For many people, sleeping on your side feels natural. There are numerous health benefits, and it is the most commonly reported sleeping position. It can help to reduce your risk of sleep apnea, and it may even improve the health of your gut and brain.
However, sleeping on your side can have some adverse effects if you’re not using the right mattress. It can put undue pressure on your shoulders and hips and lead to joint pain and discomfort. The best mattress for side sleepers is one that contours to the shape of your resting body. In doing so, it will provide pressure relief for your hips, shoulder and neck. However, if you’re a combination sleeper, you’ll want to opt for a firmer mattress for further pressure relief and support. It’ll be adaptable regardless of your final sleep position.
New online mattress brands launch all the time and mattresses in boxes have flooded the market. So how does a dedicated side sleeper sort through all the available choices to find the best mattress? There are just so many different types, not to mention extras, such as mattress toppers or adjustable bases for your bed. Seriously, who has time to sort through these or to test every memory foam mattress, gel memory foam mattress, natural latex foam mattress, hybrid mattress and innerspring mattress to find the right mattress for a particular sleep position?
Me. I personally slept on more than two dozen models to find the best mattress for side sleepers, and here are my findings. We update this side sleeper mattress review list periodically as we test new products. Prices listed are for queen sizes, though they frequently change.
Type: Hybrid mattressFirmness: 3 firmness levels | Plush Soft: Medium or 5 | Luxury Firm: Medium-firm or 7 | Firm: 9/10 or firm Trial: 180 nightsWarranty: 15-year limited warrantyPrice (queen): $1,695
I’m pretty sure I morphed into the 😍 emoji as soon as I saw the Saatva Classic mattress coming off the truck. It was thick, it looked plush, and even though it’s a hybrid mattress like all of the others on this mattress review list, it didn’t arrive in a box (and the new mattress came with free white glove delivery).
It didn’t have the cloud-like feeling I expected — even though it totally looked the part — but I’ve come to realize that what I think I want and what my spine actually wants are two different things. The first couple of nights were just OK, but after sleeping on the mattress for a few weeks, I fell in love.
The Saatva mattress combines a layer of innerspring mattress coils, a layer of microcoils, and 884 lumbar zone pocketed coils, meaning it provides maximum support (a plus for sleepers over 250 pounds). It’s also designed with high-end mattress foam and cushioning that goes a step above your standard pillow top. Within the mattress is special lumbar technology, providing pressure relief and extra support in the center of the mattresses. This combo keeps your spinal alignment just right when you’re sleeping on your side so that you can wake up pain-free. I’ve been dealing with some neck, hip and ankle pain and it’s almost gone after sleeping on this mattress regularly.
Each mattress is made to order, which I thought was really cool. The Saatva mattress company lets you choose from three firmness level options — ultra-plush, luxury firm and firm — and two different mattress heights — 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches. All that flexibility helps it earn its place as one of the best mattresses for side sleepers. I recommend the ultra plush model which is rated around a medium on the firmness scale or the luxury firm if you want a little more support. Read more at our Saatva mattress review.
The Saatva Classic comes in sizes twin to split California king and prices range from $887 to $2,296.
Type: Flippable hybrid mattressFirmness: Firm: 5 or medium | Soft: 3 or medium-softTrial: 120 nights Warranty: 10-year limited warrantyPrice (queen): $1,699
The Layla Hybrid mattress is the only flippable mattress type on this list, and really one of the only flippable hybrid mattress options out there. But it’s not just flippable so that you can move it around and break it in evenly. It actually combines two different mattresses in one. One side is soft and the other is firm, the perfect combination sleeper solution for you if you can’t make up your mind about what mattress firmness level you want in a new mattress.
The soft mattress side, which is rated a four out of 10 on the firmness level scale, has a plush feel that hugs and contours your body at all of your pressure points. The firmer mattress side, rated a seven out of 10, offers more support with less sink to maintain your spine alignment as you snooze. Both the soft mattress side and firm mattress side are equally great for a side sleeping position.
On days that I felt sore and tense, the soft mattress side had just enough give to alleviate pressure on my shoulders and hips, but still provided the support I needed so I didn’t wake up in pain. On the days where I felt like I wanted a little more support, the firm mattress side of this Layla Mattress propped me right up.
As for mattress construction, the Layla’s mattress material makes it a true hybrid mattress, combining layers of memory foam with individually wrapped pocketed coils. The foam layer is also infused with copper, which pulls heat away from your body as you sleep. I tend to sleep cool anyway, but this is a nice feature for a hot sleeper, especially since traditional memory foam is notorious for trapping heat. Read more in our Layla Hybrid mattress review.
The Layla Hybrid mattress comes in twin to California king and prices range from $1,299 to $1,899.
Type: Poly foam hybrid Firmness: Medium or 5Trial: 100 nights Warranty: 10-year limited warrantyPrice (queen): $1,995
The star of the Tuft and Needle Hybrid is an adaptive memory foam that alleviates pressure from your shoulders and hips by expertly contouring your body and hugging you in all the right places. To make things even more comfortable, T&N combines that memory foam layer with individually wrapped steel coils and ceramic gel, so in addition to softness, you also get the right amount of support so you don’t feel like you’re sinking. And it works. So, when you’re looking for the best mattress for side sleepers, this is a strong one to consider.
The mattress was soft enough to take the pressure off my shoulders and hips, but I didn’t feel like the middle of my spine was sagging. I woke up pain-free and, after a little stretching, my body felt nimble and ready to go. This mattress also has graphite gel foam beads for heat conductivity, and open air channels that work together to wick away moisture and improve air flow, so it kept me nice and cool.
The only downside is that it seemed to have more bounce than others. While there’s no squeakiness like with a traditional spring mattress, the motion transfer from my boyfriend tossing and turning was enough to wake me up in the middle of the night. That’s why I recommend this hybrid mattress for those of you who sleep alone.
The Tuft and Needle Hybrid comes in twin to California king and prices range from $1,395 to $2,595.
Type: Hybrid mattressFirmness: 6 or medium to medium-firmTrial: 100 nights Warranty: 10-year limited warrantyPrice (queen): $3,799
When I got on the Purple Hybrid Premier 4 and rolled over to my side, my first thought was: This feels weird. The grid technology, which is exclusive to Purple, is definitely different from anything else I’ve tried and I felt like the mattress was trying to force me forward onto my stomach.The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 provided pressure relief in a unique way.
But after a few nights on the mattress, I got used to it and the Purple mattress quickly became one of my favorites. The grid is designed with lots of open air channels, so it’s able to fully adapt to your body, contouring your shape perfectly. The end result is a zero-gravity feel that really takes the pressure off your hips and shoulders and feels remarkably soft and comfortable.
The Purple hybrid mattress also seemed to offer better motion isolation than any other on this mattress review list, so this mattress type is a great option if you sleep with someone else who tosses and turns.
The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 comes in sizes twin XL to split king and prices range from $3,199 to $6,398.
Read our Purple Hybrid Premier 4 review.
Type: Poly foam hybrid mattressFirmness: 5 or mediumTrial: 100 nights Warranty: 10-year limited warrantyPrice (queen): $2,399
If you’re more of a mostly side sleeper who tosses and turns and sometimes ends up on your back, rather than a heavier sleeper who tends to stay put, then the Leesa Legend is for you. With two layers of springs and two layers of specialized memory foam, this Leesa hybrid mattress was designed to provide the right amount of comfort, pressure relief and support for any sleeping position, whether you’re a side sleeper or stomach sleeper.
I was especially impressed with the edge-to-edge hybrid mattress support. Even when I found myself teetering on the very edge of the bed, an inch away from rolling onto the floor, I felt safe and supported. The motion isolation was another one of my favorite things about the Leesa mattress. This memory foam mattress held up to some serious tossing and turning, staying relatively still the whole time.
The Leesa also had the most high-end look and feel, with the exception of the Saatva. The luxury of a natural cover, made from organic cotton and merino wool cover makes it a softer mattress that was built with comfort and durability in mind. Read more in our full Leesa Legend mattress review.
The Leesa Legend comes in sizes twin XL to California king and prices range from $1,899 to $2,699.
Type: Poly foam hybrid mattressFirmness: 5 or mediumTrial: 100 nights Warranty: 15-year limited warrantyPrice (queen): $2,049
The Helix Midnight Luxe is undoubtedly one of the best mattresses for side sleepers, but I thought it was a really great mattress for any kind of sleeping position. Its mattress type is technically classified as a medium firm mattress by Helix, but it’s soft enough that it has some give for your hips and shoulders so you don’t wake up in pain or with tingling arms and hands, like you might with firmer mattresses.
Like most hybrid mattresses, the Helix mattress is made of different foam and gel layers combined with innerspring mattress coils, but it’s finished off with a pillow top comfort layer that really gives it an edge over its competition.
Because it’s a comfortable hybrid mattress in any sleeping position, it’s also a great option for couples with different sleeping position styles. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, the Helix adjusts to you and supports you in all of the right places. Read more at our Helix mattress review.
The Helix Midnight Luxe comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $1,199 to $2,499.
Type: Hybrid mattressFirmness: 3 firmness levels | Soft: 3 or Medium-soft | Medium: 5 or Medium | Firm: Medium-firm or 7Trial: 120 nights Warranty: 10-year limited warrantyPrice (queen): $1,874
There’s a lot of marketing language out there on the websites of online brands that claim to have a cooling mattress, but only a handful of those claims actually turn out to be true. There’s a difference between a bed that doesn’t retain heat, and a bed that’s actively trying to cool you down. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora is one of those mattresses.
From a company that manufactures its own beds that boast affordable price tags, Brooklyn Bedding Aurora offers a great value to hot sleepers looking for relief. It’s a thick, 13.5-inch mattress with CopperFlex foam in the comfort layer to help regulate temperature, and an actual cooling cover. It’s smooth and gives off a cooling sensation, so when you touch it, you can physically feel the iciness.
Another plus about this mattress, and one of the main characteristics side sleepers look for in a mattress, is its plush comfort. This bed comes in three different firmness levels, allowing side sleepers to choose how soft they want their bed to be. The medium option, I think, falls around a four out of 10 on the firmness scale with 10 being the firmest, and the soft model is around a two. Side sleepers under 150 pounds may like the softest option, however, since beds typically feel a little firmer than they do to the average-weighted person.
Prices start at $999 for a twin and max out at $2,249 for a Cal king. However, the brand is pretty generous with discounts. You can typically buy a queen size Aurora mattress for around $300 to $400 off. It also comes in RV mattress sizes including an RV king and RV bunk.
What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?
Memory foam is one of the best types of mattresses for side sleepers. It contours to your body shape, relieving pressure points and keeping your spinal alignment when you’re lying on your side. Side sleepers should also consider a soft mattress because it provides pressure relief to your shoulder and hip joints.
Do side sleepers need a firm or soft mattress?
There’s not a single right answer to this question, but in general, side sleepers tend to prefer a medium-soft to medium mattress. Mattresses in this range have enough give to alleviate pressure in the shoulders, hips and knees when you’re sleeping on your side, but also hold their shape to keep your spinal alignment so you don’t wake up in pain.
Are firm mattresses bad for side sleepers?
Firm mattresses can be bad for side sleepers, especially ones under 150 pounds. If your mattress firmness is too hard, it might not have enough give and cushioning for your pressure points. Lack of pressure relief can disrupt your sleep and cause pain and even numbness and tingling in your extremities. Ultimately, a lot comes down to personal preference and how you feel on the mattresses, but most side sleepers do best with medium or softer mattress options.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.