If you find yourself sleeping on your side throughout most of the night, then your sleeping habits are in line with the majority of adults. In fact, side sleeping is considered the most common sleeping position, according to sleep laboratory Advanced Sleep Medicine Services. And while experts say side sleeping comes with a slew of benefits—like improved digestion, better breathing, and neutral spine alignment—using the wrong type of mattress can negate all of the positives. That’s why it’s important to choose a mattress specifically designed for side sleepers.
“Aches and pains in pressure points like your hips, shoulders, upper and lower back can often be aggravated, or even caused, by a mattress that doesn’t support side sleeping well,” says Tim Canty, MD, who specializes in treating patients with back pain and neck pain at the Comprehensive Spine & Pain Center of NY. “The ideal 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.”
If you need more guidance on your search for a new mattress, we’ve also highlighted a few key factors to consider, including material makeup, firmness level, and overall construction.
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. This type of mattress is also excellent at equally distributing body weight in the side sleeping position.
There are different types of memory foam, including gel, latex, and standard. While many memory foam mattresses are made with a blend of the three, some only use one type. Gel and latex memory foam are more responsive than standard memory foam—meaning they spring back to shape quicker when you move throughout the night—but also tend to be more expensive.
Some of the mattresses we recommend for side sleepers, like the Saatva Classic and Brooklyn Aurora, are made with layers of memory foam and pocketed spring coils, or innersprings. While traditional innerspring mattresses are not typically recommended for side sleepers, many newer innerspring mattresses are more of a hybrid construction, meaning they’re made with more than one core material. These hybrid mattresses with memory foam top layers help provide the contouring support and pressure relief that side sleepers need.
If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll want to choose a supportive mattress that cradles your body’s natural curve without letting you sink too far in. Options with ample support will contour 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 further into the bed than the rest of your body. Without the proper level of support in a mattress, side sleepers may find themselves waking up sore.
It’s crucial to look at firmness levels when purchasing a new mattress. A mattress that’s too soft won’t give you the necessary structure, but one that’s too firm could cause joint tension and soreness. Most side sleepers find that mattresses constructed with medium-soft to medium firmness provide just enough support to feel cozy without being too rigid.
While there are many elements to consider on your search for a mattress that’s suited to your sleep style, the good news is there are tons of great options available for side sleepers. Even better news? The expert review team at Mattress Advisor conducted over 1,200 hours of testing at their lab in Raleigh, North Carolina to evaluate over 150 mattresses on criteria that benefit side sleepers.
Based on the findings, we’ve outlined the top-reviewed mattresses for side sleepers that’ll make a huge difference in the quality of your shuteye. Each of the below mattresses can be purchased online and come with generous trial periods—giving you the option to return it free of charge after a given time period—making it even easier to save money and shop with ease.
Thanks to three layers of high-quality memory foam, the Puffy Lux received one of the highest scores on Mattress Advisor’s pressure relief test. It offers extensive support for healthy spine alignment while still cradling pressure points for comfort.
The Puffy Lux also features an extra layer of cooling memory foam, so it’ll keep you cool and comfortable year-round.
The Saatva Classic mattress offers all the features side sleepers need without sacrificing the decadence of a luxury brand. It’s completely customizable—you can choose between 3 different firmness levels, heights, and sizes—and is made with high-quality, eco-friendly materials. We recommend side sleepers go with the luxury firm mattress, the median firmness level, for the right combination of support and suppleness.
Saatva also has excellent customer service. They make the process stress-free by providing at-home setup for your new mattress and removal of your old mattress at no extra charge.
Nectar’s contouring gel memory foam layer is designed to hug and stabilize your body as you sleep. The mattress review team found that Nectar is great at motion isolation, meaning you’re less likely to be disturbed by a sleeping partner who’s moving around in the middle of the night. Plus, the medium firmness level makes it a solid choice for side sleepers.
At just under $700 for a queen size, Nectar offers a high-quality mattress at a great price point. It also has a year-long trial period, so you’ll have plenty of time to test it out before you commit.
If you sleep with a partner or pet, the Helix Midnight mattress may be right for you. The Helix Midnight is a hybrid bed that features memory foam layers and individually wrapped coils. Two foam layers provide pressure relief and zoned support designed to match your body type, while a body shape layer composed of hundreds of wrapped coils helps cradle your body. This coil layer also limits motion transfer, making this bed great for couples who don’t want to feel their partner’s movements at night. The bed’s coils also give quality edge support to reinforce the perimeter and reduce sagging, which is a plus when sleeping with a partner.
The DreamCloud Premier is an affordable hybrid mattress with six luxurious layers of memory foam and coils. It earned a perfect score for responsiveness and a near-perfect score for durability—so not only will this bed respond to your body’s movements throughout the night, but it will also provide the support and longevity you need. With no set weight limit, the DreamCloud also boasts high scores for edge support and pressure relief.
DreamCloud offers a generous full year to decide if this is the mattress for you, so you have plenty of time to try your bed out.
The Layla is a unique memory foam mattress infused with copper to help keep you cool. Featuring both a soft side and a firm side, it can be flipped to suit your preference.
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 sleep on your side and run hot at night, the Bear is the bed for you. Functioning as a cooling mattress, it utilizes open-cell foam to keep air flowing throughout. The Bear performs when it comes to responsiveness and back support, so even as you switch from sleeping on your left side to your right, it moves with you.
The Nolah Original mattress uses a unique memory foam material, known as “Airfoam™”, that’s designed to provide pressure and pain relief to your shoulders, hips, and back. This mattress scores exceptionally well on Mattress Advisor in the areas of spinal alignment and responsiveness, and its breathable top layer cradles your body to provide comfort and support throughout the night. Goodbye, lower back pain. Hello, restful nights.
An added bonus: For each mattress sold, Nolah adopts one endangered animal to benefit wildlife conservation efforts.
The Tuft & Needle Mint is an advanced memory foam mattress that features excellent spinal alignment and responsiveness. We rate it the best memory foam option on this list because it’s a great choice for side, combination, stomach, and back sleepers alike thanks to its “just right” medium-firm feel. The top layer of adaptive foam gives you that comfy-cozy feeling while still providing pressure relief; the second layer is infused with gel beads for breathability; and the base layer gives the bed support and structure.
The Tuft & Needle Mint is made in the United States and has a 10-year warranty.
The Purple works hard to prevent discomfort by using special polymer foam to cushion the shoulders and hips. The material is designed to provide pressure relief for your most tender points.
Purple also earns a nearly perfect score in spinal alignment from Mattress Advisor, so as you lay on your side, your back won’t be aching from sinking too far into the bed. Plus, thes overall design is engineered to keep you cool and comfortable–therefore, you won’t need to worry about overheating.
Jillian is a wellness and lifestyle writer for Mattress Advisor. As a former insomniac, she is passionate about the health benefits of a restful night and helping you get a good night’s sleep.