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- Best gel-infused mattress for side sleepers: Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress
- Best overall mattress for side sleepers: Helix Midnight
- Best foam mattresses for side sleepers: Casper Original Foam Mattress, Sealy Cocoon Chill Soft Foam Mattress
- Best mattress for restless side sleepers: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
- Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers: DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
- Best mattresses for pressure relief for side sleepers: Amerisleep AS4, Tempur-Adapt Medium Mattress
- Best cooling mattress for side sleepers: Serta iComfort CF 4000 with Cooling and Comfort Upgrade
Many people prefer side sleeping, but sleeping on the wrong mattress may result in neck and back pain. The best type of mattress for most side sleepers is one that contours to the shape of the body while also providing moderate support.
One question you can ask to judge a mattress: Can the mattress keep your spine comfortably aligned?
Here are the other points we considered when creating our list of nine mattresses side sleepers should check out.
- Support the spine with less pressure. The mattresses on this list provide contouring support and pressure point relief for side sleeping comfort.
- Less foam odor. Each foam mattress is made from foam that’s CertiPUR-US certified, so you can expect less off-gassing smell.
- Manufacturer warranties. We looked for transparent manufacturers who offer at-home sleep trials and warranties with purchase.
- Customer feedback. We read customer reviews and chose mattresses that had significantly more raves than complaints of any kind.
- Return policy. We also looked for mattresses with free or inexpensive returns through the manufacturer or online store.
Quality mattresses are an expensive purchase. Many retailers offer payment plans, and some mattress brands go on sale intermittently throughout the year.
The mattresses on this list are currently priced for queen size, not including the base, tax, delivery charges, or setup fees, should they apply.
We indicated pricing as follows:
- $ = under $1,000
- $$ = $1,000–$1,500
- $$$ = over $1,500
Best gel-infused mattress for side sleepers
This mattress is available in firm and relaxed-firm comfort options designed to support side sleepers of all weights.
It’s designed to provide significant contouring and pressure point relief, particularly in the lumbar region or lower back.
A gel-infused cooling layer may help hot sleepers be more comfortable.
- Price: $$$
- Saatva offers a 180-night home trial, plus a 15-year warranty.
- For returns, a transportation fee may be taken from your refund amount.
- This mattress is a little more expensive than some other brands, though Saatva offers a monthly payment plan option.
Shop for the Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress at Saatva.
Best overall mattress for side sleepers
The Helix Midnight was designed specifically to fit the needs of side sleepers and restless sleepers.
It provides medium support, pressure point relief at the hips and shoulders, and temperature regulation.
If you’re an edge sleeper as well as a side sleeper, you may appreciate the reinforced perimeter, which offers the same comfort and support as the middle of the mattress.
- Price: $$
- It comes with a limited 10-year warranty.
- Helix offers a 100-night sleep trial guarantee, allowing customers to return a mattress within the first 100 nights, as long as they’ve tried it out for 30 days.
Shop for the Helix Midnight at Helix.
Best foam mattresses for side sleepers
This mattress is medium firm and provides three zones of targeted spinal support around the hips, waist, and lower back.
One feature that makes this mattress appeal to side sleepers is the construction and softer foam used in the shoulder area. This helps accommodate the shoulders and may prevent the shoulder pain that many side sleepers feel when they first wake up.
The outer layer of foam is also perforated to increase airflow.
Users say this mattress provides excellent spinal support without any sinking or sagging.
- Price: $$
- You can purchase Casper mattresses directly from the company’s website or through Amazon. Keep in mind that the return and refund policies may differ, and prices or promoted sales may not be the same.
- Read what Casper Sleep Inc. says about what’s different between buying on Amazon versus from Casper.
Make sure to request a manufacturer’s warranty if buying on Amazon.
The Sealy Cocoon comes in extra-firm and medium-soft options. Most side sleepers will be best supported by the medium-soft version.
What sets this mattress apart from many others is the density of the foam. It’s very soft and comfortable, but also provides superior support.
The mattress is covered in a stretch-knit material that readily absorbs and dissipates heat.
This mattress is lighter in weight than some other options. It’s also shipped in a compact box. These features make the mattress easy to transport and carry.
- Price: $$
- Sealy provides a 100-night trial, with a minimum 30-day time period for customers to try the mattress they purchased.
- The mattress has a 10-year limited warranty and full money-back guarantee.
Shop for the Sealy Cocoon Chill Soft Foam Mattress at Sealy.
Best mattress for restless side sleepers
If you share a bed and one of you is a restless sleeper, you may be used to tossing and turning. Nectar memory foam is designed to minimize motion transfer.
People with lower back pain say this mattress also provides support and comfort.
It’s made with quilted memory foam designed to be breathable and provide cooling airflow. The outer layer is moisture wicking, another plus for hot sleepers.
This mattress is an excellent value when compared with similar brands and even comes with two free pillows.
- Price: $$
- It strongly molds to fit your body to provide maximum support. Some side sleepers find it a little too soft, but others like the soft-medium firmness, especially around the shoulder.
- Nectar offers a 365-night home trial and a forever warranty.
Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers
This mattress combines gel-infused memory foam with pocketed, innerspring coils for optimized pressure point support.
Some side sleepers in need of extra support say this mattress provides significant neck and shoulder support without compromising on comfort.
- Price: $$$
- Some users complain that the king mattress is smaller than expected.
- Some state that customer service can be hard to reach.
- It has a 365-night home trial, plus a warranty for defects that lasts as long as you own your mattress.
Best mattresses for pressure relief for side sleepers
This medium-soft mattress was designed to provide support by targeting multiple points where pressure tends to happen, from the head and neck down to the legs. Multiple layers provide extra padding along the shoulder and hip regions.
It’s made from plant-based material and is produced in an eco-friendly factory.
This mattress is designed to resist sagging, so soft spots shouldn’t develop, even along the edges.
- Price: $$$
- It comes with a 100-night trial with free shipping and returns, plus a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Shop for the Amerisleep AS4 mattress at Amerisleep.
This mattress provides medium firmness with foam layers that give pressure point support without compromising on cushy-feeling comfort.
It’s made from Tempur-Pedic pressure-relieving memory foam, which was originally developed by NASA scientists to improve airline seats for the safety and health of pilots and passengers, especially on long flights.
The “keep cool” cover offers antimicrobial protection against dust mites, dander, and mold.
Users tout this mattress for relief from lower back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain.
- Price: $$$
- It comes with a 90-night trial and 10-year limited warranty.
- Of the brands out there, Tempur-Pedic is the least likely to put their mattresses on sale or discount. So your best bet may be to read over the return policy and go for it if you’re OK with the price.
Best cooling mattress for side sleepers
Serta’s iComfort line of mattresses is designed to provide significant support for side sleepers and for people with chronic back pain.
Some reviewers who are combo sleepers and alternate between side, back, and stomach positions find this mattress comfortable and supportive.
Other reviewers mention superior cradling of the shoulder and neck during sleep.
The CF 4000 comes in firm or plush options. Both provide pressure point support, although some side sleepers say that the plush provides better support than the firm.
- Price: $$
- Multiple foam layers provide airflow, temperature regulation, and coolness, designed to help hot sleepers.
- Serta provides a 120-day at-home trial and a 10-year limited warranty.
Shop for the iComfort mattress, with or without upgrades, at Serta.
Here are some of the best mattress types for those who sleep on their side:
- Hybrid mattresses. Hybrid mattresses are a combination of innerspring mattresses and foam mattresses. This means that you get some of the best benefits from both materials. These materials contour to your body to allow your spine to align naturally.
- Latex mattresses. Latex mattresses allow for proper spinal alignment since this material contours to the body and prevents you from sinking too deeply into the mattress. This provides relief from pressure points and can help prevent pain in certain body parts.
- Spring mattresses. The steel coils in innerspring mattresses allow for support throughout the mattress, especially near the edges. Innerspring mattresses don’t sink in the way that foam mattresses do, which makes for more consistent comfort while you sleep.
Accessories that help side sleepers
If you sleep on your side, certain accessories may help keep you comfortable. For example, some pillows are made specifically for sleepers who need relief from neck and back pain.
Also, if your current mattress isn’t suitable for sleeping on your side and a new mattress is out of your budget, you can try a mattress topper to give your current mattress a refresh. Mattress toppers can provide similar benefits to a brand-new mattress, including making sure that your spine is aligned properly while you sleep.
Another benefit to sleeping on your side is reduced snoring, a common symptom seen in obstructive sleep apnea. This condition creates disruptions in breathing, which can lead to complications such as:
One notable drawback to sleeping on your side is that it can increase your risk of shoulder pain.
Whether you’re on your left or right side, the corresponding shoulder can collapse into the mattress as well as up toward your neck, creating misalignment and pain the next morning.
Your body may prefer a bit of variety throughout the night to prevent pain in other areas of your body. This could entail starting on one side and then shifting over to the other.
It’s also important to be mindful of your chin placement by keeping your head up on the pillow. Tucking your chin toward your chest will create neck pain.
While many people think that sleeping on your back is the ideal position, there are actually a ton of benefits to sleeping on your side. If done properly (and on the proper mattress), sleeping on your side can reduce both joint and low back pain, as well as chronic pain associated with long-term conditions like fibromyalgia.
Side sleeping also leads to a decrease in snoring, which can create a disruption in breathing, especially if you have obstructive sleep apnea.
Your gut health may also improve if you’re a side sleeper. This is the optimal position for your digestive system, and may lead to a decrease in gastrointestinal issues like heartburn, constipation, and bloating.
Ideally, you want to choose a mattress that has a medium level of firmness. Medium-soft to medium firmness provides pressure relief in the shoulders and hips and just enough support without feeling too stiff. This level of firmness helps you maintain proper spinal alignment.
However, it’s important to keep your weight in mind when shopping. People who weigh under 130 pounds usually need a softer mattress, while people who weigh over 230 pounds require firmer support.
Side sleepers need to focus on spinal alignment as they place extra pressure on their shoulder and hips each night. Here are some important features to look out for when purchasing a new mattress.
- Mattress type
- High quality materials
- Firmness levels
- Pressure relief
When shopping for a mattress, keep in mind that firmness and support are not the same thing.
Mattresses come in several firmness levels, from extremely soft to extremely firm. These levels provide an indication of how hard or soft the mattress will feel to you — not how supportive it will be to your spine.
Support refers to how efficiently a mattress maintains spinal alignment. A supportive mattress is one that provides pressure point relief while keeping your spine aligned and in its proper position, even while side sleeping.
Soft to medium-firm mattresses may offer more support than extra-firm ones do, since they have more give.
If you’re a side sleeper, mattresses that are too soft and don’t offer the right support can cause pain in the shoulder or lower back.
A too-firm mattress may not supply enough curve-hugging give, but for support, keep in mind that mattresses soften over time. So what may feel soft now will likely feel even softer several weeks and months down the line.
Also remember that what you find comfortable, someone else may dislike. To get the best mattress for you, always buy one that comes with an in-home sleep trial offer of at least 1 month, so you can try it out at home for a period of time.
Pay attention to the materials used and opt for mattresses that are nontoxic. Small amounts of toxic, gaseous chemicals called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are found in polyurethane mattresses and in some mattress coverings.
VOCs can become activated and released by your body’s heat while you sleep. Even low exposure to VOCs can cause oxidative stress and airway inflammation.
Look for a reputable, transparent manufacturer that offers a long-term warranty and its details. A good mattress should last at least 10 years. If it doesn’t, ask for a return or exchange.
What should side sleepers look for in a mattress?
Side sleepers should look for mattresses that offer pressure relief. Side sleepers have more pressure points than other sleepers, like back sleepers, and should look for certain materials, such as hybrid and latex materials to comfort those pressure points while they sleep.
What level of mattress firmness should side sleepers look for?
Side sleepers should focus on pressure relief versus firmness, so the firmness level may vary depending on the types of pressure you feel when you sleep. However, mattress firmness usually varies by weight. Weight causes mattresses to sink, so more weight requires more support, which may mean a firmer mattress.
What type of mattress is best for side sleepers who are prone to pain?
Side sleepers are more likely to have pressure points in their shoulders, back, and hips, so mattresses that offer support, pressure relief, and contour are recommended. Hybrid mattresses are one type that has all these qualities.
If you’re a side sleeper, finding a mattress that supports spine alignment while cushioning your shoulder and neck is important.
There are many mattresses available across multiple price points that may be good choices for side sleepers.