Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
Side sleeping is a favorite sleep position for many, in fact, 41% of sleepers prefer sleeping in the fetal position and 15% prefer sleeping on their side with arms and legs extended downward. Considered one of the healthier positions for slumber, side sleeping helps keep your spine naturally aligned, but finding the perfect mattress to complement your side sleeping style can be tough.
So, what should you look for when choosing your new mattress?
Pressure Relief is the name of the game
If you’ve ever woken up to aches and pains in your hips and shoulders, or pins and needles in your arms and hands, then you know what it is like to sleep on a mattress that isn’t providing the proper pressure relief. So the first thing we recommend looking for is a mattress designed to relieve pressure where you need it most and while picking the softest mattress available might seem like the right choice this too can present problems. If the mattress is too soft you may find your mid-section hammocking or sagging, this pulls the spine out of alignment causing musculoskeletal problems. It is the balance between pressure relief and support that is truly key to a great side sleeping mattress! Keep reading for a breakdown of our top picks and what we feel sets each one apart.
Strict side sleepers as well as combination sleepers should love this mattress. Designed to feel like you are “sleeping on a cloud”, the Puffy Lux is constructed of 4 different foam layers. The top 3 comfort layers of the Puffy Lux are designed to melt away pressure points, while the base layer provides 6 inches of supportive foams to keep the spine in optimal alignment. In this manner, the Puffy Lux strikes a real balance between pressure relief and support.
This luxury mattress is also a great choice for hot sleepers and couples! Their trademark Cooling Cloud foam provides 8 times more airflow than traditional memory foam mattresses meaning it sleeps cool. And while you will experience plenty of hug and contour with the Lux, you’ll never feel stuck.
ReST Performance is an adjustable air mattress with some of the most advanced technology we’ve seen in a bed thus far. You’ll need to download the ReST app onto your phone or a tablet, from there you can make adjustments to the 5 individual air chambers located on either side of the bed. The air chambers can be adjusted in 3 different modes: manual, auto position, and automatic.
The reality is none of us stay in the same position all night long but using responsive surface sleep technology, ReST can make real-time adjustments as you move through the night, relieving pressure when and where you need it. The ability to independently adjust both sides of the bed makes it an excellent choice for couples who find themselves wanting different firmness levels.
Available in 4 different firmness options, WinkBeds is a luxury hybrid mattress that combines individually wrapped coils with a plush gel-infused Euro-pillow top for hotel quality sleep. Designed specifically with side sleepers in mind, the gel-infused memory foam pillow top features 3 layers built to contour to your body and relieve pressure through the hips and shoulders. We recommend the soft model for side sleepers but, with an added LumbarLayer providing extra support in the mid-section, WinkBeds Soft could be suitable for all sleep positions, especially if you prefer a plush feel.
WinkBeds is handcrafted and made to order in the USA. Additionally, WinkBeds is a top pick for heavier sleepers with their plus-sized specific model, WinkBeds Plus.
The Amerisleep lineup includes 5 different firmness levels with the AS5 being their most luxurious and plush offering. While all of the models have some shared construction the AS5 is the only one to include an Active Flex foam layer. This layer has a fast responsiveness that bounces back almost instantly. Couple that with 3″ of Bio-Pur comfort foam (memory foam) and a 7″ Bio-Core base support (35ILD) and Amerisleep strikes the perfect balance between pressure relief and support.
There is lots more to love when it comes to Amerisleep! Featuring a celliant cover, Amerisleep uses infrared technology to increase blood flow and oxygenation making it an excellent choice for athletes or anyone looking for enhanced recovery during sleep. The celliant coupled with open cell foams makes this one of the coolest mattresses we’ve slept on and a great choice for hot sleepers as well.
Click here for our full Amerisleep AS5 mattress review to learn more!
Not only does Nectar provide exceptional pressure relief for side sleepers, it does so at a most affordable price. The slow response foams of Nectar offer a classic memory foam feel. The gentle hugging sensation will leave you feeling as if you are sleeping in the mattress as it contours to your body. Unlike traditional memory foam, Nectar doesn’t retain heat. In fact, Nectar uses gel infused memory foam and built in channels to provide added breathability and cooling benefits, making it a good choice for hot sleepers.
One of the most popular bed-in-a-box brands on the market Nectar also has one of the longest sleep trials and warranties in the industry. Nectar gives you 365 nights (a full year) to decide if it is right for you and a lifetime warranty to boot. With a Queen mattress starting at just under $800 (before discount) it is no wonder Nectar is our top pick for Best Budget mattress.
Learn more about Nectar in our full Nectar mattress review.
Casper is one of the most versatile foam mattresses we’ve tested. Utilizing a multi-zone construction Casper targets your core with 3 different firmnesses for shoulders, lumbar and hips. This means it maintains the support you need for your lumbar, regardless of position, while offering plenty of pressure relief through your shoulders and hips.
Finding a mattress that can be comfortable regardless of sleep position can be challenging but Casper hits the mark. Combination sleepers who favor their sides will particularly like this targeted design. Additionally, it is good for couples who favor different sleep positions and those looking for little to no motion transfer.
Find out more about this innovative design in our full Casper mattress review.
You are likely already familiar with the Purple mattress and their wildly popular raw egg test. The test is designed to demonstrate the exceptional pressure-relieving capabilities of the Purple mattress. We opted for more practical testing and have to agree the Purple mattress offers some of the best pressure relief we’ve experienced.
Unlike traditional mattresses made from foam or springs, Purple combines foam with it’s trademarked hyper-elastic polymer grid. Similar in feel to silicone, the walls of the grid are designed to collapse under your body’s weight to provide pressure relief exactly where you need it. As such, we found it performed particularly well for side and combo sleepers.
In addition to being a great choice for side sleepers, the grid naturally promotes airflow making this a great option for anyone who sleeps hot. It’s also an excellent choice for couples as the grid keeps motion transfer to a minimum allowing you to change positions or move around in bed with very little disturbance to you or your partner.
To learn more about Purple read our full Purple mattress review.
Benefits of Side Sleeping
Side sleeping offers a wide array of benefits. In addition to keeping the spine in alignment, it can alleviate snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea. Lying on your left side it can also aid in digestion and increase circulation as well as reduce acid reflux and heartburn. It’s also the recommended sleep position for women during pregnancy. Furthermore, some studies even show that it may reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases, pretty impressive!
Cons of Side Sleeping
Though there are clearly a number of benefits to side sleeping there are a few cons to be aware of:
- Paresthesia of the arms and hands (pins and needles)
- Rotator cuff damage
- Increased risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Choosing the right mattress
We’ve already discussed the important balance between support and pressure relief, as well as our recommendations, but at the end of the day deciding on the right mattress for you is a personal decision. We’ve included in our recommendations a wide range of mattresses that include different materials, technologies, prices and features to help you determine which mattress is best suited for your needs.
Choosing the right pillow
Once you’ve decided on a mattress you’ll want to turn your attention to the perfect pillow. But, with so many options available where do you start?To keep the spine in healthy alignment you’ll need a pillow with a decent loft and support. If the pillow has too high a loft the neck will be arched up at an uncomfortable angle, too little loft and the opposite occurs. In both instances you are bound to wake with pain in in the neck or shoulders. Ear pain is also something to look out for; look for a pillow with some contouring and pressure relief that isn’t too firm.
Because everyone is built differently a one size fits all approach can be tough when selecting a pillow. Though there are lots of options available we recommend checking out an adjustable shredded memory foam pillow for side sleeping which allows a fully customizable experience. The shredded memory foam can be added to or removed so that you may adjust the height of the loft exactly as you need. Not sure where to start? Learn more about two of our favorite adjustable memory foam pillows, the Snuggle-Pedic and Coop Eden.
Utilizing multiple pillows
If you suffer from back or leg pain when you wake up you may need a little extra support from additional pillows. It is recommended that side sleepers use a pillow between the knees to relieve pressure on the joints. This also helps keep the pelvis from rotating and keeps the spine aligned.
A pillow in front or behind you can also keep you from rolling over in the night, this is especially helpful if you are trying to train yourself to sleep in a side sleeping position. In addition to offering some cuddly comfort, a pillow placed in front of you can keep the shoulder and upper body lifted and the chest open, again promoting better spine alignment. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love more pillows? 🙂
When done right lateral sleeping can provide undeniable comfort and a host of health benefits. We hope you side sleepers now have a better understanding what to look for in choosing the perfect sleep set up and more confidence in making you purchase. Looking for more information before you buy? Check out our guides: