Our Picks For The Best Mattress For Side Sleepers
Last Updated: February, 2021
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In your search for the best mattress for side sleepers, you'll probably encounter a certain problem over and over again. Unfortunately, it seems like most mattresses are designed for stomach or back sleepers because those seem to be the most popular sleep positions.
If you’re looking for the best mattress for side sleepers, we’ve tested a range of the most popular ones so you can be well informed before making your investment. These mattresses are built for side sleepers and they’re extremely comfortable.
According to our tests, the best mattress for side sleepers, by far, is the Nolah Signature 12 Inch mattress. It's super soft and designed specifically for side sleepers. Keep reading to find the right mattresses for side sleepers that can truly deliver a good night's sleep.
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7 Best Mattress For Side Sleepers - Types & Reviews
Nolah Signature 12 Inch Mattress
An all-foam mattress that comes with dual firmness so you can pick and choose which side you favor. You'll love the medium responding foam that doesn't sink too much.
If you love memory foam but hate how hot it gets, the Idle Hybrid's Buoyancy Foam will give you a similar feel minus the heat. It reliefs hip and shoulder pain very effectively and helps the side sleepers to have a good night's sleep.
Haven Boutique Mattress
Haven calls this mattress America’s thickest luxury mattress and we have to agree. Its many layers offer really effective shoulders and hips pressure relief for side sleepers.
Layla Hybrid Mattress
Most memory foam retains a lot of heat but not the Layla Hybrid mattress. We love how cool it feels plus it has strong edge support too.
Nolah Original 10”
If you’re looking for a mattress that will be supportive, cooling, and pressure-relieving, you can’t go wrong with the Nolah Original, which we found to be a great for a good night’s sleep.
PlushBeds Cool Bliss
There’s no better option for a cooling mattress than the Cool Bliss Luxury Memory Foam Mattress. Made to sleep cool and isolate motion, this is a great mattress for sleeping with partners or for switching positions throughout the night.
Puffy Lux Mattress
The Puffy Lux Mattress is made in the United States and comes with a lifetime warranty. You also get 101 nights to try it out before deciding whether you like it or not.
What We Like
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Nolah has claimed that their mattresses are great for side sleepers, but this one was our favorite of all their options. It is indeed best for side sleepers and provides spinal support and pressure relief, just the same as mattresses for stomach or back sleepers.
This all-foam mattress isn’t just any foam mattress. One side is firm but when you flip it over, you’ll find a softer side. This is great if you're deciding between a soft and firm mattress because you can technically have both. Of course, not at once, but you can try both sides before deciding and won’t have to worry about paying for a mattress you won’t find comfortable. We will warn you now that the two sides are pretty different, so it’s likely you’ll like one side and not the other.
Both sides have memory foam at the top with one side having 1” and the other having 2.5”. We love how the memory foam isn’t slow sinking, but also won’t respond so quickly that you feel like you are sinking. It’s a great medium responding foam that will give you the slow sensation of melting around you, but without feeling stuck.
As this side sleeper mattress is an all-foam mattress, we don’t recommend it for people that typically sleep hot. Memory foam in particular tends to trap heat and have poor airflow.
Nolah mattresses are CertiPUR-US standard to ensure you aren’t exposed to potentially harmful gasses or chemicals. The mattresses are made using a petroleum-based foam, but because Nolah has certified all their mattresses and products, you can rest assured they’re still safe.
Even if you’re still a little wary about the mattress or maybe the price is really putting you off, you can still try this mattress free of charge. Nolah offers a 120 day sleep trial and free returns so you can be sure your choice is the right one for side sleepers.
2. Idle Hybrid
What We Like
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Idle offers another flippable mattress that’s great for side sleepers. It provides medium firm and luxury firm mattresses so you can decide just how firm or soft you want it. Unlike Nolah, however, it has three options when purchasing. You can opt to buy a mattress with medium firm support on both sides, one with luxury firmness on both sides, or one that has medium firm feel on one side and luxury firm on the other.
We love the pocketed coils that are individually encased to prevent motion transfer. This design also allows for better airflow and thanks to the added Thermocool fabric, we find that it sleeps cooler than most foam mattresses.
The mattress uses Buoyancy Foam to provide a similar sensation to that or memory foam without being so hot. It’s a comfortable and responsive mattress that provides great pressure relief and support for any type of sleeping position, even side sleepers. We love how the Buoyancy Foam also makes it easy to move around the mattress without disturbing your partner.
Idle offers a fantastic sleep trial and warranty. The lifetime warranty will take care of most potential problems and you won’t have to worry about returns or shipping costs as Idle provides both services free of charge. As for the sleep trial, instead of just 120 days like most mattress companies, Idle offers an 18 month sleep trial and financing options to make the mattress more affordable.
Overall, we'll say that this long lasting mattress is a great investment. If you purchase the option with both sides of the same firmness, your mattress will last twice as long by allowing you to wear out both sides before needing to replace it.
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What We Like
What We Don't Like
Haven is a top of the line mattress producer located in South Carolina, known for their long trial and return periods, and high quality and innovative mattresses. The company also has a strong focus on their environmental impact and strives to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible which they achieve through their zero carbon-emission manufacturing protocols.
According to Haven, this mattress is America’s thickest luxury mattress, and at 14 inches, we have had a hard time finding another luxury mattress whose thickness compares. These 14 inches provide not only the comfort and support necessary for side sleepers, but also the space to fit the seven layers which make up this mattress.
Let's take a look at its layers. The first layer, at the top of the mattress, is a replaceable mattress cover that is made from a combination of gel and buoyancy foam that feels luxurious to the touch.
The second layer is meant to prevent sweating through the night which is often the reason for poor sleep. We love how this layer is made from breathable cooling foam that will work to regulate your body’s temperature. The 3rd and 7th layer are for fireproofing, but unlike fireproof layers in other mattresses, Haven’s luxury fireproof cloth is not made from any harmful materials or chemicals.
The fourth, fifth and sixth layers are respectively; a 2 inch gel infused buoyancy layer, a 3 inch memory foam layer and an 8 inch high density foam base. These three deeper layers work together to provide the ultimate comfort, support and pressure relief so that us side sleepers don’t have to endure any more days of sore necks, backs, shoulders, joints or muscles anymore. Finally the last layer is a washable base cover intended to keep the mattress fresh, clean and new-feeling even through many years of use.
We love the amount of design and thought that has gone into crafting the ideal mattress for the best support for us side sleepers.
We also love Haven’s Boutique mattress since it works with just about every bed foundation, including box springs and platforms, making it an accessible model for most people. The mattress comes in every size from twin to cal-king and with its vibration and motion absorbing design, it is perfect for sleeping with alone or with a partner. We found this mattress to be medium firm, which is great because it provides the stable support of a firm mattress with the comfort of a softer mattress.
One thing to note is that the Haven Boutique mattress, although quite firm, is softer along the edges and sides. This may be a downside for those who enjoy sleeping on the far edges of their bed but are still looking for the firm support of the rest of the mattress.
What We Like
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Layla’s Hybrid mattress is certainly a worthy competitor to Haven’s, offering an alternative for those who prefer a bit of a softer mattress. The reason this mattress is considered a “hybrid” is because it is actually flippable, offering two different firmness for sleepers to choose from.
As mentioned above, Layla’s Hybrid mattress can actually be flipped. In this case, the last layer would become the first. The first layer of this hybrid mattress is a super soft, breathable cover that sits around a 4-5/10 for firmness. The second layer is a 2.5-inch copper gel memory foam intended to keep you cool, offer pressure relief, and add to the first layer's softness.
The third layer is a firmer 2-inch poly foam layer which is meant to keep you from sinking too far into the previous two layers’ soft foam by adding some additional support. The fourth and middle layer is a 6”, individually-wrapped, pocketed coil layer which provides buoyancy, helps with motion control, and prevents sagging even with years of use.
Finally, since this mattress is reversible, the fifth, sixth and seventh layers essentially reflect the first, second and third layers, just with different widths to provide different firmness. One thing we really love with the Layla Hybrid is how it has a medium cool feeling to it. Most memory foam mattresses make you feel hot and uncomfortable through the night but thankfully, the Layla Hybrid has managed to address this problem.
Overall, the Layla memory foam mattress is a versatile mattress that comes in a variety of sizes and is designed to absorb motion and vibrations, making it an excellent option for those who move a lot in their sleep or sleep with a partner. The mattress has extremely good edge support, with a double coil edged 4th layer, to prevent sagging along the ends and support those who sleep on the edges or have trouble pushing themselves out of bed. Both sides offer excellent heat-relief for those who sweat while they sleep.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
This mattress is often called one of the best mattresses for side sleepers.
The pressure relief on this Nolah Original is what makes it so great for side sleepers. You won’t feel your bones hitting any part of your bedframe when you lie down, thanks to the soft 10 inches of foam beneath you.
Place this mattress down on any type of bedframe to sleep comfortably, including a box spring, platform, slatted base, foundation, or any other option you have. With the comfortable foam, this mattress has been proven to provide 4 times less pressure on your shoulders and hips. It helps that the foam is completely temperature neutral as well. If you sleep hot, you have 2 inches of air foam to keep you cool rather than your traditional memory foam mattresses.
Don’t forget about the other layers to this mattress either. You also have an inch of deep supportive high resilience foam, which is made to be durable and to provide you with a responsive bounce when you lie down at night. Then, of course, you have 7 inches of high-density breathable base foam, which is meant to reinforce the layers on top and to keep the mattress durable for years to come.
This mattress by Nolah is one of the best for side sleepers, thanks to the superior pressure relief. You’ll be sleeping on a firm foundation while relaxing on a more comfortable top that is made to form to your body type.
Speaking of body type though, this type of mattress doesn’t necessarily work as well for heavier people. Heavier people will need a thicker and more supportive mattress for their back, hips and shoulders, perhaps one which incorporates some pocketed coils for comfort. We found that this Nolah mattress was best for medium-sized to petite individuals, who won’t sink too much into the foam, but who can still feel the support.
When we tested this mattress out, we did sink just a little bit into the foam. That’s the foam that will cushion your shoulders and hips, but even though we sank a bit, it was very comfortable. That’s because this mattress is a sort of medium firmness, which makes it perfect for combo sleepers, or if you have a partner that prefers to sleep on their back rather than their side. On a firmness scale, we would rank this maybe as about a 5.
We love the soft cover on top. Not only does it help with keeping the mattress cool throughout the night, but it feels good to lie on top of. It helps that all that foam helps stop too much movement too, so you won’t be woken up if your partner gets up in the middle of the night.
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What We Like
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Don’t forget about the Luxury Memory Foam Mattress from Cool Bliss, which, as the name suggests, is made to keep you cool throughout the night. It includes 5 comfort layers that are made to work together for lots of cooling and a great night’s sleep. This is thanks to their patented memory foam that is made to improve airflow, dissipate heat, and make you sleep cool at night. If you notice that you tend to sleep warmer, you really can’t go wrong with the Cool Bliss mattress.
It’s not only about coolness though. The Cool Bliss is unique thanks to the pressure-relief that comes from the memory foam—made completely of natural latex, so it won’t smell like chemicals. This foam is high-density to prevent sagging, but don’t worry about it being too dense like some other memory foam options. We found that the foam was actually quite relaxing, and with the layer of cooling gel, as well as the cooling cover, it wasn’t difficult to sleep dry for the entire night.
Thanks to the comfortable foam, you’ll notice that both side sleepers and back sleepers can sleep well. If you share a bed with another type of sleeper, you two won’t need to worry about having different preferences.
If you don’t mind having a mattress that you really sink into, then you especially won’t mind this cooling mattress. Now, sinking doesn’t mean that your mattress isn’t supportive, but not everyone likes the feeling of so much foam underneath them. Well, you definitely have a lot of foam with this mattress, since it includes the combination of gel foam to keep you cool, natural latex, and layers of airy foam to ensure that your back, shoulders, and sides feel comfortable for the entire night.
We certainly found that this cooling mattress was relaxing. The sink wasn’t too bothersome, and it didn’t feel like we were getting stuck in the mattress. Actually, the mattress had a good amount of bounce to it, which made it perfect for those of us who switched from back to side sleeper position throughout the night. It really does feel cool too, and doesn’t transfer motion well—so you can sleep comfortably with your partner or pet on the cooler sleeping cover.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
If you want a luxurious night’s sleep for side sleepers, the Puffy Lux mattress is a fantastic option. That is because it is designed with four layers of foam, each playing an important role in your night’s sleep. The total thickness is 12 inch - all crafted with the purpose of relieving your back pain, giving good motion isolation and relieving pressure points.
The base layer is six inches of HD polyfoam, with a two- inch layer of firmer poly foam on top of that. There is then a two- inch layer of Dual Cloud foam for contouring, and a top layer of two- inch gel memory foam. This is known as Cooling Cloud foam, helping to regulate temperature and keep you from overheating.
The mattress is removed in a stain resistant polyester blend cover, which is able to be removed and washed. The cover meets the Oeko-Tex standard, and is 100 certified. The cover and mattress are also completely hypoallergenic. You can place this mattress on any surface, even folding it to work on a moving bed.
Winner of the Best Mattress of 2021 award, the company strives to go beyond just being another mattress company. That is because they donate with every sale of a mattress to a child in need of a mattress. They are also entirely made in the United States, and they provide you with a lifetime warranty.
Once you get your mattress, it is easy to set up and you get 101 nights to try out the mattress before you make a full decision. If you don’t like it, you have a money back guarantee but we doubt you will want to sleep on much else ever again.
Overall, our verdict is that if you prefer a firmer support for your back pain for example, then the Puffy Lux might not suffice. Go for the Puffy Lux if you favor a softer, luxurious feel.
Side sleepers will love how soft this mattress is. As a side sleeper, you need a softer mattress, but if you go for a memory foam mattress, you still need solid support. When you opt for a hybrid mattress for side sleepers, you get a little more leeway.
Effects of Side Positioning to your Sleep
Side sleepers are often prone to back and side pain. A side sleeper puts all of their weight on on side of their body, so side sleepers need to invest more in their sleep health, and getting a mattress for side sleepers is a good start. Here's some of the effects that side sleepers often have to deal with.
Being side sleepers may mean experiencing aches and pains in your hips and shoulders, if you do not have the proper mattress support. That is why it is important to go with a mattress for side sleepers that is both soft and supportive, and will cushion your hips and shoulders. You need to have a great pillow as well and it is recommended you sleep with a pillow between your lower legs.
Less Acid Reflux
It has been a proven study that sleeping on your left side helps to reduce acid reflux symptoms. If you have suffered from acid reflux, or are prone to occasional heartburn, sleeping on your left side will greatly help your symptoms. This is actually a good thing for side sleepers, since side sleepers will have an advantage in fighting acid reflux.
Side sleepers are also much less likely to deal with snoring. If you are a snorer, or live with a snorer, you have probably heard the recommendation of rolling to the side to stop snoring. Your left side is also more beneficial when it comes to stopping snoring. Side sleepers may often experience less snoring overall.
Less Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea and snoring both are caused by problems with your airway. Being side sleepers and sleeping on a mattress for side sleepers opens up your airways more, allowing better breathing. If you suffer from sleep apnea, this sleeping position will better help you to prevent attacks.
Better Heart Health
Studies have also indicated that those who sleep on their side have better heart health. This is possibly due to the greater access of air and the alignment of your body. Side sleepers actually get a good benefit from their sleep style, but if you're not one of the side sleepers already, there are some benefits to trying to sleep that way.
How to Choose the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
To help ensure you get the best night’s sleep as side sleepers, you need to make sure your mattress for side sleepers meets certain specifications.
- Best mattress for stomach sleepers
- Best mattress for back sleepers
- Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers
You want to choose something that will provide you with both a long- term return on your investment, and will avoid harmful items. It is recommended that side sleepers avoid an innerspring mattress for side sleepers, and aim more towards high quality memory foam. This will avoid poking and unnecessary complications. Memory foam has come a long way since it started. Most memory foam mattresses today aren't actually memory foam, they're a hybrid memory foam that makes improvements. With a propriety memory foam alternative, instead of traditional memory foam, you eliminate some of the feeling of being trapped, and excess heat retention that memory foam is known for.
When it comes to the side sleeping and finding the best mattresses for side sleepers, you want to pay attention to the firmness of your mattress, regardless of if its hybrid or memory foam mattresses for side sleepers. Avoid going with firm or very firm mattresses that will give you very little give and cushioning. You need to choose softer mattresses for side sleepers that will provide more cushioning that will cradle your body and contour to your frame. Do not go too soft though, or you can end up with more aches and shoulder pain from poor alignment.
Pressure relief is absolutely key when it comes to side sleeping and finding the best mattress for side sleepers. You need to look for something that contours to your body, while providing relief at pressure points. It's no secret that side sleepers often suffer from back pain as well as pain in the hips and shoulders. Looking for the right mattress for side sleepers will provide proper spine alignment to prevent new shoulder pain and back pain, while cradling the more sensitive areas like hips and shoulders.
Heat regulation is important because you want to find a mattress that does not absorb heat for side sleeping. Unfortunately, a lot of memory foam mattress do trap heat. To tackle this issue, you need to look for materials like cooling gel or breathable foam to help keep you from overheating while sleeping.
Sleep Trial Period
The sleep trial period is important when purchasing a mattress for side sleeping ecause it allows you to really get a sense of whether or not the mattress will be right for you. Look for a sleep trial period that is at least thirty days long and remember, the longer the sleep trial, the better.
Don’t settle for another poor night’s sleep again if you're prone to side sleeping. By choosing the best mattress for side sleepers, you can get a great night’s sleep and get the pressure relief and support your body needs. As side sleepers, we tend to have more pressure on our shoulders and hips so getting a medium firm mattress that can deliver the right support will be good for you. The best mattresses for side sleeping will help relieve hip and back pain. The best mattresses for side sleepers can either be a hybrid or memory foam.
Courtney is the reason The Sleep Shop exists. She’s a Seattle native with a passion for healthy sleep. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a major in marketing. She started The Sleep Shop to help friends and family choose a good mattress, and helped grow the site to what it is today. She does most of the product testing and reviews.