In this article
- Video: Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Our picks
- Other mattresses we've tested
- How we test
- What to consider
- Frequently asked questions
- More products and sleep advice
We all have our favorite and most comfortable. It turns out side sleeping is the most popular, with a whopping 74% of people saying it's their most dominant position. The for side sleepers are ones that contour to the shape of your resting body, providing ample pressure relief to your hips, shoulders, back and neck. I've found the best beds for side sleepers tend to be in the medium to soft range, depending on the amount of support you're also looking to get.
With so many beds in the market to choose from, narrowing your choice down to even just a few models can be tough. The CNET sleep editors have tested over 100 different beds, giving us a feel (literally and figuratively) for the mattresses that suit side sleepers the best. The beds chosen below were top-rated among the editors during testing. We analyzed firmness, pressure relief and overall comfort while laying on our right or left side in order to determine the performance of each mattress. Continue on below in our best mattress for side sleepers review to see the picks we think are worth your money.
Video: Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
Watch our very own CNET Video Producer, Owen Poole, review the best mattress for side sleepers.
8 best mattresses for side sleepers
My fellow sleep editor and I personally 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. Prices listed are for queen sizes, though they frequently change.
Flippable hybrid mattress
Firm: 5 or medium | Soft: 3 or medium-soft
10-year limited warranty
The Layla Hybrid mattress is the only flippable mattress type on this list, and really one of the only flippable hybrid mattress options out there. But it's not just flippable so that you can move it around and break it in evenly. It actually combines two different mattresses in one. One side is soft and the other is firm, the perfect combination sleeper solution for you if you can't make up your mind about what mattress firmness level you want in a new mattress.
The soft mattress side, which is rated a four out of 10 on the firmness level scale, has a plush feel that hugs and contours your body at all of your pressure points. The firmer mattress side, rated a seven out of 10, offers more support with less sink to maintain your spine alignment as you snooze. Both the soft mattress side and firm mattress side are equally great for a side sleeping position.
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.
As for mattress construction, the Layla's mattress material makes it a true hybrid mattress, combining layers of memory foam with individually wrapped pocketed coils. The foam layer is also infused with copper, which pulls heat away from your body as you sleep. I tend to sleep cool anyway, but this is a nice feature for a hot sleeper, especially since traditional memory foam is notorious for trapping heat. 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.
Poly foam hybrid
Medium or 5
10-year limited warranty
The star of the Tuft and Needle Hybrid is an adaptive foam that alleviates pressure from your shoulders and hips by expertly contouring your body and hugging you in all the right places. To make things even more comfortable, T&N combines that memory foam layer with individually wrapped steel coils and ceramic gel, so in addition to softness, you also get the right amount of support so you don't feel like you're sinking. And it works. So, when you're looking for the best mattress for side sleepers, this is a strong one to consider.
The bed in a box mattress was soft enough to take the pressure off my shoulders and hips, but I didn't feel like the middle of my spine was sagging. I woke up pain-free and, after a little stretching, my body felt nimble and ready to go. This mattress also has graphite gel foam beads for heat conductivity, and open air channels that work together to wick away moisture and improve air flow, so it kept me nice and cool.
The only downside is that it seemed to have more bounce than others. While there's no squeakiness like with a traditional spring mattress, the motion transfer from my boyfriend tossing and turning was enough to wake me up in the middle of the night. That's why I recommend this hybrid mattress for those of you who sleep alone.
The Tuft and Needle Hybrid comes in twin to California king and prices range from $1,395 to $2,595.
6 or medium to medium-firm
10-year limited warranty
When I got on the Purple Hybrid Premier 4 and rolled over to my side, my first thought was: This feels weird. The grid technology, which is exclusive to Purple, is definitely different from anything else I've tried and I felt like the mattress was trying to force me forward onto my stomach. The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 provided pressure relief in a unique way.
With that being said, it's also very supportive. It comes in around a medium on the firmness scale, which is why it's a great option for people who suffer from back pain. It's pressure-relieving for your hips and shoulders, but should keep your back in a proper alignment.
But after a few nights on the mattress, I got used to it and the Purple mattress quickly became one of my favorites. The grid is designed with lots of open air channels, so it's able to fully adapt to your body, contouring your shape perfectly. The end result is a zero-gravity feel that really takes the pressure off your hips and shoulders and feels remarkably soft and comfortable.
The Purple hybrid mattress also seemed to offer better motion isolation than any other on this mattress review list, so this mattress type is a great option if you sleep with someone else who tosses and turns.
The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 comes in sizes twin XL to split king and prices range from $3,199 to $6,398.
3 firmness levels | Plush Soft: Medium or 5 | Luxury Firm: Medium-firm or 7 | Firm: 9/10 or firm
I'm pretty sure I morphed into the 😍 emoji as soon as I saw the Saatva Classic mattress coming off the truck. It was thick, it looked plush, and even though it's a hybrid mattress like all of the others on this mattress review list, it didn't arrive in a box (and the new mattress came with free white glove delivery).
It didn't have the cloud-like feeling I expected -- even though it totally looked the part -- but I've come to realize that what I think I want and what my spine actually wants are two different things. The first couple of nights were just OK, but after sleeping on the mattress for a few weeks, I fell in love.
The Saatva mattress combines a layer of innerspring mattress coils, a layer of microcoils, and 884 lumbar zone pocketed coils, meaning it provides maximum support (a plus for sleepers over 250 pounds). It's also designed with high-end mattress foam and cushioning that goes a step above your standard pillow top. Within the mattress is special lumbar technology, providing pressure relief and extra support in the center of the mattresses. This combo keeps your spinal alignment just right when you're sleeping on your side so that you can wake up pain-free. I've been dealing with some neck, hip and ankle pain and it's almost gone after sleeping on this mattress regularly.
Each mattress is made to order, which I thought was really cool. The Saatva mattress company lets you choose from three firmness level options -- ultra-plush, luxury firm and firm -- and two different mattress heights -- 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches. All that flexibility helps it earn its place as one of the best mattresses for side sleepers. I recommend the ultra plush model which is rated around a medium on the firmness scale or the luxury firm if you want a little more support. Read more at our Saatva mattress review.
The Saatva Classic comes in sizes twin to split California king and prices range from $887 to $2,296.
Poly foam hybrid mattress
5 or medium
10-year limited warranty
If you're more of a mostly side sleeper who tosses and turns and sometimes ends up on your back, rather than a heavier sleeper who tends to stay put, then the Leesa Legend is for you. With two layers of springs and two layers of specialized memory foam, this Leesa hybrid mattress was designed to provide the right amount of comfort, pressure relief and support for any sleeping position, making it ideal for side sleepers.
I was especially impressed with the edge-to-edge hybrid mattress support. Even when I found myself teetering on the very edge of the bed, an inch away from rolling onto the floor, I felt safe and supported. The motion isolation was another one of my favorite things about the Leesa mattress. This memory foam mattress held up to some serious tossing and turning, staying relatively still the whole time.
The Leesa also had the most high-end look and feel, with the exception of the Saatva. The luxury of a natural cover, made from organic cotton and merino wool cover makes it a softer mattress that was built with comfort and durability in mind. Read more in our full Leesa Legend mattress review.
The Leesa Legend comes in sizes twin XL to California king and prices range from $1,899 to $2,699.
Poly foam hybrid mattress
5 or medium
15-year limited warranty
The Helix Midnight Luxe is undoubtedly one of the best mattresses for side sleepers, but I thought it was a really great mattress for any kind of sleeping position. Its mattress type is technically classified as a medium firm mattress by Helix, but it's soft enough that it has some give for your hips and shoulders so you don't wake up in pain or with tingling arms and hands, like you might with firmer mattresses.
Like most hybrid mattresses, the Helix mattress is made of different foam and gel layers combined with innerspring mattress coils, but it's finished off with a pillow top comfort layer that really gives it an edge over its competition.
Because it's a comfortable hybrid mattress in any sleeping position, it's also a great option for couples with different sleeping position styles. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, the Helix adjusts to you and supports you in all of the right places. Read more at our Helix mattress review.
The Helix Midnight Luxe comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $1,199 to $2,499.
3 firmness levels | Soft: 3 or Medium-soft | Medium: 5 or Medium | Firm: Medium-firm or 7
10-year limited warranty
There's a lot of marketing language out there on the websites of online brands that claim to have a cooling mattress, but only a handful of those claims actually turn out to be true. There's a difference between a bed that doesn't retain heat, and a bed that's actively trying to cool you down. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora is one of those mattresses.
From a company that manufactures its own beds that boast affordable price tags, Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe offers a great value to hot sleepers looking for relief. It's a thick, 13.5-inch mattress with CopperFlex foam in the comfort layer to help regulate temperature, and an actual cooling cover. It's smooth and gives off a cooling sensation, so when you touch it, you can physically feel the iciness.
Another plus about this mattress, and one of the main characteristics side sleepers look for in a mattress, is its plush comfort. This bed comes in three different firmness levels, allowing side sleepers to choose how soft they want their bed to be. The medium option, I think, falls around a four out of 10 on the firmness scale with 10 being the firmest, and the soft model is around a two. Side sleepers under 150 pounds may like the softest option, however, since beds typically feel a little firmer than they do to the average-weighted person.
Prices start at $999 for a twin and max out at $2,249 for a Cal 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.
Nolah is an animal-friendly bed-in-a-box mattress brand that donates proceeds from its mattresses to the Defenders of Wildlife, an organization whose mission is to help protect American wildlife. It's not just a good cause, however, because its Original mattress is a great soft mattress for side sleepers who want airy pressure relief.
I think this bed feels like neutral-foam but with traces of memory foam underneath. This makes it plush, airy and pressure-relieving, but also quicker to respond to pressure than your typical memory foam. The secret is Nolah's cooling AirFoam. It isn't physically cool to the touch, but it does help regulate temperature so you don't sleep as hot.
Overall, I'd rate this mattress in between a medium to medium-soft on the firmness scale, or a 4 out of 10. It's ideal for people who weigh under 230 pounds who want an affordable foam mattress that isn't going to break the bank. You also sleep well on the Nolah Original 10 knowing you helped donate to a good cause.
Other side sleeper mattresses we've tested
The CNET Sleep editors have tested more beds than the average sleeper. Around 100 different ones, in fact, and they've dedicated hundreds of hours to the craft. The beds on the list were among some of the best they came across, but there are several mattresses that also stood out and deserve some of the spotlight.
: The luxurious and Pinterest-perfect WinkBed mattress comes in three firmness levels, and the soft model would be a perfect fit for side sleepers looking for a plush, supportive hybrid mattress. The WinkBed is made with several layers of comfy foam, strong pocketed coils, and a fluffy pillow top that makes it look as good as it feels. I think side sleepers of all body types would enjoy the WinkBed.
: We mentioned the Layla Hybrid on this list, but if you want to save some money and are willing to give up the pocketed coil base layer, then the Original foam Layla mattress is a great option. It's also flippable, and features one very plush and soft side perfect for side sleepers. Though, this Layla mattress is going to suit sleepers under 230 pounds better because it's not as supportive as the Hybrid model.
: Do you like the hugging feel of dense memory foam? Do you like a soft mattress that gives around your hip and shoulder joints? If yes, then Amerisleep checks a lot of boxes for you. It's rated around a medium-soft, but you can go even softer if you want with the AS5 model. Whichever Amerisleep mattress you choose, it'll be made with foam materials and a machine washable cover that makes cleaning much easier.
How we tested the best mattresses for side sleepers
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. Read more on.
What to consider when buying a mattress for side sleepers
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.
- Pressure relief: As we've touched on in this best list already, the best mattresses for side sleepers cradle the hip and shoulders to provide optimal pressure relief. That's why soft mattresses tend to be the best -- they give under your weight allowing the foam to mold around your shoulders and hips.
- Firmness: Soft mattresses are typically more pressure-relieving than firm ones. If you had a firm mattress, it would press into your hips and shoulders, throwing off the alignment of your spine with your neck. This is a recipe for back pain.
- Weight: Keep in mind that the heavier you are, the softer a mattress is going to feel. Heavier sleepers over 230 pounds can afford to get a firmer mattress because it'll feel a notch softer than what's advertised. The same rule applies in reverse to petite sleepers under 150 pounds. Smaller side sleepers may want an extra-soft mattress so it doesn't feel too firm.
- Health concerns: If you suffer from back pain, side pain or joint pain, take that into consideration when choosing a mattress. People with back pain may want a side sleeper bed that offers a balance of pressure relief and support, like the Purple, which lands at a medium on the firmness scale. If you suffer from hip or shoulder pain, a softer mattress that will take the pressure off your joints will usually fare better than a firm bed.
How does sleeping on your side affect your 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.
What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?
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.
What type of firmness is best for side sleepers?
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.
Are firm mattresses bad for side sleepers?
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.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.