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Best Mattress For Side Sleepers

Best Mattress For Side Sleepers

Sleeping on your side can help reduce shoulder, back, and hip pain while improving breathing and digestion, making the side sleeping position one of the most common. When considering mattresses to support this position, ensuring you find the proper balance of pressure point reduction combined with supportive contouring is key. We’ve tested over 150 mattresses to provide you with the most information to make choosing the right mattress a breeze.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Gregory Minnis, DPT
Dr. Gregory Minnis is a physical therapist with an interest in orthopedic manual therapy. He graduated from the University of St. Augustine in Florida with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. His work experience includes orthopedic physical therapy, sports medicine, neurological rehab, advanced assessment and treatment of running injuries, and advanced treatment of the pelvic complex, spine, and extremities. He loves spending time outdoors biking, skiing, and surfing.
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Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Sleeping on your side is the ultimate sleeping position — just ask any side sleeper. We’ve also found in our own research that 68.7% of you predominately sleep on your side. Interestingly enough, 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.

Below you can see what we’ll be covering in this side sleepers bed guide. You can click on the links to jump to any section you wish to start with:

In this Best Mattress For Side Sleepers guide, we provide overviews of the beds that would be great for side sleepers, or 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 most honest and thorough mattress reviews so side sleepers like yourself can find the perfect new bed.

Best Bed For Side Sleepers Video Review

What Makes These Good Beds For A Side Sleeper?

We spend countless hours testing, researching, and reviewing mattresses 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. During this time, we’ve come to know the criteria that needs met if we’re going to dub a mattress the best bed for side sleepers. We also consulted with a chiropractor and a physical therapist to help us firm up our opinions, write our reviews, and select the beds for this best mattress for side sleepers list.

All of the beds below offer two similar traits; second-to-none pressure relief and softer mattress profiles. In general, side sleepers prefer mattresses that cradle the pressure points around the hips and shoulders. This also helps promote proper spinal alignment, whereas a firm bed can push against the curves of your body and irritate your pressure points. Continue along in our post to learn more about each best rated mattress for our side sleepers list.

Top 7 Mattresses For Side Sleepers

Layla Hybrid – Best Memory Foam Mattress For Side Sleepers

layla hybrid mattress review side sleeper
Owen sleeping comfortably on his side, we highly recommend it for side sleepers

If you like the idea of a flippable mattress with different firmness levels on either side, Layla is a great option. You will get more of a light 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.

Why we picked this bed – 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. We chose it for several reasons, but the short story is that it’s a soft mattress with plenty of pressure relief thanks to its soft mattress profile and airy memory foam construction.

Brooklyn Bedding Aurora – Best Hybrid Mattress For Side Sleepers

Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Eurotop Mattress Review
The queen size Brooklyn bedding Aurora mattress

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 side sleeper 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. 

Why did we choose Brooklyn Bedding – We picked this as the best hybrid mattress for side sleepers because we feel that it offers a well-rounded value proposition with two different firmness levels for side sleepers to choose from; one that offers maximum pressure relief, or one with a tad more support. 

Purple Hybrid Mattress – Best Mattress for Side and Back Sleepers

purple mattress review online bed in a box hyper elastic polymer
A zoomed in look at Hyper-Elastic Polymer

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.

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.

The original Purple is their most affordable model and the new models do climb in price. If you’re under 230 lbs, you might want to start with the original model, as it will save you some money.

We we chose Purple – All of the Purple beds offer pressure relief as you’ve never felt it before, and are also suitable mattresses for hotter side sleepers. It really comes down to your budget and whether or not you’re open to a new style of mattress, but if you are, we think the Purple beds offer accommodating and comfortable options.

Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress – Best Budget Mattress

tuft and needle mint mattress review side sleepers
The T&N Mint provides a good amount of pressure relief

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.

We we chose Tuft and Needle – At the end of the day, this is a comfy, neutral feeling, soft mattress. In accordance to the Tuft and Needle brand it’s also very affordable; a queen size is under $1,000 after discounts and a king is below $1,200. if that sounds like what you’re looking for, T&N Mint might be a great side sleeper mattress for you.

WinkBeds Classic – Best Mattress For Back Pain

WinkBed Mattress Review Overhead
An overview of the queen size WinkBed Mattress

There is very little that we don’t like about the WinkBed mattress. It should be comfortable for side sleepers of all shapes and sizes thanks to its mix of dual-coil layers and pressure relieving 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 we chose WinkBed – 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 to help keep your back and spine properly supported. We think most side sleepers, petite, average, or heavy will like this bed just as much as we do. It’s really a best rated mattress among our team members.

Avocado Mattress – Best Firm Pillow Top Mattress

avocado green mattress review

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.

In 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.

Why we added Avocado – The reason we selected Avocado for our best bed for side sleepers list 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 any sized side sleeper who is 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.

Casper Nova – Best Soft Mattress

casper nova mattress review hybrid construction
The layers inside a Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress

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.

Overall, Casper Nova has a cloud-like feel—it’s extremely soft. We rated it a medium-soft on our firmness scale, making it ideal for side sleepers who want additional pressure relief. 

Though, cost wise, this is one of the more pricey beds on our list and might not be best for those who aren’t looking to spend over $1,600 for a queen.

Why Casper Nova was chosenCasper mattress is a best rated brand within the online space and the Nova bed is their softest model yet. Not only does Casper Nova offer relief to those pressure points along your side, but it also goes above and beyond with its zoned support design to further provide targeted relief and support for side sleepers.

Best Bed For Side Sleepers Price Summary

TwinTwin XLFullQueenKing/Cal King
Layla Hybrid$1,249$1,349$1,549$1,649$1,849
Aurora$999$1,199$1,499$1,699$1,999
WinkBed$1,049$1,149$1,299$1,599$1,799/$1,849
T&N Mint$595$645$845$995$1,145
Purple Original$649$799$999$1,149$1,449
Casper Nova$1,095$1,245$1,795$1,195$2,295
Avocado$899$999$1,199$1,399$1,799

Review team

  • JD
    JD Christison

    Combo Sleeper

  • dillon lopez slumber yard
    Dillon Lopez

    Combo Sleeper

  • Tharon
    Tharon Green

    Stomach Sleeper

  • Owen Poole

    Side Sleeper

Choosing The Right Firmness

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 you. 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 vs firm mattress is right for you. That said, we made sure to include both options on our list for you.

Side Sleepers With 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.

Best Foam Mattress For Side Sleepers

It is important to note that the level of support you need hinges on how much pressure you exert on a mattress. 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. Petite to average-weighted side sleepers could get away with any soft foam mattress, but heavy individuals should look into a foam mattress that’s at least 11” thick.

Memory Foam

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

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 Foam

These 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.

Poly Foam

You could call poly foam beds the original online mattress, otherwise known as a bed in a box. For the most part, polyurethane foam has a neutral feel and will typically be responsive, 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.

Innerspring And Hybrid Beds

Usually you’ll see pocketed coils nowadays, or innersprings. Either way, they’re 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.

Spring Mattress

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.

Hybrid Mattress

In other words, these beds mix both coils and a foam, which is why we call them hybrid mattresses. 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, wool, and or cotton on top. It’s essentially like a big pillow or fluffy mattress topper being added to your mattress and it usually makes a hybrid or spring bed feel more pressure relieving.

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.

FAQs

What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?

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.

What mattress is best for side and back sleepers?

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.

If I buy a mattress online, what happens?

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.

Which is better, a foam or innerspring mattress?

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.

Do I need a soft mattress?

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.