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While many people think that sleeping on your back is the best sleeping 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 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.

Many people prefer side sleeping simply because they find it more comfortable, but sleeping on the wrong mattress may result in neck and back pain. The best type of mattress for most side sleepers is a medium-firm one that contours to the shape of the body and provides 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 of that off-gassing smell.
  • Manufacturer warranties. We looked for transparent manufacturers that 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.

Pricing guide

Quality mattresses are an investment. Many retailers offer payment plans, and some mattress brands go on sale intermittently throughout the year.

The mattresses on this list are priced for queen size, not including the base, tax, delivery charges, or setup fees, should they apply.

We indicate pricing as follows:

  • $ = under $1,000
  • $$ = $1,000–$1,500
  • $$$ = over $1,500

Best gel-infused mattress for side sleepers

Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress

Price: $$$

This mattress is available in firm and relaxed-firm comfort options 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.

Pros

  • available in two different firmness levels: relaxed firm and firm
  • comes with a 180-night home trial and a 15-year warranty
  • includes in-room delivery and setup, plus free mattress removal

Cons

  • a transportation fee may apply to returns
  • memory foam usually feels warmer, but gel-infusion may help
  • 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

Helix Midnight

Price: $$

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.

Pros

  • hybrid mattresses can help reduce motion transfer
  • reinforced perimeter
  • comes with a 100-night sleep trial guarantee and a limited 10-year warranty

Cons

  • only the sides have a reinforced perimeter, not the head or the foot of the mattress
  • doesn’t have targeted lumbar support
  • some reviewers find it to be too soft

Shop for the Helix Midnight at Helix.

Best foam mattresses for side sleepers

Casper Original Foam Mattress

Price: $$

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 appealing 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.

Pros

Cons

  • you’ll want to request a manufacturer’s warranty if buying on Amazon
  • additional fee for in-home delivery and setup
  • some reviewers mention that the mattress has a strong chemical smell at first

Shop for the Casper Original Foam Mattress at Casper or Amazon.

Sealy Cocoon Chill Soft Foam Mattress

Price: $$

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.

Pro

Cons

  • memory foam can feel warmer
  • reviewers mention getting too warm during the night

Shop for the Sealy Cocoon Chill Soft Foam Mattress at Sealy.

Best mattress for restless side sleepers

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Price: $$

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, sheets, and a mattress protector.

Pros

  • reduced motion transfer can help if you’re sharing a bed with someone else
  • comes with free accessories (pillows, sheets, and a mattress topper)
  • comes with a 365-night home trial and a forever warranty

Cons

  • memory foam can feel warmer
  • some reviewers find it a little too soft

Shop for the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress at Nectar.

Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Price: $$$

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.

Pros

Cons

  • some reviewers mention that the king mattress is smaller than expected
  • some reviewers found the mattress too soft
  • some reviewers say they had trouble reaching customer service

Shop for the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress at Amazon or DreamCloud.

Best mattresses for pressure relief for side sleepers

Amerisleep AS4

Price: $$$

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.

Pros

Cons

  • a little more expensive than other foam mattresses
  • several reviewers say it didn’t reduce motion transfer enough

Shop for the Amerisleep AS4 mattress at Amerisleep.

Tempur-Adapt Medium Mattress

Price: $$$

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.

This mattress is also available in a model called medium hybrid, which replaces the bottom layer of foam with a framed layer of individually wrapped coils.

Pros

Cons

  • memory foam tends to feel warmer
  • Tempur-Pedic doesn’t typically put their mattresses on sale or discount

Shop for the Tempur-Adapt Medium Mattress at Amazon or Tempur-Pedic.

Best cooling mattress for side sleepers

Serta iComfort CF4000 with Cooling and Comfort Upgrade

Price: $$

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 CF4000 comes in firm, plush, or ultra-plush options. All three provide pressure point support, although some side sleepers say that the plush provides better support than the firm.

Pros

Cons

  • mattress upgrades increase the price by a fair amount
  • additional fee for in-home delivery and setup

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.

When done correctly with the proper body alignment, sleeping on your side can reduce both joint and low back pain, as well as chronic pain associated with long-term conditions like fibromyalgia.

Another benefit of 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 involve 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 on the pillow. Tucking your chin toward your chest will create neck pain.

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
  • contouring

When shopping for a mattress, keep in mind that firmness and support aren’t the same thing.

Mattresses come in several firmness levels, from extremely soft to extremely firm. These levels indicate 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 nontoxic mattresses. 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.

Questions to ask when mattress shopping

  • Which products does the warranty apply to?
  • What is and isn’t covered by the warranty?
  • Is there a shipping fee for my order?
  • How is the mattress delivered?
  • Can I return the mattress? How do I do so?
  • Are there fees for returning the mattress?
  • Do other customers like the mattress? What are their experiences with the mattress and manufacturer?

What type of mattress should a side sleeper use?

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. Latex mattresses are another good option, as they also provide pressure relief and contour and are usually more affordable than hybrid mattresses.

How firm should a mattress be for a side sleeper?

Medium-soft to medium firmness provides pressure relief in the shoulders and hips and just enough support without feeling too stiff. Side sleepers have more pressure points than other sleepers, like back sleepers. However, mattress firmness usually varies by body weight. Weight causes mattresses to sink, so more weight requires more support, which may mean a firmer mattress.

Can side sleepers sleep on a firm mattress?

Most side sleepers benefit from medium-soft to medium firmness, but mattress firmness usually varies by body weight. Weight causes mattresses to sink, so more weight requires more support, which may mean a firmer mattress. So, it’s important to consider your weight when shopping. Most companies offer an in-home sleep trial for their mattresses, which can help you determine what level of firmness works best for you.

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.