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Best Mattress for Side Sleepers: 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Lara Vargas

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There are a number of mattress companies who claim to have the best mattress for side sleepers. Many side sleepers may be unaware that the type of mattress they choose will greatly influence whether or not they can get a good night’s sleep and wake up without any muscle pain.

When deciding on the best mattress to buy, it’s important to consider sensitive pressure points and neutral spinal alignment, along with the natural curves of the body. After all, these are the things that will cause discomfort if not properly addressed. There are, of course, beds that are completely wrong for side sleepers and should be avoided for those who prefer this sleep position.

Here, we will discuss which mattresses are the best and worst choices for side sleepers along with the health benefits of side sleeping.

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

MattressHighlightsPrice
BEST SOFT MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERSAmerisleep AS4
The AS4Amerisleep
Features pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam and advanced zoned support technologies to eliminate back pain.
$1259Buy Now
BEST MEDIUM MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS Zoma Sports Mattress Designed to help athletes sleep better and recover quicker; features state-of-the-art sleep-enhancing technologies.
BEST BOUNCY MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS Zoma Hybrid Mattress Cutting-edge sleep technologies and recovery-focused foams promote deep, uninterrupted sleep.
BEST BUDGET MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS Vaya Mattress
Vaya Vaya
Budget-friendly mattress option with breathable and contouring foams to ease hip pain while keeping you cool.
Nolah Original 10 Inch Mattress
NolahOriginal 10”
Responsive foam layers contour to the body without leaving it feeling stuck.
$1019
Purple Mattress
PurplePurple Mattress
Special Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ layer evenly distributes weight while offering pressure point relief.
$999
Bear Mattress
BearBear Mattress
Layers of foam provide balanced pressure relief and support.
$840
Alexander Signature Hybrid Mattress
Nest BeddingAlexander
Signature Hybrid
Gel and copper-infused memory foams relieve pressure and regulate temperature by pulling heat away from the body.
$1299

Best Soft Mattress for Side Sleepers: Amerisleep AS4

Amerisleep AS4 BEST SOFT MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
Amerisleep AS4

The AS4 contains pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam and sleep-enhancing technologies to properly support side sleepers. Plus, it comes with a lengthy 20-year warranty, giving you the most for your money.

Take 30% off the Amerisleep AS4

With code AS30

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • Bio-Pur®'s advanced open-cell foam makes it easier for heat to be carried away from the sleeper.
  • Thick Bio-Pur® made with plant-derived material for a "greener" mattress.
  • Side sleepers "float" on the mattress thanks to its weightless pressure relief.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers looking for a plush mattress with conforming pressure relief.
  • Side sleepers looking for an affordable and eco-friendly memory foam mattress.
  • Side sleepers looking for a bed protected by an extensive warranty.

Our top mattress, the Amerisleep’s AS4, is classified as a medium-soft mattress, meaning it provides plenty of cushion for the shoulders and hips. And because this mattress has additional, targeted support, you’ll get comfortable sleep without feeling “stuck.” With over 14,000 user reviews, Amerisleep’s products have a 4.7-star rating out of 5 stars.

The AS4 is 12 inches thick and has a relatively simple design—3 layers of foam offer a blend of pressure relief and support to ease discomfort while side sleeping.

The cover of the AS4 is a soft, breathable fabric to keep air circulating around the bed so you never wake up hot. It is also removable and washable to help preserve the life of the mattress.

Amerisleep’s AS4 provides a weightless sleep experience, something many side sleepers can benefit from, through the use of Bio-Pur® and HIVE® technology. Bio-Pur® is Amerisleep’s plant-based memory foam. While it’s contouring and pressure-relieving, it’s also quite responsive because it’s made with memory foam. It’ll allow the hips and shoulders to sink enough to relieve tension, but the responsiveness of this layer won’t allow for uncomfortable sinkage.

The HIVE® technology in the Affinity transition layer below reinforces Bio-Pur® to relieve pressure under the shoulders and hips while maintaining healthy alignment. HIVE® offers extra support for the head, torso, and feet to prevent your spine from dipping out of alignment.

HIVE® reacts to your body’s changing positions, evenly supporting your weight and relieving pressure points. This layer makes you feel like you’re as light as a feather. This feature alone makes this a great mattress for side sleepers avoiding hip, back, or shoulder pains.

At the base of the bed is a sturdy Bio-Core® foam to offer structural support. Thanks to the Bio-Core® layer, this mattress won’t sag even after you’ve slept on it for decades.

Amerisleep’s warranty is one of the longest in the mattress industry with the most coverage, covering sagging ¾ of an inch or deeper. Their warranty is split into two parts, with the second part being prorated.

First 10 years: Amerisleep replaces the mattress, at no cost to the customer, if the mattress has any defects.

Second 10 years: During the second half of the warranty, the mattress will be replaced at a reduced cost. This cost is prorated and is determined by the length of time the mattress has been in your ownership.

You can try the mattress out for 100 nights in your own home. Any time during the sleep trial, you can call them to initiate a pick-up and get a full refund. You don’t have to pay a restocking or shipping fee.

Best Medium Mattress for Side Sleepers: Zoma Mattress

Zoma BEST MEDIUM MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
Zoma Mattress

Engineered for athletes, Zoma’s design perfectly supports side sleeping. Featuring state-of-the-art Triangulex™ technology, this bed offers unbeatable back support while still providing exceptional pressure relief.

Take $150 off the Zoma Mattress

With code WIN150

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • Gel memory foam wicks heat away, while the breathable cover promotes airflow.
  • Triangular cutouts contour deeply to the legs and hips, relieving a side sleeper's sensitive areas.
  • All three foam layers are certified by CertiPUR-US®.
Recommended for...
  • Physically active side sleepers who want to experience deeper recovery.
  • Hot side sleepers looking for a cooling memory foam mattress.

Next up is the Zoma Mattress, a memory foam mattress for athletes. Even if you don’t lead an active lifestyle, you can still take advantage of Zoma’s sleep-enhancing benefits.

The Zoma Mattress is perfect for side sleepers due to its Triangulex™ technology. Within the top layer of Zoma, this technology offers dynamic support for your back, shoulders, and hips. Around your midsection, Triangulex™ feels firmer and offers extra lumbar support. However, under your shoulders and hips, this technology contains triangle-shaped cutouts to allow for deeper compression and pressure relief on those major joints.

Triangulex™ technology keeps your spine in line with the rest of your body while you sleep on your side. It also prevents pressure points from forming under your shoulders and hips.

Let’s talk about the rest of Zoma Mattress’s construction.

The Zoma Mattress contains three layers: a top layer of gel-infused memory foam (where the Triangulex™ technology is), a transition layer of Reactiv™, and a solid Support+ base.

When you lie on the Zoma Mattress, the top layer of cushioning memory foam contours to your body to alleviate pressure points and offer instant comfort. The gel within the foam combats body heat to keep you at a comfortable temperature. Triangulex™ comes into play offering zoned spinal support.

The second layer of the Zoma Mattress is proprietary Reactiv™, a latex-like poly-foam. Reactiv™ is designed to be more responsive than memory foam, so it boosts the bed’s bounciness and prevents uncomfortable (and unhealthy) sinkage in the mattress. This layer works in tandem with the Triangulex™ technology to ensure proper spinal alignment.

The third and final layer of the Zoma Mattress is durable Support+, a poly-foam. Support+ reinforces the two layers above and prevents premature sagging or deterioration.

Zoma backs each of their beds with 10 years of warranty coverage. If your bed develops a sag or indentation greater than ¾ of an inch, Zoma will repair or replace your mattress for you free of charge.

Every Zoma bed comes with a 100-night sleep trial. If you’re dissatisfied with it, simply contact Zoma’s customer service team and they’ll arrange for your mattress to be picked up and donated and then issue you a full refund.

Best Bouncy Mattress for Side Sleepers: Zoma Hybrid

zoma hybrid BEST BOUNCY MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
Zoma Hybrid

Side sleepers often struggle to find a bouncy mattress that cushions sensitive joints. With the Zoma Hybrid’s focus on recovery, the buoyant bed can help put a spring in your step the next day.

Take $150 off the Zoma Hybrid

With code WIN150

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • Mattress keeps cool from top to bottom, with a gel foam top layer and airy coil support.
  • Pocketed coils prevent motion transfer, absorbing movement at the point of impact.
  • Firm foam base helps the coils stand tall after years of use.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers searching for a mattress that prepares them for a demanding lifestyle.
  • Side sleepers interested in a bouncy innerspring mattress.
  • Side sleepers who want to share a mattress with a partner.

The Zoma Hybrid is the bouncy counterpart to the Zoma Mattress, perfect for side sleepers who want a responsive bed. The bed features the same sleep technology and restorative features that made the original Zoma great.

The Zoma Hybrid also has Triangulex™ technology in its top layer of gel memory foam. As we mentioned earlier, the triangular cutouts of Triangulex™ softens the bed under your shoulders and legs. These areas are spots where pressure points often build up, which the extra cushioning prevents. The back area remains firm for more support.

Next is the Reactiv™ layer, a springy foam that keeps you from sinking in too deeply. When you sink too much into a mattress, the spine slips out of neutral alignment, causing back pain. Reactiv™ lifts you for a comfortable night’s rest.

The last two layers make up the support core. A Zoma Hybrid is kept structured by a pocketed coil layer on a firm foam base. Pocket coils keep motion from transferring, preventing sleep disturbances.

Every Zoma Hybrid comes with a 10-year warranty. Should your mattress sag beyond ¾ of an inch because of a defect, your warranty guarantees a free repair or replacement.

You have 100 nights to sleep on a Zoma Hybrid and see if its a comfortable fit for you. Should you decide not to keep the bed, returns are simple. Zoma will pick up your mattress and give you a full refund.

Best Bargain Mattress for Side Sleepers: Vaya Mattress

Vaya Mattress BEST BARGAIN MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
Vaya Mattress

Thick, plush mattresses for side sleeping don’t have to come at a high cost. The 12-inch Vaya Mattress stays affordable by arranging quality materials in a simple two-layer design.

Take $300 off the Vaya Mattress

With code VAYA300

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • Comfort foam has a light density, preventing heat retention that can cause sweating.
  • Comfort foam cushions shoulders and hips, while the base foam supports a side sleeper's spine.
  • Vaya's two foam layers have met the CertiPUR-US® safety standards for certification.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers shopping on a restricted budget.
  • People who are primarily side sleepers but may occasionally sleep in another position.

For side sleepers on a budget, the Vaya Mattress is the perfect fit. At only $599 for a queen size, the Vaya can help side sleepers get peaceful sleep without putting too much of a dent in your bank account.

The Vaya is designed for universal firmness and is medium in feel, but we love it for side sleepers because it has a 3-inch thick comfort layer to cushion the shoulders and hips. Apart from its 3-inch comfort layer, the Vaya also has a 9-inch base layer. Put together, the mattress measures 12 inches tall.

Vaya Sleep only makes and sells one mattress, and since they’re based online, they offer a 100-night sleep trial and free returns with every purchase. If the Vaya isn’t a fit for you, they’ll arrange a free mattress pick-up and give you your money back.

While many are attracted to Vaya’s affordable price, what we really love about this mattress is its unique feel. Proprietary Vaya Foams blend the benefits of both memory foam and latex to contour to your body while feeling buoyant and responsive. Instead of sinking or feeling “trapped” in Vaya Foams, you’ll sleep “on top of” the mattress and be able to change sleeping positions freely.

Every Vaya Mattress comes with a 10-year warranty covering manufacturing defects and sags greater than .75 inches thick.

Vaya offers a risk-free, 100-night sleep trial with every purchase, meaning returns are free if you’re dissatisfied with the bed.

Nolah Original 10

nolah original 10" NOLAH ORIGINAL 10
Nolah Original 10

Side sleepers who don’t want a traditional memory foam bed may want to try Nolah’s original mattress, with a unique AirFoam™ comfort layer.

Best mattress features
  • Viscose cover and open-cell foam structure maintains a temperature-neutral sleep surface.
  • Responsive poly-foam keeps the spine supported and helps a sleeper move without getting stuck.
  • Nolah donates all returned mattresses to charity, minimizing landfill waste.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers looking for a mattress without memory foam that still conforms to the body.
  • Side sleepers who want a mattress backed by an above average warranty.

Nolah’s own AirFoam™ is an alternative to traditional memory foam. With an open-cell structure and plush feel, AirFoam™ contours to the body to relieve pressure in the hips and shoulders without side sleepers feeling stuck. Another special layer of poly-foam gives the Nolah Original 10 a responsive, plush sleep surface. Individuals weighing more than 230 pounds may find this mattress too soft and lacking in support.

The Nolah Original 10 mattress has 3 layers of foam: 2 inches of AirFoam™, 1 inch of polyfoam, and 7 inches of high-density base foam. The breathable viscose cover wicks away moisture for cooling and comfort.

A 15-year warranty ensures that Nolah will repair or replace the mattress if it’s sagging more than 1 inch, or if there’s any damage to the foam stemming from faulty craftsmanship. These defects are only covered if not caused through misuse by the customer. The cover is also covered under a 1-year warranty. Defects include loose or unraveling seams and a faulty zipper.

If you are not happy with the mattress, Nolah will send a driver to pick up the mattress and donate it to charity for a full refund, free of charge. Nolah only asks that customers keep the mattress for a minimum of 30 days to allow time for the body to adjust to the new mattress.

Original Purple®

purple mattress ORIGINAL PURPLE®
Original Purple®

The Original Purple® mattress cushions the heavier parts of a side sleeper while supporting their spine as well, thanks to its flexible Purple Grid™.

Best mattress features
  • The grid's squares act as air channels, enabling heat to escape from the mattress.
  • Grid flexes and conforms as a side sleeper lies down, cradling their hips and shoulders.
  • Purple's materials are quick to snap back into shape.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers interested in a conforming and cushioning mattress that isn't a memory foam bed.
  • Hot side sleepers looking for a cooling mattress.

Purple uses a special material called Hyper-Elastic polymer™. Its unique Purple Grid™ system contours to the body and relieves pressure. It also evenly distributes weight while remaining supportive.

The Original Purple mattress is 9.5 inches thick and consists of three layers: 2 inches of Hyper-Elastic polymer™, 3.5 inches of plush comfort polyfoam, and 4 inches of high-density polyfoam. It comes encased in a special polyester-blend Lycra® cover, which keeps the user cool all night long.

Purple offers customers a 10-year warranty— based on your claim, they will choose to either repair or replace the mattress free of charge. Customers are responsible for covering transportation and handling costs. Covered defects include sagging greater than 1 inch and cracks or splits in the foam not due to misuse. The zippered cover is under warranty for 2 years, covering faults in the material and workmanship not caused by improper use.

Purple requires its customers to keep the mattress for a minimum of 21 days to break it in. Afterwards, if customers are still not satisfied, Purple will schedule to pick up the mattress before issuing a full refund.

Bear Mattress

bear mattress BEAR MATTRESS
Bear Mattress

Side sleepers who live active, demanding lifestyles may benefit from sleeping on a Bear Mattress. The design can also help hot sleepers rest easier, thanks to the cool Celliant® cover and infused comfort foam.

Best mattress features
  • Graphite and gels disperse heat across the mattress, limiting night sweats.
  • Extra responsiveness will lift a side sleeper and make movements easier.
  • Resilient foam forms the mattress's base, structuring the bed for longevity.
Recommended for...
  • Athletic side sleepers.
  • Hot side sleepers looking for a cooling mattress.

Bear offers a mattress geared towards athletes and those with active lifestyles. Their Bear Mattress contains different layers of foam. This foam is infused with graphite and gel to improve muscle recovery by absorbing and dispersing body heat. The responsive transitional foam relieves pressure and provides balanced support, and the high-density foam base prevents sagging and provides long-lasting durability.

The Bear Mattress has a slight bounce and is more responsive than traditional memory foam beds. While this mattress won’t restrict movement, it has excellent motion isolation.

Defects warrantied by Bear include sagging greater than 1 inch and any physical flaw to cause splitting or cracking in the foam not caused by misuse. Bear will repair or replace the mattress for free, but handling and transportation fees need to be covered by the customer. The outer cover is warrantied for 1 year— during that year, Bear will replace the cover in case of faults in the material or workmanship not caused by misuse.

Bear provides customers with a 100-night sleep trial. It’s mandatory for customers to try the mattress for at least 30 days. If, after this period of time, the customer is not happy with the mattress, Bear will arrange to have it picked up for a full refund.

Nest Alexander Hybrid

nest bedding alexander signature hybrid NEST ALEXANDER HYBRID
Nest Alexander Hybrid

Nest sells this hybrid in plush, medium, or luxury firm feels. We recommend the medium or plush feel for side sleepers, depending on their support needs.

Best mattress features
  • Gel and copper infusions wick heat away from a side sleeper.
  • Pocketed coils support a sleeper and react independently for easier movement.
  • Copper infusion eliminates potential harmful microbes for a cleaner mattress.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers interested in a medium feel mattress they can share with a partner.
  • Side sleepers who want a soft and bouncy mattress.

The Nest Alexander Hybrid mattress comes in three firmness options— plush, medium, and luxury firm, but for side sleepers, we recommend the medium. The medium feel offers the perfect blend of comfort and support, although plush can be a good option for a side sleeper interested in a soft mattress.

Pocket coils provide stability and extra edge support to the bed, while conforming layers of gel and copper-infused memory foam relieve pressure points by cradling the body.

Standing at 13.5 inches thick, the Nest Alexander Hybrid mattress contains 1.5 inches each of gel memory foam, TitanChill Endurance Foam™, and copper-infused Energex foam. Support layers include 8 inches of pocketed coils and a 1-inch base layer foam. The cover incorporates a special phase-change, quilted material for a breathable, plush sleep surface.

The lifetime warranty lasts for as long as the original purchaser owns the mattress. Nest will cover sagging greater than 1 inch, any manufacturing flaws in the zipper cover, and any physical flaw in the cover construction not caused by improper use.

The 100-night sleep trial starts the day of delivery. Nest asks customers to hold onto the mattress for a break in period of 30 days before they’ll accept return requests.

Why Is It Hard Finding the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers?

Many people may have heard a firm mattress is better for support. This is simply not true for side sleepers. Back sleepers benefit more from a firm mattress because their body weight is evenly distributed across the bed.

Pressure Points and Joint Pain

Pressure points are centered in the hip and shoulder areas for side sleepers. Pressure is created from a large amount of weight bearing down on a resisting surface.

Extra pressure can cause discomfort in your joints, too. For those who have pre-existing joint pain, such as arthritis-sufferers, look for a mattress that offers some cushioning comfort to relieve tension.

Hip and Shoulder Pain

Sleeping on a too hard or too soft mattress can trigger hip and shoulder pain, by creating pressure points. A medium mattress can help reduce the pressure and ensure a comfortable sleep experience.

Neck Pain

Neck pain for a side sleeper usually means the wrong type of pillow. Side sleepers need a pillow that cradles the head and neck, while aligning the spine. A pillow with a high or low loft throws the spine out of alignment. A medium loft pillow will work best for side sleepers.

Back Pain

A too soft or too firm mattress can cause back pain, because of the lack of proper support. Without the right amount of support, the spinal alignment is thrown off, and increased amounts of pressure and strain is placed on the body.

When it comes to side sleepers, it’s a different story.

Side sleepers often feel the most pressure in the hips and shoulders.Most average-sized side sleepers prefer soft to medium firm mattresses. If side sleepers experience pain, it’s likely their pillow may be too low or the mattress is causing shoulder pain.

Another myth is side sleepers should sleep on an extremely soft mattress. This is not true either. If the bed is too soft, then it provides absolutely no support. The body is instead subjected to an awkward slumping position that causes aches and pains. This is why side sleepers benefit most when their mattress has a balance of support and softness.

Side Sleeper Mattress Quality: A Breakdown

The quality of your mattress can make or break your sleep quality, too. A mattress with poor support can cause pressure points to become sore. Misaligned joints will become stiff.

To avoid potential pain, a side sleeper will need a mattress that will contour to their side. This is the reason why a softer mattress is needed. A softer mattress allows the sleeper to sink down into the mattress, causing the e materials to form to the body’s curves.

In case you were wondering which firmness is right for you, below you’ll find a quick reference to start from based on your body weight.

  • Less than 130 pounds: Need a medium-soft to a soft mattress
  • 130-230 pounds: Need a medium to a medium-firm mattress
  • 230 pounds and above: Need a medium-firm to a firm mattress

Best Mattress Types for Side Sleepers

Memory Foam Mattresses

Lots of side sleepers prefer memory foam mattresses. The right kind of foam mattress can provide a mix of support and cushion needed to minimize your pressure points, align your spine, and give you an overall solid night’s sleep. Traditional memory foam is dense and may run the risk of causing sleepers to overheat at night. But, since there are all kinds of memory foam found in mattresses on the market, here’s a quick overview of the best types for side sleepers.

Plant-based Memory Foam Mattresses

Plant-based memory foam can provide an excellent night’s sleep to side sleepers. Castor oil partially replaces the petroleum, resulting in a lighter, open-cell structure for better air circulation with less off-gassing odor. This is perfect for the side sleeper who wants to promote safe and environmentally-conscious choices.

Many plant-based mattresses also offer extra cooling qualities.

Gel Memory Foam Mattresses

Some sleepers are discouraged by the idea of memory foam mattresses because they get too hot during the night. If you tend to sweat or get overly hot in your sleep, a gel-infused memory foam mattress may be a good fit for you. These mattresses are designed to lower the heat of the mattress by absorbing body heat and dispersing it into the air, regulating temperature and keeping sleepers cool.

Latex Mattresses

Latex is a popular choice for many side sleepers. It has an ideal mix of support and cushioning to be both comfortable and supportive, keeping your body properly aligned. It can also regulate body temperature.

They hold their shape for a long time, too— latex beds are some of the most durable mattress types, with some models lasting for up to 15 years.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are a fairly new option that could be a boon to side sleepers, especially if they are sharing a bed. With customizable options, these mattresses are formulated to specifically fit a sleeper’s body and preferences. What’s more, some brands let you customize each side of the bed differently, meaning couples won’t need to compromise on a mattress that doesn’t fit one of them.

The Worst Mattresses for Side Sleepers

There are a number of beds side sleepers should avoid. Waterbeds and innerspring mattresses do not provide the proper support side sleepers need. In short, any bed that contorts the body and provides too much firmness or too much sinkage will cause side sleepers to have stiff muscles, back and joint pain, and a restless night’s sleep.

Innerspring mattresses can cause uncomfortable support because the springs are not evenly holding up the body. They push up on the heaviest parts and don’t support the lumbar region.

Likewise, traditional waterbeds provide inadequate support since they don’t distribute weight evenly and may create a “hammocking” effect. A waterbed may be the worst type of bed for side sleepers due to its lack of firm support. Instead, side sleepers should consider latex or memory foam mattresses.

Other Factors to Consider

On top of the different types of mattresses ideal for side sleepers and taking into account the firmness level, potential buyers should also consider the cost, and if a mattress includes a sleep trial, warranty, and return policy. These factors can help you pinpoint the right mattress and protect your investment.

Price

Most mattresses worth buying cost around $1000 or more. At this price point, mattress companies can afford to put premium materials in the mattress instead of cutting corners by using cheap materials.

Sleep Trials, Warranties, and Return Policies

Sleeping Trial

These days, sleep trials are a must. Any mattress company worth its name wants you to be happy with your mattress. One of the ways the customer can ensure they are happy with their purchase is by allowing them to try it in the comfort of their own home.

The Editors of SavvySleeper suggest you buy a mattress with at least a 100-night sleep trial. This will give you plenty of time to try the mattress and decide if you like it. The trial period will also give you time to exchange your mattress for one that works better.

Warranty

Make sure to read the fine print of the warranty before you make the actual purchase. There are plenty of companies that say they have a 20-year warranty but only replace the mattress within the first couple of years. Being informed about the fine print may save you from making a bad purchase.

Return Policy

In case a sleep trial isn’t offered, a return policy is the next best feature to look for. Return policies usually last 30 days— a good amount of time for the body to adjust to a new mattress. Read the fine print to know the details on returning a mattress and issued refunds.

The Health Benefits of Side Sleeping

Sleep is one of the most important parts of our lives. During sleep, our body processes memories, releases hormones, and relaxes our muscles. The sleep we get affects our entire day, influencing our mood, focus, and hunger.

This, in turn, affects our weight and diet. The position we sleep in can make or break the overall quality of our sleep. It has a significant impact on how we carry ourselves in our waking hours.

While many doctors champion the benefits of sleeping on your back, this is not the most popular position. A 2012 study revealed only 10% of people sleep on their backs compared to 74% of people who sleep on their sides, making it by far the most popular sleeping position.

Health-wise, sleeping on your right side is often considered a very close second to sleeping on your back.

It offers unique benefits and is considered better than sleeping on your stomach. Here are some of the advantages of sleeping on your right side:

Reduction of Pain on Muscles and Joints

Some side sleepers find this is an ideal position for eliminating back pain. This is also a smarter choice for your spine and hips. If you sleep with your head, heart, and spine all in alignment, this promotes healthier joints and muscles.

Do your research to make sure you have the best mattress for sleeping on your side for back pain. You also have to make sure you are sleeping in the correct position. There are a few different ways to sleep on your side. It’s very common for side sleepers to slip into the fetal position at some point during the night, but it’s much better overall if you can keep your body in a straight line. This should help reduce your back pain.

Better Cardiovascular Health

Sleeping on your side may assist with improving your heart health. Gravity can guide drainage from the lymph nodes toward the heart and drive aortic circulation away from the heart. When your head, feet, and heart are all aligned, you are promoting strong blood circulation throughout your entire body.

Decreased Snoring

Much to the delight of people who sleep in the same room as snorers, the position you sleep in can actually make a big difference. Some doctors have recommended people sleep on their side if they suffer from chronic snoring or sleep apnea. When you sleep on your back, your tongue is more likely to block and constrict your breathing.

It creates the strained sound of snoring. Sleeping on your side keeps your airway more open and clear so you can breathe easier, thus reducing the volume of snoring. This works best if you keep your body straight than in a bent fetal position.

Which Side is Better?

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology focuses on the tie between heart health and sleeping position. “In summary, the present study demonstrates that patients with [congestive heart failure] tend to avoid the [left side] position during sleep and that this avoidance is related to the degree of left ventricular dilation, elevated filling pressure, and reduction in CO. These observations are in keeping with the concept that the [left side] position may exert deleterious effects on left ventricular filling pressure, CO, or cardiovascular autonomic function and that avoiding it may be a protective strategy.

In addition, discomfort arising from the perception of the enlarged apical beat against the left chest wall may promote avoidance of the [left side] position.”

Based on these reports, we recommend sleeping on your right side as the healthiest option for side sleepers.

Tips for Side Sleeping

Looking to get better sleep as a side sleeper or curious about how you can switch to side sleeping? We’ve got you covered. Here are some ways to make sure you’re getting the best night’s sleep as a side sleeper.

Give your body a good stretch as soon as you wake up. Since you might end up in the fetal position at some point during the night, it can help immensely if you bend your torso the opposite way to offset any potential soreness. Some studies estimate 41% of sleepers go with the fetal position.

Try placing a pillow between your knees while you sleep. This can relieve some pressure on your lower back and hips and allow for a straighter spine. It is recommended you use a thin pillow between your knees.

A thick one would create too much imbalance.

Keep your head centered between your shoulders. Don’t point your head either toward or away from your pillow. You also want to keep your upper body straight— if you twist your upper body, you risk putting undue strain on your spine and back.

Although side sleeping is recommended, sleeping on your side may not come naturally. If you need help adjusting to your side, there are a few methods you can take to ease the transition. Try putting a body pillow against your back to keep you from turning around.

What Is the Best Pillow for Side Sleepers?

Besides choosing the best bed for side sleepers, you also need to pick the best pillows. Side sleepers should get a pillow that is both firm and thick. One of the most common ailments faced by those who sleep on their sides is waking up with a sore neck.

Ideally, your spine should stay straight when you’re sleeping. This means you need something that can fill the space created by your shoulders between your head and the mattress.

If your pillow is either too full or too flat it isn’t supportive. This could create an excess of pressure on your upper spine, neck, and shoulders.

What Should I Do with My Arm?

If you’re a side sleeper, this can be one of the most frustrating things when trying to find a comfortable position: figuring out where to hold your arm when sleeping. One common position involves folding up your arm underneath your head, but this can cause problems. By bending your neck against the alignment of the spine, you are potentially causing pain to your back and neck.

It is recommended that you don’t sleep on your arm.

If you do sleep on your arm, you risk getting the unfortunate “dead hand” or “dead arm” feeling. This happens because you have restricted blood flow to your arm. It could also be a factor if your shoulders are stiff in the mornings.

Try to sleep with your arms either at your sides or in front of you. This should minimize discomfort for your arms.

Converting to Side Sleeping

Switching your default sleeping position may sound challenging—  not unlike switching from right- to left-handed. However, if you are trying to switch from being a stomach sleeper or back sleeper to a side sleeper, there are some easy ways you can make the transition easier.

You can try adding a pillow under your armpit. Stomach sleeping is considered one of the most unhealthy sleeping positions, so this is a great stepping stone toward healthier sleep patterns. You’re replicating the feeling of sleeping on your stomach while reaping all the benefits of sleeping on your side.

Stomach sleepers looking to become side sleepers could be doing themselves a huge favor. When you sleep on your stomach, you put a lot of pressure on your neck and back, which can cause long-term problems. It can also worsen your quality of sleep.

If you find yourself waking up multiple times during the night as a stomach sleeper, consider converting to a different sleeping position so you can sleep through the night.

To become even more proficient at side sleeping, try sleeping on a small couch for a short amount of time. The narrower it is, the better. By limiting your space, you force yourself to adapt to a new sleeping position.

Once you master the ability of side sleeping, you’ll be able to fall asleep on couches and other spaces when you don’t have access to your trusty bed.

Another slightly more unconventional method involves sewing a tennis ball into the front or back of one of your sleeping shirts. This may sound odd, but there is a good reason for doing this if you’re trying to convert to side sleeping. With the ball on either your chest or back, it will create discomfort if you try to move outside of the side sleeping position.

Eventually, you will have trained yourself to stay in a sideways-facing direction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are body pillows a good choice for side sleepers?

Yes— some side sleepers may prefer a body pillow if they like to snuggle or want one large pillow to place between the knees and then another for the head. Body pillows are a great option for both side sleepers and pregnant women.

If I suffer from shoulder pain, should I still sleep on my side?

While sleeping on your side can help alleviate pain, some medical conditions may worsen in this position. If you’re not sure, speak with your doctor for clarification. They may suggest a different sleep position, like back sleeping, or a way to maneuver your shoulder to prevent worsening pain.

How firm should a mattress be for a side sleeper?

Not too firm! As we discussed above, a medium firmness or softer seems ideal for most side sleepers. If too firm, you’ll feel extra pressure on your shoulders and hips.

What is the best for side sleepers with back pain?

Because of its zoned technology and pressure-relieving Bio-Pur® foam, we like the Amerisleep AS4 for side sleepers with back pain. Its four inches of memory foam is significant but because of its quality, it won’t lead to sagging or that uncomfortable “sinking in” feeling which can increase back pain.

Can I get a good mattress for side sleepers from a bed in a box company?

Not just a fad, bed in a box mattresses are here to stay. Companies have found how to take high-quality foam, compress it into a box, and make the entire mattress shopping experience more customer-friendly and more affordable. We recommend you consider from some of the more established bed in a box brands when looking for your new mattress.

Research Method

To write a quality and credible article, we considered over 28 leading mattress brands, read several dozen reviews and articles, and spent over 35 hours researching, writing, and editing.

Finding the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Side sleepers need to consider support and cushioning when shopping for a good mattress. \ The cushion is important because pressure points are quite vulnerable in this position. However, support must also be a priority because this position also makes people more susceptible to shoulder and hip pain if there is not enough firmness in the mattress to hold up the body evenly.

The ideal mattress for side sleepers takes both of these factors into account. That’s why we recommend the Amerisleep AS4 as the best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain, which offers a medium-soft firmness level to accommodate side sleepers and anyone transitioning from their current back or stomach sleeping habits to sleeping on their side.

If you sleep in a particular way like a lot of people, it’s important to find a bed you can use comfortably. Doing research to find the best mattress for sleeping on your side, in particular, needs some special consideration. At the end of the day, it’s still your comfort that matters.

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Comments (17) Leave a comment

  • I am/was a side sleeper. I spent $3,000.00 on a Serta iComfort about 5 years ago. I have residual aches and pains from a couple of car accidents. The icomfort has never been a miraculous solution to my pain. However during the past 12 to 24 months the pain I suffer from sleeping on the icomfort mattress has become unbearable.

    I suffer bilateral shoulder point pain, bilateral collar bone pain at both ends of those bones. I suffer bilateral hip pressure point tenderness and lumbar pain. It takes about an hour for the pain to subside after I get out of bed. The sleep I get is unrestful.

    I stopped sleeping in my icomfort bed because I could no longer stand the pain. Since December I have been sleeping in my Lazy-boy chair instead of suffering through the night in the icomfort bed. My wife is very angry that I don’t come up to our bed however the pain of sleeping in the icomfort bed is worse than my wife’s anger because I don’t sleep with her.

    Does anyone have any helpful suggestions.

  • Thank you for the article. Can you recommend some foam and or latex mattresses that I can start my search with for a side sleeper? I am starting my search this weekend and I guess I will be spending some time laying around the stores. I am determined not to purchase without serious research as this will probably by my last high dollar mattress purchase of my life and I am determined that it will be right the first time. Thank you in advance.

  • I don’t know if all of this is necessarily true for everyone. I slept on innerspring mattresses for many years and found that those mattresses were more comfortable than the one with several inches of memory foam that I’m sleeping in now. I was actually more able to sleep on my side before. Maybe it’s because I have a fatter pillow and so it strains my neck when my shoulders sink into the mattress, but I think that rather than belueving 100% in this “side sleepers should always avoid…” you should pick a mattress that works for you

    • Same here! I have found relief with a coil spring mattress/ a great Serta pillow top and I too am a side sleeper, so guess It just depends in the type of coil springs. 🙂

      When I spend night at my beau’s house, my shoulder hurts In the morning. We are both side sleepers.

  • I have awful pain hips and leg. Anything pressings on my hips kill me. Right now i am sleeping in agony. Older mattress with a topper 4″. When i first got the foam topper it was fine for two years i bought it at Costco. Can’t find another to replace it. They are all two soft and i sag in the bed. I need a new mattress but i am so afraid my body will hurt. I’m so afraid of buying the wrong mattress. Please help

    • I have found that pure foam makes my hip points hurt.. I am looking at Sears leola … 850 springs + foam….. but am shopping around still trying to learn.. I gave slept so well at hotels.. want to duplicate those nights.

  • I would also be interested in a couple brands of latex mattresses as I am a side sleeper as well. I do sleep on my back some but mostly side.

    Thank you!

  • I’m a side sleeper but also sometimes sleep on back or belly. I have the worst shoulder pain you could think of and I’m just realising this could be resulting from aping mattress. What mattress type would you suggest for mostly side sleeper but also sleeps on back and belly.ant thanks

  • I get a squishing feeling between my hip bone and lower rib when I sleep on my side… I have a Hastens Auroria Medium mattress….

  • Purchased a Chattman&Wells White Diamond mattress almost a year ago, I find it to be not to comfortable espically my hip aches me I am a side sleeper, and I wake up during the nite to try to get halfway comfortable,please advice what would be a good comfortable mattress for me,I am older

  • Great info and so helpful! I was so overwhelmed after mattress shopping. I am currently on a luxury plush euro top Sterns & Foster and I can’t take it anymore! The dips in the bed make me feel like I’m sleeping in a canoe and I wake up with the worst aches and pains! I have narrowed my liking down to a hybrid and of course a Tempurpedic but I’m having a hard time reasoning paying over $4,000 for a mattress. Can you please share your thoughts. I really need a good night’s sleep! Thank you!

  • Can you tell me in your opinion couple of the best or most comfortable memory foam or latex mattress set I can buy. I am a side sleeper. I read your above information about side sleepers and it is so helpful. I am confused by so many different brands. If you would send me a few brands you might think are real comfortable I would appreciate it so much. I just need advise on where to get started looking. I have been looking at different types of mattresses and it is so very confusing to know which brands to look at. Thanks so much!

  • thanks for the info in what type of mattress is best for side sleeper I also sometimes sleep on my stomach but never on my back can you recommend the best serta icomfort as well as the best tempurpedic ? thankjs bob gum

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