Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
What makes a great mattress for people who sleep on their side? Being side sleepers ourselves, we can personally attest to firmness, support and pelvic rotation all being factors that should be considered. People with this sleeping habit can suffer from back, neck and hip pain but tend to have better air flow and snore less than others who sleep on their back.
In this guide we outline what the criteria are for choosing the right model for side sleeping and give our recommendations for the products we like the best. Last updated
FAQ: Read about our overall favorite picks (of which all our side sleeper choices are present) in our Top 10 Best Mattresses Guide
Factors to Consider
Firmness is a very important factor. A model that is soft to moderate on the firmness scale is going to be the best option. In order to provide the proper support that you need, it must be able to conform to and contour the curves of your body. A soft or medium firmness allows your body to sink a little bit more than one that’s very firm which helps it to hug your body. This ability to conform and contour to your body’s shape is excellent for pressure relief on your neck and back as well.
Support is the other important factor that you should consider. Your spine may be misaligned due to your sleeping position. A mattress with the best support is going to relieve pressure points throughout your body and keep the spine, neck and back in alignment.
Be sure to understand that a softer option on the firmness scale can still provide great support because this type of support is not relative to a firmness level. If you sleep mostly on your side, you want to look for a model that contours to the shape of your body. Memory foam mattresses are especially advantageous for side sleeping compared to innerspring models due to the ability of the foam to contour to your body and provide support and alignment to the spine. We should note that your body position can change drastically even during one nights sleep. Some popular positions are:
- The Fetal – both legs are curled at the knee and your spine curved like in a fetal position
- The Log – both legs are fully extended with the spine straight
- The Sprinter – one leg is straight, one leg is bent and the spine can be curved or straight
Due to varying sleeping positions on a nightly basis, the proper support is crucial in providing your body the contouring it needs throughout the night.
Pelvic rotation is the result of misalignment of the back muscles and lumbar spine. When you sleep and twist or curl your legs up in the opposite position to your upper body, you cause pelvic rotation.
You can do a few things to help with pelvic rotation, such as sleeping in a side position that keeps your spine in alignment and using a pillow between your legs to maintain spinal alignment.
Choosing the proper mattress can help prevent pressure points that may cause you to adjust your sleep position during the night which causes pelvic rotation.
The Best Type of Mattress for Side Sleepers
We recommend that you choose a product that has:
- Great support
- A soft to moderate firm feel (4-6 out of 10 on the firmness scale, where 10 is the most firm)
- Enough support to prevent or limit pelvic rotation
- Good contour to the natural curves of your body on its side
- Breathability and cooling features
Our Top 4 Recommendations for Side Sleeping
These models are some of our favorites for side sleeping. While not an exhaustive list, they are the best of the ones we have tested as we are side sleepers ourselves.
($680 after clicking here and applying our 32% off coupon MFT32.)
The Emma mattress is a 12″ all foam mattress that features a combination of different foams to create a balanced feel and provide a perfect amount of comfort and support necessary for side sleeping.
Various special foams used in its construction work together to create a pressure relieving surface that evenly distributes your weight across the bed and that is soft enough to cradle your body while sleeping on your side. The mattress will cradle your hips and shoulders and allow you to sink into a bed to a certain degree to prevent the appearance of pressure points, but it also has the firmness necessary to prevent you from sinking too much into the mattress and keep your spine properly aligned.
So the Emma mattress offers that classic memory foam feel of hugging and contouring necessary for side sleeping and provides optimal spinal alignment through its patented technology. Besides this, it features incredible 1/2″ cover of a premium design with climate regulating fibers which allow the mattress to breathe, prevent the build-up of heat and regulate humidity throughout the mattress.
The Emma comes in at $999 for a Queen, but with our exclusive 32% off coupon (MFT32) you can get a queen for only $680.
Get the full Emma mattress review.
2. Nolah Sleep
($824 for a Queen size, after our discount, click here to save $125 on a Nolah by using code: MFTALK)
The Nolah is also one of our top picks for side sleepers, for several reasons. The Nolah is different in that it uses their proprietary Nolah Air Foam, which has a variety of properties that make it an excellent choice for side sleepers.
As mentioned, the Nolah uses their proprietary Air Foam, which provides 4x less pressure on the hips, shoulders, and back, which is especially important for side sleepers that need a mattress that provides a neutral spine position. It still provides that classic memory foam feel of hugging and contouring the body during sleep, but with the added benefit of sleeping much cooler than traditional memory foam, which is known for sleeping hot and not being 100% temperature neutral like the Nolah.
We rate the Nolah at around a 5.5-6 on the firmness scale (10 being firmest), and the mattress definitely softens up over time as your body gets used to it. This is good, as some mattresses start out too soft then after breaking in, get even softer which causes your spine to become misaligned and thus result in painful sleeping.
At $800 (saving $125 by clicking here and using our code MFTALK), the Nolah is an excellent choice for side sleepers and one that is hard to beat!
Get the full Nolah Mattress Review
3. Loom & Leaf
The Loom and Leaf is an excellent choice for a variety of reasons. It is 12″ thick and made up of 5 different layers of high quality foams and other materials including medical grade cooling gel in the comfort layer.
It is one of the best options for side sleepers due to the exceptional comfort and support, as well as the classic memory foam feel of hugging and contouring the body during sleep. However, the Loom and Leaf doesn’t make you feel like you are sinking into foam, which is something that other lower quality mattresses in this price range can’t promise.
The Loom & Leaf is available in two different firmness models, a Relaxed Firm, which we rate as a 5-6 out of 10 (10 being firmest), and the Firm model, which we rate at an 8 out of 10. The Relaxed Firm model provides enough softness for comfortable sleeping on your side, while at the same time providing excellent support for the spine and body.
For side sleepers, the Relaxed Firm is the best option in our experience sleeping on this model for a long period of time as our personal “go-to” solution. At $1099, the quality and comfort are hard to beat.
Get the full Loom & Leaf review
4. Layla Sleep
($899 for a Queen size, click here and use code MFT100 to save $100 on a Layla)
The Layla is another great option and is unique in that you can customize the firmness of the bed simply by flipping it over – going from around a 5-6 on the firmness scale (10 being firmest) on the medium side to an 8 out of 10 on the Firm side.
The softer side of the Layla is great for side sleepers as it allows enough cushion to support hips and shoulders when sleeping on your side. The Layla is also a classic memory foam option that utilizes copper infused memory foam as well as ThermoGEL in the cover which helps regulate body temperature which provides a cooler sleep.
This is a great option with great sleep technology including the copper foam and flippable firmness feature. It provides great support and comfort and is one of the best choices if you are a side sleeper.
Get the full Layla review here
5. Nectar Sleep
($850 for a Queen size. Click here to save $125 and get 2 pillows using our code: MFT125)
If you are a side sleeper and want a comfortable yet supportive sleeping solution that won’t break the bank, the Nectar Sleep is a great choice. You can get this luxury product for a very affordable price, especially with our $125 off coupon.
The Nectar is made up of 4 layers of foam and with a Tencel top cover that keeps your sleeping area breathable, cool, and bug-resistant. It uses semi-open LUSH foam that gives that extra softness, loft, and breathability as it does a great job in heat absorption and redistribution.
It has that perfect firmness which provides the right contour and support for side sleepers as well as back and stomach sleepers. This combined with their 365 night sleep trial, forever warranty, and low price given the high quality materials, makes Nectar one of our top picks for this category of mattresses.
Get the full Nectar review