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The best mattress for side sleepers in 2022

best mattress for side sleepers: A woman with dark hair lies on the Avocado Green Mattress with pillowtop
(Image credit: Avocado Mattress)

A good mattress for side sleepers offers ample pressure relief around your shoulders, hips and knees (your main pressure points when sleeping on your side). So if you’re a dedicated side sleeper, the best mattress for you is a medium-firm bed with plenty of cushioning and contouring so that you sink in slightly but without throwing your spine out of alignment.

Memory foam is one of the most popular materials used to make the best mattresses for side sleepers because it contours to the shape of your body and delivers high levels of pressure relief. This reduces shoulder and knee pain as you press down into the mattress when sleeping on your side. It also helps to relieve lower back pain, which side sleepers can suffer from if they aren’t resting on a supportive mattress that keeps their spine aligned.

We’ve tested a wide range of mattresses and from our research we think the best mattress for side sleepers is the Helix Midnight – it's great value for money and our testers found it to be comfy, supportive and breathable. It’s also good for pressure relief, adding to its overall comfort. 

Here we’ve chosen a good mix of affordable and luxury options, with prices from under $200, so you should find something for your budget, especially with the 4th of July mattress sales around the corner. Every model in our best mattress for side sleepers guide comes on a trial basis too, with 100 nights being the average. If you change your mind during the trial, the manufacturer will refund your money and collect the mattress.

The best mattress for side sleepers to buy now

Best mattress for side sleepers: The Helix Midnight Mattress on a white background

(Image credit: Helix Sleep)
The best mattress for side sleepers overall

Specifications

Materials: Memory Plus Foam, Helix Dynamic Foam, High-Grade Polyfoam, springs, soft-knit fabric
Firmness (1-10): 6
Best for: side sleepers; restless sleepers; side and back sleepers
Sizes: 5 (twin - Cal king)
Availability: Online
Trial length: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
MSRP: $699 - $1,449

Reasons to buy

+
Designed for side sleepers
+
Cushioning for hips and knees
+
Promotes neutral spine alignment

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best for sleepers over 250lbs

The Helix Midnight is a highly rated hybrid designed especially for side sleepers, and has a medium-firm feel that should suit most people. However if you prefer a softer bed, the better option for you would be the Helix Sunset, another comfy side sleeper mattress but with a softer, snugger feel. The Helix Midnight also comes in a Luxe version, crafted with a plush pillow top and zoned support. 

There are multiple reasons why Helix sits at the top of our best mattress for side sleepers guide, beginning with how it offers the perfect amount of sinkage at the shoulders and hips to keep your spine in neutral alignment when you’re snoozing in this position. Our testers loved sleeping on this mattress and found that it dished out plenty of support for your lower back too. With a dedicated memory foam comfort layer and a support layer full of pocketed coils, this really is the best of both worlds for side sleepers looking for snug comfort balanced with healthy spine support. 

The Midnight also uses a range of material technologies to keep you cooler during sleep, not to mention how the use of coils makes it more breathable by design anyway. We like the soft-touch stretch cover, which we found stayed cool to the touch, even during warmer weather, though the Luxe version has an even more breathable Tencel mattress cover. (For more advice, read our feature answering are memory foam mattresses hot). The Helix Midnight mattress also delivers plenty of support for side sleepers via hundreds of 8” individually wrapped pocketed coils housed within the fourth layer. These also limit motion transfer from you to your partner and vice versa, so you should be less disturbed during sleep. 

Above that lies a transition layer made of high-grade polyfoam foam dishing out cushioning and ergonomic support. It also acts as a breakwater between the pocketed coil layer and the memory foam layer above. Speaking of which… The Helix Midnight has a top layer of blended memory foam to relieve pressure points and to contour your body. You won’t feel as though you’re being swallowed alive here, as the memory foam isn’t hugely thick. 

Overall, we recommend the Helix Midnight mattress for the majority of side sleepers looking for comfort and support. If you weigh more than 250lbs, you may get more support from the Helix Midnight Luxe. For everyone else, this is a superb hybrid sold at a reasonable price. There are regular Helix mattress sales and deals to lower the price too - and quite often you’ll get free bed pillows with your purchase. The Midnight also comes with a 10-year warranty, and you can trial it for 100 nights to ensure it is the best choice for you.

Helix Midnight mattress: from $799 $699 at Helix (opens in new tab)
Save up to $150 - This is an evergreen offer from Helix Sleep but it does give you up to $150 off the Midnight Mattress, plus two free pillows added to your order. With it you can get a queen size for $1,099 (was $1,199) in the Helix mattress sale (opens in new tab), and you’ll have 100 nights to trial it at home.

Best mattress for side sleepers: The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

(Image credit: Nectar Sleep)
A top mattress for side sleepers with a forever warranty

Specifications

Material: Gel-infused memory foam
Firmness (1-10): 6.5
Best for: Those who want a contouring mattress; smaller budgets; all side sleepers
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Availability: Online and in store
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Forever
MSRP: $798 - $1,398

Reasons to buy

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Minimal motion transfer
+
Good edge support
+
365-night mattress trial 

Reasons to avoid

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Can feel a little firm at first

Nectar's popular memory foam mattress offers a cozy sink-in feel but with a more noticeable amount of firmness compared to squishier side sleeper mattresses. This medium-firm bed-in-a-box brilliantly balances comfort and support, and quickly contours to the shape of your body. It relieves pressure on your shoulders, hips and knees, so you won't wake up because you feel sore when sleeping on your side.

You can thank the 3" of high-density gel memory foam for that, which Nectar has designed to work in tandem with 2" of adaptive response memory foam for extra support. There's also 7" of standard foam at the base to provide you with a sturdy sleeping space. So don't expect to sink deeply into this one, but do expect some cozy cradling. The Nectar mattress also does a brilliant job at minimizing motion transfer, so you won’t feel your partner (or pet) move around in bed next to you. We also recommend this as a good mattress for back and stomach sleepers. No wonder it sits at the top of our best mattress guide.

A quilted poly-blend Tencel top cover helps you sleep cool, and none of our testing panel overheated while sleeping on the Nectar. Reviewers also said there was minimal compression when all of their weight was on the edge of the mattress. So if you’re a side sleeper who sleeps on the edge and often runs hot in bed, you should be cool and comfortable on the Nectar.

The Nectar mattress also receives top marks for its 365-night mattress trial period and a Forever Warranty, which is unbeatable at this price. If the mattress does need to be repaired, you'll pay a $50 shipping fee each way. And that's it. Nectar also often runs regular promotions throughout the year, so you can usually get it for an even cheaper price (see our guide to the best Nectar mattress sales and deals for the latest savings). 

Nectar Mattress: from $798 $499 at Nectar (opens in new tab)
Save up to $499 - Here your saving comprises $100 off the Nectar mattress plus up to $399 of free bedding added to your order. That’s cooling pillows, sheets and a mattress protector. Considering how affordable the Nectar is, you’re getting an excellent value offer here. The mattress trial is extra-long at 365 nights, plus there’s a Lifetime Warranty.

Best mattress for side sleepers: the Awara Natural on a wooden bed frame

(Image credit: Awara)
The best mattress for side sleepers wanting an organic bed

Specifications

Materials: Dunlop latex, memory foam, innersprings, organic cotton, New Zealand wool
Firmness (1-10): 8
Best for: Side sleepers wanting an organic mattress; those who like a firm bed
Sizes: 5 (Twin - Cal king)
Availability: Online
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Forever
MSRP: $1,398 - $2,198

Reasons to buy

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Good edge support
+
Ample cushioning
+
365-night trial

Reasons to avoid

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Weak motion isolation
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Too firm for lightweight bodies

The Awara Natural Hybrid is one of the best organic mattresses for the money and is designed to support a range of sleeping positions, but during our testing we found it especially comfortable for side sleeping. This was surprising considering it has a firmer feel than the other options in this guide, but it has a lot to do with the addition of a two-inch top layer of natural Dunlop latex. That provides an instant hit of cushioning and contouring comfort for the body, and feels great around the hips, shoulders and knees when you’re sleeping on your side. 

The use of responsive Dunlop latex foam, along with memory foam, means that the Awara helps to relieve all major pressure points during sleep. However, we would add a caveat here: this might be too firm a surface for lightweight side sleepers, unless of course you prefer to sleep on a firm mattress. There is also a downside to that level of responsiveness - the motion isolation isn’t as good here as it is with some of the best mattresses for side sleepers. It isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re sharing a bed and one of you is a restless sleeper prone to switching positions frequently during the night. 

There’s plenty of naturally breathable materials to keep you cooler during sleep too, with the addition of temperature-regulating organic New Zealand wool and moisture-wicking organic cotton. As the Awara is a stablemate of the Nectar Mattress and the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid, you’ll enjoy the same perks: a 365-night trial, with a Lifetime Warranty. You’ll also receive up to $499 of free bedding, depending on the size you buy, which is fantastic value for an organic side sleeper mattress with such a high build quality.

Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress: from $1,398 $799 at Awara (opens in new tab)
Save up to $799
- It's rare that you'll find a natural mattress for this price, but most months we see a queen size Awara hybrid discounted to $1,099 (was $1,898). That saving is made up of $300 off the mattress itself, plus up to $499 of free bedding, including pillows and a mattress protector. Our guide to Awara promo codes (opens in new tab) has further offers.

Best mattress for side sleepers: the Purple mattress

(Image credit: Purple)
A great side sleeper mattress with deep pressure relief

Specifications

Material: Gel-Flex Grid, polyurethane foam, fabric
Firmness (1-10): 6
Best for: Side sleepers who overheat at night
Sizes: 8 (twin - split Cal king)
Availability: Online
Trial length: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
MSRP: $799 - $1,998

Reasons to buy

+
Great pressure relief for the hips and back
+
Supportive with good spinal alignment
+
Sleeps cool

Reasons to avoid

-
Edge support could be better

If hip and knee pain are two of your biggest issues when sleeping on your side for hours at a time, then the Purple Mattress is the best option for you. We tested this mattress across all sleeping positions and it was particularly comfortable for side sleeping. This is due to its use of Purple’s own Gel-Flex Grid technology; a durable hyper-elastic gel that flexes under pressure to deliver tailored support where you need it most in this position.

While we found the edge support to be a little weak compared to similar mattresses, there’s little else to fault on the award-winning Purple Mattress if you’re a side sleeper. The combination of hyper-elastic polymer material and dual layers of foam reduce all pressure on your main impact points, and our testers felt supported from head to toe when sleeping on the Purple Original. It has good airflow too, making it an excellent choice for restless side sleepers who toss and turn at night because they’re overheating. 

We found it to have a true medium-firm feel, yet it was still comfortable when we slept on our side. We didn’t sink in too much at the hips and back, so our spine stayed in neutral alignment and we didn’t feel any stiffness upon waking up. Overall we found it supportive, comfortable and cool, and liked the responsive yet firm feel. You’ll have 100 nights to trial it at home, with Purple refunding your money if you change your mind during the trial. Keep in mind that if you buy it from Amazon, the returns policy may differ. Read our guide on how to return a mattress to Amazon for more information.

Purple Mattress: from $799 $699 at Purple (opens in new tab)
Save $200
- The Purple Original is an ideal mattress for side sleepers because of its GelFlex Grid material that's softer around your hips and shoulders, yet firmer around your back and legs to offer better support. Right now you can save $100 on any size, with a queen down to $1,299. 

Best mattress for side sleepers: the Nolah Original 10 Mattress

(Image credit: Nolah Sleep)

5. Nolah Original 10" Mattress

The best mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Specifications

Material: Memory foam
Firmness (1-10): 5-6
Best for: Sleepers needing deep pressure relief; back and side sleepers; those with back pain
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Availability: Online
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: lifetime
MSRP: $649 - $1,249

Reasons to buy

+
Pressure-relieving memory foam
+
Cooling performance
+
Good for back sleepers too 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be a little firm for lighter bodies

The Nolah Original 10" Mattress is designed to offer higher levels of pressure relief and uses temperature-neutral AirFoam to keep you comfortably cool. It all begins with a Botanic Origin Tencel cover, followed by a 2" layer of cooling Nolah AirFoam. Nolah’s Air Foam is made from CertiPUR-US certified foams that are free from toxic chemicals. 

Not only does Air Foam not retain body heat, it actually dissipates it 20% faster than other memory foams. That alone makes the Original 10" the best mattress for side sleepers prone to overheating, hot flashes and night sweats. This is unusual for an all-foam mattress as they are notorious for retaining heat, but, as with the Nectar above, you shouldn't have any issues here.

Cooling isn't the only draw – the Nolah is designed to remove all pressure points. The brand's Air Foam comes to the rescue again here, using billions of microscopic air bubbles within the foam to create a responsive pressure relief system. So if you often wake up on your current mattress because you feel soreness in your hips, knees or shoulders when sleeping on your side, the Nolah Original 10" will put an end to that sleep killer.

Nolah also submitted its Air Foam to the industry standard ASTM Constant Force Pounding Dynamic Test. It sounds pretty intense and it is – the test basically involves a robotic arm slamming down on the foam at around 70 times a minute for 100,000 cycles. Why do this? To establish how durable the mattress will be over time. The Original 10" performed well, losing just 0.03 inches of thickness during the test.

Beneath that slab of Air Foam sits a 1" layer of high-resilience foam, which also adds in a little bounce, followed by a 7" high-density foam base to add ballast to those contouring upper layers. Users like the soft Air Foam top layer and comment that the Nolah is a great pressure-relieving mattress for side sleepers, particularly along the shoulders and hips. Some reviewers even found that pain in their back decreased since they started sleeping on the Nolah Original 10. 

This side sleeper mattress is also compatible with a range of bed frames including box springs, slatted bases, platform beds and even adjustable bases. The latter is the best choice if you want more flexibility and to enjoy the pressure relief of zero gravity relaxation and napping.

Nolah Original 10” mattress: from $699 $549 at Nolah (opens in new tab)
Save up to $250 - The latest Nolah mattress sale is offering $250 off the Nolah Original 10” in every size, reducing the price of a queen size to $899 (was $1,149). As with the Helix and Nectar picks, you’ll get free bedding with your Nolah Original 10” in the form of two Nolah Squishy Pillows worth $178, taking your saving to $428. 

Best mattress for side sleepers: The GhostBed Luxe Cooling Mattress

(Image credit: GhostBed)

6. GhostBed Luxe mattress

The best option for side sleepers who overheat in bed

Specifications

Material: Memory foam
Firmness (1-10): 5-6
Best for: Side sleepers prone to overheating; those with sore joints; couples
Sizes: 7 (twin - split king)
Availability: Online
Trial length: 101 nights
Warranty: 25 years
MSRP: $1,499 - $2,799 (includes pillowtop)

Reasons to buy

+
Remains cool to the touch
+
Deep contouring reduces pressure
+
Good for neck, hip and shoulder pain
+
Low motion transfer (ace for couples)

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than competitors

Like the Nolah Original 10" above, the GhostBed Luxe specializes in keeping side sleepers cool. It's a little softer with a rating of 5 out of 10, meaning it's well-suited to lighter weight side sleepers who spend half the night kicking off the covers because they feel too hot to sleep through. It's also a good choice for side sleeping couples as it provides excellent motion isolation.

When you’re buying a mattress with the word “Luxe” in the title, you can normally expect a softer feel and a heftier price tag. You get both here, though we feel the price of the seven-layer Ghostbed Luxe is worth it for the amount of mattress tech and material innovation used to make it. As a softer memory foam mattress option, the Luxe contours to your body while still providing high levels of pressure relief and keeping your spine in a neutral position.

Hot sleepers will be drawn to the Ghost Ice fabric quilted cover that helps the surface stay cool to the touch. That, combined with patent-pending core cooling tech, is one of the reasons why the Luxe also features highly in our best cooling mattress guide. The Ghost Ice Fabric is followed by a 1" slab of gel memory foam to deliver a cozy body hug feel. After that comes an extra airflow-boosting layer, but we're mostly excited by the Ghost Ice Layer; it uses thermo-sensitivity tech to sense heat and keep the core of the mattress cool.

There's an additional 2" of gel memory foam further down to relieve pressure points, followed by 2" of GhostBounce foam to contour to your body, with a 7.5" slab of of high-density support foam at the base to help the mattress last for many a year to come. Reviewers say that while the edge support is good, customers who weigh over 230lbs might notice some slight sinkage at the edge. But overall, sleepers who want a luxury mattress with a slow-moving feel will find this to be one of the best mattresses for side sleepers without question.

GhostBed offers a 101-night trial, yet requires you to sleep on the Luxe for at least 30 nights before initiating a return. If you sleep hot and often feel pressure when snoozing on your side, and you want a slightly plusher, softer bed, this is the one for you. For a more affordable alternative, check out the Nolah Original 10" above or, for much smaller budgets, see the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress (at the top).

GhostBed Luxe mattress: from $1,895 $1,327 at GhostBed (opens in new tab)
Save up to $1,417
- This medium-plush mattress boasts seven layers to help you sleep more comfortably on your side, with contouring gel memory foam cradling your body. You'll get a queen size for $1,677 (was $2,395) in the GhostBed mattress sale (opens in new tab), plus two free luxury pillows to boost your sleep comfort.

Best mattress for side sleepers: Zinus 10 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress

(Image credit: Zinus)
The best affordable mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Material: Memory foam
Firmness (1-10): 6.6
Best for: Very small budgets; lightweight sleepers
Sizes: 7 (twin - Cal king, with “short queen”)
Availability: Online
Trial length: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
MSRP: $177 - $644

Reasons to buy

+
Eliminates odors
+
Relieves pressure
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Sleeps a little warm

One our of best budget mattress top picks, the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress has over 121,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 rating out of 5 stars. If you're on a very tight budget or you are upgrading your guest bed for less, this is the best option for you as a queen size 10" Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress costs less than $450 – a fraction of the cost of the other models in this guide, though closely rivalled by the Nectar.

While we think the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress is a great budget mattress for side sleepers due to its pressure-relieving memory foam and price, the brand runs a mattress quiz (opens in new tab) (as does Helix Sleep) to help you choose the right mattress depth and size for your sleep needs and body size. That's because the Zinus Green Tea mattress comes in a range of heights from 6" to 12". The former regularly sells out and is a popular pick among people looking to boost the comfort of a pull-out sofa bed.

The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam 10" mattress starts with a knitted cover, followed by 2.5" of memory foam, then 2" of a comfort foam transitional layer and 5.5" of high-density support foam. A taller Zinus mattress (the 10" or 12" versions) will feel softer than the shorter version, so if you want a softer feeling mattress for side sleepers that contours to your body’s curves, those two would be a more comfortable fit.  

One user review commented on how, “Now, when I lie on my side, my body gets contoured just enough to have great support and softness.” A few complained that this bed-in-a-box didn’t expand to the full size but that they were able to return it. Overall, if you're a side sleeper with little money to spend, yet you want a decent boxed mattress made with CertiPUR-US certified pressure-relieving foam, the Zinus is hard to beat. That said, if you can spend a couple more hundred dollars, we highly recommend the Nectar as our best affordable mattress for side sleepers.

How to choose a good mattress for side sleepers

Side sleepers need uniform pressure relief since their hips and shoulders place increased force on the mattress. It’s also important for sleepers in this position to buy a mattress that supports the spine and helps you keep a neutral spine while snoozing. All of the models in this best mattress for side sleepers guide do all of that and more. 

Side sleepers shouldn’t buy a mattress that’s too soft as it could compress the spine and lead to pain. On the other hand, a mattress that’s too firm might make those points of the body that hit the mattress hardest – such as your shoulders and hips – feel too much pressure. Also, if you’re a side sleeper who prefers to sleep on the edge of the bed, you’ll want a mattress that offers robust edge support so that you are constantly supported and don't feel like you're tumbling out of bed.

When buying a new mattress, make sure it has a trial period of at least 100 nights so you can see how the mattress feels as a side sleeper without making a purchase you’re stuck with for years to come. All of the best mattress in a box brands offer trial periods, with 100 nights being the average and 365 nights being the most generous. Don't forget to invest in a good quality mattress protector too, because if you don't cover your new side sleeper mattress properly during the trial period, you may not be able to return it should you change your mind.

If you’re in the market for more new bedding, then consider one of the best pillows for sleeping, as well as a cozy comforter made from either down or a cooling down-alternative. For sleepers with anxiety, take a look at our guide to the best weighted blankets.

Are softer mattresses best for side sleepers?

You need to take your own firmness preferences into account, but yes, generally speaking, soft or soft-medium mattresses are the best choice for side sleepers because they offer more cushioning around high impact pressure areas such as your shoulders, hips and knees. 

This is vital when you sleep on your side for hours at a time, because you’ll be putting continuous pressure on those parts of your body. Without ample cushioning and pressure relief, you’ll experience pain which will wake you up from sleep.

Memory foam mattresses are widely regarded as the first choice for side sleepers because they create a cradling, body-hug feel that also relieves all pressure on your body during side sleeping. You can normally find these in soft-medium and medium-firm, both of which would suit side sleepers.

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Diana is a trained journalist and experienced editor in the health and wellbeing and lifestyle sectors. Diana has created content for a range of leading brands including Real Simple, Bloomberg, Headspace, and WebMD. For Tom’s Guide Diana currently focuses on sleep, mattresses, and fitness equipment. 

With contributions from