The Best Mattress for Side Sleepers 2021Updated on January 20, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about our affiliate program here.
If you sleep on your side, you are far from alone – the latest statistics show that approximately 4 out of 10 people are side sleepers. As the most popular sleep position in the world, side sleeping is also considered to be one of the most natural and healthy. However, not all mattresses will work well for this position, so it’s important for side sleepers to find the best mattress for their needs.
In this guide, we will focus on helpful information for those who prefer sleeping on their side. We’ll start by highlighting our top picks for the best mattresses for side sleepers. We’ll then delve into the details about this sleeping position, describe the key shopping considerations, and identify important mattress features to look for.
Our Top Picks
|Manufacturer||Model||Mattress Type||Firmness||Price (Queen)|
|Casper Original||Memory Foam|
Relaxed Firm (5)
|Nectar||Memory Foam||Medium Firm (6)||$799|
|Aurora||Hybrid||Available in Soft (3), Medium (5) or Firm (7)|
|The WinkBed||Hybrid||3 choices: Soft (4.5), Luxury Firm (6.5), and Firm (7.5)||$1,599|
|Saatva||Hybrid||Available in Soft (3), Luxury Firm (5-7), and Firm (8)||$1,199|
Why We Like it
- Zoned Support increases comfort in shoulder and hip areas
- One of the most popular mattresses on the market
- 100-night risk-free sleep trial
- Industry-leading 10 year warranty
The Casper Mattress is one of the best mattresses for side sleepers, primarily due to its Zoned Support system. Essentially, this bed has varying levels of support in different parts of the mattress. This design is intended to provide more support where it’s needed most, and a little more give in areas that need to sink a bit for increased comfort. The Casper is a medium-firm, at about 5 or 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale.
The biggest comfort zones of this mattress are the areas most important to side sleepers – the hips and shoulders. The Casper allows for side sleepers to sink into the mattress just enough to increase comfort and pressure relief, while maintaining the support needed for restful sleep. This feature helps keep your spine aligned properly while sleeping on your side.
The Casper is an all-foam mattress with four layers of premium foam (a hybrid version is also available). The hybrid version has an additionally two layers, adding gentle springs and a reinforced edge support system. Both versions of the mattress utilize open-cell foams, which allow for better airflow and cooling than traditional memory foam.
The bed is available in six sizes, from Twin to California King. Shipping and returns are free on all US orders. All Casper beds come with a 100-night sleep trial, so you will have plenty of time to test the mattress out in the comfort of your own home. Plus, should anything happen to your bed, it’s protected by a 10-year manufacturer warranty.
Why We Like it
- Excellent conforming in areas important for side sleeping (shoulders and hips)
- Industry-leading lifetime warranty
- Generous 365-night at-home sleep trial
The Nectar Mattress is a premium gel memory foam mattress that is a great option for side sleepers. It’s an all-foam mattress that uses a variety of foam materials to create the ideal blend of softness, comfort and support. The mattress performs particularly well in compression tests in areas that are most important to side sleepers, including the hips, neck and shoulder. In other words, the Nectar Mattress allows for just enough compression to let your shoulders and hips sink into cloudy comfort, while maintaining spinal alignment and adequate support.
Nectar is made up of five layers in its all-foam design. To achieve its well-balanced overall feel, Nectar uses a mix of medical-grade visco elastic memory foam, high-density transition foam, and dense core support foam, as well as a quilted memory foam layer and a removable Tencel cover for better cooling. The result is a comfortable mattress with good weight distribution and moderate contouring, which is a great fit for most side sleepers.
Each Nectar mattress comes with an incredible 365-night at-home sleep trial, so you have a full year to test it out at home. Plus, each mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty. Both shipping and returns are free in the United States. Despite these perks and the overall quality, Nectar is available at a below-average price point.
Brooklyn Bedding Signature
Why We Like it
- Available in 3 firmness levels
- A luxury mattress at a reasonable price
- Sleeps very cool
The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora is a luxury hybrid mattress that offers a comfortable and cool sleeping experience. It’s a premium mattress that’s made in America, so it does come at an above-average price point – but the Aurora is still affordable as far as luxury mattresses go.
The Aurora is available in three firmness levels (3, 6, and 8 out of 10, respectively). This means that there is a model of this same mattress that will be perfect for just about any sleeper, regardless of their weight or personal preferences.
The Aurora also has great edge support, which is an important factor for side sleepers to consider. The 8” coil provides strong support for the entire bed, which minimizes sinkage around the outer edge of the mattress. Plus, the coils allow for adequate airflow, which helps the mattress stay cool and comfortable even on hot summer nights. In fact, the Aurora actually has a specialized material in it called phase-change material (PCM). PCM is added to the foam layers and helps absorb body heat, drawing it away from the sleeper. These two factors combined make the Aurora an excellent choice for people who tend to sleep hot, and those who live in warm climates.
Brooklyn Bedding is a reputable manufacturer that sells their products directly to consumers. They offer free domestic shipping in the United States, as well as free returns. The Aurora comes with a 120-night sleep trial, as well as 10-year warranty.
Why We Like it
- Available in four firmness levels
- Comfortable and cool outer layer made of Tencel
- Excellent edge support with Extra-Edge feature
The WinkBed is a handmade, luxury hybrid mattress that’s engineered for restful sleep. It is available in four different firmness levels; 4.5, 6.5, 7.5 and 8 out of 10, respectively. The WinkBed is a hybrid mattress, meaning it has both traditional coils and modern comfort foam layers. This represents a good balance for side sleepers: the foam allows for enough cushy comfort to accommodate the shoulders and hips, while the coils improve edge support and airflow for cooling.
The WinkBed actually has two layers of coils, as well as two layers of foam and a Tencel cover. The unique Extra-Edge support system adds targeted reinforcement to the outer edges of the mattress, reducing the need to worry about sag around the edge of the bed. These layers all come together to create a best-of-both worlds feel: the comfort and contouring of foam, with the support and cooling of innerspring coils.
The WinkBed is made in the USA out of premium, durable materials. Shipping is included for free, and you’ll have a full 120 nights to try it out in your own home. If you aren’t satisfied, WinkBeds will pick up the mattress for free, and issue a full refund.
Saatva Classic Mattress
Why We Like it
- Available in three firmness options (3, 6 and 8)
- Two distinct layers of coils give cushion and bounce to suit side sleepers
- Free white-glove delivery and installation
For side sleepers who want pressure point relief with some bounce, the Saatva Mattress is a compelling choice. It’s a luxury hybrid mattress that employs two different types of coils, along with comfort foam layers, to meet all of the needs of side sleepers.
The Saatva’s support core is a layer of steel innerspring coils placed on top of a thin layer of high-density polyfoam. Sitting on top of this support core is a 4” layer of individually-wrapped micro-coils. This layer maintains the bounce of the core while adding responsiveness.
Extra foam is placed around the coils in the mattress to bolster edge support. Foam layers, including a memory foam lumbar pad, are built into the comfort layer. This layer is stitched in a euro-style pillow top that is sleek and adds softness and contouring to relieve impact points at the hips and shoulders.
Saatva customers can choose between an 11.5” and 14.5” model and can also select one of three comfort options: Plush Soft (3-3.5), Luxury Firm (5-6), and Firm (8). The Luxury Firm is the preferred choice among most side sleepers, but as always, it comes down to personal preference.
A nice perk of the Saatva mattress is free white-glove delivery that includes setup of the mattress in your bedroom and haul-away of an old mattress. You have 120 nights to try out the mattress and return it if you aren’t satisfied, but if you do make a return, a $99 return shipping fee will be deducted from your refund. The Saatva comes with a 15-year limited warranty.
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers: Buyer’s Guide
Buying a new mattress can be an intimidating process – but it doesn’t have to be. The section below will help you on your journey to choosing the perfect bed for your situation. We will cover what features to look for in a mattress, which materials you may wish to seek out (or avoid), and much more. For even more tips and tricks on buying a new mattress, see our full guide to buying a mattress online.
What Type of Mattress Is Best for Side Sleepers?
There are several different types of mattresses to choose from when it comes to picking your next bed. The material of your mattress is perhaps the biggest consideration, as it has the largest impact on both the comfort and durability of the mattress.
There are some unique considerations for side-sleepers, specifically. For instance, most side-sleepers want more give in the shoulder and hip areas; making foam and hybrid mattresses a better choice over traditional innerspring beds.
Budget should also be considered, as there are significant differences in price between different mattress types. For instance, latex beds tend to be significantly more expensive than all-foam beds, while hybrid mattresses provide a nice middle-ground between cost and overall value.
Read about the four primary mattress types below, and their pros and cons most relevant to side-sleepers.
A memory foam mattress is made exclusively out of various types of foam. Typically multiple layers will be present, with both soft memory foam and firmer layers of support foam. Some layers are designed to provide responsive support by conforming to the shape of your body (memory foam), while others are used to provide the underlying support and structure of the mattress (high-density polyfoam).
A queen foam mattress can run anywhere from $400 to several thousand dollars. There are many good options in the $600-$1200 range.
Pros for Side Sleepers:
- Plenty of softness/give in the shoulders and hips.
- Good motion isolation helps keep your partner’s movements in bed isolated.
- Great pressure relief in target areas.
Cons for Side Sleepers:
- Some all-foam beds can sleep hot.
- Shorter lifespan than hybrid and innerspring beds.
- Minimal edge support.
Latex mattresses are less popular than other options, but offer unique properties that may be of interest to side-sleepers. Latex is a type of rubber that is used in many consumer products, and mattresses made entirely of latex are known as true latex, all-latex, or more simply, latex mattresses. Latex mattresses tend to be heavier than similarly-sized mattresses of other types. This material offers a blend of responsiveness and resiliency as latex is quick to bounce back to its original shape when weight is lifted off of it.
A queen latex mattress will generally cost between $1000 and $3000, with many good options in the $1200-$2000 range. Latex is a relatively expensive material to work with, so you will notice that latex mattresses are typically on the pricier side compared to foam and hybrid beds.
Pros for Side Sleepers:
- Good pressure relief.
- A soft-yet-responsive feel makes for a well balanced mattress.
- Good conforming in the hip and shoulder areas.
Cons for Side Sleepers:
- Above-average price point.
- Less edge support than hybrid/innerspring mattresses.
- Latex allergies must be considered.
Innerspring mattresses have coiled metal springs that make up the base support of the bed. This is typically topped with layers of polyfoam for comfort and contouring. Innerspring mattresses were the predominant bed type in past decades, but they are becoming less popular as time goes on.
Innerspring mattresses typically cost between $600 and $1600+, with a good selection available in the $900 to $1300 range. Keep in mind that innerspring beds are less commonly sold online, so most people purchase them in physical mattress stores.This may increase the cost.
Pros for Side Sleepers:
- Very strong edge support due to rigid structure of the mattress.
- Very affordable models are available.
- Sleep cool due to improved airflow between coils.
Cons for Side Sleepers:
- Springs can feel too firm on the shoulders and hips while side-sleeping
- Minimal conforming and pressure relief.
- Significant motion transfer and noise potential.
Hybrid mattresses combine the best features of traditional innerspring beds and modern foam mattresses. They use metal coils for the underlying support, but have thick layers of memory foam and comfort foam for better contouring and comfort.
Hybrid mattresses are usually a bit more expensive than all-foam or traditional innerspring mattresses, but there is a wide range available. Most are priced in the $1,200-$2,500 range, with many good options available under $2,000.
Pros for Side Sleepers:
- Good edge support.
- Great conforming with adequate cushioning to accommodate hips and shoulders.
- Sleeps cool.
Cons for Side Sleepers:
- Above-average price point.
- Some potential for noise from coils.
Important Mattress Features for Side Sleepers
When it comes to buying your next mattress, there are a lot of important factors to consider. Each person sleeps differently and has different preferences in terms of comfort, support and firmness. Because of this, choosing the “best” mattress is an involved task that must be customized for your individual situation. To help, we’ve put together this list of some of the key considerations that you should have in mind when making your selection.
- Size: The size of your next mattress (full, queen, king, etc.) is an important consideration, particularly if you share your bed with a partner. Queen is the most common size by a good measure, but single people may be just as comfortable on a full or even a twin.
- Support: Support is vital for a comfortable and restorative night’s sleep. For side sleepers, the support of the mattress is key to maintaining spinal alignment and avoiding issues with neck and back pain. You will want to find a comfortable mattress that provides the right level of support to key areas including the shoulders, hips and neck. Side sleepers should look for a mattress that has a responsive comfort layer that accommodates the hips and shoulders comfortably, without too much sink.
- Contouring: Contouring refers to how the mattress responds to the shape of your body. In general, memory foam offers better contouring than other materials, as it allows the mattress to fully adapt to the shape of the sleeper’s body. For side sleepers, the best options include all-foam mattresses and hybrid beds, which combine foam contouring layers with traditional springs for better support.
- Firmness: Firmness is an important consideration, and often one of the biggest factors that will affect your overall comfort at night. Side sleepers tend to do best on a moderate firmness level, somewhere between 5 and 7 out of 10. Heavier people weighing more than 230 lbs or so may wish to consider a somewhat firmer mattress to prevent sinkage.
- Motion Isolation: Motion isolation refers to how well a mattress prevents motion on one side of the bed from disturbing the slumber of the sleeper on the opposite side. This factor is only relevant for those sleeping with a partner. Foam tends to do a good job of isolating motion, while innerspring mattresses tend to perform poorly in this category.
- Temperature Regulation: Temperature regulation refers to a mattress’ ability to maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature. In most cases, this means not retaining too much body heat on warm nights. The mattresses we recommend for side sleepers typically have some sort of built-in cooling properties, but this is still an important consideration – particularly if you live in a warm climate.
- Edge Support: Edge support refers to the strength and durability of the mattress around the outer edges. This is a particularly important consideration for side sleepers, as often times side sleepers end up near the edge of the bed. The last thing you want is to roll off the mattress due to a lack of edge support, so look for beds with solid ratings in this category. In general, hybrid and innerspring beds score better marks for edge support compared to all-foam mattresses, although manufacturers are getting much better at reinforcing foam beds.
- Price: Because you spend so much of your life on your mattress, price should not be the main factor that sways your opinion – but for most of us, it’s a factor nonetheless. Searching for mattresses in the moderate price range of $800 to $1500 ensures that you get a very quality bed without breaking the bank. In general, we recommend avoiding cheap beds as they are usually less comfortable and less durable.
About Side Sleeping
Side sleeping is the most common sleeping position. It is estimated that between one-third and one-half of people are side sleepers. Although “side sleepers” are typically bunched together, there are actually a few different positions within this category:
- Fetal Position – Many people sleep in the fetal position, on their side with their knees drawn partially into their chests. This is thought to be the most common side sleeping position.
- “Log” Position – Many side sleepers “sleep like a log”, on their side with their arms extended down next to their bodies. This is a common position, but for some people it can cause shoulder pain in the shoulder that is most commonly slept on.
- “Yearner” Position – Some side sleepers prefer a position referred to as the “yearner” position, in which the sleeper stretches their arms out in front of their bodies.
Each position has its own pros and cons, but ultimately it mostly comes down to comfort. And side sleeping in general has both benefits and drawbacks to consider, as outlined below.
Pros of Side Sleeping
- Gastrointestinal Health: There is some evidence to suggest that sleeping on your side – and particularly on your left side – may benefit gut health. It’s thought that side sleeping aids in digestion, and that left side sleeping may help prevent heartburn. The exact reasoning for these effects is not clear, although it is thought to be related to the placement of our organs.
- Reduced Snoring: Side sleeping may help reduce the severity of your snoring, compared to back sleeping. This is likely due to the position of your tongue, which is less likely to partially block your airway when you’re on your side.
- Brain Health: Fascinatingly, sleeping on your side may even benefit your brain. Waste products, including soluble amyloid β (Aβ), accumulate in the brain and can contribute to the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Some emerging research suggests that sleeping in the lateral position (on your side) may allow for more efficient removal of this waste.
Cons of Side Sleeping
- Shoulder & Neck Pain: Some people will experience shoulder and/or neck pain when sleeping on their side. This could mean that you need a new mattress or pillow, or it could mean that side sleeping is not the right fit for your body.
- Wrinkles & Breast Sag: Sleeping on your side means that one side of your face is pressed firmly into your pillow. This can contribute to facial wrinkles. Similarly, women may find that sleeping on the side contributes to stretching of breast tissue, leading to sag.
Side Sleeping and Body Type
Your physical size and weight will affect certain aspects of how you sleep, including the type of mattress you should purchase. This is true regardless of your sleeping position, but side sleepers in particular should be aware of their most important consideration: mattress firmness.
Most Suitable Firmness Range
|Under 130lb.||Soft to Medium Soft (3-5)||Lighter people will not sink into mattresses as much, which means that they will be more comfortable on beds with lower firmness ratings. If light sleepers choose beds that are too firm, they may find that the bed does not offer enough conforming to improve their comfort and spinal alignment.|
|130-230lb.||Medium to Medium Firm (5-7)||For the majority of people of an average weight, a mattress in the middle of the spectrum (5-7) will tend to be the best option. These beds provide just enough cushy comfort, without feeling too soft or too firm.|
|Over 230lb.||Medium Firm to Firm (6-8+)||Heavier people over 230lbs or so should stick to firmer models that provide adequate support. This is because softer beds may sag too much, leading to a misaligned spine and back pain.|
Additional Sleep Accessories for Side Sleepers
Choosing the right mattress is perhaps the most important step you can take when it comes to improving your sleep health. However, there may be other upgrades you can make to your sleep arsenal in order to get even better rest. The section below will explore a few optional sleep accessories that are important for side-sleepers.
Finding the right pillow is very important for side sleepers – in fact, a quality pillow can make just as much of a difference in sleep quality as a new mattress. While you can pick up a basic pillow for as little as $10, this is another area where it pays to spend a bit more on a quality product.
Pillows are vital for neck support and spinal alignment during sleep. Side sleepers should look for relatively thick pillows – ideally contoured designs that are slightly thicker around the edges. This design helps provide firm support to the neck, while letting the head rest comfortably with minimal pressure. While back sleepers may prefer thinner feather pillows, the majority of side sleepers will need the more substantial support that comes with a foam pillow.
Mattress toppers are optional accessories that sit on top of your bed, adding an additional layer of comfort foam. They are generally made of memory foam, and are affordably priced in the $75-$200 range.
People often buy mattress toppers in order to upgrade older beds that are not as comfortable any more. If you’re in this situation, and you are unable or unwilling to buy a new bed, picking up a mattress topper is the next best option.
In some situations, using a mattress topper may make sense even on a brand new bed. For one, toppers provide an additional layer of protection against damage and stains, and may improve the longevity of your mattress. And if you end up with a mattress that is not quite the right firmness level for your preferences, a topper can be an easy fix.