Best Mattress for Side Sleepers: Catch Z’s with These Beds

Woman sleeping in side position, in comfort on bed
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    If you’re a side sleeper, you’re with the majority: research shows that side sleeping is the most popular position people use to get some shut-eye. Fortunately, that means most bedding manufacturers craft their beds with side sleepers in mind. However, not all mattresses are created equal, and not all beds that claim to be best for this group actually are.

    If you’re a side sleeper looking to upgrade your mattress, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve selected three of our favorite brands that best suit the needs of side resters. Of course, if you need more information about why optimizing your sleep position is important, we’ll walk you through that, too. Finding the best mattress for side sleepers has never been easier!

    Our Top 3 Picks

    Layla Sleep Helix Midnight Luxe Nolah Original 10
    Layla Mattress Logo 600x400 Helix Mattress Logo 600x400 Nolah Mattress Logo 600x400
    For Hot Sleepers For a Luxurious Night of Sleep For Back + Side Combo Sleepers
    Made with cooling copper-infused gel memory foam, Layla mattresses are flippable, with two sides of varying firmness levels. The result is a bed that can suit that needs of a wide range of sleepers. The Helix Midnight Luxe mattress is one of Helix Sleep's most popular models. Combining top-notch foam and individually wrapped coils, this mattress offers soothing pressure relief. The Nolah Original 10 strikes that perfect balance of support and comfort, making it a great option for those who switch from resting on their sides to their backs.
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    Layla Sleep

    Pros

    – 2 firmness levels

    – Lifetime warranty

    – Innovative cooling design

    Cons

    – Online-only retailer

    – One bedding option

    Best For...

    – Those looking to try something new

    – Hot sleepers

    – Side sleepers

    Layla Sleep Overview
    Mattress Type Foam
    Shipping Free (Contiguous US); Hawai’i & Alaska $125; Canada $200-$225 + Duties/Fees
    Returns Free (Contiguous US)
    Ships in... 2-5 Business Days
    Trial Period 120 Nights
    Firmness Level 4.5/10 or 7/10
    Sleeper Type Side Sleepers on the Soft Side
    Warranty Lifetime
    Certifications CertiPUR-US

    Hot sleepers craving pressure-point relief need look no further than the innovative Layla, which incorporates copper-infused gel memory foam. Why the copper? It’s not just a gimmick. Firstly, copper effectively transfers heat away from the body, meaning less night sweats for you. Secondly, copper is perfect for providing pressure-point relief that side sleepers crave. Namely, copper has the unique property of pressing back against those who press against it. The result is that the body gets extra support in the places it needs it most.

    This unique material isn’t all Layla offers, though. In fact, the design of the bed itself makes it stand apart from the crowd, too. Specifically, this mattress is dual sided, meaning each side offers unique benefits. For instance, leaving the soft side up means side sleepers get the body-contouring relief they need. Flipping over to the firmer side means that back and stomach sleepers have a more supportive surface to suit their slumber. Overall, this flippable design makes Layla suitable for many kinds of sleepers. 

    You can see our thorough review of Layla to learn more.

    Layla Sleep offers a memory foam bed that won’t contribute to the night sweats, all the while offering flexible firmness levels to suit a wide range of sleepers.

    Helix Mightnight Luxe

    Pros

    – Extra luxurious feel

    – Enhanced motion isolation

    – Great pressure relief

    Cons

    – Shorter trial period & warranty

    – Price

    Best For...

    – Couples

    – Side sleepers

    – People with larger budgets

    Helix Midnight Luxe Overview
    Mattress Type Hybrid
    Shipping Free in US; $250 + Customs Tax in Canada
    Returns Full Refund
    Ships in... 2-4 Business Days
    Trial Period 100 Nights
    Firmness Level 5-6/10
    Sleeper Type Great for Luxury-Seeking Side Sleepers
    Warranty 10 Years
    Certifications Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, CertiPUR-US

    Helix is the mattress brand that believes that one mattress cannot suit the needs of every single sleeper; that’s why they offer 14 unique beds that are customized to meet the needs of most people. The top-tier Midnight Luxe is one of their most popular options, having a nice medium-firm feel that most enjoy.

    This Luxe hybrid takes everything great about the base Midnight model and improves on it. For starters, its zoned coil layer features enhanced lumbar support, perfect for those who experience lower-back pain. Better yet, those who easily overheat can rest easy (and cool) when they slumber on this bed, thanks to its breathable quilted Tencel™ cover.

    Best of all, though, is the fact that this model is optimized for the needs of side sleepers. Its coils, for example, are optimally placed to support their bodies. The added memory foam also hugs their shoulders and hips for maximum comfort.

    You can see our in-depth review of various Helix models to learn more.

    Helix offers an extensive line of mattresses suitable for nearly every sleeping preference. You can take their quiz to see which bed will work best for you!

    Nolah Original 10

    Pros

    – Cooling AirFoam™ design

    – Natural viscose cover

    – Targeted pressure relief

    Cons

    – Price

    – Not ideal for heavier individuals

    Best For...

    – Back + side combo sleepers

    – Relieving back pain

    Nolah Original 10 Overview
    Mattress Type Foam
    Shipping Free for Contiguous US
    Returns Free
    Ships in... 5-10 Days
    Trial Period 120 Nights
    Firmness Level 5-6/10
    Sleeper Type Great for Back + Side Combo Sleepers
    Warranty 15 Years
    Certifications CertiPUR-US

    Looking for an all-foam bed that hugs the body while fighting the night sweats? Yes? Then you’ll want to explore the Nolah Original 10. This 10″ bed is comprised of optimized foam layers that provide pressure-point relief, bounce, and support that’s hard to match.

    It all starts with the 2″ top layer, made of the brand’s proprietary AirFoam™. This material is body-hugging, like memory foam. Unlike memory foam, though, it won’t trap body heat, meaning you stay cooler as you slumber. The next 1″ layer adds bounce, meaning reduced motion transfer. So, those who share a bed with a light sleeper should enjoy this feature. Everything is completed with a dense 7″ foam layer. This base stabilizes the entire mattress, giving sleepers the support they crave.

    You can see our breakdown of the Nolah Original 10 and Signature 12 to learn more.

    Nolah strikes that perfect balance of comfort and support, all the while making sure sleepers don’t overheat.

    What Type of Mattress Do Side Sleepers Need?

    When resting, it’s crucial to make sure your spine is properly aligned, or you run the risk of developing aches and pains. Side sleepers who rest incorrectly often develop shoulder and back pain, specifically. So, investing in a mattress that helps facilitate proper spinal alignment can mean the difference between waking up refreshed and waking up sore.

    So, just what should side sleepers look for in mattress, anyway?

    Find a Bed with "Give"

    Hand stamp on memory foam mattress

    The more “give” a mattress has, the more it will sink when you press down on it. Now, those who slumber on their sides need a bed that sinks a little more. After all, side sleeping means less of your body comes into contact with your mattress than if you slept on your back or stomach. Naturally, that means that the parts of your body that do touch the mattress press down more. You’ll therefore need a mattress with more give, so your body can comfortably sink.

    What happens when you have a mattress that’s too firm? Nothing good. Too firm of a bed means your spine will curve uncomfortably, meaning your body is unnaturally strained the entire time you’re asleep. So, when you wake up 7-8 hours later, your body will understandably feel quite sore and stiff.

    Typically, foam and latex beds are better suited for side sleepers. Why? Because these materials have plenty of give, and conform well to the curves of the body, which means customized pressure-point relief. Hybrid mattresses with high-quality foam or latex top layers may also work. All innerspring or firmer hybrid options, though, often don’t properly accommodate the needs of side-sleeping folk.

    Okay, but what about combination sleepers, or those who alternate sleeping positions? Well, these individuals will likely need slightly firmer sleeping surfaces, as back and stomach sleepers require firm beds in order to align their spines. So, combination sleepers will likely find medium-firm beds to their liking; most hybrid models fit this bill.

    Don't Forget About Your Neck

    Young woman sleeping on bed with orthopedic pillow at home. Healthy posture concept

    Never neglect the neck; your pillow can have just as much impact on rest as a mattress. When you rest on your side, you’ll want to have a pillow that isn’t too high or too low. Preferably, it will have a dip in it, so your head can be comfortably cradled while your neck gets the support it needs.

    Need to find a pillow that works for you? Not a problem. You can check out our reviews for memory foam pillows and down cushions to learn more.

    Man lying on his side, seen from behind, incorrect sleeping posture for neck and spine, unhealthy sleeping position vector Illustration

    Avoid pillows with too low a loft, as this will cause the neck to sink uncomfortably, causing excess strain.

    Man lying on his side, incorrect sleeping posture for neck and spine, unhealthy sleeping position vector Illustration

    Likewise avoid pillows with too high a loft for your body for similar reasons.

    Man lying on his side, correct sleeping posture for neck and spine, healthy sleeping position, orthopedic mattress and pillow vector Illustration

    Opt for a pillow that comfortably cradles your head; your neck and shoulders should properly align.

    Use a Pillow to Correct Your Posture

    Beautiful pregnant woman sleeping with maternity pillow on bed at home

    Pillows aren’t just good for your neck and shoulders, though; you can also strategically use them to alleviate back discomfort. Specifically, individuals can place a pillow (or even rolled up towel) between their knees. This placement will help align the spine, which can mean fewer aches and pains upon awakening.

    Correct sleep on side posture by place a pillow between legs.

    Placing a pillow or rolled towel between your legs may alleviate some lower back pain.

    Pregnant people can likewise use pillows to their advantage. Placing a pillow between the legs or even under the stomach may help these individuals find some relief from discomfort. Of course, there are also specialized pregnancy pillows that can better facilitate proper spinal alignment and restful sleep, like this one recommended by the American Pregnancy Association.

    FInal Thoughts: What Mattresses Will Suit Side Sleepers Best?

    Without the right type of mattress to facilitate proper spinal alignment, it’s easy for side sleepers to develop back and shoulder pain. To avoid these and other potential problems, it’s best for these people to invest in bedding specifically made with them in mind.

    Side sleepers should look for:

    • A bed with plenty of "give," or a softer mattress.
    • A dipped pillow to comfortably cradle your head.
    • Pillows that fit well between the legs to alleviate back pain.

    Side sleepers should avoid:

    • Sleeping surfaces that are too firm.
    • Pillows with too high or too low of a loft.
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