Side sleeping is a common sleeping position and can offer myriad benefits, such as improved breathing for people with sleep apnea and reduced pressure for those experiencing joint pain.
However, side sleeping "may cause neck or back pain" and can put pressure on your shoulders, says Kristen Casey, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and insomnia specialist.
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That's where a supportive and comfortable mattress comes in. When looking for the best mattress for side sleepers, you should consider the firmness level, comfort and price.
There are a number of mattresses to choose from, so we've rounded up the top picks to make shopping a little easier.
The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
- Best Overall: Saatva Classic Mattress ($710 to $2,200, Saatva.com)
- Best on a Budget: Helix Mattress ($749 to $1,399, HelixSleep.com)
- Best Gel: Purple Mattress ($699 to $1,898, Purple.com)
- Best Hybrid: Leesa Sapira Hybrid Mattress ($1,199 to $1,899, Leesa.com)
- Best for Couples: Layla Hybrid Mattress ($1,099 to $1,699, LaylaSleep.com)
- Best Breathable: Nolah Evolution ($999 to $2,398, NolahMattress.com)
- Best for Back and Neck Pain: The WinkBed ($849 to $1,749, WinkBeds.com)
- Best Splurge: Diamond Mattress Ethos Natural Hybrid ($1,699 to $2,799, DiamondMattress.com)
How We Chose
We tapped a sleep specialist for their recommendations and narrowed down the best mattresses for side sleepers based on the following criteria:
- Type of mattress
1. Best Overall: Saatva Classic Mattress
The Saatva Classic is a comfortable, durable, responsive mattress, earning its spot as our best overall choice.
The mattress is ideal for side sleepers because it has a plush soft topper. Made with soft foam and extra padding, the topper contours to your body's natural position and spine alignment.
Each mattress is also engineered with lumbar support and organic cotton, allowing for breathability and comfort.
There are three firmness levels to pick from — plush soft, luxury firm and firm — so you can choose the one that best suits your preferences.
Bonus? The mattress comes with a one-year trial period. "This is important because everyone has a different subjective level of comfort with mattresses," Casey says.
Buy it: Saatva.com; Price: $710 to $2,200
2. Best on a Budget: Helix Moonlight
If you're on the hunt for a luxurious mattress with a budget-friendly price tag, look no further than the Helix Mattress.
It's made with five layers: a cover, comfort layer, transition layer, body shape layer and base layer. These layers are made of high-density foam, which contours to the natural shape of your side and provides ergonomic support.
Plus, you'll get to enjoy a 15-year warranty and a 100-day trial to test out the mattress. Casey says: "The Helix Sleep Mattress is a budget-friendly high-end mattress that I think side sleepers would love."
Buy it: HelixSleep.com; Price: $749 to $1,399
3. Best for Hip Pain: Purple Mattress
Casey recommends this mattress because it's made of the brand's signature gel technology called GelFlex.
It "helps with pressure points on the hips and shoulders while keeping your spine aligned," she explains, which makes it a great mattress for people with hip pain.
Even better? It's hypoallergenic and free of toxic materials.
We also appreciated that the mattress is breathable, thanks to over 1,400 built-in air channels, which allow hot air to escape during the night (hot sleepers, rejoice).
In addition to a 10-year warranty, you'll get free shipping, free returns and a 100-day trial period to test out the waters before committing.
Buy it: Purple.com; Price: $699 to $1,898
4. Best Hybrid: Leesa Sapira Hybrid Mattress
Made with advanced memory foam and pocket springs, Leesa's Sapira Mattress contours to the natural shape of your spine and provides pressure relief and support.
"The Leesa Hybrid Mattress offers coils for support and memory foam for comfort, which is helpful for side sleepers," Casey explains.
The top layer is punctured with holes, too, allowing for the passage of hot air and a cooler, more comfortable sleep.
This mattress stands out because each mattress is handcrafted in the U.S. and you can enjoy a 10-year warranty. From twin to California king, there's a mattress size that'll meet your lifestyle and sleep needs.
Buy it: Leesa.com; Price: $1,199 to $1,899
5. Best for Couples: Layla Hybrid Mattress
This mattress has two sides: soft and firm, and you can flip it to either side depending on your mood.
The firmer side is perfect for couples because it offers less sink and reduces motion transfer, so you can toss and turn without the fear of waking up your partner.
"Mattresses that may be helpful for couples are those that offer motion isolation or customizations for either side, because each partner may have different sleep needs and positions," Casey explains.
The foam layer is infused with copper, which keeps heat away, helping you sleep cooler. Copper also has antimicrobial properties to prevent the formation of funky odors and bacterial growth.
Buy it: LaylaSleep.com; Price: $1,099 to $1,699
6. Best Breathable: Nolah Evolution
The Nolah is designed with the brand's signature graphite-infused technology to offer a cooling effect and keep body heat at bay.
A hybrid mattress, the Nolah is made of coils and memory foam to "offer support and pressure relief" for your spine and curves of the body, which makes this mattress ideal for side sleepers, Casey says.
It comes in three levels of firmness: plush, luxury firm and firm.
The mattress is constructed with seven layers and has a foundation layer for durability. Each mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty and is CertiPUR-US certified, which means the foam is free of heavy metals and chemical fire substances.
(Psst: Hot sleeper? Check out these cooling comforters, cooling duvet covers and cooling sheets for a more comfortable night's sleep.)
Buy it: NolahMattress.com; Price: $999 to $2,398
7. Best for Back and Neck Pain: The WinkBed
This mattress comes recommended by Casey for its back relief system. Constructed with gel-infused foam and individually wrapped coils, the WinkBed contours to the natural curves of your body and relieves achy backs and necks.
We also appreciate that there are four levels of firmness: softer, luxury firm, firmer and plus, with softer offering minimal support.
What's more, the cover is cooling and moisture-wicking thanks to the 100-percent Eucalyptus-derived Tencel.
Beyond free shipping and returns, you'll get a lifetime warranty and a 120-day risk-free trial, so you can test out the mattress before committing.
Buy it: WinkBeds.com; Price: $849 to $1,749
8. Best Splurge: Diamond Mattress Ethos Natural Hybrid
If you have the budget to splurge on a luxury mattress, we'd recommend Diamond Mattress Ethos. Each mattress is made with quality materials, such as organic cotton, certified wool and non-toxic foam. The foam top and wrapped coils offer support for your spine and body curves, making this mattress ideal for back and side sleepers.
The foam on the mattress received a seal of approval from CertiPUR-US, which means that it was made without harmful chemicals and toxins like formaldehyde, mercury, lead or flame retardants.
Buy it: DiamondMattress.com; Price: $1,699 to $2,799
What to Look for in a Mattress for Side Sleepers
1. Type of Mattress
The best mattresses for side sleepers "create a little bubble to support the shoulders" and provide pressure point relief, Casey says.
When looking for a mattress, choose one that's made of high-density foam or has a soft topper, because those types of mattresses contour to your unique body shape and relieve pressure points.
For side sleepers, Casey recommends a medium-firm mattress because they strike a good balance between supportive and comfortable. However, it depends on your preference.
"Some side sleepers report loving very cushioned mattresses," she says.
If that is the case for you, utilize the free trial periods to see whether the mattress you chose feels right for you.
3. Type of Pillow
Beyond the mattress, pillows are another affordable way to ensure you're getting some good shut-eye.
Choose one that is on the firmer side and at the right height to support your head and neck, Casey says. "We don't want something that's too flat or too tall," as that can cause neck strain, she adds.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.