Side sleeping is one of the most common sleeping positions, it helps decrease acid reflux, reduces snoring, and alleviates symptoms of sleep apnea. However, it’s not uncommon for side sleepers to experience pain in their shoulders and hips as a result of pressure-build up around those areas. When you sleep on your side, all of your weight is put onto your hips and shoulders, so it’s crucial to find a mattress that can accommodate this sleep style. To find the best mattress for side sleepers, you should look for a bed that offers an even balance of comfort and support.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what to look for during your search for a new bed as well as our Editors’ recommended mattresses for side sleepers.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers: 30-Second Summary
Our Recommendation: The Amerisleep AS3 is our recommended top-rated mattress for side sleepers to alleviate shoulder and hip pain. We like Amerisleep because they use pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam in each of their mattresses to reduce, and even prevent, aches and pains. Plus, each of their beds comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
|Brand||Model||Firmness||Height||Sleep Trial & Warranty||Price (Queen)|
|Amerisleep AS3||Medium-Soft||12 inches||100 Nights & 20 Years||$1,199|
|Wave||Soft||13 inches||100 Nights & 10 Years||$2,365|
|Purple.4||Soft||13 inches||100 Nights & 10 Years||$2,999|
|Midnight||Medium||12 inches||100 Nights & 10 Years||$995|
|Nolah 10"||Medium||10 inches||120 Nights & 15 Years||$894|
|Layla||Flippable, Soft & Firm||10 inches||120 Nights & Lifetime Warranty||$999|
|T&N & Mint™||Medium||10 inches & 12 inches||100 Nights & 10 Years||$595 & $995|
Our Editors’ recommended mattress for side sleepers avoiding back and hip pain is Amerisleep’s AS3. Amerisleep makes and sells five mattresses, each range in firmness and are recommended for types of sleepers. On their website, they specify their AS3 is a Medium firmness and recommended for side, back, and combination sleepers alike.
Amerisleep designs their AS3 to be an even mix of comfort and support, so it shouldn’t feel too soft or too firm. Plus, because it’s versatile enough to mold to most body types, it’s Amerisleep’s most popular mattress.
We’re confident with the top-notch materials Amerisleep uses in the design of their bed, side sleepers can get healthy, pain-free sleep on the AS3. Let’s talk about why their AS3 is a fit for side sleepers.
The top layer of the AS3 is 3 inches of Bio-Pur®, Amerisleep’s plant-based memory foam. When you lay on this bed, the memory foam should contour to your body and allow your shoulders and hips to compress in the mattress, relieving pressure points. Below the layer of Bio-Pur® lies Amerisleep’s most significant pain-relieving technology, HIVE®.
The HIVE® layer is a layer of zoned support designed to offer extra support to your midsection, feet, and neck, and more cushion to your shoulders and hips; this design reduces pressure points and promotes your spines natural alignment. These layers work in tandem to deliver more comfortable sleep, eliminate existing aches, and prevent you from experiencing new pain points.
When you shop with Amerisleep your mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty, so you have the opportunity to test your bed out and decide if it’s right for you. If so, it’s backed by one of the more generous warranties offered in the mattress industry.
2. Casper Wave
Next on our list is Casper’s Wave. Most everybody has heard of the Casper brand at least once or twice, so it should come as no surprise that one of their beds is recommended for side sleepers seeking pain relief. Casper sells five different beds: Casper, Essential, Wave, Casper Hybrid, and Wave Hybrid. For pain relief, choose their all-foam Wave model.
Just recently, this model was endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association™ for offering exceptional ergonomic support. Reviews of the bed mention waking up pain-free and shoulder knots disappearing only after a few nights on their new bed, so this bed could certainly be a solution for you.
Let’s talk about the design of the Wave and why it’s beneficial for side sleepers.
The top layer of the Wave is a thin layer of poly-foam in place to offer an instant cushion to the sleeper. Next, is a layer of latex foam; this layer is cushioning but lifting, so when you lay on this bed it’ll feel soft but won’t create the cradling feeling that memory foam does. Casper uses latex foam above memory foam in each of their beds to minimize the chance of memory foam trapping heat and causing you to sleep hot, but this design is especially useful to side sleepers who need deep compression for their shoulders and hips.
Below the layer of foam, as you can imagine, is the layer of memory foam Casper uses; this layer allows you to sink in the mattress a little more, which is ideal for those with pressure points or muscle stiffness.
Below the layer of the memory foam lies Casper’s targeted support layer, a poly-foam infused with supportive gel pods. Casper strategically places these gel pods throughout to make the layer feel firmer under your torso, head and feet, and softer under your shoulders and hips. This layer aligns your body at 27 key points, which is crucial for promoting healthy sleep styles and reducing the chance of experiencing other discomforts.
You can buy the Wave on Casper’s website and it comes with a 100-night sleep trial, so you can try out your new mattress and make sure it’s the best for you.
Purple’s new hybrid mattresses are excellent for side sleepers avoiding pesky pains, especially their Purple.4, their softest model. Purple has been shaking things up since they were launched in 2015, introducing a whole new material to the mattress industry— hyper-elastic polymer.
Purple’s aim was to develop the worlds first “No Pressure” mattress, which is ideal for anybody suffering from aches and pains.
Purple’s founders invented a machine that can fashion hyper-elastic polymer into mattress-size grids, and they use their innovative Smart Comfort Grid™ as the top layer of each of their beds. Their Smart Comfort Grid™ adapts to your body, eliminates pressure points, and helps keep you cool while you sleep, all due to its design.
When you lay on the Purple mattress, the grid will collapse under your weight and act as an instant cushion, but it still maintains its support and keeps your body elevated in the mattress.
When they first launched, Purple only sold one all-foam bed. Then, in 2019, they released 3 hybrid models, too: Purple.2, Purple.3, and Purple.4. The only difference between these models is the thickness of the Smart Comfort Grid™; so the grid is 2 inches thick in the Purple.2, 3 inches thick in the Purple.3, and— you guessed it— 4 inches thick in the Purple.4. You can choose which Purple hybrid is best for you based on your own firmness preferences and sleep needs, but for optimal pain relief, we recommend choosing their Purple.4.
Purple’s .4 hybrid is important for pain relief because it allows 4 inches for your body to compress, resulting in extra pressure relief. Plus, because the Smart Comfort Grid™ is soft but supportive, it promotes your body’s neutral alignment and prevents new pains from forming. The pocketed coil system Purple includes in each of their hybrids gives their beds a more bouncy feeling, but also offers zoned support for the sleeper above, too.
When you buy any one of Purple’s beds, it comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
4. Helix Midnight
The next hybrid mattress on our list is none other than the Helix Midnight. Helix is a bed-in-a-box mattress brand that specializes in helping you find your most comfortable mattress. When you visit their website, they prompt you to complete a questionnaire about your sleep style and mattress preferences. After, they pair you with your perfect match.
All in all, Helix makes and sells seven hybrid beds, but their Midnight mattress is their most popular model and recommended specifically for side sleepers.
Let’s talk about the construction of the Midnight.
The top layer of this bed is Helix’s Memory Plus Foam— a pressure-relieving, latex-like foam that offers both comfort and support. When you lay on this bed, this layer will cushion your body without necessarily cradling it as memory foam would. Instead, Memory Plus Foam keeps you lifted more on top of the mattress. Helix designs this foam to have a medium firmness, so it’s not too soft or too firm.
The next layer is a high-density poly-foam transition layer, acting as a barrier between the Memory Plus Foam above and the pocketed coil system below.
Next, is a layer of individually wrapped pocketed coils to offer zoned support and limit motion transfer. The base of the Midnight is a thin layer of dense poly-foam to offer structural and edge support.
When you shop with Helix, your mattress comes with a 100-night trial period and a 10-year warranty.
5. Nolah 10″
The next mattress on this list is the Nolah 10″, a bed that’s actually been designed specifically for side sleepers avoiding pains. On their website, they award themselves the “Best Side Sleeper Mattress 2019” because their bed receives such glowing customer reviews.
The Nolah is an all-foam mattress, and in their beds, they use their proprietary Nolah AirFoam™ instead of memory or latex foam. Let’s talk about what makes this bed stand out.
To begin, Nolah’s AirFoam™ is designed to be four times more pressure relieving than other foams, and pressure-relief is arguably the most important thing people suffering from chronic pains should look for in a mattress. When you lay on the Nolah, it’ll cradle your hips and shoulders and relieve tension instead of feeling firm like some memory foams. Additionally, Nolah’s AirFoam™ is 100% temperature neutral, so it contributes to temperature regulation and shouldn’t trap heat.
Overall, the Nolah is relatively thin, standing only 10 inches tall. The design of the bed is simple, too, with only three layers: 2 inches of AirFoam™, a transition layer of poly-foam, and a core layer of poly-foam. On the website, they rate their mattress a 5-6 out of 10 in regards to firmness, so it’s right there at a medium feel.
When you shop with Nolah their bed comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.
6. Layla Mattress
Layla is a unique memory foam mattress company that offers a great bed for side sleepers. Layla makes and sells only one mattress, the Layla. We like the Layla because it features copper-infused memory foam and has flippable firmness. Meaning, one side of the Layla is soft, but if you flip it over, the other side is firm. On their website, they rank the soft side of their bed a 4.5 out of 10 in regards to firmness, and the firm side a 7 out of 10.
Because side sleepers sleep more comfortably on medium to soft mattresses, they’re better suited for the soft side of the Layla. Let’s talk about the sleep-promoting benefits of this bed.
The first layer of the Layla, starting with the soft side, is 3 inches of copper-infused memory foam. Copper is antimicrobial, supportive, and temperature regulating, helping you get more restful, undisturbed sleep. When you lay on the Layla, the memory foam will contour to your body and alleviate stress in your shoulders and hips, preventing pressure points.
Below the layer of memory foam is a transition layer of convoluted poly-foam. This layer offers extra cushion between the memory foam layer and the core of the mattress, and because it’s convoluted, increases the airflow of the bed, too. Together, these two layers equal 5 inches of cushioning foam to offer you a comfortable night’s sleep.
When reading mattress reviews for the Layla, many customers noted that it has brought them the pain relief they were seeking and are now waking up in the mornings pain-free.
Every Layla mattress comes with a generous 120-night sleep trial and a Lifetime Warranty, protecting your investment forever.
7. Tuft & Needle
Tuft & Needle is another popular online mattress company that specializes in making and selling all-foam mattresses. Since they were founded a few years back, they’ve released two mattresses: their flagship T&N bed and a more luxurious version of it called the Mint™.
Both mattresses are great for side sleepers, and the most significant difference between the two of them is that the Mint™ is designed with more cooling technologies to help hot sleepers snooze more peacefully. If you’re prone to sleep hot, we recommend choosing the Mint™. However, if you’re looking for a bed with a lower price point, you can certainly get good sleep on their more affordable T&N bed.
Featured as the top layer in both of their beds is their proprietary T&N Adaptive® foam— a poly-foam designed to be more pressure-relieving than memory foam. In the T&N bed, they feature 3 inches of the T&N Adaptive® foam, and in their Mint, 5 inches. When you lay on either of these beds, this foam will cushion your body to relieve pressure points, but it is a bit more responsive than memory foam, so it’ll provide a more “on the bed” feel rather than a “cradling” feel.
In the Mint, they feature a transition layer between the T&N Adaptive® foam and the core of the mattress for additional plushness. On the other hand, in the T&N, they skip the transition layer and go straight to the supportive core foam. All in all, the Mint® has 3 layers while the T&N has 2.
When you buy either of these beds, it comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty to protect your investment for the next decade.
Mattress Types for Side Sleepers
For the most part, memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses are all great for side sleepers— which leaves plenty of options.
Memory foam, poly-foam, and latex mattresses, otherwise known as all-foam beds, are great for side sleepers because they have the cushioning characteristics to prevent pressure points. When you lay on these beds, they allow you to sink in enough to take the stress off of those major joints. Additionally, most all-foam mattresses integrate a support layer or technology to ensure you’re not sinking into the bed so much that it’s uncomfortable or unhealthy for your spine.
Hybrid mattresses are excellent for side sleepers who want more bounce from their bed than an all-foam counterpart can provide. Hybrids combine the best of both worlds— with cushioning top layers and a pocketed coil system, these beds are great at offering an even balance of comfort and support. Most hybrids contain a pocketed coil system to offer zoned support and prevent motion transfer, too. Meaning, you can have a bouncy bed without worrying about disturbing a sleeping partner every time you toss or turn.
The only type of mattress to be wary of as a side sleeper is innerspring because not all innersprings are built to offer conformity. The most important thing for side sleepers looking to avoid pain is finding a bed that will cushion the shoulders and hips. Unfortunately, not all innerspring mattresses do that. When you lay on an innerspring, it doesn’t mold or cushion your body like memory foam or even latex would. Instead, you’re left adapting to the bed, and not the other way around. If your body doesn’t conform to the mattress, it leaves opportunity for pressure points to form— which is exactly what most side sleepers are trying to avoid.
What Should Side Sleepers Look for in a New Mattress?
There are a variety of things to consider before settling on a new mattress. For starters, your personal preferences for mattress type and firmness play a significant role. Beyond that, side sleepers should look for a bed that offers pressure relief, zoned support, and is around a soft to medium firmness.
Pressure relief is by far one of the most important things for sleepers who are looking to relieve chronic pains. When you wake up in the morning with a stiff back and sore joints, it’s likely a result of sleeping on a mattress that isn’t providing you with the best support.
When you sleep, it’s your body’s time to recover and prepare itself for the next day. During sleep, your vertebrae have a chance to rehydrate and your back muscles can rest. It’s important your mattress is conducive to recovery— if not, chronic pain can be the result.
Memory foam is regarded as the best material for pressure relief. Developed by NASA in the 1970s, this material was designed for astronauts to alleviate stress during take-off.
With side sleepers, a good supportive layer must back up the softer comfort layer. This design keeps curves of the spine and neck naturally aligned.
Having a supportive mattress is not the same thing as having a mattress of hard firmness. Well-built softer mattresses provide both conformity and support.
Side sleepers can benefit from zoned support, specifically. Zoned support can be achieved with the inclusion of a pocketed coil system, or it can be created using a layer of foam or alternative support technology. The goal behind zoned support is to cushion pressure points and support the spine.
For example, in many zoned support technologies, they feel firmer and offer better support underneath of your torso, neck, and feet— this contributes to neutral spinal alignment. On the other hand, these technologies feel softer and offer more cushioning under your shoulders and hips to prevent aches and pains.
The best mattress for side sleepers allows the parts of the body that stick out to comfortably sink in— this allows the neck and spine to be supported on top of the mattress in alignment.
Soft to medium memory foam mattresses do an exceptional job of contouring to the curves and protruding parts of the side sleeping body. Firm and medium-firm mattresses are typically too firm to allow your hips and sides to sink in enough, so it’s usually best to avoid those.
A mattress that contours to your natural curves when you lay on your side prevents, or at least limits, pain caused by pressure points.
The exact firmness of the mattress depends on your personal preference, size, weight and body type. Ideally, look for a mattress somewhere in the range of 3-6 out of 10 on the firmness scale, with the higher numbers being firmer. This should achieve a good balance between support and conformity. More petite people may prefer softer, while heavier people likely need thicker and slightly firmer beds for long-term comfort.
Tips for Alleviating Back Pain for Side Sleepers
Due to prolonged pelvic twist, a side sleeper’s spine may already be misaligned. Sleeping on too firm of a mattress that does not sufficiently absorb pressure points facilitates or worsens lower back and neck pain.
Along with switching to a mattress that compliments the side sleeping styles, there are a few other preventative measures that help ease pain and misalignment.
One of the biggest ways to avoid pain? Training yourself to sleep more aligned:
- When first getting comfortable in bed, ensure that your hips and pelvis remain straight.
- Your spine and neck ideally should remain in a straight line, parallel to the floor.
- If needed, make adjustments before falling asleep or if you wake in the night.
- Try keeping a pillow in front of you to avoid leaning your torso forward.
- Use a small pillow between your knees, which helps minimize pelvic twisting. The Mayo Clinic recommends side sleepers do this to prevent back pain.
The pillow you use for your head also proves important. Look for one that supports varying pressures of your head and neck. Overly stiff or tall pillows keep your head too high relative your spine, creating a new form of pressure. If it is too short, it won’t sufficiently cradle your head and neck. Keeping your neck straight with your spine is the goal.
Are You Ready to Buy Your Next Bed?
You can find plenty of high-quality mattresses available at a reasonable price, the key is just knowing what to look for. Side sleepers should ensure that the mattress they choose possesses a thicker, softer comfort layer to conform to and relieve pressure points. But, the bed must also provide adequate support so that the spine remains straight and parallel.
We hope this guide has been a helpful tool during your search for a new bed. If you’re still curious about other mattresses, or haven’t found all you need here, check out our other guides to learn more.