Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

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Best Mattress for Side Sleepers in 2018

Written By

Nicole Bradford

We receive referral fees when readers use our links to buy a mattress

If you are a side-sleeper, there are a few things that you should take into account when buying a mattress. Though it is one of the more popular sleeping positions, if you get the wrong kind of bed, you could still suffer from annoying joint pain that can last even after you’re up and going about your day.

The best kind of mattress for side sleepers is one that is able to keep the back straight, but that offers enough contouring to account for the curve of the shoulders and hips. Without this contouring, pressure can easily build, causing pain or discomfort. You want a bed that will keep you comfortable and reduce tossing and turning.

After careful research, we have listed the top mattresses that offer the right combination of support and contouring for side sleepers below.

Top 5 Mattresses For Side Sleepers

RankingNameRatingKey BenefitReview
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Highly rated by side sleepers for comfort - designed for side sleepers See Nolah Review
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Sleeps cool thanks to copper memory foam which offers superior comfort for side sleepers See Layla Review
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Widely praised by sleepers of all types including side sleepers See Nest Alexander Review
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Perfect firm-soft combination with a 365 night risk-free trial See Nectar Review

What Side Sleepers Should Look For in a Mattress

A softer mattress will contour to the curves of your body

When it comes to side sleepers, the firmness/density of the mattress is definitely something worth considering. Typically, something between soft and moderate on the firmness scale is ideal; as long as the correct support is present, a softer mattress will help to relieve pressure from your back and neck, enabling you to wake free from stubborn aches, pains, and tension.

To provide optimum support, the mattress should be soft enough to curve around the shape of your body – especially when sleeping on your side. When individuals opt to sleep on their side, there are more curves to take into account than with someone sleeping on their back; for instance, when sleeping on your side, your shoulders, arms, and hips are all resting on the mattress.

In order to ensure the alignment of your body is sufficiently supported, it is recommended to opt for a softer mattress. Choosing a mattress that falls into the softer end of the firmness scale will allow your body to sink into it a little more, thus supporting your body as the mattress contours your curves.

A supportive mattress will relieve pressure from the spine, neck, and back

While there are endless benefits to sleeping on your side, doing so on an unsupportive mattress can put unnecessary pressure on your spine, neck, and back.

When opting for this position, it's not uncommon for your spine to be slightly misaligned; while this is perfectly fine, prolonged misalignment can lead to annoying aches and pains throughout the body – if the correct support is not in place. It's important to keep in mind a supportive mattress does not necessarily have to be firm, sufficient support can still be provided from a softer mattress.

A mattress with a supportive structure but fairly low density will help to prevent certain pressure points commonly caused by pelvic rotation. A good quality memory foam mattress can be ideal for side sleepers, though a well-constructed innerspring model offers many advantages, too.

A thicker mattress offers deeper compression support for side sleepers

For back sleepers, a thinner matter can often be sufficient. For side sleepers, however, it can beneficial to opt for something a little thicker. Typically, a mattress with a thicker profile offers deeper compression support.

As mentioned previously, sleeping on your side can put more support on your shoulders, neck, and spine, meaning that deep compression support is essential to relieve the pressure between your body and the mattress. While a small selection of thinner mattresses do offer sufficient support, unless the mattress is of exceptional quality, opting for something thicker is typically advised.

Edge Support will keep the mattress sturdy and prevent sagging

While an important aspect to keep in mind for all types of sleepers, good quality edge support can be essential for individuals that choose to sleep on their side.

When resting in this position, there are a huge number of curves and contours of the body that need sufficient support; for instance, your shoulders, arms, and hips – just to name a few. To prevent pressure points occurring between your body and the top of the mattress, selecting a model that offers a support structure throughout is imperative.

Although most frequently used at night time, some individuals find their mattress gets used throughout the day, too; if you are one of these people then good quality edge support is important when choosing your mattress. Strong, sturdy edges will prevent the mattress from sagging, allowing sleepers of all sizes to rest assured that the mattress edge will remain sturdy all night long.

A multilayered mattress offers both comfort and support

Though many people love the cozy sink of a low-density mattress, side sleepers should ensure a high-quality supportive layer backs up the comfort layer – this is why multilayered mattresses are so highly regarded. A supportive base works to keep the curves of the neck and spine naturally aligned, while still allowing sleepers to enjoy the favorable comfort of the soft top layer.

With the daily stresses of poor posture and natural gravity, it is essential that the spine takes time to relax and relieve the build-up of tension. Ensuring your spine is properly aligned while sleeping will provide it with the chance to rejuvenate, allowing you to wake refreshed and ready to take on whatever the following day throws at you.

Nolah Mattress

Highly rated by side sleepers for comfort – designed for side sleepers

The Nolah is an all-around good mattress for all kinds of sleepers, but what makes it ideal for side sleepers in particular is its blend of contouring memory foam and bouncy Avena underneath. It has a unique kind of memory foam that doesn’t have any of the usual viscoelastic chemicals. This means that it’s naturally good at keeping you cool, even if you tend to sleep on your side.

It is soft, but still light-feeling, and it does a good job of cradling your hips and shoulders, keeping pressure from building. According to a study, Nolah produces less peak pressure than a typical memory foam bed. This is great if you tend to find that most mattresses are too hard and leave your bones aching in the morning.

Another thing that you have to watch out for when you’re side-sleeping is to not sink too deeply into the mattress. Luckily, the Nolah’s dense support layer and the responsive Avena on top of it keep you floating.

Customers rave about the Nolah’s pain relieving properties, especially side sleepers who tend to suffer from achy joints. Considering its long trial and luxury materials, it’s a good choice for side sleepers who are looking for a solid and natural foam bed.

Layla Mattress

Sleeps cool thanks to copper memory foam which offers superior comfort for side sleepers

The Layla is a mattress built of many layers of soft foam, leading up to a strong support layer underneath. Because of this design, it excels at pressure relief, with its memory foam top layers responding to the curve of your body as you lie down. It provides this comfort without overheating or causing back pain, which puts it far ahead of most traditional beds.

One of the interesting things about the Layla is that it actually has two firmness levels. It can be flipped, and each side has a different feel. Though both sides offer some degree of pressure relief, the softer side of the bed is ideal for side sleepers. It is rather plush—a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest—but it still does a good job of keeping you propped up, and never gives you that quicksand sensation.

Another thing to consider when sleeping on your side is temperature regulation. Since you will tend to be cocooned in a mattress more than a back or stomach sleeper would, you need memory foam that is infused with some kind of cooling mechanism. In the case of the Layla, this is copper, a totally natural conductive material.

Overall, the Layla is a great choice for side-sleepers, especially those who may on occasion need a firmer version of their bed.

Nest Alexander Signature Series Mattress

Widely praised by sleepers of all types including side sleepers

Nest is known for selling high quality mattresses that are durable and long-lasting. They also offer many options in terms of feel, which is one of the reasons the Alexander Signature Series is quite attractive to side-sleepers.

It comes in three firmness versions, from incredibly soft to much firmer than average. The Soft version of the bed works great for side-sleepers who want some extra cushioning. It definitely relieves pressure, but there is still the presence of the support structure underneath to keep your back aligned. Many customers fall in love with the Medium version, though, and it provides enough cushioning for most side sleepers to be comfortable.

No matter what version you choose, the Alexander Signature Series mattress has a very comfortable contouring top layer. This gives your body a light hug as you lie down, which is exactly what you need if you’re pressing your hips and shoulders against the bed.

If you want a high quality bed that does an excellent job at relieving pressure and comes with multiple firmness options, then you may want to check out the Alexander Signature Series. It’s built by a reputable company and it’s quite affordable, considering its many orthopedic benefits.

Nectar Mattress

Perfect firm-soft combination with a 365 night risk-free trial

If you’re a side sleeper, you need a mattress that has just the right amount of supportive firmness, with a good amount of cushioning to take the edge off. The Nectar is this perfect “in between” that can soothe your joints while still keeping your back aligned.

The pressure relief on the Nectar starts even with the outside cover. It is quilted with soft memory foam that is porous and breathable. Because of this, it keeps you from getting overheated, but it also helps contour around your body and transfer your weight to the thicker layers below.

These layers of memory foam are a bit slower to respond to your weight, but this allows them to transition your body mass smoothly to the supportive core without creating pressure.

Because of its adaptive HI Core layer, the Nectar also does a good job of keeping your “afloat” over the mattress. Even pressing all of your weight into it, it’s pretty responsive, and you won’t feel like you’re stuck.

The Nectar is that perfect average-firmness mattress that can appeal to a wide variety of side sleepers, keeping your hips and shoulders pain-free and your spine supported.