What makes the best mattress for side sleepers?

Side sleeping is the most common of all the sleeping positions, and there’s a lot of information available on the best mattress for side sleepers. We’ve ranked the best mattresses for side sleepers – view the list below!

Based on our research, here are some key features that side sleepers should look for in a mattress:

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Source: Wall Street Journal

  1. Firm and ample support: ability to keep spine aligned and elongated

A mattress with good support and some give can help align and lengthen the spine and body in a neutral position, which helps prevent back and neck pain for side sleepers. When a mattress is too soft, it can cause the body to sink into the mattress too much, causing the spine to curve.

  1. Soft enough: relief on pressure points

Mattresses for side sleepers need to be soft enough to allow for good circulation and to relieve pressure points in the hips, shoulders, and neck. For example, foam mattresses perform well by taking tension away from pressure points. Also, mattresses with a soft outside layer, like a top or cover, are great for relieving pressure.

  1. Contours: conformity to the body for muscle relaxation

Side sleepers also prefer a mattress that will conform to and cradle the body. The mattress takes away pressure and allows the muscles to relax, which is ideal for getting a good night’s sleep.

  1. Correct thickness and firmness: based on body weight

A mattress with the correct thickness is important for side sleepers, too. Mattress thickness and firmness needs vary for people with different weights. For example, heavier people may have different needs for comfort. If the firmness level is too high for a more petite person, it can cause aches and pains because the mattress doesn’t conform well to the body.

  1. Stays cool and breathes well

Side sleepers may also prefer to have a mattress that has technology built in to cool and breathe well. Many hybrid, foam, and spring mattresses have built-in layers for cooling and breathing.

Firmness and support for side sleepers

It is key for side sleepers to pick a mattress that both:

  • Supports the body enough to keep it in a comfortable position
  • Is soft enough to provide pressure relief

The goal is to find a mattress with support that is rooted in the center of the mattress with soft and firm areas built in for conforming and giving in to the weight and pressure of the body. It is recommended that the comfort level is 5 to 10 (or a soft to medium firm mattress).

Side sleepers can face several challenges because of the sleep position:

Body misalignment

When a side sleeper moves by twisting or curling legs in the opposite position of the upper body, it causes muscles in the back and the lumbar spine to go out of alignment. This movement can cause and worsen lower back and neck pain. Side sleepers can try to prevent this by sleeping in positions that ensure alignment of the spine and using a mattress that has enough support and softness.

Skin aging and wrinkles

Side sleeping can also cause the aging of skin and wrinkles while one side of the face is on the pillow.

Sagging breasts

Although sleeping on the side is beneficial because it elongates the spine, this position can also cause breasts to sag.

What is the best type of mattress for side sleepers?

There are many mattress types and several kinds of mattresses that will achieve both the great support and correct firmness range for side sleepers. Consider these suggested side sleeper mattress varieties below.

The best kinds of mattresses for side sleepers are:

  • Foam mattress (poly and memory foam)
  • Hybrid mattress
  • Innerspring

Learn more about the different kinds of Mattress Support Cores.

Note: Side sleepers should consider all types of mattresses with a soft to medium firmness somewhere between 3 to 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is the firmest). And, consider starting with a 2 to 4 inch soft top comfort layer.

Foam mattress (poly and memory foam)

  • High-density foam layers (several grades of poly foam) for support
  • Combination of foam layers used for both support and comfort
  • High-density foam layers (several grades of memory foam) for comfort for cradling body of side sleeper for body alignment
  • Cooling technology to avoid heat trapping
  • Consistent support
  • Elasticity of memory foam allows mattress to bounce back to original position (slower response time, however, compared to latex)
  • Excellent conformity and relief for pressure points for side sleepers (allows for horizontal alignment of shoulders, hips, and spine)
  • Consider medium thickness of memory foam (comfort layer) combined with other materials

Hybrid mattress (foam and coil)

  • Combination of both coils and foam(s)
  • Coil support system gives great core support (coil types include: bonnell, offset, continuous, and pocket coil) layered with foam or quilting
  • Support helps keep spine alignment and body in position
  • Foam layers are used for comfort and added support (memory foam, latex, polyfoam, natural fibers)
  • Consider medium thickness of comfort layers to help conform to body to help with spine alignment and pressure relief
  • Good conformity with thick memory foam layer(s)
  • Great support, but may break down over time

Innerspring mattress

  • Steel coil support system (coil types include: bonnell, offset, continuous, and pocket coil) layered with foam or quilting
  • Coils range in thickness from 12.5 to 16 gauges and thinner coils can more easily shape themselves to contour to the body, while thicker layers provide support for holding up the weight of the body
  • Conformity depends on comfort layers (materials like memory foam, latex, polyurethane foam, and natural fibers)
  • Support may breakdown over time
  • Consider medium thickness of comfort layers to help conform to body to help with spine alignment and pressure relief
  • Resilient and durable

A few other kinds of mattresses side sleepers can consider are latex and adjustable air mattresses.

Latex mattress

  • Latex foam layers (mainly Dunlop and Talalay)
  • Latex layers are for both support and comfort
  • Great for core support layers and comfort layers
  • Conforms well to the body and relieves pressure points
  • Only a mattress with a latex core should be in this category
  • Good durability and long lasting
  • Elasticity is good, and latex mattress will bounce back into original position after being compressed

Adjustable air mattress

  • Adjustable chambers of air used
  • Foams and fiber layers, too
  • Provides a lot of support
  • Firmness can be adjusted for personal preference
  • Adjustments to mattress can allow for higher or lower position on certain part of the body that are heavier
  • Don’t have issues with mattress sagging
  • May be too firm for some sleepers (basic or no comfort layer)
  • Definitely needs an effective comfort layer to provide enough softness for comfortable sleeping

Sources: Consumer Reports, BetterSleep.org, Sleep.org, SleepFoundation.org

What else should a side sleeper consider?

After selecting the proper mattress, the next step is finding the right pillow — it’s just as important! Side sleepers should look for the following qualities in a proper pillow (for supporting the head and neck, and possibly for a pillow that goes in between the legs or knees) for the side sleeping position.

Changing sleep positions or sides

Another thing side sleepers should consider is the way in which they change sides during the night. It is suggested that sleepers avoid turning or twisting at the waist, but that they instead move the whole body together by tightening the core and bending knees together toward the chest when rolling over.

Also, side sleepers should always keep alignment in the ears, shoulders, and hips when sleeping and when turning or changing positions or sides.

The best mattresses for side sleepers

No matter the sleeping position, the right mattress is important for getting healthy and consistent sleep. Luckily for side sleepers, there is a wide variety of mattresses available that are suitable for the most common sleeping position.

Side sleepers have specific needs that are based on the shape of the body in the side sleeping position.

Some key requirements to look for in The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers are:

  • Firm and ample support to keep the body and spine aligned
  • Soft enough to offer pressure relief
  • Conforms to the body to allow muscles to relax
  • Thickness and firmness are appropriate for body weight
  • Stays cool and breathes well

There is a wealth of information available to consumers on mattresses, and personal preference is ultimately what takes precedent for each sleeper when choosing a mattress. This guide provides an overview on the best mattresses for side sleepers based on research from publicly available sources like forums, chat boards, company websites, reviews, and information provided by consumers.

Side sleepers should consider looking for these qualities in both mattress support cores and comfort layers in the following kinds of mattresses:

  • Foam mattresses
  • Hybrid mattresses
  • Innerspring mattresses

Our guide outlines the best of the mattress varieties for side sleepers and highlights these categories for each featured and ranked mattress brand:

  • Price
  • Warranty
  • Aggregate customer rating
  • Special features

These mattress recommendations, which were not weighted in any way, were informed by research and information on each mattress.

The high-ranked mattresses in this guide are the best of what’s available on the market right now, and are high-quality mattresses with design, technology, durability, and special features that are well-suited for side sleepers. In this guide, we will explore the following mattress brands:

The best of the best

Leesa: The Leesa Mattress

Brand history

Leesa, known for its endorsement by U.S. Olympian and multi-gold medal winner Michael Phelps, was started by entrepreneurs who had trouble sleeping and had one goal: to help others sleep better. All Leesa products are available online only and are made in the U.S. Mattresses are compressed into a box and shipped directly to consumers.

Price

Leesa is known for a lower price point that’s fairly average when compared to direct-to-consumer mattress brands. However, when compared to brands like BedInABox or Sealy, the Leesa mattress is very competitively priced.

A queen Leesa mattress is about $840-$940. Leesa does offer online discounts and free shipping.

Warranty

Leesa offers a 10-year non-prorated warranty, a 100-night sleep trial, and a full refund policy.

Aggregate customer rating

The Leesa mattress scored a 76% overall customer satisfaction rating.

What makes it special

Each Leesa foam mattress is constructed in the same way with a medium firmness level which is recommended for side sleepers, and is available in sizes from full to California king.

All mattresses include a bottom support core made with dense foam that provides strength, structure, and durability. The 6-inch support core is ideal for side sleepers who need a supportive structure that helps keep the spine and body aligned.

The middle mattress comfort layer is a 2-inch memory foam layer that provides excellent pressure relief and body contouring. For added comfort, softness, and air flow, the Leesa middle layer is topped with a 2-inch cooling foam layer.

The top layer performs well for body movement, allowing for easy sleep position changes. Both the middle and top layer provide softness that helps relieve pressure on the parts of the body that are heavier on the mattress for side sleepers.

These mattresses also perform well for back sleeping.

Want to know more about Leesa? Read our full Leesa mattress review.

Tuft & Needle: The Tuft & Needle Mattress

Brand history

Tuft & Needle, founded in 2012, is headquartered in Phoenix. The two owners, originally software engineers from Silicon Valley, founded the company after similar mattress shopping experiences:high prices and little to no transparency within the industry. They wanted to bring fairness to the industry.

All products are made in the U.S., and mattresses are compressed and shipped directly to consumers in a box.

Price

Queen mattresses are about $750, and free shipping is available. They are priced low in comparison to other direct-to-consumer companies, like BedInABox, and foam mattresses from brands like Sealy.

Warranty

Mattresses include a 100-night sleep trial, and the company offers a 10-year non-prorated warranty.

Aggregate customer rating

Tuft & Needle’s mattress ranks high among the top mattresses for side sleepers, with an 80.33% customer satisfaction rating.

What makes it special

Tuft & Needle mattresses are constructed with a proprietary T&N adaptive foam (that’s not memory foam or latex). The foam is made to work well for all shapes and sizes of sleepers. When more pressure applied, the mattress becomes more supportive.

These mattresses are medium firm, and each mattress is constructed with a 7-inch poly foam support core. The structured foundation is ideal for side sleepers and keeping the spine and body aligned.

The support core is paired with a 3-inch foam comfort layer that offers excellent pressure relief. It is recommended that side sleepers choose a mattress with a comfort layers between 2 to 4 inches thick, to prevent sleepers from sinking too far into the mattress.

The foam also is breathable and draws heat out of the mattress for cooler sleeping. Mattresses are compatible with most bedframes, and are suitable for back and stomach sleepers. They also perform well with isolating movement and are very durable.

Learn more about Tuft & Needle in our full Tuft & Needle mattress review.

Other great options for side sleepers

Check out these 7 brands that all garnered high overall customer satisfaction ratings and are ideal for side sleepers.

BedInABox: Serenity, Silk Symphony, Adagio

Brand history

BedInABox is known for its memory foam mattresses at affordable prices that offer excellent pressure relief and help relieve joint pain. Manufactured in the U.S., these mattresses have a unique foam that they claim performs better than older types of foam.

The company uses American suppliers for consistency, and sends products to independent labs to certify materials are safe for sleepers.

Price

BedInABox mattresses for side sleepers recommended in this guide range from $1,499 to $1,799 for a queen. BedInABox also offers free shipping. Compared to other direct-to-consumer mattress companies, BedInABox is generally more expensive than brands like Tuft & Needle and Leesa.

Warranty

These mattresses include a 120-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty, which is better than what other brands featured in this guide offer.

Aggregate customer rating

Although each individual BedInABox mattress earned a different customer satisfaction rating, the scores range from 83 to 88 percent. When compared to overall customer ratings for side sleeper mattresses, BedInABox mattresses scored the highest of all brands.

What makes it special

BedInABox memory mattresses (Serenity, Silk Symphony) perform well for side sleepers because of their thick support cores that are 8 inches thick, and provide a solid foundation for keeping the spine and body aligned in a natural position.

These memory foam models include a 3-inch gel memory foam comfort layer that has excellent body cradling and built-in cooling technology. This layer offers pressure relief for the heavier parts of the body.

The Adagio hybrid mattress is also ideal for side sleepers because of its 7-inch innerspring support core made with individually-wrapped pocket coils.

The Silk Symphony and Adagio mattresses both offer a unique feature: both models are “flippable” and each model has two sides with different firmness levels. Silk Symphony features a medium firm side and an extra firm side, that includes 1” of firming foam for extra support and firmness. Adagio mattresses have one side that is medium soft with multiple layers of proprietary foam for comfort, and one side that is firmer with 2 inches of foam layers.

These mattresses are also good for back sleepers and offer good motion isolation.

Novosbed: Memory Foam Novosbed

Brand history

Novosbed launched in 2009 with the industry’s first “risk-free” mattress trial and buying experience. All Novosbed mattresses are made in the U.S., and mattresses that are returned are donated to charities around the country for people in need.

The company also reports that all materials are repurposed and recycled, and they participate in zero-waste manufacturing. The mattresses are known for their long-lasting foam and are condensed, vacuum sealed, and then shipped directly to consumers.

Price

Novosbed mattresses are $999 for a queen in any firmness level. They also offer an online coupon and free shipping. These mattresses are comparable in price to competitors like BedInABox and Leesa, and much less expensive than memory foam mattresses by brands like Sealy.

Warranty

A 15-year or 10-year non-prorated warranty is available for Novosbed mattresses, along with a 120-night sleep trial.

Aggregate customer rating

Novosbed mattresses scored among the highest rated mattresses for side sleepers, and garnered an 82.33% in overall customer satisfaction.

What makes it special

There are three models of Novosbed mattresses, and all models include 11 inches of mattress layers. The medium and firm foam mattress models have a 7-inch support core, and the soft model has a 6-inch support core.

The medium and firm mattresses are constructed with two comfort/top layers – a 2-inch gel foam layer that is made for airflow and a 2-inch dense memory foam comfort layer.

The soft Novosbed mattress includes a 3-inch dense memory foam comfort layer and a 2-inch gel foam layer with cooling technology.

The memory foam comfort layers in each model perform very well in contouring to the body, offering great pressure relief on the heavier parts of the body that sink deeper into the mattress. The memory foam layers isolate movement well, which is key for side sleepers who sleep with a partner. These mattresses come with a removable and washable cover, are very durable, and are good for back sleepers as well.

GhostBed: GhostBed

Brand history
GhostBed, originally Nature’s Sleep, started with the concept of the childhood fear of ghosts hiding under the bed. The CEO was inspired to start the company after experiencing trouble sleeping and several neck surgeries. All products and mattresses are U.S. made, and there’s no showroom – mattresses are shipped directly to each customer’s front porch.

Price
GhostBed mattresses cost $795 for a queen, with free shipping available. These mattresses are close in price to brands like Tuft & Needle and Saatva, even though they have latex components which usually drive prices higher. They are less expensive than BedInABox and other hybrid mattresses from brands like Sealy.

Warranty

Each mattress includes a 101-night sleep trial, and a 20-year warranty.

Aggregate customer rating

GhostBed mattresses rank closely among the top mattresses for side sleepers with a 79% overall customer satisfaction rating.

What makes it special

GhostBed mattresses have great durability, and an excellent balance of comfort and support. They are medium to medium firm. All of these traits are ideal for side sleepers.

The mattresses are constructed with 11 inches of layered foam. The support core is a 7.5-inch high density foam that provides good support to help side sleepers keep the body in natural alignment.

Comfort layers include a 1.5-inch latex layer that is naturally responsive and bounces back into it original shape. In addition, the latex layer conforms well to the body to cradle the heavier parts of the body for pressure relief. Latex doesn’t retain heat either, allowing for good airflow for more cool and comfortable sleep.

A 2-inch proprietary gel memory foam layer is under the latex layer, and provides additional comfort and pressure relief.

The GhostBed mattress includes a plush cover that is removable for easy cleaning.

These mattresses also perform well for back sleepers.

Go in-depth with GhostBed in our full GhostBed mattress review.

Purple: Purple Mattress

Brand history

Purple reports that its mattress was the world’s first non-pressure mattress. The company compresses the mattresses that are shipped directly to customers. All products are made in the U.S.

The company was founded by two brothers, both engineers, who are experts on cushioning technology patents. Their experience with other products and patents inspired them to make mattresses using elastic polymer.

Price

Similar in price to Leesa, Helix, Saatva, and Novosbed, Purple mattresses are $999 for a queen. They do offer free shipping, and are less expensive than brands with foam mattresses, like Sealy.

Warranty

Purple offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year non-prorated warranty, which is standard in the mattress industry.

Aggregate customer rating

Purple scored a 77.5% overall customer satisfaction rating, similar to ratings for mattresses in this guide by Leesa and Sealy.

What makes it special

Purple makes foam mattresses with medium firmness, which is recommended for side sleepers. The star of these Purple mattresses is the 2-inch top comfort layer that features a proprietary hyper-elastic polymer material that is excellent for comfort and cooling and motion isolation.

The foam and polymer blend has the properties of latex – it responds well to movement and returns to its original shape just like latex. It also supports the heavier parts of the body that sink deeper into the mattress, and its softness offers ample relief for pressure points, especially the hips and shoulders for side sleepers.

Purple mattresses do have some bounce, but also perform well in isolating movement.

The support core includes two layers: a 3.5-inch middle layer made with high density poly foam for support, and a 4-inch poly foam bottom foundation layer.

Purple claims their mattress provides perfect spinal alignment for side sleeping.

Read our full Purple mattress review to get all the info you need to make an informed purchase.

Sealy: Optimum Gel Latex

Brand history

Sealy mattresses are available through many retailers across the country. All products are designed and built in the U.S.

Sealy is well known in the industry and offers a variety of models within several sub-brands. The Optimum collection features a number of mattresses, including a gel latex model that we will explore in this guide.

Price

Compared to other mattresses for side sleepers we reviewed, Sealy’s prices are the highest of the group. The price for a queen mattress is $1,699. These mattresses tend to be more expensive than the models offered by direct-to-consumer companies like Purple and Leesa. Sealy prices are comparable to companies like BedInABox.

Warranty

Sealy offers a 10-year warranty, however there is no sleep trial available for these mattresses.

Aggregate customer rating

Ranking among some of the highest rated mattresses for side sleepers, Sealy’s Optimum Gel Latex model garnered a 76% overall customer satisfaction score.

What makes it special

The Gel Latex mattress is medium firm, which is recommended for side sleepers. These mattresses include three layers and have excellent durability.

The core support layer is a 7-inch foam support layer that provides strong structure needed for side sleepers to promote spinal alignment. The second layer is made with premium latex for great body conformity. The latex layer is designed to absorb movement and to retain its original shape and cradles the body.

The top comfort layer is a 2-inch gel latex foam that is meant to remove heat from the mattress, for much cooler sleeping.

These mattresses have excellent durability and are compatible with many different bases.

Saatva: Saatva Mattress

Brand history

Based in Westport, CT, Saatva mattresses are made in the U.S. The company reports that it works with 18 U.S. partners and suppliers, and has been reviewed with consistently high ratings on Google for the past five years. The company is eco-friendly and uses sustainable practices and materials. Saatva’s prices are very competitive considering the high level of quality of its mattresses.  

Price

Saatva mattresses are $899 for a queen, comparable in price to Leesa, Helix, and GhostBed, but much less expensive than BedInABox and Sealy. Shipping costs do vary.

Warranty

Mattresses come with a 75-night trial, and a 15-year non-prorated warranty is available.

Aggregate customer rating

Saatva scored a 72.5% overall customer satisfaction rating.

What makes it special

Saatva makes foam and innerspring hybrid mattresses, with foam and memory foam comfort layers and a 4-7-inch support core made with individually-wrapped Bonnell coils. The coil-on-coil system is known for its responsiveness to pressure applied to the mattress and offers the appropriate amount of support for different parts of the body.

The memory foam comfort layers work in conjunction with the support base layer to bring comfort and softness to the mattress. The pressure relief of the memory foam layer is important for side sleepers with pressure points at the knees, hips, and shoulders.

These mattresses feature a euro pillow top, which is usually found in very expensive mattresses.

Sleepers can choose a comfort level – from plush soft, luxury firm, and firm. The luxury firm is appropriate for side sleepers.

These mattresses are known for their durability and can last 10 to 15 years, and are also an option for back sleepers.

Learn more about Saatva in our full Saatva mattress review.

Helix: Helix Mattress

Brand history

Helix was one of the first companies in the industry to offer a 100-percent customizable online mattress buying experience. Company founders were inspired to start the company after their poor experiences.

All Helix products are made in the U.S., and the company is based out of New York. They don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all model, and that difference is what makes Helix stand out from other direct-to-consumer competitors.

Price

Helix mattresses cost about $900. They are priced close to competitors like Purple, Saatva, Leesa, GhostBed, and Novosbed, and are less expensive than and Sealy brands.

Warranty

Free shipping is standard for Helix, as well as a 100-night sleep trial. The company offers a 10-year non-prorated warranty.

Aggregate customer rating

Helix scored a 71% overall customer satisfaction rating.

What makes it special

Helix specializes in hybrid latex innerspring mattresses, that include a combination of different layers. These mattresses include 10 inches of layers, and each mattress looks differently based on the sleeper’s preferences.

For side sleepers, a medium to medium firm model is recommended. The top or comfort layer of these mattresses is a 2-inch layer of poly foam that is very responsive. It’s a dynamic foam that is specific to Helix mattresses, and is designed to be similar to latex. This layer has excellent body conformity, cooling properties, great bounce, and it responds quickly to movement.

The second layer offers both comfort and support. It features 2.4 inches of microcoils. The coils make the mattress feel softer and relieves pressure, while at the same time adds to the support of the mattress. The microcoils also add bounce to the mattress and absorb movement for good motion isolation.

A third layer made with 2 inches of poly foam works as a transitional layer that provides additional support. The fourth and bottom foundational layer is a 4-inch support core layer made with high-density foam.

Learn all about Helix with our full Helix mattress review.

Additional resources for side sleepers

Consider these online resources for learning more about mattresses, sleep, and sleep positions:

Tips on how to buy a mattress online

There are some benefits to buying your mattress online, so consider these tips if that’s your plan:

Best mattresses for side sleepers

Here are some additional sources with information on mattresses, especially important tips for side sleepers:

What a side sleeper needs to know

  • Side sleeping is the most common of all the sleep positions
  • Choose the best mattress for side sleepers that gives support and conforms to the body to relieve pressure
  • The best mattress for side sleepers with back pain is medium on the firmness scale
  • Look for a mattress that is between 5 and 10 on the comfort scale
  • Best mattresses for side sleepers are usually foam, hybrid, and innerspring mattresses
  • Choosing a pillow is just as important as the right mattress
  • Find a pillow that allows for support of head and neck and encourages spine alignment
  • Consider a pillow between the legs or knees or a body pillow
  • Common issues for side sleepers include: body misalignment, unwanted wrinkles, and saggy breasts
  • Use caution when changing positions or sides and move the entire body as a unit without twisting at the waist