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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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The ViscoSoft Reflex Gel Mattress Topper is composed of memory foam infused with cooling gel intended to draw heat away from your body and help the surface remain cool. Memory foam has a bad reputation for trapping heat, so this topper should be a good fit for anyone who has had bad experiences with the material in the past. Its close, even contouring is also well suited to people who experience pressure points along the spine – especially side and back sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less.
The topper is available in two profiles. The 2-inch option will adjust the feel of your mattress to a moderate extent, so you should consider this model if you are generally satisfied with your current bed and don’t want to alter the feel too much. This profile is considered medium (5) in terms of firmness. For a softer feel and a significant comfort adjustment, choose the medium soft (4) 3-inch topper instead. Six sizes are also available.
Couples can also benefit from using this topper, particularly if their mattress has become more responsive over time. The foam absorbs movement quite well and reduces motion transfer whenever someone changes positions or gets up during the night. This type of transfer is a common source of disruptions for co-sleepers.
The topper does not come with a cover, so you may want to also invest in a protector to safeguard the foam against stains and contaminants. Its price-point is quite approachable compared to other memory foam toppers and ViscoSoft offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Your purchase comes with a 60-night sleep trial for testing out the topper and a five-year warranty should you decide to keep the product after its trial period expires.
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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.
Best for Pressure Relief
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The thoughtfully designed GhostBed Memory Foam Topper is a standout product for a few reasons, one being its zoned support. Rather than a fixed firmness level, the foam is divided into five distinct feels for extra reinforcement for the midsection and a gentler feel for lighter areas of the body.
Side sleepers who tend to feel pressure along the spine should receive enough cushioning around the shoulders and hips to ensure even alignment and less discomfort. Most combination sleepers who also sleep on their backs and/or stomachs should also feel comfortable due to enhanced support from the firmness zones.
Another area where the topper excels is temperature control. The memory foam is cut with channels that allow air to circulate across the surface, reducing heat buildup in the process and helping you stay cool.
The topper also comes with a cover made of proprietary Ghost Ice fabric that feels cold to the touch. Unlike most competing models with covers that only encase the topper itself, the Memory Foam Topper’s cover stretches over the sides of your mattress much like a fitted sheet. An 18-inch pocket depth makes the cover compatible with the vast majority of mattresses sold today. Additionally, the fabric is waterproof to protect the foam from spills and liquid damage.
The topper is competitively priced and GhostBed will deliver it for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The company does not allow returns for this product, so all sales are considered final, but you’ll receive a manufacturer’s warranty that covers structural defects for up to 5 years after you make your purchase.
Best for Back Pain
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The Turmerry Organic Latex Mattress Topper offers an eco-friendly design with multiple sizes, thickness, and firmness options. The latex construction will appeal to a wide range of sleepers, but is especially well suited for back sleepers due to its even balance of support and contouring.
The topper comes in either a 2-inch or 3-inch thickness and is offered in six sizes. Shoppers can also choose a soft, medium, or firm feel, corresponding to 3, 5, and 6 on our 10-point firmness scale. The soft option is best suited to side sleepers while the medium caters to back sleepers and some side sleepers. The firm topper is most beneficial to stomach sleepers, since they require a firm surface to maintain healthy sleep posture.
The topper is made with Dunlop latex that is both durable and supportive. The open-cell composition provides ventilation and breathability for a cool sleep. The latex has Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and OEKO-TEX certifications, which guarantees that the topper meets organic standards and is free of known harmful chemicals. The mattress topper also comes with a zippered organic cotton cover.
Turmerry offers a 60-night sleep trial and a 5-year warranty that covers material and construction defects. Orders placed within the contiguous U.S. ship for free via UPS Ground. Turmerry offers UPS and USPS rates for shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, and other territories.
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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 SleepyHead Gel Topper is made from gel-infused memory foam that offers a cradling feel that foam is known for. The gel infusion is designed to pull heat and moisture away from a sleeper’s body, making the topper a good fit for sleepers who prefer the feel of memory foam but do not enjoy foam’s heat-trapping properties.
The topper has a medium (5) firmness and is 3 inches thick, with an additional 2-inch option available for the twin XL size. It includes a polyester cover that is both removable and washable. Our testers found the memory foam construction contours evenly and provides pressure relief throughout the body. This design is suitable for any sleep style but is particularly helpful for side sleepers, who tend to put pressure on their shoulders and hips during sleep.
The topper comes in twin, twin XL, full, full XL, queen, and king sizes. SleepyHead offers a 30-night sleep trial and a 5-year limited warranty. Most orders ship within 2 to 5 business days and are sent via free ground delivery.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding mattress toppers
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.
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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