9 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers, Tested and Reviewed

Our testers are certified sleep science coaches who not only personally sleep on each mattress to determine its overall feel, but also perform a series of tests on the mattress to rank it in a list of categories like pressure relief, spine alignment, edge support, motion transfer, responsiveness (how easy it is to move around), and more.

Pressure relief was a major consideration in our criteria for this list, given that side sleepers often experience hip and shoulder pain. We examined pressure subjectively, by lying on our sides on each mattress and taking notes on how it felt, and also objectively, by using a pressure map to identify any areas of pressure buildup. Every mattress that made our list demonstrated above-average pressure-relieving properties.

For more information on how we test mattresses, check out our sleep testing methodology.

What Side Sleepers Should Look for in a Mattress

Side sleepers have specific mattress needs. If you spend most of the night curled up on one side, here’s what you should consider when shopping for a new bed.


The first thing to think about when choosing the best mattress for side sleepers is your overall size. Size will dictate the level of firmness you need in a mattress, explains Michael J. Breus, PhD, a sleep expert who serves on the American Board of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

“Most side sleepers will do best on a medium-firm mattress, as a general guideline, but that will vary based on their height and weight,” Dr. Breus explains. “If you’re a 250- to 300-pound person, you’re going to look for a different mattress than a 120- to 130-pound person would. As a side sleeper, you have to balance between the idea of sinking in versus support.” As an example, he continues “If you’re a 125-pound person, getting a medium-soft mattress might make sense, but a 300-pound person would get no support from that same mattress. The larger person would need a medium-firm mattress.” Nicely, many of the mattresses we cover offer firmness scales (or different firmness options) on their sites, so you can customize your new bed to your liking.

Pressure Relief

Side sleepers need a mattress that gives easily at the hips and shoulders. Without a soft, pressure-relieving surface, you might feel discomfort at these pressure points, which will only build up and cause pain over time.

Look for a mattress with a pillow top or cradling foam top layer. You don’t necessarily need every mattress layer to be soft, but it’s important that the surface is nice and cushiony, so your body sinks in at the shoulders and hips. Zoned support, where the mattress is firmer in areas where the body tends to need more firmness, like the lower back, can help preserve support while cushioning in other areas.


In addition to thinking about firmness, side sleepers should consider the material of any new mattress. Dr. Breus recommends avoiding mattresses with memory foam at the top layers. “Side sleepers should avoid memory foam close to the surface unless the foam has a lot of buoyancy. It’s all based on height and weight, so someone who is bigger, you would want innerspring coils,” he recommends.

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