If you sleep on your side – and over half of us do – you may find a lot of beds are just too firm for you. Your hips and shoulders can’t sink into the mattress, which means you end up sleeping with a kink in your spine, and you’ll be aching all over the next day. And since you’re putting all your body weight on a really narrow area, you could end up with recurrent pain in the neck or lower back over time.
So, you’ll want to find a mattress that lets you get comfortable, while still providing good support. You’ll also want to invest in good pillows, because the biggest problem for many side sleepers is getting their neck adequately supported.
We’ve reviewed mattresses that are good for side sleepers, looking at the technical specifications, the prices and user reviews. And of course, we’ve also put each mattress through our testing process. We believe the products below represent the best mattresses for side sleepers.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers In 2020
Nectar Mattress – Best Overall
This mattress is a great one if you enjoy that feeling of being ‘hugged’ by your bed. It’s a memory foam mattress, which includes an extra gel layer to diffuse heat away from your body, so that it sleeps cool. It’s particularly strong where motion isolation is concerned, so a restless partner won’t disturb your sleep. It’s firm enough to give real support, but it also does a great job of cushioning your pressure points such as the shoulders, hips and knees.
This mattress receives great reviews from users as well as from professionals. Customers with arthritis and other painful conditions have had their lives transformed by a Nectar mattress. This mattress is clearly doing something right.
The price for Nectar’s mattresses is competitive, and a feature we particularly like is that they include two pillows as part of the offer.
Nectar provide a 180 night trial and a Nectar Forever Warranty that runs as long as you own the mattress. If it develops a defect, simply return it for a replacement.
The Nectar scores maximum points and is our top pick for side sleepers.
Layla Sleep Mattress – Variable Firmness
Layla Sleep is another memory foam mattress that uses modern technology to let you sleep cool while giving you the support you need. Copper-infused foam conducts heat away from your body while a thermo-gel cover also helps ensure the bed doesn’t warm up too much.
This is a double-sided mattress that offers both soft and firm options; most side sleepers will find the soft side more to their taste. The soft side is just the soft side of medium, while the firm side is definitely towards the firm end of the scale. Beneath the top contouring layer, which softens under your pressure points to provide a high level of comfort, there’s a firmer layer that provides the support you need.
The Layla picks up great reviews from users. Like the Nectar, it has plenty of reviews from customers with chronic pain who found the mattress really helped them achieve a pain-free night’s sleep. We trust these guys to tell it like it is – when you’re really hurting, a good mattress makes all the difference.
However, the mattress can off-gas a bit in the first few days and the smell isn’t particularly pleasant. This does wear off after a while. Most memory foam mattresses have a slight odor the first few days after unpacking, but it’s more pronounced with this one.
We wouldn’t let this put you off but its something to be aware of. You may wish to allow it to air out for a day or two before use.
The Layla mattress comes with a 100 night sleep trial and a 10 year warranty.
DreamCloud Mattress – Soft Option
The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress, with pocketed coils in the base, gel-swirl memory foam and a quilted Eurotop (Pillow Top). The memory foam conforms to your body and offers relief for pressure points, and the gel infusion helps to diffuse heat away from you and lets you sleep cool. Meanwhile the pocket coils give the mattress the kind of bounciness that memory foam beds miss out on, and stronger coils used at the edges give this mattress good edge support.
It scores very highly on ‘huggability’, conforming well to the body and giving good relief for pressure points. But it can ‘hug’ a bit too much; if you are an active sleeper, it can be quite difficult to roll over as the mattress is extremely body-conforming.
We also note that if you get the DreamCloud mattress, you may have to share; some customers find that their pets love this mattress even more than they do.
Mattresses ordered on Amazon benefit from a 180 night sleep trial and an Everlong warranty that runs as long as you own the mattress.
Casper Sleep Mattress – Great Allrounder
The Casper memory foam mattress has three foam layers, with a top layer of heat-diffusing foam. The memory foam layer in the middle conforms to the contours of your body which results in great pressure relief and limited motion transfer. The base layer of foam is high-density which prevents sagging and is going to provide the support required to ensure your spine remains aligned during sleep.
The Casper features zoned support which means your shoulders and hips get the soft conforming they need, while the rest of the mattress supports your body in a more positive way. However, it does not offer quite enough support for heavier individuals. It may, like other memory foam mattresses, offer too much of a body-hugging experience for some sleepers.
Casper offers a 100 night sleep trial and a 10 year warranty.
Dreamfoam Sojourn – Best Budget
This mattress is a great budget option. Four different foam layers are included, starting with a high-density foam at the base, through to a thick memory foam layer topped by a copper-graphite infused layer to help cooling. Motion isolation is a strong point, so this is a great mattress for light sleepers.
The mattress is medium firm, with very little bounce. However, edge support is one area where the Sojourn falls down – just sitting on the edge you’ll feel it sink a good few inches. On the whole, though, it’s a bed that gives great support, and it’s one that heavier sleepers may find comfortable too, based on lots of consumer feedback.
The downside of this mattress is that it lets you sink in really deeply. Some sleepers will love that. Others will find that this makes it annoyingly difficult to turn over or sit up in bed, let alone use the bed for purposes other than sleeping. If you don’t like the ‘hugging’ feel of memory foam, you’re better off picking another mattress.
Sojourn offers a 120 night sleep trial and a 10 year warranty.
Side Sleeper Mattress Buyer’s Guide
If you’re a side sleeper then buying the right mattress is absolutely crucial. Back sleepers can get away with sleeping on almost anything that gives them firm support – but you need a mattress that will let your hips and shoulders sink in a little to keep your spine in alignment, while still giving you adequate support. You’ll also want good pressure point relief – if you’ve ever had to camp or bivouac while hiking, you’ll remember how your hipbone aches if you don’t have a comfortable and supportive sleeping mat.
All of these requirements make for quite a big ask, but fortunately modern mattresses use new technology, often alongside traditional pocket springs, to deliver what you need.
Are you a back sleeper? Take a look at our back sleeper mattress guide.
Are you a combination sleeper? Take a look at our combination sleeper mattress guide.
Prefer to sleep on your front? Our stomach sleeper mattress guide is for you.
What Type of Construction Is Best for You?
Memory foam has a lot of fans among side sleepers. It adjusts to your body so that you’re really well supported everywhere, and lets you keep that important neutral alignment of your spine while you sleep. It also insulates motion really well, which might be important if your partner is an active sleeper. But memory foam mattresses can sleep hot, and some sleepers find them too ‘hugging’ and even claustrophobic.
Latex mattresses have many of the same advantages as memory foam but tend to be bouncier in feel. They sleep cooler than memory foam as the material enhances air flow, and they’re also quick responding if you’re an active sleeper and like to turn over and move around in your sleep – memory foam is more resistant. Plus, you can buy organic latex mattresses which will help you sleep better if you have allergies.
Traditional innerspring mattresses aren’t typically recommended to side sleepers because the grid of coiled springs doesn’t provide much contour, remaining relatively flat. That doesn’t allow the mattress to conform well to your body. However, modern manufacturers use different coil configurations and add foam layers on top that can provide more ‘give’. If you get an innerspring mattress, look for one with individually pocketed coils, which work independently rather than being tied to each other – this gives much more flexibility, comfort and support.
Looking for more innerspring mattresses? Take a look at our coil spring guide.
Hybrid mattresses use an innerspring foundation with foam layers on top. So you get all the bounciness of an innerspring combined with the plush feel and contouring of a latex or foam mattress.
Other Mattress Considerations for Side Sleepers
How firm a mattress do you want? Generally, a medium firm mattress is recommended for side sleepers, around 5-6 on the ten-point firmness scale. That gives adequate support but has enough ‘give’ to mold itself to your body. But you’ll also need to consider your weight. Those of very slight build could choose a softer mattress; heavier (230lb plus) sleepers should choose a firmer mattress, around 7-8 on the scale.
Looking for more soft mattresses? Take a look at our soft mattress guide.
Do you sleep hot or cold? Memory foam mattresses are highly recommended for side sleepers, but if you tend to sleep hot, they’re not for you – they tend to retain heat. You’d be better off with a latex or innerspring / hybrid mattress. Some memory foam mattresses have cooling layers inserted – so if you do want memory foam, choose one with gel layers or other ways to reduce the temperature.
Couples and Pets
Do you get a sleep trial? The best choices offer an extended sleep trial, so you can assess whether you’re waking up feeling better rested and without those little aches and pains that come from sleeping without the right support. That’s one area where buying from Amazon can be better than buying from a store, because you get to sleep on the mattress for up to six months, against just trying it out for ten minutes in store. Do watch out for shipping costs if you want to return the mattress – the best companies offer free returns.
How good is the warranty? Industry leading products offer a warranty that’s good as long as you own the mattress. Read the small print, though, as some warranties reduce the payout over time to reflect wear and tear (‘prorated’ coverage). Typically, you’ll be 100% covered for two or three years with a prorated cover.
And of course, how much is your budget? Mattress prices start at $100 but go as high as $500. A really good quality mattress will cost around $1,000. If you’re currently feeling aches and pains the moment you get up, it’s worth paying for quality – you’ll feel the difference.
Every good mattress will receive a certification providing its credentials and adherence to standards. The CertiPUR-US certification is a reference to a mattress being environmentally friendly and made from non-toxic materials.
Side sleeping is actually good for you, if you do it properly. But getting the right support for your sleeping position is important. That’s why you need to do your research properly and choose a mattress from a manufacturer that runs a good sleep trial program.
Many side sleepers get up in the morning with aches and pains in the neck, lower back or hips. Choosing the right mattress can get rid of those pains – so even if your mattress dents your pocketbook a little more than you expected, look on it as a good investment rather than a luxury purchase.