A side sleeper needs a soft mattress that promotes spinal alignment while alleviating pressure points. If you wake up sore, your mattress may be too firm.
Memory foam is one of the most conforming and supportive bed materials on the market. It deeply contours to the body and can relieve lower back pain.
In this article, we will discuss our recommended memory foam mattresses for side sleepers. We will then discuss what kind of memory foam beds are best and how memory foam caters to side sleepers’ needs. Plus, we’ll offer tips on choosing the best mattress for your needs.
The Amerisleep AS4 features Bio-Pur® to conform to the body and relieve pressure in the head, shoulders, lumbar, hips, and feet. Plus, HIVE® technology promotes healthier side sleeping by offering zoned support.
The Zoma Mattress’s Trangulex™ technology offers customized support and pressure relief to the head, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet— which is perfect for side sleepers avoiding pain and pressure points.
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Best Memory Foam Mattresses for Side Sleepers
|Amerisleep AS4||HIVE® technology supports the shoulders, hips and feet to promote pressure relief.|| |
|Zoma||Gel-infused memory foam layer wicks away heat.|| |
|Nolah Original 10||Resilient poly-foam is responsive enough to help sleeper change sleeping positions.|| |
|Tuft & Needle Mint||T&N Adaptive® foam contours quickly for deep pressure relief.|| |
|Brentwood Home Cypress||Prevents the sleeper from feeling “stuck” in the mattress.|| |
|Nest Bedding Love & Sleep®||Energex Cooling Comfort material contours to the sleeper, alleviating pressure points.|| |
|Bear Pro||Copper-infused memory foam kills bacteria and cool down the sleeper.|| |
The AS4 is Amerisleep’s medium-soft mattress. It’s 12 inches thick and is available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, and split-king size.
The Celliant® cover contains 13 thermoactive minerals that recycle body heat into infrared energy, which may increase blood pressure and promote cellular repair.
The top layer is made of Bio-Pur® material, which contours to the body to alleviate pressure points which can alleviate pain and sore joints.
The Affinity layer with HIVE® technology buffers between the comfort and support layer. The HIVE® technology is divided into five comfort groups, offering customized support to the body. The head, lumbar, and feet get soft support and pressure-point relief, while the shoulders and hips get firm support to prevent the body from bowing into the mattress.
As the last layer, the Bio-Core® supports the upper layers and extends the mattress’s longevity.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
During the first 10 years of Amerisleep’s 20-year warranty, Amerisleep bears all financial responsibility for a defective mattress under the terms of the warranty. During the last 10 years of the warranty, the owner is accountable for a prorated cost of the original mattress price.
100-Night Sleep Trial
Amerisleep offers a 100-night sleep trial with every mattress purchase. During this time, you may test the bed in your home, decide if it meets your preferences, and return it if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
The Zoma Mattress offers the perfect balance of support and comfort. Side sleepers will appreciate the mattress’s comfort and pressure relieving characteristic. The bed is 11 inches tall and comes in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king size.
The Zoma Mattress’s cover is made with a breathable polyester-elastane knit fabric.
The comfort layer is made of gel-infused memory foam with Triangulex™ technology. This layer offers different levels of support to the head, lumbar, and feet. The air passages contained in the Trangulex™ technology and gel infusion wick away heat from the sleeper.
Below the Triangulex™ layer, a responsive polyurethane Reactiv™ material buffers between the comfort and support layers. It has a latex-like feel to produce a slight bounce, which helps sleepers change sleep positions.
The core layer— seven inches of Support+ material— supports the softer layers above and increases the mattress’s durability.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
Zoma covers defective mattress replacements at no cost to the user, including sagging deeper than 0.75 inches.
100-Night Sleep Trial
Zoma mattresses come with a risk-free 100-night sleep trial. If the customer isn’t satisfied with the bed, they may return it within the 100-night sleep trial.
3. Nolah Original 10 Mattress
The Nolah Original 10 Mattress is CertiPUR-US® certified and proven to develop four times fewer pressure points than high-end memory foam beds. It comes in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king size and is parable with most foundations.
The mattress’s viscose cover regulates temperature by wicking away moisture and heat.
The comfort layer— two inches of Cooling Nolah Airfoam™— offers pressure-relief and contouring. Nolah omits heat sensitive chemicals normally used in traditional memory foam, which keeps the comfort layer temperature neutral.
Below the comfort layer, one inch of high resilience foam buffers between the comfort and support layer and offers a slight bounce.
As the last layer, the 7-inch high-density base reinforces the upper layers and prolongs the mattress’s lifespan.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
The Nolah Original Mattress comes with a 15-year warranty. Nolah will replace or repair a defective mattress and bear the responsibility for transportation and handling fees.
120-Night Sleep Trial
You need more than five minutes on a mattress to decide if you like it. That’s why Nolah offers 120 nights for you to test the bed. If you don’t like it, you may send it back, although you have to commit to keeping it for 30 nights.
4. Tuft & Needle Mint
The Tuft & Needle is a luxury foam bed with cooling technology, reliable support, and pressure relief. This mattress is compatible with most bed foundation and comes in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king size.
The breathable polyester blend cover circulates air through the mattress.
The comfort layer contains three inches of gel and graphite-infused T&N Adaptive® foam that wicks away heat and responds quickly to pressure, offering a slight bounce to help sleepers get out of bed.
Below the comfort layer, two inches of poly-foam buffers between the comfort and support layers, which prevents the sleeper from getting “stuck” in the mattress..
The support layer is 6.5 inches of high-density polyurethane, which supports the upper layers and increases the product’s longevity.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
The Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress comes with a 10-year warranty stating T&N will repair or replace mattresses with defective materials and workmanship, including sags 0.75 inches deep or more.
100-Night Sleep Trial
Tuft & Needle offers a 100-night sleep trial, staring on the date of delivery. You may return the bed within the trial period.
5. Brentwood Home Cypress
Brentwood Home Cypress Memory Foam Mattress is made with charcoal infusions and CertiPUR-US® certified foam. You can get the bed in an 11-inch or 13-inch profile, and it’s available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king size.
The polyester-spandex cover lets air flow easily through the mattress.
Depending on which mattress profile your purchase, the mattress could have a one or two-inch comfort layer— the foam contours to alleviate pressure and contains charcoal infusions to pull heat from the body.
Below the comfort layer, a 2-inch poly-foam layer cushions the sleeper and absorbs shock.
The support layer— made with eight inches of support base foam— reinforces the above layers while extending the mattress’s lifespan.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
The Brentwood Home Cypress Memory Foam Mattress comes with a 25-year warranty. Brentwood Home will replace or repair defective beds under the terms of the warranty.
1-Year Sleep Trial
Brentwood offers a one-year sleep trial with every mattress purchase, although the customer has to commit to completing 30 nights of the trial period.
6. Nest Bedding Love & Sleep®
The Nest Bedding Love & Sleep® Mattress is GREENGUARD Gold certified. It conforms to the shoulders and hips to relieve pressure and pain while offering support to the lower back. The mattress comes in medium and firm feels and is available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king size.
The phase-change cooling cover regulates the sleeper’s temperature by wicking away heat.
The top layer, three inches of Energex Cooling Comfort material, flexes to conform to the sleeper and alleviate pressure points.
Below, one inch of SmartFlow Air Flow foam transitions between the support and comfort layer.
The base layer, supports the upper layers and prolongs the mattress’s longevity.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
Nest Bedding only extends its warranty to the original mattress purchaser. Nest Bedding will replace or repair bed defects covered under the terms of the warranty, including sagging deeper than an inch.
100-Night Sleep Trial
Nest Beddings offers a 100-night sleep trial with a mattress purchase. During the 100-night period, if the customer finds the bed unsatisfactory, they may return it.
7. Bear Pro Mattress
The Bear Pro Mattress is made with four layers— one of which is antimicrobial. It is compatible with most foundations and comes in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king size.
The Celliant® cover promotes quick muscle recovery by recycling body heat into infrared energy and increasing blood flow.
The first foam layer contains a copper infusion, which pulls heat from the sleeper and kills bacteria on contact. The foam layer also contours to the body to relieve pressure.
Beneath the copper foam, a gel memory foam increases the mattress’s breathability and the sleeper’s comfort.
The third layer is a responsive foam that relieves pressure and supports the lumbar region to decrease muscle strain.
A high-density support foam provides long-lasting durability and preserves the mattress’s shape.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
Bear Mattress offers a warranty for every mattress purchase. Bear will repair or replace defective materials and workmanship, although it won’t cover damage incurred by the owner.
100-Night Sleep Trial
For 100 nights from the date of delivery, you can try the mattress in your home. While you have to keep the bed for 30 nights, you may return the product for free after the first 30 nights.
What is Side Sleeping?
Side sleeping is one of the most popular sleep positions and one of the healthiest. We suggest sleeping on your right side because it helps the heart function better.
Sleeping on your side doesn’t overextend the ligaments, muscles, and bones in your back like stomach sleeping. Side sleeping also opens up the airways and can alleviate snoring and sleep apnea issues, unlike back sleeping which can cause them.
Side sleeping aligns the shoulders, lumbar, and hips, which reduce pressure points in the neck and lower back.
Types of Side Sleeping
While side sleeping is a broad term for those who sleep on their sides, there are many different types of side sleeping.
- Fetal: When someone sleeps in the fetal position, their legs are bent and their back is bent slightly forward toward the knees.
- Log: When someone sleeps in the log position, both legs and arms are extended while the spine is straight.
- Yearner: A sleeper sleeping in the yearner position holds their arms straight out in front of them with the legs extended and the back straight.
- Sprinter: A sleeper who prefers the sprinter position keeps their back straight and arms in front and curls one leg toward the stomach, while the other leg is extended.
Important Features for Side Sleepers
Every sleepers needs are different. Side sleeping is one of the most popular positions, but side sleepers have vastly different comfort and firmness requirements compared to back and side sleeping.
The best mattresses for side sleepers, no matter what type, are soft enough to relieve pressure and firm enough to promote neutral spinal alignment. Conformability, pressure relief, and support will promote comfort and prevent back and hip pain from developing; however, there are other features that a side sleeper may consider to improve their sleep quality.
Mattresses are rated on a 1 to 10 firmness scale—1 is the softest and 10 is the firmest. We recommend side sleepers get a soft, medium-soft, or medium feel mattress or anything rated between a 3 to 5 on the firmness scale.
Side sleepers are the only sleepers who need a soft mattress. The soft materials allow their hips and shoulders to sink into the bed and avoid any pressure build-up.
As a side sleeper, you know you need a soft mattress, but which firmness do you need— soft, medium-soft, or medium? If you’re unsure which bed firmness you need, just look at your body type. Essentially, the lighter you are, the softer you will need your mattress, and if you’re heavier, you will need a firmer bed.
People who weigh less than 130 pounds need a soft bed. Lighter individuals don’t sink into the mattress as easily.
Individuals weighing between 130 and 230 pounds need a medium-soft to medium mattress. Heavier folks generally need extra firmness to keep their spines aligned. Softer beds may cause them to sink, leading to misalignment.
People weighing more than 230 pounds need a firm mattress. Firm mattresses prevent them from sinking down too far and misaligning their back; at the same time, it contours and relieves pressure points.
Pressure Relief and Contouring
Since side sleepers rest their full weight on their shoulders and hips, painful pressure points develop and may cause chronic pain. The right firmness and mattress materials alleviate pressure points to reduce muscle and joint soreness.
While it may seem mattress firmness and support are the same, they are not. Support is a term that describes the bed’s ability to deter sagging while bearing weight on its surface. A mattress with good support keeps your hips and shoulders in alignment with each other.
Support technologies such as zoned technologies offer targeted support to different body parts.
Side sleepers may need a softer bed, but they need a mattress that keeps the spines aligned, which means the bed must keep their bodies horizontal without letting the hips and shoulders bow into the bed.
Spinal Alignment and Pelvic Rotation
Side sleepers need to keep their spines aligned to prevent pain, stiffness, and other chronic pains like herniated discs and sciatica.
As a side sleeper tries to maintain balance, they will often sacrifice their spinal alignment by rotating their hips and shoulders in opposite directions, which twists the spine and can lead to lower back and neck pain.
Mattresses with proper support and softness prevent pressure points and misalignment for side sleepers by limiting pelvic and shoulder rotations.
Hot and Cold Sensitivities
Since side sleepers need to sink into the mattress for pressure relief and support, they are susceptible to overheating from the surrounding materials. A bed with cooling technologies increases breathability and, therefore, a sleeper’s comfort.
Memory foam mattresses are made from heat-retaining materials, which can make side sleepers experience discomfort.
Mattress companies developed copper, gel, graphite, and titanium infusions to draw heat away from the body. Other memory foam mattresses contain air passages built into the foam (like Amerisleep’s HIVE® technology layer) to encourage air circulation through the bed.
A cover made from breathable materials and weaves also improves the mattress’s breathability.
As a side sleeper, firmness, pressure relief, support, spinal alignment, and cooling technologies are needed for a great night’s sleep; however, there are other features you should consider before you make your decision.
While a bed’s support, pressure relief, and cooling abilities can lead to better sleep, thinking about what features may alleviate your medical issues or prevent a restless sleeping partner from disturbing you may help you sleep even better.
If you’re a naturally light sleeper or sleep with a restless partner, you may consider motion isolating materials.
Memory foam absorbs motion at the point of impact, which means, unlike innerspring mattresses, memory foam won’t allow motion to transfer across the bed. Your partner can get up to use the restroom or switch sleeping positions without disturbing your sleep.
Those with allergies should look into hypoallergenic materials. Memory foam, latex, and organic materials ward off allergens, which may help an allergy sufferer breathe easier.
If you’ve slept on a mattress with the wrong firmness or support or have a medical condition, you may experience long-term pain.
To avoid irritating chronic pain, you can get a mattress with a firmness level that encourages easy mobility. Soft materials may make it difficult to move and cause you to overextend tendons and muscles, causing inflammation and pain. While side sleepers needs a soft surface to alleviate pressure points, those side sleepers with chronic pain need a firm enough surface to reduce joint strain. Finding a balance between softness and firmness will depend on preference.
While memory foam is a great mattress material with many beneficial features, a general understanding of other bed materials may help when you’re mattress shopping.
Innerspring mattresses are supportive and breathable. Innerspring beds are made with coil system cores and thin cotton, wool, or polyester comfort layers. This mattress type may have a Euro or pillow top, which provides extra comfort and offers the bed a more plush feel.
Some luxurious mattresses have zoned support systems, offering customized support to the head, shoulders, lumbar region, hips, and feet.
Hybrid mattresses are made from coil system cores and memory foam or latex comfort layers. Hybrids can also have pillow and Euro tops and zoned support systems. They don’t have as much motion isolation as memory foam beds, and they aren’t as breathable as hybrids.
Latex mattresses are very supportive and conforming, although there are several ways to manufacture a latex mattress. Some manufacturing processes are more natural than others.
Natural latex is a breathable material made from rubber tree sap. It’s hypoallergenic and antimicrobial; however, there are two ways to manufacture natural latex: Talalay and Dunlop.
Dunlop is made from rubber tree sap with no additional chemicals, which makes it denser, firmer, and less bouncy, but Dunlop is cheaper. Talalay latex is made from rubber tree sap and with other chemicals to produce a viscoelastic feel. It’s a lighter, bouncier material.
Synthetic latex is man-made material and does not contain rubber tree sap. It’s a better choice for those with latex allergies who still want the contouring and supportive features of a latex mattress. We suggest purchasing any mattress containing synthetic latex to have a CertiPUR-US® certification as it will ensure the mattress doesn’t contain any harmful additives.
There are mattresses made with a blended latex material, which is made with a mixture of natural and synthetic latex.
If you decide to go with a latex mattress, we suggest getting one with an aerated surface. Even though latex is a breathable material, added air passages keep the bed cool.
A mattress’s cost is almost always the deciding factor when choosing a bed. Memory foam beds cost, on average, around $900 for a queen-size, although we suggest a budget range of $600 and $1200 for a high-quality bed.
Generally, the amount of money you spend on your mattress influences the quality of the bed you buy. You can still get a good, supportive memory foam mattress at an affordable price.
The difference between an expensive and budget mattress is in the material quality, construction, and any special features in the bed.
There are ways to get luxury mattresses for cheap.
Mattress companies place their models on discount on days such as Labor Day and Memorial Day, allowing you to get a new mattress for a lower price.
You may also consider shopping for online or bed in a box mattresses to save yourself a few dollars. Online mattress companies cut out the middleman (the salesman and the storefront) and sell the beds to you at face value, which cuts down on your expenses.
Sleep Trial, Return Policy, and Warranty
One way you may make a decision between two mattresses is by looking into their sleep trials, return policies, and warranties. These policies are put in place to protect the customer from possible bed defects or from keeping a product they don’t want.
Sleep trials are offered by mattress companies to give customers the chance to try the product for an extended period. If the customer isn’t satisfied with the bed, they may return the product. We suggest looking for a risk-free sleep trial, which includes free shipping and returns.
Some sleep trials offer additional perks such as white glove delivery, which includes employees carrying the mattress into your home, placing it on the foundation, and removing any packaging the bed came in.
The return policy dictates how long a customer has to make a product return and what the company’s and the customer’s responsibilities are regarding the return. We suggest looking for a company that takes responsibility for returns, donations, and restocking fees.
A mattress’s warranty states the company will repair or replace a defective bed under the terms of the warranty during a specified time frame. We suggest looking for a warranty where the company claims financial responsibility for the transportation and handling fees in the case of repairs or replacements. You also want to look for a company offering coverage lasting at least 10 years.
Pillows for Side Sleepers
Side sleepers need the best pillows to deepen their sleep. Pillows provide support and relieve pressure. Side sleepers need several pillows or one very large pillow.
Side sleepers may benefit from a contour pillow made with a solid piece of memory foam with one side of the pillow higher than the rest. Contoured pillows support the neck by filling the gap between the neck and the mattress.
A firm pillow between the knees pulls the hips into alignment, alleviates pressure points, and decreases the chance of developing pain.
Side sleepers may also need a pillow at their front or back to keep them balanced on their side, eliminating stomach and back muscle strain.
Body pillows can support the head, body, and hips. Body pillows come in J, C, U, and I shapes and are filled with memory foam, latex, polyester fiberfill, and down. These pillows are very large— the smallest is 60 inches— which can leave little room if sharing the bed with a partner.
What kind of mattress is best for side sleepers?
Side sleepers need a supportive mattress to maintain spinal alignment. The mattress should be soft enough to alleviate pressure points but not let the sleeper sink into the bed, so they feel “stuck.”
Is memory foam better for side sleepers?
Memory foam is a very supportive and contouring material. It is known to relieve pressure and pain, which can help a side sleeper achieve deep sleep.
What is the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain?
The best mattresses for back pain are typically memory foam because it’s the most conforming and pressure-relieving mattress material. Side sleepers benefit from memory foam’s ability to promote spinal alignment and alleviate pressure points.
Can a side sleeper sleep on a firm mattress?
Depending on the sleeper’s weight and firmness preference, a side sleeper may find a medium-firm mattress comfortable.
Can I put a topper on my memory foam mattress?
Yes. Mattress toppers are a great and inexpensive way to change the feel of your bed. They’re great for guest beds or to temporarily fix sagging.
The right mattress for side sleepers needs to have a combination of pressure relief and support. Since memory foam beds are very conforming and supportive, they are a great option for side sleepers. Make sure to choose the right firmness and invest in cooling technologies if you overheat.