The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers Cradle You for Deeper Z’s
No matter if you prefer the left or the right.
Published May 23, 2022 4:19 PM
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If your sleeping routine is sticking firmly to one side of the bed or flip-flopping to each shoulder, you’re not alone. About 74 percent of the rest of the world prefers this sleeping position, too, according to mattress purveyor Casper. And yes, while this means most mattresses are manufactured to accommodate more side sleepers than stomach or back sleepers, it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all thing—the options are endless and not created equal.
Luckily, we know a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist—Dr. Leonidas Scantalides (our favorite authority on the best pillows for shoulder pain)—who helped us narrow down the choices. “When sleeping on your side, and if one has a softer mattress, your joints may be placed in certain positions that could cause negative feedback to your nervous system, drawing you out of deep sleep,” he warns. “A mattress that is firm enough to support your body, but not too firm where there is little to no give, is ideal for a side sleeper.”
Taking his tips into consideration, we found six of the best mattresses for side sleepers so that you can drift off into many nights of dreamy bliss.
- Best overall: Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
- Best value: Helix Twilight Mattress
- Best hybrid: Tuft & Needle Hybrid Mattress
- Best memory foam: Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress
- Best temperature control: Novaform ComfortGrande Mattress
- Best newcomer: Pillow Cube Mattress
Best Overall: Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
Type: Hybrid | Sleep trial: 365 nights | Warranty: Lifetime | Cooling feature: Gel memory foam
What we like:
- Pillows, sheets, and protector included for free
- Works on any type of bed frame (even adjustable bases!)
- Wait 24 hours before using
Why we chose it: Unbox, unroll, and enjoy this five-layer hybrid that conforms to your body shape without sinking in too deep.
Dreamcloud lives up to its name with a dream-inducing hybrid mattress that feels nothing short of cloudlike. Featuring rows of individually wrapped coils that support a side sleeper’s joints and muscles, the five-layer, high-density gel memory foam not only cushions and cradles your body, but it keeps you cool at night. It’s also finished with a cozy, soft-to-the-touch cashmere topper so that you don’t have to rely solely on sheets for added comfort. The company is so confident you’ll enjoy your new mattress that it’s backed by an incomparable one-year sleep trial and lifetime warranty, making it the opposite of a risky purchase and a worthy splurge.
Best Value: Helix Twilight Mattress
Type: Hybrid | Sleep trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 Years | Cooling feature: SoftTouch cover
What we like:
- Made in the U.S.
- Supportive middle layer
- Priced affordably
- Can be a bit too firm for some customers
Why we chose it: A supportive middle layer cradles the natural contours of side sleepers; this affordable and firm mattress is ideal for anyone who can’t stop tossing and turning at night.
If you’re looking for a hybrid memory foam mattress but tend to suffer from sticker shock, look no further than Helix’s Twilight model. This memory foam and polyfoam duo creates the right balance of cushioning (with extra coils in the center for support), while its hypoallergenic cover options provide the perfect amount of cooling thanks to its natural breathability. It’s definitely a bit on the firmer side, but this level of resistance is ideal to alleviate stress put on the biggest pressure points (i.e., shoulders, lower back, neck) when snoozing in the fetal position. And at only $1,000 for a queen, it’s an investment that won’t break the bank.
Best Hybrid: Tuft & Needle Hybrid Mattress
Type: Hybrid | Sleep trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | Cooling feature: Graphite
What we like:
- Topped with adaptive foam for added softness
- Excellent edge support
- Ships in 1 to 3 business days
- Heavy (a whopping 112 pounds for a queen)
Why we chose it: A balance of cozy foam and bouncy springs (but not too jiggly) is what separates this highly rated mattress from its more one-note competitors.
Manufactured with an open-cell foam to respond to every body type and sleeping position, Tuft & Needle’s hybrid model is one of the most versatile on this list. Not only is it designed to brace your curves, but its nano coils and mint foam layer provide breathability to regulate your body’s temperature as it heats up throughout the night. The mattress also boasts firmer perimeter coils so that you can get in and out of bed with ease and without disturbing your slumbering partner. Sometimes it’s the little things that you forget to take into consideration, but Tuft & Needle has you covered.
Best Memory Foam: Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress
Type: Memory foam | Sleep trial: 365 nights | Warranty: Lifetime | Cooling feature: Organic cotton
What we like:
- Free in-room delivery and setup
- Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial
- Luxurious look and feel
- A bit pricey (a queen is over $2,000)
Why we chose it: Six layers of foam, including one that inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Saatva does it again with its eco-friendly six-layer Loom & Leaf model, which provides unparalleled stability thanks to an ultra-premium, five-pound memory foam (contributing to a 12-inch profile overall) constructed to target lower back pain. The company also allows you to choose your preferred comfort level, utilizing materials that are not only good for the environment (like organic cotton and foam with renewable oils) but also antimicrobial, with plant-based thistle (perfect if you like to share your bed with your pet). It’s a purchase you’ll feel good about, for yourself and the planet.
Best Temperature Control: Novaform ComfortGrande Mattress
Type: Memory foam | Sleep trial: Up to retailer | Warranty: 20 years | Cooling feature: Gel memory foam and quilted cover
What we like:
- Two cooling technologies
- Affordably priced
- Easy to ship
- Some customers have noted that the mattress quality doesn’t last
Why we chose it: If you tend to run hot, Novaform keeps you top of mind with its ComfortGrande mattress.
Nothing feels better than the silky cool feeling of a freshly made bed. Novaform captures this sensation with a quilted cool-to-the-touch cover and Evencor GelPlus technology to maintain the low temperature of this highly rated mattress. Its memory foam also features air channels to better promote breathability, while its robust base foam provides maximum support and comfort for side sleepers. But one of our favorite perks is that it also has built-in side handles so that you can move your mattress around with ease to store belongings underneath.
Best Newcomer: Pillow Cube Mattress
Type: Memory foam | Sleep Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 25 years | Cooling feature: SoftTouch cover
What we like:
- Bundle includes freebies like sheets and a comforter
- Utilizes same materials as popular pillow
- Built with side sleepers in mind
- New to market, so not many reviews
Why we chose it: Side sleepers on the road can now enjoy their travel companion more permanently at home with a mattress made from the same patented materials.
As an extension of the increasingly popular Pillow Cube, beloved by influencers like Alyssa Coscarelli (you can read her full review here) for easing neck pain caused by naps in transit, this mattress was designed solely with side sleepers in mind. Not only does it boast a premium pillow-soft layer (using the same material as the beloved cube), but its spine align-zoned coils provide the utmost in comfort and support, especially for those who suffer from tight hips and sore shoulders. Though reviews are scarce, nothing, thus far, is less than five stars, which leads us to believe that the company likely has another bona fide hit on its hands.
How We Chose These Products
A list of recommended mattresses was provided by our expert, Dr. Leonidas Scantalides. This included options that ranged in materials, price, and sustainability, though memory foam and hybrid models took priority, since these are what Scantalides argues are best for supporting side sleepers. From there, we narrowed this list down to a handful of companies and products, digging into brand stats and high-quality manufacturing processes, and then based our decisions on average customer reviews and industry reputation. Since we obviously couldn’t try them all ourselves, sleep-trial lengths and warranties were strongly taken into consideration so that you can make a purchase without having to commit 100 percent. A mattress is an investment and, like Goldilocks, you want to find the bed that is just right.
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Design and Materials
For side sleepers, who tend to put extra pressure on their shoulders and neck, Scantalides recommends memory foam and hybrid models. The latter is typically made with memory foam, but with the added benefit of coils that mimic those found in a traditional spring mattress.
“As adults, we typically have an idea of which kinds of mattresses work well for us and which do not,” he adds. “On the other hand, if you know that spring mattresses are really uncomfortable and historically have not allowed you to get a good night’s sleep, you’d benefit from a pure memory foam mattress.”
“For side sleepers, a medium-firm to firm mattress will do,” says Scantalides. Mattresses that are too soft will allow your body to sink and not support the areas most impacted by side sleeping, like your shoulders and neck. A firmer mattress will have less give and, as a result, keep your spine more properly aligned, while also providing enough cushion to contour the pressure points surrounding your shoulders.
Sleep Trials and Delivery
If you’re in a position where the ideal mattress type is still unknown, most companies offer a trial period where you can test their mattress for 30 to 90 nights, risk-free.
Though most companies offer free shipping, some go above and beyond and set up your mattress for you, free of charge. Be sure to read the fine print, especially with hybrid mattresses that may not be able to arrive rolled up and vacuum-sealed in a box.
Getting a good night’s rest is critical in accomplishing the most basic of daily tasks. We tapped Scantalides to answer a couple of your burning questions so that you can feel supported, both in bed and with your curiosity.
Q: Is a tight top mattress good for side sleepers?
When it comes to side sleepers, tight top mattresses (ones that have special padding on the top) may not offer the same support compared to memory foam or hybrid. It would be recommended to try a memory foam or hybrid first, then if neither fits well, try a tight top mattress.
Q: Which is more important for side sleepers: the pillow or the mattress?
When it comes to a history of neck and shoulder issues, a pillow is important. If you have a history of lower back issues and discomfort, a quality mattress would be a priority. A good pillow setup with all conditions is also worth looking into.
The Last Word
Though most mainstream mattress brands create models that accommodate side sleepers (the most popular sleeping position), finding the perfect mattress among a sea of options can be quite the daunting task. Luckily, many companies are backed by impressive sleep trials and warranties so you can make the investment without the fear of commitment. If you’re not sure whether you prefer sleeping on memory foam, springs, or a hybrid, give one from our list of the best mattresses for side sleepers a try. We’re quite convinced it will lead to many nights of uninterrupted, quality sleep.
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