Best overall mattress for side sleepers
Purple Hybrid Premier 4
Best mattress for side sleepers with back pain
Nolah Original 10 mattress
Best foam mattress for side sleepers
Sleep positions are usually different for each sleeper, and having a specialized mattress to match your sleep habits can help your sleep quality, comfort, and overall health. If you’re a side sleeper, you might not have realized that there are mattresses designed specifically for you and your sleep position. The best mattresses for side sleepers are ones that contour to the shape of your resting body, providing ample pressure relief and alleviating back pain, hip pain, and shoulder pain.
With so many beds on the market to choose from, narrowing your choice down to even just a few models can be hard. Trust us, we get it. Which is why the CNET sleep editors have tested over 100 different beds, giving us a feel (literally and figuratively) for the best mattresses that suit side sleepers.
Our pick: What’s the best mattress for side sleepers?
My colleagues and I slept on more than two dozen models to find the best mattress for side sleepers, and here are our findings. We update this side sleeper mattress review list periodically as we test new products.
The beds chosen below were top-rated among the editors during testing. We analyzed everything from firmness, feel, motion isolation, edge support and temperature. We also take overall comfort, versatility and special features into account. After testing we found the Layla Hybrid mattress to be the best mattress for side sleepers, but there were plenty of other beds that also stood out as good picks.
Prices listed are for queen sizes, though they frequently change.
Video: Best mattress for side sleepers
Watch CNET Video Producer Owen Poole review the best mattress for side sleepers.
Best mattresses for side sleepers in 2023
Mattress Price Scale:
$ = Budget – $799 and below
$$ = Average – $800 to $1,699
$$$ = Premium – $1,700 and up
Reflect MSRP prices* sales might push a mattress to a lower threshold, but they are always changing.
Type Flippable hybrid mattressFirmness Firm: 5 or medium | Soft: 3 or medium-softTrial 120 nightsWarranty 10-year limited warranty Price $$
Why we picked the Layla Hybrid mattress: Unlike a majority of mattresses on the market, you can sleep on either side of the Layla Hybrid mattress. It has a soft and airy memory foam feel that’s almost like cotton candy. Side sleepers will love the soft side, and the firm side accommodates all sleeping positions.
Type Hybrid mattressFirmness Medium-soft or 3Trial 100 nightsWarranty 10-year warranty Price $$$
Why we picked the Casper Nova Hybrid mattress: A soft mattress is a side sleeper’s haven and the Casper Nova Hybrid bed among the cream of the crop. It feels like a big fluffy cloud, with the additional support of pocketed coils in the foundation layer and a zoned layer in the center of the mattress for targeted support and pressure relief.
Type Hybrid mattressFirmness 6 or medium to medium-firmTrial 100 nightsWarranty 10-year limited warranty Price $$$
Why we picked the Purple Hybrid Premiere 4: It features an extra thick Purple Grid layer that’s unlike foam you’re more used to. It’s squishy, stretchy and incredibly durable. It makes for a really unique, weightless feel that’s pressure relieving on your back, yet supportive for your spine. If you’re willing to get past its unfamiliar first impression, a lot of people end up enjoying their Purple bed.
Purple Hybrid Premier 4
Type Mixed foam hybrid mattressFirmness 5 or medium (for heavier folks)Trial 365 nightsWarranty Lifetime warranty Price $$$
Why we picked the Saatva HD mattress: It’s specifically designed to provide heavier sleepers with maximum support and plenty of comfort. Saatva HD’s supportive innerspring system is 25% stronger than an average hybrid mattress and includes special Lumbar Zone Active Spinal Wire meant to help with lower back support. You can also find 5-zoned latex foam in the comfort layers for even more targeted support.
Why we picked the Amerisleep AS4: The Amerisleep AS4 mattress appeals to a true memory foam fanatic; it has dense, slow-responding foam that envelopes your body, making you feel like you’re getting a big hug from your mattress. The cover is also machine washable and infused with a performance and sleep-boosting fabric that is supposed to promote better sleep and make you feel more energized when you wake up.
Why we picked the Helix Sunset mattress: For side sleepers looking for a safe, comfortable soft mattress, the Helix Sunset is a great choice. It has a simple hybrid mattress design that combines pocketed coils with reinforced edges for stronger edge support and two layers of comfort foams that feel soft, airy and plush.
Type Hybrid mattressFirmness 3 firmness levels | Soft: 3 or Medium-soft | Medium: 5 or Medium | Firm: Medium-firm or 7Trial 120 nightsWarranty 10-year limited warranty Price $$$
Why we picked the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Lux: Many brands use marketing language that claim to have a cooling mattress, but only a handful of those claims actually turn out to be true. Enter Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Lux. It’s a thick hybrid mattress designed with multiple avenues of cooling tech and a plush, cozy feel perfect for side sleepers.
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe
Why we picked the Nolah Original 10 mattress: It’s ideal for people who weigh under 230 pounds and want an affordable foam mattress that isn’t going to break the bank. This bed feels like neutral-foam with traces of memory foam underneath, but it’s quicker to respond to pressure than your typical memory foam.
Other side sleeper mattresses we’ve tested
The CNET Sleep editors have tested more beds than the average sleeper. Around 100 different ones, in fact, and we’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to the craft. The beds on the list were among some of the best we came across, but there are several mattresses that also stood out and deserve some of the spotlight.
WinkBed mattress: The luxurious and Pinterest-perfect WinkBed mattress comes in three firmness levels, and the soft model would be a perfect fit for side sleepers looking for a plush, supportive hybrid mattress. The WinkBed is made with several layers of comfy foam, strong pocketed coils, and a fluffy pillow top that makes it look as good as it feels. I think side sleepers of all body types would enjoy the WinkBed.
Original Layla mattress: We mentioned the Layla Hybrid on this list, but if you want to save some money and are willing to give up the pocketed coil base layer, then the Original foam Layla mattress is a great option. It’s also flippable, and features one very plush and soft side perfect for side sleepers. Though, this Layla mattress is going to suit sleepers under 230 pounds better because it’s not as supportive as the Hybrid model.
How we tested the best mattresses for side sleepers
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read more on how we test mattresses.
What to consider when buying a mattress for side sleepers
The qualities that side sleepers want in a mattress are different from stomach or back sleepers. Here are the main features to keep an eye out for if you favor your side when you sleep.
- Pressure relief: As we’ve touched on in this best list already, the best mattresses for side sleepers cradle the hip and shoulders to provide optimal pressure relief. That’s why soft mattresses tend to be the best — they give under your weight allowing the foam to mold around your shoulders and hips.
- Firmness: Soft mattresses are typically more pressure-relieving than firm ones. If you had a firm mattress, it would press into your hips and shoulders, throwing off the alignment of your spine with your neck. This is a recipe for back pain.
- Weight: Keep in mind that the heavier you are, the softer a mattress is going to feel. Heavier sleepers over 230 pounds can afford to get a firmer mattress because it’ll feel a notch softer than what’s advertised. The same rule applies in reverse to petite sleepers under 150 pounds. Smaller side sleepers may want an extra-soft mattress so it doesn’t feel too firm.
- Health concerns: If you suffer from back pain, side pain or joint pain, take that into consideration when choosing a mattress. People with back pain may want a side sleeper bed that offers a balance of pressure relief and support, like the Purple, which lands at a medium on the firmness scale. If you suffer from hip or shoulder pain, a softer mattress that will take the pressure off your joints will usually fare better than a firm bed.
How does sleeping on your side affect your sleep?
Besides being comfortable, there are also countless health benefits to side sleeping as well. Helping reduce the risk of sleep apnea, improving the health of your brain and even improving gut health and function are included among the benefits of sleeping on your side. And the best mattress for side sleepers can improve your comfort while you get a good night’s sleep.
It’s also recommended to side sleep during pregnancy. It promotes better quality sleep by keeping pressure off your belly, and sleeping on the left side promotes ample blood flow from the inferior vena cava. This is a crucial vein that pumps blood through your heart and also your baby.
However, sleeping on your side can have some adverse effects if you’re not using the right mattress. It can put undue pressure on your shoulders and hips and lead to joint pain and discomfort.
Side sleeper mattress FAQs
What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?
Memory foam is one of the best types of mattresses for side sleepers. It contours to your body shape, relieving pressure points and keeping your spinal alignment when you’re lying on your side. Side sleepers should also consider a soft mattress because it provides pressure relief to your shoulder and hip joints.
What type of firmness is best for side sleepers?
There’s not a single right answer to this question, but in general, side sleepers tend to prefer a soft to medium mattress. Mattresses in this range have enough give to alleviate pressure in the shoulders, hips and knees when you’re sleeping on your side, but also hold their shape to keep your spinal alignment so you don’t wake up in pain.
Are firm mattresses bad for side sleepers?
Firm mattresses can be bad for side sleepers, especially ones under 150 pounds. If your mattress firmness is too hard, it might not have enough give and cushioning for your pressure points. Lack of pressure relief can disrupt your sleep and cause pain and even numbness and tingling in your extremities. Ultimately, a lot comes down to personal preference and how you feel on the mattresses, but most side sleepers do best with medium or softer mattress options.