Best Mattress For Side Sleepers 2023: A Mattress Designer’s Best Options For Pressure Relief And Cozy Comfort

The best mattress for side sleepers usually combine softer materials right up top, with supportive elements below to keep you from sinking in too deeply.

This way, you’ll get pressure relief without having to dig your way out when you change positions during the night.

I Tested And Reviewed Dozens Of Mattresses For Side Sleepers…Here’s What I Found

I always advise mattress shoppers to gamble more on a softer than firmer option if you sleep on your side. If you weigh over 250lbs, consider hybrid mattresses which combine softer, pressure relieving foams up top with a pocket coil section underneath.

For pain and numbness at shoulders and hips, a comfy pillow top close to a layer of gel memory foam is also a strong recommendation. I’ve included some brands I recommend below that have all of the features I’d consider.

I spent 25 years in the industry as a mattress designer and components expert and I can tell you that sleeping on your side puts the maximum pressure along the entire edge of your body, so pressure relief is super important.

To create a mattress that performs well for side sleepers, it’s also important to blend components that effectively push weight away from the body to the sides rather than down (pinpoint pressure).

Your Body Type And Weight Has A Big Influence On The Best Mattress For Side Sleepers

Mattress companies often take shortcuts to save costs, and the biggest trick in the book is to use inferior foam layers that don’t last long and easily compress over time. If you are a side sleeper, having to dig your way out of your mattress can interrupt sleep patterns, leaving you feeling exhausted when you get up in the morning.

Many side sleepers can’t sleep on their backs or their bellies (actually, sleeping on your belly can cause back pain, since your body tends to arch, which cantilevers muscles and creates lactic acid buildup during the night). Side sleepers come in many forms, including those that flip from side to side, side to back, and even “pillow tuckers” who stuff pillows between their knees while on their side.

For side sleepers, especially if you are a bigger person, say over 250 lbs. and sleep with a partner who has a bigger body, you want to also make sure you choose a thicker, loftier mattress too. If you’d like, check out my page on best mattresses for bigger bodies here.

A hybrid mattress made using a combination of coils and foam, along with various “cushy” textiles near the top allows you immerse slightly and disperses body weight and pressure to the sides of the mattress. You won’t tend to bottom out on the mattress either.

As a rule, if you sleep primarily on your side, you can consider an all foam mattress if you weigh less than 180 lbs., sleep alone, or if you are petite in size. Side sleepers put more stress on any given mattress because you are concentrating weight in a very small area. I’ll give you options for both hybrid and all foam mattresses as well.

Many online mattress companies offer all foam mattresses that are easy to ship, since they are often rolled and compressed, however, it’s important that they be thick enough to allow for compression up top.

Usually, you’ll find what are called “comfort layers”, typically memory foam, latex, or gel foams. These foam layers come in different densities, meaning levels of compressibility, or how easy you can mash them down with your hand.

You can read more about memory foam on our memory foam page, which explains how this unique material relieves pressure and pain. Gel foam is a polymer material that is also popular, and is typically mixed in with memory foam, making it more flexible and “jelly like”.

In our list of best mattresses for side sleepers below, I’ll give you direct links to several mattresses made entirely of foam that I think will offer good pressure relief and support.

We tested a variety of all foam mattresses that are forgiving on both hips and shoulders and properly distribute weight so you don’t feel pinpoint pressure.

Difference Between Innerspring And Hybrid Mattresses

For side sleepers, especially couples, and anyone over 200 lbs. in weight, a hybrid mattress is a better option because this recipe will provide better support without collapsing in the middle than an all foam mattress.

One confusing point that many people write me about is the difference between a conventional innerspring mattress and a hybrid foam/coil combination.

Most old school mattresses are what are commonly called “innerspring” mattresses, which usually consist of a wired metal coil section on the bottom which can be up to 12″ tall, and were woven together and typically are not very efficient at preventing motion transfer or collapsing over time in the middle of the mattress.

An innerspring mattress had a small underlying foam layer at the bottom, designed merely to keep the underlying bed piece from being damaged by the metal coils.

Above the one piece spring contraption, there might be layers of cotton, some dense polyurethane foam, and layers of textiles like cotton, wool, or other materials to provide some form of cushion on back, shoulders, and hips.

A modern day hybrid mattress is a fusion of individually pocketed coils and advanced foam layers that can actually cool your body down, and provide optimized support by moving weight away from your body.

It might be the best side sleeper mattress out there, considering that a hybrid mattress can be vacuum packaged, rolled, and delivered directly to your door.

In addition, they can be easily setup in your home by you and typically one other person.

Why Sleeping On Your Side Is So Good For Your Body And Brain

There are plenty of healthy advantages to sleeping on your side. It reduces snoring, so it’s great for anyone who has sleep apnea or COPD, it’s healthier for your heart, and for pregnant women, it is far more comfortable and is often associated with easier pregnancies.

Shopping for a mattress for side sleepers though can be tricky, because you aren’t spreading your weight across the mattress uniformly, so finding the right balance of yielding softness and underlying lift and support is important.

For couples who tend to spoon on their side, I always tend to recommend a hybrid mattress with a pocketed coils system beneath comfortable foam layers up top, and this applies to people over 200 lbs. as I mentioned above.

The best mattresses for side sleepers have a few things in common. The top layers are often composed of a fairly soft layer of memory foam, gel foam or natural latex. Right below that layer is a specialized foam layer that helps to move weight sideways rather than downwards.

The outer fabrics or textiles can be either natural cotton, bamboo, or a technical synthetic fabric which has cooling properties and remove body heat.

My recommended list for side sleepers includes a variety of options designed to both deliver more comfort and support, but also to help balance you as you sleep on your side. Just the right amount of immersion can “prop up” your torso which helps to allow muscle groups to relax instead of working having to balance your body throughout the night. If a side sleepers mattress is too firm, you risk waking up fatigued and deprived of restorative REM sleep.

Too soft, and you may sleep hot and restless, and it may cause your spine to arch or remain curved, causing pain in the morning. I’ve got a selection of side sleeper mattresses I recommend for hot sleepers as well, that are very popular.

If you live in Canada, you may want to visit my Best Mattresses In Canada Page to checkout several options I’ve reviewed and tested for side sleepers.


The Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers Reviewed And Tested By An Industry Veteran


For couples, singles, hot sleepers, and larger folks, this mattress is excellent as a side sleeper option. Frankly, it’s one of my favorite all around mattresses. $1609 in queen.

It’s loaded with tech, including advanced cooling, support, and comfort features; graphite infused foam that wicks away heat and moisture, and it’s cozy and immersive enough without feeling like you’re stuck.

Plus, I liked the superb edge support for sitting and getting in and out, and it felt sumptuous and nest like- but not hard underneath.

It’s $1609 in queen size, and the company offers a 120 night no questions asked trial period, free returns and shipping, and it’s 100% made in the USA.

The pillow top section up top is wonderful, inviting, it’s not spongy or too billowy, and it’s available in three firmness option from plush to firm.

For side sleepers specifically, you won’t find wake up digging yourself out in the morning- we tested it for precisely that common problem! Cons: It might be a little tall for some people.


This mattress, being a bit firmer in feel, is a 14” hybrid mattress with individually pocketed coils, a quilted, silky cashmere top and is a firmer option for couples. $1599 in queen size.

If you are both side sleepers but like a slightly firmer feel, it’s a good option. It’s half the price of comparable big box pillow top innersprings, which are often stuffed with cheap foams near the top, and can feel mushy and spongy. With over, 4,971 reviews, it ranks a solid 4.8 consistently, not easy to achieve- and that’s on Google.

Couples love it for its motion dampening qualities, great edge support, and its comparison to hotel and resort caliber mattress.

For the money, it’s a value-because it is embellished with a quilted cashmere top piece (which feels like silk!) and two layers of sink-right-in gel/memory foam. But no bottoming into it, even where you are cuddling in the middle.

For the money, it’s a solid investment, a tad firmer than I like but overall reviews make me a bit more confident about this pocket coil and foam hybrid.


For side sleepers, natural latex offers buoyancy and the sensation that you are on top of the mattress, not trapped inside. It’s made with no petroleum based products.

Avocado uses organic certified latex from tree-tapped sources, 100% GOTS organic certified wool and 100% GOTS organic certified cotton. To you, that means no-off gassing, or ghastly chemical textiles- and side sleeping bliss.

Note that this mattress is a bit more expensive, because it’s made top to bottom with pure latex only-no springs, no polyurethane foam. Queen $1999.

Made in California in their own factories, a purely American company. The latex used is imported from India, collected by hand, and is the silkiest and smoothest botanical latex available. Gets rid of pressure at shoulders and hips.

Note: it’s typical for natural latex to cost more because it’s hand collected and has to be converted to it’s jiggly and elastic solid form.

saatva memory foam hybrid mattress, cutaway view showing memory foam layers, quilted pillowtop, and pocketed coils


For couples who spoon or snuggle, I recommend this as an option. Pocketed coil and foam hybrid mattress with sumptuous “euro” top, virtually no sinking in yet pressure relief at hips and shoulders.

Medium level of support, you will not feel trapped. Turning is effortless. I also like the firmer edge support for sitting, putting on shoes, and transfer in and out. It’s 14.5” tall finished height, you get a 120 night trial period, 15 year warranty, $1,495 in queen. Free shipping.

Marc’s comments: No “dead memory foam” feel, responsive and lively due to good balance of pocket coils and quilted pillowtop thickness.

If you like to nestle and squirm a tad before finding your sweet spot, this might be a good option for you. I got pretty comfortable very quickly, and turning was pretty effortless.

Elm Sleep Resort Collection 15″ Hybrid: $1599 in Queen

For pressure relief, this mattress is one of my favorites for side sleepers. It’s designed with several layers of memory foam and specialized gel foams and an underlying pocket coil suspension.

For people who sleep on their sides preferably, (and if you struggle with pain) it has a heavenly feel without bottoming into the comfort foams underneath.

There are less expensive brands that are similar, but this mattress has a more sumptuous and loftier sensation-but it’s available in a plusher or firmer option. Read in depth review here.

The Elm Sleep Resort Hybrid is built with a whopping 5″ of comfort foam layers that relieve pressure and move away heat, and it scored well in my review for edge support-and-head and neck support as well.

You get a 180 day no questions asked trial period, a hassle free lifetime warranty that covers indentations, and craftsmanship.

The outermost fabric is an elastic stretch knit material that flexes with your body as you change position- not stiff, and not trampoline like.


The Nectar Premier Mattress is a well known brand with a cult like following. Outfitted as a gel/memory foam mattress, it also uses CertiPur® non-toxic ingredients, so there are no toxic fumes.

No odor, no exposure to heavy metals. 365 Day Trial, Forever Warranty. Get $300 off with my link, free sheets, 2 pillows, and a mattress protector! Consistent reviews, this bed’s one of my favorites.

A medium feel, slightly softer and spongier, but excellent on shoulders especially. At 11″ tall with great edge support, it’s the perfect thickness for both couples and solo sleepers. Hip immersion is just right for pressure relief and making it easy to turn.

Many of my readers and followers order them and then write me back about their shoulder pain relief and ability to sleep longer and deeper.

Almost Everyone Is A Side Sleeper: Our Mattress Survey Tested This Theory

About a year ago, we started offering a mattress survey to help people choose their “dream mattress” and began collecting data that showed clearly that most people sleep on their side most of the night. In fact, many people start shopping for a new mattress because they flip from side to side so much during the night that their sleep becomes disrupted.

Which Side Should I Sleep On And Is One Better Than The Other?

First thing to remember is that our bodies are not symmetrical and our organs our laid out in such a way that there are certain benefits to lying on one side or the other based on many factors, according to medical pros.

For example sleeping on your left side tends to be the most comfortable and natural position for pregnant women, people suffering from acid reflux, sleep apnea, and even hypertension.

For pregnant women, left side sleeping helps move blood more efficiently to the uterus, since the heart has less compression against it in this position. In fact, for any person with cardiac issues or sleep apnea, the architecture of the heart and lungs helps your body to less work while you are sleeping, especially while you are on your left side.

For many of us, acid reflux is a problem, and in fact, sleeping on your back can actually worsen the problem as it creates a straight and level “drain” for acid to pour from your stomach back up into your esophagus, irritating the lining, even as far up as your throat.

Sleeping on your left side limits the amount of stomach acid that drips into your throat, and can even eliminate hoarseness and throat clearing.

As a result, you will likely sleep deeper and get more restorative benefit as well by sleeping on your left side.

Also, sleeping on either left or right side can open up nasal passages and reduce sleep apnea by keeping your trachea from collapsing. Lying on your back or belly actually places a lot of weight and causes the trachea to stretch so that it forms a u-shape instead of a more efficient o-shape.

Benefits of Sleeping On Your Right Side

Sleeping on your left side may not be for everyone, however. Check out this article that even suggests that sleeping on your right side can help reduce anxiety, and suggests that as we age, many of us actually slowly transition to right side sleeping on our own.

Right side sleeping can also help regulate blood pressure and heart rate, but research also suggests that sleeping on your left side does not harm or makes the heart any less efficient.

Right Side Sleeping Might Protect Your Heart, According To Research

There is some research, though not a huge amount, that suggests that right side sleepers have a reduced frequency of nightmares, and tend to be calmer sleepers. Another benefit is that your central nervous system tends to quiet down, which reduces blood pressure and heart rate, and some research suggests that as we age, we naturally tend to sleep more on our right side because of this.

In a 2020 article that examines factors influencing sleep quality, there may be significant links between what positions we sleep in and the likelihood of heart disease and hypertension as we age. The brain might be employing a mechanism evolved over time that causes us to ultimately end up on our right sides at night to protect our hearts.

Left Side Sleepers Can Improve GERD And Protect Organs

Interestingly, because our bodies are not perfectly symmetrical, the side you sleep on may be beneficial in a variety of ways. Just as right slide sleeping has its own benefits, left side sleepers may find themselves naturally inclined to prefer their position.

Sleeping on your left side while pregnant can be more comfortable and increase blood flow to your uterus and intestines by not compressing blood vessels. Because of the anatomy of our esophagus and upper stomach, acid does not back flow into the esophagus when sleeping on your left side.

Your lower esophageal sphincter is situated so that if you lie on your right side, stomach contents can flow upwards into your esophagus and irritate mucous membranes causing erosion. As a result, health care providers recommend sleeping on your left side.

You can often dramatically reduce the effects of  gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) by adopting this position, although our bodies have a way of “self adjusting” during the night.

Advice For Back Sleepers With Sleep Apnea

For back sleepers, sleep apnea might not be the best sleeping position. This is because your uvula, that small dangling piece of flesh in the back of the throat can drop and actually close the airway, causing intermittent breathing and stress on the cardiovascular system.

Sleeping on either side can help alleviate the problem and open up the airway. This can also lead to more restful sleep, too.