The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
Hey side sleepers! Read through our comprehensive guide on side sleeping and take a look at the rest of our top-5 mattress recommendations.
Sleeping on Your Side – What to Know
Side sleeping is the most common and healthiest sleep position. If you’re already a side sleeper, you’re making a good choice in sleep posture. Statistics on sleep from SleepMed, a sleep disorder treatment center, show that 70 million Americans suffer sleep disorders with 18 million coping with sleep apnea. Collectively, our sleep problems add nearly $16 billion to annual healthcare costs in the US.
Physiotherapist Sammy Margo studies sleep and his research found that almost 70% of people side sleep. There is the fetal position, the yearning posture (on the side, reaching out with arms), and the log position (side sleeping with arms down at the side). It’s a preferred sleep posture that brings many benefits but some may need to tuck a pillow between their knees for optimal spinal alignment.
Side sleeping addresses many of the issues that contribute to disrupted sleep. Not only is sleeping on your side beneficial but if you sleep more frequently on your left side, you’ll enjoy even more health benefits.
Benefits of Side Sleeping
Clears glymphatic pathways in the brain: Toxins build up in your brain, and when you sleep, your brain flushes them out. Scientists studied side-sleeping mice and found their brains more efficiently clear toxins that put the brain at risk.
May reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s: Side sleeping that detoxifies the brain flushes out proteins that build up in the brain and spinal cord and can lead to these devastating diseases.
Lower odds of sleep disruption: Because you’re less likely to snore and have breathing problems, side sleepers often sleep more soundly than those in other positions. Uninterrupted sleep brings numerous benefits.
Proper spinal alignment: Your spine has a natural “s” curve in its neutral position. Side sleeping is more likely to keep your spine properly aligned.
Reduces aggravation of sleep apnea: Sleeping on your back lets your tongue to fall back in your throat and can cut off breathing, waking you. Stomach sleeping can block inhalation paths. Side sleeping lets you breathe more easily.
Added Benefits of Left-side Sleeping
Prevents heartburn: Sleeping on your left side allows gravity to keep stomach acid in the pit of your stomach while right side sleeping can let it seep up into your esophagus, waking you with heartburn.
Improves digestion: Left-side sleeping uses gravity to help your digested food move naturally from the small to large intestine as you sleep, so you wake to healthy bowel movements and less constipation.
Clears the lymph nodes: Your lymph system is predominately on the left side of your body, and at night, the thoracic duct drains into the left side of your heart where it moves efficiently out of your body.
Pregnancy health: Sleeping on your left side while pregnant increases blood and nutrient supply to your placenta and growing baby. If lower back pain makes this a challenge, try a pillow between your knees.
Benefits of Right-Side Sleeping
Reduces snoring and apnea: Sleeping on your right side improves airflow and keeps your tongue and throat in a position to allow easy breathing because left side sleeping puts pressure on the lungs.
Who Shouldn’t Sleep on Their Side
Despite all the benefits of side sleeping, there are some health conditions where it’s contra-indicated. It’s best to speak to your physician before drastically changing your sleep posture for health reasons, but studies show that those with heart problems may want to avoid left-side sleeping.
Also, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may want to consider avoiding side sleeping. One study found a “strong and significant association” between side sleeping and carpal tunnel in people younger than 60. Side sleeping puts pressure on the median nerve of the wrist and hand.
If side sleeping is for you and you’ve embraced the benefits and challenges of your chosen sleep posture, take a quick look next at our top five best mattresses for side sleepers.
What Should Side Sleepers Look for in a Mattress?
Before you shop for a new bed, stop to consider how your current mattress is performing. What firmness is your current mattress? What material is it made of and how does it feel to you? Mattress choice is all down to personal preference, but if you know how your old bed performed for you, you’ll have a starting idea of what to avoid and what’s working well for you.
In addition to assessing your current sleep situation, check out the information below on mattress firmness and materials to help you choose the best mattress for side sleeping that meets your needs.
Comfort and firmness critical
One of the top concerns when choosing the best mattress for side sleepers is pressure relief. Side sleepers experience pressure on their shoulders and hips where body weight pushes you into the mattress. If the bed is too firm or comfort layers are inadequate, you might have pain at these points, find yourself shifting at night, or waking sore. As a side sleeper, you don’t want a bed that’s overly firm.
Firmness is determined by the support core of a bed. If you are a heavier person (250+ pounds), you’ll need a firmer bed. But people of healthy weight that are side sleepers will need to stick to the mid-range of the firmness scale, and most prefer a bed that’s a 5-6.5 in firmness on the industry scale of 1 to 10. You’ll also want an upper comfort layer designed for pressure relief on hips and shoulders.
Best bed for side sleepers – mattress materials
There are three primary mattress materials plus hybrid beds which are a combination of these. Here are the materials that make up the best type of mattress for side sleepers:
Innerspring beds are made with traditional steel coils. The springs can be metal coils held together by wire or pocket coils which are metal coils in sleeves. Innerspring beds usually have foam above the coils as the comfort layer. Some downsides to innerspring can be motion transfer (i.e., movement) and noise depending on the base of the bed and overall design.
Innerspring beds may be too firm for side sleepers because the coils may push into your pressure points and leave you with discomfort. It’s important to check reviews from other side sleepers to evaluate an innerspring bed you may be considering.
Foam mattresses can be either polyfoam or memory foam and are made from a chemical process. High-density (HD), high-resiliency (HR), and memory foams may offer excellent cushion for pressure points so long as the bed isn’t overly firm. However, many foams sleep hotter than other mattress materials, so that’s something to be aware of while comparison shopping.
Memory foam can be a top choice for side sleepers because comfort foams let you sink in for pressure relief. HR and HD foams may also perform well so long as you’re not a very heavy or hot sleeper. If you have either of these issues, look for cooling materials with support.
Latex is a premium mattress material that’s costlier than others but can be well worth it. Latex is either natural and made from rubber tree sap or synthetic from a chemical process. It’s supportive, offers contour and hug, plus resiliency and bounce. Latex comes in a variety of firmness options and sleeps cool while offering durability and a mattress that can last for years.
For side sleepers, look for a latex mattress with a plusher comfort layer to let you sink in enough to get comfortable and get the feel you want. Latex is an excellent choice for side sleepers because of the cushioning properties and comfortable sleep it provides.
A hybrid mattress has a pocket coil core with foam or latex comfort layer(s). The variety of materials intend to provide benefits of many materials while minimizing downsides. The motion transfer of the innerspring is mitigated by the comfort layers. Plus, the airflow in the coils cools the bed and keeps the foam from sleeping too hot.
Hybrid beds should be assessed from top to bottom to make sure all the components are high quality and will perform well. Hybrid beds can be a good choice for side sleepers so long as the bed isn’t too firm, and the comfort layers are adequate for pressure relief.
5 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
|Manufacturer||Model||Mattress Type||Price (Queen)|
|Luxi 3-in-1||Memory Foam||$1,299|
Side Sleeper Mattress Reviews
When choosing the best mattress for side sleepers, it’s important to focus on the quality of materials, adequate support to keep your spine aligned, and a rich enough comfort layer for pressure relief. Most important is how a bed feels and fits your personal preferences. Be sure to read reviews from other side sleepers to help guide your purchase. Check out our reviews of the best mattress for side sleepers.
Layla’s mattress is an all-foam four-layer design with two outer comfort layers of different firmness. In the core of the bed is a 2” layer of convoluted support foam and 4.5” of base support foam. The firmer side has a 1” comfort layer of copper-infused memory foam while the softer side has a 3” layer of the same material.
Because Layla was designed to be flippable with two firmness options, it can be a top choice of best memory foam mattress for side sleepers. The softer side is rated at 5 on the scale while the firmer side is rated 7. The memory foams are copper-infused to dissipate heat and provide pressure relief while the dual support cores should offer adequate support.
Foam beds are not known for edge support, and Layla is no exception. Side sleepers should be okay so long as they don’t like to sleep at the very outer edge of the bed and the comfort of the memory foam may make up for this small sacrifice. Also, Layla is a newer company and still building its reputation in the mattress industry, but so far, buyer reviews are positive.
Why Layla is a Good Choice
Layla uses high-quality memory foams with copper inside that helps the bed sleep cooler and aids circulation. The mattress conforms closely to take pressure off your hips and shoulders. There is a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser. At a reasonable price point of less than $900, the Layla is an excellent choice for side sleepers, and its foams are CertiPUR-US certified.
The Luxi 3-in-1 is an all-foam bed designed to be adjustable to your comfort specifications. There are four layers starting with a base layer of durable foam. Next is a layer of supportive foam. Above that is a layer of adaptive foam then next is Luxi’s support balancing tech made from foam pedestals for custom conformity and comfort. The cover is quilted memory foam.
The Luxi 3-in-1 can be adjusted to soft, medium, or firm. You can rearrange the layers to make it firmer or softer. The bed comes pre-arranged to medium. The columns have deep channels for airflow and breathability with open cell design for coolness. The bed also features a dual option where each half of the bed can be independently configured if your partner has different sleep needs from you.
At $1,299, the bed is not the lowest cost, but you get some impressive design elements that can be great for side sleepers including the conforming pedestals and cooler sleep than most foams. Also, Luxi’s 3-in-1 as sold is not recommended for people that weigh more than 250 pounds. However, if you’re heavier, Luxi will add some additional support that could make the bed better suited to your needs.
Why Luxi 3-in-1 is a Good Choice
In addition to the 100-night sleep trial, Luxi offers a 1,000-night pledge where they will work with you to ensure your comfort and help you adjust the bed to get it to where it performs perfectly for you. For side sleepers, Luxi is a top choice because of the conforming pedestals that take pressure off your sensitive areas while still providing the support you need while cooling better than other firm beds.
The original Purple mattress is a three-layer design. The two bottom layers are high-grade polyfoam while the top layer is the proprietary open grid material that gives Purple its name. The base layer is 4” of high-density polyfoam while the middle layer of the bed is 3.5” of foam. The comfort layer is 2” of a specially made polymer in a Smart Comfort Grid®.
Marketed as a no-pressure mattress, the Purple is designed to work with all sleep positions to take pressure off the body parts that push into the bed. The open grid is not only designed to keep you comfortable as you sleep but also keep you cool. The lower layers of the bed offer adequate support for spinal alignment while the high-tech comfort layer contours and cradles.
The Purple doesn’t offer a standard twin-size mattress, only a twin XL. Also, the bed is only available in one firmness at 6.5, which is considered medium-firm. If you prefer much softer or firmer, there’s not a wide array of choice with the original Purple. As a newer mattress maker, founded just a couple of years ago, the company is still establishing itself in the industry.
Why Purple is a Good Choice
With a 100-night sleep trial and CertiPUR-US foams, there is a lot to like about Purple. At a price point of just under $1,000, the bed is affordable, especially for new sleep tech that performs well. It has more bounce than memory foam yet conforms nicely and has low motion transfer. It offers pressure relief like the best foams but without sleeping hot. In all, it’s a solid choice for side sleepers.
The Spindle is an all-natural latex bed made in three layers each of 3” of superior Dunlop latex with a total height of 10”. They use medium and firm latexes in their four firmness options (soft, medium, firm, and extra firm). The cover is circular knit organic cotton, and there’s a 1” organic wool batting layer at the top for moisture wicking and cooling.
Spindle has you input your height, weight, and sleep position preference to make a firmness recommendation, but they suggest you trust your gut. The company offers a 365-day comfort guarantee where they work with you to provide additional layers to swap out to get the comfort you want. This can help side sleepers uncertain of what will work so you can get custom comfort to sleep well.
At a price point of $1,349, Spindle is the costliest on our top five list of best beds for side sleepers, but as it’s a premium material, is worth the investment. The lengthy (one year) sleep trial has the condition of a 60-day break-in where you can’t return it but must work with the company to try and get it adjusted to fit your needs. The company has a relatively low return rate and great success making buyers happy.
Why Spindle is a Good Choice
In addition to being all-natural latex, Spindle’s materials are Oeko-Tex® 100 Class I certified, and it’s got organic materials in the cover as well. Side sleepers should find comfort in the premium Dunlop latex that contours as well as supports. It’s a cool sleep option and well worth the investment. Plus, the comfort guarantee is a nice assurance that you should get a sleep experience you’ll enjoy.
The WinkBed is a foam hybrid with two layers of innerspring. The support core is 7.5” high profile coils surrounded by a high-density foam perimeter for optimal edge support. There is a lumbar support pad for alignment under a 2.5” layer of pocket micro coils. There is a dual comfort layer that varies depending on the firmness you choose. The cover is Tencel® for added cooling and moisture wicking.
WinkBed recommends their soft (rated 4.5) and luxury firm (rated 6.5) for side sleepers. If you’re a heavier side sleeper, you should consider their PLUS mattress made for those that weigh more than 250 pounds. The dual coil layers are excellent for cooling, and the dual comfort layers offer a nice comfort and contour that may suit many side sleepers.
If you don’t like the feel of an innerspring bed, the WinkBed may not be for you. It does have nice bounce for sex and other benefits like cooling that come with beds that have coil support cores. It has some motion transfer, but not an excessive amount. The bed altogether is 15” which may be a bit tall for some depending on your foundation. The price is nearly $1,300 which won’t fit every budget.
Why the WinkBed is a Good Choice
The 101-night trial and white glove delivery option for $99, plus CertiPUR-US certified foams are all selling points. This a top choice for side sleepers given the wide array of options. Plus, if you’re a very hot sleeper, there’s an optional coolControl™ base for $2,200 that blows air into the bed for superlative cooling. WinkBed could be just the side sleeping mattress you need.