Sleeping on your side is thought to be one of the healthiest ways to sleep. Side sleeping promotes better spinal alignment, reduces lower back pain, silences snoring, and can prevent symptoms of sleep apnea.
To get the best sleep, side sleepers need a mattress that will support neutral spinal alignment and relieve pressure points.
Sleeping on your right side, specifically, promotes a healthy heart, whereas sleeping your left side can lead to increased blood pressure, a higher heart rate, and thus, more interrupted sleep.
In this guide, we discuss the main things side sleepers should look for before buying a new bed and touch on our recommended best mattress for side sleepers.
Research and Resources
In making this article, we:
- Researched the science of side sleeping and what kind of mattress promotes the healthiest rest for this sleep position.
- Utilized multiple mattress and bedding resources to gather the most helpful information.
- Spent 15 hours writing and editing the article to deliver the most value-driven content possible to our readers.
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
|Brand||Mattress||Height||Sleep Trial & Warranty||Price (Queen)|
|AS3||12"||100 Nights & 20 Years||$1199
|Wave||13"||100 Nights & 10 Years||$2395|
|Layla||10"||120 Nights & Lifetime||$999|
|Midnight||10"||100 Nights & 10 Years||$995|
|Nolah 10"||10"||120 Nights & 15 Years||$1019|
The Editors at Sleep Junkie like the Amerisleep AS3 as the best mattress for side sleepers. Amerisleep sells five different memory foam mattresses; each is tailored to a specific sleep style and range in firmness.
The AS3 is Amerisleep’s medium mattress and it’s built to be an even mix of comfort and support. It’s their most versatile and best-selling model; because it’s so adaptable, it can mold and contour to most body types, making it comfortable for a majority of sleepers.
The top layer of every Amerisleep mattress is their Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam. Bio-Pur® has a response time of 3-4 seconds, in comparison to traditional memory foams 20-30 seconds— meaning it’s great for side sleepers who change positions during the night.
Another perk to using Bio-Pur® is it’s enhanced breathability. Usually, a major concern with memory foam is whether or not it’ll trap heat, and by using their open-cell plant-based foam, Amerisleep eliminates that concern.
Let’s look at the the support technology within this mattress. Harnessing Intelligent Ventilation & Energy, otherwise known as HIVE® technology, is the second layer of the Amerisleep AS3. In fact, all of their mattresses have this same support layer, besides their AS1.
HIVE® is integrated into this mattress to offer support for a healthy spine. In this technology, hexagonal cutouts are made into a foam layer and spaced in five strategic comfort zones; in areas where you need more support, such as your lower back and neck, these hexagons feel firmer to offer more stable support. However, in other places such as your shoulders and hips, these hexagons are spaced further apart and feel softer, allowing the body to compress in the mattress.
The HIVE® technology is designed to help support a healthy spine for back, stomach, and side sleepers alike, but encompasses everything a side sleeper would need from their support technology.
Every Amerisleep mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial, and a 20-year warranty.
- Features plant-based, pressure-relieving memory foam
- HIVE® technology prevents pain points and promotes healthy sleep styles
- Medium firmness
2. Casper Wave
If you’ve been searching for a new mattress, you’ve probably heard the name Casper tossed around on different mattress blogs. Casper is one of the most well-known online mattress brands today.
When they debuted, they only sold one mattress, but as their popularity quickly grew, started designing and selling two other mattresses. In 2019, Casper redesigned their three top-rated beds to be more comfortable and offer better support. For side sleepers, we recommend choosing Casper’s all-foam Wave mattress.
Let’s talk about why the Wave is great for side sleepers.
Casper’s Wave stands at 13 inches tall and combines the comfort of five different foam layers. Casper’s beds have a unique design where they place a layer of memory foam below the top layer of the mattress— which in this case, is latex foam— instead of using memory foam as the first comfort layer.
Using this design alone is beneficial for side sleepers because latex foam is more responsive than memory foam; when you lay on the Wave, it should feel bouncier and suspend your body in a neutral position instead of allowing you to sink down in the layer.
To continue, below the layer of latex foam is the layer of memory foam, which allows for deep compression of your shoulders and hips, ideal for side sleepers. This memory foam layer will provide pressure relief for your muscles and joints, preventing morning aches and pains. Another perk of placing memory foam below latex foam is it reduces the chance of the memory foam trapping heat.
Next, is a layer of poly-foam built with Zoned Support gel. Casper infuses firm gel into the lumbar and torso region of this mattress to help align your spine and prevent your midsection from sinking unnaturally far in the bed.
The bottom layer of the Wave is where the hyper-targeted support technology lies. Casper cuts precise contoured channels into this layer to healthily align your body at 33 key points. The base of this mattress can be credited with maintaining a healthy spine and easing aches and pains.
If you’re a side sleeper who commonly experiences back or hip pain, the Casper Wave could be the best fit for you; but, if you’re still on the fence, Casper offers a 100-night sleep trial with each of their beds, so you have an opportunity to test it out. Casper also includes a 10-year warranty with each of their mattresses, protecting your investment against visible indentations for the next decade.
- Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association™
- Features Zoned Support Gel to promote a healthy spine
- Aligns your body at 27 key points to prevent pressure build-up
3. Layla Mattress
We’re fans of the Layla mattress for side sleepers because of it’s flippable firmness. That’s right, one side of the Layla mattress is firm, but if you flip it over, it has a soft feel on the other side.
We recommend Layla’s softer side for side sleepers; but if you’re a fan of a firmer bed, their firm side is a good option too, as it shouldn’t be so firm that it creates pressure points.
The Layla is a memory foam option, and it’s unique because their memory foam is infused with copper, which has a few sleep-promoting benefits. To name a few, copper is antimicrobial, temperature-regulating, and offers extra support.
Copper is one of the most conductive metals there is, so it acts like a magnet for heat, pulling it away from your body and dissipating it out of the mattress. Plus, copper gets firmer as it’s compressed, so it helps prevent you from sinking too far in the mattress and offers extra support where you need it. This is important for side sleepers because it allows your shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress for pressure relief, but not so far that your spine is over-extended, helping to maintain the spine’s natural curvature.
Let’s talk about how this bed is built to achieve dual-firmness.
Starting from the soft side up, we have 3 inches of copper-infused memory foam. On their website, they give the soft side of their mattress a rating of 4.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, so it should feel pretty cushioning.
Next, is 2 inches of convoluted poly-foam, this layer offers you extra comfort, and because it’s shaped like an egg-crate, it has breathable air channels which aid in pushing hot air out of the mattress and elevating airflow throughout the bed.
Below these two layers lies the 4.5-inch poly-foam core; this gives the bed it’s shape, provides structural support, and increases motion isolation. Last, is the “Firm” layer, which is 1 inch of copper-infused memory foam.
The difference in firmness comes from the thickness of the memory foam layers. On the Soft side, you have quite a bit of foam to sink through before feeling the firm core; whereas on the Firm side, you only have 1 inch of memory foam between you and the dense core layer below.
When you shop with Layla, your bed comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a Lifetime warranty. Plus, if you’re looking for a high-quality bed for less than $1000, the Layla is a great choice, as their beds cost $874 for a Queen.
- Flippable firmness
- Copper-infused memory foam offers extra support
- Breathable design for temperature control
4. Helix Midnight
The Helix Midnight is Helix’s most popular mattress model, and on their website, states it was voted the “Top Mattress for Side Sleepers” by Mattress Advisor. Knowing that, it’s safe to assume this is a pretty comfy bed.
We like the Helix brand because they help you find the most comfortable mattress for your sleep needs by taking you through a sleep style quiz and pairing you with your perfect match. By doing this, they take the guessing out of the search and help their customers feel more confident in their purchase.
Plus, they offer a 100-night sleep trial with their beds so you can test it out and decide if it’s the most comfortable fit. If it is and you decide to keep it, it’s backed by a 10-year warranty.
All Helix mattresses are hybrid, so they contain a pocketed coil system and layers of memory foam. Every mattress is available in a Luxe version too, which includes an additonal pillow top layer. Both the Helix Midnight and Helix Midnight Luxe are comfortable and provide healthy sleep to side sleepers, so deciding between the two comes down to personal preference and budget.
Below, we’ll break down the construction of the standard Midnight mattress.
The Midnight has a Medium feel and on their website, they mention it’s designed to be not too soft or too firm, but just right. The first layer is their proprietary Memory Plus Foam, a memory foam designed to be even more pressure relieving; this is perfect for side sleepers who need pressure relief in their shoulders and hips to prevent aches and pains.
Below is a transition layer of poly-foam, Helix customizes the firmness of this layer to match your body type, ensuring you’re getting a bed with a truly “Medium” feel. Primarily, this transition layer acts as a barrier between the memory foam layer above and the pocketed coil layer below.
Next up is the pocketed coil system, designed to offer zoned support, limit motion transfer, and give the bed edge support, too. Zoned support is important for side sleepers because it promotes proper spinal alignment, which can help prevent you from experiencing back pain. The last layer of this mattress is a thin layer of DuraDense Foam, a poly-foam designed to be extra firm and give the bed structural support.
- Customized to your body type
- Breathable hybrid design
- Features Helix’s pressure-relieving foam
5. Nolah Mattress
The next mattress on our list is Nolah 10”, which on their website mentions is actually designed and built specifically to cater to back and side sleepers. In this mattress, Nolah uses their proprietary Nolah AirFoam™ instead of memory foam or latex to offer the sleeper a contouring but cool sleeping environment.
Their Nolah AirFoam™ is also built to reduce pressure points four times better than comparable materials, which is crucial for side sleepers. Let’s talk about the design of the Nolah.
The layers of the Nolah are constructed to alleviate pressure in the shoulder and hip region, furthering its benefits for side sleepers. The first layer of this bed is Nolah’s AirFoam™ material. When you lay on this layer, it should contour to your body and feel as memory foam would, but it is more responsive and holds you up in the mattress.
The next layer is a high-resilience foam designed to be as responsive as latex; it gives the bed a bounce and reinforces the AirFoam™ above.
On their website, Nolah ranks this bed a 5 or 6 out of 10 in regards to firmness, putting it right in that middle spot perfect for side sleepers.
If you’re not a fan of memory foam or latex and are interested in trying a different sleeping solution, Nolah offers a 120-night sleep trial to test out their unique bed. If you don’t like it, they’ll return it for free, and if you do decide to keep it, it’s backed by a 15-year warranty.
- Designed specifically for side sleepers
- Features Nolah’s AirFoam™, designed to be 4x more pressure relieving than memory foam
- Medium firmness
Purple is a popular bed-in-a-box brand that specializes in selling an exceptionally pressure-relieving mattress. In fact, the Purple was created to be the world’s first “No-Pressure” bed.
Featured as the top layer in every Purple mattress is their Smart Comfort Grid™. The founders of Purple patented a whole new mattress material, hyper-elastic polymer, to create this grid. On their website, they boast the benefits of their innovative mattress technology.
Purple’s Smart Comfort Grid™ is adaptable to most body types, so it’s a fit for side, stomach, or back sleepers. Plus, it’s grid shape promotes airflow through the bed and prevents hot air from being trapped within. To continue, their grid limits motion transfer throughout the mattress, so it’s a great option for couples, too. However, the most important sleep-promoting benefit this bed offers to side sleepers is its ability to relieve pressure points under your shoulders and hips while maintaining a healthy spine.
When shopping with Purple, we recommend choosing their flagship all-foam model. The original Purple mattress features only three layers, including the Smart Comfort Grid™.
Below the Smart Comfort Grid™ in this bed is a transition layer of cushioning poly-foam to act as a barrier between the comfortable grid and the core of the mattress. The last layer of the Purple is a high-density poly-foam in place to give the bed shape and structural support.
You can buy a Purple mattress on their website or at select Mattress Firm locations. Every Purple bed comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
- Features their Smart Comfort Grid™
- Designed to be the first “No-Pressure” bed
- Temperature regulating design
Though innerspring mattresses aren’t always the best for side sleepers, the Saatva mattress is a top-rated, state-of-the-art innerspring bed comfortable for all sleep styles. Saatva is a well-known online mattress company that makes and sells an assortment of mattresses. Because they sell online-only direct-to-consumer they are able to cut costs and sell their luxury mattresses at affordable prices.
If you’re somebody who’s plagued by chronic back or neck pain, the Saatva is worth considering. Just recently, this bed earned the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations seal of approval of offering exceptional pain relief. Plus, many mattress reviews of the bed mention waking up pain-free after switching to the Saatva.
The Saatva mattress is carried in a few firmness levels: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. On their website, they mention their Luxury Firm is their best selling model and is rated a of 5-7 out of 10 in regards to firmness.
Let’s talk about the design of this mattress.
The Saatva’s luxury euro pillow top is a layer of foam quilted in organic cotton, so when you lay on this bed you’re met with immediate comfort. Immediately below lies 416 individually wrapped micro-coils. These coils are designed to conform to your body and relieve pressure how memory foam would. They also limit motion transfer and promote airflow through the bed.
Below the first layer of coils lies Saatva’s Spinal Zone Technology. In the lumbar region of this bed, Saatva infuses gel memory foam to offer your spine enhanced support. This layer helps prevent your spine from sinking too far in the mattress, which can result in pain points.
The base layer of the Saatva is another coil system, giving this bed a coil-on-coil design. This layer of coils are durable and supportive, so they offer extra zoned support to the sleeper while also reinforcing the construction of the bed. Finally, Saatva encases all of these layers in solid foam to give the bed increased edge support.
Because Saatva sells their beds exclusively online, they offer free White Glove Delivery and removal of your old mattress with every purchase. Additionally, every Saatva mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.
- Spinal Zone Technology offers your spine enhanced support
- Breathable coil-on-coil design
- Free White Glove Delivery and removal of your old mattress
8. Tuft & Needle
The last mattress on our list is the budget-friendly Tuft and Needle, or T&N. If you’re looking for a top-rated mattress at a lower price point, this bed is excellent for you, as it costs only $595 for a Queen.
The T&N is designed to be soft and pressure-relieving without feeling sinking, which makes it perfect for side sleepers. The design of this bed is relatively simple with only two layers. Let’s break down its construction.
The top layer of the Tuft and Needle is their T&N Adaptive™ foam. This poly-foam is designed to feel like a combination of memory foam and latex foam while offering better pressure-relief than either materials. It’s feels cushioning but bouncy, soft but supportive.
Plus, the T&N Adaptive® foam is infused with cooling gels to help keep you at a comfortable temperature all night long. All in all, it creates a more “on the bed” feeling while still allowing your shoulders and hips to compress in the mattress for pressure relief.
The base layer is a solid high-density poly-foam to support the T&N Adaptive® foam and sleeper above.
For a few years, T&N beds were sold only online. However, Serta Simmons Bedding recently bought them out, so now you can buy their beds both online and at various mattress retailers. Every T&N mattress comes with a 100-night trial period and a 10-year warranty.
Tuft and Needle Mattress
- Features pressure-relieving T&N Adaptive® foam
- Gel-infused foam helps keep you cool
- Budget-friendly choice
What Should Side Sleepers Consider Before Buying?
Before deciding on your next bed, there are a few things to take a step back and consider to ensure you’re getting the most comfortable mattress at the best value. These factors include your sleeping position, mattress types, and different firmness options.
It’s essential to find a bed that won’t allow your torso to sink too far into the mattress, as it can put extra stress on the spine.
However, your mattress still needs to let your shoulders and hips to sink a little because if it’s too firm the resistance will cause painful pressure points. Typically, quality memory foam mattresses are great for side sleepers because they can contour to your body in a way most materials can’t; this helps release pressure and tension while preventing the misalignment of your spine.
Body Type & Firmness
Firmness refers to how firm or soft a mattress is, and body weight plays a significant role in how firm a bed is perceived.
If you have a petite build and do not weigh much, most mattresses will feel firm; so it’s best to get a plusher bed that’ll be comfy for your body. On the other hand, people who weigh 250 pounds or more will need more support from their mattress to prevent them from sinking unhealthily far into the bed, therefore, heavier sleepers should choose firmer mattresses.
In general, side sleepers are usually most comfortable on medium to medium-firm mattresses because they’re soft enough to allow them to sink into the bed to relieve pressure points but still supportive enough to promote a healthy spine.
Before deciding how firm your bed should be, also consider your preference for firmness. If you like a more cradling, “in the bed” feel from your mattress, choose a softer mattress. Alternatively, if you prefer a firmer feel from your bed, choose a more supportive option.
How quickly a bed responds to movement is a good indicator of how “sinking” the bed will feel. For those who like a cradling, or hugging, feel from their mattress usually want a bed that is slower to respond.
However, it’s important for side sleepers to pick a mattress that is quick to respond to pressure so they can easily switch from side to side while they sleep. Plus, faster response times detract from the feeling of being “stuck” in the mattress, and offer a more “lifting” feeling instead.
As you can probably imagine, the type of mattress you buy plays a significant role in your overall comfort. Different mattress types have different pros and cons, so it’s best to educate yourself on your options and choose which kind of mattress you’re interested in before you get too deep into your search.
There are four main types of mattresses: memory foam, latex, hybrid, and innerspring.
Memory foam beds are regarded as some of the best mattresses for pain relief. These cushioning beds mold to your body to offer unsurpassed pressure relief. Often people associate a “cradling” feeling with memory foam because it hugs your body and creates a more “in the mattress” feel. If you experience frequent pesky pains, choose memory foam.
Latex mattresses are excellent for eco-friendly shoppers, or those looking for a hypoallergenic mattress. Latex is more bouyant than memory foam, so it keeps you more lifted on top of the mattress rather than cradled. When you lay on a latex bed, it’ll feel cushioning to relieve pressure in your joints, but is more bouncy and responsive than other foams.
Hybrid mattresses combine cushioning foam layers with a pocketed coil system to offer a responsive but conforming bed. If you’re interested in a foam mattress but don’t want to sacrifice the bouncy feel of an innerspring system, a hybrid mattress is a great option as it combines the best of both. Because hybrid materials require a variety of high-quality materials, they are often a bit pricier than all-foam or innerspring mattresses, though.
Innerspring mattresses are centuries old, but have stood the test of time because they offer a bouncy, comfortable sleep surface. Innerspring beds can’t mold to and cushion your body like foam beds, so they’re not the best for pain or pressure relief— which is something side sleepers need. Instead, quality innerspring beds are usually better suited for back or stomach sleepers because they can hold them more lifted on the mattress and promote neutral spinal alignment.
When searching for your new mattress, we encourage you also to consider the sleep trial that comes with your potential new mattress. Mattresses aren’t cheap, and the last thing you want to do is drop a thousand dollars on an uncomfortable bed.
Whether you’re buying in-store or online, it’s hard to get a good feel of how comfortable a bed is before purchasing it. To help shoppers feel more confident in their purchase, many mattress brands started offering risk-free sleep trials with their beds.
A sleep trial lets you buy your new mattress and then try it in your home for a period of time commitment-free. If you decide against keeping the mattress, most brands will arrange for your unwanted bed to be picked up and returned for you free of charge.
On the other hand, if you feel the bed you bought is the best one for you, then you’re set! Always be sure to read the fine print regarding the sleep trial information before buying, so you’re aware of how the process works and whether or not you’d be responsible for any fees.
Beyond the sleep trial, the warranty your bed comes with plays a significant role in the overall value of the mattress. If your mattress comes with a warranty that only lasts for a couple of years and doesn’t cover much, you’re ultimately out of luck if something were to happen to your mattress.
Buying a mattress with at least a 10-year warranty is the best way to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from your new bed. Before buying, read the warranty information to have an understanding of what all is covered and what the warranty process entails, so you’re not surprised years down the road, should you ever have to submit a warranty claim.
Did You Find Your Next Mattress?
Because side sleeping is such a popular sleep position, there are a variety of mattresses sold today specifically tailored to side sleepers. When you’re searching, keep your budget and personal sleep preferences in mind, and it will help guide you towards the right mattress for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and read online mattress reviews during your search to make sure you’re making the best decision towards better sleep.