With over 100 beds tested, our experts reveal their best mattress for side sleepers picks.
Sleep positions are usually different for each sleeper, and having a specialized mattress to match your sleep habits can help your sleep quality, comfort, and overall health. If you're a side sleeper, you might not have realized that there are mattresses designed specifically for you and your sleep position. The best mattresses for side sleepers are ones that contour to the shape of your resting body, providing ample pressure relief and alleviating back pain, hip pain, and shoulder pain.
With so many beds on the market to choose from, narrowing your choice down to even just a few models can be hard. Trust us, we get it. Which is why the CNET sleep editors have tested over 100 different beds, giving us a feel (literally and figuratively) for the best mattresses that suit side sleepers.
My fellow mattress testers and I slept on more than two dozen models to find the best mattress for side sleepers, and here are our findings. We update this side sleeper mattress review list periodically as we test new products.
The beds chosen below were top-rated among the editors during testing. We analyzed everything from firmness, feel, motion isolation, edge support and temperature. We also take overall comfort, versatility and special features into account. After testing we found the Layla Hybrid mattress to be the best mattress for side sleepers, but there were plenty of other beds that also stood out as good picks.
Prices listed are for queen sizes, though they frequently change.
Watch CNET Video Producer Owen Poole review the best mattress for side sleepers.
Mattress price scale:
$ = Budget: $799 and below
$$ = Average: $800 to $1,699
$$$ = Premium: $1,700 and up
These reflect MSRP or list prices. Sales might make a mattress less expensive, but are always changing.
Why we picked the Layla Hybrid mattress: Unlike a majority of mattresses on the market, you can sleep on either side of the Layla Hybrid mattress. It has a soft and airy memory foam feel that's almost like cotton candy. Side sleepers will love the soft side, and the firm side accommodates all sleeping positions.
More on the Layla Hybrid
Layla Hybrid's foam is infused with copper for enhanced temperature regulation, and has extra-strong pocketed coils for maximum support.
On days that I felt sore and tense, the soft mattress side had just enough give to alleviate pressure on my shoulders and hips, but still provided the support I needed so I didn't wake up in pain. On the days where I felt like I wanted a little more support, the firm mattress side of this Layla Mattress propped me right up.
Read more in our Layla Hybrid mattress review.
The Layla Hybrid mattress comes in twin to California king and prices range from $1,299 to $1,899 regularly, not considering any discounts the store may be offering.
Why we picked the Casper Nova Hybrid mattress: A soft mattress is a side sleeper's haven and the Casper Nova Hybrid bed among the cream of the crop. It feels like a big fluffy cloud, with the additional support of pocketed coils in the foundation layer and a zoned layer in the center of the mattress for targeted support and pressure relief.
More on Casper Nova Hybrid
It's ultra plush, and really nestles your body as you become engulfed in the soft foam layers. The foam is quick to respond to pressure, unlike dense memory foam which can take a few moments to morph back to its normal shape. And thanks to its supportive hybrid design, it's accommodating for all body types.
The Casper Nova Hybrid doesn't sleep cool, but it does help regulate temperature. The top layer is made with perforated Airscape foam to allow air to pass through, while the pocketed coils in the lower layer also promote more airflow. It is a bit expensive, but I think it's worth it for side sleepers looking to splurge on a new mattress.
The Casper Nova Hybrid comes in twin XL to California king and prices range from $1,525 to $2,461.
Why we picked the Saatva HD mattress: It's specifically designed to provide heavier sleepers with maximum support and plenty of comfort. Saatva HD's supportive innerspring system is 25% stronger than an average hybrid mattress and includes special Lumbar Zone Active Spinal Wire meant to help with lower back support. You can also find 5-zoned latex foam in the comfort layers for even more targeted support.
More on the Saatva HD mattress
Side sleepers over 230 pounds will really enjoy its medium firmness level. It's soft enough to contour around your hips and shoulders for pressure relief, but it's strong enough to keep your back and spine in a straight alignment with your neck. If you want to save money on a Saatva mattress, the Classic model is also a viable choice for heavy sleepers.
It's an impressive mattress and it takes luxury to a new level.
The one downside is that Saatva recommends buying its foundation to support the bed, as it says Saatva HD isn't compatible with other frames. If you want to save money on a Saatva mattress, the Classic model in Luxury Plush is a viable choice for heavy side sleepers. Read more in our Saatva mattress review.
The Saatva HD comes in sizes twin to split king and prices range from $896 to $2,439.
Why we picked the Amerisleep AS4: The Amerisleep AS4 mattress appeals to a true memory foam fanatic; it has dense, slow-responding foam that envelopes your body, making you feel like you're getting a big hug from your mattress. The cover is also machine washable and infused with a performance and sleep-boosting fabric that is supposed to promote better sleep and make you feel more energized when you wake up.
More on the Amerisleep AS4 mattress
I compare the feel to what you get from a TempurPedic mattress, but a lot softer and for a fraction of the price. The AS4 mattress has a firmness profile that makes it ultra pressure relieving without being so soft that you sag into the bed.
The Amerisleep mattress covers are infused with Celliant, a performance and sleep-boosting fabric that absorbs heat from your body, and transfers it back to you as infrared energy. It's supposed to help your body's natural muscle repair process that occurs during sleep, and make you feel more energized when you wake up. Read more in our full Amerisleep mattress review.
The Amerisleep AS4 mattress comes in sizes twin to split king and prices range from $1,499 to $2,648. Although, like most beds on this list, you can typically catch it for a good deal. Amerisleep is usually offering a promo around $100 to $400 off.
Why we picked the Helix Sunset mattress: For side sleepers looking for a safe, comfortable soft mattress, the Helix Sunset is a great choice. It has a simple hybrid mattress design that combines pocketed coils with reinforced edges for stronger edge support and two layers of comfort foams that feel soft, airy and plush.
More on the Helix sunset mattress
Helix uses memory foam and its own special Dynamic Foam to create a soft blend that is pressure relieving, but quicker to respond to pressure than the Amerisleep AS4. It's also accommodating for all body types because of its hybrid design.
A few of the cool things about Helix is its mattress quiz (and affordable price tag). Helix has a personalized quiz that offers mattress recommendations based on your answers. And as you can see by comparing the prices of other beds on our best mattress for side sleepers roundup, the Helix Sunset is a nice bed that offers a great value. Read more about this bed in our Helix mattress review.
The Helix Sunset comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $749 to $1,399.
Why we picked the Purple mattress: It somehow manages to be soft and firm and the same time, giving your hip and shoulder the pressure relief they need along with ample support. Its gel-like comfort layer gives nicely underneath your pressure points and also helps you sleep cooler.
More on the Purple mattress
Every Purple mattress features a GelFlex Grid made from hyper-elastic polymer. It can stretch more than 10 times its size, is incredibly durable and reminiscent of a Dr. Scholl's insole. You can feel traces of the little squares underneath your hips and shoulders, but it's easy to look passed because it's such a unique, weightless and comfortable feel for those who live from shoulder and hip pain.
It's shaped in a grid, allowing for a lot of square air pockets. In conjunction with the fact that the gel material doesn't retain heat, this is also one of the best cooling mattresses for side sleepers. However, it's going to be best for people under 230 pounds because of its all-foam construction.
Why we picked the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Lux: Many brands use marketing language that claim to have a cooling mattress, but only a handful of those claims actually turn out to be true. Enter Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Lux. It's a thick hybrid mattress designed with multiple avenues of cooling tech and a plush, cozy feel perfect for side sleepers.
More on the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Lux:
It's a thick, 13.5-inch hybrid mattress with CopperFlex foam to help regulate temperature, and an actual cooling cover. The cover is smooth and gives off a cooling sensation, so when you touch it, you can physically feel the iciness.
Aside from its cooling abilities, it's also incredibly comfortable. The foam is soft, pillowy and cradling without making you feel like you're going to sink.
This bed comes in three different firmness levels, but I think side sleepers will enjoy the soft and medium models best.
Prices start at $899 for a twin and max out at $1,999 for a California king. However, the brand is pretty generous with discounts. You can typically buy a queen size Aurora mattress for around $300 to $400 off. It also comes in RV mattress sizes including an RV king and RV bunk.
Why we picked the Nolah Original 10 mattress: It's ideal for people who weigh under 230 pounds and want an affordable foam mattress that isn't going to break the bank. This bed feels like neutral-foam with traces of memory foam underneath, but it's quicker to respond to pressure than your typical memory foam.
More on the Nolah Original 10 mattress
The main comfort foam inthe Nolah 10 is called AirFoam. It's plush, airy (as the name implies) and pressure-relieving, but also quicker to respond to pressure than your typical memory foam. It isn't physically cool to the touch, but it does help regulate temperature so you don't sleep as hot.
The Nolah Original 10 is one of the more popular soft bed-in-a-box mattresses on the market, and I think it's a great pick if you want a simple, soft mattress without any extra bells and whistles. Just comfort.
Prices for a Nolah Original 10 mattress start at $999 (before promos are applied, which come commonly) for a twin size and go up to $2,398 for a split king size.
The CNET Sleep editors have tested more beds than the average sleeper. Around 100 different ones, in fact, and we've dedicated hundreds of hours to the craft. The beds on the list were among some of the best we came across, but there are several mattresses that also stood out and deserve some of the spotlight.
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.
The main consideration we take into account when we look for the best mattress for side sleepers is firmness and the amount of pressure relief a mattress offers. When testing mattresses, we lay in each sleeping position (including side) and determine how well they accommodate our primary pressure points.
When we're on our side, it's crucial our hips and joints feel properly cradled. If a bed's too firm, it can press into your pressure points and cause soreness or pain.
Read more on how we test mattresses.
The qualities that side sleepers want in a mattress are different from stomach or back sleepers. Here are the main features to keep an eye out for if you favor your side when you sleep.
Besides being comfortable, there are also countless health benefits to side sleeping as well. Helping reduce the risk of sleep apnea, improving the health of your brain and even improving gut health and function are included among the benefits of sleeping on your side. And the best mattress for side sleepers can improve your comfort while you get a good night's sleep.
It's also recommended to side sleep during pregnancy. It promotes better quality sleep by keeping pressure off your belly, and sleeping on the left side promotes ample blood flow from the inferior vena cava. This is a crucial vein that pumps blood through your heart and also your baby.
However, sleeping on your side can have some adverse effects if you're not using the right mattress. It can put undue pressure on your shoulders and hips and lead to joint pain and discomfort.
A pillow can make or break your sleeping experience, especially for a side sleeper. Side sleepers need tall, lofty pillows that properly support the head and cervical spine. A flat pillow causes the head and neck to bend out of alignment with the spine, which can promote pain.
If you need it, utilize pillows for some extra padding and support where you may need it most. Keep a soft and fluffy pillow between your knees to relieve pressure on you back and promote better alignment. You can also keep a pillow under the armpit if you live with shoulder pain for added pressure relief.
If your mattress is too firm but it hasn't yet reached its expiration date, use a mattress topper to make it softer without having to buy a whole new bed. Mattress toppers can change the entire firmness profile of your bed, so side sleepers should look for a soft and plush topper.
Memory foam is one of the best types of mattresses for side sleepers. It contours to your body shape, relieving pressure points and keeping your spinal alignment when you're lying on your side. Side sleepers should also consider a soft mattress because it provides pressure relief to your shoulder and hip joints.
There's not a single right answer to this question, but in general, side sleepers tend to prefer a soft to medium mattress. Mattresses in this range have enough give to alleviate pressure in the shoulders, hips and knees when you're sleeping on your side, but also hold their shape to keep your spinal alignment so you don't wake up in pain.
Yes. Memory foam is known for its pressure relieving properties and nestles the curves of your body. When you sleep on your side, memory foam gently hugs your shoulder and hip joints.
Firm mattresses can be bad for side sleepers, especially ones under 150 pounds. If your mattress firmness is too hard, it might not have enough give and cushioning for your pressure points. Lack of pressure relief can disrupt your sleep and cause pain and even numbness and tingling in your extremities. Ultimately, a lot comes down to personal preference and how you feel on the mattresses, but most side sleepers do best with medium or softer mattress options.