Around 74% of people are said to be side sleepers, and there are some big benefits to this common sleep position, including improved digestion. So if you’re a side sleeper, the best mattress for you is a medium-firm bed with plenty of cushioning at the hips, knees and shoulders (your main pressure points when snoozing on your side). Whether you sleep on your left or right is irrelevant, as a great mattress for side sleepers will cushion and cradle you on either side.
Memory foam is one of the most popular materials within the best mattresses for side sleepers because it contours to the shape of your body and delivers high levels of pressure relief. This reduces shoulder and knee pain as you press down into the mattress when sleeping on your side. These comfy beds also relieve lower back pain, which side sleepers can suffer from if they aren’t snoozing on a properly supportive mattress.
We think the best mattress for side sleepers is the Nectar Mattress – its unbeatable value for money and all of our testers found it to be comfy, contouring and supportive. The Nectar also sleeps a little cooler than other all-foam side sleeper mattresses, adding to its overall sleep comfort. Other top-rated names to look out for include Avocado Green, Nolah, GhostBed and Helix, many of which feature in our memory foam mattress guide too.
Here we have chosen a good mix of affordable and luxury options, with prices from under $200, so you should find something for your budget. Every model in our best mattress for side sleepers guide comes on a trial basis too, so you’ll have time to try yours out at home to ensure it’s the right choice for you. If not, the manufacturer will refund your money and collect the mattress. To boost your sleep comfort further, you may also want to add on one of the best mattress toppers for pressure relief. For now, here are our pick of the comfiest mattresses for side sleeping…
The best mattress for side sleepers to buy now
The Helix Midnight is a highly rated hybrid designed especially for side sleepers, and has a medium-firm feel that should suit most people. However if you prefer a softer bed, the better option for you would be the Helix Sunset, another comfy side sleeper mattress but with a softer, snugger feel. The Helix Midnight also comes in a Luxe version, crafted with a plush pillow top and zoned support.
There are multiple reasons why Helix sits at the top of our best mattress for side sleepers guide, beginning with how it offers the perfect amount of sinkage at the shoulders and hips to keep your spine in neutral alignment when you’re snoozing in this position. Our testers loved sleeping on this mattress and found that it dished out plenty of support for your lower back too. With a dedicated memory foam comfort layer and a support layer full of pocketed coils, this really is the best of both worlds for side sleepers looking for snug comfort balanced with healthy spine support.
The Midnight also uses a range of material technologies to keep you cooler during sleep, not to mention how the use of coils makes it more breathable by design anyway. We like the soft-touch stretch cover, which we found stayed cool to the touch, even during warmer weather, though the Luxe version has an even more breathable Tencel mattress cover. (For more advice, read our feature answering are memory foam mattresses hot). The Helix Midnight mattress also delivers plenty of support for side sleepers via hundreds of 8” individually wrapped pocketed coils housed within the fourth layer. These also limit motion transfer from you to your partner and vice versa, so you should be less disturbed during sleep.
Above that lies a transition layer made of high-grade polyfoam foam dishing out cushioning and ergonomic support. It also acts as a breakwater between the pocketed coil layer and the memory foam layer above. Speaking of which… The Helix Midnight has a top layer of blended memory foam to relieve pressure points and to contour your body. You won’t feel as though you’re being swallowed alive here, as the memory foam isn’t hugely thick.
Overall, we recommend the Helix Midnight mattress for the majority of side sleepers looking for comfort and support. If you weigh more than 250lbs, you may get more support from the Helix Midnight Luxe. For everyone else, this is a superb hybrid sold at a reasonable price. There are regular Helix mattress sales and deals to lower the price too – and quite often you’ll get free bed pillows with your purchase. The Midnight also comes with a 10-year warranty, and you can trial it for 100 nights to ensure it is the best choice for you.
Nectar’s popular memory foam mattress offers a cozy sink-in feel but with a more noticeable amount of firmness compared to squishier side sleeper mattresses. This medium-firm bed-in-a-box brilliantly balances comfort and support, and quickly contours to the shape of your body. It relieves pressure on your shoulders, hips and knees, so you won’t wake up because you feel sore when sleeping on your side.
You can thank the 3″ of high-density gel memory foam for that, which Nectar has designed to work in tandem with 2″ of adaptive response memory foam for extra support. There’s also 7″ of standard foam at the base to provide you with a sturdy sleeping space. So don’t expect to sink deeply into this one, but do expect some cozy cradling. The Nectar mattress also does a brilliant job at minimizing motion transfer, so you won’t feel your partner (or pet) move around in bed next to you. We also recommend this as a good mattress for back and stomach sleepers. No wonder it sits at the top of our best mattress guide.
A quilted poly-blend Tencel top cover helps you sleep cool, and none of our testing panel overheated while sleeping on the Nectar. Reviewers also said there was minimal compression when all of their weight was on the edge of the mattress. So if you’re a side sleeper who sleeps on the edge and often runs hot in bed, you should be cool and comfortable on the Nectar.
The Nectar mattress also receives top marks for its 365-night trial period and a Forever Warranty, which is unbeatable at this price. If the mattress does need to be repaired, you’ll pay a $50 shipping fee each way. And that’s it. Nectar also often runs regular promotions throughout the year, so you can usually get it for an even cheaper price (see our guide to the best Nectar mattress sales and deals for the latest savings).
The Nolah Original 10″ Mattress is designed to offer higher levels of pressure relief and uses temperature-neutral AirFoam to keep you comfortably cool. It all begins with a Botanic Origin Tencel cover, followed by a 2″ layer of cooling Nolah AirFoam. Nolah’s Air Foam is made from CertiPUR-US certified foams that are free from toxic chemicals.
Not only does Air Foam not retain body heat, it actually dissipates it 20% faster than other memory foams. That alone makes the Original 10″ the best mattress for side sleepers prone to overheating, hot flashes and night sweats. This is unusual for an all-foam mattress as they are notorious for retaining heat, but, as with the Nectar above, you shouldn’t have any issues here.
Cooling isn’t the only draw – the Nolah is designed to remove all pressure points. The brand’s Air Foam comes to the rescue again here, using billions of microscopic air bubbles within the foam to create a responsive pressure relief system. So if you often wake up on your current mattress because you feel soreness in your hips, knees or shoulders when sleeping on your side, the Nolah Original 10″ will put an end to that sleep killer.
Nolah also submitted its Air Foam to the industry standard ASTM Constant Force Pounding Dynamic Test. It sounds pretty intense and it is – the test basically involves a robotic arm slamming down on the foam at around 70 times a minute for 100,000 cycles. Why do this? To establish how durable the mattress will be over time. The Original 10″ performed well, losing just 0.03 inches of thickness during the test.
Beneath that slab of Air Foam sits a 1″ layer of high-resilience foam, which also adds in a little bounce, followed by a 7″ high-density foam base to add ballast to those contouring upper layers. Users like the soft Air Foam top layer and comment that the Nolah is a great pressure-relieving mattress for side sleepers, particularly along the shoulders and hips. Some reviewers even found that pain in their back decreased since they started sleeping on the Nolah Original 10.
This side sleeper mattress is also compatible with a range of bed frames including box springs, slatted bases, platform beds and even adjustable bases. The latter is the best choice if you want more flexibility and to enjoy the pressure relief of zero gravity relaxation and napping.
Like the Nolah Original 10″ above, the GhostBed Luxe specializes in keeping side sleepers cool. It’s a little softer with a rating of 5 out of 10, meaning it’s well-suited to lighter weight side sleepers who spend half the night kicking off the covers because they feel too hot to sleep through. It’s also a good choice for side sleeping couples as it provides excellent motion isolation.
When you’re buying a mattress with the word “Luxe” in the title, you can normally expect a softer feel and a heftier price tag. You get both here, though we feel the price of the seven-layer Ghostbed Luxe is worth it for the amount of mattress tech and material innovation used to make it. As a softer memory foam mattress option, the Luxe contours to your body while still providing high levels of pressure relief and keeping your spine in a neutral position.
Hot sleepers will be drawn to the Ghost Ice fabric quilted cover that helps the surface stay cool to the touch. That, combined with patent-pending core cooling tech, is one of the reasons why the Luxe also features highly in our best cooling mattress guide. The Ghost Ice Fabric is followed by a 1″ slab of gel memory foam to deliver a cozy body hug feel. After that comes an extra airflow-boosting layer, but we’re mostly excited by the Ghost Ice Layer; it uses thermo-sensitivity tech to sense heat and keep the core of the mattress cool.
There’s an additional 2″ of gel memory foam further down to relieve pressure points, followed by 2″ of GhostBounce foam to contour to your body, with a 7.5″ slab of of high-density support foam at the base to help the mattress last for many a year to come. Reviewers say that while the edge support is good, customers who weigh over 230lbs might notice some slight sinkage at the edge. But overall, sleepers who want a luxury mattress with a slow-moving feel will find this to be one of the best mattresses for side sleepers without question.
GhostBed offers a 101-night trial, yet requires you to sleep on the Luxe for at least 30 nights before initiating a return. If you sleep hot and often feel pressure when snoozing on your side, and you want a slightly plusher, softer bed, this is the one for you. For a more affordable alternative, check out the Nolah Original 10″ above or, for much smaller budgets, see the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress (at the top).
The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress has over 121,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 rating out of 5 stars. If you’re on a very tight budget or you are upgrading your guest bed for less, this is the best option for you as a queen size 10″ Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress costs less than $450 – a fraction of the cost of the other models in this guide, though closely rivalled by the Nectar.
While we think the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress is a great budget mattress for side sleepers due to its pressure-relieving memory foam and price, the brand runs a mattress quiz (as does Helix Sleep) to help you choose the right mattress depth and size for your sleep needs and body size. That’s because the Zinus Green Tea mattress comes in a range of heights from 6″ to 12″. The former regularly sells out and is a popular pick among people looking to boost the comfort of a pull-out sofa bed.
The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam 10″ mattress starts with a knitted cover, followed by 2.5″ of memory foam, then 2″ of a comfort foam transitional layer and 5.5″ of high-density support foam. A taller Zinus mattress (the 10″ or 12″ versions) will feel softer than the shorter version, so if you want a softer feeling mattress for side sleepers that contours to your body’s curves, those two would be a more comfortable fit.
One user review commented on how, “Now, when I lie on my side, my body gets contoured just enough to have great support and softness.” A few complained that this bed-in-a-box didn’t expand to the full size but that they were able to return it. Overall, if you’re a side sleeper with little money to spend, yet you want a decent boxed mattress made with CertiPUR-US certified pressure-relieving foam, the Zinus is hard to beat. That said, if you can spend a couple more hundred dollars, we highly recommend the Nectar as our best affordable mattress for side sleepers.
Side sleepers seeking a natural bed, you’re in safe hands with the Avocado Green Mattress. This latex hybrid is handmade in California using 100% certified organic materials, and sits highly in our best organic mattress guide. There’s a non-toxic organic cotton followed by a thick layer of natural Dunlop latex; a material that’s antimicrobial and more breathable than memory foam, so side sleepers prone to overheating should be fine here.
That layer is followed by 1,414 steel coils, specifically arranged to target five different ergonomic zones to relieve pressure on your shoulders, hips and back. There’s also a reinforced perimeter delivering excellent edge support. Why is that important? Because it means the Avocado Green Mattress is supportive right up to the edge, and in turn that increases your actual sleep surface as you can snooze safely up to the very edge of the mattress.
Avocado’s innerspring system is designed to reduce motion transfer, keep your spine in alignment, and to alleviate pressure point pain on major impact areas such as your hips and shoulders. The European-style button-tufted pillowtop is our top pick for side sleepers as it adds an additional 2″ of latex rubber foam for a total height of 13″. This addition makes it ideal for those of you wanting top-notch pressure relief with a luxury feel.
We also like how Avocado Green offers a 25-year warranty on its mattresses – that’s full replacement within 10 years, then prorated coverage for the following 15 years. When you’re buying a natural mattress, you will pay more because they use a higher volume of certified organic and sustainably sourced materials, and those materials don’t come cheap. As such, a queen size Avocado Green mattress costs $1,499 but you’ll need to pay an extra $400 for the attached pillowtop. The good news is that there are regular Avocado mattress sales and deals to lower that price.
Some reviewers found the Avocado Green Mattress a bit too firm at first, making the pillowtop a necessity. We also spotted a few users complaining of a high rate of motion transfer, but that’s par for the course when latex is involved as this natural material isn’t as dense as something like memory foam. So if you share with a restless sleeper, look further up this guide instead. But if you want a beautifully made organic mattress for side sleepers with a generous 25-year warranty and a full year’s mattress trial, then Avocado is the best choice for you.
How to choose a good mattress for side sleepers
Side sleepers need uniform pressure relief since their hips and shoulders place increased force on the mattress. It’s also important for sleepers in this position to buy a mattress that supports the spine and helps you keep a neutral spine while snoozing. All of the models in this best mattress for side sleepers guide do all of that and more.
Side sleepers shouldn’t buy a mattress that’s too soft as it could compress the spine and lead to pain. On the other hand, a mattress that’s too firm might make those points of the body that hit the mattress hardest – such as your shoulders and hips – feel too much pressure. Also, if you’re a side sleeper who prefers to sleep on the edge of the bed, you’ll want a mattress that offers robust edge support so that you are constantly supported and don’t feel like you’re tumbling out of bed.
When buying a new mattress, make sure it has a trial period of at least 100 nights so you can see how the mattress feels as a side sleeper without making a purchase you’re stuck with for years to come. All of the best mattress in a box brands offer trial periods, with 100 nights being the average and 365 nights being the most generous. Don’t forget to invest in a good quality mattress protector too, because if you don’t cover your new side sleeper mattress properly during the trial period, you may not be able to return it should you change your mind.
If you’re in the market for more new bedding, then consider one of the best pillows for sleeping, as well as a cozy comforter made from either down or a cooling down-alternative. For sleepers with anxiety, take a look at our guide to the best weighted blankets.
Are softer mattresses best for side sleepers?
You need to take your own firmness preferences into account, but yes, generally speaking, soft or soft-medium mattresses are the best choice for side sleepers because they offer more cushioning around high impact pressure areas such as your shoulders, hips and knees.
This is vital when you sleep on your side for hours at a time, because you’ll be putting continuous pressure on those parts of your body. Without ample cushioning and pressure relief, you’ll experience pain which will wake you up from sleep.
Memory foam mattresses are widely regarded as the first choice for side sleepers because they create a cradling, body-hug feel that also relieves all pressure on your body during side sleeping. You can normally find these in soft-medium and medium-firm, both of which would suit side sleepers.