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.
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
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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.
This can lead to or worsen any lower back and neck pain so it is important to choose the right model to prevent this.
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 5 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.
($1099 for a Queen. Get the Novosbed mattress.)
The Novosbed mattress is an 11″ mattress made up of 3 layers of dense foam. It is offered in 3 firmness options and the one we reviewed is the Medium firmness model which scores 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale, with 10 being the firmest.
The cover of the Novosbed mattress is made of polyester, silica, modacrylic, and Tencel, and has a very nice soft textured pattern that gives the mattress a great feel through the covers.
It also has a zippered top which does not only give you the possibility to remove it for cleaning but which also enables you to add the Comfort + top kit that can provide you with a perfect amount of comfort and support necessary for side sleeping.
Comfort + top kit serves as an additional layer that can either increase or decrease the firmness level of the mattress. This means that our Medium firm model which is a 7 out of 10 can be adjusted to be slightly firmer simply by adding the firm Comfort + top kit.
This layer combined with the foam layers beneath does a great job at providing both comfort necessary for side sleeping and enough firmness if you switch to your back or stomach. It is ideal for all sleeping positions and for the sleepers of different weights, especially heavier ones who tend to sleep on their side.
Although it initially may feel a bit too firm and not as cushioned, after sleeping on it for an extended amount of time, your body will adapt to the mattress and mold perfectly to the memory foam without causing you to feel trapped in foam.
The Novosbed is reasonably priced coming in at $1099 for a Queen. It is a good price given the quality materials and construction used in this mattress.
Get the full Novosbed mattress review.
2. Nolah Original
($799 for a Queen size. Click here to save $125 on a Nolah by using code: MFTALK)
The Nolah Original is also one of our top picks for side sleepers, for several reasons. The Nolah Original 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 Original 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 foam.
We rate the Nolah Original at around a 6-7 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 $799, the Nolah Original is an excellent choice for side sleepers and one that is hard to beat!
Get the full Nolah Original Mattress Review.
3. IDLE Gel Plush
($1249 for a Queen size. Click here to get the best price on the IDLE Gel Plush mattress!)
The IDLE Gel Plush mattress is a great 14″ gel infused mattress blended with 100% natural 500GSM IceCool cotton covers that will provide you with the feeling of sleeping on clouds and help you stay refreshed all night long.
The IDLE Gel Plush mattress is a universal comfort mattress that comes in only one firmness option designed to appeal to a wide range of sleepers with different needs and sleep preferences.
The mattress provides that classic memory foam feel of hugging and cradling, while it also offers enough responsiveness due to the special gel-infused top comfort layer so it won’t make you feel stuck in foam or make your moving around in bed and changing positions during the night difficult in any way.
Besides the incredible comfort and pressure relieving properties, memory foams used in the construction of the IDLE Gel Plush mattress also provide excellent support for all sleeping styles and all types of sleepers and they sleep quite cool due to the various cooling technologies that they feature.
The cooling features as well as good support makes the IDLE Gel Plush a great mattress for side sleepers as it provides the right contour and support, keeps you cool and comfortable all night long and eliminates any discomfort.
Get the full IDLE Gel Plush mattress review.
4. Layla Sleep
($849 for a Queen size, click here to save $150 on a Layla mattress!)
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
($799 for a Queen size. Click here for the best price on a Nectar!)
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.
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.