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Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Jessica Jones

Most modern mattress designs are adapted to a variety of sleepers, catering to their weight, size and sleeping preferences. Side sleepers are one of the most common sleeper groups, outnumbering back and stomach sleepers. Side sleeping is one of the most natural sleeping positions and ensures optimal spinal alignment during sleep. However, it can place a lot of strain on your shoulders and hips – that is, if your mattress is inadequate.

Side sleepers often suffer from backaches and tense muscles, not knowing that the reason for their discomfort lies in their mattress. The ideal mattress for a side sleeper should have a specific level of firmness – not too firm as to put pressure on key points, and not too soft as to lack support – and it can be tricky finding just the right match. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best mattresses for side sleepers currently on the market, so keep reading to find out which might be the best option for you.

RankProductHighlightsWarranty
#1

Helix Midnight Mattress

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  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Type: Hybrid Design
  • Height: 14″ (Queen)
  • Feel: Medium Firm
  • 100 night trial
  • 10-15 year warranty
#2DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

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  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal. King
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 14″ (Queen)
  • Feel: Medium Firm
  • 1 year trial
#3

Leesa Hybrid 11-Inch Mattress

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  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11”
  • Feel: Medium
  • 100 night trial
#4Layla Memory Foam Mattress

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  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Type: Memory Foam
  • Height: 10.5”
  • Feel: Soft to medium
  • Lifetime warranty
#5Saatva Classic Mattress

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  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, Cal King, Split Cal King
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11.5″ (Queen)
  • Feel: Plush soft, Luxury firm, Firm
  • 180 night trial
  • 15 year warranty
#6Zinus Cloud Memory Foam Mattress

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  • Size choices: Twin, Full, Queen, King
  • Type: Memory Foam
  • Height: 8″, 10″, 12″
  • Feel: Extra Plush
  • 10 year limited warranty

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

1. Editor’s Choice: Helix Midnight Mattress

SPECS:

  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Type: Hybrid Design
  • Height: 14″ (Queen)
  • Feel: Medium Firm

The Helix Midnight is made up two different types of material – premium foam and springs. With this hybrid construction, it offers excellent edge support and provides pressure relief. It’s also popular as it has a medium firmness and provides optimal support to your body. While most other mattresses only have either memory foam or a latex material, the Helix Midnight is made of a dual combination of memory foam and individual coils, provide you with ultimate sleep comfort. With this dual blend, you’ll be able to indulge in the softness of memory foam while also getting the firmness and support from a traditional bed.

The Helix Midnight model has quite a standard memory bed feel. When you touch the bed, you’ll get the softness of the cover before the slow sink in the feeling of traditional memory foam as it contours to your individual body type. Thereafter, you’ll feel a bit of firmness and support from the transitional layer that helps to ensure you don’t sink in too deep. With this dual combination of memory foam and coils, it also provides fantastic pressure relief for side sleepers.

ProsCons
  • 5 layers of hybrid comfort
  • Long warranty and 100 night sleep trial
  • Memory foam contours to your unique body shape
  • Pressure relief for side sleepers
  • More expensive than other hybrid options available

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2. Runner Up: DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

SPECS:

  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal. King
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 14″ (Queen)
  • Feel: Medium Firm

The DreamCloud Hybrid mattress is another top pick for side sleepers who are looking for an affordable mattress that sleeps cool, keeps motion transfer minimal and balances innerspring support with memory foam contour. The queen model averages less than $1,000, so you won’t have to break the bank to get the luxury mattress you’ve been looking for. Side sleepers will enjoy the pressure relief provided as body weight is concentrated to a smaller surface area, thus digging deeper into the support layer. If you and your sleep partner are of average weight, appreciate solid support, have mobility issues, need something that keeps motion transfer minimal without skimping on excellent responsiveness and want to stick to your budget, this DreamCloud mattress should be one to strongly consider.

ProsCons
  • Great mobility while providing adequate contour with the foam comfort layers
  • Compatible with side sleepers as well as all other sleeping positions
  • Great for hot sleepers
  • Ideal if you’ve ever wanted to enjoy memory foam without excessive heat build-up
  • Not ideal for those with a BMI over 25

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3. Customer’s Choice: Leesa Hybrid 11-Inch Mattress

SPECS:

  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11″
  • Feel: Medium

With an advanced and innovative hybrid design, the Leesa Hybrid mattress combines the reliability of coil springs and the comfort of memory foam into a single product, resulting in a mattress with the best of both worlds. To ensure equal weight distribution and ample support for any body type, this mattress features an innerspring core. Over 1000 individually wrapped pocket springs will make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud, but make sure that your back is in proper alignment for a comfortable, pain-free sleep. 

The coil base is topped off with several layers of memory foam, including a cooling gel layer to prevent overheating. The memory foam will adapt to your body and eliminate pressure on the shoulders and hips, allowing your spine to retain its natural curvature. That’s why this mattress is the ideal choice for side sleepers – it’s both supportive and super comfy to sleep on. 

ProsCons
  • Over 1,000 individually wrapped pocket coils
  • Multiple layers of memory foam for ultimate comfort
  • Cooling memory foam for temperature regulation
  • Great edge to edge support
  • CertiPUR-US certified
  • May be too firm for some

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4. Best for Hot Sleepers: Layla Memory Foam Mattress

SPECS:

  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Type: Memory Foam
  • Height: 10.5”
  • Feel: Soft to medium

If you tend to feel stuffy or overheat while sleeping on memory foam mattresses, the Layla Mattress will be the perfect mattress for you. With the infusion of copper in the mattress, you’ll be kept feeling cool throughout the night. For your convenience, the Layla Mattress also has a double-sided firmness option. Instead of having to buy multiple mattresses with different firmness levels, you can easily flip over the mattress to your preferred side of soft or firm, which is the ideal firmness for side sleepers. This is especially beneficial for individuals who are picky about the firmness levels of their mattress, or for those who like to mix it up every so often. The Layla Mattress is a somewhat affordable option that doesn’t compromise on quality and still has some more advanced features.

ProsCons
  • Relieves pressure points and tension
  • Helps you retain natural spine curvature as a side sleeper
  • Gel-infused foam layer for temperature regulation, keeping you cool as you sleep
  • Soft to medium firmness level
  • Slight offgassing smell when unboxing, as is common with many memory foam products

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5. Best Durable: Saatva Classic Mattress

SPECS:

  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, Cal King, Split Cal King
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11.5″ (Queen)
  • Feel: Plush soft, Luxury firm, Firm

The Saatva Classic Mattress consists of a stylish circular-knit organic cotton cover with a 1.25″ Euro top, made from a higher-than-usual amount of foam and padding. In combination with the underlying layer of high-quality memory foam, the pillow top is able to yield an adaptive sleep surface that shapes itself to your sleeping style, without sinking in excessively. Breaking from the norm, the manufacturer introduces individually wrapped coils in the comfort layer instead of the support layer. These coils provide optimal contouring support and also eliminate motion transfer if you sleep with a partner.

Beneath these is an innerspring base support system made from tempered steel. This is responsible for the deep support that sustains the bulk of your weight once the upper layers have dulled the initial impact. It’s worth noting that the use of steel coils in both the support and comfort layers results in ample push-back, which should also stop the breakdown of the upper foam layers (including the Euro top). These dual coil layers also greatly reduce the sinking that’s normally associated with viscoelastic foam. This is a great benefit for most people, but may not be appealing to those who seek a memory foam mattress for the signature ‘enveloping’ feel.

ProsCons
  • Affordable
  • Euro-top and memory foam combination yields decent cushioning
  • Dual steel coil mechanisms for motion isolating, responsive deep support for side sleepers
  • Durable construction
  • Not for those who prefer a typical viscoelastic mattress

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6. Best for Shoulder Pain: Zinus Cloud Memory Foam Mattress

SPECS:

  • Size choices: Twin, Full, Queen, King
  • Type: Memory Foam
  • Height: 8″, 10″, 12″
  • Feel: Extra Plush

When it comes to sleeping, most people find that if their mattress doesn’t meet the standards, it’s their shoulders (and the arm) that feel the most sore when they wake up, as most of the pressure is centered around the shoulder region. If you’re amongst those side sleepers who experience pain in the hips and shoulders, this mattress will be a great choice. Its main feature is the special Cloud design, which really places an emphasis on comfort and an extra plush feel. In other words, it will really make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud. To achieve this, the design uses 5 layers of foam. 

This creates a balanced ratio between adaptive memory foam and high-density support layers which will support your back without the surface becoming too firm. This is a potential issue that side sleepers are well aware of, and the primary reason why they may experience shoulder pain. For side sleepers who suffer from shoulder pain and tension, this adaptive, body-contouring memory foam mattress is the ideal option. Not only will it feel super comfortable to sleep on, it will also remove pressure on those key pressure points, such as the hips and shoulders.

ProsCons
  • Good for people with hip and shoulder pain
  • Relieves pressure
  • Conforms to your body shape
  • Green-tea infused for odor-neutralization
  • Available in different profiles
  • CertiPUR-US certified
  • Poor edge support
  • May get hot

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7. Honorable Mention: Nolah Evolution 

SPECS:

  • Size choices: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 15 inches
  • Feel: plush, luxury firm, firm

Available in three different firmness options, the Nolah Evolution mattress is one of the best hybrid beds within its price range. It is designed with ArcticTex fibers present in the two-inch pillow top that promise to deliver consistent temperatures throughout the night. The Evolution combined polyfoam and HDMax Eco support coils for excellent responsiveness.

While this mattress is an outstanding pressure relief bed for the majority of sleepers, it is critical to choose the appropriate hardness level. If you like to sleep on the side and weigh less than 230 pounds, the plush version of this mattress should be able to alleviate pressure and make you sleep comfortably.

ProsCons
  • 3 firmness options.
  • Good edge support.
  • Above average pressure point relief.
  • Poor motion isolation.

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Types of Mattresses for Side Sleepers

– Hybrid

The purpose of the hybrid mattress was to isolate the positive qualities of foam and coil mattresses, and merge them into a single product while eliminating many negative aspects of each. Namely, this would be the pressure relief and compression support of foam with the bounce and support of coils. A product is truly hybrid only if it uses coils and foams in every layer of the mattress. Some products are semi-hybrid, and this often means the product combines a pillow-top cover with a coil base. The goal here is similar to that of the hybrid: to deliver a product that features the response and bounce of innerspring, with an added degree of comfort, motion transfer reduction and pressure relief.

– Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses contour to the shape of your body as you move in your sleep. If you’re a side sleeper who still shifts throughout the night, the foam makes the adjustment to various pressure points in your body to help minimize pain you may be having. It’s also ideal for naturally aligning the spine and promoting proper spinal health.

Unlike traditional memory foam that sleeps hot, the foams that are made now have different features such as open, closed and gel infused cells. The open cell types allow for better breathability and help to draw body heat away from the surface of the mattress. The closed cell foams aren’t as breathable, and are really just a different kind of regular memory foam. The gel infused mattresses are meant to cool you down as you sleep, keeping your body temperature regulated. These usually have a great cooling effect as you get into bed, since it has all day to cool down. It’s the ideal solution for side sleepers, hot sleepers and for those who suffer from hot flashes.

– Gel Foam

A gel mattress refers to any mattress that utilizes gel-infused foam, whether as a layer combined with high density and memory foam, or as a layer that cushions coils in hybrid construction. The reason for using this particular material is clear: in addition to its body-contouring, pressure-relieving properties, this type of foam is also cooling and breathable, something that’s uncommon for foam materials in general. As a result, gel mattresses are much cooler to sleep on than any other mattress on the market, which is a big deal for those side sleepers who tend to sleep hot. If you don’t use air conditioning or live in an area with scorching hot weather, a gel mattress can make a difference.

– Latex

A latex mattress is very similar to a memory foam mattress, except that they’re more firm and supportive. These are ideal for those who sleep on their stomachs, backs and also for side sleepers – particularly those who suffer from back pain. The latex helps to provide comfort and offers the same adaptive features as traditional memory foam, while not trapping heat in the way that some memory foam mattresses do. These mattresses are usually constructed of latex rubber and provide a uniform comfort throughout the body.

Ideal Firmness

There are a few important features a mattress needs to have in order to cater to the needs of side sleepers. Support and stability are certainly very important factors: your body needs to have a stable base on which to rest, with supportive properties that make sure that your spine is properly aligned and retains its natural curvature throughout the night. That’s why you should always consider the core part of the mattress before delving into its other layers that determine the comfort factor. Whether it’s a strong and dense foam core or a base of coil springs, a sturdy core will have a significant impact on your quality of sleep.

Despite the responsiveness and sturdiness of the core, firmness levels are really what determine if a mattress will be comfy and accommodating for a certain sleeping position. Just as a stomach sleeper needs a firm mattress to prevent sinking, a side sleeper needs the mattress to take into account the different pressure points that are common for this position.

In the side sleeping position, there are multiple pressure points along the side of your body, but the key ones are the shoulder and hip areas. A mattress that’s too firm will put extra pressure on those two points and in turn, cause misalignment of your spine, and may result in chronic back, shoulder and/or hip pain. This why soft and medium levels of firmness will be the best possible solution for a person sleeping on their side. A plush firmness level allows your body to sink into the mattress (but not overly so) to help retain a healthy sleeping posture and get pressure relief for those key pressure points. A plush mattress will allow you to sleep on your side without feeling uncomfortable, or feeling the pressure of the surface on your hip, shoulder and arm.

However, if you’re a plus-size sleeper or a combination sleeper (a person that switches sleeping positions throughout the night, but favors side sleeping), a slightly different set of rules apply. As is the case with all side sleepers, you shouldn’t sleep on a mattress that’s firm, but the additional weight or additional sleeping position does require more firmness than expected. In this case, go for a medium or medium/firm level. A mattress that’s too soft can cause you to sink too deep due to extra weight and cause further discomfort/pressure. The same goes for instances when you change your sleeping position between the side, back and stomach.

Conclusion

Everyone has their own sleeping style and should have the perfect mattress to complement your preferred position. For side sleepers, a mattress that’s neither too firm nor too soft is the optimal choice. This “goldilocks” zone of firmness levels will give you both the comfort and support you need to retain natural curvature of the spine, and also to relieve pressure on the key stress points of the body. 

Recent Updates

September 3, 2021: Three products have been removed due to decreased popularity: The Ashley Chime Hybrid Mattress, Linenspa Hybrid Mattress and Classic Brands Cool Gel 2.0. Four new top-rated recommendations have been included: the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress, Helix Midnight Mattress, Layla Memory Foam Mattress and the Saatva Classic Mattress. Additional Resources and FAQs have also been added to address common customer queries and refer readers to related content.

Additional Resources