Experts recommend side sleeping as one of the healthiest and safest methods of sleeping. Not only is side-sleeping better for your spinal health, but it can reduce sleep apnea and excessive snoring. Best of all, side sleeping for many is the most comfortable and coziest way to curl up in bed at night.
Side sleepers need the best mattresses on the market to ensure they get adequate spinal support. After all, nobody wants to sleep on a lumpy or uneven mattress. If side sleepers sleep on uneven mattresses, they can suffer from a spike in blood pressure and interrupted sleep. Therefore, finding the right mattress as a side sleeper is crucial.
Fortunately for you, we’ve put together an in-depth guide to finding the best memory foam mattress as a side sleeper. We chose to review memory foam mattresses due to their reputation for providing much-needed structural support for the spine and neck.
Best Mattress Reviews 2020: 30-Second Summary
- The Amerisleep AS3 is our recommendation for the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers. The AS3’s combination of pressure-relieving memory foam and zoned back support make it a great choice for side sleepers. Like all Amerisleep mattresses, the AS3 uses plant-based memory foam and comes with free shipping, a 100-night trial, and a 20-year warranty.
- The Zoma Sports Mattress is an all-foam mattress with an 11-inch profile that uses gel-infused memory foam to provide cool, pressure-relieving support and comfort. The gel-infused memory foam also features zoned layers of triangular-shaped cut-outs to give a side sleeper great support.
|Amerisleep AS3||Pressure-relieving, plant-based foam offers relief and comfort to side sleepers.||$1199|
|Zoma Sports Mattress||A zoned top layer helps cradle your shoulders and support your hips.||$750|
|Purple||Two inches of Purple's unique hyper-elastic polymer material||$1099|
|Nolah||designed to be about four times as pressure-relieving as conventional memory foam.||$1019|
|Bear||Infused with graphite cooling gel to help side sleepers stay at a comfortable sleeping temperature overnight||$890|
|Tuft & Needle||A budget-friendly solution for those looking for pressure relief without feeling like you’re sinking into the bed||$595|
The Amerisleep AS3 is our choice for the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers. Amerisleep uses pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam called Bio-Pur®. In the AS3, Amerisleep puts three inches of Bio-Pur® at the very top of the mattress. We like how with the AS3 you are sleeping directly on memory foam, whereas some companies put the memory foam two or three layers deep inside the mattress.
Beneath the three inches of comfy memory foam, Amerisleep puts two inches of their transition layer. Transition layers are often used by mattress companies to serve as a gateway between the softer foam (which is normally on top) and the firmer foam (which is normally on the bottom). We really like that Amerisleep uses technology clinically-proven to reduce back pain in its transition layer.
The cover the Amerisleep AS3 also helps promote cooling. This soft, breathable fabric is designed to keep air moving throughout the mattress so body heat never builds up.
Amerisleep sells their mattresses through its website and through Amerisleep showrooms in select states across the United States. All Amerisleep mattresses come with free shipping, a 100-night trial, and a 20-year warranty.
The Zoma Sports Mattress is, you guessed it, designed to enhance an athlete’s sleep by providing a Triangulex memory foam mattress with three breathable layers. The mesh fabric cover on this mattress is made with 97% polyester material for extra durability.
Unlike rival models, this Zoma mattress is made without any potentially harmful additives or ingredients. All materials included in this mattress are natural and contain no flame retardants or ozone depleters. To minimize odors and other unpleasant smells that might impact side sleepers, this mattress features a low volatile organic compound (VOC) profile.
The Zoma Sports Mattress is protected by a 10-year warranty. Over the course of the warranty, the product is covered for replacement or a full repair. Also, this mattress comes with a 100-night no-risk sleep trial, so you can get a feel for the bed and see whether it provides the structural support for your lumbar that you need as a side sleeper.
If you’re looking for a bed-in-a-box solution for a good night’s sleep as a side sleeper, the Purple original mattress may be what you want. This mattress is dubbed the world’s first “No Pressure” bed because it is made of patented Comfort Grid technology that provides a hyper-elastic polymer layer. In other words, the Purple mattress adapts to sleepers of all kinds, including side sleepers.
Shoppers can choose between a variety of Purple models, although their all-foam version is the bestselling model for side sleepers. This mattress type allows air to flow through the Comfort Grid which provides cooling for your shoulders, head, and hips throughout the night. However, the most important benefit of the Purple mattress for side sleepers is that its high-density poly-foam surface provides spinal alignment from the torso to hips.
The Purple mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial which lets customers return the product if they don’t like it during this time. Additionally, every Purple mattress includes a 10-year comprehensive warranty that covers a full repair or replacement for the item.
The Nolah is a top-rated mattress for side sleepers, providing quadruple pressure relief on the shoulder, hips, and lower back. Rather than conventional memory foam, Nolah uses its own AirFoam material which combines latex with traditional foam. Together, these two materials provide a cool sleeping surface for side sleepers who want to keep the side of their body at a comfortable temperature.
We prefer the Nolah AirFoam mattress for side sleepers because of its “medium” level of firmness (about 5-6 on a scale of 1-10). In other words, the Nolah AirFoam responds to touch the way that latex does but without any of the roughness of the fabric. This feature allows extra structural support for the lumbar spine when you’re laying on your side without having to put up with abrasive surface material.
AirFoam is designed to be about four times as pressure-relieving as conventional memory foam. This quality makes AirForm a respectable choice for side sleepers who enjoy a contouring and plush pad that doesn’t let their body sink too far into the mattress.
The Nolah mattress boasts an extended 120-night sleep trial, which is a few weeks longer than most sleep trials for mattress brands. Additionally, the product is backed by a length 15-year warranty which covers repairs and replacement during this time.
The Bear mattress is a copper-infused recovery-oriented bed designed to restore tired muscle. This mattress is infused with graphite cooling gel to help side sleepers stay at a comfortable sleeping temperature overnight. By keeping sleepers cool, the Bear mattress prevents sleepers from rolling over or tossing and turning in their sleep.
If you like to roll from one side of your body to the other during your sleep, the Bear mattress might be the option for you. This is because the Bear mattress comes with responsive transition foam which absorbs the weight of the body as you roll over. In other words, partners in your bed won’t be disturbed or feel anything when you shift your body weight around. Also, the bed features a CertiPUR-US foam layer to cushion your shoulders, hips, and neck.
This mixed-foam mattress is constructed with a medium-to-high level of firmness. For side sleepers, the polyfoam layers won’t restrict movement. However, side sleepers may find that they are slightly engulfed by the foam if they are heavier around their hips.
You can sleep on the Bear mattress risk-free for 100 nights during their sleep trial period. The Bear and Bear Pro mattresses have a 10-year limited warranty, whereas the Bear Hybrid model boasts an extended 20-year warranty for additional peace of mind.
6. Tuft & Needle
The Tuft & Needle original mattress is a memory foam sleeping surface that debuted in 2012. This memory foam mattress is a budget-friendly solution for those looking for pressure relief without feeling like you’re sinking into the bed. In other words, it may be a worthwhile choice for side sleepers who often suffer from a “sinking feeling” when resting on memory foam.
The base layer of the Tuft & Needle mattress is made of high-density poly-foam that provides localized support to one or more sleepers. For side sleepers who suffer from overheating in the night, this mattress features a layer of proprietary cooling gel. Overall, the mattress provides structural relief for sleepers who want to lay on their sides while allowing their hips and shoulders to feel cool and supported.
Every mattress from Tuft & Needle comes with an industry-standard 100-night sleep trial. This trial period gives shoppers the chance to test out the mattress before they commit to the purchase. As a side sleeper, if you’re unhappy with how this bed feels on your hips or shoulders you can return it with no questions asked within 100 days. Also, there is a 10-year warranty on the product to provide long-term peace of mind.
Mattress Types to Consider
Now that we’re familiar with some of the top brands for memory foam mattress for side sleepers, let’s take a look at the various types of mattresses that are worth considering. Below, we’ll go over the differences between latex, memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid-style mattresses and their various benefits and drawbacks.
Memory Foam Mattresses
The type of mattress material you choose will play a significant part in determining whether you sleep comfortably. While some sleepers thrive on latex or innerspring mattresses, others will find success with memory foam. Today, memory foam is the bestselling variety of household mattress, especially when it comes to providing pressure relief and edge support.
In recent years, the popularity of mattress brands like Casper and Beautyrest has led to a renaissance of sorts for memory foam. Memory foam is a type of polyurethane material that features added chemicals to make the tissue dense and viscous. The material is often described as “viscoelastic” foam which forms bubbles and cells. These bubbles allow for the movement of air through the material which creates a “breathable” quality.
Memory foam is significantly denser than other types of mattress materials, like innerspring, down, or latex. Therefore, memory foam is often regarded as being more supportive for side sleepers because it provides a “tough” cushion around the hips and shoulders. The downside of a memory foam mattress, however, is that they tend to retain heat which can cause an excessive rise in temperature during hot weather.
Memory foam mattresses are distinct for their ability to “hug” the body in a way that latex and other materials cannot. For this reason, memory foam has been sought after for side sleepers and back sleepers alike. However, the addition of potentially hazardous flame retardants and blowing agents has caused regulators to demand sweeping changes to the manufacturing of these mattresses.
Unlike memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses are made with natural materials that are generally considered to be eco-friendlier. These mattresses are highly durable, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic, but they do not provide the same degree of structural support as memory foam for side sleepers. Unlike memory foam, latex is a buoyant substance that lets sleepers lay on top of the surface without sinking into it.
Latex mattresses provide excellent breathability and are provide great comfort when combined with a pillow top layer. In contrast with memory foam, latex has an exceptionally fast recovery time which lets it bounce rather than absorb pressure. It’s no wonder, then, why so many mattress shoppers seek latex mattresses after undergoing surgeries or other operations that require support for one’s lower back.
Not all latex products are made with the same material. There are two varieties of latex that are popularly used in the manufacturing of mattresses: natural and synthetic latex. Below, we’ll touch on their respective differences.
- Natural Latex: A substance derived from rubber trees that are highly economical and environmentally sustainable.
- Synthetic Latex: A different kind of rubber material made from synthetic substances. Mattresses made of synthetic latex have less bounce and feel more like memory foam.
When it comes to the two varieties of latex, side sleepers often prefer choosing the natural option. Unlike synthetic latex, natural latex provides a cushion that supports the lumbar and thoracic spine of side sleepers. By contrast, synthetic latex creates a harder surface that may be preferable to someone who recently underwent back surgery.
Perhaps the oldest type of mattress is the innerspring mattress. This mattress variety is hundreds of years old and involves a simple design in which metallic springs are covered by layers of wool, cotton, or foam. These mattresses provide superior “spring” due to the metal coils inside the mattress but have a tendency to wear easily and eventually degrade into an uneven sleeping surface.
There are three layers of an innerspring mattress. We’ve listed the three main components of the innerspring mattress below, as well as their function within the overall design.
- The Foundation: A metallic structure that encases the steel coils and springs; serves as the primary structural support for the mattress.
- The Core: The main component of the mattress, consisting of coils and springs that are pressure-loaded.
- The Topping: An upholstered layer of fabric on the outside of the metal foundation designed to provide comfort for the user; usually made of wool, cotton, or foam.
Despite being based on older technology, innerspring mattress are still preferred by some side sleepers. In most cases, memory foam mattresses cause sleepers to feel like they are sinking into the bed. Although the “sinking feeling” is preferred by some sleepers, others would rather the firmness and support of a hard, spring-loaded mattress to get their spine aligned overnight.
The unfortunate downside of innerspring mattresses, especially the cheaper models, is that they break faster than other mattress types. Whereas memory foam mattresses can last years without losing their shape and consistency, innerspring mattresses can become uneven as some of the internal springs and coils compress.
Innerspring mattresses can last longer if they are used gently and are not jumped on or abused.
Those looking for the best of both worlds may be interested in hybrid-style mattresses. These mattresses combine the benefits of contouring foam with the structural support of a coil system. Therefore, hybrid mattresses appeal to those looking for a comfortable and cool sleep without the feeling of sinking into the mattress.
Since hybrid mattresses require lots of expensive material to construct (i.e., steel, coils, memory foam, upholstery, copper), they tend to be pricier than conventional mattress varieties. However, the extra money spent is often worth it for side sleepers who need additional support for their lower back without sacrificing comfort or breathability.
Typically, hybrid mattresses feature a standard coil internal with a memory foam layer between one and two inches thick. However, the foam layer can also be built with latex or any other plush material that conforms to the body.
For many shoppers, the act of going out and buying a new mattress is nerve-wracking. It can be overwhelming to decide what size bed to buy, what material type to look for, where one should shop for their mattress, and how much money to spend.
Usually, shoppers don’t know where to start when it comes to forming a mattress budget. After all, there are mattresses on the market for $100 and there are other models that cost several thousand dollars—how, then, do we decide what to spend on such an important purchase? Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a short guide to mattress budgeting below.
Knowing What to Spend
They say you should replace your mattress every 8 to 10 years. When the time finally comes, consider the value you might receive from mattresses of various price ranges. On the lower end, you can spend a few hundred bucks on a mattress that may serve you well for a year but quickly wear out. On the other hand, a more expensive model might last you a decade or more.
It’s up to you how much you should spend on your next mattress. However, you should consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each budget before you go shopping. Here are a few things you should expect when shopping for mattresses at various budgets:
Between $100 and $200
At this price range, you’re likely going to be shopping for a used mattress. Although it is possible to find a lightly used mattress that will serve you well, there is a host of problems that you might run into if you look for used options. Before you look on Craigslist or Freecycle for your next mattress, consider the following potential drawbacks:
- There’s no way of knowing the quality of the living space the mattress was in
- It may have body impressions from the previous owner
- Warranties only apply to the owner who first purchased the item
Buying a used mattress is a risky move. If you must purchase a used mattress, ensure that you thoroughly examine the item so that it is free of bed bugs and other potentially harmful pests. You’re also going to want to look closely at the surface of the mattress to ensure that there are no stains or indentations from the previous owner.
Between $200 and $400
Mattresses in this price range often end up in guest rooms because they lack the structural support for everyday usage. Don’t be surprised if a mattress in this price range does not come with a standard 10-year warranty. Instead, it is typical for mattresses at this price to come with a 5-year warranty at best.
There are no natural foam or latex mattresses in this price range. Instead, there are plenty of synthetic options for shoppers as well as innerspring mattresses. Coil-based mattresses at this price range may feel comfortable at first, but they often wear quickly and won’t provide much spinal support for sider sleepers after several years of use. However, if you’re on a budget, we wrote a post on tips to finding the best mattress under $500.
Between $400 and $600
This is usually the minimum price range for mattresses with a 10-year warranty that is guaranteed to last. Unlike cheaper mattresses, these have a thicker layer of foam, a full-size pillow-top surface, and premium upholstery that won’t tear easily. It is rare that hybrid-style mattresses go on sale at this price range, though memory foam and innerspring are often found at this price.
Despite their 10-year warranty, it is uncommon for mattresses in this price range to last to the end of their warranty. Therefore, mattresses in this price range are recommended for college or high school students who will only need a quality mattress for a few years before relocating.
Between $600 and $1,000
In this price range, you can find plenty of mattresses that are designed to last for an entire 10-year warranty period. Large brand name manufacturers often produce the bulk of their inventory in this price range. There are several varieties of mattress types to choose from when you’re spending this amount of money, including natural latex, memory foam, and hybrids.
Generally, this price range lets shoppers buy a premium innerspring mattress or memory foam mattress. Either way, there are still things to consider if looking for the best mattress under $1000.
Between $1,000 and $2,000
This is the point where you enter into “luxury” mattress territory. At this price point, you can find plenty of gel memory foam models, quality hybrid mattresses, and natural latex units. Spring-loaded mattresses at this price range are generally made of steel and feature additional technology to ensure that they won’t compress or wear down prematurely.
Shoppers looking for a long-term purchase often have a budget in this price range. When shopping for the best mattress under $2000, you can rest assured knowing that your purchase will likely last you beyond the 10-year warranty period without breaking or indenting.
$2,000 and Above
Mattresses at this price range are almost universally considered in the “luxury” category. Usually, prices this high warrant a 15 or 20-year warranty. There are often ethical reasons for choosing these mattresses, like having an eco-friendly construction. Graphite additives and cooling gels are usually added to mattresses at this price range to enhance the quality of sleep and keep users cool throughout the night.
Electronic components are sometimes added to mattresses in this price range to make them adjustable to different temperatures. Luxury mattress types often have multiple firmness options that can be selected by side sleepers to determine how much support they want for their lower back, hips, or shoulders.
There’s no “correct” way to sleep on a mattress. However, some sleeping positions are more beneficial than others. Below, we’ll break down the various sleeping positions and provide suggestions about what kind of mattress each sleeping style needs.
The most common style of sleeping, encompassing 63 percent of all sleepers, is side sleeping. Side sleeping is only recommended on the right side of the body, as this style relieves pressure on the heart and prevents potentially disruptive blood pressure spikes. Side sleeping can be down in a straight log-like position, or in the fetal position.
Side sleepers often have to put up with having one of their arms go numb in their sleep. However, side sleeping is perfectly safe when done properly on the right side of the body. The key to side sleeping is to find a mattress that is plush enough to provide all-night comfort for your shoulders and hips while keeping your spine straight.
Back sleeping lets sleepers rest their spine in a perfectly neutral and horizontal position. In this sleeping position, there are no pressure points that get jammed under the weight of your body and there is no need to contort your body. Back sleepers would benefit from a memory foam mattress that lets their body sink into the pad while keeping it aligned.
Unlike other sleeping styles, back sleeping often exasperates the effects of sleep apnea. Therefore, chronic snorers would do well to avoid this style of sleeping.
A small minority of sleepers prefer sleeping on their stomachs. This may come as good news because sleeping on your stomach can lead to disruptive sleep disorders and can create unnecessary stress on your spine and neck. On the flipside, stomach sleeping can reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea and cause minimize tossing and turning overnight.
The downside of stomach sleeping is that it requires the sleeper’s head to be cranked to the side throughout the night. To minimize stress on the neck, stomach sleepers should opt for a firm latex mattress that keeps their head stable.
Sleeping Cool and Airflow
It’s important to keep cool while sleeping during the hot summer weather. For side sleepers, medium firmness should be sought after in a mattress because it prevents sagging into the memory foam. Therefore, the heat won’t get caught in pockets in the mattress and will disperse throughout the mattress surface instead.
The key to a night of sound sleep for side sleepers is stability and temperature regulation. When shopping for a new mattress, side sleepers should look for relatively firm memory foam mattresses that feature cooling gel and a grid-like layering system that allows air to flow throughout the polyfoam surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Memory Foam Good For Side Sleepers?
Memory foam is an excellent choice for side sleepers. Unlike innerspring or latex mattresses, memory foam contours to the body of side sleepers, which relieves tension on pressure points at the hips, shoulders, and neck. Plus, the firmness of certain memory foam mattresses lets the sleeper maintain the natural curvature of their spine.
What Mattress Firmness Is Best For Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers should opt for moderate firmness in their mattresses. On a scale of 1-10, side sleepers should seek out a 5-6.5 level of firmness to keep their spine aligned and support their body weight without sinking into the foam.
Is A Memory Foam or Hybrid Mattress Better?
Although both mattress types offer benefits to side sleepers, hybrid-style mattresses are generally superior because they are spring-loaded. Unlike pure memory foam, the springs and coils inside a hybrid mattress create a firmer surface that supports the sleeper’s spine while also offering the comfort of plush foam.
There are two main considerations that side sleepers need to keep in mind when shopping for a new mattress. First, the mattress needs to be firm enough to support the weight of their body without causing them to sink into the surface and entrap heat. Second, the mattress should be soft enough to provide pressure relief on the hips and shoulders.
Ultimately, comfort is the key to getting a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re a side sleeper, stomach sleeper, or back sleeper, you won’t enjoy your mattress (or your sleep) unless you find a mattress that works for your body. Try taking advantage of a risk-free 100-night sleep trial to give you the time you need to determine whether a mattress is right for you.