Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

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Many adult sleepers spend more than half the night sleeping on their side. While this popular sleep position may feel natural or comfortable, side sleeping can also contribute to back and joint pain.

If you sleep primarily on your side, choosing a mattress designed for this position is an important step toward healthy, comfortable sleep. When you lie on your side, your shoulders and hips can sink deeper into the mattress than other parts of your body, which can cause spinal misalignment. The solution for side sleepers is to select a mattress that supports these pressure points and ensures that the spine remains relatively straight during sleep.

We’ll discuss our picks for the best mattress for side sleepers and explain what qualities to look for in a bed so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

Our Top Picks

Mattress
Pick/Award
Mattress Type
Firmness Level
Price

Best Overall

Hybrid

Medium Firm (6)

Best Value

Foam

Medium Firm (6)

Most Comfortable

Innerspring

Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)

Best Luxury

Foam

Medium Soft (4), Medium (5), Firm (7)

Best Pressure Relief

Foam

Medium (5)

Best Cooling

Hybrid

Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6)

BEST OVERALL

Helix Midnight

product image of the Helix Sleep
Highlights
Ideal For
  • Contouring memory foam provides ample pressure relief
  • Makes little to no noise
  • Pocketed coils and reinforced perimeter offer sturdy edge support
  • People with chronic joint pain 
  • Sleepers who like a mattress that conforms closely 
  • Couples
See the best prices on the Helix Midnight

The Helix Midnight is a hybrid mattress designed to relieve pressure point pain for side sleepers. With a medium firm (6) feel, the Helix Midnight was soft enough to cushion our testers who sleep on their sides but firm enough to prevent excessive sinkage. The mattress also performed exceptionally well for our stomach and back sleepers under 130 pounds.

A comfort system with memory foam and polyfoam layers sits atop a pocketed coil support core. The top layer of memory foam conformed to our testers’ bodies, relieving pressure around their joints. Since the pocketed coils move individually, our side sleepers noted good spinal support.

Hybrid beds tend to be more responsive than all-foam models because the pocketed coils provide bounce. Our testing team found the Helix Midnight moderately responsive, making it relatively easy to change positions as needed. The foam layers also helped isolate motion so that our testers didn’t feel when their partners moved. Reinforced pocketed coils along the sides of the mattress allowed our testers to lie right up to the edge of the bed.

The Helix Midnight ships free throughout the U.S. and comes with a 100-night sleep trial. The trial requires a 30-day break-in period before the mattress is eligible for a full refund. The mattress is also covered by a 10-year limited warranty.

With a nice balance of contouring and support, the Helix Midnight is particularly well suited to side sleepers under 230 pounds who prioritize pressure point relief.

BEST VALUE

Nectar Mattress

product image of the Nectar Mattress
Highlights
Ideal For
  • Memory foam comfort layer reduces pressure buildup 
  • Excellent motion isolation
  • Comes with a 365-night sleep trial
  • Sleepers seeking pressure point relief
  • Those who are easily awoken by a partner’s movements 
  • Shoppers who want a long trial period
See the best prices on the Nectar Mattress

The all-foam Nectar Mattress offers layers of contouring memory foam and polyfoam at a competitive price-point. Our side sleepers across all weight groups enjoyed its medium firm (6) feel and even conforming. Our back and stomach sleepers under 230 pounds also thought that the Nectar has a good balance of cushioning and support.

The comfort system includes a 3-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam and a 2-inch polyfoam layer. Our testers felt the mattress contour closely to their bodies, relieving pressure points. At the same time, the polyfoam layer deepened the pressure relief and supported their spines.

Our evaluations showed that virtually no vibrations traveled across the surface of the Nectar, which means sleep partners shouldn’t disturb each other when they change positions. However, the testing team reported some difficulty moving across the surface due to the close hug and lack of bounce.

The Nectar has above-average edge support for a memory foam bed. The polyfoam core helps support the entire mattress, including the perimeter. Most of our testers felt secure lying or sitting at the edge of the bed.

The Nectar Mattress comes with a 365-night sleep trial, which is one of the longest trial periods in the industry. After a 30-day break-in period, customers can return their mattress and receive a refund. The mattress also has a limited lifetime warranty covering craftsmanship and material defects.

With an affordable price-point that belies its high-quality construction, the Nectar is a great value pick for side sleepers with a limited budget.

MOST COMFORTABLE

Saatva Classic

product image of the Saatva Classic
Highlights
Ideal For
  • Memory foam lumbar pad for lower back support
  • Choice of three firmness levels
  • Coil core provides above-average durability
  • Sleepers looking for additional back support and pressure relief
  • Side sleepers under 230 pounds
  • Hot sleepers
See the best prices on the Saatva Classic

Shoppers looking for a mattress that provides targeted back support may appreciate the Saatva Classic’s three-layer comfort system. A breathable Euro-top layer is followed by a memory foam lumbar pad designed to offset back pressure and keep the spine aligned. The third comfort layer consists of pocketed microcoils that move individually and contour to the body to relieve pressure points.

We found that the microcoil layer heightened the bed’s responsiveness, providing the bounce required for easy movement. The mattress core uses innerspring coils, which allow for cooling airflow. These sturdy coils also contribute to the bed’s above-average durability. Our testing team noted that the perimeter is reinforced with polyfoam rails, which provide sturdy support when sleeping near the edge of the bed.

The innerspring mattress is available in three firmness levels: soft (3), medium firm (6), and firm (8). Among the side sleepers on our team, firmness preferences corresponded to their body types.

Most side sleepers under 130 pounds preferred the soft version, while those between 130 and 230 pounds enjoyed the medium firm option. Team members weighing more than 230 pounds reported that the firm mattress provided ample support while still having enough cushioning to ease pressure points.

White Glove delivery is free within the contiguous U.S. Saatva also offers a 365-night sleep trial, during which customers can return their mattress for a $99 processing fee. The mattress is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

An all-around crowd-pleaser, the Saatva Classic’s three firmness choices offer a comfortable option for side sleepers of any body type.

BEST LUXURY

GravityLux

proprietary image of the Gravity Lux
Highlights
Ideal For
  • Made with patented pressure-relieving memory foam
  • Strong motion isolation
  • Available in three firmness levels
  • Shoppers looking for a close-conforming foam mattress
  • Sleepers who prefer targeted support and contouring 
  • Hot sleepers who like the feel of foam
See the best prices on the GravityLux

The GravityLux by WinkBeds incorporates proprietary foam technology designed to contour to the body and relieve pressure. Two layers make up the comfort system. The top layer is 2 inches of gel-infused polyfoam quilted in a Tencel cover designed for cooling. The second layer uses AirCell memory foam engineered to conform to the body while dissipating heat. Our testers noticed that the GravityLux relieved their pressure points without retaining as much warmth as many all-foam models.

A zoned polyfoam transition layer promotes good posture by adding support under areas of the body that tend to sag excessively. During tests we noted that the high-density polyfoam core also helps limit sinkage.

Shoppers can choose from three firmness levels: medium soft (4), medium (5), and firm (7). Almost all of our testers found the firm version comfortable — with the exception of side sleepers under 130 pounds — so it may be a good fit for partners with different body types and position preferences.

The medium option received rave reviews from team members weighing less than 130 pounds regardless of preferred sleep position. However, some of our lightweight side sleepers favored the plushness of the soft version.

GravityLux buyers have a 120-night sleep trial to test out the mattress. This trial comes with a required 30-night break-in period. A limited lifetime warranty covers manufacturing and material defects. Shipping is free for customers in the contiguous U.S.

If you tend to sleep hot but prefer the conforming feel of memory foam, the GravityLux’s proprietary foam and premium cooling features may be an ideal solution.

BEST PRESSURE RELIEF

Nolah Signature 12

product image of the Nolah Signature 12
Highlights
Ideal For
  • Three-layer comfort system relieves pressure
  • Absorbs vibrations well 
  • Proprietary polyfoam designed for temperature neutrality
  • Shoppers looking for a foam mattress that doesn’t retain much heat 
  • Those who share the bed with a pet or partner
  • Side sleepers of all weights
See the best prices on the Nolah Signature 12

The Nolah Signature 12 is an all-foam mattress with a medium (5) firmness level and a three-layer comfort system that molds to the body to relieve pressure. Our in-house testers found it most suitable for side sleeping, though back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds also rested comfortably.

The top comfort layer uses 2.5 inches of Nolah’s proprietary AirFoam designed for responsive contouring and breathability. A 1.5-inch layer of polyfoam adds support and bounce, and a firmer 1-inch layer of AirFoam deepens the cradling. These comfort layers absorbed most vibrations throughout our testing process, meaning those who share the bed are unlikely to disturb each other as they move during the night. A polyfoam core helps reduce sagging, and a breathable cotton cover encases the mattress.

While the Nolah Signature 12 hugged our testers closely enough to ease pressure, they didn’t struggle to change positions because of the responsiveness of its polyfoam layers. The AirFoam is also designed to retain less heat than traditional memory foam, and we found the surface of the mattress stayed cooler than many all-foam models.

The Nolah Signature 12 ships free within the contiguous U.S. and comes with a 120-night trial. After a 30-night required break-in period, mattresses are eligible for a full refund less a $99 transportation fee. Buyers are also entitled to a limited lifetime warranty.

With a true midrange feel and a balanced blend of conforming and responsiveness, the Nolah Signature 12 is a great choice for side sleepers seeking pressure relief in their hips and shoulders.

BEST COOLING

Joybed LXC

Highlights
Ideal For
  • Eco-friendly hybrid design pairs plush cotton batting with sturdy pocketed coils
  • Available in medium soft and medium firm designs
  • Breathable materials and steady airflow ensure excellent temperature regulation
  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Eco-conscious mattress shoppers
See the best prices on the Joybed LXC

Mattresses that sleep cool and feel comfortable for side sleepers are somewhat rare, since the deep cushioning layers needed for side sleeping are often associated with heat retention. The Joybed LXC offers an unconventional hybrid design that promotes airflow while promoting even alignment and reducing pressure in the shoulders and hips – essential qualities for those who primarily use the side position.

Rather than using foam or latex, the LXC is constructed with a top layer of plush fibers derived from potato plants, followed by three layers of cotton batting. Both of these materials are highly breathable, resulting in excellent surface airflow. A support core of pocketed coils also circulates air throughout the interior to help the mattress maintain a comfortable core temperature.

The LXC is available in two firmness levels. After testing both, we found that the medium soft (4) option is best suited to side sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. While the comfort layers don’t adapt to the body like foam or latex, we noticed deep cushioning and even weight distribution. The side sleepers on our team weighing more than 230 pounds preferred the extra support of the medium firm (6) feel. Our back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds also felt comfortable on the medium firm design.

The cotton used in the LXC’s cover and batting layer has received certification from the Global Organic Textile Standard, ensuring the material has been sustainably grown and processed. The plant-based fibers – which serve as a natural fiber barrier – do not contain any added chemicals. As an added bonus for eco-conscious individuals, the coils are joined using a plant-based adhesive.

The LXC is reasonably priced, and those who opt for the medium soft model also receive a substantial discount on JoyBed’s “Dreamin’ Vegan” mattress topper made from Egyptian cotton. Customers in the contiguous U.S. enjoy free ground shipping. Mattress returns are accepted within 120 days of delivery, and those who keep their LXC also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Why You Should Trust Us

When it comes to choosing the right bed for a good night’s sleep, you can trust our sleep experts’ years of industry experience. Our team of product analysts personally tests each mattress we review, paying attention to issues of specific concern to different kinds of sleepers, such as firmness, durability, and pressure relief.

Since our team includes individuals with different weights and preferred sleep positions, we gather both scientific and firsthand insight into how each model performs. 

What Do Side Sleepers Need for a Good Night’s Sleep?

Side sleepers generally need a mattress that promotes spinal alignment and relieves pressure points. We’ll review some of the key mattress features for side sleepers to keep in mind.

Find the Type of Mattress That Works for You

Shoppers can choose from a variety of mattress types, including foam, innerspring, latex, hybrid, and airbed models. Each construction offers potential benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the style that meets your specific needs.

Pick the Right Mattress Firmness

We rate mattress firmness on a 10-point scale. We’ve found that side sleepers tend to prefer medium soft (4) to medium firm (6) mattresses, though preferences can vary based on body type. Our tests have shown that side sleepers under 130 pounds usually prefer a softer model, while those over 230 pounds typically benefit from the extra support of a firmer mattress. 

Keep Your Spine Aligned

Mattresses that are too soft or too firm can cause the spine to become misaligned. To achieve good sleep posture, side sleepers usually need their hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress without sagging. 

Best Mattress Types for Side Sleepers

Side sleepers generally look for a mattress that combines pressure relief and spinal support. Several mattress types offer this contouring and support in different ways. 

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses typically contain several layers of foam, such as memory foam and polyfoam. Most foam models we test have notable cradling. While soft to medium firm options are most common, firmer models are also available.

Either memory foam or polyfoam can offer significant pressure relief. However, some side sleepers prefer mattresses with memory foam comfort layers because of the material’s especially close conforming. Exceptional contouring can redistribute a side sleeper’s weight and ease pressure around their hips and shoulders. 

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses usually contain either foam or latex comfort layers combined with a coil support core. This design tends to fair well with side sleepers in our evaluations. While the comfort system contours to relieve pressure, the coils add bounce, responsiveness, and breathability.

What About Innerspring Beds?

In the past, innerspring mattresses had few or no comfort layers covering the coil core. However, some manufacturers now use the terms innerspring and hybrid interchangeably. If you’re considering a hybrid or innerspring bed, we recommend choosing a model with enough contouring to support the spine and prevent pressure buildup. 

Latex Mattresses

While some latex mattresses use synthetic latex made from petrochemicals, most models use natural latex processed from the sap of rubber trees. The material has a slightly conforming feel that has more bounce than memory foam.

Latex models tend to cradle a side sleeper’s body without hugging it. Since the material also springs back quickly when the sleeper moves, our testers often give latex mattresses exceptional marks in ease of movement. Additionally, latex’s open-cell structure increases airflow to promote cooler sleep. 

What’s the Best Mattress Firmness for Side Sleepers?

While side sleepers tend to prefer softer mattresses than back or stomach sleepers, mattress firmness is subjective, and the ideal firmness for a side sleeper also depends on their body type.

Our Firmness Scale and the Ideal Range for Side Sleepers

We rate all the beds we test on a 10-point firmness scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest. Based on our scale, the ideal firmness for side sleepers is generally between 3 and 7, with most side sleepers preferring a medium soft (4) to medium firm (6) mattress.

The side sleepers on our testing team who weigh under 130 pounds usually favor models on the softer end of this range. Firmer models often do not mold to their hips and shoulders enough to relieve pressure or promote good posture.

Side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds tend to get the best balance of cradling and support from models close to the center of the range, while most of our team members who weigh over 230 pounds prefer firmer options to prevent their hips and shoulders from sagging. 

Are Firm Mattresses Bad for Side Sleepers?

Firm mattresses are not ideal for most side sleepers. They generally don’t compress enough under the hips and shoulders to relieve pressure and promote a neutral spine position, which can lead to discomfort. However, a firmer mattress may be appropriate for individuals over 230 pounds who need extra support. 

Side Sleeping and Keeping Your Spine Aligned

It’s important to keep your spine properly aligned as you sleep. This means the spine should be fairly straight. Typically, mattresses with a medium soft to medium firm feel provide appropriate spinal support to side sleepers.

Mattresses that are too soft can allow the hips and shoulders to sag, putting pressure on the lower back. On the other hand, mattresses that are too firm push back against these wider body parts, creating pressure points and preventing the spine from staying straight. Improper spinal alignment can disturb your sleep and may also contribute to back pain.

As you shop, you may see models with zoned layers. These layers are designed to provide extra support for the heavier midsection of the body, which helps keep the back in a straighter line.

What Kind of Mattress Can Help With Back Pain?

Our in-house testers who sleep on their side often report experiencing less back pain when lying on memory foam models. This type of foam conforms closely to the body, easing pressure points and distributing weight across the bed. However, the best mattress for back pain also depends on your body size. The right mattress should contour to your body without sagging excessively under your weight.

Tips to Help Keep Your Spine Aligned

In addition to a mattress that balances support and cradling, we recommend that side sleepers select pillows that support their spinal alignment.

Head Pillow: A pillow for your head should have enough loft to fill the space between your head, your shoulder, and the mattress. This can help keep your head, neck, and spine in alignment. Most side sleepers prefer a medium- to high-loft pillow with a midrange firmness

Leg or Knee Pillow: Some side sleepers also place a pillow between their knees to help prevent hip rotation, relieve pressure on the hips and lower back, and improve spinal alignment.