What Is the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers?

Side sleeping is the preferred sleeping position of more than half the population. This sleeping position definitely has its benefits:

  • reduces snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea
  • helps ward off back pain
  • provides better blood flow to the fetus in pregnant women
  • decreases symptoms of heartburn
  • may even help defend against diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

However, side sleeping is not without its disadvantages. Side sleeping can cause uncomfortable pressure points when the shoulders and hips dig into the mattress. Fortunately, this can be easily solved with the correct mattress.

Although mattress choice is a matter of personal preference, side sleepers are usually most comfortable on mattresses that allow a bit of sink. The best mattress for side sleepers is one that forms a conforming cradle, cushioning your shoulders and hips while maintaining proper spinal alignment.

Coming up in this article, we’ll go into depth about what makes a great mattress for side sleepers. We’ll discuss some of our top choices on the market today and all the advantages they offer. We’ll also discuss mattress firmness and explore some accessories that can help side sleepers find the most comfortable sleeping position.

Our Top Picks

Cocoon by Sealy Chill - Best Cooling
  • Mattress Type: All-Foam
  • Firmness Level: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6)
  • Price: $930
Helix Midnight - Best Hybrid
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid
  • Firmness Level: Medium Firm (6)
  • Price: $999
Bear Hybrid - Best for Athletes
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid
  • Firmness Level: Medium Firm (6)
  • Price: $1,390
The WinkBed - Best Pressure Relief
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid
  • Firmness Level: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)
  • Price: $1,599-$1,799
Beautyrest Black - Best Luxury
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid
  • Firmness Level: Medium (5)
  • Price: $2,099
Brentwood Home Cypress - Best Memory Foam
  • Mattress Type: All-Foam
  • Firmness Level: Medium Firm (6)
  • Price: $599

Cocoon by Sealy Chill - Best Cooling

Price: $930

Height: 10"

Firmness: Medium Soft (4)

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Pressure Point Relief: 4/5

Sleeps Cool: 3/5

Motion Isolation: 4/5

Edge Support: 2/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 2/5

Sex: 2/5

Off-Gassing: 2/5

Cocoon by Sealy Mattress

Highlights:

  • Phase-change material in the cover improves temperature regulation
  • Memory foam isolates motion transfer when sharing the bed
  • Two firmness options cater to a wider variety of side sleepers

Ideal For:

  • Lightweight sleepers
  • Those who sleep with a partner
  • People who sleep hot

The Cocoon Chill by Sealy is an all-foam mattress with a standard 10-inch profile. The mattress comes in two firmness levels: medium soft (4) and medium firm (6). Both have memory foam comfort layers and a high-density polyfoam base, plus a stretch-knit cover infused with phase-change material to draw body heat away from the sleeper.

Memory foam contours closely to the body, allowing the hips and shoulders to sink in without allowing pressure to build up as it would on a firmer surface. For our money, the Cocoon Chill is one of the best memory foam mattresses for side sleepers. The medium soft version of the Cocoon Chill allows just the right amount of sink for lightweight sleepers, while heavyweight sleepers find the medium firm version provides more spinal support. Average weight sleepers rate both versions as comfortable depending on personal preference.

Aside from the exceptional pressure relief, memory foam also does a very good job at isolating motion transfer. This means fewer nighttime disruptions when sharing the bed. The downside is that since memory foam compresses so closely it restricts motion, inhibiting sex and making it more difficult to change sleeping positions. Memory foam mattresses also tend to have weaker edge support. The medium firm Cocoon Chill is firm enough to withstand some weight on the edges, but the medium soft version compresses considerably.

The Cocoon Chill comes at an average price-point for a mattress in this category and is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.


Helix Midnight - Best Hybrid

Price: $999

Height: 12"

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 4/5

Sleeps Cool: 3/5

Motion Isolation: 3/5

Edge Support: 3/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 3/5

Sex: 3/5

Off-Gassing: 3/5

Helix Midnight Mattress

Highlights:

  • Pocketed coils give bounce and facilitate movement on top of the bed
  • Sleeps cool thanks to airflow through the coils
  • Luxe version offers enhanced lumbar support and targeted cushioning for side sleepers

Ideal For:

  • Couples
  • Lightweight side sleepers
  • Those who sleep hot

The Helix Midnight is a hybrid mattress made with contouring layers of memory foam and polyfoam over a pocketed coil support core. Helix also offers a significantly more expensive version called the Midnight Luxe. Specially designed for side sleepers, this model is two inches taller and features enhanced lumbar support and cushioning in the hips and shoulders.

Memory foam in the Helix Midnight conforms to the body and alleviates pressure points, while the pocketed coils adapt individually to pressure and form a deep cradle that keeps the spine aligned. Low-density foams and airflow through the coils help the mattress maintain a fairly neutral temperature throughout the night. The Helix Midnight has reinforced edges that are strong enough to bear the weight of most sleepers when lying close to the edge.

Hybrid mattresses isolate motion better than innerspring mattresses, thanks to the individually wrapped coils and foam comfort layers. Yet the pocketed coils add bounce and responsiveness, making this a good choice for people who move around a lot in their sleep. Most couples should find that the surface is sufficiently responsive for sex.

The Helix Midnight ships free and comes with a 100-night sleep trial, although the company requires a 30-night break-in period. After this, the mattress is covered by a 10-year limited warranty.

Read Our Full Helix Mattress Review


Bear Hybrid - Best for Athletes

Price: $1,390

Height: 14"

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 4/5

Sleeps Cool: 4/5

Motion Isolation: 3/5

Edge Support: 3/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 4/5

Sex: 4/5

Off-Gassing: 4/5

Bear Hybrid mattress

Highlights:

  • Thick comfort layers and pocketed coils support heavier individuals
  • Made with an eco-friendly focus
  • Strong edge support increases the usable sleep surface

Ideal For:

  • Eco-conscious shoppers
  • Side sleepers over 130 pounds
  • Those who sleep hot

The Bear Hybrid is a great mattress for people who are active in their sleep. The coils promote bounce, facilitating movement on top of the bed during sex or when changing sleeping positions. Meanwhile, airflow through the coil layer and relatively breathable polyfoam comfort layers help keep the mattress cool. The cover is woven with Celliant technology, which reflects infrared energy back at the sleeper and is said to promote quicker recovery.

The medium-firm surface of the Bear Hybrid mattress is perfectly suited to average weight and heavyweight sleepers who require some support to keep from sinking in too much. The mattress has a higher-than-normal 14-inch profile, allowing plenty of room for pressure-relieving foams in the comfort layer that contour to the shape of the body. The Bear Hybrid provides adequate edge support and motion isolation for the needs of most sleepers.

The mattress is Greenguard Gold Certified, meaning it’s low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other nasty chemicals. Bear offers free shipping and a 100-night sleep trial with a 30-night break-in period. The mattress is also covered by a 20-year prorated warranty.


The WinkBed - Best Pressure Relief

Price: $1,599

Height: 13.5"

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 3/5

Sleeps Cool: 4/5

Motion Isolation: 3/5

Edge Support: 5/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 4/5

Sex: 4/5

Off-Gassing: 4/5

WinkBed Mattress

Highlights:

  • Four firmness options to suit almost every sleeper profile
  • Cotton lumbar pad provides additional support
  • Great edge support and a very responsive surface thanks to dual coil layers

Ideal For:

  • Side sleepers in all weight groups
  • Active sleepers
  • Those who sleep hot

The WinkBed mattress comes in four firmness options. The first three options have polyfoam and microcoil comfort layers. The fourth exchanges the microcoils for a latex layer to provide a firmer surface for individuals over 300 pounds. All versions are 13.5 inches tall, leaving room for a generous comfort layer section and a supportive pocketed coil base.

Contouring layers of foam and microcoils adapt to the curves of the body, and gel-infused foam in the Euro top cover provides additional cushioning to reduce pressure points in side sleepers. WinkBeds has also included zoned coils and a cotton lumbar pad to provide targeted spinal support. For our money, this is one of the best hybrid mattresses for side sleepers.

Higher-gauge coils around the perimeter of the mattress ensure excellent edge support, and the breathable Tencel cover and pocketed coil support system boost airflow through the mattress. The dual coil layers provide plenty of bounce to facilitate switching positions, especially in the medium firm and firm versions. While the coils do allow some motion to transfer across the bed, the soft version has plusher foams which absorb most of the movement.

The WinkBed is built with high-quality materials that promise a long lifespan. The cover is OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, Class 1 certified, which guarantees it to be free of harmful substances. WinkBeds mattresses are backed with a limited lifetime warranty and 120-night sleep trial, which has a 30-night break-in period.


Beautyrest Black - Best Luxury

Price: $2,099

Height: 20.5"

Firmness: Medium (5)

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Pressure Point Relief: 3/5

Sleeps Cool: 3/5

Motion Isolation: 3/5

Edge Support: 4/5

Durability: 4/5

Ease of Movement: 4/5

Sex: 3/5

Off-Gassing: 3/5

BeautyRest Black Mattress

Highlights:

  • Medium firmness level provides pressure relief for lightweight individuals
  • Strong edge support and plenty of bounce
  • Cooling and pressure relief upgrade options

Ideal For:

  • Lightweight individuals
  • Combination sleepers
  • Couples

The Beautyrest Black by Simmons is a 13-inch hybrid mattress made with several layers of memory foam and polyfoam, resting on a pocketed coil support core. The mattress has a medium firmness level and is best suited to lightweight sleepers.

A proprietary fabric in the cover provides a surface that is cool to the touch, although the mattress still traps some heat despite the airflow through the coil layer. For people who tend to sleep hot, Simmons offers the option to upgrade to a mattress with an enhanced cooling layer, or a mattress with additional cooling and pressure relief layers.

As a hybrid mattress, the Beautyrest Black does a good job at isolation motion and reducing squeaks and creaks. The surface of the mattress is quite responsive and the edges are very sturdy, both of which are conducive to sex.

Simmons has a long track record of making quality mattresses, and the materials and construction used in the Beautyrest Black suggest this mattress will be no different. The company offers White Glove delivery and backs the mattress with a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.


Brentwood Home Cypress - Best Memory Foam

Price: $599

Height: 11"

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 3/5

Sleeps Cool: 3/5

Motion Isolation: 3/5

Edge Support: 3/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 3/5

Sex: 3/5

Off-Gassing: 2/5

brentwood home cypress mattress

Highlights:

  • Charcoal infusions help keep the mattress cool
  • Memory foam isolates motion transfer and makes no noise
  • Added pressure relief and hybrid upgrade options

Ideal For:

  • People on a budget
  • Side sleepers in all weight groups
  • Those who sleep hot

The classic Brentwood Home Cypress mattress is an 11-inch memory foam mattress. This mattress has a typical memory foam feel, with a medium firm surface that cradles the body and relieves pressure points. The memory foam also contains charcoal infusions designed to help regulate temperature by wicking away moisture from the sleeper. The Brentwood Home Cypress offers decent motion isolation and is silent when bearing weight, making it an attractive option for couples.

Brentwood Home offers the choice to upgrade to a 13-inch Cypress Luxe mattress with added memory foam. The thicker comfort layers offer improved motion isolation and form a deep pressure-relieving cradle. Individuals who wish for more support can also opt for an 11-inch Classic or 13-inch Luxe hybrid mattress with pocketed coils and reinforced edge support.

Brentwood Home uses CertiPUR-US certified foams and holds the Greenguard Gold certification. For every mattress purchased, the company donates to the National Forest Foundation so they can plant three trees.

At under $1,000 for a queen size, all Brentwood Home Cypress models offer excellent value for money. The mattress ships free and comes with a year-long sleep trial, subject to a 30-night mandatory break-in period. Brentwood Home also offers a 25-year prorated warranty against manufacturing and workmanship defects.


What Type of Mattress Is Best for Side Sleepers?

 

The best type of mattress for side sleepers is one that is both comfortable and supportive. Since heavier body parts like the hips and shoulders naturally sink into a mattress when sleeping on the side, side sleepers tend to prefer mattresses with cushioning pressure relief. This is commonly found in mattresses with thick comfort layers, such as foam or latex models.

Sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds may find that all-foam mattresses don’t provide enough support. The best mattresses for heavier side sleepers are hybrids, which feature pocketed coils to support the spinal structure and room in the comfort layers to allow the body to sink in without hitting the coils.

Sleepers who suffer from back pain can benefit from a mattress with zoned comfort or support layers. Zoned mattresses provide more support in areas where it’s most needed, and more cushioning in areas that typically experience pressure build-up.

Lower back pain may get worse if you’re using a mattress that sags too much under the hips. The best mattresses for side sleepers with lower back pain are usually medium firm mattresses. This will give you just the right level of cushioning and support. Some models incorporate added lumbar support as well, which helps the spine stay aligned.

Personal preference and body type also play an important role when selecting a mattress for side sleeping. For example, side sleepers who occasionally switch sleeping positions or change sides often may prefer a firmer mattress that allows for easier movement, while side sleepers who enjoy the “hug” of memory foam might prefer a mattress that allows more sink.

Mattress durability is another key factor to watch out for when choosing a mattress. As a mattress deteriorates, it loses the ability to properly support you, which in turn can cause back pain.

Which Mattress Firmness is Right for Side Sleepers?

 

Mattress firmness is generally measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest. The best firmness for side sleepers largely depends on a person’s weight and body type, two variables that affect how much pressure is put on the mattress.

We’ve already mentioned that it’s important for a mattress to provide pressure relief for the hips and shoulders when side sleeping. However, it’s also important that the mattress doesn’t sink too much, because this can cause the spine to fall out of alignment. mattress should be comfortable to sleep on while still providing enough support to maintain the spine’s natural curve.

Lightweight side sleepers usually prefer a firmness level between 4 and 5, average weight sleepers between 5 and 6, and heavyweight sleepers between 6 and 7. Side sleepers with curvier figures or bony frames may need a mattress that allows more give, while side sleepers with fairly streamlined shoulders and hips may find a firmer mattress just as comfortable. The best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain will likely be more plush, to alleviate pressure points.

Are Firm Mattresses Bad for Side Sleepers?

 

Everybody is different when it comes to sleep comfort preferences, so there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. For the most part, side sleepers prefer a softer sleep surface because this makes it easier to maintain proper spinal alignment. However, there are side sleepers who prefer a firmer surface. This may be because a firm surface makes it easier to switch from side to side, or because their body is not very curvy and they don’t tend to experience pain from pressure points.

We usually recommend that side sleepers choose a plusher mattress to avoid pressure points in the hips and shoulders, but ultimately the best type of mattress is the one that’s most comfortable for you.

Which Accessories Are Good for Side Sleepers?

Pillows

 

Choosing a pillow with appropriate loft, or height, is essential in order to keep the spine aligned when side sleeping. If you’re a side sleeper, you should choose a pillow that’s about as high as the distance between the neck and the tip of the shoulder. This allows the head to rest at a height that mimics the natural curve of the body, promoting proper spinal alignment. If you sink more into your mattress, you may need to choose a pillow with less loft. But, if you feel like you sleep “on top” of your mattress, you may need to choose a higher pillow. If you’re not sure which is right for you, you should choose a pillow option that allows for removable stuffing so you can adjust as needed.

There is a significant difference in spinal alignment when using a feather pillow verses using a foam, latex, or polyester pillow. However, there is no conclusive evidence of one type being better than another, so the best advice is to go with the one that’s most comfortable for you and with your mattress.

In addition to the main pillow, side sleepers who suffer from lower back pain can also benefit from using a pillow between the knees. This keeps the hips in place and prevents pelvic rotation, reducing strain on the lower back. When choosing a pillow to use between the knees, look for a fairly thin one that’s firm enough to stay in place without compressing. You can also purchase a knee pillow made specifically for this purpose.

Mattress Toppers

 

Mattress toppers are designed to lie on top of a mattress and change the firmness and feel. They usually measure between 2 to 4 inches and are made from the same materials commonly found in comfort layers: latex, memory foam, polyfoam, convoluted polyfoam, and sometimes wool or down. As a rule of thumb, thinner mattress toppers tend to be firmer, while thicker mattress toppers tend to be plusher and allow for more sink.

A mattress topper can’t fix a mattress that’s lost its supportive capabilities, but it can extend the lifespan of a mattress by creating a softer or, more rarely, firmer sleep surface. Side sleepers who experience pressure points from an overly firm mattress can try using a mattress topper to add some extra cushioning. Alternately, side sleepers who find their mattress too plush may wish to purchase a firmer topper. Lastly, couples with different firmness preferences can use two different toppers to keep each party satisfied.

Just as with mattress comfort layers, toppers are prone to developing indentations. Rotating the topper from head-to-foot every 3 to 6 months can help delay the onset of permanent body impressions.