If you’re a side sleeper, we’ve got some good news for you. A recent study found that side sleeping correlates with brain health like no other sleeping “method”.
Yet, there is another factor that goes into how your sleep impacts your health: the mattress. And choosing the right one can make the difference between crawling out of bed and feeling completely recharged in the morning.
This is why we’ll show you the ins and outs of the 7 best mattresses for side sleepers on the market. And if that doesn’t doesn’t help you enough, let us guide you a little further along the way with our buyer’s guide at the end.
Finally, we’ll give you an infographic showing you the health implications of side sleeping – as well as all other sleeping positions. Let us help you make the right choice and your back will thank you – and so will your pocket.
The Best Mattress for Side Sleepers: 7 Models Compared
One thing before jumping into the ranking: Some people are put off by the idea of ordering a mattress online. We can relate, but at the same time you’ll see that many mattress stores will charge multiple times the prices – even for identical products.
So it really pays off and you even get the thing shipped all the way to your front door. On that note, let’s dive in…
- 1 The Best Mattress for Side Sleepers: 7 Models Compared
- 2 1. Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort – Our Best Bang for the Buck
- 3 2. Signature Sleep Memoir – Our Best Mattress for Side Sleepers Overall
- 4 3. Best Price Mattress
- 5 4. Tuft & Needle Mattress – Best for Side Sleepers with Lower Back Pain
- 6 5. Classic Brands Cool Gel Ultimate
- 7 6. Sleep Innovations Shiloh – Our Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Hip Pain
- 8 7. Serta 12-Inch Gel-Memory Foam Mattress
- 9 What to Look For in a Good Mattress (Buyer’s Guide)
- 10 The Perfect Sleeping Position (Infographic)
- 11 Conclusion
1. Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort – Our Best Bang for the Buck
The Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort is our budget pick: a quality mattress with one of the smallest price tags on the market.
The Zinus Sleep Master features 8 inches of foam that adapt to your body and give great support. The layers are made of:
- 2 inches of memory foam
- 2 inches of comfort foam (adding softness) and
- 4 inches high-density base support foam.
And this combination provides perfect support for side-sleepers.
Also, the Zinus Sleep Master features the latest evolution of memory foam, called “Bio Foam”. This type of foam replaces the traditionally-used petroleum with natural plant oil. Since we love organic products, here comes a thumbs up for the Zinus Sleep Master!
Another advantage of the memory foam is that you can choose not to place anything under it. Simply put it on a frame or right on the floor and you’re good to go.
Finally, Zinus offers a worry-free 10 year warranty on the Sleep Master.
As for the shortcomings of the Zinus Sleep Master:
Some buyers reported that the bed sheets come sliding off this mattress every once in a while. That’s inconvenient, but in case it happens you can avoid it by using sheet fasteners for relatively little money.
And finally: don’t expect this mattress to be all too soft. Many buyers did so (because of the 2 inches of comfort foam that other mattresses don’t have) and were disappointed to find out that the Zinus Sleep Master is relatively firm. This not more or less healthy per se. Rather, you should decide based on whether you personally prefer firm or soft.
So the Zinus Sleep Master comes out best in terms of quality of all mattresses we’ve researched. And isn’t it convenient that this is also the second cheapest among them?
- Memory foam layers adapt to your sleeping position and provide stability
- Contains natural plant oil instead of petroleum
- 10-year warranty included
- Not for people with back pain
2. Signature Sleep Memoir – Our Best Mattress for Side Sleepers Overall
The Signature Sleep Memoir is our best mattress for side sleepers. And here’s why…
The mattress features a 3.5 inch layer of memory foam which is among the thickest layers of that material we’ve seen in mattresses. That means the Signature Sleep Memoir is especially good at adapting to your sleeping position and your individualy body shape. If you’re suffering from hip or back pain, this mattress spends the night working in your favor.
The layer of memory foam is followed by a 8.5 inch layer of high density foam. The higher this density, the firmer your mattress will be. For once, this makes the Signature Sleep very durable. And it makes this mattress feel quite firm. As you can read in our buyer’s guide below that’s nothing positive or negative as such. Rather, you should decide according to your personal preference. So is your current mattress firm? Do you like that? It’s up to you…
Taken together, the memory and high density foam layers distribute the pressure on your body evenly and – in our view – do their job as well as the popular, but very expensive Tempurpedic mattress. And the Signature Sleep Memoir comes at an almost ridiculous fraction of the price.
Please note that this mattress is intended to be used without a foundation. Some people still prefer to have one (made of plywood or similar). If that’s you, be aware that this would make the mattress feel more firm.
Two (minor) weaknesses we noticed: when lying on your side for a while and then rolling onto your back, the mattress takes a few minutes to adapt to the new body position. Others models simply are a bit quicker here.
Also, some people found it sleeps hot and made them wake up sweaty. So if you’re looking for a mattress to keep you cool, this isn’t it.
Other than that, this is a seriously good mattress at a very good price!
- Very thick memory foam layer
- Good for hip and back pain
- High foam density provides strong body support
- Comfortably firm
- Takes fairly long to decompress
- Sleeps hot
3. Best Price Mattress
The Best Price mattress will impresses you with its combination of firmness & softness and the way it adapts to you – instead of the other way around.
The mattress layers are made out of: 2 inches of memory foam, 2 inches of “Super Soft Foam” with pressure relief system and 4 inches of high density foam at the bottom. There’s nothing cheap about it, from material to comfort. The top layer of memory foam is not the thickest we’ve seen, but you have to consider that the “Super Soft Foam” underneath adds softness too. So overall, this mattress is softer than, for instance, the Signature Sleep Memoir above.
The Best Price mattress’s memory foam did very well at adapting to changes in sleeping position. Just took a few seconds. That’s quicker than many other mattresses. Plus: sleeping on this model, you’ll be able to move around at night without disturbing your partner. You can’t feel any movement in the mattress either when the other person gets out or into bed. That is just great, we think!
The only thing that really bothered us about the Best Price mattress is that the edges seem to be just as soft as the center of the mattress. So when you are getting off the bed or sitting on the edge you run the risk of sliding down.
Also, like many other memory foam mattresses, this model too locks in considerable amounts of heat radiating from your body. The result is a warmer bed then you might get with a traditional spring mattress. This could be an issue in the summer.
- Memory foam very quick to adapt
- Move without disturbing the person sleeping next to you
- Not as firm as many other memory foam mattresses (not a pro if you like it firm, of course)
- Risk of sliding down the edges when trying to sit there
- Locks in heat and moisture
4. Tuft & Needle Mattress – Best for Side Sleepers with Lower Back Pain
The Tuft & Needle mattress will be very comfortable for someone with severe arthritis, spinal degeneration or any kind of lower back problem.
This mattress has a 7-inch support layer on the bottom that helps keep your back and neck properly aligned. The top comfort layer is 3 inches of Tuft & Needle Adaptive Foam, a proprietary foam unique to T&N alone, which provides pressure relief and support. This is why chiropractors recommend the Tuft & Needle particularly for people with (lower) back pain.
Three other cool things about this model are:
- It’s infused with a cooling gel that helps you sleep cool.
- It supports up to 500 lbs per person – so 1000 lbs for a standard two-person mattress.
- Tuft & Needle regards dents in the memory foam as defects. So if you should have any within the 10 year warranty period – you’re entitled to ask for a replacement. Just note that Tuft & Needle will expect you to package the mattress for return.
The Tuft & Needle has a “break-in period” of about a week, which means that you can expect the memory foam to adapt to your body on full force after about a week (from unpacking).
In terms of weaknesses, you should note that this is a great mattress for people with lower back pain who plan to sleep on it. However, if you also want spend time sitting on it (for breakfast, TV, reading, meditating etc.) – we recommend you look for another model. You will sink into the Tuft & Neelde and that causes the very back pain that this mattress fights while sleeping on it.
- Great for Side Sleepers with back problems as it provides firm support
- Recommended by chiropractors for side sleepers with lower back pain
- 10 year warranty on dents
- Holds 1000 lbs of weight on a standard 2-person mattress
- Gel inside the memory foam avoids heat retention
- Fairly firm
- Sitting on it will cause you to sink in (& probably develop back pain)
5. Classic Brands Cool Gel Ultimate
The Classic Brands Mattress uses the latest in Gel Memory Foam and Memory Foam technology.
It all begins with a 2 inch ventilated Cool Gel memory foam top layer that conforms to your shape and has a faster recovery factor than conventional memory foam. A second layer of 2 inch memory foam works with the third, 2 inch comfort foam support layer providing you with the ultimate sleeping experience. The 8 inch base layer maintains the strength and effectiveness of the layers. This brings us to 16 inches of layers that should give you the best sleeping experience possible.
Sounds great, but is it true?
Well, the mattress feels as plush as an inner spring pillow top, but without the eventually troublesome springs that soon cause lumpy mattress syndrome. And, the cool gel works – keeping the mattress from overheating.
As for firmness, the Cool Gel Ultimate is a little on the firm side for a side sleeper, but when you’re sleeping on your back or stomach, you’ll sleep really well. Do not be concerned if your Classic Brand mattress feels too firm initially. It takes about 2 weeks to break in.)
Also, most people reported issues with the packaging the mattress comes with. The wrap that contains it gets torn and the mattress starts inflating before it reaches them. We investigated this issue, turns out the mattresses travel from China. If Classic Brands manages to improve their packaging, it will definitely improve their reviews.
It is nice that Classic Brands gives away 2 free pillows with the mattress, but we really wish they would have been king pillows. As it is now, when you make the bed, there will be a big gap between the pillows. They are super comfy, though – better than other memory foam pillows.
The makers of this product offer a 25 Year warranty on all gel memory foam mattresses. They are also well-known for their great customer support. 99% satisfaction is not good enough for their customer service. That’s what we want to see when talking about adding value to a product!
- Innovative design
- Added gel for cooling
- 2 free gel pillows with purchase
- Plush feeling
- Free pillows are very small
- Fair number of buyers report damaged packages upon arrival
6. Sleep Innovations Shiloh – Our Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Hip Pain
Wake up rested and without hip-pain with the Sleep Innovations 12-inch Memory Foam mattress.
Sleeping on a low quality mattress can often force you to sleep in an unnatural position that strains your hips, resulting in severe health issues. This is especially true for Side Sleepers, and this is why you’ll love the Sleep Innovations mattress. It will allow you to sleep – pain free.
Sleep Inovations has 2.5″ of SureTemp memory foam. It really does seem to work, and it absorbs your body weight evenly. The Sleep Innovation mattress will keep your spine in the proper alignment so you’ll wake without any kinks or sore spots.
Overall the Sleep Innovation is a very comfortable mattress. It’s bigger than the standard, so there is a lot more room for both sleep and fun. Also you won’t be able to hear/feel when your partner gets in or out of bed during the night, which is a nice bonus. You’ll both sleep so much better with neither of you waking the other one up.
The mattress is listed as medium-soft by the manufacturer, but is definitely firm. Medium-firm at best. It is not like a rock, but it definitely isn’t soft/plush. We’d give it a 7 on a 1-10 very soft to very firm scale. It is very supportive though. You will not wake up sore.
Even in the summer, you won’t notice any significant “heat trapping.” It stays cool, and you wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
The true test comes after many years of usage, and some people have had issues with premature dents on the mattress (after 3-4 years). But keep in mind that ideally you should change mattress after 8-10 years of use anyway.
In order to meet the conditions of the manufacturer’s warranty, make sure not to remove the white cotton cover for washing. If you take a better look at the brochure that comes with the mattress, it tells you that the warranty is void if you do that. So put some other cover over that, if you must.
- Absorbs body weight evenly
- Stays cool in summer
- Balances weight well so you won’t notice your partner’s movements
- Some buyers report premature dents
- Warranty with many exceptions
7. Serta 12-Inch Gel-Memory Foam Mattress
Get custom support where you need it the most with the Serta 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress, enhanced for comfort and durability.
The Serta Gel-Memory Foam (12 Inch) features a 3-layer design: 2.5-inch comfort layer (gel memory foam), 2.5-inch custom support layer, 7-inch base layer: high-density support foam for stability and durability. The mattress is comfortable and provides good support. Air circulation is good and you’ll like the feel of it.
Once you get a good night’s sleep on this mattress you’ll appreciate the therapeutic comfort of the memory foam. Plus the added support and cool touch of the gel beads will provide additional comfort in the heat.
The package that arrives is compact and easy to unpack. Just open the box, cut the plastic wrap. and give the mattress a couple of hours to unfold.
What’s really important: this is actually a Sleep innovations mattress but they are partners with Serta and sell it as a Serta mattress (it’s actually comparable to the Serta iComfort only a bit firmer). This results in certain inconsistencies when it comes to receiving this product. Some people are extremely pleased with it, while others have had really bad experiences, like the top of the mattress never flattening out. So make sure you understand that.
The mattress comes with a “20 Year Warranty” but if you read the warranty PDF it instructs you to “contact the Serta retailer from where you purchased the set.” There is no way you can find to contact the retailer since Amazon only lists return requests. So be aware that the “20 Year Warranty” is just 90 days.
- Good for people with back problems as this mattress is firmer than other memory foam ones
- Gel beads remove the heat produced by memory foam
- Much cheaper on Amazon than from other retailers
- Some mattresses don’t flatten out properly (quality control seems to be inconsistent)
- Warranty practically shorter than advertised
What to Look For in a Good Mattress (Buyer’s Guide)
When to change your old mattress?
A good rule of thumb is that a mattress should be exchanged about every 10 years.
That’s assuming you currently have a quality model. And even if you do, this is only a rule of thumb.
So if your mattress…
- smells iffy
- is moist in some places
- has noticeable dents in the middle or collapses on the sides, or
- if you wake up with hip, back or neck pain instead of feeling recharged…
…it is probably time for you to get a new one – no matter how old the current one is.
Finding the right mattress size for you
Many factors help determine which mattress size is best for you. Some people will need more space than others.
As a general guideline, choose a mattress that is at least 6 inches longer than the height of the tallest sleeper and wide enough so that each sleeper can comfortably rest without overlapping his/her sleeping partner.
When mattresses are made, their edges are sewn by hand, so their actual sizes may vary by plus or minus a half inch. For a guideline on which mattress size to get, follow this list:
- Twin: 38″ x 74″ – Good option for space-constrained guest rooms
- Twin Extra Long (XL): 38″ x 80″ – Good starter bed for your children
- Full: 54″ x 74″ – Best for solo sleepers
- Queen: 60″ x 80″ – Most loved by couples
- King: 76″ x 80″ – This is for couples with toddlers, plenty of room to sleep and play
- California King: 72″ x 84″ – Best option for really tall people
Which mattress material?
Innerspring mattresses are often the most affordable ones. Generally, they tend to rank higher for ease of movement on bed, and don’t usually sleep as hot as foam mattresses. However, innerspring models don’t do well in terms of comfort.
Latex mattresses offer many of the benefits of memory foam like low-pressure support and natural contouring without the slow-response, chemical odors, or heat retention. The downside is, they tend to be a little more expensive than other mattress types. Latex is simply very expensive.
Memory foam is a temperature-sensitive viscoelastic material. It was first developed by NASA to protect astronauts from the harmful G-forces they had to endure during takeoff and landing. Within a few years of its creation, memory foam gained a strong reputation as the best material for hospital beds. And couple years after that, it had taken the mattress industry by storm.
The point is: memory foam adapts its form to the shape of your body – and stays that way. Thus it considerably reduces pressure points – which is a vital benefit for side sleepers.
So if you are one, we recommend you go for a memory foam mattress. This is reflected in the fact that all mattresses we’ve reviewed do contain at least one layer of memory foam.
One thing to watch out for: let your mattress inflate for 48 hours after you’ve unpacked it without sleeping on it. Lying down before that would damage the memory foam cells and you could end up having dents in your mattress even after short periods of use.
What’s the perfect thickness?
Here’s what most mattress makers won’t tell you: choosing the right mattress isn’t about absolute thickness.
They would say the best mattress is the one that measure more inches in total (up to 14″). Yet, this is not true! Absolute height does not measure a mattress’ softness or firmness.
Rather, it is about the size of the memory foam (top portion) PLUS the super soft foam (middle portion) and NOT about the high density foam base (base foam). The 2 top layers will determine how soft your mattress will be and in how far it lets you sink in.
(Base foam is a high-density material and used as a foundation in much the same way as box springs or innersprings are. That means: it is very firm, does not provide much comfort and is definitely not something you want to sleep on directly.)
And across the board, we have seen the best buyer feedback with a 2-4 inch layer of soft foam (top + middle – sometimes there even is no middle layer). However, even experts advise that in the end this comes down to personal preference.
The Perfect Sleeping Position (Infographic)
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So that was our take on the best mattresses for side sleepers and the various sleeping positions!
If you have any questions or concerns, leave us a comment and we’ll attend to you 100% of the time!
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