer.

In the Mattress Advisor testing lab, the Helix Midnight scored an 8.75 out of 10 in the spine alignment category and a perfect 10 for edge support. Superior edge support means the perimeter of the bed is stable, so side sleepers and combination sleepers who roll around during the night should feel more secure.

From the sleep lab: "The Helix Midnight is a great mattress for couples. During the motion transfer test, when I situated myself on the bed by a glass of red wine, the liquid hardly moved, as in little to no motion transfer. So couples shouldn't disturb each other moving around during the night."

02 of 10

Best Mattress for Pressure Relief: Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic Mattress
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.3/10
  • Firmness: Plush-soft (3/10), luxury-firm (6/10), and firm (8/10)
  • Delivery: Ships for free; complimentary white glove delivery; delivered within 21 days of order
  • Coverage: 180-night sleep trial; 15-year warranty

Who it's best for: The Saatva Classic is ideal for those who want a high-quality mattress they can customize to their preferences. This mattress is also a great choice for individuals with back pain because of its ability to keep the spine in alignment.

Not recommended for: Saatva Classic may be out of reach for shoppers on a budget. Additionally, sleepers unfamiliar with innersprings may find that they prefer the feel of an all-foam mattress.

How it feels: The Saatva Classic has plenty of bounce like an innerspring mattress, but the cushy pillow top provides just the right amount of memory foam to sink into. Still, one tester explained you will feel like you're sleeping "on" the mattress rather than "in" it.

Pros: Extremely durable, eco-friendly, and American-made, the Saatva Classic also scored well in the Mattress Advisor sleep lab for its solid perimeter, earning a 10 out of 10 on the edge support test.

Cons: If you're on a budget, it's important to note that the Saatva Classic falls in a "luxury" price range—a queen costs over $1,500. It's also not the best choice for couples or those who sleep with pets because the innersprings allow for some motion transfer across the surface.

What it's made of: The Saatva Classic features a quilted organic cotton cover atop a 3-inch Euro pillow top. Beneath that lies a dual set of innerspring coils. Micro coils provide support while thicker steel coils offer an even higher degree of stability.

The Saatva Classic delivers the pressure relief that side sleepers often crave (testers gave it an 8.75 out of 10 in this category) in the form of a luxury mattress. You can choose between two heights and three different firmness levels, including plush-soft, which is geared more toward side sleepers. With a perfect score from Mattress Advisor testers for durability (10/10), this mattress comes with a 15-year warranty and should last you for many, many years.

Saatva also earned a perfect 10 out of 10 for customer service, due in part to its complimentary white glove delivery. Your new mattress will be set up and your old one removed at no extra charge.

From the sleep lab: "I'm a back sleeper, and I love the Saatva Classic's balance of comfort and support. I could feel the lift from its innerspring coils, especially at my lower back. And my hips didn't sink too deeply into the pillow top. I gave it a 10 out of 10 for spine alignment."

03 of 10

Best Hybrid Mattress: DreamCloud

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.1/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5/10)
  • Delivery: Free shipping; delivered within 2–5 business days
  • Coverage: 365-night sleep trial; lifetime warranty

Who it's best for: As the highest-ranked hybrid bed in the Mattress Advisor sleep lab, the DreamCloud works for most sleep positions and body types—there is no set weight limit. Breathable hybrid mattresses like the DreamCloud are also a great choice for those who sleep hot, and its pressure relief capabilities should help ease back and hip pain.

Not recommended for: While DreamCloud accommodates a variety of sleep styles, some stomach sleepers might prefer a firmer mattress.

How it feels: Testers reported that the DreamCloud feels like a luxury hotel mattress. First, you sink into the soft memory foam cover, and then you'll experience the support and responsiveness of the innerspring coils.

Pros: According to testers, the DreamCloud is easy to move around on, which is what combination sleepers like to hear. Experts gave it an 8.75 out of 10 for cooling and a near-perfect score for spine alignment (9/10).

Cons: Those on a budget may find the DreamCloud to be a bit out of their price range. And couples might prefer an all-foam mattress that'll absorb motion better than an innerspring model.

What it's made of: The standout materials in the DreamCloud are the plush quilted foam and cashmere used in the cover. Beneath that lies a tier of cooling gel memory foam, followed by a foam transition layer atop a bed of support coils. A high-density foam layer at the bottom provides additional stability.

Its five-layer system of memory foam and innerspring coils earned the DreamCloud top marks among its fellow hybrid mattresses. This system provides side sleepers with excellent pressure relief—in fact, Mattress Advisor testers gave the DreamCloud an 8.75 out of 10 in that category. It also earned a 9 out of 10 for responsiveness, meaning you can easily switch sides throughout the night. Plus, DreamCloud offers a generous one-year sleep trial, giving you enough time to determine whether it's the right mattress for you. We're surprised that this bed isn't well over $2,000 given its cashmere blend cover, gel-infused foam, and pocketed coils.

From the sleep lab: "I like to sleep along the edge of the mattress, so that's one of the first things I test. I was pleasantly surprised to find it hardly budged. That's why I gave it a 9.75 out of 10 for edge support."

04 of 10

Best Cooling Memory Foam Mattress: GhostBed Luxe

GhostBed. GhostBed
  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5/10)
  • Delivery: Free shipping; typically delivered 2–5 business days after ordering
  • Coverage: 101-night sleep trial; 25-year warranty

Who it's best for: Side sleepers who alternate between lying on their right and left sides will appreciate the GhostBed Luxe's high degree of responsiveness.

Not recommended for: Stomach sleepers, who may need a firmer mattress to keep the hips in alignment.

How it feels: On top of those layers of gel-infused memory foam is a quilted cover that's cool to the touch. You'll experience a slight sinking sensation on the surface, but not enough to impede your ability to move around.

Pros: The GhostBed Luxe is a uniquely responsive and cool memory foam mattress. Testers said the bed also keeps the spine in proper alignment.

Cons: The GhostBed Luxe is on the pricier side of bed-in-a-box mattresses. Another caveat: It only comes in one firmness level.

What it's made of: The "luxe" in GhostBed Luxe is inspired by the bed's construction. The cover is made of special cooling fabric, and beneath it lie two layers of memory foam that provide pressure relief. A third foam layer performs like latex to give the bed a bit of bounce. Finally, a high-density foam base offers plenty of stability.

Side sleepers tend to gravitate toward memory foam for its ability to contour to the body, but rarely do they seek out the material for its cooling factor. With the GhostBed Luxe, you get both, according to Mattress Advisor testers. The team of reviewers awarded the bed an 8.5 out 10 for pressure relief and a 9 out of 10 for cooling, which is due to the layers of gel memory foam stacked underneath the surface. The GhostBed earned an even higher score (9.25/10) for spine alignment. Basically, this seven-layer, 13-inch-tall mattress is pure bliss.

From the sleep lab: "The first thing I noticed about this bed is that it is actually cool to the touch. I'm a back sleeper, and I'm surprised by the amount of support I felt from this all-foam bed, yet it's also comfortable."

05 of 10

Best Value Mattress: Nectar

Nectar. Nectar
  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6/10)
  • Delivery: Free shipping; delivered within 2–5 business days of order
  • Coverage: 365-night sleep trial; lifetime warranty

Who it's best for: The Nectar mattress is best for side-sleeping couples due to its memory foam layers that absorb movement across the surface of the bed. It's also a great pick for those on a budget.

Not recommended for: Hot sleepers who prefer a more breathable mattress (like an innerspring or hybrid) over an all-foam bed.

How it feels: As with other all-foam mattresses, you'll immediately sink into the soft foam layers and feel the bed closely hugging your sides.

Pros: Unlike most memory foam beds, the Nectar has an impressive 365-night sleep trial and comes with a lifetime warranty. Also rare for memory foam, this mattress adapts to your movements and boasts a solid perimeter, so you'll feel secure sleeping along the edges.

Cons: Since this memory foam bed contours to your body, it tends to trap in heat. Hot sleepers may want to try a more breathable style like a hybrid or an innerspring.

What it's made of: The Nectar features a breathable cover situated atop 3 inches of gel memory foam. To keep it from being too soft, a 2-inch support foam layer transitions into a sturdy 7-inch standard foam base.

At less than $1,300 for a queen size, the Nectar is one of the more affordable beds on this list. Scoring an 8.5 out of 10 for durability—and paired with a lifetime warranty—this memory foam mattress is built to last.

Nectar's gel memory foam is designed to hug and stabilize your body as you sleep. The Mattress Advisor review team found that the Nectar is also great at motion isolation (8.5/10), meaning you're less likely to be disturbed by a partner who's moving around in the middle of the night. Plus, its medium-firm firmness level makes it a solid choice for side sleepers.

From the sleep lab: "The Nectar's high degree of pressure relief is perfect for side sleepers. It feels like the quintessential memory foam mattress with that sink-into-the-surface cradling sensation."

06 of 10

Best Affordable Luxury Mattress: The WinkBed

best hybrid mattresses
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6/10
  • Firmness: Soft (4.5/10), luxury-firm (6.5/10), firm (7.5/10), and plus (8/10)
  • Delivery: Ships for free; delivered within 7–14 days of order
  • Coverage: 120-night sleep trial; lifetime warranty

Who it's best for: Thanks to its hybrid build, the mattress earned a 9 out of 10 for responsiveness, which is great for sleepers who switch sides throughout the night. The coil construction also promotes airflow, a bonus for individuals who struggle with night sweats.

Not recommended for: Ardent memory foam lovers may want to avoid any mattress with innersprings, even hybrids. The WinkBed is also a luxury mattress that may be cost-prohibitive to shoppers on a budget.

How it feels: The WinkBed sleeps like a traditional innerspring bed, meaning you can feel the bounciness of the innerspring coils. While the mattress has a thick pillow top, it's still easy to move around on and change positions.

Pros: Hybrid beds are the combination of multiple mattress types, and, in The WinkBed's case, consist of foam that cradles the hips, shoulders, and neck, and breathable, supportive coils that help you maintain a healthy posture (The WinkBed earned an 8.75 out of 10 in the spine alignment test).

Cons: Motion isolation was rated a lukewarm 6.4 out of 10 by testers. Exceptionally light sleepers may prefer a mattress that better minimizes their partner's movements.

What it's made of: A breathable cover made with eucalyptus envelops a quilted Euro pillow top infused with gel for cooling. The pillow top provides pressure relief for the shoulders and hips, and individually wrapped coils offer targeted back support.

Customizing your mattress doesn't have to cost a fortune. The WinkBed lets you choose from four different firmness levels, all of which cost less than $2,000 for a queen size. The Mattress Advisor team tested the luxury-firm model, which translates to medium-firm, and said the hybrid system of coils, foam, and plush pillow top create top-notch pressure relief and support that's ideal for side sleepers.

From the sleep lab: "I could definitely feel the zoned support in The WinkBed, adding a nice lift to my lower back. Its Euro pillow top gives it that luxe hotel feel, especially given that it's taller than most mattresses at 14 inches."

07 of 10

Best Flippable Mattress: Layla

layla mattress
  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.8/10
  • Firmness: Soft (4/10) and firm (7/10)
  • Delivery: Ships free; delivered within 5–10 business days of order
  • Coverage: 120-night sleep trial; lifetime warranty

Who it's best for: The Layla memory foam mattress is for people who like options. The soft side works best for side sleepers and the firm side works best for back sleepers. Both sides are a good fit for couples given the bed's motion isolation capabilities.

Not recommended for: Sleepers who will only use one side of Layla's flippable mattress throughout the bed's lifespan.

How it feels: If you prefer to sink into your mattress and feel the foam hug your curves, Layla's soft side will appeal to you. The firm side doesn't create that sinking sensation.

Pros: The option of a soft side and a firm side is a huge pro. The mattress is infused with cooling gel memory foam, so you should sleep cooler on the Layla than on a classic memory foam bed, which tends to trap in heat. This model also offers extraordinary pressure relief at the shoulders and hips, making it a great pick for side sleepers with hip pain.

Cons: According to testers, those who require greater support for their back may be more comfortable on a traditional innerspring mattress. And those who sleep exceptionally hot may prefer an innerspring or a hybrid bed for their increased breathability and airflow. The experts at Mattress Advisor say that although the Layla is infused with cooling materials, it's still an all-foam mattress, meaning it will sleep warmer than a bed made with coils.

What it's made of: The Layla features a solid support foam core in the middle of the mattress. On either side, layers of gel-infused memory foam offer pressure relief, with more inches of foam built-up on the softer side. Both covers are made with cooling fabric and can be removed.

The Layla is a unique memory foam mattress infused with gel to help keep you cool. Featuring both a soft side and a firm side, the mattress can be flipped to suit your preference—a rarity for online mattresses. (Note: Those who prefer a medium-firm mattress may want to look elsewhere.)

For side sleepers, keeping the spine from sinking into the mattress is essential, and Mattress Advisor found that the Layla offers solid spinal alignment and support. Reviewers gave the Layla high marks in responsiveness and pressure relief, two areas that are sure to keep your hips and shoulders happy. If you're not a memory foam fan but like the idea of a flippable bed, then check out Layla's newest model, the Layla Hybrid.

From the sleep lab: "For me, the soft side was a bit too soft and the firm side was a bit too firm. Personally, I prefer a medium-firm firmness level, but I love the flippable concept. The Layla wasn't too hard to flip because it weighs about 70 pounds."

08 of 10

Best Mattress for Shoulder Pain: Brooklyn Bedding Aurora

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
Brooklyn Bedding
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.9/10
  • Firmness: Soft (3/10), medium (5/10), and firm (7/10)
  • Delivery: Ships for free; typically delivered within 3–5 business days
  • Coverage: 120-night sleep trial; 10-year warranty

Who it's best for: Available in three different firmness levels, this mattress is a match for every sleep position. Testers who are also hot sleepers appreciated the Brooklyn Aurora's breathable coil base. Couples will love its motion isolation capabilities, meaning the two of you won't wake each other up when you move around.

Not recommended for: Sleepers accustomed to the cradling feel of an all-foam mattress.

How it feels: For those who like a little bounce in their bed, the Aurora will not disappoint. A layer of responsive foam atop innerspring coils allows for easy maneuvering. One tester said you'll feel as if you're sleeping on top of the mattress rather than sinking into it.

Pros: Given its hybrid construction, it's no surprise that the Aurora excels at cooling and responsiveness. Experts also gave it a high score for spine alignment (8.5/10), making it an exceptional choice for those with back pain.

Cons: If you like the cradling effect of memory foam, the innersprings and polyfoam may throw you off.

What it's made of: The Aurora features a combination of comfortable foams and supportive coils for an overall bouncy, responsive feel. The first layer of foam contours to the body while the second layer provides stability. A tier of gel memory foam sits atop innerspring coils for added pressure relief. Finally, an 8-inch coil core is zoned to be firmer in the center of the mattress, offering extra lumbar support.

Side sleepers need a balance of comfort and support to help keep their joints pain-free. That's where the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora comes in. This hybrid bed is made with a temperature-regulating cover, responsive foam layers, and individually encased coils. Earning high marks in pressure relief, the Brooklyn Aurora provides targeted support to the hips and shoulders so side sleepers can rest easy.

Mattress Advisor testers were impressed with this hybrid mattress's cooling technology, awarding it a near-perfect 9.5 out of 10. Cooling beads fill the first layer of foam, making the mattress surface cool to the touch.

From the sleep lab: "This mattress is one of the coolest mattresses we've ever had in the sleep lab. It stayed cool to the touch even weeks after we unboxed it."

09 of 10

Best Mattress for Back Pain: Puffy Lux

puffy lux mattress
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.3/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6/10)
  • Delivery: Ships for free; ships within 2–5 business days of order
  • Coverage: 101-night sleep trial; lifetime warranty

Who it's best for: The Puffy Lux's pressure relief capabilities suit side sleepers exceptionally well. Those with back pain may also find relief when resting on the memory foam top, which is supported by a sturdy coil base.

Not recommended for: Stomach sleepers who prefer a firmer mattress that offers more support for the hips and lower back.

How it feels: Sleepers will feel cushioned by the mattress rather than cradled. The Puffy Lux's memory foam contours around common pressure points while the coils help to keep the back supported and aligned. A gel-infused top layer of foam also keeps the mattress cool.

Pros: The Puffy Lux is a well-rounded pick for a variety of sleep positions and boasts high scores across several sleep lab testing categories. The bed also comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cons: Plus-size sleepers may prefer the support of a firmer build, and Puffy's sleep trial isn't as long as other trial periods on this list.

What it's made of: The Puffy Lux stacks 5 inches of foam on top of a sturdy 7-inch coil base. The stain-resistant cover is cushioned by 1.5 inches of gel-infused foam. A second foam layer pads pressure points while the third foam layer disperses body heat to help keep you cool. The coil base shores up the edges and stabilizes the entire mattress.

The Puffy Lux won't cure your back pain, but it is designed to help ease it. Mattress Advisor testers gave the hybrid mattress a 9 out of 10 for spine alignment because it promotes good sleep posture, which is important for your back. This means that the Puffy Lux supports the natural "S" curve of the spine while you snooze.

From the sleep lab: "What the Puffy Lux lacks in edge support, it makes up for in spinal alignment. While I sank into the top layers of foam, I could feel the innerspring coils pushing upward and supporting my lower back."

10 of 10

Best Memory Foam Mattress: Leesa

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.3/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6/10)
  • Delivery: Ships for free; typically delivered within 2 weeks of order
  • Coverage: 100-night sleep trial; 10-year warranty

Who it's best for: Those who prefer the sensation of being hugged by their mattress should enjoy the feel of the Leesa. Side sleepers with aches and pains will appreciate the pressure relief provided by the bed's foam materials.

Not recommended for: Side sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds may find that their hips sink too far into an all-foam mattress like the Leesa. The bed is also not ideal for hot sleepers or those who prefer the feel of innerspring coils.

How it feels: Leesa's medium-firm firmness level suits a wide range of sleepers. The memory foam cradles the body, but it's also responsive, so you feel both the hug of the foam and the support system underneath.

Pros: Side sleeping couples can snooze uninterrupted thanks to Leesa's top-tier motion isolation, which Mattress Advisor testers rated a 9 out of 10. The Leesa also excels in lower back pain relief thanks to its foam base, which helps distribute support evenly (the bed earned a 9 out of 10 for spine alignment).

Cons: Although its durability is well-rated by Mattress Advisor testers, Leesa has a slightly shorter sleep trial and warranty than most other memory foam beds.

What it's made of: The Leesa mattress has four layers: A twill cover wraps around a layer of foam that snaps back quickly when you push your hand into it. Beneath that lies traditional memory foam, which provides pressure relief for sore joints. Finally, a polyfoam base maintains the structure and adds to the overall durability.

The 10-inch Leesa stands out from other foam beds because of its high degree of responsiveness, a quality that's rare for memory foam. Not only can you easily maneuver on the mattress's surface, but you'll also enjoy its cooling features, including the breathable cover and proprietary foam that's designed to sleep cooler than traditional memory foam. The bed earned an 8.5 out of 10 for cooling in the sleep lab. Mattress Advisor testers tell Health that the Leesa accommodates all sleep positions. Plus, Leesa is one of the most affordable mattresses on this list.

From the sleep lab: "I found it easy to move around on the Leesa and get comfortable in new sleep positions. I never felt stuck like with some traditional memory foam mattresses that can hug you too tightly. Combination sleepers should love this mattress."

Why you should trust us

Each mattress on this list was put to the test (literally) in Mattress Advisor's lab, which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bedding experts spent over 1,200 hours evaluating and comparing mattresses using a 14-point testing methodology to find the best beds for side sleepers available online.

Below is a list of the criteria used to rate each mattress:

  • Spine alignment: How well the mattress maintains the natural "S" curve of the spine
  • Pressure relief: How well the mattress relieves pressure at common pain points like the shoulders and hips
  • Edge support: How much support the mattress provides at the edge of the bed for functional use and how comfortable the edge is to lie on
  • Responsiveness: How quickly the mattress adapts or responds to changes in movement, an attribute that's particularly essential for combination sleepers, who switch positions frequently during the night
  • Motion transfer: How well the mattress isolates motion, which is especially important for couples who sleep together and don't want to be disturbed by their partner's movements
  • Durability: Relates to longevity and overall quality of a mattress's materials; determines the lifespan of a bed
  • Cooling: How well the mattress promotes airflow and limits heat retention; also factors in any extra cooling features like gel infusions or aerated foam
  • Ease of setup: How easy the unboxing process is, which includes components like weight, time it takes to set up the mattress, and number of people needed to do it
  • Trial period: How long you have to decide whether or not you want to keep the mattress
  • Return policy: How easy the return process is, if refunds are offered, and if mattress removal is available
  • Warranty: How long the warranty is and what it covers
  • Shipping: How long it takes for your bed to ship and if there are any costs associated with shipping
  • Customer service: How quickly customer service responds to queries, the level of detail the team provides, and how helpful the team is overall
  • Social impact: Takes into consideration a company's social missions, charitable causes, and sustainability efforts. This includes the quality of a mattress's materials and where they are made

While some of the factors tested are tied directly to performance, like responsiveness, edge support, and pressure relief, others are based around brand operations, such as customer service, shipping policies, and trial period. The Mattress Advisor team combines this proprietary methodology with in-depth interviews and customer experience to arrive at a weighted score out of 10.

How side sleeping affects your rest

The lateral nature of this position helps keep airways open. Studies have shown that side sleeping can even help clear brain waste, permitting you to have clear and efficient thinking.

Along with back sleeping, side sleeping is the best position to alleviate neck pain, especially if you have the right pillow to support your neck. Sleeping on the left side in particular may help lessen heartburn and acid reflux. Finding a mattress that offers the right balance of support and comfort will positively impact the way you sleep—and how you feel when you wake up.

Choosing the best mattress for side sleepers

Buying a mattress is a big investment, so it's important to know what to look for as it relates to your sleep position.

Mattress type and materials

What type of mattress is best for side sleepers? The best mattresses for side sleepers should have at least one layer of memory foam because the texture supports the natural curvature of the spine, minimizing the risk of waking up with aches and pains. These types of pressure-relieving mattresses also excel at distributing body weight evenly in the side sleeping position.

Some of the mattresses we recommend for side sleepers, like the Saatva Classic, are made with layers of memory foam and pocketed spring coils, or innersprings. While traditional innerspring mattresses aren't typically ideal for side sleepers, hybrid mattresses combine traditional innerspring coil systems with layers of foam to get the best of both worlds. These hybrid mattresses with memory foam tops produce the contouring support and pressure relief side sleepers need. The layers of coils help keep the spine aligned throughout the night.

Latex mattresses are another good option for side sleepers. The pressure-relieving material has a supportive, buoyant feel and holds up well over time.


What's the right firmness level for side sleepers? Most side sleepers find that mattresses with medium-soft to medium firmness provide just enough support without feeling too rigid. A mattress that's too soft won't give you the structure needed to maintain proper spine alignment, but one that's too firm could cause joint tension and soreness.

Pressure relief

If you're a side sleeper, you'll want to choose a contouring mattress that cradles your body's natural curves and cushions spots that may dig into the bed, like your hips and shoulders. Without adequate pressure relief, you risk waking up with aches and pains.

Spine alignment

If you're a side sleeper, it's key to find a mattress with ample support that will contour to the shape of your body for complete comfort while still pushing back enough to keep your spine in proper alignment. It's also important to have enough pushback to keep pressure points, like your hips, thighs, and shoulders, from settling farther into the bed than the rest of your body. If these spots sink below the rest of your body, it can throw your spine out of alignment and cause back pain.

How to shop online for the best mattress

There are certainly benefits to testing out a mattress in a store because qualities like firmness and comfort are highly subjective. Still, in-store models can be deceiving: Since many customers have sampled them, they are often softer than the new bed that arrives at your door. Online mattress companies typically offer generous sleep trials—some up to 365 nights—so that you can try out the bed in your own home. Examples of brands with lengthy trial periods include Nectar and DreamCloud.

Best accessories for side sleepers

Whether you've always been a side sleeper or are looking to make a switch, here are some tips on the best accessories to improve your rest.

Choose the right pillow

Side sleepers benefit from a pillow with a high loft that fills in the space between their head and the mattress. If the pillow is too thin, then the neck becomes crushed against the shoulder, leading to neck pain. There are special side sleeper pillows, such as this Eli & Elm pillow, that are U-shaped to help keep the spine aligned throughout the night.

Add even more pillows

Placing a pillow between your knees not only prevents your bony knee joints from pressing together, but it can also help alleviate pressure near the sacrum, which is located at the base of your spine. Meanwhile, hugging a pillow keeps the chest open and stops your shoulders from collapsing forward, thus decreasing shoulder pain.

Try a mattress topper

If you're experimenting with sleeping on your side, a mattress can feel especially hard on your pressure points, including the knees, hips, and shoulders. Pressure relief is a key consideration for side sleepers. To add cushion to your bed, try layering on a soft, thick mattress topper. Mattress toppers help to evenly distribute weight across the surface of the bed and increase contouring around your most sensitive spots to reduce achiness in the morning.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully now you have a good idea of what makes a bed the best mattress for side sleepers. Be sure to take stock of the most important factors to you before you start browsing (like cooling if you're a hot sleeper, or motion isolation if you sleep with a partner). Luckily, there's something on this list for virtually every nighttime need. Happy shopping!


What mattress type is best for side sleepers with back pain?

To alleviate back pain (regardless of sleep position), the spine must maintain its natural "S" curve throughout the night. Side sleepers have a particular need for pressure relief at their hips and shoulders and lateral support along their spine. Hybrid beds achieve this balance perfectly by combining supportive innerspring coils at their core with pressure-relieving foam comfort layers on top.

What mattress type is best for side sleepers with hip pain?

It's not surprising that side sleepers with hip pain may have a hard time getting comfortable. If the mattress is too firm and doesn't have enough cushion, the bed will curve a sleeper's hips upward, forcing the spine out of alignment. If the bed is too soft, the opposite can happen: Their hips will dip too deeply into the mattress. The solution? A hybrid bed with a pressure-relieving layer of memory foam that allows the hips to sink just far enough into the surface so as not to negatively impact posture. Memory foam beds also work well for side sleepers with hip pain as long as the foam is a firm high-density blend that offers both pressure relief and support.

Jillian is a wellness and lifestyle writer for Mattress Advisor.

Was this page helpful?