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So, your old mattress is no longer comfortable. Maybe you wake up to stiff shoulders and hips, and it can take some time to recover. Worse yet, your sleep isn’t as restful, and sometimes, you feel worse in the morning than the night before.
However, as you rest on your side, you don’t know where to start looking.
There are so many options, constructions, materials, and other factors to consider. So, what is the top mattress for side sleepers?
This guide should present you with several choices of top-rated models, each with a specific purpose. And, if none of them work for you, our buyer’s guide should give you plenty of information about what aspects to consider before making a final decision.
If you want more information, you can also check out our guide to the best mattresses overall.
6 Highest Rated Side Sleeper Beds
Nectar – Ideal Support
In our opinion, the best mattress for side sleepers is Nectar.
Proper support can be crucial for those that sleep on their sides. If the mattress is too firm, you could start experiencing pain in your hips or shoulders, as they’re most likely kept in an improper position. This Nectar model shouldn’t do that; in fact, it’s designed to prop you up correctly regardless of your sleeping preferences, and it should do it without fail.
It is made of several layers of gel-cooled memory foam on top of a breathable high-density foam base. As the top layers are cooled, it should support you correctly even during the hot summer nights, and it should provide a refreshing surface at the same time.
Most owners have praised its refreshing surface and optimal support.
So, if you want something to ease the pain in your shoulders or hips, this one might do just that. It should align your body correctly, distribute the pressure evenly, and relieve the tension, allowing your body to relax better.
Purple – Best Motion Isolation
If you share your bed with a partner, then you know how hard it can be when you can feel their every movement. Traditional mattresses provide poor motion isolation, but this Purple model should keep your partner’s every move on their side.
To achieve that, it uses a proprietary type of polyurethane foam for its top layer. And, as the top is aerated, the air should flow freely through the surface, which should also take the warmth away from you. That way, you’ll avoid a common pitfall among memory foam products – their heat retention.
At the same time, it shouldn’t develop a body indentation as similar solutions could, nor is it made with harmful chemicals which could dissipate from your bed. All that makes it a comfortable and safe alternative, especially if you have problems with allergies.
That’s why this mattress could be the answer for those light sleepers that share a bed – you’ll no longer feel your partner’s every move, nor will your restless nights keep them awake. It should also be comfortable enough for most people, especially those suspicious of memory foam.
Linenspa – Ideal for Kids' Room
Equipping a kids’ room comes with its own set of setbacks. Your kids probably don’t know their sleeping preferences, and while you know what their preferred sleeping position is, it may not be enough to guess what could be their ideal mattress.
In those cases, a generalist approach might be best. This Linenspa model provides a stable surface that should be comfortable for most people. As it combines memory foam with an innerspring base, it should bring together the best of these two worlds and provide your children with a comfortable bed.
Like all innerspring models, it should be bouncy and responsive, which most children like. At the same time, the memory foam will adapt to their bodies and keep them in a proper posture while they rest and grow.
All these factors should make this mattress an ideal choice for your kids’ room. It will provide them with plenty of comforts while they grow, all while keeping their bodies correctly aligned. And, it comes in a wide variety of sizes, so you can choose what you feel is best for your child.
Best Price Mattress – Best Comfort
When we say a mattress is comfortable, we usually mean that it can adapt to your body and distribute the pressure along its surface. That should, in turn, relieve the tension, allowing your muscles to relax better while you sleep, which should lead to a more rejuvenating night’s sleep.
This Best Price Mattress should provide just that. As it’s made of memory foam, it will mold itself to your body, propping it up and aligning it correctly, and keeping that throughout the night. To ensure that it remains fresh, the top is paired with an airflow comfort layer, which distributes the warmth throughout the surface while still providing relief.
Keep in mind that it is a firmer model. If you prefer something softer, though, it comes in a variety of profiles ranging from 6 to 12 inches, with the thicker ones providing a plusher sleeping surface. Combined with a wide range of sizes, you’re sure to find the right model.
Overall, this mattress should be more than comfortable for most people. Its memory foam top should mold itself to your body, allowing for a more restful night’s sleep. At the same time, the firm base should keep you propped up in a correct position, while still holding you away from the floorboards.
Sweetnight – Best Pain Relief
If you have problems with neck or back pain, a proper mattress can help relieve it. That helps your body to get a more relaxed rest, which helps it rejuvenate and recover. This Sweetnight model should provide just that, a comfortable and supporting surface to relieve your pain.
As it is a flippable model, it should come with two distinct feels – one side is medium-firm, while the other is soft. That way, you can choose which side to sleep on, and that will further help your body recover.
Both sides are infused with cooling gel to keep the surface refreshing even when the nights are hot. They also have airflow layers under them to help distribute the warmth all throughout the mattress.
With all that in mind, it should prop your body up in a correct position, which helps relieve some tension. That can also help reduce aches and pains by providing your body with a relaxing surface, helping it heal better and faster.
Classic Brands – Best Cooling
If you want a memory foam mattress, but have problems with hot sleeping, you might choose something that has a cooling solution. This medium-feeling Classic Brands model has an infusion of cooling gel directly into the memory foam top. That should help reduce its temperature and keep it refreshing even during the hot summer nights.
With a cooling system, memory foam also retains more of its firmness during summer. That helps it to keep you correctly aligned while distributing the pressure of your weight all along the surface. That can help you relax better while you sleep.
To further boost the cooling, both of its layers have improved airflow, and the cover is breathable. That should help the warm air leave the mattress, reducing the surface warmth. Most owners have, in fact, recognized these factors and praised its refreshing sleeping experience.
So, if you’re looking for a cooling mattress that can help you get through the hot summer nights, this one might be what you need. Its surface should remain fresh regardless of the outside temperature, all while keeping you correctly supported.
To see our full Classic Brands picks, check our guide.
If you sleep predominantly on your side, there are several factors to consider before making a final decision about which mattress to buy. This guide should present you with the most significant aspects to make your sleeping experience as comfortable as possible.
Firmness & Softness
Back and stomach sleepers usually share a preference for a firm surface, as that will prop their bodies up in a correct position. If, however, you sleep on your side and try a stiffer model, you’ll soon notice that your shoulders and hips are under more strain. Your posture won’t be as aligned during the night, and you could start to wake up stiff and sore.
That’s generally why side sleepers usually prefer a softer surface – it allows your shoulders and hips to sink more, which should correctly align your spine. That should, in turn, ease the tension in your back, hips, and shoulders, which should help your body get a more rejuvenating night’s sleep.
On the other hand, if it’s too soft, you’ll probably sink too much, and that could again result in improper alignment of your spine. That’s why it might be best to try several different models out before buying.
So, if you mostly sleep on your side, you’ll want a mattress that is in the plush to medium range, as those should be best at shaping themselves to your body.
Mattress prices have gone down significantly since ordering online became an option. Where a comfortable and supporting mattress once could have cost you several thousand dollars, now you can find one for under $1,000.
Some materials are cheaper than others, though, and you can decide what you want before looking at the prices. After you have settled on a type and build, you can check to find the best bed model for the price.
Warranty Coverage and Sleep Trial
Warranty refers to the period after-sale where the cost of repairs is covered by the manufacturer. Mostly, it lasts 5-10 years. Some offer even more, while others, especially cheaper, offer none.
You should also pay attention to the conditions of the coverage. Some will only accept the warranty if it has a minimal amount of sagging, or if the covers are free of stains. Also, some manufacturers offer limited coverage after the first several years. There, they only cover part of the repair.
Sleep trials are the trial period for your mattress. As you can’t try it before you buy it, you don’t know whether a model will work for you when ordering online. That’s why they offer you the chance to try it out in your home, and if you’re not satisfied with it, you can return it.
As with the warranties, there are several details you should be aware of. For one, you should know how long the trial is. Most manufacturers allow a month, with some going much higher, up to 100 days. Others offer none. Some also cover the cost of a return, while others will charge you a fee to ship it back.
That’s why you should check the warranty and sleep trial of your chosen product before buying. You may not need either, but it would be nice to have in case something is wrong with the mattress.
Most side sleepers shift their position several times during the night. That’s why it could be essential if the mattress could follow those shifts and provide proper support. But what exactly does that mean?
When we talk about support, we usually mean that the mattress is capable of changing its shape to your contours, molding itself to your body (check our picks for top orthopedic mattress). That disperses the pressure over a larger surface, which eases the tension in your back, hips, and shoulders, which are the most affected areas for side sleepers.
Most of these resting positions have a vast difference between the highest and lowest point it needs to cover. To provide the best support for you while you’re on your side, you’ll need a mattress that is on the softer end of the spectrum.
If you sleep on a surface that is too stiff, your hips could end up in a heightened position, which could put additional pressure on them, as well as your back. Likewise, if your shoulder can’t sink enough, your spine won’t be properly aligned.
However, if the surface is too soft, your hips or shoulders could sink too far down, which could again put your spine in an awkward position.
Some newer models offer zoned support precisely because of these issues – they are firmer under your hips and legs and softer under your shoulders. That should keep your spine correctly aligned throughout the night, regardless of what position you end up in.
Pelvic Rotation & Spine Alignment
This is a common problem among side sleepers. It happens when your upper and lower spines aren’t correctly aligned because you turned your pelvis to one side or the other. That could cause lower back pain.
For example, if you sleep on your side with one leg straight, and the other folded, all while lying on your stomach, your pelvis is at an awkward angle. That means your spine is slightly rotated. If your mattress isn’t as comfortable, that could cause tension in the lower back region, which could start to hurt after a while.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can fix this problem and keep your spine correctly aligned while you sleep.
For one, you could start training yourself to sleep in a more appropriate position. Usually, that means either turning fully to your side or sleeping on your back or stomach. Those positions should maintain proper spinal alignment and shouldn’t cause problems down the line.
Alternatively, you could place a pillow between your legs, as that should force you to remain in a proper position. You could also buy a comfortable mattress, one that can support you correctly regardless of your sleeping position.
Know the Side Sleeping Positions
To help you understand your needs better, this section will give an overview of the most popular sleeping positions and their advantages and disadvantages.
This is probably the single most popular sleeping position. About 41% of all people share this position, and after understanding its benefits, you’ll see why. It usually entails sleeping on your side with your knees folded up to your chest.
In most cases, it should be comfortable and keep your spine correctly aligned. It is also specifically recommended for pregnant women, as it improves the circulation both of the mother and the fetus. It is also less common among men.
Sometimes, your hips could start to get sore from the pressure, especially if your mattress isn’t as comfortable. In that case, placing a pillow between your knees should help ease the pain and realign your spine.
This one is quite similar to the fetal position, as both your legs are bent, but not as high up, frequently with one hand resting up against your chin. As it’s akin to the previous position, it shares similar downsides, as well, such as the additional stress on the hips. Similarly, a pillow between the knees should fix that problem and keep your spine straight.
The log is a position in which your legs and back are straight, and your hands are either at your sides or slightly to the front. It’s an excellent position if you snore, and it’s been known to reduce sleep apnea. It can, however, strain your shoulders and hips more.
This refers to the people who like to hug their pillows when they sleep. The legs are usually bent, sometimes also helping with the cuddling. If that’s your position, you should watch out for pelvic rotation, as it can be easy for the lower part of your body to end up prone.
Like the log, in this position, your legs and back are straight, while your arms are stretched out in front of you as if you’re reaching for something. It is usually a comfortable position, and it can help with snoring or other breathing difficulties, but it can stress your shoulders and hips.
This is another less common position. If you find your arms and back straight like in the log, while one of your legs is straight, and the other curled, then you’re sleeping in a sprinter position. You should watch out for pelvic rotation, and your hips could be under more stress than in the other poses.
Spooning Position for Couples
If you share a bed with your partner, you know this position. In it, one of you sleeps in the front, the other in the back, while both of you are on your sides. Apart from feeling good, it can come with a whole set of advantages and disadvantages.
For one, you’ll wake up more, as you’re likely to feel your partner’s every move. If one of you have a restless night, neither will get any sleep. Additionally, you place more stress on your hips, while your arm can fall asleep if it ends up under your partner.
On the other hand, it could lead you to form a stronger bond with your partner, and it can be relaxing. It can relieve your stress, as well.
Important Things to Know About Side Sleeping
Apart from your mattress, there are additional aspects you should know about side sleeping. In this section, we’ll go over some traits and benefits of side resting. We’ll also point out some downsides you should keep in mind, as well.
Choosing a Mattress Based on Body Weight
This can be a crucial aspect when choosing the right firmness and thickness level of your mattress. How much you weigh usually affects how much you’ll sink into the surface when you lie down. That, in turn, determines how properly your spine will be aligned once you are lying on your bed.
In general, the heavier you are, the firmer the surface should be. If you lay on too soft a mattress, you’ll sink too far down, possibly even down to the floorboards. Your whole experience will be uncomfortable. A firmer surface, on the other hand, should keep you from sinking too low, all while keeping your spine correctly aligned.
This handy table should give you an overview of the relation between your weight and the firmness required to keep you in a healthy posture.
| > 230 pounds||130 to 230 pounds||< 130 pounds|
|Ideal firmness level||Medium-firm, firm, or extra firm||Medium to medium firm||Medium, medium-plush, plush, or softer|
|Notes||If your weight is above average, you may sink too deep into any surface that is softer than medium-firm. That means, your body won’t be as supported, and you could experience aches and pains. Firmer options are generally better.||If you’re in this range, you generally fit into the average weight category. While you’ll be fine on most beds, you’ll probably find the best comfort and support on something from the medium range, depending on your preferences.||Lighter individuals don’t sink as much, and if they rest on a firm surface, their body won’t be correctly supported. That’s why they would be best served by something on the plusher end of the spectrum.|
Another factor your weight dictates is the mattress’ thickness – the heavier you are, generally, the thicker the product should be (see options for heavier people). Those with below-average weight could do fine on a 6-inch model, while those that are above average may need to find something at 12 inches or taller.
Find the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
To help you better understand the different materials, we put together this table. In it, you’ll find the essential information about each type of mattress, the build best suited for side sleepers, their advantages, disadvantages, their lifespan, and price range.
|Foam||Memory foam top with a polyfoam comfort layer. The base should be made of high-density polyfoam.||· Plenty of choices|
· Good motion isolation
· Great comfort and support
|· Heat retention|
· Starts to sag after a while
· Poor edge support
|Foam||Ideally, it should have polyfoam layers above and below. Individually packed coils are the best option.||· Sleeps cool|
· Good edge support
· Good responsiveness
|· Weaker support|
· Shorter lifespan
· Can get noisy
|Latex||Preferably, the latex should be the top layer. It should also have a polyfoam comfort layer and a high-density foam base.||· Good support|
· Good motion isolation
· Sleeps cool
|· More expensive|
· Poor edge support
· Can start sagging after a while
|Hybrid||Pocketed coils in the base and either memory foam or latex on the top. A thicker comfort layer of at least 2 inches is also preferable.||· Good responsiveness|
· Great support
· Sleeps cool
· Good edge support
· Can get noisy after a while
· Can be thick and heavy
|Airbed||Ideally, it should have several foam layers on top of an inflatable base, which should be adjustable. Preferably, the pump should be built-in.||· Good support and comfort|
· Adjustable firmness
· Air chambers could be sensitive
· Could be a bit warmer
Best Pillow to Use
As most side sleepers know, the quality of their sleep depends on the mattress as well. If it doesn’t support your neck correctly, it could cause you to feel stiff, which could lead to aches and pains down the line.
You’ll want a pillow that is tall enough to keep your neck and head in a correct position, while not bending your neck at an awkward angle. It may take some trial and error until you find what works for you, though.
Ideally, it should be made of several layers of foam. Memory foam is also acceptable, but it can heat up quickly and become uncomfortable. Polyfoam is also adequate, as it remains cooler while you sleep. It isn’t as durable, though.
You could also try and find a latex pillow. Those should be more comfortable and responsive than memory foam, while still supporting your head correctly. They are also more refreshing than memory foam, and it could be the right choice.
While soft pillows may seem more desirable, if you sleep on your side, that’s usually not the case. You’ll most likely need a firmer pillow, one that can retain its shape throughout the night. Those should keep your head and neck properly aligned while you sleep, and they should help you get better rest.
If you have back or neck problems, you might want a pillow that has a dent in the middle. That should support both your head and your neck, which can help decrease the tension there and lead to a reduction in neck pain.
Is it Healthier to Sleep on Your Side?
Now that you know what to look for when buying a mattress and pillow, you may be wondering, is sleeping on your side even healthy? Does it have advantages over other positions? And, if it does, what are they?
This section will list the most common benefits of resting on your side.
Best for GERD
This is a condition which affects the muscle at the end of your esophagus, leading to a return of your stomach contents. It causes heartburn and indigestion, and it can be relieved when you sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your back or stomach is known to make things worse.
If you want to prevent wrinkles, you might want to consider sleeping on your back, because resting in any other position, including stomach and side, can lead to an increased pressure on your face, which can, in time, lead to lines forming there.
Best for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring is more pronounced if you rest on your back, which is why it’s regularly recommended to switch to side sleeping. If you can only sleep on your back, you could reduce snoring by stacking pillows. Alternatively, if you have an adjustable bed frame (see top adjustable mattresses), you could raise the upper half. That should keep your breathing steadier.
If, however, you find yourself waking up out of breath and feeling exhausted, you may have developed sleep apnea. You should consider consulting your doctor about it. Among a wide variety of ways with which you can make the symptoms more manageable is the recommendation to start sleeping on your side. It can drastically reduce the number of times you wake up in the night.
Neck, Shoulder and Upper Back Pain
If you have lower back pain, it could be worsened by your sleeping position. Stomach sleeping, for example, can make the symptoms much more severe. Switching to back resting with your legs raised can help, as can sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.
Similarly, if you have upper back pain or aches in your shoulders and neck, your sleeping position could cause that, especially if you sleep on your side. Your pillow could be too flat, or the mattress too firm, which could lead to an improper alignment of your spine while you sleep. That should, in time, cause aches and pains, as well as stiffness.
Back sleeping can alleviate the symptoms, but if you always find yourself on your side, you can help your body heal by sleeping on a more comfortable mattress and pillow.
Best for Pregnant Women
This seems obvious; after all, stomach or back sleeping could be difficult when pregnant. You should also avoid resting on your back, as that reduces the blood flow to the baby. You should preferably try to spend more time on your left side. That increases the blood flow, and it could be healthier both for you and your baby.
You can make yourself even more comfortable by placing a body pillow under your belly, and another one between your knees. That should keep your spine correctly aligned.
Congestive Heart Failure
If you have congestive heart failure, you may already know how uncomfortable sleeping on your back can be. It isn’t much better when you turn to your left side. You’re probably able to find any comfort on when lying on your right side. That is the healthiest sleeping position, as it prevents further health damage.
Downsides of Side Sleeping
After getting familiar with the benefits, it’s time to draw attention to the drawbacks of resting on your side. After all, the position is hard to get right without risking damage down the line.
Back pain is the most frequent problem side sleepers face. Usually, it is a result of a poor mattress. If it’s too firm, your hip will stick out more, and your lower back will be misaligned. If, however, it is too soft, you will sink too much and end up in the same problem on the other side.
Your mattress needs to be just right to correctly support your body. It needs to be soft enough for your hips and shoulders to sink, while firm enough to keep your spine aligned. Usually, a quality memory foam mattress made with a high-density foam base should do the trick. Innersprings are also an option, although they are less capable of distributing your weight evenly.
You should also pay attention to the angle of your hips. If your upper torso is prone while one of your legs is curled, and the other straight, it could cause problems, particularly on a firm surface.
And, if you continue to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, the symptoms will only get worse.
This is another frequent problem among side sleepers. It is also caused by too firm a mattress, one that can’t allow your shoulders to settle deep enough to keep your spine straight. That’s why most of our choices provide you with enough space to sink to maintain the correct alignment of your neck.
More expensive models offer zoned support, and if you suffer from either back or neck pain, you should consider buying one of them. They are softer under your hips and shoulders while being firmer everywhere else, which is what helps them prop up your body in all the right places.
It could also be caused by an uncomfortable pillow. If it’s too flat, your head will hang, leaving your neck in an awkward position. It should be similar if the pillow is too tall. There are also models specialized in helping relieve neck pain. They’re built to keep your neck correctly aligned with your body, all while keeping your head comfortable.
Pressure Points Cause Pain
Side resting has a significant drawback – it puts additional strain on the pressure points. And, the increased stress also brings an increase in tension, which can, if it lasts for a long while, lead to stiffness and aches.
The increased pressure primarily comes from a poor mattress, especially if it’s too firm. The surface should shape itself to your body and, in doing that, distribute the pressure across a larger surface. If it’s too stiff, however, that pressure is localized in a smaller area. Your body reacts to that by increasing the tension there. In time, that can lead to pain in your lower back.
It’s primarily because of this that a soft and comfortable mattress is recommended for those that rest on their sides. You should pay attention to its support, too. If it’s too plush, you won’t be correctly propped up, either. That’s why you should try several models with different firmness levels before making the final decision.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, if the surface is too firm, that increases the tension in your pressure points. For side sleepers, the primary pressure points are hips and shoulders, as they are the areas that stick out the most.
When you rest on a firm surface, those areas don’t sink as much, which can place them in an awkward position. That, in turn, leads to an increase in tension, which can, in time, lead to stiffness and aches. It also leads to an improper alignment of your spine.
If you sleep on a softer surface, however, your hips and shoulders will sink just enough to keep your spine straight. It will also distribute the pressure along a larger surface, which should reduce the tension in those areas. That should lead to a more rejuvenating rest.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, your mattress needs to be just the right firmness for you. Too soft, and you’ll sink too much, leading to neck and back pain. Too firm, and your shoulders and hips start to get stiff and sore.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Memory Foam Good for Side Sleepers?
Yes, memory foam is. By changing its shape to your body, it relieves the pressure on the hips and shoulders, allowing for a more relaxed sleep. It should also correctly support you if your pelvis is at a different angle compared to the rest of your body. You should, however, try and find something in the medium range.
What is the Best Brand for Hot Side Sleepers?
In general, any brand will do if you pay attention to its construction. Cooling mattresses will usually either have a material to help transfer the heat away from you, most commonly gel (follow our top gel memory foam mattress guide), or an airflow layer to take the heat away with air. Just be sure not to buy something too firm.
Side sleepers, while being the most common, can have the most difficult time finding the right mattress. If it’s too firm, your shoulders and hips can become sore, and if it’s too soft, your spine isn’t aligned correctly, leading to neck and back pain. With that in mind, it can take several attempts to finally find something you like.
Our selection should provide you with several choices that should be good enough for most people. If, however, you are a more discerning customer, we have also provided you with a guide to the most significant factors you need to consider when buying a bed.
After reading our guide, you should have all the information you need. You’ll know the most common materials, builds, and firmness levels, as well as other factors such as warranty or sleep trials. That way, your search might become a little bit easier.