Side sleepers are a clear majority, accounting for approximately 74% of sleeping style preference, according to a survey. That’s with good reason, considering there are several benefits attached to sleeping on your side. However, side sleepers are also at risk of problems like neck, shoulder, or hip pain. Sleeping on a mattress that’s not suitable for you can aggravate those problems, or even be the underlying cause. Clearly, the best mattress for side sleepers should be able to provide proper support and alignment so associated health risks stay away. Let’s put our problem-solving hats on and dive in deeper to find the best mattress!
- Amerisleep AS3
- Purple Mattress
- Layla Sleep Memory Foam Mattress
- Dreamfoam iPedic Sojourn
- Leesa Memory Foam Mattress
- Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
- Nectar Mattress
What Is The Best Mattress Firmness For Side Sleepers?
Before we get into specifics of mattresses, let’s consider approach the problem from the top and consider mattress firmness. Should the choice for side sleepers be a firm or plush mattress? Well, the answer depends on your weight, or your BMI, to be more specific. Generally speaking, side sleepers will prefer something that is on the soft to medium firmness.
Since the weight of the side sleeper is concentrated in a relatively smaller area, you want a mattress that gives way relatively easily, cradling your shoulders and hips and contouring to your body. An overly soft mattress might just sink beneath areas like your shoulders and hips, putting undue pressure on your spine, and keeping your legs at an awkward angle as they won’t sink as much as the hips. A firm mattress, on the other hand, might not give way at all, putting pressure points on your shoulders and hips.
If you weigh somewhere near 150 pounds, the best type of mattress for side sleepers will have a firmness rating of soft to medium (4-5) might work well for you. For higher weights, consider medium-firm at 6-7. When choosing a mattress for an overweight person, a firmness of 7-8 may be desirable.
How Important Are Support And Contouring Of The Mattress?
An important factor for a good sleep posture is keeping your spine straight and aligned. If you feel like your spine is not properly aligned as you sleep, it is time to consider buying a new mattress. The best mattress for side sleepers is meant to relieve pressure points that form in your neck, shoulders, spine, and hips. To be able to do so, the mattress must have excellent support.
The mattress conforming to your body shape and allowing heavier parts like the shoulder to sink at just the right level will go a long way. Proper cradling and support for your shoulders will relieve pressure points, and is essential in the best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain. In the same vein, the best mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain — including problems like hip pain or scoliosis — will need to relieve pressure points near the pelvis and keep the spine straight.
Pressure points are a very real issue for side sleepers, and one not to be taken lightly. If your mattress forms pressure points, they will present a problem as you age. As we said earlier, side sleepers have a greater risk of pain in the neck, shoulders, and hips. These are the areas that take most of your weight as you sleep. If your mattress fails to provide ample support and contouring to relieve the weight put on these areas, you might find them sore when you wake up. An injury in these regions may also take longer to heal, simply because the mattress isn’t providing enough support to relieve these regions.
Take a look at our selection of the most comfortable mattresses.
How Do Mattress Materials Affect Side Sleepers?
Memory foam is one of the most popular materials used in the comfort layer of modern mattresses. It is also one of the best choices for side sleepers. Memory foam provides excellent support, as well as contouring and conforming properties, making it quite an ideal choice for side sleepers. The popularity of this option means there are tons of memory foam mattresses available, ranging in price from a couple hundred dollars to well into thousands of dollars.
A simple test of firmness won’t be the solution here, a quality mattress should also be able to offer durability. Noting the quality and density of the foam can be helpful. Also consider the response of the foam so you don’t end up feeling trapped as you sleep. Memory foam has a known problem with retaining heat and tending to sleep hot. High-quality mattresses usually have better solutions for hot sleepers.
Innersprings are practically synonymous with conventional mattresses. They have been around for a long time, and many people love the springy feel these mattresses bring to the table. An added advantage is that these mattresses are well-ventilated, and the airflow can aid better sleep.
There are several types of innersprings used, and not all of them are equally effective for side sleepers. It would be better to give more attention to the relatively newer pocket springs (individually wrapped coils) for increased support and longevity of the mattress.
Traditional coils may also lack in being adequately conforming and contouring to your body shape. Many innersprings also have a relatively thinner comfort layer, so side sleepers may not find themselves as comfortable on a traditional innerspring mattress.
Read our guide to buying innerspring mattresses.
Hybrid mattresses combine two or more mattress materials into one mattress, with an intent to offer the best of both worlds. Generally, this combination is innersprings and foam. The combination usually includes pocket coil innersprings as the support layer, with a robust and thick comfort layer made from foam. The resulting mattress has the response and ventilation of innersprings, and the contouring support and motion isolation of foam.
Read our guide to buying a hybrid mattress.
Latex foam does an excellent job of conforming to your body shape and relieving pressure points. While a close second to memory foam in these areas, Latex has the advantage of not retaining heat like memory foam, thus making it a better choice for those with sleep hot problems. Latex also offers great durability, and a good mattress can last several years.
Like every other material, there are some downsides to latex. Natural latex is a great material, but its supply is limited and it can be fairly expensive. While synthetic or blended latex may be used as easily, they have lower durability and their performance is dependent on how they are processed.
Read our guide to buying a latex mattress.
Is It Healthy To Sleep On Your Side?
There are a few problems associated with sleeping on your side, but overall, the problems are minor. Sleeping on your side has some health benefits as well, and sleeping on the left side is better as compared to sleeping on your right.
Advantages Of Sleeping On Your Side
- Lower risk of heartburn (for left side sleepers – sleeping on the right hand can increase the risk)
- Improved airway circulation — reduced risk of snoring and sleep apnea
- Sleeping on your left can improve digestion
- It bolsters your lymphatic system
- Research says sleeping on your side is more effective at clearing toxins in the brain
When sleeping on your side, consider using three pillows. One for the neck, one between your knees, and the third near your stomach.
Disadvantages Of Sleeping On Your Side
- Since a side of your face is going to rub against a pillow all night, the chance of wrinkles increases
- Increase chances of acne
- Increased risk of shoulder, neck, or back pain
7 Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers 2018
With a height profile of 12-inches and a firmness rating at medium, the Amerisleep AS3 is one of the best mattresses available for side sleepers. If you have an average BMI/weight or sleep on your side, this memory foam mattress could be the best option for you.
Amerisleep AS3 has a rather rich and robust comfort layer, with 5-inches of memory foam. The layering, starting from the top is: 3-inches of BioPur memory foam, 2-inches of Affinity foam, 7-inches of BioCore foam for the support layer. Interestingly, the foam used in Amerisleep AS3 is partially extracted from plants, making it a somewhat more environmentally responsible.
The mattress has a Celliant-infused cover, which apparently helps with improved muscle recovery and performance. Celliant has been designated by FDA as “general wellness product” and “medical device”.
|Excellent support for side sleepers||Some off-gassing smell that stays for several days|
|Celliant infused cover might have some health benefits||Poor edge support|
|Use of plant-sourced foam gives the mattress good eco-credentials|
Purple mattress is an excellent choice for the low-weight or average-weight side sleeper. The top layer on this mattress is its hyperelastic polymer grid, which, though oddly-shaped for a comfort layer, does its job pretty well! Purple’s polymer grid provides great motion isolation, and also “free-flow air channels” which means the mattress stays well-ventilated, allowing it to stay temperature neutral.
The grid on the Purple mattress responds to weight and can conform very well to body shape. It is backed by a layer of transition foam, followed by a layer of support foam.
Read our full review of the Purple Mattress.
|Excellent support and contouring||Poor edge support|
|Sleeps temperature neutral||Purple mattress can be quite heavy when compared to similar options|
Layla’s copper-infused memory foam system and dual firmness options make it a good choice for side sleepers. The mattress can be flipped to reach its firmness options, where one side is rated medium plush, while the other is rated firm. Layla’s soft side is of greater interest to side sleepers, and it offers excellent comfort without having to worry about “bottoming out” or hitting the base of the mattress.
The mattress has a quilted thermogel cover, followed by a 3-inch layer of copper-infused memory foam. This setting helps keep the mattress temperature neutral, with the two layers working together to wick away heat from the sleeper. Continuing with the medium plush side, the memory foam layer is followed by convoluted support foam, base support foam, and a 1-inch layer of copper-infused memory foam. If you place the 1-inch memory foam layer on the top side, the mattress takes on its firm role.
|Stays temperature neutral||Low edge support|
|Conforming and supportive mattress for side sleepers||Flipping a mattress to switch firmness seems rather unlikely once you get a comfortable side|
Dreamfoam iPedic Sojourn offers excellent value for money in a setup that’s built especially for offering great support and pressure relief. The 12-inch profile with a thick comfort layer can work very well for the side sleeper, who can depend on the conforming and contouring properties of memory foam to provide suitable support. Dreamfoam iPedic Sojourn has about 4-inches of memory foam layer, with the top 1.5-inch infused with graphite to help keep the mattress temperature neutral.
|Thick comfort layer provides contouring support for side sleepers||Some off-gassing issues|
|Good value for money||Poor edge support, magnified by 12-inch height profile|
The Leesa Memory Foam Mattress puts in great effort at being comfortable and supportive for side sleepers. While the Leesa previously used the company’s proprietary Avena memory foam, the mattress has recently shifted to a newer, more advanced variant called the LSA200 foam. The new foam has a microcell structure to promote airflow and offer a better response than memory foam, while maintaining the same contouring and support properties that make memory foam the material of choice for side sleepers.
Leesa mattress has a height profile of 10-inches, with the first four being used for memory foam. The top two inches are occupied by the LSA200 foam, followed by another two-inches of pressure-relieving memory foam, with the rest occupied by base support foam.
|Firm mattress, good for average to overweight side sleepers||Some off-gassing issues|
|Thick, conforming layer of comfort foam to properly contour to your body||The LSA200 is a relatively new foam, and it may be a few months before its definite performance is known|
This hybrid mattress promises a touch of luxury that will make you sleep more comfortably on the bed. Like most modern hybrid mattresses, the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora mattress uses pocketed coils for its 8-inch support layer. This is topped by different layers of memory foam, accounting for a 4.5-inch comfort and transition layer. Right above the springs is a 1-inch layer of transition memory foam, covered by 2-inches of the company’s own TitanFlex memory foam. The top layer is 1.5-inches of copper gel Energex foam with TitanCool technology near its surface.
According to the company, the Brooklyn Aurora’s TitanCool technology employs a phase change material (PCM) to better distribute the heat and keep the mattress temperature neutral. Ventilation by the coil/innerspring layer helps to achieve this goal as well. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora has a height profile of 13-inches, and has three firmness options. Average weight sleepers can look at soft or medium options, depending on if they are towards the lighter or heavier side.
|Robust comfort layer well suited for side sleepers||Free trial option is dependent on retailer offering, so be careful where you purchase the mattress|
|Several firmness and size options available||The innerspring layer can get noisier with time|
Nectar Mattress is a budget option that offers excellent value for money to side sleepers. The mattress has its Tencel cover followed by three layers of memory foam sitting over a ventilated base support foam. Together, these layers provide great support for side sleepers, and offer quality that would come at a much higher price. Nectar mattress is fairly dependable, so if you don’t have enough cash to spring for a more durable mattress, this mattress will perform its job admirably, and perhaps even better than the more expensive choice.
|Deep memory foam layers provide good contouring and pressure relief for side sleepers||Some off-gassing and smell issues|
|Excellent value for money||The “forever” warranty seems somewhat arbitrary|
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers — Conclusion
Choosing the best mattress for side sleepers is dependent on your own comfort as the top priority, followed by the ability of the mattress to properly contour and conform to your body shape. The mattress should relieve pressure points in your neck, shoulders, and hips, while being capable of keeping your spine well aligned. Mattresses for side sleepers are generally on the plushier side of the firmness scale to account for the pressure applied, which is a fairly exacting requirement. So dive deep into your requirements and let our top selections above guide you to the best choice!