Side sleeping is considered the healthiest sleeping position, and it is the most popular position with 56% of people sleeping on their sides in either an elongated or fetal pose. Shoulder and hip pain can be an issue for side sleepers if their mattress isn’t suitable for sleeping on the side. Issues with spinal alignment can occur in this position if the mattress doesn’t allow their shoulders and hips to sink in while supporting the midsection. Pressure points can be reduced in sensitive regions of the body, such as the lower back, neck, hips, and shoulders by using a mattress designated as best for side sleepers. Furthermore, side sleepers are less likely to snore. If sleep apnea is a concern, sleeping on your side makes it occur less often.
Research has also shown that side sleeping is better for your heart and it is an excellent choice for reducing sleep apnea as well. In addition, side sleeping reduces snoring. Approximately two-thirds of the people prefer side sleeping; more on that in the buying guide section.
Now we will give you our recommendation of the best mattress for side sleepers including out top 6 choices out of hundreds of mattresses we reviewed.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers 2020 (Quick Summary)
I bet you still remember how exciting it was when you bought a two-flavored ice cream cone without paying extra money. Nolah Signature 12, an upgrade of the Original 10, is your two-flavored choice when it comes to high-quality mattresses.
You probably have figured out from its name that Nolah Signature has a thickness of 12 inches, including from top to bottom a 2½-inch Airfoam layer, a transitional layer of 1½-inch and a pretty standard 7-inch support base over another 1-inch Airfoam layer.
Already noticing the best part? Yes, Nolah Signature has a flappable design so it’s your decision to make to either use the soft side or the other, more supportive side, at no extra cost.
In fact, Nolah mattress has earned its reputation for excellence in relief of hip pain and a cooler feel in comparison with “true” memory foam. Those 2½-inch Airfoam and 1½-inch transitional layer together are what does the trick here.
This 4-inch special foam material allows prominent parts of your body, such as shoulders and hips, to sink in and rest on the dense polyfoam underneath but stays just right to contour your waist and thus keep your spine well-aligned.
If you’re happened to be a stomach sleeper, just flip Nolah Signature over and you’re good to go as the firmer 7-inch high-density polyfoam gives sufficient support.
It’s a two-in-one mattress, ideal for side sleepers and stomach sleepers
The unique Airfoam helps relieve pressure on shoulder and hip, and guarantees cooler sleep
Optional monthly payment to release your financial stress
Lifetime warranty and a whole year long period for sleep trial
Nolah Signature is not the best choice for people of bigger size (weighing above 240 lbs or so)
In addition to side sleepers, we believe stomach and combo sleepers will also find Nolah Signature a good purchase. Its airfoam really keeps you away from “being stuck” in the mattress and leads out extra heat to ensure you a cozy sleep without waking up with pain in hips or lower back.
2. Nectar Lush (Side Sleepers and Combination Sleepers)
Nectar Lush provides side sleepers and combination sleepers who primarily sleep on their sides with the comfort they crave. Three inches of memory foam cradles you in position without making you feel stuck or making turning over to the other side difficult.
The soft knit cover is woven with polyethylene that draws heat away from your body and makes you feel cooler.
Beneath the cover is a 3-inch layer of pressure relieving memory foam that helps you sleep comfortably all night long. The depth provides plenty of give to avoid shoulder and hip pressure points that can cause side sleepers to toss and turn. The cooling gel keeps you cool which also helps you sleep deeply.
Beneath the memory foam is a transition layer that helps keep your body from sinking in far enough to get that “in the mattress” instead of “on the mattress” feel. The third layer is the supportive core of the mattress, 7-inches of foam that provides stability to the overall mattress.
Memory foam adjusts to changes in your position when you move and won’t sag the way some sprung mattresses do. Nectar Lush’s foams meet CertiPUR-US® standards for content, emissions, and durability, and are analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories.
Nectar Lush is manufactured with quality materials that are durable
The product is backed by a Forever Warranty™
There’s a 365-night no-risk sleep trial period
The firmness is rated between 5.5 – 7.5 which is excellent for side sleepers
The mattress has plenty of give to avoid pressure points in the shoulders and hips
There’s only one firmness rating so if you wanted a softer mattress, they don’t have one
If you’re heavy based on the sleep industry standard of 230, this mattress isn’t built for a heavy body
Nectar Lush is designed for side sleepers and combination sleepers who enjoy the feel of memory foam’s responsiveness. Someone who has been having sore hips or shoulders should find relief when they sleep on Nectar Lush. It sleeps cool and won’t transfer your partner’s motions to you.
DreamCloud’s six-layered hybrid mattress is best for the sleepers who want a luxury feel and high thickness for their sleeping surfaces. The external layer of this mattress two layers quilted together to form a breathable and soft Eurotop. It provides you with an ultimately luxurious feeling.
Underneath this layer, there is a memory foam layer infused with gel, and it gives an excellent cooling effect and high contouring support to your body. The 8-inch pocketed spring coils provide bounce that makes intimacy more fun and good support while you slumber also includes stronger support on the edges to provide unprecedented edge support.
The supporting layer of the memory foam in this mattress offers high conformance and contouring. The layer can quickly adjust itself according to your body shape. After that comes, a memory foam layer with high density and it provides you with and that hug-like feel that most side sleepers love.
It is designed and developed with top quality materials.
DreamCloud mattress is covered by a forever warranty and a 365-night trial period.
The coil system in the support core along with Eurotop cover keeps the mattress highly breathable.
The memory foam in the comfort layers maintains its high conformance.
The mattress comes with 6.5 medium firm rating and is best suited for side sleepers.
Maybe too tall for some customers
Only one firmness level to choose from
DreamCloud is designed for the people who prefer to sleep on their sides and want their sleeping surface to be luxurious. The 15-inch thick mattress is all about deep sleep comfort and relaxation. The mattress is highly breathable, and it also handles motion transfer very well.
If you enjoy sleeping on gel-infused memory foam, then there is nothing better than the Nectar mattress at this price point. Nectar mattresses come with a quilted cover that makes the sleeping surface highly breathable. It has a blend of long-staple cotton and Tencel Lyocell. It means that in addition to being highly breathable, the cover of this mattress is hypoallergenic. The top layer is made of gel foam that works exceptionally well with the cover to keep you fresh during your sleep. You won’t be sweaty or sticky from sleeping hot in the morning with this mattress.
Nectar mattress is 11-inches thick, and you can buy it in various sizes to fit your needs. As mentioned above the top layer of this mattress is made of gel foam. Gel foam is good at providing high breathability and comfort along with extra loft.
The next layer of this mattress is Nectar’s signature Adaptive Hi Core memory foam layer. It comes with medical grade cooling properties that regulate your temperature during sleep. Furthermore, its development doesn’t involve hazardous chemical substances. The mattress is approved under CertiPUR-US® and OEKO-TEX certifications.
Nectar is a wonderful choice for side sleepers and for combination sleepers and side sleepers who sleep with a partner who doesn’t sleep on their side because the mattress works well for all sleep positions.
Nectar mattress is best suited for side sleepers due to its high conformance.
Nectar mattress comes with a lifetime warranty and 365-night trial period.
The mattress is OEKO-TEX and CertiPUR-US® certified.
It is the highly breathable mattress that keeps your body temperature regulated at night.
There is only one firmness level to choose from so if you want a firmer or softer mattress, Nectar won’t be the best choice.
The best thing about Nectar mattress is that you will get the maximum value out of your investment. The blend of Tencel Lyocell and the long-staple cotton cover keeps the mattress breathable and hypoallergenic. The adaptive Hi Core layer comes with medical grade cooling properties that regulate body temperature and lets you sleep cool.
The memory foam mattresses from Loom & Leaf are known for providing degrees of high comfort and proper spinal alignment. The mattresses come with a quilted foam cover made from organic cotton. The topmost layers of the mattress are designed to conform and contour to the curves of your body.
The top layer of the comfort system is made of convoluted foam which improves conformance and support. This layer is laminated with cooling gel to reduce the heating effects of memory foam. The second layer in this system is high-density foam for additional comfort, support, and durability.
The support core of Loom & Leaf features polyfoam with the top transition, and after that, there is a second layer of polyfoam with high density to keep the mattress stable and durable. Loom & Leaf provides its customers with two different firmness levels. One of them is 5.5 which is medium, and the other one is eight which is firm.
The components used in the construction and development of both versions are the same. Loom & Leaf’s mattress is best for side sleepers because they both provide excellent conformance and support for your body.
The comfort layer is designed to provide maximum conformance and support for your spine.
The support core offers stability and it limits motion transfer.
The cover and the top layer of gel foam work together to prevent overheating during the night.
Loom & Leaf mattresses come with a 15-year warranty and a 120-night sleep trial.
Loom & leaf mattresses are prone to off-gassing.
The mattresses do not provide good edge-to-edge support. If you need to sit on the side of the bed before you stand up or transfer to a wheelchair, it might not be the right mattress for you.
Loom & Leaf mattresses are all about conformance and contouring. Their foam construction ensures that your body and spine remain aligned adequately throughout the time you spend on them. The convoluted foam laminated with cooling gel gives you a cheaper alternative to the Tempur-Pedic feel with a cool sleeping surface.
6. Layla Mattress – Best mattress for side sleepers with Shoulder/Hip Pain
Layla mattresses are all about the ability to enjoy your life. Without a good night’s sleep, it’s difficult to be your best. Layla wants to help you be the best you can be. The best part is that Layla provides two firmness levels in one mattress. Simply flip the mattress to change the firmness level. Whether you want to sleep on a soft or a firm mattress, you can do it on the 10” Layla.
The mattress cover is so soft that you’ll want to sleep directly on it. The cover includes THERMOgel that helps keep you cool and wicks away perspiration.
Layla’s goal is to help you get a great night’s sleep, so you can live your best possible life when you are awake.
The copper-infused layers are excellent at providing support and contouring while the use of copper improves the overall temperature regulation of the mattress. Copper is good at heat conductivity, and for this reason, it has been infused in the Memory Foam layer to enable you to sleep cool at night.
The first layer on the soft side is 3” of copper-infused Memory Foam. The second layer on the soft side is constructed from special foam that increases air flow and provides additional support and spinal alignment. This layer has a firmness score of 4-5 (medium soft). The comfort layer on the other side is also made of memory foam with copper infusions, but it is 1-inch thick and has a firmness score of 7 (firm). Both the comfort layers share the support core of this mattress which is made of poly-foam to provide stability and reduce motion transfer regardless of which side of the mattress you sleep on.
The flippable construction of Layla mattress provides versatility you won’t find in other mattresses. Both sides provide pressure and pain relief. The soft side is excellent for side sleepers. Specifically designed to relieve pressure around your shoulders, hips, and lower back, it allows you to sleep comfortably on your side. These features and the low price, 120-night sleep trial and lifetime (pro-rated) warranty makes Layla a good choice.
Layla mattress is covered under a lifetime warranty and a 120-night sleep trial.
The flippable design provides two firmness options in one mattress.
Layla allows you to sleep cool while enjoying the benefits of memory foam.
Both sides provide excellent support for your body while you sleep.
Layla mattress does have an issue of off-gassing.
Layla mattress is best for you if you want to buy a flippable mattress that offers high durability. Each side of the mattress provides a different firmness. Layla mattress offers maximum conformance, multiple firmness levels in one, and an excellent temperature regulation system. The core foam with a density of 2 lbs. coupled with 3.5 lbs. copper-infused memory foam offers you the right amount of sink with great pressure point support to provide comfort around the lower back, hips, and shoulders. Layla is the best mattress for side sleepers who want a flippable mattress.
The Posturepedic Hybrid mattress by Sealy is an extra plush mattress for those of you who prefer that cloud-like feel during their sleep. The comfort system of this hybrid is equipped with memory foam that is gel infused, and it provides extra conformance and close contouring to keep your spine aligned and handle pressure points with ease. For these reasons, it made our list of the best mattress for side sleepers.
The coil system in the support core is focused on providing stability and support to your body during your sleep time. The comfort layer features Sealy’s signature Cooling Conformance memory foam with infused gel. It reduces motion transfer and improves conformance to provide you with a relaxing sleeping surface.
The top is stretched tightly to provide a smooth, flat sleeping surface. This combo enhances the conformance of the mattress and enables you to sleep with complete serenity during the night. This fabric also plays a significant role in boosting the airflow throughout the mattress for additional breathability.
In addition to that, there is Sealy’s signature 3.5-inch thick SolidEdge border to provide you with good edge support. This thick border enables you to use the entire mattress and provides you with a solid surface for seating as well. Your purchase is covered under a 10-year warranty from Sealy.
The hybrid mattress from Sealy provides you with that cloud-like feel that you prefer for sleeping.
The top layer of this mattress is made of gel foam to provide maximum temperature regulations and pressure relief.
There is a breathable fabric between comfort system and the support core to boost airflow across the mattress and improve the conformance of the top layer.
The support core has a coil system that is very responsive; it adjusts itself according to the curves of your body.
The mattress is covered under a 10-year warranty.
It provides excellent edge-to-edge support.
It doesn’t have a sleep trial
It may be the most expensive option.
It doesn’t provide much lumbar support.
Sealy Posturepedic is the right option for those who like to sleep on an extra-plush mattress. However, if you weigh more than 220 lbs. this might not be the right choice. The hybrid itself does provide excellent edge-to-edge support. Furthermore, if you are looking for conformance and prefer to sleep on your side, then this mattress will serve you well.
8. Level Sleep – Best for purchase using HSA or FSA account
The Level Sleep mattress was designed with three zones (LEVELsoft™, LEVELmedium™, and LEVELfirm™) which provide side sleepers with soft cushy spaces for their shoulders and hips and firm support for their back. This scientifically developed design keeps your spine aligned which reduces morning stiffness and pain and reduces the amount of tossing and turning you do because of discomfort.
If you wake up or become restless because your shoulders or hips hurt from laying on them, Level Sleep could ease the pain in pressure points associated with side sleeping. As a side sleeper, I’ve wished for a mattress with a cutout where my shoulder could rest without the weight of my body. The LEVELsoft™ layer accomplishes the effect I long wanted by making the area where the shoulder rests significantly softer than the area where your torso rests. The LEVELfirm™ area holds your main body higher on the mattress and keeps its weight off your shoulders.
Made with healthy materials that are also ecologically responsible, you won’t be kept awake with guilt or worry about the impact of your mattress on the environment or your health.
With almost no motion transfer, you’ll also be comfortable sleeping with a pet or a partner. The washable cotton cover is cool and removable. Made with foams that can breathe, it sleeps cooler than memory foams made with closed cell designs.
Clinically tested for its impact on back pain and sleep quality, Level Sleep can qualify for reimbursement from your Flexible Spending Account or your Health Care Spending Account thus providing tax benefits. Level Sleep is the best mattress choice for side sleepers who want to make a tax-advantaged purchase when they buy their next mattress.
Zoned firmness levels designed to ease back pain and increase comfort for side sleepers
Backed by a 365-night sleep trial
Supported by a lifetime (Forever) warranty
Potential tax advantaged purchase using FSA and HSA accounts
Clinically proven improvements in sleep quality
A little more expensive than other mattresses if you can’t use your HSA or FSA spending account
Not the best choice for heavier sleepers or stomach sleepers who carry excess weight in their stomach area
The edge support isn’t as good as some other options
The Level Sleep mattress is a quality mattress for light and medium weight side sleepers. The research that went into its development is notable. The clinical trials they’ve conducted show superb improvements in pain, stiffness, and quality of sleep. If you want a mattress guaranteed to increase sleep comfort and reduce pain, Level Sleep will deliver or give you your money back for up to a full year.
As we mentioned above in the introduction of this post, approximately two-thirds of people prefer a side sleeping position. A fun survey was done at a sleep festival in the United Kingdom. They created funny names for side sleeping positions including Fetal, Yearner, Sprinter, and Log as well as cute names for back and stomach sleepers including, Soldier and Starfish for back sleepers and free-fall for stomach sleepers. The following chart reflect the percentage of side sleepers who prefer each position.
Another common sleeping position among the side sleepers is Sprinter where while sleeping on their side one of their sleeper’s leg is curled. Now let’s briefly discuss each one of them.
In this side sleeping position, both of the sleeper’s legs are bent at the knees and their back is hunched. This creates a curled look which is very similar to an infant in the womb. More than 40% of side sleepers rest in this sleeping position.
In this position, the arms of the sleeper are stretched out while the legs and back remain straight. About 5% of side sleepers prefer this position when they sleep.
A log sleeper likes to sleep with his/her legs stretched and back straight. Approximately 14% of the side sleepers like to sleep in this position.
It is the least favorite sleep position for side sleepers. Side Sleeping Sprinters curl one of their legs while they sleep and have their back and arms straight while the other leg is stretched to the fullest. Only about 3% of the side sleepers sleep in this position.
The log and yearner positions prevent rotation of the pelvis during sleep. The lack of rotation and ease of movement might result in misalignment of the spine which can ultimately cause pressure points and pain. Therefore, the Yearner and Log positions may not be the best side sleeping positions.
What must you know about sleeping on your side?
The benefits of side sleeping
There are various benefits associated with side sleeping. It is considered to be the healthiest position for sleeping. These benefits are listed as follows:
Better circulation of air and blood throughout the body
A considerable advantage of side sleeping is that you don’t snore much. Therefore, it is the best sleeping position for people with sleep apnea. Side sleeping is also very useful for people with acid reflux. Improved blood circulation increases metabolism and has positive effects on the digestive system as well.
Improved alignment of the spine
If you sleep with your pelvis and back adequately aligned, then you will be able to reduce pressure and pain across your body. There are fewer regions of your body in contact with the sleeping surface so the areas of concern reduce dramatically. Side sleeping keeps the natural position of your spine intact and prevents the development of many issues across the long run.
Improved health of the heart and brain
If you like to sleep on your left side, then it won’t put much pressure on your heart. It is handy for the people who have issues with heartburn. Sleeping on your right side also improves the flow of blood throughout your body, but is more likely to cause acid reflux. Furthermore, sleeping on your side also enhances the overall health of your brain due to increased oxygenation and, possibly, new research hints that sleeping on the side helps remove toxic waste from the brain which could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The challenges associated with side sleeping
We have just gone through some of the positives associated with side sleeping position. However, with the wrong mattress and pillow, various problems can be a concern for side sleepers. These are listed as follows:
Pressure points can initiate pain
When you sleep on your side, a smaller region of your body is in contact with the sleeping surface which increases the amount of pressures on the areas supporting your body. As suggested by the research, people love to sleep on their sides, but too much concentration of the bodyweight on a small area can create painful pressure points. Side sleepers can alleviate pains associated with side sleeping by selecting the right bed for their sleep style. With the increased consistency of pressure, the pain can increase and ultimately can develop into a chronic strain.
Pains in shoulder or hip
Pains in the hip or shoulders is a more common phenomena in pregnant women than men. Women prefer to sleep in fetal positions during their pregnancy. In this position, they have a hunched lower back during sleep, and their knees face their chest. This position can put more pressure on the hips and shoulder region. Doctors recommend placing a pillow between the knees to alleviate some of the pressure.
Pains in neck
Side sleepers need to be sure their neck and head are well supported by a pillow that eliminates the risk of developing pain in the neck from supporting the weight of the head while you sleep. If the neck and head are not supported, severe pain can restrict the movement of your neck to a certain degree.
Pain in the back
The awkwardness of your side sleeping positions can contribute to back pain issues as well. A mattress that is too soft can cause your concentrated body weight to sink in the mattress and leave your spine in an awkward position. If the mattress is too firm, then your midsection will be unsupported because your hips and shoulders won’t sink into the mattress, especially if you weigh less than 130 lbs.
Body Weight of Side Sleeper
Best Suited Firmness Range
Medium Soft / Plush Soft
People, who weigh below average or less than 130 lbs. do not sink within their mattress. A firm mattress will not be comfortable for them.
130 lbs. – 220 lbs.
Medium – Medium Firm
People, who weigh within the 130 lbs. and 220 lbs. prefer medium mattresses (neither soft nor firm).
Medium Firm / Firmer
People over 220 lbs. will sink too much in a soft mattress and for them, a firm mattress is a good option.
What do you need to know about the best mattress for side sleeping?
People who like to sleep on their sides need a mattress that offers excellent contouring and support to keep their spine adequately aligned during sleep. Therefore, firmness is the most significant element that you need to consider when purchasing if you want to buy the best mattress for side sleepers. However, you should determine the level of firmness according to your bodyweight.
The firmness rating is placed on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is the softest while 10 is the firmest. Most of the mattresses that you will find on the market these days fall between 3 and 8 on the firmness rating scale. The best mattress for a side sleeper will have a rating somewhere in the middle 5-6, unless they are heavy.
The mid-level firmness provides the side sleeper with improved support and contouring, and it keeps the spine aligned during sleep. The second most important point to consider here is the bodyweight of the sleeper.
Which mattress type is best for a side sleeper?
Selecting the best mattress for a side sleeper is based on three crucial factors. First is the firmness level, the second is the weight of the sleeper, and the third is the materials used in the construction of the mattress.
You must understand that a mattress that is equipped with coils made of steel within its support core is going to feel entirely different as compared to the mattresses made of foam and latex. They all have a unique response and feel and they also have different levels of durability and expected lifespan.
Memory foam is probably the best mattress for side sleepers. The primary reason behind that is it has an excellent ability to conform and contour according to the body of the sleeper. Your body needs to be correctly aligned and with a firmness level appropriate to your bodyweight. Memory foam mattresses can be the ultimate solution. Nevertheless, they also come with that hug-like feeling that some people prefer while others don’t. Due to this feeling, memory foams tend to sleep hotter as compared to their counterparts.
Innerspring mattresses are excellent for their breathability. The reason behind that is the coil system in the support core improves the overall airflow across the mattress. If you want to sleep cool, then this is the ideal option for you. However, when it comes to conformance, innersprings don’t perform as well as other options.
Innersprings are not able to properly contour to the shape of your body, and for this reason, they are more useful for back or stomach sleepers and are not generally considered the best mattress for side sleepers. However, if you love the feel of innersprings but prefer to sleep on your side, then you can always add a topper to provide support that conforms to your body.
Memory foams have an advantage over innersprings when it comes to conformance and body contouring. However, the demerit of foam is that you might feel hot sleeping on it and, in some cases, rotations and ease of movement are a concern. This is where latex has an advantage.
Latex tends to keep your body temperature regulated while you are on it and it also reduces pressure in the areas that are supporting your body very well. The best traits of a latex mattress make them an excellent option to choose for side sleepers. Nevertheless, latex is more expensive as compared to memory foam or innerspring.
Hybrid mattresses have innersprings in their support core while the comfort layer is either made of memory foam or latex. A hybrid mattress provides the best of both worlds for side sleepers. They deliver maximum conformance through their top layer and excellent support and breathability through their support core. Hybrids are good at handling pressure points.
The winner of this roundup of the best mattress for side sleepers is the Nolah Signature 12. It not only provides you with excellent support and conformance but also handles the pressure points very well. The cover material is made of hypoallergenic materials and prevents irritation from allergies.
Being a side sleeper, you need to focus on the firmness level of the mattress. Moreover, your body weight also plays a critical role because a too-soft mattress is not ideal for people who weigh over 220 lbs.
The third factor you need to consider is the mattress type. Memory foam would be the best mattress option for side sleepers if they didn’t sleep hot. Innersprings solve the issue of hotness but they don’t provide good conformance. On the other hand, latex and hybrids offer you the best of both worlds, but they are expensive. Therefore, the DreamCloud hybrid is the best choice for side sleepers.