The best mattresses for side sleepers strike a balance between softness and support. Specifically, they should sink in enough to cradle joints while keeping your spine aligned. If you’re part of the majority of adults who prefers side sleeping, it’s helpful to know that some mattresses are better for this position than others—you just need to know what to look for.
After researching, writing and publishing dozens of mattress and sleep stories across Forbes Vetted, we’re pretty knowledgeable on the subject. We named the Helix Midnight Mattress our top pick overall with its structured support system and cushy upper layers, but there are plenty of other top-rated picks on this list.
In general, softer mattresses are preferred by side sleepers, as firm beds can cause pressure points where the mattress doesn’t give. So, if you’re a side sleeper and you regularly wake up with shoulder, hip or neck pain, your mattress could be to blame. Below, we’ve rounded up the best mattresses for side sleepers according to research, reviews and editor testing and included a buying guide at the bottom of this story.
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers Overall
Responsive Foam, Supportive Coils And A Just-Right Price
Most Comfortable Mattress For Side Sleepers
A Hybrid Bed That Cushions Your Pressure Points
Best Memory Foam Mattress For Side Sleepers
A Temperature-Regulating Mattress With Extra Support
Best Pillow Top Mattress For Side Sleepers
A Cashmere-Blend Topper Offers Luxurious Sink-In Softness
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers With Back Pain
Body-Contouring Memory Foam Takes The Pressure Off
Best Luxury Mattress For Side Sleepers
A Pioneer In Foam Mattress Comfort
Best Mattress For Heavy Side Sleepers
A Plush Pick That Won’t Buckle Or Sag
Best Flippable Mattress For Side Sleepers
A Mattress That Has A Soft And A Firm Side
Best Hybrid Mattress For Side Sleepers
Supportive Gel Pods Support Your Lower Back
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers With Partners
A Mattress Made Without Springs To Minimize Motion Transfer
Best Pressure-Relieving Mattress For Side Sleepers
A One-Of-A-Kind Design That’s Responsive And Buoyant
How We Chose The Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
In putting together our selections for this list, each mattress had to come from a reputable brand (many of which we’ve tried ourselves), offer a trial period of at least three months with a hassle-free return policy and have a deep pool of shining customer reviews. For side sleepers in particular, pressure relief along the shoulders and hips is crucial, so we made sure to pick mattresses that excelled in doing just that.
Typically, sleepers have more than one issue they’re hoping to resolve, whether that’s overheating at night or sharing a bed with a restless partner. Thus, we also took into account side-sleeping mattresses with additional features such as advanced cooling materials and low motion transfer.
What To Consider When Buying A Mattress For Side Sleepers
When it comes to finding the best mattress for your side-sleeping self, there are a few key factors to consider.
While the level of firmness that’s most comfortable for you is ultimately a matter of preference, medium or medium-soft mattresses are usually best for frequent side sleepers. This ensures that there’s enough plushness to alleviate pressure points plus the right amount of support to keep the spine aligned.
Hybrid mattresses and foam or memory foam mattresses are generally best for side sleepers (as opposed to innerspring mattresses, which can have a stiffer feel). Below, read some pros and cons of each.
- Foam: Usually made with memory foam and/or latex, foam mattresses are known for their responsive, body-contouring properties. This can be an excellent choice for side sleepers because the foam molds to every unique body and position. Foam also eliminates motion transfer so you won’t feel your partner moving at night. However, there are some downsides. Foam mattresses have a reputation for trapping heat, although top brands have developed proprietary materials and cooling technology to alleviate this issue. While some people love the feeling of sinking into a mattress, others feel like they’re being “swallowed” by their bed. And finally, when assembling your bed, foam mattresses are particularly heavy, so keep this in mind if you plan on hauling it into your bedroom yourself or moving in the near future.
- Hybrid: If you don’t want a traditional innerspring mattress but you’re unsure whether an all-foam mattress is right for you, you can’t go wrong with a hybrid mattress. These combine a base of coils to offer support plus upper foam layers to provide the plush pressure relief you need—and they don’t sink in quite as much as foam mattresses do. Additionally, hybrids tend to be cooler than foam mattresses because the springs allow for more airflow. One of the few downsides is that they can be slightly bouncier than foam mattresses, but quality picks are designed to keep motion transfer to a minimum.
When ordering a mattress online, it’s important to consider delivery; either you’ll be hauling your mattress indoors or you’ll have to be home for delivery and set-up. For buyers who prefer the do-it-yourself route, many top brands offer bed in a box delivery, in which the mattress is vacuum-sealed in a compact box so it’s easier to maneuver. With this, there are two things to keep in mind: One, the box will still be heavy, so enlisting help for set-up is strongly encouraged; and two, the mattress will take anywhere from a few hours to a day to fully expand once it’s released from its packaging.
Trial Period And Warranty
One of the biggest challenges of buying a mattress online is not being able to try it out first. And companies completely understand that. That’s why many offer generous trial periods—some for as long as a year—to try out your new investment and make sure it’s the right fit. When picking your mattress, be sure to review the brand’s trial period and procedure before making your purchase.
You’ll also want to make sure your mattress has a warranty that covers defects or premature wear for at least five years.
If you share your bed with a partner, look for a bed that minimizes motion transfer. Foam mattresses are ideal for this, and many hybrids are designed with wrapped coils and movement-absorbing layers that also do the trick.
Sleeping hot is another common gripe, and top mattress companies have invented high-tech materials designed to wick away heat and moisture and feel cool to the touch. Copper fibers are a trendy mattress and pillow material thanks to their temperature-regulating and antimicrobial properties.
What Type Of Mattress Is Best For Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers need cushioning around the shoulders, hips and knees, but not so much that it throws the body out of alignment. Finding the proper firmness is key (aim for medium or medium support, as mentioned below), as well as comparing the features of foam and hybrid mattresses with your sleep preferences.
What Type Of Firmness Is Best For Side Sleepers?
While some prefer a super plush mattress, beds that are medium or medium-firm generally hit the sweet spot for softness and support when it comes to side sleeping. This is especially true if you tend to change positions or have a partner who is not a dedicated side sleeper.
Is Memory Foam Better For Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers should definitely consider memory foam when mattress shopping, whether in an all-foam mattress or the upper layers of a hybrid. The responsive material cradles joints, which is essential for comfortably sleeping on your side. It also supports the natural curvature of your spine, which helps to alleviate back pain and other aches.