The best mattress for side sleepers 2024: Expert tested and reviewed

Helix Midnight Luxe mattress with our sleep editor lying on it
(Image credit: 3Z for Tom's Guide)

The best mattress for side sleepers will be one that provides blissful pressure relief exactly where it’s required — across the shoulders, hips and knees. Without this sink in support, pressure can build across those touch points of the mattress, leading to painful, achy joints and disrupted sleep. 

Among our wider panel of mattress experts, several of our lead mattress reviewers are side sleepers and have rigorously tested many of the models featured within this guide. We know that the best mattress for those who sleep on their sides will be a soft or medium-firm bed. However, as well as firmness, depth is also important here —  a mattress with a depth of between 12 and 16 inches will contain enough comfort layers to provide the keen balance of pressure relief and support required. 

In the rare instance that we haven’t tested a mattress listed below, we have drawn upon verified consumer reviews instead in order to compile the very best options for side sleepers. As well as performance, we’ve also carefully considered budget. Timing your purchase to coincide with mattress sales or major holidays will help secure the best bed within your budget. Now, let’s take a look at the best mattresses for side sleepers, as reviewed by our sleep experts…  

Best mattress for side sleepers: Quick list

If you're short on time, browse our quick list for the highlights of each of our top picks. Keen to learn more? Click 'read more' for additional details, including our first-hand experiences.  

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The best mattresses for side sleepers, reviewed by experts 

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Recent updates

We have recently tested the Helix Midnight Luxe and have added it to this guide as our overall top mattress choice for side sleepers.

The best mattress for side sleepers overall

Helix Midnight Luxe mattress

(Image credit: 3Z for Tom's Guide)
Unbeatable pressure relief makes this the best mattress overall

Specifications

Type: Hybrid
Firmness: 6/10
Height: 13.5"
Trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 15 years
Price bracket : Upper-mid range
Materials : Memory foam, other foams, coils

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding pressure relief for side sleepers
+
Good temperature regulation 
+
Strong motion isolation 

Reasons to avoid

-
Too soft for stomach sleepers
-
Lacks handles for moving 

The Helix Midnight Luxe is the newer, taller and plusher version of the original Helix Midnight and has recently knocked its predecessor off the top spot of our best mattress for side sleepers buyer’s guide. The Midnight Luxe is a 13.5 inch tall hybrid mattress made with a mix of Helix Responsive Foam, Copper Gel Memory Foam, plus DuraFoam and up to 1,000 individually wrapped coils for enhanced lumbar support and four-sided edge support (something that was lacking slightly in the original). This enhanced support is topped off by an ultra plush pillow top cover, which is wrapped in a hypoallergenic Tencel cover (which is another upgrade on the original).  

Despite the deep pressure relief the pillow top provides, this is still a mattress that you sleep on top of as opposed to sinking too deeply into, thanks to the responsive memory foam layer underneath, which is underpinned by steel coils and dense foam base layer. Helix rates this mattress as 5-6 out of 10 on the firmness scale, but we rate it as a slightly firmer 6 out of 10, placing it in the true medium-firm category. This firmness, in addition to the enhanced lumbar support, means that it’s suitable for back sleepers, too. It’s plush, but surprisingly supportive. 

The Helix Midnight Luxe boasts outstanding motion isolation, which is great news if you’re a restless sleeper who shares their bed. The strengthened edge support means you can sleep up to and sit comfortably on the bed’s edge without it slowly feeling it dip or collapse beneath you (there is a bit of sink, but that’s down to the squishiness of the pillow top). 

In terms of temperature regulation, the Tencel cover is an improvement on the breathable cover included as standard on the Helix Midnight. It’s hypoallergenic and cool to the touch, and our testing panel felt comfortably cool throughout the testing period. However, if you're prone to overheating, you might want to upgrade to the GlacioTex cooling cover for an additional $249. Our only real niggle is the lack of handles on the side, which make moving this bed a little arduous. That aside, we highly recommend the Midnight Luxe if you want a plush hybrid bed for comfier, cooler side sleeping.

Helix Midnight Luxe: From $1,373.75

Helix Midnight Luxe: From $1,373.75 $1,099 at Helix
Helix sales typically range between 20% - 25% and a range of bedding freebies, with the best discounts usually reserved for major holidays. After dropping to an unprecedented 30% off during May's Memorial Day sales, the Luxe is back up to 20% off, bringing a queen down to $1,899 from £2,373.80, plus two free pillows. While we aren't likely to see 30% off levels of savings again until Labor Day in September, we might see a flash Helix mattress sale before then. Mattress purchase comes with a 100 night sleep trial, 15 year warranty and free shipping. 

The best affordable mattress for side sleepers

Best mattress for side sleepers: image shows the Helix Midnight mattress on a wooden bedframe, against a dark wall

(Image credit: 3Z for Tom's Guide)
The best affordable mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Type: Hybrid
Firmness (1-10): 6
Height: 11.5"
Trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
Price bracket: Mid-range
Materials: Memory foam, other foams, coils

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent cushioning for hips and knees
+
Promotes neutral spine alignment
+
Sleeps cool

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best for sleepers over 250lbs
-
Too soft for some tastes

The Helix Midnight is a highly rated hybrid, and it's our top affordable choice for  side sleepers guide thanks to the perfect amount of sinkage at the shoulders and hips to keep your spine in neutral alignment when you're snoozing in this position, at a competitive price. Our testers loved sleeping on this mattress and found that it delivered plenty of support for the lower back, too. 

At the top of the Helix Midnight mattress, you'll find a layer of blended memory foam that contours to your body and relieves pressure points when sleeping on your side. This works with various other foams to effectively deliver cushioned comfort. Don't worry – you won't feel as though you're being swallowed alive here, as the memory foam layer isn't hugely thick. Alongside these foams, the Helix Midnight mattress includes a layer of individually wrapped, 8" pocketed coils, which boost airflow through the mattress as well as limiting motion transfer within the mattress. That's great news if you've got a restless bedmate, as this bed will absorb motion and prevent their wriggling from disturbing your rest. 

You'll also find a range of temperature-regulating materials, which we found worked effectively to keep our testers comfortably cool at night. The soft-touch stretch cover stays cool to the touch, even during warmer weather, although very hot sleepers may wish to upgrade to the GlacioTex Cooling Cover for an extra $249. 

Rated 6/10 on the firmness scale, the Helix Midnight's medium softness offers the pressure relief you need around your hips and shoulders. However, it is on the softer side of what we'd recommend for side sleepers, and indeed being too soft is one of the main complaints from those people who didn't get on with this mattress. If you prefer a firmer feel, or if you also like to sleep on your front or sleep on your back sometimes, you should look for a mattress that's more like a 7 or even 8/10 (check out the Awara Natural Hybrid at #9 on this list). Note it also might not be supportive enough for those over 250lb (head to our best mattress for heavy bodies guide for recommendations there). 

Helix Midnight:$936$749 + a FREE Dream Pillow set at Helix

Helix Midnight: from $936 $749 + a FREE Dream Pillow set at Helix
Helix is currently offering 20% off its mattresses, taking the price of a queen size Helix Midnight mattress down to $1,099, which includes two free pillows. This is a great offer, but we have seen Helix mattress sales take as much as 25% off this model and offer an entire free bundle, so you might get a slightly better deal if you hold out for a flash Helix sale.

The best luxury mattress for side sleepers

Best mattress for side sleepers: The Saatva Classic mattress shown on a light wooden bed frame in a stylish bedroom

(Image credit: Saatva)
Saatva's best-rated luxury hotel mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Type: Innerspring hybrid
Material: Pillow top, memory foam, coils, other foam
Firmness (1-10): 3, 5-7 or 8
Height: 11.5" or 14.5"
Trial: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime
Price bracket: Premium

Reasons to buy

+
3 firmness options to choose from
+
Luxurious feel and high build quality
+
Free white glove delivery

Reasons to avoid

-
$99 returns fee
-
Some slight motion transfer

If you prefer a more traditional innerspring feel, the Saatva Classic is well worth a look. There is a little bit of foam in this mattress (a thin layer to offer extra lumbar support in the middle third, and rails around the perimeter for stability), but the main body of the mattress is mostly springs, with a pillow top for cushioning. This is a mattress you sleep on top of, rather than sinking in too deeply. 

One big draw is that the Classic can be customized to your preferences, with two heights and three firmness levels to choose from. For side sleepers, we'd recommend either the soft (rated 3/10 on the firmness scale) or Luxury Firm (5-7), depending on your body weight and whether your preference is for a plusher or firmer feel. (We rank the 8/10 version as one of the best firm mattresses, but it likely cause pressure to build up in the shoulders for most side sleepers.) 

We tried out the Luxury Firm option and found it delivered fantastic pressure relief, with the dual-coil system providing buoyant, firm support, and a little bounce. We rate it amongst the best mattresses for back pain, too.

The abundance of springs inside this model provides plenty of space for air to circulate, and the Classic sleeps nice and cool, with no issues trapping heat. (This can be an issue with all-foam models.) If you want that memory foam feel but struggle with sleeping hot, check out the GhostBed at #8. 

Price-wise, this sits in the premium range, but the build quality is impeccable and there are perks like white glove delivery included for free. If you have the budget, the Saatva Classic is a worthwhile investment. As a slightly cheaper, yet still luxurious alternative, check out the Brooklyn model at #4.

Saatva Classic mattress:$1,395

Saatva Classic mattress: From $1,395 | $1,186 at Saatva
There's up to $418 off the Saatva Classic right now, which brings the price of a queen down to $1,781 from $2,095. This is an excellent price, especially when you take in to consideration Saatva's generous benefits, which include a 365 night sleep trial, lifetime warranty and free white glove delivery. Granted, it isn't best Saatva sale we've seen so far this year (that was $1,695 for a queen) but still a great price.