1. Best overall
2. Best memory foam
3. Best organic
4. Best for sore joints
5. Best premium
6. Best cooling
7. Best soft
8. Best under $300
How we test
We research and test the latest mattresses for side sleepers to provide expert recommendations, then use our test data to rank them out of 10. Read our mattress methodology for more.
Searching for the best mattress for side sleepers? We're here to help. If you're most comfortable lying on your side at night, you'll want to look for a bed that offers extra cushioning for key pressure points along the knees, hips, and shoulders. When it comes to firmness level, many side sleepers will find a softer mattress most comfortable, although a medium to medium-firm bed will also suit if you require a little more support.
Many of the picks featured in this guide have made our general best mattress ranking. What's more, we've used our years of research and first-hand testing of a wide range of beds to determine which mattresses provide a keen balance of contour and support to keep side sleepers comfortable and properly aligned. (Almost every mattress on this list has an accompanying review you can check out, too.)
Today is a great day to shop: the Memorial Day mattress sales are in full swing, with a number of brands – including Helix, the brand behind our #1 pick – increasing their usual discounts. Although mattress sales happen all year round, these are likely to be the best prices we'll see this side of Black Friday. We've included deals info with each entry in our list.
What is the best mattress for side sleepers? We think it's the Helix Midnight. It's engineered specifically for side sleepers and offers great value for money – it feels like a more expensive bed than it actually is. Plus, our testers found it offers deep pressure relief in all of the right areas and does an excellent job of keeping sleepers cool, too.
However, you might be looking for something a bit different, so we've included seven other options that span a range of price points and features. For added peace of mind, every model listed here comes with a mattress trial so you can test it out before making a final commitment to buy. Now let's take a look at the best mattresses for side sleepers...
The best mattress for side sleepers overall
The Helix Midnight is a highly rated hybrid, and it sits at the top of our best mattress for side sleepers guide because 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 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 #3 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).
- Read our Helix Midnight mattress review
Helix Midnight mattress: was
$936 now from $749 + 2 free pillows at Helix
For Memorial Day, Helix has bumped up its discounts – right now there's 25% off, which means right now a queen size is $1,030. Although Helix mattress sales are common, you'll usually only see 20% off – this deal is well worth taking advantage of. You'll get two free pillows with your purchase, too.
The best memory foam mattress for side sleepers
Nectar's popular memory foam mattress offers a slight sink-in feel but with a more noticeable amount of firmness compared to squishier side sleeper mattresses like the Helix Midnight above. This medium-firm bed-in-a-box balances comfort and support brilliantly. It'll contour to the shape of your body to relieve pressure on your shoulders, hips and knees, so you won't wake up with aches and pains in those places, but it's still firm enough that you'll feel well supported. You won't sink deeply into this mattress, but you can still expect some cradling.
Our testers also found that the Nectar mattress does a brilliant job at minimizing motion transfer, so you won't feel your partner (or pet) move around in bed next to you. Because it's slightly firmer, it's also suitable for combi-sleepers who sometimes like to lie on their back or stomach, making it a versatile choice overall.
This bed is entirely foam (in fact, we think it's one of the very best memory foam mattresses you can buy). At the top, you'll find 3 inches of high-density gel memory foam, which Nectar has designed to work in tandem with 2 inches of adaptive response memory foam for extra support. At the base are 7 inches of standard foam to provide you with a sturdy sleeping space. At the top, there's a special cooling cover, which is made from polyethylene and designed to absorb and wick away excess heat. That wasn't included when we tested the Nectar, but even without it we were impressed with the temperature regulation here. None of our testing panel overheated while sleeping on the Nectar.
The Nectar mattress also receives top marks for added extras: there's a 365-night mattress trial period and a Forever Warranty, which is the best you'll find anywhere. This mattress is basically never sold at MSRP – it's one of the best mattress in a box models when it comes to sheer value for money.
- Read our Nectar Memory Foam mattress review
Nectar Memory Foam mattress: now from $359 at Nectar
There's a massive 33% off at Nectar for Memorial Day, taking the price of the queen size original down to $699. You won't get a bedding bundle that's included with the other standard offer, but the mattress itself is cheaper (by around $80 on the queen size), so this is the best Nectar mattress sale for you if you don't need new bedding right now.
The best organic mattress for side sleepers
The Awara Natural Hybrid 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, which provides an instant hit of cushioning and contouring comfort for the body, and feels great around the hips, shoulders and knees when you're lying on your side.
The use of springy latex 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 softer options in our ranking. It won't be a deal-breaker for most of us, 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.
The perks here are outstanding: a 365-night trial, with a Lifetime Warranty. As well as a price that's cheaper than many of today's best organic mattresses, you'll also receive a big bundle of free bedding, making this fantastic value.
- Read our Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress review
Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress: was
$1,099 now from $799 + freebies at Awara
For Memorial Day, Awara is knocking $300 off MSRP (so a queen size is $1,099), and throwing in a bundle of bedding worth up to $499, too. This is the same offer we always see from Awara, but it's still impressively cheap for an organic mattress. Our guide to Awara promo codes has more info.
The best mattress for side sleepers with sore joints
If you tend to wake up with hip and knee pain from lying on your side, the Purple Mattress might well be the best option for you. We tested this mattress across all sleeping positions and it was particularly comfortable for side sleeping, thanks to 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.
While we found the edge support to be a little weak compared to similar mattresses, there's little else to complain about on the award-winning Purple Original. 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 this mattress. It delivers good airflow too, making it an excellent choice for restless side sleepers who toss and turn at night because they’re overheating. Even though this isn't specifically geared towards temperature regulation in the same way that the GhostBed (#6) and Cocoon Chill (#7) are, we still rate it amongst today's best cooling mattresses.
We found it to have a true medium-firm feel; 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.
- Read our Purple Mattress review
Purple Mattress: was
$799 now from $699 at Purple
The Purple Memorial Day deal gets you $100 off all sizes of the Original, which means a queen size costs $1,299. Purple mattress deals only really appear around national holidays, and while this isn't the most generous offer we've seen (there was $200 off for Presidents' Day), it's better than nothing. If you miss this offer, check our Purple promo codes page for any current options.
The best premium mattress for side sleepers
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 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.)
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.
Saatva Classic mattress: from $995 at Saatva ($375 off orders over $1,000)
Head to Saavta using the link here and you'll unlock $375 off all orders over $1,000. That's not quite the best Saatva sale we've seen this year, but it is cheaper than the regular deal prices (typically you'll pay $1,695 for the queen, but with this offer that drops to $1,620). Buy now if you don't want to hang on until Black Friday.
Deal ends 30 May
The best cooling mattress for side sleepers
The GhostBed Luxe specializes in keeping sleepers cool. It's a little softer – we rate it a 6 out of 10 firmness in our tests – and 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 couples as it provides excellent motion isolation.
Hot sleepers will be drawn to the Ghost Ice fabric quilted cover that helps the surface stay cool to the touch. This is followed by a 1-inch slab of gel memory foam to deliver a cozy body hug feel. After that comes an extra airflow-boosting layer, but we're most excited by the Ghost Ice Layer; it uses thermo-sensitivity tech to sense heat and keep the core of the mattress cool. None of our testers ever felt warm when sleeping on the GhostBed Luxe so the tech absolutely works.
There's an additional 2 inches of gel memory foam further down to relieve pressure points, followed by 2 inches of GhostBounce foam to contour to your body, with a 7.5-inch slab of high-density support foam at the base to help the mattress last for many a year to come. Edge support and motion isolation are also top-notch. Those 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.
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, although constant sales mean you can ignore the MSRP. If it's out of your budget but still want a cooling mattress, check out the budget-friendly Cocoon Chill (#7) or the mid-range Purple (#4).
- Read our GhostBed Luxe mattress review
GhostBed Luxe mattress: was
$2,495 now from $1,248 at GhostBed
At MSRP, the GhostBed Luxe sits at the top end of the market, but the evergreen 50% off deal takes that price right down, and you'll get two pillows bundled in for free. There are no extra discounts for Memorial Day, but you can still pick up a queen size for $1,598 (was $3,195). Head to our GhostBed mattress sale guide for more info.
Made by industry giant Sealy, the Chill is a medium firm, all-foam mattress that delivers a lot for a mid-range price. Our reviewers all agreed that it's especially well suited to side sleepers, providing plenty of cushioning and support in this position. An upper layer of memory foam contours comfortably to the sleeper's body to provide tailored support, although you won't sink in as much as you will with some of the other models in our list.
The Cocoon by Sealy Chill also absorbs motion extremely well, making it a great choice for light sleepers who share a bed. We wouldn't necessarily recommend this model to heavier weight individuals, though, who may sink through the memory foam layer and not get those body-contouring benefit.
The real star of the show is the phase-change material in the stretch-knit cover, which does a great job of regulating the temperature and wicking away heat (in our review, even our hot sleeper didn't wake up feeling sweaty once). While it doesn't have quite the chilling powers of the GhostBed (at #7), it sleeps impressively cool for an all-foam model at a lower-mid range price. In fact it's excellent value all round – the Chill is far cheaper than most specialist cooling models, and we rank it amongst the best mattresses under $1,000.
- Read more: Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress review
Cocoon by Sealy Chill: was
$769 now from $474 at Cocoon by Sealy Ignore those 'Ends Today' claims, this 35% off discount is the standard Cocoon by Sealy sale. However: add code EXTRA25 and you'll knock an additional $25 off. That takes the price of a queen down to $774, which is the cheapest you'll find this mattress for. Plus you'll take home up to $199 of free cooling pillows and sheets.
The best soft mattress for side sleepers
The SleepOvation mattress is one of the softest mattresses we've tried, rating it as a 5.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale. While back and front sleepers general benefit from a firmer sleep surface, side sleepers can often get away with a slightly more plush mattress, because the softness provides space for the hips and shoulders to sink in comfortably, without throwing the spine out of alignment.
Developed by a sleep industry veteran with the intention of alleviating back pain, the SleepOvation mattress has an unusual design that features freely-suspended 3-inch foam pockets plus a layer of 8-inch carbon steel cushion pocket springs to provide precise support and also move with the sleeper. In theory, this sounds remarkable – but in practice, this will all depend on the level of firmness you require to feel comfortable. You'll only really benefit from the SleepOvation if you like your mattress to curve and dip to shape itself to your body.
Aside from the polarizing squishiness, one area where the SleepOvation mattress shines is temperature regulation. Its compartmentalized design and knit top cover allow for ample airflow and heat dissipation, keeping sleepers nice and cool.
- Read our SleepOvation mattress review
SleepOvation mattress: was
$1,799 now from $1,439 + 2 free pillows at SleepOvation
SleepOvation has an apparently permanent offer that knocks 20% off mattresses and throws in free pillows too. That cuts the price of a queen to $2,039 – still in the premium bracket, but less scary than ticket price. There are no extra discounts for Memorial Day.
The best mattress under $300 for side sleepers
If you're on a very tight budget and/or only need something for occasional use, the Zinus Green Tea is one of the best-known cheap mattress options. It'll suit side sleepers in particular thanks to its top layer of cushioning memory foam, atop two more foam tiers (all CertiPUR-US certified). This mattress is available in a range of depths from 6" to 12" – thinner models will typically feel firmer, while thicker ones will provide more cushioning. Typically we'd recommend a minimum of 10" for most adults, while lighter weight people or children might get away with something thinner. We tested out the 10-inch version and judged it to be on the firmer side of medium-firm, but with good pressure relief.
While our testers found this mattress surprisingly comfortable for the price, and worthy of a spot in our best budget mattress and best mattress on Amazon rankings, do temper your expectations. For such a low price, you'll be making some concessions when it comes to performance and longevity. If you can afford it, something in the lower-mid range bracket like the Nectar at #2, represents a big step up in quality.
All-foam mattresses, and especially budget models, do struggle with temperature regulation, and the Zinus is no exception. This mattress can sleep a bit warm, and we wouldn't recommend it for anyone who regularly overheats at night (consider the Cocoon Chill at #7 instead).
How we test mattresses
The Tom’s Guide mattress review process is editorially independent and not influenced by any third parties. Our expert mattress testers sleep on each mattress for at least three weeks - that's roughly how long it takes for your body to get used to a new mattress - and spend hours scientifically testing the performance of each product.
Mattress firmness is subjective, so each lead reviewer also forms a trusted and experienced testing panel made up of people with different sleep needs and body types. We have side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers, with lighter, average and heavier bodies, who rate each mattress using a specific set of performance criteria.
Together, these processes enable us to produce accurate, well-balanced and data-backed mattress reviews, to help you easily decide whether the mattress you’re interested in really is the best choice for you. Read our full mattress methodology for more.
Side-sleeping mattress FAQs
How to choose a good mattress for side sleepers
Why you can trust Tom's Guide? Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.
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.
Also, consider your budget. You don't have to necessarily spend the most money in order to achieve a perfect night's sleep. Browsing regular mattress sales will help you save on a new bed — and you may even avail of other perks like free bedding. Presidents Day is coming up, and we anticipate some substantial discounts on our favorite side sleeper mattresses in the upcoming sales. However, Black Friday mattress deals tend to be when we see the largest savings of the year.
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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