The 10 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers in September 2021

These top-rated mattresses provide the right amount of support and comfort.
By Jillian Mueller
Updated September 16, 2021
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If you find yourself sleeping on your side throughout most of the night, then your sleeping habits are in line with the majority of adults. In fact, side sleeping is considered the most common sleeping position, according to a 2017 study. And while experts say side sleeping comes with a slew of benefits—like improved digestion, better breathing, and neutral spine alignment—using the wrong type of mattress can negate all of the positives. That's why it's important to choose a mattress specifically designed for side sleepers.

"Aches and pains in pressure points like your hips, shoulders, upper and lower back can often be aggravated, or even caused, by a mattress that doesn't support side sleeping well," says Timothy Canty, MD, who specializes in treating pain disorders and serves as the chief medical officer at Manhattan Restorative Health Sciences. "The best mattress for side sleepers will provide pressure relief for joints and contouring support to promote proper spine alignment. In particular, a memory foam mattress or hybrid mattress with a soft top layer can help equally distribute your body weight to help prevent soreness and provide a comfortable sleep surface."

While there are many elements to consider when searching for a mattress, the good news is there are a lot of great options that cater specifically to side sleepers. The expert review team at Mattress Advisor evaluated over 250 mattresses, and we're highlighting the top 10 for side sleepers based on their findings. These beds will make a huge difference in the quality of your shut-eye.

Our recommendations:

The best mattresses for side sleepers

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Saatva Classic Mattress
Credit: Saatva

Best Overall Mattress: Saatva Classic

BUY IT, $1,574 FOR A QUEEN

The Saatva Classic mattress offers all the features side sleepers need without sacrificing the decadence of a luxury brand. 

It's completely customizable—you can choose between 3 different firmness levels, heights, and sizes—and is made with high-quality, eco-friendly materials. Mattress Advisor recommends side sleepers go with the luxury firm mattress, the median firmness level, for the right combination of support and suppleness.

Saatva also has excellent customer service that's unmatched by other online mattress brands. They make the process stress-free by providing at-home setup for your new mattress and removal of your old mattress at no extra charge. 

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (memory foam and pocketed coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7 out of 10
  • Firmness: Plush soft (3/10), luxury firm (6/10), or firm (8/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 180 nights
Helix

Best Hybrid Mattress: Helix Midnight

BUY IT, $999 FOR A QUEEN (WAS $1,099)

The Helix Midnight is the most popular bed in the Helix mattress lineup. This hybrid features memory foam layers and individually wrapped coils for a supportive yet comfortable sleep surface that side sleepers will love. Considered the best hybrid mattress for side sleepers, the Helix Midnight also has a memory foam layer that provides pressure relief and zoned support designed to match your body type while a pocket coil layer helps cradle your shoulders and hips.

The bed's medium firmness level appeals to a wide range of sleepers, especially those who rest on their sides. In the Mattress Advisor testing lab, the Midnight scored an 8.5 out of 10 in the pressure relief category and earned a perfect 10 for edge support, meaning the perimeter of the bed is super solid to make you feel more secure. Want more cushioning? Upgrade to the Midnight Luxe, which features a plush 2-inch pillow top.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.9 out of 10
  • Firmness: Medium (5.5/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 nights
Gravity Lux
Credit: WinkBeds

Best Memory Foam Mattress: WinkBeds Gravity Lux

BUY IT, $1,499 FOR A QUEEN (WAS $1,799)

Side sleepers tend to gravitate towards memory foam beds for their contouring comfort, but some all-foam designs don't provide adequate support. WinkBeds's GravityLux uses a foundation of high-density core foam to help you maintain a healthy posture. This keeps pressure off the lower back so that you don't wake up with aches and pains.

As an added bonus, the GravityLux comes in three firmness levels: soft, medium, and firm. The medium firmness level may be a tad hard for some side sleepers, so the soft option—which delivers necessary relief at the hips and shoulders—could be a better fit.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: NR
  • Firmness: Soft (4/10), medium (5.5/10), or firm (7/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights
GhostBed
Credit: GhostBed

Best Affordable Luxury Mattress: GhostBed Classic

BUY IT, $907 FOR A QUEEN (WAS $1,295)

Finding a good quality mattress that doesn't break the bank is no easy task. Luckily, the GhostBed Classic delivers with a balance of cooling latex and contouring gel memory foam that is hard to beat. The GhostBed offers a blend of comfort and support that side sleepers need—boasting both excellent pressure relief and durability. Achieving high marks in responsiveness (8.5/10) and cooling (8.5/10), the GhostBed will keep you seamlessly supported and breezy all night long. Plus, with a luxurious plush cover that wicks away body heat, you will be sleeping in style (and comfort) for many years to come.

  • Mattress Type: Latex with gel memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6 out of 10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 101 nights
Mattress Lifestyle Photos
Credit: DreamCloud

Best Pressure Relief Mattress: DreamCloud

BUY IT, $999 FOR A QUEEN (WAS $1,598)

The DreamCloud is an affordable hybrid mattress with five luxurious layers of memory foam and coils. It earned near-perfect scores for pressure relief and durability—so this bed will not only respond to your body's movements throughout the night, but it will also provide the support and longevity you need. With no set weight limit, the DreamCloud also boasts an impressive 9.75/10 for edge support and 9/10 for responsiveness.

For side sleepers, the DreamCloud delivers with pressure-relieving foam layers to cushion the hips and shoulders. DreamCloud also offers a generous one-year sleep trial so that you can take time to determine whether it's the right mattress for you. You won't typically find an online mattress with so many luxe materials (a cashmere blend cover, gel-infused foam, and pocketed coils) for under $2,000. Plus, Health readers get an additional savings at checkout.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.1 out of 10
  • Firmness: Medium-Firm (6.5/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 365 nights
layla mattress
Credit: Layla

Best Flippable Mattress: Layla Memory Foam

BUY IT, $949 FOR A QUEEN (WAS $1,099)

The Layla Memory Foam is a unique memory foam mattress infused with copper to help keep you cool. Featuring both a soft side and a firm side, it can be flipped to suit your preference—a rarity for online mattresses. (Note: Those who prefer a medium-firm mattress may want to look elsewhere.)

For side sleepers, keeping the spine from sinking into the mattress is essential, and Mattress Advisor found that the Layla offers solid spinal alignment and support. Reviewers gave the Layla high marks in responsiveness and pressure relief, two areas that are sure to keep your hips and shoulders happy. If you're not a memory foam fan but like the idea of a flippable bed, then check out Layla's newest model, the Layla Hybrid.

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.8 out of 10
  • Firmness: Soft (4/10) and firm (7/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights
best hybrid mattresses
Credit: Casper

Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers: Casper Wave Hybrid

BUY IT, $2,695 FOR A QUEEN

If you sleep on your side and run hot at night, the Casper Wave Hybrid is the best cool mattress for side sleepers. Functioning as a cooling mattress, it uses a breathable cover, ventilated foam, latex, and pocketed coils to keep air flowing throughout. The Casper Wave Hybrid also performs well when it comes to responsiveness and back support, so even as you switch from sleeping on your left side to your right, it moves with you.

Mattress Advisor tells Health that the hybrid bed scored exceptionally high on its 14-point test, receiving a 9 out of 10 for cooling, a 9.25 for responsiveness, and a 9 for spinal alignment. Its advanced support system also means extra pressure relief at the hips and shoulders, which is why mattress experts recommend this Casper mattress for side sleepers. Compared to the original Casper, the Wave Hybrid sleeps cooler thanks to its ventilated foam, gel-infused top, and pocketed coils.

  • Mattress Type: Latex with memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.3 out of 10
  • Firmness: Medium (5/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 101 nights
Mattress Lifestyle Photos
Credit: Puffy

Best Value Mattress: Puffy

BUY IT, $1,249 FOR A QUEEN

Durable? Check. Comfy? Check. Affordable? Double check. With the Puffy mattress, you won't have to sacrifice comfort or your budget to get the mattress of your dreams. Made with three layers of cooling memory foam and a supportive base layer, this mattress boasts superior pressure relief and responsiveness for an all-around supported, comfortable slumber. Plus, with a near-perfect 9.25/10 for motion transfer, couples will sleep soundlessly even if their partner moves around throughout the night. 

Who says good quality and an affordable price tag can't go hand in hand? With a lifetime warranty and 101 nights to try it out, the Puffy mattress comes at a value that is hard to beat.

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam 
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6 out of 10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (7/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 101 nights
Mattress Lifestyle Photos
Credit: Brooklyn Bedding

Best Mattress for Shoulder Pain: Brooklyn Aurora

BUY IT, $1,311 FOR A QUEEN (WAS $1,749)

Waking up feeling sore and stiff from a long night of sleeping on your side? Side sleepers need a balance of comfort and support to keep their body cradled and their joints pain-free. That's where the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora comes in. This hybrid bed is made with a temperature-regulating cover, responsive foam layers, and individually encased coils to bring you effortless comfort that will last for many nights to come. Earning high marks in pressure relief, the Brooklyn Aurora provides targeted support to the hips and shoulders so side sleepers can sleep easy and wake up feeling pain-free. 

Mattress Advisor testers were also impressed with this hybrid mattress's cooling technology, awarding it a near-perfect 9.5/10. Not only will you feel cradled all night long, you will also awake refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.9 out of 10
  • Firmness: Soft (3/10), medium (5/10), and firm (7/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights
Nectar
Credit: Nectar

Best Durable Mattress: Nectar

BUY IT, $1,298 FOR A QUEEN

Nectar's contouring gel memory foam layer is designed to hug and stabilize your body as you sleep. The mattress review team found that Nectar is great at motion isolation, meaning you're less likely to be disturbed by a sleeping partner who's moving around in the middle of the night. Plus, the medium-firm firmness level makes it a solid choice for side sleepers.

At just under $900 for a queen size, Nectar offers a high-quality mattress at a great price point that's hard to beat for a bed-in-a-box brand. With an impressive 8.5/10 for durability testing and a lifetime warranty, this memory foam mattress will last for many nights to come. 

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7 out of 10
  • Firmness: Medium (6.5/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 365 nights

How side sleeping affects your rest

Like most things, sleeping on your side has pros and cons. The lateral nature of this position helps keep airways open, allowing those who snore to rest more comfortably. Studies have shown that side sleeping can even help clear brain waste, permitting you to think more clearly and efficiently. However, sleeping on your side tends to place pressure on the neck, hips, and shoulders. But finding a mattress that offers the right balance of support and comfort will positively impact the way you sleep—and how you feel when you wake up.

Choosing the best mattress for side sleepers

Mattress type and materials 

What type of mattress is best for side sleepers? The best mattresses for side sleepers should have at least one layer of memory foam because the texture supports the natural curvature of the spine, minimizing the risk of waking up with aches and pains. These types of pressure-relieving mattresses also excel at distributing body weight evenly in the side sleeping position.

Some of the mattresses we recommend for side sleepers, like the Saatva Classic, are made with layers of memory foam and pocketed spring coils, or innersprings. While traditional innerspring mattresses aren't typically ideal for side sleepers, hybrid mattresses combine traditional innerspring coil systems with layers of foam to get the best of both worlds. These hybrid mattresses with memory foam tops produce the contouring support and pressure relief side sleepers need. The layers of coils help keep the spine aligned throughout the night. 

Latex mattresses are another good option for side sleepers. The pressure-relieving material has a supportive, buoyant feel and holds up well over time.

Firmness

What's the right firmness level for side sleepers? A mattress that's too soft won't give you the structure needed to maintain proper spine alignment, but one that's too firm could cause joint tension and soreness. Most side sleepers find that mattresses constructed with medium-soft to medium firmness provide just enough support to feel cozy without being too rigid.

Pressure relief

If you're a side sleeper, you'll want to choose a contouring mattress that cradles your body's natural curves and cushions spots that may dig into the bed, like your hips and shoulders. Without adequate pressure relief, you risk waking up with aches and pains.

Spine alignment 

If you're a side sleeper, it's key to find a mattress with ample support that will contour to the shape of your body for complete comfort while still pushing back enough to keep your spine in proper alignment. It's also important to have enough pushback to keep pressure points, like your hips, thighs, and shoulders, from settling further into the bed than the rest of your body. If these spots sink below the rest of your body, it can throw your spine out of alignment and cause back pain

FAQ

What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?

For side sleepers to maintain proper spinal alignment, they must rest on a mattress that balances support and pressure relief. When you sleep on your side, your hips and shoulders tend to dig into the mattress. These are sensitive joints, so if the mattress is too firm, side sleepers may feel pain around these pressure points. Memory foam mattresses offer plenty of pressure relief as do hybrid beds, which feature innerspring coils topped with foam comfort layers for added cushioning. While more expensive, latex is also a nice option because it provides contouring, pressure relief, and adequate lumbar support.

How firm should a mattress be for side sleepers?

Side sleepers typically feel more comfortable on a softer mattress. If you're a side sleeper, you require extra cushioning at the hips and shoulders, which naturally press more deeply into the mattress. If a mattress feels too firm, add a foam mattress topper for instant pressure relief.

What mattress type is best for side sleepers with back pain?

To alleviate back pain (regardless of sleep position), the spine must maintain its natural "S" curve throughout the night. Side sleepers have a particular need for pressure relief at their hips and shoulders and lateral support for their spine. Hybrid beds achieve this balance perfectly by combining supportive innerspring coils at their core with pressure-relieving foam comfort layers on top.

Mattress Advisor's Review Process

Each mattress on this list was put to the test (literally) in Mattress Advisor's lab, which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bedding experts spent over 1,200 hours evaluating and comparing mattresses using a 14-point testing methodology to find the best beds for side sleepers available online. 

While some of the factors tested are tied directly to performance, like responsiveness, edge support, and pressure relief, others are based around brand operations, such as customer service, shipping policies, and trial period. The Mattress Advisor team combines this proprietary methodology with in-depth interviews and customer experience to arrive at a weighted score out of 10.

Jillian is a wellness and lifestyle writer for Mattress Advisor.