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Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers: Buyer’s Guide

Malena Piper

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There are few things as inviting as throwing yourself onto your bed at the end of a long day, rolling to your side, and drifting off to sleep. Even better is throwing yourself onto a bed with a soft and supportive mattress topper.

A mattress topper is a thick layer of material placed on top of your mattress for added cushion and support. While it can improve sleep quality for just about anyone, a mattress topper is especially beneficial for side sleepers.

If you sleep on your side (along with more than 60% of people), you probably know how hard it can be to find the best mattress for your sleep needs.

A too-firm sleeping surface tends to prop up your shoulders and hips, causing your torso to curve awkwardly down to the bed. A surface too soft may not provide enough support. It can leave you sinking into the surface and falling into an unnatural position.

What’s a side sleeper to do? Use a mattress topper. The extra layer can soften up a hard mattress or add the necessary support to one which yields a bit too much.

This article will help you find the most comfortable mattress topper for side sleepers. You’ll also learn which features to look for when choosing the right mattress topper for you.

Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers

TopperHighlightsPrice
BEST SOFT MATTRESS TOPPER FOR SIDE SLEEPERSAmerisleep Lift Mattress TopperAvailable as a soft Comfort pad or a firm Support pad. Both options feature zoned support.
BEST MEDIUM MATTRESS TOPPER FOR SIDE SLEEPERSZoma Balance PadSpringy Reactiv™ foam features equal amounts of responsive support and cushion.
Best Price 4 Inch Memory Foam Topper
Best Price4-Inch Memory
Foam Topper
Infused with a green tea extract to reduce off-gassing and promote restful sleep.
$124.27
SleepJoy 3-Inch ViscO2 Ventilated Memory Foam Topper
SleepJoy3-Inch Memory
Foam Topper
Treated with MicroSafe® antimicrobial treatment to keep you sleeping germ-free.
$109.99
Pure Green 3 Inch 100 Percent Natural Latex
Pure Green100% Natural
Latex Topper
Made with organic latex and certified by Oeko-Tex®, ecoInstitut, GREENGUARD, and LGA.
$199
Isolus 2.5 Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam
Isolus2.5-Inch
Ventilated Gel
Memory Foam
Gel-infused memory foam combats body heat and keeps you sleeping comfortably.
$299
Langria 3 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam
Langira3-Inch Gel
Infused Memory
Foam
CertiPUR-US® certified and hypoallergenic.
$159.99

Best Soft Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers: Amerisleep Lift

lift amerisleep mattress topper BEST SOFT MATTRESS TOPPER FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
Lift by Amerisleep

Amerisleep offers two different firmnesses, the soft Comfort topper or the firm Support topper. Side sleepers will likely prefer a Comfort topper, though a Support topper can negate a mattress’s too-soft feel.

Best mattress topper features
  • Bio-Pur® foam in Comfort topper has an advanced open-cell design encased in a breathable cover.
  • Support topper has Affinity foam with five zones of targeted support.
  • Castor oil is used to make Bio-Pur® for a more eco-friendly foam than traditional memory foam.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers who need more conforming cushion in their mattress.
  • Side sleepers who experience morning aches and pains, and want a more supportive mattress.

Our top recommendation is the Lift topper from Amerisleep, which comes in soft and firm options. Both the Comfort and Support toppers include HIVE® technology for targeted support and pressure relief.

There are five support zones for your head, shoulders, back, hips, and feet. The topper feels firmer under your head, back, and feet for support. The softer feel under your shoulders and hips offers more pressure relief.

The Comfort option features Amerisleep’s Bio-Pur® foam for extra cushion. Bio-Pur® is a cooler and more responsive material than traditional memory foam. The Support option features Amerisleep’s Affinity material, a firmer and more supportive material that still feels comfortable.

Every Lift topper is wrapped in a soft, breathable cover. The cover’s design prevents overheating and limits sleep disturbances. The topper’s base has MicroGrip® technology to prevent skidding.

A Lift topper includes a 5-year warranty as a guarantee of quality. Amerisleep will also ship the topper to you for free.

Best Medium Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers: Zoma Balance Pad

Zoma Balance Pad BEST MEDIUM MATTRESS TOPPER FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
Zoma Balance Pad

The medium feel of the Zoma Balance Pad makes it suitable not only for side sleepers, but also back and combination sleepers.

Best mattress topper features
  • Breathable cover lets airflow through to wick away heat.
  • Adaptable Reactiv™ foam makes it easy for a side sleeper to move and change position.
  • Non-skid fabric bottom keeps the topper in place without damaging the mattress.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers looking to even out a sagging mattress.
  • Side sleepers who need to soften up a too-firm mattress.
  • Side sleepers sharing the bed with a partner who has a different sleep style.

The Balance Pad is an excellent choice for most mattresses, regardless of whether it’s feeling too soft or too firm. The medium-feel topper features an equal blend of pressure-relieving cushion and buoyant support, thanks to its unique Reactiv™ foam.

Reactiv™ is a latex-like material that contours to your body, easing pressure points and isolating movements. No matter what your sleeping position is, Reactiv™ will respond with the perfect mix of support and comfort.

An airy cover encases the Reactiv™ core for excellent heat dispersion. The topper’s bottom has a non-skid design, so the Balance Pad will stay in place as you sleep.

A Zoma Balance Pad is 3 inches thick and comes in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes. All Zoma toppers come with free shipping.

Best Price 4-Inch Memory Foam Topper

best price 4-inch mattress topper BEST PRICE 4-INCH MEMORY FOAM TOPPER
Best Price 4-Inch Memory Foam Topper

This two-layer topper has a green tea infusion for a fresher feel, all encased in a zippered polyester mesh cover.

Best mattress topper features
  • Thick topper relieves pressure points while supporting the sleeper.
  • Removable and breathable polyester mesh cover.
  • The two-layer design allows the topper to offer conforming yet durable cushion.
Recommended for...
  • Sleepers looking for a thick, durable topper.
  • People sensitive to smells and interested in a soothing green tea fragrance.

Best Price packs a lot into its 4-inch mattress topper. To start, it offers a dual-layer construction — a 2.5-inch bottom of high-density foam, and a 1.5-inch top of memory foam. The mattress topper also comes with its own removable polyester mesh zippered cover.

By combining two types of foam, the mattress topper comfortably molds to the body, while still providing support for the pressure points. Furthermore, a special green tea extract is infused into the top memory foam layer. This thoughtful touch is intended to prevent off-gassing, reduce stress, and promote restful sleep.

Best Price is CertiPUR-US® certified, offers a 100-night risk-free trial, and has a five-year warranty.

SleepJoy 3-Inch ViscO2 Ventilated Memory Foam

SleepJoy 3-Inch ViscO2 Ventilated Memory Foam SLEEPJOY 3-INCH VISCO2 VENTILATED MEMORY FOAM
SleepJoy 3-Inch ViscO2 Ventilated Memory Foam

This ventilated foam topper is USA-made with plant-based materials. It undergoes a antimicrobial treatment to offer a cool and clean night’s rest.

Best mattress topper features
  • Three air channels ensure the mattress topper stays cool throughout the night.
  • Unique memory foam follows the body's curves for pressure relief.
  • MicroSafe® eliminates smells and keeps mold and mildew at bay.
Recommended for...
  • Allergy sensitive side sleepers who want a hypoallergenic topper.
  • People who live in humid climates at risk of mold growth.

SleepJoy offers numerous benefits to modern mattress technology. Its exclusive ViscO2 memory foam is made in the United States, using plant-based ingredients and an antimicrobial treatment called MicroSafe®. MicroSafe® neutralizes odors and prevents fungi, mildew, and mold.

The ViscO2 design features an open-cell construction with three air channels and up to five times the airflow of other memory foam mattresses. This provides increased breathability and a cooler, more refreshing sleep.

SleepJoy is CertiPUR-US® certified and offers a two-year warranty. The company doesn’t offer any trial period information.

Pure Green 3-Inch 100% Natural Latex

Pure Green 3-Inch 100% Natural Latex PURE GREEN 3-INCH 100% NATURAL LATEX
Pure Green 3-Inch 100% Natural Latex

As the name implies, this topper is free of synthetic fillers, creating a durable and eco-friendly latex sleep surface. Available in three firmnesses and three thicknesses.

Best mattress topper features
  • Oeko-Tex®, ecoInstitut, Greenguard Gold, and LGA certifications.
  • Thick 3-inch topper can cushion the heavier parts of a side sleeper's body.
  • Natural latex keeps cool even as it contours to a sleeper's body.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers looking for a natural mattress topper.
  • Side sleepers who need a soft or medium topper for their bed.

This mattress topper is made of 100% pure natural latex (made from rubber trees harvested in Sri Lanka), without any fillers or synthetic components. Natural latex has the advantage of being breathable, hypoallergenic, and long-lasting.

Although latex is a bit too firm for most side sleepers, Pure Green’s latex comes in soft, medium, and firm options. Mattress toppers are also available in 1-inch, 2-inch, and 3-inch thicknesses. Keep in mind: a 3-inch thick version may be the best mattress topper for side sleepers because it allows more room for compression.

The Pure Green mattress topper is certified by Oeko-Tex®, ecoInstitut, Greenguard Gold, and LGA. It comes with a 30-day return period and a five-year warranty.

Isolus 2.5-Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam

Isolus 2.5-Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam malouf ISOLUS 2.5 INCH VENTILATED GEL MEMORY FOAM
Isolus 2.5-Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam

This cooling topper has three features to maintain a consistent temperature—gel infusions, an airy construction, and small perforations for extra airflow.

Best mattress topper features
  • Pinhole design and gel infusion keep the topper's surface cool.
  • Hypoallergenic memory foam molds well to a side sleeper's body.
  • Bamboo-rayon cover is partly natural, and covers the CertiPUR-US® certified foam.
Recommended for...
  • Hot side sleepers searching for a cooling mattress topper.
  • Side sleepers comfortable with moving a heavier topper.

Most of Malouf’s mattress toppers are on the thinner side of the spectrum as they only have one 3-inch mattress topper. However, the brand is known for producing high-quality products.

Their memory foam has a gel-infusion, open-cell construction, and quilted “pin-core design” (small perforations) to form a triple cooling combination.

This mattress topper is a bit weighty (almost 20 pounds for a queen size) due to the added gel, and has been noted to have an odor when newly opened.

But after a little airing out, the mattress topper’s soft support and cooling surface are great for side sleepers who tend to sleep hot. It’s also hypoallergenic and comes with a 100% bamboo rayon removable cover.

Malouf is a Benefit Corporation, which is a type of for-profit business that has been certified to operate with the purpose of value creation, public benefit, and accountability. The foams they use in their products are CertiPUR-US® certified, ensuring their safety for sleepers of all ages. The company offers a 30-day return period (if the product is still in its original packaging), and a three-year warranty.

Langria 3-Inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam

Langria 3-Inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam LANGRIA 3-INCH GEL-INFUSED MEMORY FOAM
Langria 3-Inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam

This topper has a cool gel infusion, a bamboo cover, and a non-slip bottom to hold the topper in place.

Best mattress topper features
  • Gel beads with an open-cell design and bamboo cover promote a cool surface.
  • CertiPUR-US® certified foam fill with minor off-gassing, encased in bamboo fabric.
  • Mattress topper rolls up for easy storage.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers who want a topper that will stay in place throughout the night.
  • Hot sleepers who want a gel foam topper in a cooling bamboo cover.

A common complaint among mattress topper users is the layer consistently slides around on the bed. This is not only a nuisance, but it can also lead to improper support for the whole body if the mattress topper starts falling off the bed.

Thankfully, this isn’t an issue with Langria’s smart non-slip bottom design. While the mattress topper has a removable cover of hypoallergenic bamboo fabric, the bottom surface is a non-slip fabric to hold it in place.

Its memory foam has an open-cell construction with gel beads, which dissipates heat and keeps you cool as you sleep. An added feature is the mattress topper can easily be rolled up in case you want it transferred to another mattress or stored for later use.

Although Langria is CertiPUR-US® certified and doesn’t use flame retardants, lead-heavy metals, or other harmful chemicals, the company and several customers do mention there may be a minor off-gassing odor upon opening their mattress toppers. This is non-toxic and will eventually wear off in 2-3 weeks. Langria offers a 30-day return period and a one-year warranty.

Importance of a Quality Mattress Topper

Mattress toppers have two main purposes — to add some soft cushioning to a firm mattress, or to help revive a worn-down mattress. Investing in a mattress topper is an affordable way to make your bed feel new without actually having to replace the old mattress.

For side sleepers, sleeping on the wrong mattress can be particularly uncomfortable. Because all your weight falls on the narrow side of your body, which has more curves, the added pressure on these points can lead to soreness and body aches.

Not having the proper support can also leave different parts of your body twisting and turning in unnatural positions. A common example of this is pelvic rotation.

When side sleepers bend one leg and straighten the other, in what looks like a running position, their top pelvis rolls forward and their lower back rotates. Staying in this position for hours can place a lot of unnecessary strain on the body and lead to back pain.

Done correctly, however, sleeping on your side is one of the better sleeping positions. All you need is the right surface to keep your body in place.

By adding a mattress topper, you can easily adjust a mattress to fit your needs. A firm mattress can be made softer with a thick padded layer, while a soft mattress can use the added support of a firmer top. With the right combination, you can create the perfect place to rest in your side sleeping position.

It’s important to keep in mind that a mattress topper can only enhance the existing surface. Yes, it can smooth out a few lumps and cover up any tears or stains. But if there is internal damage, such as a broken spring or significant sagging, a mattress topper may not be enough.

What to Look For in a Quality Mattress Topper

Think of a mattress topper as a thinner mattress. In the same way, it comes in an assortment of materials, thicknesses, and densities. Although a mattress topper is much lower in cost and easier to install, there are still some important points to consider when looking for the best mattress topper for side sleepers.

Material

Popular mattress topper materials are memory foam, natural latex, wool, cotton, or polyester blends. Usually, the choice of materials is a personal preference. Do you like the soft sink-in feel of foam? Do you prefer an eco-friendly option like bamboo? Or do you just want a material like your existing mattress?

If you’re a side sleeper, a memory foam mattress topper may be best for you.

Memory foam softens under applied weight or pressure, and for side sleepers, the weightier parts of the body like the hips, shoulders, and knees, will compress more deeply into the foam.

By adjusting to you, rather than you having to adjust to the mattress, memory foam effectively alleviates the pressure on your joints and spine to keep you comfortably supported, and in the correct position, the entire night.

Memory foam also comes in a range of thickness and density choices, allowing you to choose the amount of support that best suits you.

Side sleepers with larger physiques — those who weigh 200 pounds or more — may find natural latex mattress toppers to be another good option. As a firmer material, latex is generally suitable for back sleepers. However, this also makes it a good alternative for side sleepers who need more substantial support.

Other materials, like wool, cotton, or polyester, all make for very comfortable mattress toppers. But they don’t quite contour to the curves of side sleepers as well as memory foam.

Thickness

You may assume, with mattress toppers, thicker is better. This isn’t necessarily true. While a thick layer can cover up a mattress’s weak points, it can also trap excess heat. It can also add a lot of height to an already lofty bed, making it extremely difficult to find a set of sheets to fit the entire bed.

The perfect topper thickness is somewhere between 2-4 inches. If you have a small physique or your existing mattress is fairly soft, a two-inch thick mattress topper should be enough to add the proper support.

If you have a medium to large build or find your mattress too firm, three or four inches might be a better choice. The thicker layer will provide extra padding under your pressure points and proper support for your body weight.

Density

A thick mattress topper doesn’t necessarily translate to a dense mattress topper. Sometimes, the latter makes an even bigger difference in the comfort of a mattress.

Density indicates how much material has been compacted into a given area. In this case, it’s how much memory foam is in a cubic foot.

A cubic foot of material is cut out, weighed, and then categorized as low density (three pounds or lower), medium density (four to five pounds), or high density (six pounds or higher).

A density of three pounds, for example, means every cubic foot of the mattress topper weighs three pounds. This is a fairly low density, which means the mattress topper has less material. Low-density foam is softer, more affordable, and offers greater airflow, but it does wear out faster.

A medium-density memory foam topper is best for side sleepers. It’s soft enough to sink in slightly and contour to your body’s natural curvature, while still providing the necessary support for the spine, torso, and other pressure points. Medium-density mattress toppers are also very durable.

High-density mattress toppers are made with the most material and are therefore the heaviest and most expensive memory foam option. They are also the most durable and provide the most support. This makes them a great choice for anyone with body aches, joint pain, or other physical concerns.

Heat Retention

Studies show that temperature is one of the critical factors in a good night’s sleep — and it’s not just a matter of how thick your blanket is or how high you set your thermostat. The material of your mattress and mattress topper can contribute to your night sweats.

In general, the best cooling mattress toppers are made of natural latex and loose natural cotton fiber. Whereas denser, tighter structures, such as foam and wool, are the warmest.

Memory foam, in particular, can hold in heat (this is actually what allows it to soften), and the higher the foam’s density, the greater the risk of heat retention.

Its contouring nature also tends to hug your body and envelope you in warmth. While this is great for winter nights, it can be a problem if you wake up uncomfortable and sweaty.

Thankfully, for side sleepers who sleep hot or live in warmer climates, there are now memory foam options with cooling features.

Newer varieties made with plant-based materials and breathable fabric retain less heat and offer better airflow. Another alternative is cooling gel-infused memory foam. The gel doesn’t actually cool anything. Rather, it distributes heat away from your body and prevents it from being stuck in the mattress.

Odor

Straight out of the box, some mattress toppers already have a certain smell from the manufacturing process. While natural latex and cotton fibers are relatively odor-free, foam is known for its strong smell.

Memory foam, which is primarily composed of polyurethane, is made using a chemical process. This includes hydrocarbons, surfactants, fire retardants, and the like. Even after the mattress topper is made, the chemicals continue to break down and emit odors in a process called “off-gassing.”

Off-gassing is quite common. It takes place after a room is freshly painted, a new carpet is installed, or a car is upholstered (what we refer to as “new car smell”).

Depending on the manufacturer, a mattress topper can take from a few hours to a few days to fully off-gas. All you need to do is allow the material to breathe. If the weather is nice and sunny, you can hang it outside or place it near an open window. You can also prop it on a wall or a few chairs and use a fan to help air out the material.

The smells may be unpleasant and keep you from using your mattress topper right away. But otherwise, the majority of memory foams manufactured and sold in the U.S. are completely safe.

Check to see if the mattress topper you’re interested in is CertiPUR-US® certified. CertiPUR-US® is an independent U.S.-based certification program founded to test foam bedding and upholstered furniture against rigorous standards.

Specifically, it determines if the foam is made without ozone depleters, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. This program only certifies foam with low volatile organic compound emissions, or low off-gassing, to guarantee indoor air quality.

If you’d rather not deal with any significant odors, you can opt for a mattress topper made from natural plant-based memory foam. Aside from having minimal odor, some plant-based memory foams also offer better breathability and less heat retention.

How to Maintain Your Mattress Topper

As an added layer, mattress toppers are the first to soak up any spills or stains. With a mattress topper effectively protecting your mattress, how do you protect your mattress topper?

Just like mattresses, mattress toppers can’t be laundered. Not only are they too large to fit into a standard washing machine, but the repeated wash-and-rinse cycles would also damage the material’s structure.

Instead, the best way to maintain your mattress topper is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place. Look for a protective washable cover that can be removed and cleaned in the washing machine along with the other bedsheets. Some mattress toppers may even come with their own removable cover.

Fortunately, memory foam is one of the mattress materials most resistant to accumulating common household dirt. As compared to fluffier, looser material, the dense structure of memory foam makes it hard for dust, dust mites, and other dirt to penetrate into the material. The smooth surface also makes general cleanup much easier.

For overall maintenance, it’s recommended to vacuum the mattress topper using a low setting once a month. Should your mattress topper get stained, remove it from the bed and place it in a well-ventilated area. Lightly spray the stain with a mixture of soapy water (one part laundry detergent to two parts warm water) and allow it to sit until dry. Alternatively, you can also blot the stain with some boric acid and water.

Before applying any cleaning method, make sure to check with the manufacturer. Most will usually furnish care instructions or a maintenance manual, which should be followed in order to maintain the mattress topper integrity.

Conclusion

Mattress toppers can make a big difference to your current sleep situation. Not only do they provide an added top layer of cushion to rest on, but they can also smooth over the lumps and bumps of a well-used mattress.

Considering that more than 60% of people are side sleepers, there’s a good chance you’re among this group. As a side sleeper, your weight is placed on your shoulders, hip, and knee joints.

This sleeping position might help you fall asleep, but it can cause body aches and pain over time. That’s where a bed topper comes in. You can benefit greatly from a soft and supportive sleeping surface.

Memory foam and latex are two of the most recommended mattress topper materials for side sleepers. These can ease the pressure points and hold your body in a natural, healthy position. The materials also come in a variety of thicknesses and features.

After checking the mattress you have and reading the information above, you should be well-equipped on your quest to find the best mattress topper for side sleepers. Here’s to sweet dreams and a restful night’s sleep.

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