A soft mattress is best for side sleepers. Side sleepers need cushioning and supportive materials to maintain proper alignment in the hips and shoulders while relieving pressure in the neck, back, and legs.
If a side sleeper gets too firm of a mattress, pressure points can develop, which leads to pain; however, purchasing a mattress without enough support can cause misalignment, which also leads to pain.
In this article, we will discuss our recommendations for the best mattress for side sleepers. Afterward, we will explore the benefits of side sleeping and what a side sleeper needs from a bed.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
|Mattress||Highlights||Price for a Queen|
|Amerisleep AS3||Bio-Pur® memory foam contours to the body, relieving pressure points for a restful sleep.||$1199|
|Zoma Mattress||Triangulex™ technology offers three comfort zones to alleviate pressure and provide full-body support.||$750|
|Vaya Mattress||High-density support core promotes spinal alignment while extending the mattress’s lifespan.||$595|
|Nolah Signature 12-inch Mattress||AirFoam™ contours to the body, providing pressure relief without trapping heat.||$1269|
|Purple Hybrid Mattress||Support coils offer pressure relief and support.||$1599|
|Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress||Graphite and gel-infused poly-foam offers a medium-soft sleeping surface while wicking away heat.||$995|
|Bear Hybrid Mattress||Celliant® cover improves the user’s sleep by increasing local blood flow and promoting cellular repair.||$1140|
The Amerisleep AS3 is a medium mattress with a 12-inch thickness. The bed can bear up to 800 pounds.
The cover is made of a soft, breathable fabric that works to keep air circulating through the mattress. This airy feeling helps you sleep cool and comfortable night after night. The cover is also removable and washable so it is easy to keep your mattress clean for many years.
The Bio-Pur® memory foam comfort layer is responsive and conforming. The memory foam contours to the sleeper to relieve pressure and pain by giving way to body weight. Bio-Pur® reduces motion transfer, so those sharing a bed can change their sleeping position without disturbing the other’s sleep.
Below, the Affinity layer with HIVE® technology provides targeted support and comfort. The HIVE® technology contains hundreds of hexagon cut-outs grouped to offer soft head, back, and foot support while preventing the hips and shoulders from sinking too far into the materials. The varied support promotes conformability to relieve more pressure.
The Bio-Core® support layer is durable polyurethane foam. The layer deters sagging, extending the mattress’s lifespan.
Amerisleep offers a 100-night sleep trial, a 20-year warranty, and free shipping and returns.
The Zoma mattress has an 11-inch profile and can bear 800 pounds. It has a medium firmness, which caters to side sleepers who like a firmer sleep surface.
The polyester and elastane knit cover stretches to increase airflow, keeping the mattress and the sleeper cool.
The gel-infused memory foam comfort layer wicks away heat and increases comfort. The Triangulex™ technology offers three comfort zones, which firmly supports the hips, preventing sinkage, and cushions the shoulder, head, and feet to relieve pressure points.
Below, 2 inches of latex-like polyurethane transitions between the comfort and support layer, preventing the sleeper from bottoming out on the high-density support core.
The support layer consists of 7 inches of Support+ material, which deters sagging to extend the mattress’s longevity.
Zoma offers a 100-night sleep trial, a 10-year warranty, free shipping, and free returns with every mattress purchase.
The Vaya mattress provides a combination of support and bounce, which promotes comfort, cool sleep, and durability. This mattress is hypoallergenic and USA-made. It has a 12-inch profile.
The Vaya mattress’s breathable, plush cover wicks away heat.
The memory foam comfort layer contours to the body without causing you to become “stuck” while relieving pressure points to prevent lower back pain.
The high-density support layer prevents premature sagging while maintaining spinal alignment.
Vaya offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty with every mattress.
4. Nolah Signature 12-inch Mattress
The Nolah Signature 12-inch mattress has two firmnesses—a firm and soft side. Overall, the Nolah mattress is 12 inches tall and can bear up to 700 pounds. Nolah uses CertiPUR-US® certified foam in this mattress, meaning it’s made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP flame retardants, heavy metals, phthalates, and is low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
The cover is soft organic cotton, which wicks away heat and moisture to promote a cool night’s sleep.
The soft side of the mattress starts with 2.5 inches of extra thick AirFoam™, which contours to the body to provide pressure relief without trapping heat.
Below, 1.5 inches of durable support foam offers bounce and buffers between the comfort and support layers, preventing the sleeper from bottoming out on the high-density support layer.
The support core is 7 inches of poly-foam, which deters sagging to prolong the mattress’s lifespan.
On the mattress’s firm side, 1 inch of Nolah’s AirFoam™ offers a balance of support and pressure relief great for stomach and combination sleepers.
Nolah provides a 120-night night trial, a lifetime warranty, free shipping, and free returns.
5. Purple® Hybrid Mattress
The Purple® Hybrid Mattress is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and durable. The mattress is made in the USA and engineered to support the curves of your body while relieving pressure points.
The Premium StretchMax cover stretches to promote airflow.
The top layer is 2 inches of Purple’s® proprietary Purple Grid™, which flexes to adapt to different body types and sleep positions. The grid cradles the hips and shoulders to promote natural spinal alignment.
A thin layer of high-density polyurethane foam transitions between the comfort and support layer, preventing the sleeper from hitting the coil support system below.
The coils below offer pressure relief and support. It deters sagging and indentations, which extends the mattress’s lifespan.
The last layer consists of another high-density poly-foam layer, which stabilizes the support layer and maintains the mattress’s shape.
Purple® offers a 100-night sleep trial, a 10-year warranty, free shipping, and free returns with every mattress purchase. White glove delivery is also available for an extra cost.
6. Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress
The Tuft & Needle is a medium-firm mattress. It has a 1000 pound weight capacity and a 12-inch profile.
The polyester blend cover is durable and breathable.
The top layer is Tuft & Needle’s graphite and gel-infused poly-foam, which wicks away heat and offers pressure relief. The layer is bouncy to keep the sleeper from getting “stuck” in the materials.
The transitional layer is 2 inches of dense foam to shift between the medium-firm comfort layer and the firm base layer, preventing the sleeper from bottoming out on the high-density support layer.
The support layer is 6.5 inches of high-density polyurethane, preventing the mattress’s longevity by preventing sagging.
Tuft & Needle provides a 100-night trial, a 10-year warranty, and free returns with every mattress.
7. Bear Hybrid Mattress
The Bear Hybrid mattress is 14 inches thick and is built to accommodate sleepers of any weight. The mattress is also GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US® certified.
The Euro top is covered with a Celliant® cover and filled with cooling gel foam. The Celliant® cover improves the sleeper’s well-being by increasing local blood flow and promoting cellular repair, while the gel foam layer wicks away heat and contours to relieve pressure.
Below, a comfort foam adapts to all body types and sleeping positions by contouring deeply and giving way to body weight.
Responsive transitional foam buffers between the comfort and support layers, preventing the sleeper from hitting the coil system below.
A Quantum Edge coil system offers support and prevents sagging, extending the mattress’s lifespan.
The final layer is high-density support foam, which keeps the mattress’s shape and reinforces durability.
Bear offers a 100-night trial, a 20-year warranty, free shipping, and free returns with every mattress purchase.
What Side Sleepers Need in a Mattress
A major drawback of side sleeping is how pressure points develop on the sleeper’s side.
Pressure points can cause soreness in the muscles and joints and can lead to back, hip, and neck pain. The more constant the pressure, the more severe the pain can become. Purchasing a mattress with the right firmness, pressure relief, and support can alleviate the pressure.
To alleviate pressure points, you need a conforming mattress to fill the gaps between your bed and the curves of your body. If you have more pressure on your shoulders and hips than other parts of your body, your mattress isn’t allowing you to sink enough.
Firmness and Body Type
Firmness is rated on a scale from 1 (soft) to 10 (firm), although, we simplify it by rating mattresses as soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-firm, and firm.
Side sleepers need soft materials to alleviate pressure and can reduce (or prevent) pain from occurring. We suggest beds with soft, medium-soft, or medium firmness levels.
While side sleepers do want a softer mattress, your body type can affect the way you experience a mattress’s feel.
A smaller framed person needs a much softer mattress than a heavy individual. Lighter people don’t have the weight to sink into a bed, so they need softer mattresses to relieve pressure.
Heavier people may suffer from spinal misalignment on a soft mattress. A large-statured individual’s hips will bow into the bed, causing lower back pain. A firmer mattress prevents bowing, but still allows the sleeper to “sink” to receive pressure-relieving benefits.
Those less than 130 pounds may try a soft mattress while those weighing more than 230 may consider a medium mattress. Sleepers weighing between 130 and 230 pounds may find a medium-soft mattress offers the most comfort.
A mattress’s support is defined by the bed’s ability to stabilize a sleeper and distribute weight evenly across the mattress’s surface. The support should allow the sleeper to rest on the surface while maintaining a naturally aligned spine.
Look for a conforming mattress to contour to your body shape while supporting your hips and shoulders as you change sleep positions. If you find yourself without sufficient mobility on the mattress’s surface, you’ll want to search for a bed with a little more support.
Pelvic Rotation and Spine Alignment
Often to maintain balance on their sides, side sleepers will rotate their hips and shoulders opposite of each other; this rotation causes spine, muscle, ligament, and tendon strain, leading to back pain. Reducing pelvic and shoulder rotations prevents future pain and alleviates existing pain. If you have chronic back pain, though, you may benefit from a mattress for back pain relief.
Training yourself to sleep in a position for better spinal alignment takes patience and commitment. By placing a pillow between your knees and using a firm pillow to brace your stomach or back, you can reduce hip and shoulder rotations.
Before you start mattress shopping, you should decide what mattress you like most. Latex, memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses are built with different attributes and drawbacks. One may cater to your sleep needs more than another.
Memory foam is comforting and offers a hug-like feel to alleviate pressure points. Memory foam beds absorb motion at the point of impact, allowing the sleeper to switch positions without disturbing a partner.
Some sleepers may find memory foam hot; however, gel memory foam is a popular variation of this mattress material because it wicks away heat. Copper, graphite, and other conductive elements can also pull heat from the sleeper to promote a cooler night’s sleep.
The average lifespan for a memory foam mattress is around 8 to 10 years.
Innerspring mattresses are built with coil support cores and a thin comfort layer made of polyester, cotton, or wool. Some innerspring mattresses are built with Euro or pillow tops, which offer plush comfort.
An innerspring mattress offers great support and promotes breathability; however, innerspring beds are a magnet for allergens, dust, and debris, which can irritate allergy sufferers’ noses and throats.
Innerspring beds can last an average of 6 to 7 years.
Hybrid mattresses feature a coil support core and thick memory foam or latex comfort layers. These mattresses are built with strong edge support and are better at conforming than innerspring mattresses. For the most part, these mattresses sleep cool, although they may not offer the breathability of innerspring mattresses.
Hybrid beds cost an average of $2000 and have a lifespan between 6 and 7 years.
Latex mattresses are very supportive beds. While the mattresses aren’t as conforming as memory foam, they can last longer depending on the type of latex used in the mattress’s construction.
Natural latex mattresses are made with rubber tree sap and are hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. They can last for up to 20 years, although we suggest retiring a natural latex mattress around the 10-year mark for hygienic reasons.
Latex manufactured through the Dunlop process is more durable, dense, and affordable than its Talalay counterpart.
Talalay latex is made with rubber tree sap with added chemicals, which produces a bouncy and light material. Due to the extra steps taken to make Talalay, it is more expensive.
Synthetic latex is made from a chemical compound to mimic latex properties. Latex allergy sufferers can safely sleep on this kind of mattress, although this type of latex does not have the antimicrobial properties of natural latex.
Synthetic latex mattresses can last six years.
Blended latex is a mixture of natural and synthetic latex. The material doesn’t maintain as strong of antimicrobial properties as natural latex, but blended latex beds can last up to 10 years.
We do not suggest purchasing synthetic latex as the materials may contain harmful additives; however, if you decide on a synthetic or blended latex bed, we recommend making sure the mattress has a CertiPUR-US® certification.
As you choose your best mattress, consider your firmness options, your place of purchase, your budget, and the mattress’s sleep trial, return policy, and warranty.
Firm or Soft
While your sleeping position and body type influence your perfect mattress firmness, you shouldn’t ignore your preferences. If you lean toward firmer materials, a firm mattress could help you sleep better.
For those who are stomach and back sleepers thinking of switching to side sleeping, getting a soft mattress to alleviate pressure points on your side can help your transition.
Bed-in-a-Box vs. Retail
Where you buy your mattress can influence its cost. Most retail stores hike the bed’s original price to make a profit—even charging for transportation rather than including it in the price tag.
Online stores typically offer better prices. Online mattress companies cut out the middleman and the storefront, allowing them to sell their mattresses directly to the customer at face value. Most online mattress companies offer free shipping and returns, too.
Bed in a box mattresses are also more convenient, as they’re delivered to the customer’s door.
Expensive or Budget
Your budget range influences the mattress quality you purchase. We suggest sticking with a range of $700 and $2000 for a quality queen-size bed.
While you can get a quality mattress under $700, often the materials aren’t as durable or comfortable. Look into the mattress’s construction and materials. If the company doesn’t offer information about the materials it uses, then the bed likely isn’t high quality.
Another way to determine if a mattress is well made is the length of the warranty. A bed with a 10-year warranty will likely last 10 years. Before a company places a mattress model on the market, they test the mattress for its durability. The warranty length is a representation of the mattress’s average lifespan, as estimated by the company’s test.
Sleep Trials, Return Policies, Warranties
Sleep trials, return policies, and warranties are put in place to protect the customer from getting stuck with a defective or unwanted product.
A sleep trial offers an extended time for a customer to try the mattress in the comfort of their home. If the bed doesn’t cater to the sleeper’s needs, the customer may return the mattress.
We suggest looking for a risk-free trial period as it ensures the customer won’t pay any return fees, including shipping and transportation.
In the case of a return, the return policy outlines the customer’s and the company’s responsibilities. We suggest a return policy where the company claims financial burdens, such as re-stocking and donation fees.
The warranty ensures the mattress owner isn’t stuck with a defective mattress. In the event of cracking foam, sagging and indentations, and flawed covers, the owner can file a warranty claim to have the bed replaced or repaired.
We suggest a warranty providing complete financial coverage for at least 10 years.
Side Sleeper’s Pillow Needs
A side sleeper’s pillow is almost as important as their mattress. A good side sleeping pillow should support the neck and keep the head in alignment with the rest of the spine. A side sleeper needs a thicker loft to support the neck and a thinner loft to support the head. You can find contour pillows or pillows with moldable foam to support your head properly.
When searching for a pillow to place between your knees, you can purchase a regular head pillow or another pillow explicitly designed to cushion the knees. These pillows pull the hips into alignment, preventing pain.
What is the best type of mattress for side sleepers?
We recommend the Amerisleep AS3 because it offers the perfect balance of support and conformability. If you find the AS3 doesn’t meet your needs, you may exchange the bed for one of Amerisleep’s other models.
As a side sleeper, what mattress firmness should I purchase?
While we suggest a soft, medium soft, or medium feel mattress for side sleepers, a side sleeper should choose a bed as firm or soft as they prefer. Find a mattress with enough support to promote spinal alignment and conform to alleviate pressure points.
How should I position my arms when I’m side sleeping?
Many sleepers keep the arms tucked to their chests under their chin. Others extend their arms out in front of them. Either of these positions are fine; however, we do suggest never placing your arm under your head to sleep as it could prevent blood flow to the arm and cause shoulder pain.
Side sleepers need support to prevent hip rotation. Getting the correct firmness will prevent points of pressure, ensuring a restful sleep. Experimenting with different mattress materials can also help you discover a mattress type that will promote better sleep for you.
Make sure to set a budget and do some comparison shopping. Looking at the company’s warranty, sleep trial, and return policy will help you get the best deal when you’re stuck between two mattresses.