HOW WE DECIDED
The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers –Layla Hybrid
Best Hybrid Mattress for Side Sleepers –Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Best Mattress for Side and Back Sleepers –Purple Hybrid
Best Budget Mattress –Tuft Needle Mint
Best Mattress for Back Pain –WinkBeds Classic
Best Firm Pillow Top Mattress –Avocado Green Mattress
Best Soft Mattress –Casper Nova Hybrid
Sleeping on your side is the best — just ask any side sleeper. A lot of our team members are side sleepers and, collectively, we’ve tested dozens of products from mattress in a box products. Some are firm mattresses and some are soft, but the point is that we have more experience than just about anyone when it comes to online mattresses.
In this post, we provide overviews of the best mattresses for side sleepers, and for anyone who needs maximum pressure point relief. We hand selected each of these beds, and no outside party dictated any of our selections. We take great pride in providing you the best mattress reviews.
Please keep in mind that we are not physicians or chiropractors and this is not an offering of health advice. That said, we did consult with a chiropractor to help us firm up our opinions, write our reviews, and select the beds for this best mattress for side sleepers list.
At the bare minimum, this list will serve as a starting point for you. We won’t be offended in the slightest if you do some extra research, but I do think that you’ll get a lot out of this post. And with that out of the way, let’s take a look at our review, which for the record includes both king and queen size mattresses.
Top 7 Mattresses For Side Sleepers
Before we get into the bulk of our best list guide, we want to give you a brief overview of each mattress we mention.
The Best Type Of Mattress For Side Sleepers
In regards to what is the best type of mattress for side sleepers, here’s our list:
- Pillow Top
- Hybrid & Innerspring
- Memory Foam
- Soft Foam (i.e. Poly Foam)
- Premium Air Mattress
- Natural Mattress
The list above is in no particular order. It is important to note that choosing the right mattress is a subjective process. We might find one mattress to be comfortable, while you prefer another. That’s the reason why so many of our reviews highlight which beds come with free returns and a trial period.
How We Chose The Best Mattress For Side Sleepers
We spend countless hours testing, researching, and reviewing beds every week, not to mention the hundreds of hours spent filming, editing, and writing about them. We’ve made beds our business here at the Slumber Yard, and we obsess over them.
To that point, we have an entire team of individuals (men and women) who help us test beds—and we’re all different. We have some folks that are over six foot and others that are in the low five foot territory. We have some around 200 lb and at least one person who is (barely) 100 lb soaking wet.
This allows us to form a thoughtful opinion of each of these beds. Additionally, we perform our own tests related to softness/firmness, responsiveness, motion transfer, and more. Of course, these aren’t scientific by any means, but they give us a good idea of what to expect—and we do anticipate that they’ll be helpful for the average mattress shopper. If you read any of our individual mattress reviews, we usually go item by item, discuss each one of our tests and subsequent findings. I mention this because if you have any questions from this post, you should read our full reviews, as those provide a lot more context and information. This is especially important for anyone that cares about pressure points due to health conditions such as shoulder pain.
Layla Hybrid – Best Memory Foam Mattress For Side Sleepers
Layla Firmness and Feel
Layla Hybrid is our pick for the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers. Who chose it for several reasons, but the short story is that it’s a soft mattress with plenty of pressure relief thanks to its copper-infused memory foam.
If you like the idea of a flippable mattress with different firmness levels on either side, Layla is a great option and is one of the top rated beds out there. You will get more of a memory foam feel with the “Soft” side, and that is the side that we would prefer you start on if you are having shoulder pain in particular.
The “Firm” side is suitable for side and back sleepers as well as stomach sleepers, though it’s not actually firm—certainly not as firm as some other beds on this list.
It’s also a fairly affordable mattress that sells exclusively online. You get free shipping and a trial period, and since it’s a bed in a box mattress, it also comes with completely free returns if it’s not exactly what you were hoping for.
In addition to being our pick as the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers, Layla is also one of our top picks for back and side sleepers because of the fact that it has two sides. The vast majority of beds we’ve reviewed do not have two sides and therefore technically are not two mattresses in one.
Layla, on the other hand, is able to appeal to side and back sleepers simultaneously with the “Soft” and “Firm” side depending on your weight and preferences. For instance, if you’re petite and sleep on your back and side, the “Soft” part of the bed should serve you just fine.
Likewise, if you’re a medium size person, the “Firm” side should work if you’re rotating between side and back sleeping throughout the night. You can think of Layla as perhaps the best firm mattress for side sleepers given the fact that it’s flippable.
All things considered, Layla Hybrid is one of the best mattresses for side sleepers, with some interesting features that, we think, set it apart from the myriad bed-in-a-box mattresses out there.
What is the Layla mattress made of?
Layla Hybrid is a 13” mattress made with copper-infused memory foam, support foam, and an innerspring layer in the center. What really sets it apart is the fact that it’s flippable and double-sided. As such, it is in a very small class of beds that allow you to try out two firmness levels in a matter of seconds. The flippable feature is a major advantage, in our eyes, to the Layla mattress.
All foams in the Layla are safe and certified by CertiPUR-US, which means the mattress is made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants, mercury, lead, other heavy metals, formaldehyde, or phthalates. Any mattress that you buy should have this certification.
Is Layla Good For Heavier People?
Yes. This is a versatile 13” mattress, with a supportive innerspring and foam construction. We usually recommend heavier individuals go for beds with coils, and Layla Hybrid certainly makes the cut. If you’re over 250 lb and interested in other accommodating mattresses, make sure to check out our list of the best mattresses for heavy people.
What About Other Body Types?
We think this bed is also a good option for petite individuals or teens, especially if they love the feel of soft memory foam. If they’re super petite, make sure they sleep on the softer side of the mattress. As a rule of thumb, the smaller you are, the firmer a mattress is going to feel.
We also think this bed is a nice option for pregnant women, who need to sleep on their sides once they start showing. They can sleep on their back/do some combo sleeping on the firmer side, then flip the mattress to the softer side while pregnant, then flip it back post pregnancy.
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora – Best Hybrid Mattress For Side Sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Firmness and Feel
Brooklyn Aurora is our top pick for the best hybrid mattress for side sleepers. We chose the bed for several reasons, and honestly it was really difficult to choose just one bed for this designation. That said, we really like this mattress because we feel that it offers a well-rounded value proposition.
For instance, the bed is made in the USA, has pocket coils for support, and comes in several firmness options. That means, if you want a super-soft mattress, you’ll choose the “Soft” model. If you want something that’s not overly soft or firm, you’d select the “Medium” model. And if you want a firm mattress for side sleepers, the “Firm” model makes the most sense.
Even more, Aurora has a cool-to-the-touch cover that helps to regulate your body temperature during the night. It does so effectively and we think it could be a really nice option for people that tend to run hot.
And lastly, Aurora is an affordable hybrid mattress. Sure, it’s not as cheap as some of the beds on this list, but after-discounts, it’s not breaking the bank. Overall, it’s just a solid mattress and, we think, one of the best hybrid mattresses for side sleepers.
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Shipping and Return Policy
Brooklyn Bedding’s policies are average compared to industry standards. When you purchase from Brooklyn Bedding, you’ll receive free shipping and a 120-night trial period. If you decide the Aurora isn’t for you, you can call in that free return and full refund. For those of you who decide to keep their mattress, it’ll be backed by a 10-year warranty. Read into the details of the warranty or return policy on their Brooklyn Bedding website.
How expensive is Brooklyn Bedding Aurora?
Good news. While Brooklyn Bedding Aurora ranges from around $1,000 to $2,000, they are consistent when it comes to coupon codes and promo codes during prime times, in order to make their products even more affordable. Check the box on the right to see what kind of discount you can snag.
Does my weight matter?
We make sure to bring up the weight subject in every review, comparison, and buyer guide we publish. That’s because your weight and body type play a huge role in how a mattress feels. Generally speaking, heavier people (250+ lb) will think beds feel a little softer than what’s advertised. Heavier people exert more force on a bed and, as a result, feel more of the soft top layers.
On the flip side, lighter people (150 lb. or less) usually feel like most beds are quite firm. They exert less pressure and sleep more on top of the mattress.
Purple Hybrid Mattress – Best Mattress for Side and Back Sleepers
Purple Hybrid Firmness and Feel
Purple is one of the most unique, top rated mattresses on the market right now. The main comfort layer for the mattress is a pressure relieving, proprietary material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer. The material looks like a grid and allows for a ton of airflow circulation. This is ideal for people who tend to sleep hot and need a bed that does a great job of dissipating body heat.
Even more, Hyper-Elastic Polymer is so responsive that it makes it easy to rotate sleeping positions during the night (i.e. no “stuck” feeling). For this reason, we especially like Purple for side and back sleepers—basically combination sleepers, in general.
Technically, there are four versions of the Purple mattress—the Purple Original and three different Purple Hybrids—and we think all of them will work for side sleepers, although, if we had all of the money in the world the two Purple Hybrid Premier models would be our favorite. These are spring mattresses that offer tons of support, but also have the unique qualities of Hyper-Elastic Polymer.
Although it’s on a case-by-case basis, given how unique Purple beds are, we could see them being a great solution for side sleepers with back pain. They’re just so unique that we can almost guarantee that you’ve not tried a bed like them before.
Regardless, all of the beds offer pressure relief and are also a suitable mattress for hotter sleepers. It really comes down to your budget and whether or not you’re open to a new style of mattress. The original Purple is their most affordable model and the new models do climb in price. If you’re under 230 lb, you might want to start with the original model, as it will save you some money.
Purple Hybrid Shipping and Return Policy
All of the New Purple Hybrid mattresses come with free shipping. The Purple Hybrid mattress arrives compressed and rolled-up in a protective bag. The Purple Hybrid Premier mattresses, on the other hand, come with free white glove delivery. This means an actual human (or two) will personally deliver the mattress and set it up for you. That’s good news because the Purple Hybrid Premier beds are heavy and don’t have handles. All in all, it’s nice that someone else does all the heavy lifting for you. The delivery team will also haul away your old mattress if you’d like, for no additional fee.
Once the mattress is delivered, Purple offers you a 100-night risk-free trial period. Basically, if you decide the mattress isn’t for you at any point during those first 99 nights, no worries, just give the company a call and they’ll take care of it. They’ll schedule a third party to come retrieve the mattress from your house free of charge.
Purple also backs their mattresses with a 10-year warranty. You can get more details about what the warranty entails on the company’s website. Just for clarification purposes, most of these policies (sans free white glove delivery) are pretty standard for the online mattress industry.
How Firm is the Purple Mattress?
The interesting thing about Purple is that you can’t rate it by the same mattress firmness that you do many of the other beds. It’s around a medium on our firmness scale, but that depends in large part on your body type and weight. We just think that for the average American, the mattress firmness of Purple is ideal for side and back sleepers.
Does the Purple Mattress Help with Back Pain?
If you’re dealing with back pain, the support level of your mattress is of great importance. We discuss this point in more detail later in the post, but the reason we picked Purple Hybrid is the fact that it has innersprings, meaning it’s pretty darn good in the support arena. And it’s not just that, if you’re sleeping on your side and have back pain, you still want pressure relief, which is what Purple provides.
Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress – Best Budget Mattress
Tuft & Needle Mint Firmness and Feel
Tuft & Needle Mint will be a really comfortable mattress for strict side sleepers who need plenty of pressure relief around the shoulders and hips. The bed also doesn’t use any memory foam, which means it has an overall neutral feel, a bit like the original Tuft & Needle mattress, only softer.
We’d put the Mint at a medium to medium-soft on our firmness scale, so you can expect to sink it, but not feel trapped. It’s not quite the most plush mattress we’ve ever tested, but it is indeed a soft bed that many side sleepers will enjoy.
Despite the fact that this is a thicker foam mattress, we still contend that T&N Mint is best for medium and petite individuals. And while we think petite sleepers can get by sleeping in any position, anyone that weighs 180 to 250 pound should probably sleep exclusively on their side with T&N Mint. At the end of the day though, this is a comfy, neutral, soft mattress—if that sounds like what you’re looking for, T&N Mint might be your mattress.
It’s a really budget friendly mattress given that the queen size mattress is usually around $1,000 before any discounts. Even the king mattress is about $1,200, which is really affordable. And this makes a lot of sense because T&N is the original online mattress brand.
What does an all-foam bed mean?
Tuft & Needle Mint is an all-foam bed, which means no coils. It’s made completely of polyurethane foam (or as we call it, poly foam) and feels like you’re laying on a cloud.
It’s constructed with three layers of foam, as opposed to the original Tuft & Needle bed, which is just two foam layers. Tuft & Needle has arranged the layers in gradual firmness to achieve a good combination of comfort and support.
The base layer is still dense poly foam, but the middle layer, which they call an “Adaptive Transition Layer” has been added to provide additional support and thickness. It also acts as a buffer between the less dense top layer and the firm bottom layer. The formulation of the top foam layer has been changed to be softer, and to provide better pressure relief. All together, this creates a 12” thick, 3-layer, all-foam, comfortable mattress.
All of the foam in the Mint mattress is tested and certified by CertiPUR-US to meet standards of performance, content, indoor emissions, and environmental stewardship. A lot of companies like to use buzz words about all the good things their mattresses possess, but certifications make sure their claims are being upheld.
WinkBed – Best Mattress For Back Pain
WinkBed Firmness and Feel
There is very little that we don’t like about the WinkBed mattress. It should be comfortable for people of all shapes and sizes thanks to its mix of innersprings, soft foams, and a pillow top. It actually reminds us a lot of the Brentwood Home Oceano, only WinkBed is available in more than one firmness profile.
We recommend strict side sleepers stick to the “Softer” or “Luxury Firm” profiles, as they tend to be soft enough to provide ample pressure relief, but still have a great deal of support. If you do want a firm mattress, they also make the “Firmer” model, which could work for certain side sleepers.
If you sleep with a partner, this bed is a great choice as well. It features strong edge support and should be comfortable for a variety of sleeping positions, so both partners can get comfy. We also like that consumers can sleep easy knowing this bed is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Why do We Like WinkBed For Side Sleepers With Back Pain?
It really comes down to pressure relief and support, but mainly support. The bed has a giant, comfy cover that feels like a fluffy pillow, and yet it still has two layers of pocketed coils / innersprings. You get bi-directional support and the super plush pillow top. All in all, it was just a no-brainer pick as the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain. And if you don’t like it, WinkBed comes with free returns.
Other Hybrid Pillow Top Mattresses?
Two very close alternatives are Nest Alexander and the Saatva Mattress. We really had to make a tough call here. While we absolutely love Saatva and Nest Alexander, we felt that WinkBed was the quintessential pillow top mattress for side sleepers. Saatva and Nest Alexander are two phenomenal beds that are on par with WinkBed, but we could only choose one.
Avocado Mattress – Best Firm Pillow Top Mattress
Avocado Mattress Firmness and Feel
Most of the beds on this list are on the softer end of the spectrum, but we realize that certain side sleepers prefer a firm mattress. As such, Avocado is our top pick for the best firm mattress for side sleepers. We should also note that we think, in this case, the optional pillow top is not optional. Without the topper, Avocado is truly a firm mattress, probably too firm for most side sleepers. If you upgrade and add the topper, we think it’s right in the sweet spot for people that like a firmer feel.
The reason we selected Avocado is not just because it’s “semi firm,” but because it checks so many boxes all at once. It’s a durable mattress that’s resilient and responsive, making it a pretty darn good choice for people who are looking for more support. It’s also breathable thanks to the latex foam and coils, making it a viable option for people that sleep hotter at night. Even more, it has high quality materials and certifications galore without the astronomical price tag.
The popular natural/organic Avocado Mattress with the additional pillow-topIn terms of design, Avocado is both a hybrid mattress and an eco-friendly mattress. At the base, it has recycled steel coils that measure 8” tall. For comfort, it has a few layers of GOLS-certified organic latex foam, which give the bed a firmer, responsive feel. If you end up adding the topper, you’ll get a few extra inches of latex foam such that the entire bed measures about 13” thick.
All in all, we really like the Avocado mattress. In fact, it’s difficult to say many negative things about it. If you want a firm mattress and you’re a side sleeper, it’s a great place to start.
Is Avocado good for heavier people?
Yes, the Avocado mattress has a hybrid construction, so heavier folks will get the durability they need and won’t have to worry about sinking right through to the bed slats like with a thin mattress.
What does hybrid construction mean?
A hybrid construction is when a mattress is made with two or more materials, most commonly with foam and an innerspring system. In this case, Avocado is made with a thick 8” layer of coils, a layer of certified organic latex foam, and a plush pillow-top. Hybrid mattresses tend to provide more support than all-foam mattresses like the Original Casper.
Casper Nova – Best Soft Mattress
Casper Nova Mattress Firmness and Feel
Casper Nova is a plush mattress that features something called “Zoned Support Pro.” If you aren’t familiar with what that means, it’s basically a fancy way of saying the bed is more supportive in the middle and more pressure relieving under your shoulders—hence the reason why we think it could be a great mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain.
The bed starts with pocketed coils, which provide the bulk of the support for the sleeper. On top of the coils is memory foam and two layers of poly foam. Overall, Casper Nova has a cloud-like feel—it’s extremely soft. We rated it a medium-soft on our firmness scale.
If you want something that feels like Casper Nova, but is a tinge firmer, that would be Casper Wave, which we think is also a great mattress for side sleepers. Ultimately, however, it’s going to come down to your personal preferences. We just think if you’re looking for an especially soft mattress, Casper Nova is a nice bed.
Does this bed sleep hot or cold?
In our opinion, the Casper Nova Mattress does not sleep hot, but it doesn’t sleep cool either. This bed is what we call temperature neutral, which is the case for most beds you can buy online. The new open-cell design on the comfort foam does help with airflow, but not enough to call it a cooling bed.
With that said, it sleeps cooler than an all-foam mattress because hybrid mattresses allow for better airflow. Plus, foam can retain the heat produced by your body while you sleep. Again, though, we’re not saying that sleeping on the Casper will be the reason you get too hot, it just isn’t going to prevent you from overheating if you’re a naturally sweaty sleeper.
Even so, for most people, we think Casper will be just fine in the temperature-regulation department. We can’t imagine many people complain about overheating on the Original Casper mattress.
What makes Casper so popular?
It’s no secret that Casper is (perhaps) the single most popular bed-in-a-box mattress out there. They have literally sold millions of mattresses and the substantial majority of people end up keeping their Casper mattress. So, now that the main portion of the review is over, let’s recap what makes the original Casper mattress so special.
Comfortable Feel — This is the type of bed that most people agree on. What I mean by that is that Casper is an accommodating mattress that seems to bring people together more than it separates them. We’ve seen with a lot of memory foam beds or even the Purple Mattresses, the beds are just too unique such that about 50% of people can’t sleep on them. Casper is so neutral that we could confidently say a big majority of people will give it the thumbs up. It might not satisfy everything they were looking for, but they find it comfortable and could sleep on it. That’s the reason we refer to Casper as a “Safe Pick” in many of our buyer guides.
Name Recognition — Casper is the bed-in-a-box. It’s the most widely known and people really trust the brand.
Free Returns — This is a major reason why online mattress brands are getting so popular: they’re virtually risk-free purchases for the consumer. We love that you’re able to get all of your money back (in the trial window) if Casper isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. It definitely calms the nerves when you spend over $1,000.
What’s Important For Side Sleepers
There are several elements that are important to look for if you’re a strict side sleeper. If you’re asking yourself what is the best mattress for side sleepers, that is actually the incorrect question to be asking. You should be wondering which is the best for you since we are all different. Most bed companies will tell you that their mattress accommodates all types of sleepers. For the most part, they’re not lying, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Let me explain.
Pressure Relief For Shoulder Pain
First and foremost, the most comfortable mattress for a person in your situation is tough to find because it involves a lot of trial and error. You need a bed that offers pressure points relief. What you don’t want is to put too much pressure on your shoulders, neck, and hips. You shouldn’t feel like there’s a space under your stomach, either. You should feel as though your entire body is supported equally. This will ensure that your spine is straight. If you feel excess pressure under your hips and shoulders, you’ll more than likely end up with shoulder pain and possibly even back or hip pain. That’s because there’s not enough to relieve pressure points and you’re not sinking into the bed enough.
Now, if you are a side sleeper with shoulder pain, the selection process really doesn’t become any easier for you. For instance, most people will require a soft mattress, but there’s a not insignificant likelihood that you will still prefer a firm mattress. Not only that, but softness and firmness is subjective, meaning a petite side sleeper might think one bed is a firm mattress while a heavier individual will contend that it’s actually a plush mattress. There is definitely going to be a trial and error situation for you when it comes to picking the right mattress for someone with shoulder pain.
Another thing to consider for side sleepers with shoulder pain is the actual material of the mattress. There is no guarantee that a single kind of mattress will work for you. For example, we have come across several memory foam mattresses that we think will be suitable for side sleepers, but there’s a real chance that you don’t like the sink-in feeling that a memory foam bed provides. Likewise, we have published reviews of plenty of hybrid mattresses that we consider to be both supportive and pressure relieving, leading us to surmise that they’d be ideal for individuals with shoulder pain. That said, perhaps you don’t like the “bounce” that an innerspring mattress provides. What we are trying to get across is that this entire process involves a great deal of subjectivity regardless of whether you have shoulder pain or not.
Side Sleepers Dealing With Back Problems
For side sleepers with back pain, you should first look at the support level of your mattress and identify the specific area of pain. You will probably end up with a dense foam bed or a hybrid mattress for your back pain. Now, when it comes to your mattress, you want to make sure the bed is supportive so that you’re not “melting” into the bed. That can put your back at an odd angle. You want to make sure that they’re a straight line from your hips to your head, ensuring that your neck is in ideal alignment.
This has a lot to do with your specific weight and body type, but in general if you’re a side sleeper with back pain, you should be probably looking first at a hybrid mattress. But that’s just the support system. If you get a hybrid mattress, it has coils, but what about the comfort sections? In general, you probably do not want an ultra plush mattress nor do you want a firm mattress. In many cases, you’ll be happiest with something that’s sort of in the middle in terms of mattress firmness.
Keep in mind that everyone is different and all beds will soften over time, but in general, you should be thinking of pressure relief, which actually has more to do with the plush top layers of the bed than with the support foams or coils.
What About Side And Back Sleepers
The majority of this list has been centered around the best rated mattresses for side sleepers, meaning people that almost exclusively favor their side, but what if you split time between your back and side? If this is the case, you want to play to your dominant sleeping position.
In other words, if you’re 73% a side sleeper, you’ll likely need a bed that’s about a medium on the firmness spectrum. Generally speaking, we’d expect this mattress firmness to be the most comfortable for you. For the record, we would call you a side and back sleeper because you are spending the majority of your night on your side.
If you’re 73% a back sleeper, you will want a firm mattress that’s not overly firm (in the MF range). In this case, we’d call you a back and side sleeper because your favorite position is your back. In either case, you need the mattress to be firm enough that you feel well supported when sleeping on your back, but pressure relieving enough when you’re sleeping on your side.
The impetus for us saying that you should play to your dominant sleeping position is that you don’t want the exception to dictate the rule. You want to program around what is most likely going to happen while you’re sleeping. We’ve covered plenty of mattresses that are great for side and back sleepers alike.
That’s just mattress firmness, but what about materials? Is there a best type of mattress for you given that you sleep in at least two positions? As it turns out, the answer is yes and no. For instance, we can’t guarantee that a particular kind of mattress will be universally loved, but we can guarantee that you will have at least one type that you personally like.
We have spoken with plenty of side and back sleepers that like memory foam mattresses, but don’t like pillow top mattresses. Likewise, we have met back and side sleepers that are enamored with innerspring and hybrid mattresses, but don’t tend to favor your standard foam mattress such as Leesa or Casper.
One thing that we do not want to point out is that if you opt for more of a traditional memory foam mattress, you will experience a “sink-in” or “viscous” sensation and that might not be as comfortable to you. This is because side and back sleepers by definition rotate positions, and with these viscous foam mattresses, they tend to slow you down and make switching positions more difficult. Therefore, we expect that certain back and side sleepers won’t love MF mattresses.
Supportive Mattresses For Pressure Points
Support is another extremely important factor, especially if you are like most people and plan to keep the bed for many years. The two most common forms of support systems are coils and foam. Neither is necessarily better rated than the other. They just offer you different qualities.
Innerspring Hybrid Mattresses For Side Sleepers
Usually you’ll see pocketed coils nowadays, or innersprings. They’re both durable, bouncy, responsive, supportive, and allow for plenty of airflow. If you’re 200 lb or more, you should probably look for some sort of spring or hybrid mattress. For the record, there is no difference between a coil and spring mattress, but there is a technical difference between traditional innersprings and hybrid. Hybrid just denotes that a bed has two dissimilar materials. Traditional innerspring mattresses are just beds with coils even though historically it has meant a bed with standard springs not pocketed coils. We can’t say that an innerspring mattress for side sleepers is any better than a hybrid model since in large part, nowadays, they are the same thing. Certain beds will still have traditional innersprings, such as Saatva, but most brands now just use the pocketed coils.
The Best Rated Foam Mattresses
If you don’t get a coil or spring mattress, you should look into a foam mattress that’s at least 11” thick if you’re a heavier individual. Typically, they’ll start with a 5-6” dense layer of polyurethane support foam. It is important to note that the level of support you need hinges on how heavy you are. For example, if you’re 300 lb, you’ll need a heck of a lot more support than if you are 95 lb. If you’re a side sleeper dealing with back pain, you really need to pay attention to support.
Now, for the average weight side sleepers that wants a foam mattress, you really just need something softer. It’s pretty much that simple. Just make sure to iron out what type of foam mattress you prefer most, whether that’s memory foam or a classic soft foam.
Soft And Firm Mattresses For Side Sleeping
The feel of the mattress has a lot to do with your weight. If you’re heavier, you’ll generally regard it to be a soft mattress, while if you’re lighter you’ll contend that the same bed is firm. Two of our team members are 165 lb and 180 lb, respectively, and they always differ on their opinions of softness/firmness. We say that to demonstrate (a) this is subjective and (b) small differences in weight definitely affect your interpretation of softness/firmness. In general, though, side sleepers prefer soft to medium firm mattresses.
That’s obviously a very large range so you’ll have to find your sweet spot. We’d suggest that you start a little more firm than you think you actually want simply because all of these beds soften over time. We’d hate for you to get a bed and realize that it’s too soft after a few months. Another thing that you should do is walk on your new bed for one minute per day in order to properly and evenly soften up the mattress. This is especially important for couples since you can get a really uneven bed if you have two different people of different weights sleeping on it at night.
So then, if you’re a side sleeper, will you want a soft mattress or a firm one? Honestly, we can’t answer that without knowing more about it. All we can say is that if you need more pressure point relief, say for shoulder pain, you likely want a plush mattress, or something that’s on the softer end of the spectrum. If you’re more concerned with back pain, or perhaps you’re a side and back sleeper, a firm mattress might interest you more. Like we’ve said several times now, getting the right bed involves a good deal of trial and error. We can’t say for certain whether the soft mattress or firm mattress is right for you. That said, we made sure to include both options on our list for you.
Normally, we would go over the support systems for the bed first and while that’s still important, let’s begin by discussing the top layers since they provide the immediate pressure relief on those sensitive points. Memory foam is one of the better materials for pressure relief. It comes in varying levels of density and softness/firmness. Density refers to how supportive the material is. Softness or firmness refers to its Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) rating. You’ll probably be looking for memory foam in the 18-30 range. Anything higher than 30 will be a little too firm for you. It is important to remember that memory foam softens as you lay on it and whenever it’s exposed to heat.
It can provide great pressure points relief, but it can also leave some people feeling like they’re stuck in the mattress. It can therefore heat up, disrupt sleep, and piss you the heck off. We’d recommend that if you aren’t familiar with memory foam, you test out a few beds in person because you may hate it or love it. One clever design twist that mattress companies are doing to get away from the typical memory foam feel is to use it as the middle layer instead of the top layer. This helps eliminate that stuck-in-the-mud feeling and can help prevent the sleeper from getting too hot.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam is a bit of a hit or miss when it comes to side sleepers. It can be a wonderful addition to a mattress, or it can ruin a bed for some people. Memory foam also tends to feel softer in the warmer months and firmer in the colder months. Sounds completely crazy, but a lot of mattresses will change their firmness level based on room temperature.
That said, memory foam is the single most popular type of mattress online. There are literally dozens of brands that make memory foam mattresses for side sleepers. You can choose between Layla, Nectar, DreamCloud, Amerisleep, TempurPedic, and dozens more.
Gel memory foam is the “next generation” of memory foam, if you will. It’s basically the same thing with the same advantages, but it is quite a bit more efficient than standard memory foam in temp regulation thanks to the addition of gel materials.
You’ll typically see micro-beads or a gel slab on the mattress, which try to actively try to regulate your temperature. The idea is that the gel will counteract the heat you may experience as a result of sinking into the material. We’ve found it is indeed a bit better than standard memory foam, but is not the best material for airflow. Still, much better than regular memory foam. Probably the best known gel memory foam bed is Nectar, at least if you’re talking about online mattresses.
Proprietary foams are becoming increasingly popular for online shoppers. You’ll see proprietary foams on the Casper Wave and Leesa mattress, as well as many others. There isn’t anything that we can broadly state about these foams other than they usually make an effort to help regulate your sleeping temperature. Probably because most of the time, proprietary foam accompanies memory foam, which as we’ve said, can be quite warm. Are these any better for side sleepers? Not really, though, we have tested plenty of comfortable foam mattresses for side sleepers such as those listed above.
Soft foam mattresses are sort of the original online mattresses, otherwise known as a bed in a box. For the most part, a foam mattress has a neutral feel and uses a lot of poly foam. This type of foam will be responsive and pressure reliving, and also quite affordable. In fact, many of the budget mattresses we’ve tested are entirely made of poly foam. The first one that comes to mind is Tuft & Needle, as well as Casper Element. These are two foam mattresses for side sleepers that use nothing but regular poly foam.
Spring mattresses can be basically anything that has coils, wether those are micro-coils, pocketed coils, or traditional innersprings. We have tested dozens of innerspring mattresses for side sleepers, but most of them are just what we now call a hybrid mattress.
In other words, they mix both coils and a foam, which is why we call them a hybrid mattress. We are of the mindset that a spring mattress can be just as good for side sleepers as a foam mattress. The reason we say this is that a spring mattress is just a bed with a support system made of coils. It actually says nothing about the comfort layers. We have seen plenty of foam mattresses that are also spring mattresses, and so on.
For us, we just really like that hybrid beds tend to be supportive, and therefore we favor them often times for side sleepers with back pain. And, despite the fact that they have coils and are fairly burly, most online mattresses with coils are still bed in a box mattresses. For instance, even Brentwood Oceano—one of our favorite hybrid mattresses for side sleepers—is a bed in a box. It’s about 14″ thick and they can still manage to fit it into a box and ship via FedEx. It’s pretty remarkable.
Pillow Top Mattress
Before we even discuss the pillow top mattress, we need to highlight that we are only speaking about the top portion of the bed. You can have a pillow top mattress that is also a foam mattress or a spring mattress. Now that we have that clear, let’s go over what a pillow top mattress is.
The easiest way to explain it is that a pillow top mattress is a bed with added comfort layers on top. You basically have a complete mattress and then the brand slaps an extra layer of foams on top. It sounds funky, but in many cases a pillow top mattress is just one that has added comfort layers.
The fact that it’s a pillow top mattress says nothing about the mattress firmness, however. You can have a firm mattress such as Saatva that still has the pillow top. Likewise, you can have a soft mattress such as Helix Moonlight Luxe.
Do we like pillow top mattresses for side sleepers? In general, yes, we do. We have posted reviews of plenty of pillow top mattresses that are great for side sleepers. This kind of mattress seems predisposed to offer a lot of pressure relief.
Other Types Of Beds For Side Sleepers
Gel-like materials are pretty rare to see on a bed, but there are a few we really like. For example, the New Purple 2/3/4 mattresses uses a proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer material that has plenty of advantages. It’s a unique material that’s not for everyone, but we really do like it. Gel-like materials tend to be great for temperature regulation and pressure relief.
Not only that, but these kind of beds are responsive and allow you to switch between sleeping styles fairly effortlessly. As such, we tend to prefer them for side and back sleepers because there’s not a lot of resistance when you are rolling around.
The only downsides are (1) they are not the most affordable mattresses in the world, (2) they are heavy and difficult to move, and (3) they are so unique that people tend to be split on them. Interestingly, all of the Purple beds are technically bed in a box mattresses, though they ship in a large purple canvas bag. Purple is one of the first brands that kicked off this entire online mattress industry.
Air beds are generally regarded as camping equipment, but there are a few brands out there (mostly Sleep Number) that make fantastic mattresses. These kind of beds are usually adjustable and unbelievably comfortable. They also happen to be quite pricey, but if you have the cash, they’re definitely worth checking out. We aren’t aware of many mattress in a box brands that make air beds. Sleep Number, at this point, does not. Off the top of my head, Saatva Solaire is an air mattress that’s also a bed in a box.
The Case For The Queen Mattress
Most people get the queen mattress. In fact about 50% of beds sold are the queen size. It’s the obvious choice for singles and couples alike because it offers a fair amount of space and the price is typically affordable. Interestingly, most brands pay more attention to the price of the queen mattress than any other size.
For a single person, the queen mattress offers more than enough space to get comfortable. It works perfectly in apartments, houses, condos, and basically any moderately-sized room. For two individuals, space can get cramped (see below on the king mattress), but a lot of people can get by just fine. We’ve talked with plenty of people that slept on a queen mattress for twenty or more years. If you both don’t rotate positions much, you should be fine.
Why You Should Get A King Size Mattress
If you’re sleeping with someone else, you should get a king size mattress. And if you’re both in the same weight range and are both side sleepers, well then, you lucked out! Pick a bed and it will probably be fairly easy for you two to come to an agreement.
For everyone else, though, finding the right mattress will require compromise. You can either (a) customize your bed, (b) get a split king or spit California king, or (c) make some sort of concession to your partner. You may think firstly about support and then about softness/firmness.
You can also now go with a bed that has a split firmness option. This basically takes your king size mattress to the next level. It turns one bed into two, and helps to serve two different types of sleepers.
To be clear, two people can fit on a queen mattress, but it won’t be the most comfortable experience, especially as compared to the king mattress. If you just look at the sizes, the queen is about 60″ x 80″ while the king mattress is about 76″ x 80″ making it roughly 25% larger in terms of usable sleeping space.
Other areas that are important for couples are motion isolation and edge support, which we highlight in almost every review. Motion isolation refers to how much motion travels across the bed. If you fall asleep, but are constantly woken up by the movement of your partner, that’s no good. All-foam beds tend to be the best here. Edge support is very important if you’re sleeping on a small size bed where space is cramped and one person inevitably ends up near the edges. If you get a roll-off sensation, then you’re dealing with a bed with poor edge support.
Shipping And Return Policies For Online Mattresses
In nearly all of our mattress reviews, we make sure to mention trial periods and returns, especially if we’re covering an online mattress. These are incredibly important since you’re trying to evaluate if you can sleep on this bed for the next seven to 15 years of your life. Most bed in a box mattress brands offer 100-night trial periods where you can sleep on the bed to form your own opinion.
You should think critically about whether this is the bed for you. In the event that you don’t ultimately love the mattress, that’s where the return policy comes in. Most of these online brands offer completely free returns where they’ll dispatch someone to your house to pick up the bed, free of charge. Typically, it’s a local charity or junk removal business, but the result is the same: you get all of your money back. Brick-and-mortar retailers tend to be a little less accommodating with returns.
Generally, they require you to exchange the bed and they’ll limit how many exchanges you can make. Still, shopping in-store definitely has its advantages, even though returns/exchanges aren’t as consumer friendly as with online mattress brands.
What Is The Most Comfortable Side Sleeper Mattress
Probably the two questions we receive the most are (1) what is the best rated mattress and (2) what is the most comfortable mattress. The answer to the first question about the best rated mattress depends on the type of mattress and the outlet where it is rated. For instance, the best rated mattress for side sleepers will be different than if we were talking about back sleepers.
The answer to the second question is: it all depends on the person. Comfort is entirely subjective, so the most comfortable mattress will change from person to person. Not only that, but comfort evolves over time. The most comfortable mattress today might not be the most comfortable after five years since all beds soften with use and break down over time.
If you really want to know what we think is the most comfortable mattress, it’s likely a soft pillow top mattress such as Brentwood Oceano or WinkBed. These mattresses offer tons of pressure relief, while also being more supportive than your average online mattress. We’ve basically never had a person find them uncomfortable, so we just seen them as being easy to recommend.
Generally speaking, side sleepers prefer softer beds. How soft, however, is up to you. If you have shoulder or hip pain, perhaps you’ll gravitate toward a more plush mattress. If you’re a side sleeper, but not exclusively a side sleeper, you might think about something in the medium to medium-firm range. A lot of this will have to do with you, your preferences, and the type of mattress you choose.
If you rotate between multiple positions, you are what we call a “combination sleeper.” Typically, a combination sleeper prefers a bed that’s not overly firm or soft, and is somewhere in the middle. As such, if you’re a back and side sleeper, you will likely land on a mattress that’s either medium-soft, medium, or medium-firm.
Most of the mattresses you can buy online come with free shipping, a risk-free trial period of at least 100 nights, free returns, and a 10-year warranty. Basically, in many cases, you can buy a bed and if you don’t like it within the first 3 months you can return it for a full refund.
When it comes to side sleepers, you can basically take your pick. If you want less “bounce” you might prefer the foam mattresses, which are often times more affordable. If you want more support and a more traditional innerspring feel, well, then a coil bed makes more sense.
Not necessarily, but most side sleepers do tend to prefer a somewhat softer mattress. That said, it will depend on the person. Some side sleepers even prefer a firm mattress.