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Side sleeping is one of the most popular positions, but it carries some potential drawbacks. For many individuals, the biggest problem is pressure accumulating around their hips and shoulders, which can contribute to aches and pains. A mattress that’s too firm can add to the issue, while a mattress that’s too soft could let a side sleeper’s hips and shoulders sink in too deeply and put a strain on the spine.
While replacing the mattress is one potential solution, side sleepers can adjust the feel of their sleep surface to better meet their needs without investing in an entirely new bed. Mattress toppers are a convenient and affordable solution. These extra layers typically measure between 1 and 4 inches deep, and they rest on top of the existing mattress to act as an additional comfort layer.
We’ll highlight our top picks for the best mattress toppers for side sleepers, explain their construction and performance, and more. We’ll also go on to detail what shoppers should look for when buying a mattress topper.
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Originally engineered by NASA, TEMPUR memory foam has strong conforming properties, making the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Topper Supreme a comfortable choice for side sleepers.
This 3-inch thick topper uses a TEMPUR core that responds to each individual’s body heat, weight, and shape to mold to the body for optimal support and pressure relief. It is encased in a quilted polyester cover that resists allergens and dust mites. The cover can be removed and washed to maintain a more hygienic sleep surface.
As a medium (5) topper, the TEMPUR-Topper Supreme may be best suited to individuals who weigh under 230 pounds. Both side and back sleepers in this weight group are likely to get a good blend of conforming and support, so the topper may be ideal for combination sleepers and couples with different position preferences.
Our testers rate the TEMPUR-Topper Supreme well for its conforming, motion isolation, and noise, but it earns lower marks in responsiveness and temperature regulation.
While the TEMPUR-Topper Supreme could trap heat due to its close conforming, hot sleepers might consider the TEMPUR-Adapt + Cooling Topper, which has a similar construction but uses a cool-to-the-touch cover.
All six standard mattress sizes are available. The TEMPUR-Topper Supreme comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
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Sleepers looking to enhance their mattress without breaking the bank should consider the Brooklyn Bedding Memory Foam Topper. This topper is crafted from closely contouring memory foam and has an approachable price-point. Shoppers can pick between 2-inch and 3-inch profile options, which are both a medium (5) on the firmness scale and well suited to side sleepers. Those looking for deeper cushioning and contouring should choose the 3-inch model.
The topper’s memory foam composition has a medium density that’s rated at 4 pounds per cubic foot, which means it provides even support for sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. Side sleepers may find this topper the most comfortable, as memory foam is well known for relieving pressure points underneath areas like hips and shoulders.
Adding this topper to your existing mattress can also help isolate motion. Memory foam absorbs movement and makes it less likely that partners will wake the other when shifting sleep positions or getting out of bed.
Brooklyn Bedding does not include a cover with this topper. Using one isn’t necessary but those who want an easy-to-clean option may want to consider purchasing one. The memory foam is Certi-PUR certified, meaning it doesn’t include any harmful chemicals. Shoppers in the contiguous U.S. enjoy free shipping and a 30-night sleep trial. Brooklyn Bedding backs this topper with a 3-year warranty.
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The Saatva Mattress Topper offers side sleepers supportive pressure relief and a broad selection of material options. This model is available in three different materials: graphite, latex, and foam.
The graphite version contains 3 inches of graphite-infused memory foam that helps draw heat away from the body while providing exceptional pressure relief.
Natural Talalay latex makes up the core of the 1.5-inch latex option. This material is breathable, durable, and more responsive.
The foam version is the most budget-friendly option in the line. It contains 1.5 inches of polyfoam for cradling and support.
Strengths vary based on the materials. The graphite version earns the highest scores in conforming, and the graphite and foam options both isolate motion well. The latex version rates highly in temperature neutrality and responsiveness. All are close to medium-soft, or 4 on the 10-point firmness scale, so they should help soften the surface of a mattress without bottoming out under pressure.
Each version is encased in a fabric cover to shield the core. Anchor bands on the corners help ensure a snug fit against the mattress and reduce the risk of shifting.
The Saatva Mattress Topper is available in the six standard mattress sizes. A 45-day return policy and 1-year limited warranty applies.
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The Amerisleep Lift Mattress Topper is a foam topper that’s available in two firmness levels. Side sleepers may enjoy the medium soft (4) “Comfort” model the most, as it has more cushioning than the medium firm (6) “Support” topper. Stomach and back sleepers as well as those weighing over 230 pounds may prefer the firmer option.
The medium soft topper is constructed out of Amerisleep’s Bio-Pur memory foam, which is engineered to cradle sleepers’ pressure points without causing the sinking feeling that can come with some less dense memory foams. The medium firm model features Affinity foam, which is a high-density polyfoam that offers added support. This option also has a zoned system that targets high-pressure areas for extra relief.
Foam traditionally retains heat, which Amerisleep attempts to combat with its patented materials. Bio-PUR and Affinity foams each have an open-cell design which allows for increased air circulation. While this topper won’t regulate temperature as well as a latex model, it’s a good option for hot sleepers who prefer the close hug of memory foam.
A breathable, stretch-knit cover wraps the topper while patented MicroGrip technology prevents the base from shifting. Shoppers can purchase the Lift Mattress Topper in six standard sizes. Amerisleep ships its product free to customers in the contiguous U.S. and includes a 5-year warranty with purchase.
Best Pressure Relief
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Side sleepers often need to alleviate pressure points, but not everyone prefers the close contouring feel of memory foam. Latex is an excellent option for people who want both responsive support and pressure relief. The Latex for Less Mattress Topper is available in two profile options and three firmness levels, making it a good pick for a wide range of sleeper types. All versions of the topper feature single-origin Talalay Latex that’s durable and resilient.
Sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds and like maximum cushioning may prefer the soft (3) model while those who want a combination of support and relief will likely find the medium (5) option the best fit. People who weigh above 230 pounds and those who sleep on their stomachs will find the medium firm (6) topper provides the most support. Sleepers who only want to slightly enhance their existing mattress should opt for the 2-inch profile, while those looking to change the feel of their mattress can purchase the 3-inch version.
Talalay latex is naturally temperature neutral. The latex is also perforated to increase airflow, so your body heat shouldn’t become trapped within the material. This topper does not come with a cover, though you can purchase an organic cotton cover separately.
Latex for Less has designed this topper to be hypoallergenic. It’s backed it with a 5-year warranty against structural and material defects.
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The MOLECULE AirTEC Mattress Topper has a unique construction that enhances its overall performance.
While many toppers use just one layer of foam, the 3-inch thick MOLECULE AirTEC Mattress Topper is made up of three layers for a more balanced feel.
The top layer uses 1 inch of MolecularFLO, the same proprietary polyfoam in the flagship MOLECULE 2 Mattress. This open cell foam is engineered for five times the breathability of traditional memory foam so that heat can escape. Next, a 1-inch layer of proprietary AirTEC material uses a matrix of open cells for unparalleled air circulation and a more buoyant feel. The final layer is 1 inch of RecoveryFLO foam crafted to support spinal alignment.
A polyester, polyethylene, elastane blend cover encases the topper. Cooling fibers help conduct heat away to stabilize the surface temperature.
The MOLECULE AirTEC Mattress Topper’s medium feel rates around 5 on the 10-point firmness scale, making it appropriate for side sleepers from all weight groups, especially those who weigh under 130 pounds.
In our tests, the MOLECULE AirTEC Mattress Topper earned its highest marks in durability, support, pressure relief, temperature regulation, and motion isolation. However, some couples may prefer a more responsive surface for sex.
The MOLECULE AirTEC Mattress Topper is available in the six standard mattress sizes, and it comes with a 5-year limited warranty and a 30-night sleep trial. It is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning it’s been independently tested for ozone depleters, mercury, lead, and an array of other substances that could be harmful.
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Birch is well-known for crafting comfortable products from high-quality materials and the Plush Organic Mattress Topper is no exception. This topper is made of natural Talalay latex that’s wrapped in an organic wool and cotton cover. Sleepers should find this medium (5) firmness topper feels resilient and supportive.
Birch’s topper may be too firm for sleepers under 130 pounds and those who prefer deep contouring. However, it’s responsive and supportive enough to be comfortable for side sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds. This topper is durable, well-made, and likely to have a long lifespan.
Latex is naturally breathable. The cotton and wool cover enhances this quality and also wicks away moisture to keep you dry. Cotton promotes airflow, while wool regulates temperature. This combination ensures that you don’t get too hot while sleeping. Though the cover isn’t washable, it is engineered to be hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and mites.
Birch’s commitment to lowering its carbon footprint and practices like sustainable sourcing should appear to eco-conscious shoppers. The company ships its topper for free to customers living in the U.S. The Plush Organic Mattress Topper carries a 10-year warranty and includes a 100-night sleep trial.
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The Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover is a high-tech solution to overnight temperature issues, allowing owners to heat or cool the sleep surface based on their personal needs and preferences.
To accomplish this, the Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover acts as a mattress encasement. It can accommodate models between 10 and 16 inches thick. A zipper helps ensure a secure fit, while adjustable straps allow users to tighten the cover around the mattress.
Each topper has a hub that holds water. When activated, this water flows through a thin contouring layer to adjust the temperature. Sensors track your biometrics to help you maintain your ideal temperature, and a layer of foam adds cushioning and comfort for side sleepers.
Both sides have a separate zone so that partners can select their own temperature preferences. Settings range between 55 and 110 degrees. An accompanying app used in conjunction with the topper allows you to set the temperature and track your heart rate variability, deep sleep time, and more.
The Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover is available in full, queen, king, and California king sizes. It comes with a 100-day return policy and a 2-year warranty.
For this reason, side sleepers need more padding and reinforcement for their shoulders and hips. Sleep surfaces that feel too soft usually sink excessively for side sleepers, while overly firm surfaces with less cushioning can also produce aches and pains. If you sleep on your side and experience discomfort because your mattress either feels too firm or does not provide enough support, then a topper with your ideal firmness level can alleviate these aches and pains.
A mattress topper can make your bed more comfortable, but to do so, you must find the right topper for your preferences, needs, and sleep style. We’ll explain what criteria to consider as you shop.
There are several factors to consider when you purchase a mattress topper. While all of these apply regardless of your sleep position, we’ll highlight special considerations for side sleepers so that you can rest more comfortably in your preferred position.
Material: Toppers typically use memory foam, polyfoam, latex, feathers, down alternative, or wool. Any of these options may be appropriate for side sleepers depending on their existing mattress and how they hope to modify their sleep surface.
Side sleepers looking for more contouring and pressure relief may prefer a memory foam, polyfoam, or latex model. These materials shape to the sleeper’s body while providing support, making them popular with side sleepers. Memory foam has the closest hug, but it’s also the most likely to retain heat. Polyfoam usually conforms less closely but with added breathability. Latex spreads out the compression more for a floating feel, and it adds a bit of bounce. Feather, down alternative, and wool toppers add cushioning more than contouring. They can make the sleep surface plusher and more breathable, but they may not give the support and cradling many side sleepers prefer. However, if your mattress contours well, a topper made of one of these materials may be a nice addition.
Price: The price of a topper often reflects its quality and materials. There are plenty of budget-friendly options available for less than $100, in addition to luxury choices that exceed $1,000. The vast majority of toppers will fall somewhere in the middle. The sticker price of higher-end items may be a turnoff for some shoppers, but you should keep in mind that a more expensive topper may ultimately be a better value if it doesn’t need to be replaced as soon.
Sleeping Position:Side sleeping usually puts more pressure on the hips and shoulders because these areas are wider. A topper can help relieve this pressure by distributing the sleeper’s weight more evenly. Taking this into account can help you find an option with the right thickness, firmness, and materials to work with your sleep position and current mattress.
Quality Materials: Quality is paramount, potentially affecting both the comfort and longevity of your topper. High-quality options tend to resist long-term impressions and other signs of wear for continued comfort with regular use. While quality materials usually cost more, their durability may make them a better value overall.
Firmness Level: Side sleepers usually prefer a slightly softer sleep surface than back and stomach sleepers. Firmness preferences are subjective, but there are some things to consider to help you select the best feel for you. If your existing mattress is too firm for you, you may want a topper that is slightly softer than the bed itself. Similarly, if your mattress is too soft, you may prefer a firmer option. We would expect most sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds to prefer a soft to medium soft topper, those who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds to like a medium to medium firm option, and individuals who weigh over 230 pounds to gravitate towards a medium firm to firm topper.
Thickness:Mattress toppers usually measure between 1 and 4 inches thick. The thickness of a mattress topper will determine how significantly it alters the sleep surface. Thinner toppers traditionally adjust the feel slightly, while thicker options provide a more notable change. Side sleepers with a mattress that is too firm often prefer a thicker topper with enough room to cradle their hips and shoulders. If the mattress is only a bit too firm, however, a thinner topper may do the trick.
Pressure Relief: Since side sleeping can lead to sharp pressure points, pressure relief is often the main factor side sleepers look for in a topper. For optimal pressure relief, a topper must redistribute the side sleeper’s weight so that it is spread across the surface rather than being focused around the widest parts of the body.
Materials that contour to the sleeper, like memory foam, polyfoam, and latex, usually provide the best pressure relief, making toppers with these materials common choices for side sleepers.Weight also plays an important role in pressure relief. Sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds don’t sink in as deeply, so they may need a softer topper to enjoy contouring. Those who weigh over 230 pounds might prefer a firmer option so that they don’t sink in as much.
In addition to using a topper with your optimal firmness level to adjust the feel of a mismatched mattress, side sleepers can improve their alignment and alleviate pressure in other ways.
The ideal pillow for side sleepers will keep the head and neck level with the spine. Pillow loft, or thickness, is an important consideration here. High-loft pillows that elevate the head and neck often interfere with spinal alignment. The same is true for low-loft pillows that cause the head to fall back too far. Most side sleepers prefer medium-loft pillows, which generally measure 3 to 5 inches thick.
Some pillows offer an adjustable loft, meaning you can add or remove the fill as needed to reach your desired thickness. These pillows may be the best option if you aren’t sure about your ideal loft.
Your hips and lower back should be level with the head, neck, and shoulders to ensure even alignment and prevent pressure points from building up. This can be an issue for side sleepers because sleeping with one leg on top of the other can cause the lower back and hips to sink lower into the mattress. Placing a pillow between the legs often helps improve alignment and reduces pressure in the process.
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