Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Written by

David Rubin , Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester

Reviewed by

Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, DABSM, FAASM , Clinical Psychologist, Sleep Medicine Expert
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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.

“Side sleepers put more pressure on their hips and shoulders, which can cause real issues over time if their mattress is too firm – or so old it is no longer supportive. Look for a mattress on the soft to medium-firm side that offers contouring while also providing support.” – Dr. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.

How to Buy a Mattress for Side Sleepers Video

Watch our video below for some in-depth tips on how to find the best mattress for side sleepers.

Best Overall

Helix Midnight

Details

  • Type: Hybrid

  • Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $799 – $1,549

  • Warranty: 10 Year, Limited

Highlights

  • Contouring memory foam provides ample pressure relief
  • Makes little to no noise
  • Pocketed coils and reinforced perimeter offer sturdy edge support

Ideal For

  • People with chronic joint pain
  • Sleepers who like a mattress that conforms closely
  • Couples

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.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The Helix Midnight's foam hybrid design was popular among those of us who sleep on our sides. We received ample cushioning for sore shoulders and hips, while the pocketed coils kept our spines in proper alignment.” opening quote icon
David Rubin, Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester and Side Sleeper

Best Value

Nectar Mattress

Details

  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

  • Price Range: $399 – $1,138

  • Warranty: Lifetime, Limited

Highlights

  • Memory foam comfort layer reduces pressure buildup
  • Excellent motion isolation
  • Comes with a 365-night sleep trial

Ideal For

  • Sleepers seeking pressure point relief
  • Those who are easily awoken by a partner's movements
  • Shoppers who want a long trial period

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 2-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam and a 3-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.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The Nectar Mattress' affordable price-point, generous sleep trial, and lifetime warranty make it a great deal if you're on a budget. The firmer-than-average foam mattress earned decent ratings from most of our side sleepers.” opening quote icon
Alison Deshong, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Stomach Sleeper

Best for Spinal Alignment

Eco Terra

Details

  • Type: Hybrid

  • Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $849 – $1349

  • Warranty: 15 Year, Limited

Highlights

  • Breathable wool, latex, cotton, and coils help regulate temperature
  • Talalay latex cradles the body to relieve pressure
  • Two firmness levels

Ideal For

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who have trouble maintaining healthy sleep posture
  • Hot sleepers

Side sleepers can have trouble maintaining spinal alignment on a mattress that sinks too much beneath the weight of their midsections and shoulders. The Eco Terra combats this issue with zoned coils and responsive cushioning to help keep the body on an even plane. 

The Eco Terra’s comfort system begins with a layer of GOTS-certified organic wool that offers a bit of surface cushioning while acting as a natural fire barrier. Underneath is a layer of Talalay latex that cradles, rather than adapts, to your body to alleviate pressure buildup. Since latex is naturally responsive, it also traps less heat than materials like memory foam. 

Pocketed coils make up the support core. Thicker gauge coils are zoned in the center of the mattress to prevent uncomfortable sagging and along the mattress perimeter for enhanced edge support. A breathable cover made from GOTS-certified organic cotton encases the mattress. 

You can choose between two firmness levels: medium (5) and medium firm (6). Our testing found the mattress best suited to side and back sleepers, but testers preferred different models depending on their body type. Side and back sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds enjoyed the softer model. Meanwhile, the firmer model suited side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. Stomach sleepers may also enjoy the medium firm model, but those weighing more than 230 pounds may need a firmer mattress. 

Both models excelled in several tests, including temperature control and ease of movement. Thanks to the use of breathable cotton, wool, latex, and coils, the mattress felt extremely comfortable for our hot sleepers. Our heat guns detected minimal heat buildup on the surface. Couples who prioritize responsiveness for sex should also enjoy the mattress. We could move across the surface without restriction or slipping off at the edges.

Eco Terra ships free to customers in the contiguous U.S. and offers a 90-night sleep trial to test the mattress. Should you decide to keep it, the mattress is backed by a 15-year warranty.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The Eco Terra’s responsive cushioning offered great relief for our side sleepers’ sore spots while keeping their bodies on an even plane. Naturally breathable components also made the mattress a hit with our hot sleepers.” opening quote icon
Garen Glazier, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Side Sleeper

Best Luxury

Sonu Mattress

Details

  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium Soft (4)

  • Sizes: Twin XL, Queen, King, Cali King, Split King

  • Price Range: $2,499 – $4,398

  • Warranty: 5 Year, Limited

Highlights

  • Comfort Channel allows the arm and shoulder to rest inside the mattress and prevent pressure buildup
  • All-foam composition significantly reduces pressure and movement transfer
  • Cooling gel-infused top layer helps combat heat retention

Ideal For

  • People with sharp pressure points in their shoulders
  • Those willing to spend more on a mattress with innovative technology
  • Couples who prioritize motion isolation

The Sonu Mattress uses an innovative design specifically made to combat pressure buildup in a side sleeper’s shoulders. A unique Comfort Channel at the head of the bed allows you to place your arms inside the mattress to avoid crunching them under a pillow or cranking the neck.

The mattress includes four support pillows featuring four layers of polyfoam each. These pillows sit in the Comfort Channel to support the head while allowing enough room for your arms to rest inside comfortably. The mattress body’s comfort system begins with a layer of gel-infused polyfoam that alleviates pressure points. This layer’s gel infusion is meant to keep the surface cool to the touch. Underneath is a second layer of polyfoam that enhances pressure relief while preventing your body from sinking too deeply into the mattress. This layer rests over high-density polyfoam, which reinforces the sleep surface. A soft stretch knit cover encases the mattress. 

Thanks to its innovative design, medium soft (4) feel, and all-foam construction, our side-sleeping testers awarded the Sonu its highest ratings. Our testers noticed very little pressure buildup in their shoulders thanks to the Comfort Channel, while the body of the mattress prevented sore spots in their hips. The foam layers also absorb most movement transfer and noise, making the mattress a great choice if you share the bed with a restless sleep partner. You should notice fewer disturbances from your partner’s nightly movement. 

Sonu ships free to customers living in the contiguous U.S. A 100-night sleep trial allows you to test the mattress and return it anytime after the 60-night break-in period. The mattress is backed by a 5-year warranty against structural defects.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “Our side sleepers loved the Sonu Mattress’ innovative Comfort Channel and pressure-relieving foam layers. We noticed little to no pressure buildup in areas like the shoulders and hips.” opening quote icon
David Rubin, Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester and Side Sleeper

Best Luxury

WinkBeds GravityLux

Details

  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium (5), Firm (7)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $1,199 – $1,999

  • Warranty: Lifetime, Limited

Highlights

  • Made with patented pressure-relieving memory foam
  • Strong motion isolation
  • Available in three firmness levels

Ideal For

  • Shoppers looking for a close-conforming foam mattress
  • Sleepers who prefer targeted support and contouring
  • Hot sleepers who like the feel of foam

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.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The GravityLux is a high-end model engineered with pressure relief in mind, which made it a hit with our side sleepers. The mixed-foam design ensures a more responsive feel that’s designed to retain less heat than other all-foam models.” opening quote icon
David Rubin, Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester and Side Sleeper

Best Pressure Relief

Nolah Signature 12

Details

  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium (5)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $849 – $1,499

  • Warranty: Lifetime, Limited

Highlights

  • Three-layer comfort system relieves pressure
  • Absorbs vibrations well
  • Proprietary polyfoam designed for temperature neutrality

Ideal For

  • 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

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.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The Nolah Signature 12's thick foam comfort system and medium (5) feel earned it high marks from the side sleepers on our team. This design deeply contoured to my body, relieving most pressure in my sore shoulders and hips.” opening quote icon
Garen Glazier, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Side Sleeper

Best Cooling

Joybed LXP

Details

  • Type: Hybrid

  • Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6)

  • Price Range: $990 – $1,990

  • Warranty: 10 Year, Limited

Highlights

  • 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

Ideal For

  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Eco-conscious mattress shoppers

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 LXP 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 LXP is constructed with a top layer of plush fibers derived from potato plants. This is followed by a wool layer sandwiched between two layers of cotton batting. All of these materials are highly breathable, resulting in excellent surface airflow. Next is a layer of nano coils and a support core of pocketed coils. Both circulate air throughout the interior to help the mattress maintain a comfortable core temperature.

The LXP 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 LXP’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 a bonus for eco-conscious individuals, the coils are joined using a plant-based adhesive.

The LXP is reasonably priced, and customers in the contiguous U.S. enjoy free ground shipping. Mattress returns are accepted within 120 days of delivery, and those who keep their LXP also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “Many mattresses with extra cushioning for side sleepers tend to trap more heat, but we found the Joybed LXP to be an exception. The mattress uses breathable plant fibers, wool, cotton, and coils to maximize airflow while still offering ample cushioning for the shoulders and hips.” opening quote icon
Alison Deshong, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Stomach Sleeper

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.

About The Author

David Rubin

Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester

David is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with a lifelong passion for well-being and health optimization. His interest in sleep developed with the arrival of his son, when sleep suddenly became a precious commodity.

  • Position: Side Sleeper
  • Temperature: Hot Sleeper
  • Chronotype: Lion

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