With the variety of brands and mattress models out there, it can be difficult to pinpoint the best mattress for side sleepers. While sleeping on your side has plenty of health benefits, if you’re sleeping on the wrong mattress, it can lead to neck and back pains.
To help make your search for a new mattress a little easier, we’ve compiled a guide of the common problems side sleepers experience, how to combat those, and how to find a mattress that fits your preferences.
- Recommended Mattresses for Side Sleepers
- Our Editors’ Choice
- Common Problems Side Sleepers Experience
- What Side Sleepers Should Look for in a Mattress
- Overview of Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
|Price for Queen
|Open-cell memory foam
|Open-cell memory foam
|Copper-infused foam, gel memory foam, and poly-foam
|Nolah Original 10
|Latex & Pocket coils
|Gentle Firm/Luxury Plush
|$1349 or $1799
Made by one of the most eco-friendly manufacturers on the market, Amerisleep’s AS4 is made of breathable, plant-based memory foam; making it not only comfortable to sleep on but healthy, too.
We love the AS4 for side sleepers because it contains a notable amount of cushion—4 inches of memory foam in the comfort layer relieves pressure in the shoulders and hips. Most mattresses contain only 2 or 3 inches of memory foam in the comfort layer, so we appreciate the extra inch the AS4 includes.
The cover of every Amerisleep mattress is made with a lightweight fabric that is designed to encourage airflow throughout the mattress, so you always sleep cool and comfortable. The cover is also removable and washable so it is easy to keep your mattress clean.
The first layer of all Amerisleep models is plant-based Bio-Pur® to keep you cool and comfortable. Bio-Pur® memory foam contours to your body like other memory foams, but because it’s plant-based, it’s more breathable and responsive than other foams. You’re less likely to feel “stuck” or wake up hot on the AS4 than any other soft memory foam mattress.
Below the layer of Bio-Pur®, is the Affinity layer with HIVE® Technology. HIVE® contains hundreds of hexagonal cutouts grouped into five zones—the head, shoulders, back, hips, and feet. HIVE® offers targeted pressure relief throughout the whole mattress. This layer quickly adapts when you change sleeping positions and assists with airflow through the bed.
The bottom layer of the Amerisleep AS4 is durable Bio-Core® foam. This layer supports the layers above, holding your body in position and preventing you from sinking into the mattress.
Why We Chose It
The Amerisleep AS4 is our favorite mattress for side sleepers because it offers the perfect amount of cushion to prevent pain in the shoulders and hips. Plus, their foam is designed to keep you sleeping cool. The HIVE® layer offers precise support, so it’s firmer where you need it, and softer where you want an extra cushion.
Amerisleep offers a 100-night sleep trial beginning on the date your mattress is delivered. This sleep trial lets you try your new Amerisleep in your own home for up to 100 days; if you find yourself unhappy with the mattress after the break-in period, you have the option to return it for a full refund.
The Vaya Mattress is a memory foam mattress that’s the most budget-friendly on our list. Made from only two layers, the Vaya’s design is simple yet effective. The “Vaya foam” it’s made of is essentially open-cell foam, that’s more breathable and responsive when compared to its traditional memory foam counterpart. This design works especially well for side sleepers, as it provides enhanced relief on your shoulder and hip.
The Vaya Sleep company still offers the standard sleep trial and warranty, just like the more luxurious mattress brands. Overall, the Vaya Mattress is very cost-effective but without having negative effects on the overall quality of design.
The Vaya’s cover is a synthetic blend material that’s woven to improve airflow. Its properties also wick away moisture from the body, further helping with temperature control. The fabric itself is soft to the touch and stretchy to adapt to the contouring the mattress provides.
The first open-cell foam layer is 2 inches thick. This is a comfort layer that provides pressure point relief by conforming to the body of the sleeper. For side sleepers, this layer allows the shoulder and the hip to sink in, without misaligning the spine. If you’re a heavy sleeper though, we’d recommend going for a slightly firmer mattress to ensure healthy support.
The second and final layer within the Vaya Mattress is an 8-inch thick high-density poly-foam. This is a much firmer layer that offers gentle support to the hip and the shoulder as they sink in. This base layer also sustains the structure of the mattress as a whole and improves its longevity.
Why we chose it
The medium firmness of the Vaya Mattress is great for side sleepers, especially because it consists of open-cell foam. The design of this foam is more buoyant and responsive, yet still gently conforming.
The price of this mattress is also hard to beat. Especially considering you get practically the same guarantees and assurances as you would with a luxury brand.
Vaya Sleep offers 100 nights to trial their mattress. This means you get to sleep on it for over three months to decide if it’s the right fit for you. In case you don’t feel like support and quality of sleep is up to your standards after the adjustment period, you can return it and get your money back.
The Zoma is classed as a sports mattress because it was created for people with active lifestyles. The layers within the mattress are designed to rejuvenate muscles as you sleep, allowing a better rest for your body.
The Zoma Mattress is rated as a medium in firmness, making it suitable for the majority of sleeping positions, including side sleepers. Its unique triangle-inspired top layer does a great job of supporting the hips and the shoulders whilst keeping the spine aligned. For heavier sleepers, we’d recommend going for a firmer option, such as the Amerisleep AS4 or the Original Purple. For lightweight and average size sleepers, the Zoma mattress is just right.
The cover of the Zoma mattress is made from 97% polyester and 3% spandex. This creates a unique breathable and stretchy fabric that improves the effect of the triangular cutouts underneath. The cover is light grey in color and has a nice pattern all over it, giving this mattress a stylish look.
Under the cover, we find their patented Triangulex™. This is a zoned support layer that focuses on the body’s pressure points. Made from open-cell poly-foam, this layer is responsive and cooling. At the same time, it conforms to your shoulder and hip, relieving all pressure and keeping your spine aligned.
The Triangulex™ is split into three parts. The leg and the head areas of the layer are made from small triangular cutouts to allow a softer surface. The middle part of this layer is an even surface of open-cell poly-foam, as the hip and the shoulder need more support when you sleep on your side.
Under the Triangulex™ comes the Reactiv™. This is another open-cell poly-foam layer that’s slightly higher in density. The Reactiv™ is designed to gently support the pressure points from underneath Triangulex™. The two layers work in tandem to create a healthy surface whilst still keeping the mattress comfortable overall.
The last layer within this mattress is Support+. This is a high-density poly-foam that is by far the firmest. This is what supports the layers and the sleeper above, whilst maintaining the overall structure.
Why we chose it
The Triangulex™ and the Reactiv™ layers do a great job of supporting and relieving the pressure points at the same time, especially so for the side sleepers. If the mattress is not correct for this sleeping position, the shoulder and the hip can become painful from the pressure you apply on them when you sleep. However, the triangular cutouts and the responsive poly-foam underneath ensure that it doesn’t happen.
Zoma Sleep offers the usual 100 nights of sleep trial. This is more than enough time to test the mattress and see if it does what it says on the box. If you decide to return the mattress after the break-in period, it won’t cost you anything. If you decide to keep it, you’ll then get a 10-year long warranty.
Original Purple® Mattress
Described by Purple as the world’s first no-pressure mattress, the Original Purple® mattress, including their Smart Comfort Grid™, is scientifically-engineered to provide relief for your pressure points and support your body’s natural shape.
The custom cover of all Purple® mattresses is made from a super-soft, super-stretchy knit material. Its breathable design allows air to flow through the cover, promoting a cool sleeping environment.
Purple’s® exclusive Smart Comfort Grid™ lies just below the cover and makes up the first layer of the mattress. The purpose of the Smart Comfort Grid™ is to relieve pressure points, create a temperature-neutral sleeping environment, and prevent motion transfer throughout the bed. Made with Hyper-Elastic Polymer, their grid is designed to last for years without any deterioration or sagging.
Below the Smart Comfort Grid™ is a layer of Plush Comfort Foam. This polyurethane foam is CertiPUR-US certified and designed to promote the responsiveness and support of the grid above. This layer helps the mattress gently contour to your body. Lastly, the base of the Original Purple® is their medium-firm support foam; the core maintains the shape of the mattress and supports the layers above.
Why We Chose It
The Original Purple’s® innovative grid cushions your hips and shoulders as they sink into the mattress, making it an excellent choice for side sleepers. Their Smart Comfort Grid™ also promotes airflow through the mattress and prevents you from waking up hot and uncomfortable throughout the night.
Purple® mattresses come with a 100-night sleep trial, taking the fear out of buying online. They require you to try their mattress for a minimum of 30 nights; however, if you are unhappy after the 30 night period, you can return it for a full refund.
The Nolah Original 10 Mattress
Designed specifically for side sleepers, the Nolah Original 10 is scientifically proven to alleviate pressure points in your hips, shoulders, and back four times more effectively than traditional memory foam. It has just enough cushion so your shoulders and hips can sink into the mattress, but enough support so you aren’t stuck feeling as if you’re sinking into your bed.
Nolah created their material called Nolah AirFoam™ to replace traditional memory foam or latex traditionally used to build mattresses. This innovative material is 300% more durable than memory foam. Additionally, it is not temperature sensitive, so it sleeps cooler and contours better to the shape of your body.
The soft to the touch cover of the Nolah Original 10 mattress is Viscose, whose primary function is to wick away moisture and keep your body temperature regulated while you sleep.
Below the cover lies the first layer of the mattress, the Cooling Nolah AirFoam™ layer. The AirFoam™’s unique pressure relieving properties help eliminate lower back pain and “kinks” in your neck and shoulder; this is especially important for side sleepers.
Next lies a layer of Supportive High-Resilience Foam. This support layer creates a bit of a bounce for the sleeper above, similar to latex, however, it is stronger and more durable than latex.
The core of the Nolah Original 10 is a high-density base foam that provides ample stability for the rest of the mattress. This layer is all about durability; their website states it is the best foam made in the U.S. and is guaranteed to last for years to come.
Why We Chose It
The Nolah Original 10 earned its spot on our list because their unique AirFoam’s™ pressure relieving properties. Side sleepers commonly experience lower back pain as a result of their mattress, whereas the Nolah Original 10 works to eliminate aches and pains, specifically lower back pain. When reading customer reviews for the Nolah mattress, you’ll find many customers love their mattress sleeps cool and does not transfer motion throughout the bed. Some have complained about the softness of the mattress, stating it doesn’t provide them with enough support.
If you commonly experience lower back pain, check out our other guide to find the best mattress for lower back pain.
After your Nolah Original 10 gets dropped off at your door, you have 120 nights to test it out in your home. During this risk-free trial period, you have the option to return it for a full refund. Nolah does require you keep the mattress for a minimum of 30 days, or through the duration of the adjustment period, before deciding to make the return.
The Spindle Mattress
The Spindle Mattress is great for side sleepers because it is entirely latex. Side sleepers find themselves comfortable on latex because it has the right amount of cushion for hips and shoulders, but also has enough bounce back to ensure you don’t feel like you’re sinking into your mattress. Additionally, latex is traditionally more breathable than memory foam, so if you’re somebody who sleeps hot, a latex mattress may be worth looking into.
Spindle is made from all-natural materials, as Spindle puts “eco-friendly” at the forefront of its business model. On their website, you have the option to choose your desired level of firmness, side sleepers should opt for medium firmness. Once you purchase, your mattress is delivered to you in three separate latex layers, allowing you to build your mattress yourself.
The cover of the Spindle mattress is a blend of natural wool and organic cotton; the wool acts as a natural flame barrier and wicks away moisture while you sleep, keeping your temperature regulated. Both the wool and organic cotton are produced without any added pesticides, pigments, bleach, or fire-retardant chemicals.
The first layer of latex is the mattress’ comfort layer, depending on the level of firmness you choose, this top layer should be medium or medium-soft in feel. The next layer is a transitional layer with the exact composition of the layer above. The bottom layer, or core layer, is a tad firmer than the two above because its job is to provide durable and stable support for the rest of the mattress.
Why We Chose It
The Spindle mattress was an easy addition to our list because latex is great for side sleepers because it has the cushion and pressure relief side sleepers need. The natural latex foam provides excellent support in your hips and shoulders and keeps your spine in place. The few downfalls associated with latex are poor motion isolation and less than satisfactory edge support.
Spindle also gives you a whole year to try their mattress in your home. They require you to test their mattress for a minimum of 60 days, and after those 60 days are up, they will work with you to swap out layers of latex to find your perfect combination. If you decide you would like to return your mattress within the year, Spindle will issue you a full refund.
The Bear Pro mattress
The Bear Pro mattress is built using four different layers of foam. Two of these layers are infused with special components to make them more cooling and responsive. The top layer is impregnated with copper, which is known to have thermal conductive effects. It pulls away unwanted heat from the sleeper’s body and dissipates it within itself. Copper is also known for its anti-microbial properties, which prevents a build-up of bacteria and other unhygienic elements within the mattress.
The second layer is infused with gel to make it more cooling and buoyant. It increases the mattress’s overall responsiveness and gets rid of that “feeling stuck” effect that most traditional memory foam mattresses are known for.
The Bear Pro mattress is rated as a medium, which as discussed before, is a good choice for most sleepers. It’s firm enough to ensure that body parts when most weight is concentrated do not sink in. Yet soft enough to take off the pressure.
The cover of the Bear Pro mattress is manufactured using Celliant® design. This means the fabric is impregnated with thermo-reactive minerals that cool the sleeper’s body during the night. The material itself is soft to the touch and patterned to further increase the breathability of the mattress.
The top layer is Copper-infused Foam. As mentioned before, this layer pulls away excess body heat allowing you a cooler sleep. This layer also conforms to your body, “giving in” where that’s needed. This, in turn, removes the stress from your shoulder and hip, removing the risk of future pain.
Under the Copper-infused Foam, we find the Gel memory foam. The structure of it is similar to traditional memory foam, except it’s also infused with gel beads to make sure it doesn’t trap any heat. The gel also increases the foam’s responsiveness, making it easier for the sleeper to move around.
The third layer within the Bear Pro mattress is the Responsive Transition foam. Its main job is to enhance the effects of the two layers above in terms of pressure point support and relief. It’s higher in density and slightly thicker too.
The last foam layer is made of high-density poly-foam. This is the base layer of the mattress, providing it with longer-lasting durability and support.
Why we chose it
Although the Bear Pro is an all-foam mattress, it’s also very cooling and offers great temperature control. This is a great feature, especially for side sleepers who tend to sleep hot. The design of the mattress also offers really good pressure point support. And this ticks all of the boxes that a side sleeper would have.
The Bear offers a standard 100-night sleep trial, risk-free. There is a 30-day adjustment period that you’ll need to go through first before you’re able to send it back. This ensures that you allow your body to truly get used to the new mattress. And if it still doesn’t meet your needs, they’ll pick it up themselves free of charge and give you a full refund.
The Avocado Green mattress
Avocado Green is an organic and eco-friendly option for those who would like something more environmentally-friendly. This mattress is GREENGUARD Gold Certified and is made from GOTS and GOLS certified materials. They source their natural wool from a farmers’ society they co-own and their latex from a farmers’ collective in India which they also co-own. Overall, this mattress definitely qualifies as “green”.
The Avocado Green comes in two options of firmness—luxury plush and gentle firm. The difference between the two is the optional plush pillowtop layer which comes at an extra $400. Specifically for side sleepers, we’d recommend going for the Luxury Plush mattress, as the firm option might not provide sufficient pressure point relief. Gentle Firm is better suited for those who sleep on their backs, stomach or change the position a lot during the night.
The cover of this mattress is made from organic cotton and tufted natural wool. If you go for the Luxury Plush option, the topper of your mattress will have an additional 2-inch thick layer of soft latex foam under the wool.
Underneath the topper comes a 1-inch thick layer of Dunlop latex. This is a much denser latex foam that acts as a transition to the pocketed coils found underneath. These coils are 8 inches tall and are split into 5 ergonomic zones. This means they provide a different level of support for each pressure point, adapting to the body of the sleeper with easy.
The pocketed coil layer also contains a reinforced steel perimeter, which greatly improves the edge support of the mattress. This is a very useful feature if you’ll be sharing your bed with a partner. Both sleepers will get full support even if they find themselves sleeping at the very edge of the bed.
Why we chose it
The Avocado Green mattress’s zoned support system in the Luxury Plush option is great for a side sleeper. The soft topper ensures there’s no stress on your hip and shoulder, while the pocketed coils keep your spine aligned and in a healthy position.
We also appreciate the eco-friendliness and responsible sourcing methods of this brand. After all, you’ll sleep better knowing you made a choice that’s good for the environment.
Avocado offers a whopping 1-year long sleep trial. They don’t have a mandatory adjustment period, but they do ask you to keep in mind that some time will be needed for you to get used to your new bed. If you do decide to return your Avocado Green mattress, they’ll arrange to pick it up from your home and will donate it to a charity free of charge.
Our Editors’ Choice
After weighing the pros and cons of each mattress on this list, we landed on the Amerisleep AS4 as our most recommended mattress for side sleepers. The reason we chose the AS4 is that it offers impressive shoulder and hip support, and scores well in regards to temperature control.
The Amerisleep AS4 is more versatile and adaptive than other options on this list; its versatility comes from its composition, specifically the inclusion of Bio-Pur® foam and HIVE® technology in their mattresses.
Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam, has an open-cell structure, cushions your shoulders and hips, and reduces the chance of the mattress off-gassing. HIVE® reinforces Bio-Pur® with it’s targeted zoned support for your head, shoulders, back, hips, and feet. Lastly, the AS4 cover is made with a soft, breathable fabric to increase comfort and promote restful sleep.
Common Problems Side Sleepers Experience
If your mattress is too firm, it can create too much pressure on your shoulders and hips; this can misalign your spine resulting in shoulder and lower back pain. If your mattress is too soft, your hips will sink into the bed putting pressure on your spine.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” option when it comes to mattresses, every person will have different preferences to consider when making this decision. We believe our 3-step system to narrow down which mattress best suits YOU is a great place to start your search.
What Side Sleepers Should Look for in a Mattress
Step 1: Choose Your Mattress Materials
Mattresses are made from a variety of materials. Below we will go over the six main types of mattresses available and how they generally work with a side sleeper.
Latex, a bouncier material, offers excellent support for your shoulders, hips, and spine. It is naturally cooling and resistant to bed bugs, bed mites, and other allergens. For side sleepers, latex is a great choice because it provides a great balance of cushion and support. If you’re somebody who shares the bed with a partner, latex may not be the best choice given its bouncy feel.
Memory foam is a popular choice for side sleepers; it’s natural ability to contour to your body offers a uniquely supportive feel other materials don’t provide. This “cradling” feel takes the pressure off your shoulders and hips while still providing your body with adequate support. Memory foam mattresses are very adaptive and score well in the motion isolation department; this makes them a great choice for side sleepers who are sharing the bed with a partner. A common complaint associated with memory foam is “sleeping hot” due to limited airflow and the foam trapping heat. Some companies have made changes to how they manufacture their mattresses to combat the potential of sleeping hot.
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
Combining gel particles with traditional memory foam creates wider cells, allowing better airflow and temperature control. The added gel beads work to wick away excess body heat to create an overall cooling sleeping environment. Not only is gel-infused foam cooler than traditional memory foam, but it is also more responsive, making it a comfortable option for sleepers who find themselves changing positions throughout the night.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
Plant-based foam is both healthier and more eco-friendly than traditional memory foam. Traditional memory foam is made with petroleum products whereas the manufacturing process of plant-based foam cuts a portion of petroleum products and replaces it with plant-based ingredients such as castor oil. In addition to being healthier, plant-based memory foam is more breathable which allows for better airflow through the material.
The godfather of all mattresses, innerspring mattresses have been around for decades. Through the years they’ve undergone many changes, innovations, and improvements to their structure. There are now four different coil systems to choose from in regards to innerspring mattresses:
Bonnell Coil: Typically found in lower-end mattresses, Bonnell coils are inexpensive to manufacture. They tend to lack in quality and are usually the least recommended coil system on the market; made from hourglass-shaped steel wire springs; they lack in durability and longevity.
Pocketed Coils: Otherwise known as Marshall, Wrapped, Pocketed, or sometimes even Encased coils, pocketed coils are the priciest and most effective coil system on the market. As you can guess, pocketed coils are individually encased in fabric pockets; this allows them to move independently and provide targeted pressure relief and great motion isolation.
Offset Coils: Offset coils are similar to the Bonnell coil but instead have flat tops connected by a helical wire. This improved design gives offset coils improved stability, support, and ability to contour than their predecessor. Though they are an improvement to the Bonnell coil, they still lack the pressure relief and increased motion transfer of pocketed coils.
Continuous Coil: The firmest of the bunch, a continuous coil system is one, continuous wire bent into many S-shapes throughout the bed. This design simulates separated coils and provides a very flat, firm mattress surface. Continuous coils are commonly found in low-end hybrid mattresses and usually very inexpensive to manufacture.
Hybrid mattresses aim to capture the benefits and mitigate the cons of multiple materials. The most common Hybrid is a combination of memory foam and innersprings; this design combines the bounce of innersprings with the contouring abilities of memory foam. A high-quality hybrid is a great option for side sleepers; however, many come with a subpar warranty and have an approximate lifespan of only six years.
Step 2: Choose Your Firmness and Support
Side sleepers usually find themselves comfortable on a medium mattress. When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips end up pressed against the bed. A medium mattress allows your hips and shoulders to gently sink in a little while the rest of your body has the support to keep your spine correctly aligned.
Step 3: Consider Your Body Type
When it comes to mattresses, firmness is subjective; what may feel soft to one person, maybe too firm to the next. Ultimately, your body type is going to dictate how you perceive the firmness of a mattress.
For those with a smaller build and are under 130 pounds, Simply Rest recommends choosing a soft or medium-soft mattress. Light bodyweight will create very little pressure on the mattress surface, without adequate pressure, side sleepers will not be able to sink in enough to cradle their joints. If you weigh between 130-230 pounds, a medium mattress should be your most comfortable option while a medium-firm option will be better suited for individuals above 230 pounds.
Overview of Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
We hope our guide has helped narrow down your search for a more comfortable mattress. If you’re still undecided, read our other guides to find the best mattress to meet all your sleep needs. Please let us know your thoughts and how you’ve achieved a restful night’s sleep in the comments below.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.