Some of us toss and turn before finding the most comfortable sleeping position each and every night. However, others already know exactly how to lay in order to quickly drift off. If you are a side sleeper, you are in the majority. According to a national sleep study, 74 percent of people sleeping on their sides. The good news is that, since most consumers share this preference, many mattress manufacturers make considerations in the development of their products to best aid side sleepers. However, there are still special circumstances that must be made for the individual.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress, you’re getting ready to make a significant investment, and the product you pick will be one you’ll use for a while to say the least. This makes it all the more important to know exactly what is going to cater to your specific needs. With that being said, let’s delve deep into the intricacies of side sleeping and take a look at the best mattresses for side sleepers we’ve personally tested to see if we can find one that will work best for you!
Is It Good to Sleep on Your Side?
When it comes to a proper sleep position, the primary concern is the correct alignment of your spine. Allowing it to assume its natural curvature for roughly 33 percent of your day can certainly take a toll on your overall comfort and posture. So, let’s take a look at side sleeping along with some of the pros and cons and how you can possibly overcome the downsides.
— Great News for the Chronic Snorer (and Their Sleeping Partners!)
If you have been told you tend to snore, the good news in side sleeping is that this position is known to reduce this annoying trait. This is because those who sleep on their back often struggle when their tongue obstructs the airway. Not only can this cause snoring, but sleep apnea is another common side effect.
— Good for Lower Back Pain Sufferers
Thousands of people suffer with lower back pain, and some can even find that it debilitates them from enjoying a truly fulfilling life. When you sleep on your side, however, it allows you to elongate your spine, and this proves beneficial in minimizing lower back discomfort. A great position to truly enhance this positive effect is to lay in the fetal position, particularly with a pillow positioned between your knees. This position has also proven beneficial for those suffering with acid reflux and other gastrointestinal disorders.
— Benefits Specific to the Left Side
Due to our anatomy, there are a few benefits that are particular to the left side. These include:
- Alleviation of acid reflux and heartburn
- Ease in digestion
- Increased ability for toxins from the lymph nodes to drain properly
- Improved circulation
- Stimulation of the brain to filter out waste
— Watch Out for Acne Breakout and Premature Wrinkles
Nobody wants to deal with unexpected acne breakouts. The problem with side sleeping, however, is that the side of the face is pressed against your pillow for hours every night. When you fail to change your pillowcase often enough, this can lead to pimples and acne.
While you may very well stay on top of keeping your pillowcase clean, there’s another problem frequent side sleepers have reported. Again, since the cheek is pressed against the pillow for long periods of time, this can lead to the development of premature wrinkles. If you favor one side over the other, this can even lead to more wrinkles on one side of the face that can cause it to look “older” than the other side. We recommend seeking out a silk pillowcase. Not only is silk known to reduce wrinkles caused by sleeping, but it can also decrease frizzy hair and bedhead.
— Pressure Points
When you sleep on your side, most of your body weight is supported by your shoulders. This can ultimately lead to constriction of the neck and shoulder muscles. Furthermore, internal organs such as the heart and lungs can also take on some of this pressure. It’s also common for you to wake up with tingling numbness in your arm. If you find that you tend to wake up feeling sore and stiff or find yourself suffering with any or all of these side effects, it can help to switch sides throughout the night.
— Breast Sagging
When you sleep on your side, it’s inevitable that gravity will take its toll on your breasts. Over time, this can lead to sagging as the ligaments are regularly stretched. An easy preventive measure to avoid this problem is to place a pillow beneath the breast to offer necessary support.
Making the Most Of Side Sleeping
Although there are a few downsides of sleeping on your side, it remains the most popular sleeping position for a few good reasons:
- It offers several health benefits
- It can be a good fit for proper posture
- It can reduce snoring
If you have noticed a few problems in your ability to fully enjoy sleeping on your side, there are some tips that, when properly employed, can help you sleep more comfortably than ever.
Finding the Right Pillow
Since there is so much pressure in the neck and shoulder area in side sleeping, it’s imperative that you find a pillow that will offer you proper support. If your current pillow is very fluffy or more on the flat side, you have likely suffered with aches and pains. The goal here is to maintain the natural curvature of the spine. A pillow that can succeed in keeping your ear, shoulder and hip aligned is key.
There are pillows specifically designed for this purpose, but it’s impossible to create a one-size-fits-all product. If you find the search for the perfect pillow daunting, a good tip is to consider foam pillows. They are better able to conform to your natural curves and provide the support and comfort you uniquely need.
Don’t Throw Out Your Old Pillow!
Once you’ve found the perfect pillow to facilitate your side sleeping, hold off before you throw away your old one. Use it, instead, to place between your knees. When your upper leg isn’t properly supported, it can throw your spine out of alignment. However, when your knees are on top of one another, this creates uncomfortable pressure. Even a thin pillow can make all the difference.
Morning Stretching Ritual
Whether your prefer the fetal position or use it for the benefits it has to offer, the trouble is that it decreases the amount of time your body is elongated. In order to increase your overall comfort for the day ahead, it’s a good idea to wake up at least ten minutes early for a morning stretch session.
A Few Tips for Pregnant Women
Side sleeping is typically the only position women well into their pregnancy can find comfort in. Sleeping on their backs can put too much pressure on their internal organs, and stomach sleeping is obviously off the table. While it may be difficult to get comfortable until the pregnancy comes to term, there are a few tips to employ:
- Buy a pillow to place between your legs or beneath your growing belly to offer support
- Buy a full-body pillow to place either in front of or behind you
- Lie on your left side to increase blood flow to the uterus and kidneys
Choosing a Mattress Suitable for Side Sleeping
There are so many considerations to make as you shop for a new mattress. For those who sleep primarily on their sides, this is certainly an aspect that makes a big difference. For example, pressure points can be specifically frustrating. Most of us carry a lot of our weight in the hip area. When you lay on your side, you focus more of this weight to a smaller area.
Let’s make it as simple as possible by breaking down the main factors to consider.
The firmness of your mattress is going to be of particular importance. If you go too firm, you won’t be able to take advantage of that contour you need in this position. However, if you go too soft, you’ll find yourself sinking in uncomfortably. To ensure you’re able to arrive at a happy medium, it’s important to consider your BMI. After you’ve had a chance to figure out what yours is, the following chart will prove helpful in aiding you in arriving at the best firmness:
- BMI below 19 — SOFT
- BMI between 19 and 25 — MEDIUM
- BMI between 26 and 31 — FIRM
What About Sleep Partners?
Let’s face it. You love your significant other, but finding the right mattress to fit both your needs can prove to be challenging. To get the firmness right, you have a couple of options. You could keep things simple by choosing a medium product. This is often an acceptable solution that helps blend the needs of both partners into a single product.
If you have a slightly higher budget, however, there are companies that ask questions of both you and your sleep partner, and they can offer solutions such as a blended product that considers both needs. You can also choose a dual product that creates two independent sides of the mattress made specifically for you and your sleep partner. I think Helix has done a great job at offering this option.
Consider a Pillow Top
Oftentimes, even those with a higher BMI may fare better with a softer mattress. This allows for increased contour to help accommodate side sleeping. While many companies will offer comfort adjustments to help get the firmness right after you make your purchase, not all of them do. You don’t have to restrict yourself to mattresses with this feature, however. A cheaper alternative would be to consider the purchase of a pillow top mattress pad. These products offer that little extra cushioning at a much lower price than a brand new mattress.
Take a Look at Memory Foam Products
Memory foam products have come a long way since their initial introduction to the mattress industry in the 1990’s. Today, problems such as excessive sinkage and hot sleeping have been overcome in a variety of innovative ways.
Side sleepers, in particular, can benefit from the contouring effect these products are famous for. In side sleeping, the neck, shoulder, and hips are susceptible to the development of painful pressure points as the curved area is left relatively unsupported. If you’ve never tried a memory foam product, I’d highly suggest checking out some of the great products available in the online mattress industry.
What is the Best Type of Mattress for Side Sleeping?
While all of the above factors are important to consider in gleaning the most benefits of side sleeping, the most important factor is to pinpoint the top mattresses for side sleepers. Pillows come and go, and it doesn’t cost money to implement a new morning stretching routine. However, a new mattress is an investment, and you should expect to use it for quite some time. Therefore, you want to make special considerations before you make a purchase while considering the fact that you’re a side sleeper.
Best Mattress Firmness for Side Sleepers
Firmness is a very important factor to consider for side sleepers, and this has a lot to do with the fact that side sleeping does present the possibility of noticeable pressure points. For most consumers, firm products only exacerbate this issue. Unless you carry a lot of weight or your health professional recommends a firm mattress, you typically want to avoid firm mattresses.
Plush products can be a good fit, especially if you find that your arms tend to fall asleep before you do! However, most side sleepers will find the combination of comfort and support that works for them with medium products. Medium firmness is also most compatible for sleeping partners. Think of it as that “not too hard, not too soft” mattress Goldilocks found in Baby Bear’s bed.
How to Determine Firmness Levels
Plush, medium and firm are not regulated ratings, and what one company calls medium may actually be on the plush or firm side for many consumers. In order to get a good idea of exactly what to expect, you should inquire as to the indentation load deflections found both in the various layers of the mattress as well as the combined unit.
A Tip While You’re In-Between Mattresses
We understand that budgets can be tight. If you have a couple more paychecks to go before you’ll have saved enough to buy the best rated mattresses for side sleepers, there is a tip you can employ to provide you the temporary support you need. Use plush towels to fill in the spaces formed in the rounded areas that typically occur around the hips and shoulders.
If you don’t anticipate having saved enough for a durable product, there are cheapers options that can prove a viable option if you just need a couple extra years to save for something of higher quality. Let’s go over a few of our recommended mattresses for side sleepers in a variety of categories to best meet your needs.
Top 6 Best Mattress for Side Sleepers Reviews
1. Saatva- Best Innerspring Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Warranty: 15 Years
- Trial Period: 120 Nights
- Layers: Euro pillow top cover, Thin layer of high quality memory foam, Layer of individually-wrapped coils, Steel coil base support system
Innerspring mattresses can help facilitate easy movement during rest, and this can make it easier for you to find the best sleep position. For the innerspring feel without the motion transfer, the Saatva classic luxury innerspring mattress has a lot to offer. This product features superior quality at a fraction of the cost, and its combination of individually wrapped coils and steel coil base support system are proven to stand the test of time. If you sleep on your side and carry a lot of weight, Saatva is designed to hold up to 300 pounds of individual weight and 600 pounds of combined weight.
- High durability
- Individually wrapped coils reduce motion transfer while maintaining bounce
- Organic cotton pillow top cover supports side sleeping well
- Good option for those who carry a lot of weight
- Lacks a little in cooling properties
2. Helix- Best Hybrid Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited
- Trial Period: 100 Nights
- Layers: 2-4 inches Proprietary Helix Dynamic Foam
2-4 inches Pocketed Microcoils
2-4 inch Poly Memory Foam Base
Every mattress material on the market has pros and cons. When you opt for a mattress comprised of a single material, you risk over-extenuating these downsides. A great solution can be found in hybrid mattresses. These products work to play on the strengths and weaknesses of various material types to come up with combinations that cooperate well by compensating in the necessary areas.
Helix combines memory foam and pocketed microcoils to promote comfort and support, and you’re able to customize a firmness setting that incorporates aspects specific to you by taking a sleep quiz. Using special algorithms, Helix creates your ideal firmness by considering information including your preferred sleeping position. Best of all, you can choose between blended or dual products to best suit sleep partners.
- Helps reduce back pain
- Low off gassing
- Highly accommodating for sleep partners
- Customized with side sleeping in mind
- Cover is thin and prone to bunching
3. Spindle- Best Latex Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited
- Trial Period: 365 Day Comfort Adjustment
- Layers: ½ inch Organic Cotton Cover, 3 inches Continuous Pour Dunlop Natural Latex, 3 inches Continuous Pour Dunlop Natural Latex, 3 inches Continuous Pour Dunlop Natural Latex
Latex is a natural material, and this is indicative of a high degree of durability. If you’re looking for a product suitable for side sleeping that’ll last, you’ll definitely want to check this out. The Spindle mattress allows you not only to choose your firmness setting, but they also send you a combination of medium and firm layers of Dunlop latex.
You actually get to assemble your mattress yourself. You’ll find the cover and three layers boxed separately, and it’s up to you to place the layers in the cover and zip it up. It didn’t take me long to accomplish assembly, and this method allows for a couple of advantages. For starters, you can mix and match your layers to arrive at the firmness that best suits your side sleeping needs. Furthermore, if one layer begins to degrade, you can replace it without having to buy a new mattress.
- Excellent comfort and support
- Can be customized
- Natural materials known for durability
- Excellent motion transfer reduction
- Low edge support
- Slightly lower-than-average heat transfer capability
4. Novosbed – Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Warranty: 15 Years
- Trial Period: 120 Nights
- Layers: Stretch-knit top cover, Two-way stretch elastic sub cover, 2 inches ultra-dense airflow gel foam, 3 inches ultra-dense memory foam, 6 inches premium support foam
Memory foam can be a great option for side sleepers in that it offers that contouring support to help relieve the pressure points common to this position. However, many associate memory foam with “sinking in” or sleeping hot. Novosbed addresses these issues and offers a viable solution.
The Novosbed mattress incorporates the combination of a premium support base with ultra-dense memory foam that helps keep you properly aligned. You can take advantage of the ability to choose your firmness level ranging from soft to medium and firm. For most side sleepers, the firm option will offer you the level of support you need, and the ultra-soft top cover keeps you comfortable and cool.
- No off gassing
- Firmness options help you customize
- Sleeps cool
- Cover is washable
- Lacks edge support
- Can be difficult to move around
5. My Green Mattress- Best Organic Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited
- Trial Period: 100 Nights
- Layers: All-Natural Wool Cover
3 inches Natural Dunlop Latex
8 inch Pocketed Coil Base
If you’re in the market for a mattress that will accommodate your side sleeping and offer alleviations from dermatological problems and allergies, My Green Mattress is an organic product that may be just what you’re looking for. It uses a combination of all-natural wool and Dunlop latex that I found to be very comfortable and supportive.
This product features an innerspring unit consisting of individually-wrapped coils, and the coil gauges are placed in strategic zones to help the mattress conform well for side sleepers. In the middle, you’ll find a lower coil gauge that actually makes the product a little firmer in the area where less pressure is typically exerted. Overall, I think it can be a great solution for side sleepers with sleep partners to consider as motion isolation was very high with the coil system in place.
- Low off gassing
- Easy to move around with innerspring unit
- Offers the support necessary for those who carry a lot of weight
- Reasonable price for quality of materials
- Some feel the product is too firm
6. Lucid- Best Budget Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Warranty: 25 Years
- Trial Period: None
- Layers: TENCEL Lyocell-Blended Cover, 3 inches Ventilated Gel Memory Foam, 1 inch Bamboo Ventilated Memory Foam, 8 inch High-Density Foam Base
Whether you are working on a tight budget or just need a temporary sleep solution such as for a side-sleeping child who will soon outgrow their mattress, Lucid is an excellent option worth considering. It uses gel memory foam that offers the contour you’re looking for to facilitate side sleeping, and it proved well for us in it’s ability to help you sleep cool.
Aside from the use of the gel memory foam, the ability of the mattress to breathe well is also facilitated by the TENCEL Lyocell cover. It is plush and possess wicking properties to promote ventilation. Some consumers have reported a decrease in back pain after using this product for several weeks.
- Cover can be washed
- Low degree of motion transfer
- Very breathable
- Can be purchased for under $500
- Cover is somewhat difficult to remove
- No trial period
It’s All About the Individual
In the mattress industry, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all product. Personal preference and body type play a large part in making the final determination in what product will work best for you. You have already identified your preferred sleeping position, and this puts you one step closer to locating the best sleep solution for your needs. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for, and I found the Saatva mattress to offer a great combination of support and comfort. However, for those who sleep very hot, Brentwood Bamboo Gel could prove to be a better option. Those on a budget or looking for a temporary solution can also find what they’re looking for with Lucid. It’s all about individual circumstances.
The great news is that the Internet allows you to thoroughly do your homework in the absence of pushy salesmen who often place their commission ahead of your unique needs. You can also stand to save a lot of money by excluding the middleman altogether. Now that you understand the dynamics of side sleeping a little better, you can be on your way to finding the best product for your needs.