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Memory Foam Mattress
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|Layla is a flippable mattress that uses copper-infused memory foam. It has both a Soft and a Firm side. The Soft side is perfectly suited for people would shoulder pain or hip pain because it offers plenty of pressure relief. Layla is basically a soft mattress and firm mattress, all in one.|
|Nest Alexander Hybrid is a premium, innerspring mattress that is available in multiple firmness options. The bed even has a giant pillow top that makes it super comfortable.|
Hot Side Sleepers
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|Purple makes unique beds that use a patented material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer, which provides a good amount of pressure relief, support, and airflow. We could see Purple being a great solution not only for hot sleepers, but side sleepers with lower back pain or other ailments.|
|Check Current Offers||Tuft & Needle Mint is a soft mattress that is specifically made for side sleepers. The pressure point relief is unbelievable, especially for a neutral-foam bed.|
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|Nolah is a foam bed-in-a-box mattress that feels unique and sells at an approachable price point. It also is really soft and really comfortable.|
Heavy Side Sleepers
|The Oceano is a thick and comfortable hybrid mattress that has a soft, luxurious pillow top and two layers of coils. Oceano is a fantastic mattress for heavy and obese side sleepers, and anyone that wants a soft pillow top bed.|
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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 mattresses. In this post, we’ll cover what we think are the best mattresses for side sleepers.
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 and select this list. At the bare minimum, this should 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 talk best beds for side sleepers.
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If you are a medium or petite sized side sleeper, who likes the idea of a flippable mattress with different firmness levels on either side, Layla is a great option. 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 or hip pain. The “Firm” side is suitable for side and back sleepers as well as stomach sleepers.
This flippable mattress features a “Soft” and a “Firm” side, so the consumer can decide which is more comfortable for them. The “Soft” side is most preferable for strict side sleepers, although, the “Firm” side isn’t a bad option either. The “Soft” side is about a medium-soft and the Firm side sits in between a medium and medium-firm.
All things considered, Layla is a very nice mattress with some interesting features that, we think, sets it apart from the myriad other bed-in-a-box mattresses out there.
There is very little that we don’t like about the Nest Alexander Hybrid mattress. It will be comfortable for people of all shapes and sizes thanks to its mix of pocketed coils, memory foam, and Energex foam. It actually reminds us a lot of the Brentwood Home Oceano, only the Alexander Hybrid is available in more than one firmness profile.
We recommend strict side sleepers stick to the Medium firmness, as it is soft enough to provide ample pressure relief, but still has a decent amount of support. If you sleep with a partner, this bed is a great choice as well. It features good edge support and will 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.
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Purple is one of the most unique mattresses on the market right now. The top of the mattress is covered with a pressure relieving, proprietary material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer. The material looks like a grid and allows for good airflow. This is great for people who tend to sleep hot and need a bed that does a great job of dissipating body heat.
Technically, there are four versions of the Purple mattress—the Purple Original and 2/3/4—and we think all of them will work for side sleepers, although, if we had all of the money in the world Purple 3 or 4 would be our favorite.
Regardless, however, all of the beds offer pressure relief and are a wonderful solution for hot side 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.
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.
Despite the fact that this is a thicker foam mattress, we still contend than 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 weights 180 – 250 lb 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.
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The Nolah Original 10 is flat out one of the best foam mattresses for side sleepers. In fact, we consider it to be up there with Layla, but it has less of a memory foam feel, which could be a positive or negative depending on what you’re looking for in a mattress.
You still get ample pressure relief and can feel the foams conforming to your body, but at no point will you feel stuck in the Nolah mattress. We often times refer to the feel of the bed as a blend between poly foam and memory foam.
As is the case with the majority of 10″ all-foam beds, we wouldn’t suggest Nolah for heavy or obese sleepers, but if you’re under 230 lb, Nolah should make for a really nice bed.
One of our favorite things about Nolah as a company, though, is that they sponsor wildlife. When you purchase one of their mattresses, you get to choose an animal to sponsor at check out. We think that’s a nice way to give back.
At the end of the day, however, we selected Nolah because it’s soft, pressure relieving, outrageously comfortable, and a great value. It’s not the cheapest bed on the market, but it is affordable. Typically, a queen size sells for around $900 after-discount.
The Brentwood Oceano bed is plush and features a luxuriously soft pillow-top that hugs your body. This provides both comfort and pressure relief to side sleepers. The mattress is about 15″ thick and will be a good choice for people of all sizes with its coils for support and foam for comfort.
This mattress is also a good choice if you sleep with a partner or a pet. Not only does it do a good job of isolating motion, but it provides an adaptable surface, comfortable for multiple sleeping positions. This bed has a longer-than-average warranty, at 25 years. We also like that Brentwood Home makes an effort to use eco-friendly materials and manufacturing practices. Overall, we find this to be a super comfortable and accommodating bed.
Ultimately, however, we selected Brentwood Home Oceano because it has dual coil layers and is highly supportive. If you’re overweight or obese, you need a supportive bed, and Oceano is just that.
Two very close alternatives are Saatva and WinkBed. We really had to make a tough call here. While we absolutely love Saatva and WinkBed, we felt that Brentwood Home was the quintessential pillow top mattress for side sleepers. Saatva and WinkBed are two phenomenal beds that are on par with Oceano, but we could only choose one.
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.
There are several elements that are important to look for if you’re a strict side sleeper. 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.
First and foremost, you need a bed that offers pressure relief. What you don’t want is to put too much pressure on your shoulders 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 pressure relief and you’re not sinking into the bed enough.
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 top layers of the bed than with the support foams.
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. 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 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 is a bit of a hit or miss, though. 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.
Latex is another commonly used foam. It also offers great support and pressure relief, but latex tends to be a cooler material that allows for much more airflow. It’s a bouncier, airier material that almost feels a like a sponge—and like memory foam, you may love it or hate it. There are a few different types of latex foam, all of which (excluding synthetic latex) are made from the sap of a rubber tree. You’ve probably seen Talalay or Dunlop latex, both of which are usually aerated (i.e. have holes) as a result of the manufacturing process. Some people seek out latex mattresses because the natural materials—some people just want a natural/organic mattress.
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 cooler than standard memory foam thanks to the addition of gel materials. You’ll typically see micro-beads or a gel slab on the mattress, which try to actively cool you down as you sleep. 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 cooler than standard memory foam, but is not the best material for airflow. Still, much better than regular memory foam.
Proprietary foams are becoming increasingly popular. 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 cool you down. Probably because most of the time, proprietary foam accompanies memory foam, which as we’ve said, can be quite warm.
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.
Air beds are generally regarded as camping equipment, but there are a few brands out there (mostly Sleep Number) that make fantastic mattresses. They’re usually adjustable and unbelievably comfortable. They also happen to be quite pricey, but if you have the cash, they’re definitely worth checking out.
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. Usually you’ll see either innersprings or pocketed coils. 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. And if you don’t get a coil mattress, you should look into an all-foam bed that’s at least 11” thick. 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 or overweight 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 lower back pain, you really need to pay attention to support.
The feel of the mattress has a lot to do with your weight. If you’re heavier, you’ll generally regard the mattress as softer, while if you’re lighter you’ll contend that the same bed is firmer. 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.
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.
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.
In nearly all of our mattress posts, we make sure to mention trial periods and returns. 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.