Best Mattress For Side Sleepers 2022: 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 reviewed the best mattress for side sleepers, and narrowed down the options that deliver the best pressure relief and comfort, after testing them and sleeping on them.
I spent 25 years in the industry as a mattress designer and components expert, too, and I’m very familiar with the “cake recipes” used to build a mattress designed just for side sleepers.
I wanted to make sure that these options didn’t make you sink to the bottom of a mattress and feel trapped, which often results in having to dig your way out of your mattress just to turn.
This causes sleep disruption, increased lower back pain, and can make existing back problems even worse.
Turns out there is a sweet spot for just the right density, levels of firmness, and balance between foam layers and coils that work perfectly.
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, you spend a lot of time on what we call “the knife’s edge”, which puts extra added stress on any mattress.
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 200 lbs., it’s also important to consider a hybrid mattress. A hybrid mattress is made using a combination of coils and foam, along with various “cushy” textiles near the top that allow you immerse slightly and disperses body weight and pressure to the sides of the mattress.
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.
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.
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 $1599 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 pillowtop section up top is wonderful, inviting, and not spongy or too billowy, and has just the right amount of “nestle factor”.
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.
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 side sleepers, natural latex offers buoyancy and the sensation that you are on top of the mattress, not trapped inside. Probably the cleanest, greenest, and safest bed you could buy. 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.
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, $1824 in queen. Free shipping.
Marc’s comments: If you like firmer, with zero motion transfer, consider this option. Saatva knows how to build beds (I’ve known the team for 15 years).
If you like to nestle and squirm before finding your sweet spot, get it. Saatva is a highly established player in the hybrid game, a good investment mattress at the right price. Solid industry reputation.
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 that move heat away from your body.
For active people, it improves muscle recovery, is antibacterial, balances your body, and aligns your spine correctly as you sleep. Right around $1,000 for a queen, you also get free pillows, shipping, and a 120 night trial. Bear ships out their product fast, easy to setup and install.
The thing with The Bear Pro is that for the money, you get much higher quality foam layers. You don’t crash right through, and it has a flotation type feel with good “lift”, making turning, and even edge sitting much more comfortable.
Bear Mattress offers several other options worth considering also, but The Pro, for the money, is well designed, We tore one apart, only to find that they hand laminate the layers together to prevent shifting of contents- something rarely found in modern day foam mattresses- a real plus to me as a veteran mattress designer.
The Nectar 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.