The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best mattress side sleepers

Are you a proud side sleeper -- i.e., someone who tends to sleep on the side of the body as opposed to stomach or back?

To help you find the right mattress for your unique sleep position, we’ve rounded up the best mattresses for side sleepers available in 2018. All of the mattresses listed below were chosen for excellence in the contouring, support, and spinal alignment needed  to have a restful, ache-free night if you sleep on your side.

Side Sleeper Mattress Reviews

Best Overall: Loom & Leaf

Handcrafted from four layers of functional, sustainable foam, Loom & Leaf blends comfort with spinal support. Beneath an organic cotton cover, the Loom & Leaf features a top conforming gel memory foam that cradles the hips and shoulders as you sleep on your side. By providing pressure relief around these heavier regions, the Loom & Leaf is able to help keep your spine in natural alignment.

The Loom & Leaf comes with two firmness options: Relaxed Firm and Firm. We recommend the Relaxed Firm for side sleepers, as the softer surface allows your shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress just enough to keep your spine in healthy alignment.

Pros:
  • Designed from eco-conscious, functional foam with organic cotton cover
  • Gel comfort layer promotes contouring and regulates temperature, preventing overheating
  • Free white-glove delivery and mattress removal, plus 120-sleep trial
Cons:
  • Weak edge support
  • $99 transportation fee applies with returns
Loom and Leaf

Editor's Choice: Novosbed

One of our Editor’s favorite mattresses for side sleepers, the Novosbed is built from dense, durable memory foam that can deliver the contouring pressure relief side sleepers crave.  Beneath a breathable, polyester-blended cover, the Novosbed features two layers of memory foam on a base of high-density polyfoam. The top layer of memory foam is aerated to improve air circulation and help you sleep cool.

The Novosbed comes in three firmness options: Soft, Medium, and Firm. We recommend the Soft or Medium version to side sleepers, who may benefit from the gentle sink afforded by the less firm surfaces. If you find that your mattress firmness level isn’t quite right, the company will send you a free “Comfort+ firmness adjustment kit” upon request that lets you reduce or increase the level of firmness.

Pros:
  • Three firmness levels
  • High-grade memory foam layers create above-average longevity
  • Free shipping with 120-night sleep trial
  • Free Comfort+ Adjustment Kit to change firmness level delivered upon request
Cons:
  • Off-gassing or “new mattress” smell when first opened
  • Sleep trial requires 60-night break-in period
Novosbed Mattress

Best Value: Nectar

Despite its low price point, the Nectar delivers the contouring and support of a sophisticated, high-end mattress. The bed is engineered from a four-layer, premium foam construction designed for optimal contouring and support.

On top of the Nectar is a quilted gel memory foam that creates a gentle sinking sensation for side sleepers, conforming to their natural curves to relieve pressure. Below, a semi-open, fast-recovery memory foam gel contours to the pressure points of the body, helping to keep your hips and shoulders level when lying on your side.

The layers of the Nectar include special features to promote air circulation and cooling. It’s also got a stretchy, Tencel-based cover that helps wick away moisture and keep you cool. With the Nectar bed, you are able to enjoy the contouring benefits of memory foam without the associated overheating.

Pros:
  • Four layers of premium foam deliver superior contouring, support, and cooling
  • Eco-friendly cotton-Tencel cover that is naturally cooling, moisture-wicking, and resistant to bed bugs
  • Low price point
  • Free shipping with industry-unrivaled 365-night sleep trial
Cons:
  • Weak edge support
  • Some reviewers complain of shipping delays
Nectar Mattress

Best Luxury: Zenhaven

From the makers of Loom & Leaf, the Zenhaven is a reversible bed with two different levels of firmness depending on which side is facing up. The Zenhaven is built from five layers of Talalay latex, a high-end, all-natural latex foam prized for its comfort, durability, and eco-friendliness.

Although some latex mattresses may be overly firm for side sleepers, the Zenhaven does an excellent job balancing bounce with softness. If you tend to sleep on your side, we recommend the Luxury Plus side rather than the Gentle Firm, as the softer side provides additional pressure relief around the shoulder and hips.

Pros:
  • Made from five layers of all-natural, Talalay latex foam that blends bounce and softness
  • Flippablity provides choice of two firmness levels in one mattress
  • Free, white-glove delivery with 120-night sleep trial
Cons:
  • $99 transportation fee applies with returns
  • Higher price
Zenhaven Mattress

Best Cooling: Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid

Constructed from both foam and innerspring coils, the Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid combines the contouring of memory foam with the deep compression support of an innerspring. The mattress is topped with a cooling TitanChil Endurance foam layer above a layer of copper-infused Energex foam -- both designed to deliver superior contouring support and cooling. Below the layers of foam is an eight-inch layer of pocketed coils, which provides edge support and bounce.

Because innerspring beds do not conform to the body, we generally do not recommend coil mattresses for side sleepers. However, thanks to its upper layers of memory foam, the Nest Hybrid is able to harness the benefits of the innersprings while still offering the contouring that side sleepers need.

The Nest Hybrid comes in three firmness options: Plush, Medium, and Luxury Firm. Do to their ability to better conform to pressure points, we suggest the Plush or Medium levels for side sleepers.

Pros:
  • Copper-infused foam delivers unique benefits, including cooling and improved blood circulation
  • Thermic Phase Change Cooling Fabric helps prevent heat retention and creates luxury, pillow-top feel
  • Three firmness options
  • Free shipping with 100-night sleep trial
Cons:
  • Higher price point
Nest Hybrid

Sleeping on Your Side – What to Know

Not only is side sleeping one of the most popular sleep positions, it’s one of the healthiest. There are many variations on the side-sleeping position, most of which can help keep your spine elongated and prevent a number of sleep issues. We’ve explored some of the top benefits and drawbacks of side sleeping below.

Benefits:  

  • Prevents back pain. Sleeping on your side helps to keep your spine elongated, which can reduce pain in your lower back. You can further enhance the benefits of side sleeping by placing a pillow between your legs to reduce pressure in your pelvic area.
  • Reduces snoring. Sleeping on your side helps keep your airways open and prevent snoring. Snoring is most severe for people who sleep on their back, which is anotherwise healthy sleep position.
  • Prevents heartburn. This one applies to you if you sleep on your left side. By sleeping on your left, you minimize the amount of pressure on your heart, which in turn can help prevent heartburn and even boost blood circulation.
  • Improves digestion. Here’s another benefit specific to left-side sleepers: better digestion. Sleeping on your left side lets the pull of gravity help food pass more easily through the stomach.
  • Supports pregnancy health. Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side to promote blood flow to the uterus and foetus. This sleeping position also minimizes pressure on the spine, helping you sleep more comfortably when pregnant.

Drawbacks:

  • Wrinkles. When you sleep on your side, your face is pressed against your pillow for hours every night. This can cause premature wrinkles, particularly if you sleep on one side rather than alternating. To help avoid this problem, try using a soft, silk pillowcase.  
  • Acne. Similarly, keeping your face smushed up against your pillow each night could lead to acne -- if you don’t change your pillowcase regularly.
  • Deep breathing issues. This one is a problem for those who tend to sleep curled up in the fetal position, which can restrict breathing through your diaphragm.  
  • Pressure. Sleeping on your side places a lot of weight on your shoulders, compressing neck and shoulder muscles. If you do not choose a mattress with adequate pressure relief, this could lead to aching muscles and arm numbing.

Want an even healthier sleep? Doctors recommend sleeping on your left side, where the stomach, pancreas, and heart are located. Sleeping on the same side as these vital organs boosts enables them to hang naturally and function optimally. This, in turn, facilitates digestion and smoothes the flow of blood to the heart.

Beyond left- and right-side sleeping, it also may be worthwhile to consider the form your body takes if you sleep on your side. According to the Better Sleep Council, the most common side sleep positions include:

  • The fetal position, where you sleep curled up with your knees closer to your head.
  • The yearner position, when you sleep on your side with both arms stretched out before you.
  • The log position, where both arms are kept down by your sides.

Of the three most common sleep positions, the log and yearner may allow for a more relaxed back and deeper breathing compared to the fetal position.

What should side sleepers look for in a mattress?

No matter what your sleep style, a good mattress should keep your spine in healthy alignment, contour your pressure points, and keep you from waking up with aches and pain. To achieve this, side sleepers should look for certain features when shopping for a mattress:

  • Support. An ideal mattress will conform to the curves of your body and provide pressure relief around your hips and shoulders. Since these regions tend to bear the most weight when you sleep on your side, you’ll want a bed that is gentler on these pressure points if you sleep on your side
  • Firmness. As a side sleeper, you may benefit from a mattress that has a soft to medium firmness. Soft- or medium-firm beds cradle your body, allowing your shoulders and hips to sink into the bed just enough to keep your spine aligned.
  • Pelvic rotation. Pelvic rotation is a problem that involves the misalignment of the lower spine and back muscles, which may occur when you twist your lower body in a position opposite to your upper body. Pelvic rotation can aggravate back and neck pain. To prevent pelvic rotation, it’s important to find a mattress that keeps your hips and shoulders aligned by contouring your body naturally.

With these considerations in mind, let’s take a look at the different types of mattresses and how they well they are suited for side sleepers.

Supportive and contouring, memory foam beds are a superb option for side sleepers. Memory foam mattresses are typically constructed from a foundation of sturdy polyurethane foam with upper layers of viscoelastic foam (aka memory foam) that conform to your natural curves. Due to their above-average contouring ability, memory foam mattresses can offer the side sleeper much needed pressure relief and support for the back and neck.

Additional perks of memory foam include a lengthy lifespan (around six years or so) and their ability to isolate the motion of a partner so you are not disturbed as you sleep if you share a bed.

The exceptional contouring provided by viscoelastic foam of memory foam beds makes them the most reliable choice for side sleepers. That said, many modern latex and hybrid mattress companies have introduced features to improve the contouring ability of these types of beds. Because memory foam beds are notorious for trapping heat, it’s worth looking into a quality latex or hybrid if you are a side sleeper who tends to sleep hot.

Best Side Sleeper Mattress Picks
Brand Name Price (Queen)
Best Overall Saatva (Firm or Luxury Firm) $999
Editor's Choice Novosbed 1,099
Best Value Nectar $850
Best Luxury Zenhaven $1,899
Best Cooling Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid $1,199