sleep foundation sleep foundation

We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more here.

We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more here.

Sleeping on your side is considered to be the most common sleeping position. There are major benefits to side sleeping, including reduced back pain, improved breathing, and better digestion. This makes sleeping on your side beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing.

The type of mattress you sleep on directly affects how much support and comfort you get each night. For people who have been sleeping on an older mattress, studies have shown that a new mattress can improve sleep quality and reduce overall pain and stiffness. Side sleepers often experience shoulder pain and lower back pain if their mattress is unsupportive or uncomfortable. A mattress that contours to the shape of the body and provides pressure point relief is especially beneficial for side sleepers. These features reduce back and shoulder pain while cushioning the areas of the body that press deeper into the mattress.

With so many different mattress types and features on the market, it can feel overwhelming to decide which mattress is right for you. We cover our top picks for the best mattresses for side sleepers and what sets them apart from other mattresses. We also include more on the benefits and drawbacks of sleeping on your side, and how this position affects sleep.

Summary

Mattress Mattress Type Firmness Price
Casper Foam 5 (Medium) $995
Layla Foam Medium Soft (4), Firm (7-8) $999
Nolah Original Foam Medium (5) $1,019
Nectar Foam 6 (Medium Firm) $799
Bear Hybrid Hybrid Medium Firm (6) $1,390
Loom & Leaf Foam Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8) $1,499
Helix Midnight Hybrid Medium Firm (6) $999
Winkbeds MemoryLux Foam Medium Soft (4), Medium (5), Firm (7-8) $1,599
Cocoon Chill Foam Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6) $930
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt Foam Medium (5) $2,199
Scroll L - R for more details

Our Picks

Casper

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 5 (Medium)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Zoned support
  • Breathable open-cell foam
  • Pressure point relief
  • Contouring support with bounce
$995 See Discount Price
Casper

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 5 (Medium)

Layla

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7-8)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Two firmness options in one mattress
  • Relieves pressure points
  • Copper foam is antimicrobial and temperature-regulating
$999 See Discount Price
Layla

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7-8)

Nolah Original

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium (5)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Cushions pressure points
  • Wicks away heat and moisture
  • High-resilience foam prevents sagging
$1,019 See Discount Price
Nolah Original

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium (5)

Nectar

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 6 (Medium Firm)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Competitive price point
  • Relieves back pain and pressure points
  • 365-night sleep trial and forever warranty
$799 See Discount Price
Nectar

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 6 (Medium Firm)

Bear Hybrid

Mattress Type: Hybrid

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Coils add airflow and dissipate heat
  • Enhanced edge support
  • Celliant cover aids in muscle recovery
$1,390 See Discount Price
Bear Hybrid

Mattress Type: Hybrid

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

Loom & Leaf

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Pressure relief
  • Two firmness options available
  • Durable high-density foam
  • Free white glove delivery
$1,499 See Discount Price
Loom & Leaf

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)

Helix Midnight

Mattress Type: Hybrid

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Pocket coils add bounce and edge support
  • Better temperature regulation
  • Memory foam contours and relieves pressure points
$999 See Discount Price
Helix Midnight

Mattress Type: Hybrid

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

Winkbeds MemoryLux

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium (5), Firm (7-8)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Aircell foam is contouring and breathable
  • Multiple firmness options to choose from
  • Quilted pillow top with gel-infused foam
$1,599 See Discount Price
Winkbeds MemoryLux

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium (5), Firm (7-8)

Cocoon Chill

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Phase change material cover dissipates heat
  • Two firmness options
  • Provides pressure point relief
$930 See Discount Price
Cocoon Chill

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6)

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium (5)

Why We Recommend It:

  • Motion isolating memory foam
  • Absorbs and relieves pressure
  • Free white glove delivery
$2,199 See Discount Price
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium (5)

Product Details

Casper

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers under 200 pounds
  • People who like the contouring feel of memory foam but tend to sleep hot
  • Couples who prioritize motion isolation
Casper

The Casper mattress has zoned support under the shoulders and hips, which keeps the spine aligned. This is especially beneficial for side sleepers, as these areas press more into the mattress.

The top layer of open-cell polyfoam dissipates heat with its breathable construction, which is ideal for side sleepers who tend to sleep hot. Beneath the polyfoam is a layer of high-density memory foam that adds durability to the mattress while contouring to the shape of the body and relieving pressure points. Having memory foam as the second layer provides conforming benefits without restricted airflow. Zoned transition foam promotes proper spinal alignment with firmer foam at the hips, and softer foam under the shoulders and legs. This prevents the hips from sinking in too much and knocking the spine out of alignment. It also cradles the legs. The thick polyfoam support base reinforces the comfort layers and offers consistent and even support.

The medium firmness of the Casper mattress is best for side sleepers who weigh less than 200 pounds. The foam comfort layers relieve pressure on the shoulders and prevent aches and pains. The mattress also offers full-body support, though heavy sleepers may find they sink more deeply into the mattress. For couples, the all-foam construction prevents motion transfer and reduces sleep disturbances.

Casper offers a 100-night sleep trial for the Casper mattress, along with a 10-year limited warranty. The mattress is also available in a hybrid construction, which incorporates innerspring coils and enhanced edge support.

Read Our Full Casper Mattress Review

Layla

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers who tend to sleep hot
  • People who want to be able to choose between soft and firm
  • Sleepers who like the hug of memory foam but need added support
Layla

For people who are still deciding what firmness level is right for them, the Layla mattress offers the opportunity to try two firmness options in one. The reversible design is soft on one side and firm on the other.

Both sides have a cooling cover infused with Thermogel and a comfort layer of copper gel memory foam. Copper dissipates heat and acts as an antimicrobial layer. On the soft side, this gel memory foam is three inches thick, offering a plush feel and variable support for deep compression areas. For side sleepers, this means the hips and shoulders are properly supported. Beneath this comfort layer is two inches of max airflow support foam, which includes deep channeling for air circulation and temperature regulation. The support foam is zoned for added support beneath pressure points. The support core of the Layla mattress minimizes motion transfer and bounce, so people who share the bed should not be disturbed by their partner’s movements. The firm side includes a thinner layer of the copper gel memory foam, which is firm and supportive with the same cooling benefits. This layer also offers variable support for the hips and shoulders.

Side sleepers who are under 200 pounds may prefer the softer side of the Layla mattress, while heavier sleepers will likely benefit more from the firm side. The memory foam on both sides relieves pressure points and contours to the shape of the body. The support core helps keep the spine aligned.

Layla backs the mattress with a lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and manufacturing. The mattress also comes with a 120-night sleep trial.

Nolah Original

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers who do not want to sink too deeply into their mattress
  • People who like to sit or sleep on the edge of the bed
  • Those who want to support a charitable cause
Nolah Original

The Nolah mattress is a foam mattress made without memory foam. Since it is made without traditional memory foam, there is better air circulation around the body and less of a feeling of sinking into the mattress too deeply. This mattress was designed with side sleepers in mind, and offers pressure point relief for the hips and shoulders.

The viscose cover of the Nolah mattress wicks away moisture, while the top layer of AirFoam relieves pressure points and supports the shoulders and hips. Compared to traditional memory foam, Nolah’s AirFoam has air bubbles throughout the foam that dissipate heat and cool the mattress. A transition layer of high resilience foam adds support and bounce to the mattress. This layer also prevents sagging over time. The high-density polyfoam base reinforces the Nolah mattress and improves edge support along the perimeter. This is ideal for people who share the bed, or those who tend to sleep or sit on the edge of the mattress, as it offers consistent support.

The medium firmness of the Nolah mattress prevents the feeling of sinking in. The mattress offers ample back support while still contouring closely to the shape of the body. This puts less pressure on the hips and backs, reducing aches and pains for side sleepers. The all-foam construction also minimizes motion transfer.

As an added benefit, Nolah donates to wildlife protection organizations with each mattress purchase. The company offers a 120-night sleep trial with a mandatory 30-night break-in period. The mattress is also backed by a 15-year warranty.

Nectar

Who it's best for:
  • People who want a high-quality mattress, but are shopping on a budget
  • Side sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds
  • Those who want a contouring mattress with a medium firm feel
Nectar

The Nectar mattress is constructed with high-quality materials at an affordable price point, making this mattress an ideal choice for anyone shopping on a budget. The foam construction relieves back pain and cushions pressure points for side sleepers.

The Tencel cover of the Nectar mattress wicks away moisture, while the gel-infused memory foam distributes body heat and weight. A three-inch layer of adaptive hi-core memory foam offers additional support and prevents the feeling of sinking in that is commonly associated with memory foam mattresses. The polyfoam base layer stabilizes the mattress. The foam layers result in top-notch motion isolation and pressure point relief.

Since the Nectar mattress is medium firm, it is best for people who weigh more than 130 pounds. With contouring foam that doesn’t sink in too deeply, the Nectar mattress has good air circulation and does not retain heat.

Nectar offers a generous 365-night sleep trial, giving you a full year to try out the mattress. The mattress is also covered by a lifetime warranty. For the first 10 years, Nectar will replace a defective mattress at no cost. After the first 10 years, they will repair or replace the mattress with a $50 shipping charge each way. This charge is waived if the mattress has a defect.

Read Our Full Nectar Mattress Review

Bear Hybrid

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers who sleep hot
  • People of all body types and weights
  • People who sleep near the edge of the bed
Bear Hybrid

The Bear Hybrid mattress combines elements of foam and innerspring mattresses. The medium firm feel of the Bear mattress is ideal for side sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds. While the comfort layers contour to the shape of the body, the mattress does not hug the body too closely or sink in too deeply. The responsive layers support the body while relieving pressure points.

The cover of the mattress is quilted with Celliant fibers, which regulates temperature and promotes muscle recovery and healthy oxygen levels. The hypersoft cooling gel foam draws heat away from the body, keeping side sleepers who tend to sleep hot comfortable. A layer of adaptive comfort foam responds to pressure points and keeps the spine aligned. Differentiated support in the mattress ensures that the hips and shoulders do not sink in too far. Responsive transition foam adds airflow throughout the mattress and cushions pressure points. The Quantum Edge coil system prevents sagging throughout the mattress while providing consistent support. The perimeter of this base layer is reinforced, and the edge support is ideal for people who sleep or sit on the edge of the bed. Each layer of the Bear Hybrid mattress helps keep the mattress temperature neutral and prevents heat retention.

The Bear Hybrid mattress is competitively priced for a luxury hybrid mattress. Bear offers a 100-night sleep trial with a 30-day break-in period. The mattress is also covered by a 20-year limited warranty.

Loom & Leaf

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers of all weights
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
  • People who want easy mattress set-up and old mattress removal
Loom & Leaf

The Loom and Leaf mattress is made with environmentally friendly memory foam and an organic cotton cover. This durable mattress relieves pressure points and ensures proper spinal alignment for side sleepers.

The quilted organic cotton cover has a flame retardant layer of natural thistle. Cooling spinal gel foam supports the lumbar region and prevents back pain for side sleepers. This layer also helps draw heat away from the body. The layer of eco-friendly memory foam contours and relieves pressure, while off-gassing less than traditional memory foam. Multiple layers of breathable support foam offer deeper contouring and standout motion isolation. The high-density foam increases the durability of the mattress.

The Loom and Leaf mattress is available in two firmness options: Relaxed Firm, and Firm. The Relaxed Firm option has a medium firm feel that balances comfort and support in a way that is ideal for sleepers under 200 pounds. The Firm option offers additional support for heavier sleepers and those who prefer the feeling of sleeping on top of the mattress, rather than in it.

Loom and Leaf offers free white glove delivery and old mattress removal, making the delivery and set-up process hassle-free. The mattress includes a 120-night sleep trial and 15-year non-prorated warranty. Loom and Leaf also offers a Fairness Replacement option with the warranty, where you can choose to keep your mattress and purchase a new one at a reduced price.

Helix Midnight

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds
  • People who want a mattress with more bounce
  • Those who tend to sleep hot
Helix Midnight

The Helix Midnight mattress was designed specifically with side sleepers in mind. Comfort layers of memory foam lessen shoulder and back pain for side sleepers by relieving pressure points and keeping the spine aligned.

The breathable cover of the Helix mattress increases airflow throughout the mattress and prevents heat retention. A layer of Memory Plus foam relieves undue pressure on the shoulders and hips, while a second layer of high-grade polyfoam offers ergonomic support and cushion in these areas. The foam layers of the Helix mattress have different densities in order to provide the best relief and support for side sleepers. Individually wrapped coils in the support base minimize motion transfer and circulate air. This layer gently contours to the shape of your body. The coil base has a reinforced perimeter, which increases the sleepable surface area of the bed and prevents sagging along the edges. A bottom layer of DuraDense foam enhances the support and durability of the Helix mattress.

The Helix Midnight mattress has a medium firm feel with impressive pressure point relief. The Memory Plus foam contours closely to the body, cushioning high-impact areas and preventing aches and pains.

Helix gives you 100 nights to try out the Midnight mattress, with a 30-day break-in period. The mattress is covered by a 10-year warranty, though the customer is responsible for shipping costs. In the event of a defect, Helix will reimburse up to $100 in shipping charges.

Winkbeds MemoryLux

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers with back or shoulder pain
  • Those who tend to sleep hot/li>
  • Couples who share the bed and prioritize motion isolation
Winkbeds MemoryLux

The WinkBed MemoryLux mattress has targeted zones that relieve shoulder and back pain, align joints, and cushion pressure points. This makes it one of the best hybrid mattresses for side sleepers.

The Tencel cover of the MemoryLux mattress is tufted with two inches of gel-infused polyfoam that wicks moisture and heat away from the body. Beneath the cover is a layer of patented AirCell memory foam with an open-cell structure. The air capsules within this foam absorb shock and reduce motion transfer, while dissipating heat and reducing pressure on the shoulders and hips. A layer progression foam has five zones with varying degrees of firmness. The firmer foam supports the lumbar region and hips, while softer foam cushions the shoulders and legs. The support base of Atlas Core foam resists sagging over time and increases the durability of the mattress.

The WinkBed Memory Lux is available in three firmness levels: Soft, Medium, and Firm. The Medium firmness is ideal for side sleepers between 130 and 200 pounds, while the softer option is best for lighter sleepers. Those who weigh more than 200 may prefer the Firm option. All three options have standout pressure point relief for side sleepers. The MemoryLux mattress also isolates motion well, so people who share the bed shouldn’t be disturbed by their partner’s movements.

WinkBed offers a 120-night sleep trial with a 30-day break-in period. The mattress is covered by a lifetime warranty, though the customer is responsible for return shipping costs unless a defect is found.

Cocoon Chill

Who it's best for:
  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Side sleepers under 200 pounds who want to choose their firmness level
  • Those who value motion isolation
Cocoon Chill

The Cocoon by Sealy Chill mattress has multiple layers of foam that cushion pressure points and keep the spine aligned. There are two firmness options to choose from, Medium Soft or Extra Firm, which can accommodate sleepers of most body types and preferences. The Medium Soft option is best for sleepers under 200 pounds who need extra cushioning, while the Extra Firm option is better for heavier sleepers.

This mattress is also ideal for side sleepers who tend to sleep hot, as the cover is made with a phase change material that absorbs and dissipates heat. A comfort layer of Perfect Fit memory foam relieves pressure points by adapting to the shape of the body. The personalized comfort layer is either medium soft or firm, depending on which firmness option you choose. Essential support layers are made with heavier foam. This adds resilience and durability to the Chill mattress.

The all-foam construction of the Chill mattress offers impressive motion isolation, and the mattress is silent when bearing weight. This reduces the likelihood of sleep disturbances throughout the night, especially if you share the bed or are prone to changing positions.

Sealy has a longstanding reputation in the mattress industry. The Cocoon Chill mattress includes a 100-night sleep trial, with a 10-year limited warranty.

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers of all body types
  • People who share the bed and are prone to tossing or turning
  • Those who want easy set-up and old mattress removal
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

Tempur-Pedic has an established reputation as the first company to introduce the use of memory foam in mattresses. The TEMPUR foam is a proprietary blend initially developed by NASA that absorbs and relieves pressure. This helps keep the spine aligned for side sleepers. The foam is also more resilient than generic memory foam, and returns to its original shape more quickly. This prevents deep impressions and sagging over time.

The Tempur-Pedic Adapt mattress has a cooling cover that offsets heat retention. The TEMPUR-ES comfort layer is soft and supportive. This layer evenly distributes body weight and contours to the shape of the body. A support layer of original TEMPUR memory foam  offers personalized comfort and responsive support. The polyfoam support base adds durability to the mattress.

The medium firm feel of the Adapt mattress relieves pressure points and prevents shoulder and back pain. The foam layers isolate motion exceptionally well, so those who share the bed are less likely to disturb their partners as they change positions or get in and out of bed.

Tempur-Pedic offers free white glove delivery and mattress removal. The 90-day sleep trial has a mandatory 30-day break-in period. If you decide the mattress is not right for you, there is a $175 return shipping fee. The Tempur-Pedic Adapt mattress is backed by a 10-year warranty.

 

How Sleeping on Your Side Affects Sleep

 

Sleeping on your side is highly regarded within the medical community, and its benefits are compelling. Not only does side sleeping open your airways and reduce snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea, but it may also improve brain health and help prevent certain neurological issues. For people with heartburn, and especially for pregnant women, sleeping on your left side has been shown to reduce acid reflux. This sleeping position is also best for keeping your spine aligned, though there are measures you should take to ensure your body and spine get the proper support when sleeping on your side. Putting too much pressure on your neck, shoulders, and back can result in aches and pains.

Spine Alignment

When the spine is aligned, it is in a straight, neutral position. If the spine is misaligned during sleep, this can result in back pain and other issues. Though side sleeping is the least likely position to exacerbate spinal pain and other symptoms, there are still precautions that should be taken to ensure the spine is aligned as you sleep.

A contouring mattress responds proportionately to pressure points, cushioning the hips and shoulders. This helps keep the spine in neutral alignment. Side sleepers who maintain a symmetrical position are less likely to have back pain. This means sleeping on your side with your legs stretched out, and a higher loft pillow underneath your head. To keep your hips square, you may choose to sleep with a thinner pillow between your knees. The neck is part of the spine, so it is also important to keep your neck supported and resist tucking in your chin. These measures will help your spine maintain a neutral position.

Side Sleepers With Shoulder Pain

Since side sleepers put pressure on one shoulder as they sleep, they are more likely to experience pain on the side that they sleep on. The added weight on the shoulder, especially if the mattress does not offer enough cushioning or contouring support, can result in neck and shoulder pain. Those who sleep on their side are also more likely to push one shoulder up towards their neck, which causes the spine to be misaligned.

Purchasing a mattress with the right firmness is an essential step towards reducing shoulder pain for side sleepers. It is also important to keep in mind your weight, as lighter people will not press into the mattress as much, and heavier people will put more pressure on the mattress. The mattress should cushion the shoulder and prevent it from sinking in too deeply, or not enough. The right pillow can also make a difference. The loft of the pillow should be high enough to keep your head and neck in line, and help prevent your shoulder from pushing up towards your neck.

Side Sleepers With Back Problems

For side sleepers with back problems, the right mattress can make all the difference. If a mattress does not contour to the shape of the body and provide ample support, this can cause a misalignment in the joints and the spine. As a result, your muscles can’t relax and have to work overtime to keep everything aligned. A contouring mattress, on the other hand, keeps the spine aligned and relieves joint pain. This keeps the hips and shoulders aligned as well. Some mattresses also have customized support for the lumbar region.

The simplest way to determine if your back pain is caused by your mattress is to pay attention to your back pain throughout the day. If you wake up with back pain that subsides or lessens as the day goes on, your mattress is likely the culprit. The best mattress for side sleepers will provide a flat, even surface without any sagging or indentations. A responsive material, like memory foam, will cushion pressure points and keep the spine aligned. The mattress should provide full-body support to prevent back pain.

 

Which Mattress Firmness is Best for Side Sleepers?

 

Mattress firmness is a subjective measure of comfort, so whether you choose a soft or firm mattress for sleeping on your side will depend on several factors. Mattresses are usually rated on a firmness scale of 1 to 10, or extremely soft to extremely firm. Medium soft to medium firm mattresses are most common.

For side sleepers, mattress firmness determines how cushioned the pressure points are. It affects how much the shoulders and hips sink into the mattress, which helps keep the spine aligned. A comfortable mattress will alleviate aches and pains.

There are a few factors to consider when deciding on mattress firmness, including personal preferences, body weight, and mattress type. Heavier people press deeper into the mattress, so the same mattress may feel different to people depending on their weight and body type. The comfort layers affect the firmness and feel of the mattress. Memory foam conforms closely to the shape of the body, while latex offers gentle contouring with more bounce. Innerspring coils can add firmness to a mattress. Of the several types of mattresses available, each has benefits and drawbacks for side sleepers.

 

Which Type of Mattress is Best for Side Sleepers?

 

The best mattress for side sleepers will offer consistent support and contouring comfort. Most mattresses fall into one of the following categories. These are the most common mattress types on the market today, and understanding the difference between each type is key to determining which mattress is right for you. Though specific mattress models will vary in materials, construction, and unique features, there are commonalities within each category that will help you decide what type of mattress best suits your needs.

 

Hybrid

Definition: A hybrid mattress has an innerspring support system with thick comfort layers of memory foam or latex. Combining elements of these different types of mattresses into a hybrid design maximizes the benefits of each, with fewer drawbacks. A hybrid mattress may include a transition layer of polyfoam or micro coils beneath the foam comfort layers. The base of innerspring coils adds airflow and support to the mattress.
Highlight: Contouring support with temperature regulation. Since a hybrid mattress has substantial comfort layers, it tends to provide contouring support that relieves pressure points and keeps the spine aligned. While an all-foam mattress can restrict airflow and retain heat, a hybrid mattress typically has better temperature regulation due to the innerspring coils. For side sleepers, this means conforming comfort without overheating.

Innerspring

Definition: An innerspring mattress has a support base of steel coils, with thin comfort layers of fiber or foam. This traditional mattress style is minimalistic and offers less contouring than a hybrid or foam mattress. Widely available and easily recognizable, innerspring mattresses also tend to be affordable.
Highlight: Enhanced edge support. The steel coil support base of an innerspring mattress can be reinforced for better edge support. This increases the supportive surface area of the bed, ensuring side sleepers who sleep near the edge of the bed experience consistent support. It also prevents sagging along the edges over time.

 

Latex

Definition: A latex mattress is constructed with latex comfort layers and a latex support base. This type of mattress is most often made with natural latex, which is manufactured with sap harvested from rubber trees. The sap is then processed with the Dunlop or Talalay method. Dunlop latex is dense and durable, while Talalay latex is lighter and softer. Synthetic latex can also be used; this type of latex is made with petrochemicals.
Highlight: Responsive. Latex gently contours to the shape of your body, alleviating pressure points while preventing the feeling of sinking in too deeply. For side sleepers, this reduces shoulder and back pain. There is also more airflow around the body and better temperature regulation.

 

Airbed

Definition: In an airbed mattress, the support comes from internal rubber chambers that are inflatable. The firmness is adjustable by filling the chambers with air, or removing air as needed. Airbed mattresses are often remote-controlled or can be paired with a smartphone app. The built-in pump adjusts the chambers to your preference. This type of mattress usually has comfort layers of foam, latex, wool or other fibers.
Highlight: Customizable Firmness. For side sleepers who are unsure of what their preferred firmness level is, or for those who find their needs change, an airbed mattress offers customizable firmness. Some airbed mattresses include two air chambers, so people who share the bed and have different preferences can adjust their sides individually. Certain models even include adjustability for different parts of the body. For side sleepers, this can mean adjusting the firmness under the shoulders and hips to keep the spine aligned.

 

Foam

Definition: A foam mattress has comfort layers and a support base of foam. The comfort system is often made with memory foam layers, and can include traditional viscoelastic memory foam, open-cell foam, or gel-infused foam. The support base is usually constructed with high-density polyfoam for added support and durability.
Highlight: Cushions pressure points. Memory foam contours closely to the body, responding to pressure and cushioning areas like the hips and shoulders. For side sleepers, this promotes proper spinal alignment and reduces aches and pains.

 

Accessories Important For Sleeping on Your Side

A mattress that offers full-body support and contouring is the most important purchase for side sleepers. Further customizing the mattress with sleep accessories, including pillows and mattress toppers, can make side sleeping more comfortable. Pillows ensure the head and neck are aligned, while mattress toppers can change the comfort system of the bed. Understanding what to look for in these sleep accessories is important for both comfort and support.

 

Pillows

When sleeping on your side, a pillow for your head is necessary for spinal alignment. A medium or high loft pillow should lift your head enough to keep both your head and neck aligned with your spine. This relieves pressure on the neck and shoulders. The following table outlines the ideal pillow loft based on sleeping position.

 

Sleeping Position Pillow Loft Recommended
Back Medium
Side Medium or High
Stomach Low

 

In addition to having a comfortable pillow under your head, knee pillows (or regular pillows) can be used to further customize your sleeping position and alleviate aches and pains. Side sleepers will benefit from drawing their legs up slightly toward their chest, and placing a pillow between their knees. This helps keep the hips square and spine aligned.

Mattress Toppers

A mattress topper is a comfort layer that sits on top of your existing mattress. Toppers are usually made with memory foam, latex, or other common comfort layer materials. Adding a thicker comfort layer to your current mattress can increase the level of contouring and pressure point relief your mattress provides. This helps to alleviate back and joint pain.

Selecting a memory foam mattress topper gives you the chance to try out this material without committing to a new memory foam mattress. While you will not experience the full advantages of a memory foam mattress from just a topper, it is less expensive than purchasing an all-new mattress. It can also be a stepping stone to buying a new mattress if you decide you like the material.

Before purchasing a mattress topper, be sure to evaluate the current condition of your mattress. A mattress topper will enhance the comfort of a mattress, but it will not offer support or fix a broken mattress. If your mattress is sagging or unsupportive, it is time for an all-new mattress.

 

What Mattress Features Are Important For Side Sleepers?

 

Due to added pressure put on the shoulders and hips, there are special considerations that side sleepers should keep in mind when shopping for a mattress. Mattress companies can often use misleading terminology, or exaggerate some of the benefits of unique features. The following factors are the most important to consider when shopping for a new mattress.

  • Mattress Type: Each mattress type has pros and cons, but for side sleepers, it is important that the mattress offers contouring and full-body support. The type of mattress you purchase determines other key components, including temperature regulation, motion isolation, and pressure point relief. Understanding your priorities and preferences will help you select the right mattress type.
  • Contouring: How a mattress responds to pressure and conforms to the shape of your body determines how well it contours. A contouring mattress keeps the spine aligned and cushions pressure points, which are essential factors for side sleepers.
  • Quality Materials: The quality of materials used directly affects the durability of a mattress. While high-quality materials can be more expensive, they often increase the lifespan of a mattress and make it a more valuable investment. Cheaper materials can break down more quickly and offer less support over time.
  • Firmness Level: While this is a subjective measure of comfort, side sleepers need a balance of soft cushioning for the shoulders and hips and support to keep the spine aligned. Consider your personal preferences and weight as well, as these can affect which firmness level will provide the most comfort and support.
  • Pressure Relief: Side sleeping puts pressure on the shoulders and hips. Contouring materials like memory foam and latex relieve pressure points and prevent shoulder and back pain for side sleepers.