Best Mattress For Side Sleepers: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
Sleeping on your side is 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 to consider the best mattresses that support neutral spinal alignment and relieve pressure points.
In this guide, we discuss our recommended best mattresses for side sleepers and touch on the main things side sleepers should look for before buying a new bed.
30 Second Summary: Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Amerisleep AS3 — The Amerisleep AS3 is our Editors’ Choice as the best mattress for side sleepers because it contains a targeted support technology specifically designed to promote a healthy spine and relieve pressure points, two things side sleepers need from a comfortable bed.
- Zoma Sports Mattress – We like the Zoma mattress for side sleepers because it features pressure-relieving support technology to alleviate tension under your shoulders and a firmer midsection to promote the natural curvature of your spine.
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
|Amerisleep AS3||Features plant-based, pressure-relieving memory foam and state-of-the-art support technology.||
|Zoma Sports Mattress||Designed to help athletes sleeper better and recover quicker; features state-of-the-art sleep-enhancing technologies.||
|Nolah 10"||Features innovative Nolah AirFoam™, designed to be 4x more pressure relieving than traditional memory foam.||
|Purple||Features unique Smart Comfort Grid™ to give their beds a completely different feel.||
|Tuft & Needle||Our recommended budget-friendly option.||
We like the Amerisleep AS3 for side sleepers because it offers an even blend of comfort and support. While it’s built to promote proper spinal alignment, it’s also cushioning enough to relieve pressure points under your shoulders and hips.
The first layer of the AS3 is 3 inches of pressure-relieving Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam. When you lay down on the AS3 this layer molds to your body and offers immediate comfort. Because it’s 3 inches thick, it allows for some sinkage, but not too much; so you’ll never feel “stuck” in the mattress. Plus, Bio-Pur® is four times more breathable than traditional memory foam, so it prevents overheating and night sweats, too.
Below the layer of memory foam is the Affinity layer featuring HIVE® technology. HIVE® is a surface modification technology used to offer dynamic support. Under your torso, head, and feet, HIVE® is fashioned to feel firmer and offer additional support; this prevents your midsection from dipping below your hips. Oppositely, HIVE® is softer and allows for deeper compression beneath your hips and shoulder to prevent pain and pressure build-up.
The third and final layer of the AS3 is durable Bio-Core® to serve as a supportive base. Bio-Core® reinforces the two layers above and prevents sagging, indentations, and premature wear and tear.
Every Amerisleep mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
Amerisleep AS3 Highlights
- Features plant-based, pressure-relieving memory foam
- HIVE® technology prevents pain points and promotes healthy sleep styles
- Medium feel is comfortable for side sleepers who need some cushioning and support
The Zoma Sports Mattress is specifically designed to help athletes get deeper sleep, so they can recover faster and perform better. Because this memory foam mattress is engineered to nurture a healthy spine and alleviate pain points, it’s perfect for side sleepers.
Zoma contains three unique, sleep-enhancing layers.
The first layer is 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam with Triangulex™ technology. When you lay down on this mattress, the memory foam molds to your curves to offer instant cushioning comfort. The cooling gels infused in this layer combat body heat and promote a cooler sleeping surface.
Triangulex™ comes into play to offer zoned support. The foam near the midsection of this layer feels a bit firmer to offer extra support for your torso. Around your shoulders and hips, this layer has triangle-shaped cutouts to offer better contouring. These cutouts also boost this layer’s breathability, preventing heat build-up. Triangulex™ technology is perfect for side sleepers because it prevents pain in your shoulders and hips in addition to offering better spinal support.
The second layer of the Zoma Sports Mattress is dense Reactiv™ foam— a latex-like poly-foam offering reinforced support. Reactiv™ is designed to feel more responsive than memory foam, so it offers cushioning comfort while still feeling bouncy. This layer holds you more “on top of” the mattress and prevents uncomfortable sinkage. It also increases the overall “bounce” of the bed, making it easier to adjust sleeping positions.
The third and final layer of the Zoma is the Support+ foam, a durable poly-foam core. The Support+ foam offers structural support for the layers above and prevents premature sagging. Zoma also backs their mattress with a 10-year warranty, should your bed develop a sag greater than 3/4 inch.
The Zoma Sports Mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial, too.
Zoma Sports Mattress Highlights
- Features gel memory foam to combat body heat
- Triangulex™ technology promotes a healthy spine and eases pressure points
- Includes a latex-like layer to boost the bed’s overall bounce
3. Nolah Original 10” Mattress
The next mattress on our list is the Nolah Original 10”, designed 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 comfort layer, Nolah AirFoam™, is also built to reduce pressure points four times better than comparable materials, which is crucial for side sleepers.
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, which contours to your body as memory foam would, but it is more responsive and holds you up on the mattress’s surface.
The next layer is a high-resilience foam designed to give latex-like bounce, which 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 firmness range perfect for side sleepers.
Nolah offers a 120-night sleep trial. If you decide not to keep your mattress within that time period, they’ll pick it up for free and give you a refund. If you do decide to keep the mattress, it’s backed by a 15-year warranty.
- Designed specifically for side and back sleepers
- Features Nolah’s AirFoam™, which offers 4x more pressure relief traditional memory foam
- Medium firmness
4. Purple® Mattress
Purple is a popular bed-in-a-box brand that specializes in selling an exceptionally pressure-relieving mattress. In fact, the Purple® was created as the world’s first “No-Pressure” bed.
Featured as the top layer in every Purple® mattress is their Purple 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.
The Purple Grid™ is adaptable to most body types, so it’s a great fit for side, stomach, or back sleepers. Plus, its grid shape promotes airflow through the bed and prevents hot air from being trapped within. The grid limits motion transfer throughout the bed, so it’s a great mattress 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 posture.
When shopping with Purple, we recommend choosing their flagship all-foam model. The original Purple mattress features only three layers, including the Purple Grid™.
Below the Purple 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 as the first “no-pressure” bed
- Temperature regulating design
5. Tuft & Needle Original Mattress
The last mattress on our list is the budget-friendly, luxury-firm Tuft and Needle mattress, or T&N. If you’re looking for a top-rated mattress at a lower price point, this bed is excellent, as it costs only $595 for a queen.
The T&N is soft and pressure-relieving without pulling the user too far into the mattress, making it perfect for side sleepers. The two-layer design of this bed is relatively simple compared to other mattresses on our list.
The top layer of the Tuft and Needle is their T&N Adaptive™ foam, a poly-foam designed to feel like a combination of memory foam and latex foam. It offers better pressure-relief than either material and feels cushioning but bouncy, soft but supportive.
Plus, the T&N Adaptive® foam is infused with cooling gels to 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 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, 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 & Needle Highlights
- Features pressure-relieving T&N Adaptive® foam
- Gel-infused foam helps keep you cool
- Budget-friendly choice
Side Sleeping Positions
Side sleeping is the most popular sleeping position, but not every side sleeper is the same. In fact, the term side sleeping usually refers to one of four positions.
- In the fetal position, both legs are bent at the knees, and the back is curled down to the legs. 40% of side-sleepers sleep this way, making it the most common sleeping position. For those with arthritis or other chronic pain issues, this position can leave the sleeper with morning soreness.
- The log is the next most common side sleeping position. In the log position, the arms and legs are stretched out from the body and the spine is straight.
- In the yearner position, the arms are stretched out, whereas the back and legs are straight. Only about 5% of the population sleeps like this.
- In the sprinter position, the sleeper is posed with the arms and back straight, and one leg bent at the knee and the other straight. This is the least common side sleeping position.
While none of these sleeping positions are worse or better than the other, the positions requiring extended legs can induce misalignment by shifting the hips out of place. Using pillows to keep the hips aligned will reduce the sleeper’s risk of developing sciatica and arthritis.
Is Side-Sleeping Healthy?
Side sleeping is healthy because it improves your breathing. Side sleepers also snore less and face fewer instances of lower back pain.
Those with sleep apnea can benefit from side sleeping because it opens the airways and alleviates sleep apnea symptoms. This position can also improve acid reflux when sleeping on your right side. However, the Editors of Sleep Junkie suggest sleeping on the right side as it takes undue pressure off the heart, alleviates heartburn, and improves blood pressure.
However, side sleeping also has drawbacks. Side-sleepers have a higher risk of acne breakouts thanks to being in consistent contact with their bedding. They can get premature wrinkles on one side due to sleeping with their face pressed up against the pillow, as well.
Side sleepers also have more pressure points than other sleeping positions. The pressure builds up on their sides, causing sore muscles and stiff joints.
|Reduced snoring |
May alleviate lower back pain
Increases proper lymph node drainage
|Increased acne breakouts
More pressure points on the side
What a Side-Sleeper Needs for Healthy Sleep
As a side sleeper, you should keep four main points in mind when mattress shopping: support, pressure relief, and spinal alignment. Maintaining an aligned spine and pressure relief through sufficient support will improve your quality of sleep.
Visualize this: you’re sleeping on your side with your arms in front of you. Your hip furthest from the mattress is rotated forward, twisting your lower back. To balance out your spine, you rotate your shoulder in the opposite direction of your hips. While this position is comfortable, it can produce negative medical results in the future.
Paying attention to your pelvic rotation and ensuring your spine is in alignment will reduce your risk of developing bursitis, sciatica, arthritis, and other chronic pains.
A mattress with a plush firmness or a Euro or pillow-top will envelop the hips and shoulders and allow them to sink, maintaining spinal alignment.
You can’t maintain spinal alignment without a supportive sleeping surface. Side sleepers need softer mattresses; however, if the mattress is so plush their body bows, than an unhealthy spine will result in shoulder and hip pain.
Side sleepers need a mattress with enough support in the hips and shoulders to prevent them from sinking too far into the mattress and keep the spine in its natural shape.
Zoned mattress technologies give customized support to the sleeper. In the hips and shoulders, a firm transitional layer will offer support and prevent the spine from arching, while the other areas of the body will receive softer support and better pressure relief.
If you share your bed with a partner, look for a mattress with edge support to ensure you don’t roll to the middle of the bed or get “stuck.”
Pressure Point Relief
Side sleepers deal with accumulated pressure on one side. The hips, shoulders, and ankles are major pressure points for side sleepers. Painful pressure points cause the sleeper to switch from side to side, disrupting sleep. If this pressure isn’t alleviated, it can lead to soreness and more severe sleep deprivation.
A mattress with a soft comfort layer will encourage the pressure to spread out and alleviate pressure.
What’s the Best Bed in a Box for Side Sleepers?
Most beds we covered in this guide are bed in a box mattresses. Deciding which one is best comes down to personal preference. Really, the only difference between a “bed in a box” and a traditional mattress you’d buy in a store is the method of delivery. So there’s no way to answer “what’s the best bed in a box for side sleepers?” accurately, as there’s no “one-size-fits-all” mattress out there.
If you prefer the convenience of shopping online and don’t want to arrange delivery times, a bed in a box mattress is right up your alley. However, if you’re looking for mattress removal or set-up services, you’ll want to shop with a brand offering White Glove Delivery, as this delivery method includes the set-up of your new bed and removal of any packaging as well as your old bed.
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 mattress type you’re interested in before you get too deep into your search.
Whether you’re shopping in-store or browsing online bed-in-a-box reviews, there are four main types of mattresses on the market today: memory foam, latex, hybrid, and innerspring.
Memory foam beds are regarded as some of the best for pain relief. These cushioning beds mold to your body to offer unsurpassed pressure relief and disperse body weight. 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 pains, choose memory foam.
Latex mattresses are excellent for eco-friendly shoppers, or those looking for a hypoallergenic mattress. Latex is more buoyant than memory foam, so it keeps you more lifted on top of the mattress rather than cradled. A latex bed usually feels 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.
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 promote neutral spinal alignment and are typically firmer.
To get the most comfortable sleep and wake up every morning pain-free, read our guide on finding the best mattress for back pain.
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 type, 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 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 determines how firm or soft a bed feels.
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 for comfort. On the other hand, people who weigh 250 pounds or more will need more support from their mattresses to prevent them from sinking 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 relieve pressure points but still supportive enough to promote a healthy spine.
Before deciding how firm your bed should be, 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 much the bed will sink. 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 with quick pressure response 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 “lifted” feeling instead.
Cooling and Airflow
As hot sleepers probably already know, temperature control is an important thing to look for in a new mattress. It’s not uncommon for people to report overheating or experiencing night sweats, which can throw a wrench in your sleeping schedule.
As we just mentioned, side sleepers are best suited for medium mattresses because they have adequate cushioning under the shoulders and hips. Because a side sleeper’s shoulders and hips sink down into the mattress and are surrounded by foam, there is a greater risk of their bed becoming a heat trap. This is why it’s especially important for side sleepers to find a bed with cooling technologies.
When looking for a cooling mattress, keep an eye out for gel swirls, gel beads, plant-based or latex foams, and ventilated air channels. All of these features contribute to temperature regulation, and ultimately, sound sleep.
Getting a quality side-sleeping mattress will require a budget between $1000 and $2000.
Certain mattress types and materials cost more simply because of their manufacturing processes and durability. For instance, if you want organic materials in your mattress, you’ll be looking to spend closer to $2000 than $1000. We advise against purchasing a mattress less than $500 since most of the materials will be synthetic and low-quality.
When searching for your new mattress, we encourage you 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 for how comfortable a bed is before purchasing it. To help shoppers feel more confident in their purchase, many online mattress brands have started offering risk-free sleep trials with their beds.
Sleep trials let you buy your new mattress and try it in your home commitment-free for a period of time. If you decide against keeping the mattress within the sleep trial, most brands will arrange a pick-up and then refund you.
On the other hand, if you feel the bed you bought is the best one for you, then you’re set! Always read the fine print regarding the sleep trial information before buying so you’re aware of how the process works and any fees you’re responsible for.
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 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.
As side sleepers are vulnerable to shoulder and hip discomfort, they need extra help alleviating pressure and maintaining a healthy sleeping position. Pillows are often the best way to eliminate these concerns.
For instance, a proper side sleeping head pillow will sport a higher loft in the neck area than the head. This varied loft will alleviate stress in the neck and allow for muscle relaxation. The correct pillow can be pricey— around $50 to $150— although a good contoured memory foam pillow is worth the extra cost.
A knee pillow is a small pillow with an indentation on the pillow’s surface. It pulls the hips into alignment and prevents the hips from rotating awkwardly. Knee pillows come in a range of materials and firmnesses and often can be bought for less than $50.
A body pillow can substitute for both head and knee pillows and gives extra support to the sleeper so they don’t stress out their back muscles to keep balance on their side. Body pillows are often used to switch from one sleeping position preference to another or by pregnant women to support their bellies.
Morning and night stretching is another way to alleviate muscle and joint soreness. Stretching irons out muscle knots. After stretching nightly, you’ll find your mobility in the morning is far greater than usual. Stretching in the morning can increase your mobility even more for the rest of the day.
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. Don’t be afraid to ask retailers questions and read online mattress reviews during your search to make sure you’re buying the best mattress for a good night’s sleep.