Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers 2023

By Ryan Fiorenzi, BS, Certified Sleep Science Coach - Updated on July 4th, 2023

One of the keys to choosing a mattress that's right for you is to find out which mattresses will help you get your spine into a neutral position. Side sleepers have different needs than back or stomach sleepers. Because when you lay on your side, there's a significant difference in the width of your hips to your torso and your torso to your shoulders, your spine is likely to curve on a firm mattress. But on a softer mattress, the heavier hips will sink deeper into the softer mattress, allowing the spine to be in a better position.

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Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

As mentioned above, when it comes to sleeping on your side it's very important to have conforming support. Generally, the most conforming mattress type is memory foam-based. However, no two people sleep the same.

While a memory foam mattress may be best for most, we'll recommend a few different options. We also understand that budgets vary and sleeping cool may be the most important factor for you as a side sleeper.

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress - Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best Value

  • The Nectar Mattress is a great balance of quality and price, making it our top pick and best value mattress for side sleeping.
  • Medium to medium-firm is ideal for average-weight side sleepers and will contour well to your body.
  • Impressive five-layer structure using three different types of memory foam with two breathable outer layers designed to wick moisture and allow you to sleep cool; this helps you avoid the usual drawbacks of memory foam.
  • The 1-year trial, lifetime warranty, and free returns make it relatively risk-free to try.
  • The price includes two pillows and financing available.

Read our full review of the Nectar mattress.

Layla

Layla Mattress - Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best Value Runner Up

  • A very close second to the Nectar Mattress, the Layla Mattress is another great value-for-money option for side sleepers that don't have the typical drawbacks of most memory foam mattresses.
  • The double-sided mattress has two different firmness options, allowing you to fine-tune your sleep.
  • The innovative use of copper in the gel memory foam of the Layla mattress helps reduce your sleep temperature.
  • Their convoluted middle layer of foam maintains air pockets within the mattress that aids in air circulation.
  • 120-night trial and a lifetime warranty.
  • The price includes two pillows and financing available.

Read our full review of the Layla Foam mattress.

Eight Sleep

Eight Sleep - Best Cooling Mattress

Best Cooling

  • This is far and away the best cooling mattress because of the cooling tech that circulates cooled water through a hub into a grid of tubes in the top layer of the mattress. This is similar to the ChiliPad (now Sleepme), but their autopilot drops the temperature slightly when you go into deep sleep and raises it slightly when you go into REM (rapid eye movement). It's a far superior product compared to the ChiliPad Cube, and better than the Chilisleep Dock Pro.
  • The system will also modify the temperature based on ambient room temperature and outdoor temperature.
  • The system will learn from your preferences as it tracks your sleep to see what temperatures are best for your sleep.
  • Eight Sleep will give you the option to wake up with a warmer temperature, vibration, both, or none.
  • You can choose two different temperatures, sleep schedules, and wake-up settings for you and your partner.
  • The app gives detailed sleep reports to analyze your sleep.
  • The unit is very quiet.
  • The assembly takes a few hours, and the directions are unclear on some parts of the setup.
  • It's more expensive than most mattresses but gets glowing reviews from customers and reviewers.
  • The mattress is medium firmness, 5/10, so it's good for side and back and stomach sleepers.

Read our full review of the Eight Sleep Mattress.

Purple

Purple Mattress - Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best Cooling - Budget

  • The original Purple mattress was one of the most innovative sleep products of the decade when it came out. The New Purple mattress improves on its original design using a hyper-elastic polymer called "Smart Grid" to offer a unique sleeping experience.
  • While the purple mattress isn't cheap, it does offer the best when it comes to cooling. It's one of the few mattresses that don't rely on a memory foam outer layer notorious for collecting heat. The Smart Grid technology allows for open airflow at the surface of the mattress.
  • 100-night trial, 10-year warranty, and free returns.
  • Unique in-home setup service and old mattress removal.
  • USA made.

Read our full review of the Purple Hybrid mattress.

Avocado Green

Avocado Green Standard Hybrid Mattress - Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best Organic

  • Avacado Green Mattress is the must-have mattress for the environmentally conscious consumer. This mattress is made of organic cotton, wool, and Dunlop latex foam.
  • Nearly 1,000 small coils reduce pressure points typically associated with innerspring mattresses.
  • Avocado offers a 1-year trial period to ensure you're happy with your purchase.
  • ¬†25-year warranty.

Read our full review of the Avocado Green mattress.

Tuft & Needle Mattress - Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best Budget

  • Open-cell technology, gel-infused foam, plus graphite, provides cooling.
  • Medium firmness.
  • Adaptive foam is ideal for back and stomach sleepers.
  • Their T&N technology prevents the growth of bacterial odors.

Read our full review of the Tuft & Needle Original mattress.

Zinus Green Tea Mattress - Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best Budget Runner Up

  • When it comes to price, nothing beats the Zinus Green Tea. It's a great mattress if you want to improve your sleep with as little investment as possible.
  • Leverages natural materials such as green tea extract and plant oil.
  • The mattress is available in various thicknesses for varying firmness, each with four unique layers of memory foam designed to deliver support, contouring, cooling, and reduce motion transfer and noise.
  • 120-night trial and a 10-year warranty.

Read our full review on the Zinus Green Tea mattress.

Nolah Evolution 15

Nolah Evolution 15 Mattress

Best Luxury

This mattress is among the highest-rated mattresses and rated the best mattress for side sleeping by Sleepopolis. It has received best mattress awards from Sleep Advisor, Mattress Clarity, Sleep Foundation, Sleep Doctor, Mattress Nerd, Forbes, Healthline, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Mattress Nerd, and Good Morning America.

  • We've rated this mattress as "Best Hybrid," "Best for Back Pain," "Best for Side Sleeping," and the plush version as "Best Soft Mattress."
  • It's an excellent cooling mattress and we rated it as runner-up to the "Best Cooling Mattress."
  • There are three firmness levels: plush, luxury firm, and firm, and they offer a Comfort+ option for people over 300 lbs.
  • The mattress is 15" thick, giving them a lot of room to provide both comfort and support, and it has excellent edge support.
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Includes 120-night trial and lifetime warranty.

Read our full review and see why this is one of our favorite mattresses and best luxury side sleeping mattress.

Amerisleep AS3

Zinus Green Tea Mattress - Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Best Luxury Runner-Up

  • Amerisleep's best-selling mattress.
  • Medium firmness.
  • Refresh cooling technology.
  • 100-night risk-free trial.
  • 20-year warranty.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Non-toxic and fiberglass-free.
  • Plant-based Bio-Pur memory foam.
  • Rated "Best mattress in a box" by USA Today.
  • Rated "Best memory foam mattress" by Sleep Foundation.
  • Rated "Best Mattress" by Healthline and Mattress Clarity.

Read our full review of the Amerisleep AS3 mattress.

Your Sleep is Critical

Finding the perfect mattress can make a dramatic difference, not only in your sleep but all aspects of your daily life. Getting quality sleep can improve your productivity, prevent muscle and joint pain as well as ultimately lead to improved happiness.

Many studies show a direct correlation between hours slept and your happiness. Due to the importance of getting a good night's rest, we recommend making your sleep a real priority in your life and ensuring you have the right tools and knowledge to take control of your sleep.

Finding the right mattress for side sleeping comes down to mattress firmness, types of materials, your own weight, budget, and personal preference.

Ideal Side Sleeping Position

Before we dive into mattress recommendations it's important to talk through what goes into ideal side sleeping and what your main goals should be with your posture.

Side sleeping is very popular but it's a position that can require a lot of fine-tuning to get right.

  • Keep your spine straight and level with the mattress surface - this ensures your spine is in a natural and neutral position free of twisting or flexing that causes stress to muscles and joints over extended periods of time.
  • Pay attention to your pillow height - Commonly side sleepers are using a pillow that is too thin, causing a bend in their neck, and sometimes a pulling effect on your spine and cause back and shoulder problems
  • Make sure your lower back is supported - A common complaint of light-weight side sleepers or people sleeping on a firm mattress where you're not getting support due to poor contouring ability of the mattress.
  • Keep your hips vertical and free of twisting or rocking - keeping your hips vertical with the high side of your hip directly above the lower side ensures minimal stress on your lower back.

Mattress Firmness for Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is a very common sleeping position and one, that when done correctly can yield quality sleep with the right pillow, mattress, and sleep posture. Here's what to look for in a mattress as a side sleeper.

Firmness is the biggest factor the finding the right mattress for side sleeping. Firmness needs are dependent on your weight, shape, and personal preference. Typically side sleeping requires a medium to medium-soft mattress to properly support your body, especially your midsection and lower back.

If you are heavier than average you're likely to need a firmer mattress and if you're lighter than average you may want to go softer than average. This balance can be hard to get right.

The image below shows how a mattress that is too soft can allow your spine to curve downward. While increasing the firmness too much can also create issues as it doesn't give enough on your shoulders and hips and prevents you from finding that ideal neutral position.

Mattress firmness issues with Side Sleeping - Best Mattresses for Side Sleeping

Mattress Material for Side Sleeping

The next biggest decision is choosing the material or construction of your mattress. There are more options now than ever before so this can be somewhat daunting. Traditional mattresses sold by mattress retail stores are typically innerspring/coil mattresses. Memory foam has become very popular in the last decade, as well as Latex. Traditional innerspring mattresses are also still popular and there are a number of hybrid mattresses that combine the benefits of different materials.

Generally, most affordable mattresses fall into these categories:

Construction Pros Cons Ideal Sleep Position
Memory Foam Cost, Noise, Minimal motion transfer, good support for a
variety of people and positions, excellent contouring
Can sleep hot, Off-gassing/VOCs, Initial Smell Side Sleeping
Latex Natural material, sleeps cool Cost, Motion transfer not as good as memory foam, Not as supportive/on the firm side Back/stomach sleeping
Innerspring Sleep cooler depending on the type of outer layer Firmer/contours less to your body than memory foam, often requires a box spring, expensive to ship, motion transfer, noise Back/stomach sleeping

We've found that memory foam mattresses tend to be better for side sleepers due to the unmatched contouring ability of the material.

Mattress Comparison Table

Mattress Construction Firmness
Nectar Memory Foam Medium Firm
Purple Elastic Polymer Medium Firm
Layla Memory Foam Medium, Medium Firm
Avocado Green Innerspring Hybrid Firm
T&N Memory Foam Medium Firm
Zinus Memory Foam Medium
Amerisleep AS3 Memory Foam Medium

Side Sleeping Tips

While your mattress is critical to getting good sleep there are other aspects to your sleep that you should be conscious of as a side sleeper

  • Make sure you're practicing ideal side sleeping - Ideal side sleeping is all about keeping your spine in a straight line parallel with your bed and making sure it is fully supported, especially in your midsection and lower back.
  • Avoid twisting or rotating your hips - This adds extra tension to your spine and can cause back pain fairly quickly. Adding a pillow between your knees can help significantly with this.
  • If you're petite or skinny pay careful attention to the midsection just above your hip - It's common for this area to lack support as a side sleeper. If you're experiencing pain in this area try rolling a small towel to create a cervical roll and place it in this area.
  • Make sure your pillow is the right thickness - Pillow thickness is very important to side sleeping because it determines how your spine in your neck is aligned with the rest of your body(more so than other positions). Generally, you want a thicker pillow as a side sleeper. If you like your pillow but are concerned about its thickness you can fold a towel to raise it up.

Side Sleeping and Mattresses FAQ

Here are our answers to some of the common side sleeping questions we get from our readers.

It is generally accepted that memory foam mattresses are the best for side sleepers due to their ability to contour and support the side profile of your body better than alternative mattress types.