What Features Should Side Sleepers Look For In A Mattress
Every sleep position comes with its own set of criteria to consider when shopping for a mattress. When youre looking for the best mattress for side sleepers, keep the features detailed below in mind to help you make a selection that will keep your spine in alignment and relieve stress on your joints for a comfortable nights sleep.
Contouring and Pressure Relief
As we mentioned above, selecting a mattress with sufficient contouring is essential when side sleepers shop for a mattress. Mattresses that dont contour to the body wont offer pressure point relief and can cause the spine to be misaligned. When either of these situations happen, individuals are much more likely to wake up with pain the following day or to develop joint issues over time.
There are many different types of mattresses on the market including hybrid, foam, latex, innerspring, and air mattresses. As we shared above, finding a mattress that will contour to your body shape is essential for alleviating pressure points and for preventing pain.
Memory foam is known for its contouring properties and is often a very popular choice for side sleepers. Softer latex mattresses can also deliver similar contouring to alleviate pressure point pain for side sleepers.
Innerspring mattresses are typically not a good option for side sleepers. They have a much thinner comfort layer than a hybrid mattress, and, because of this, wont conform as much to a sleepers body throughout the night.
Our Review Of The Leesa Hybrid Mattress
Pros: Made of CertiPUR-US certified foam and pocket springs for support and breathability, motion isolation and edge support are ideal for couples, average firmness that will appeal to a broad range of sleepers
Cons: Heavy and hard to move around
The Leesa Hybrid was the main mattress I slept on for about a year when I wasn’t testing other models. When I slept on it, I rarely experienced back pain, which is impressive considering my history of chronic lower back pain that’s regularly aggravated by unsupportive mattresses.
The mattress is made of pocket springs and four layers of CertiPUR-US certified foam. The top layer is cooling foam, which did its job I stayed cool while testing, even when the heat was pushing my AC to its limits.
The next layer is contouring memory foam that offers pressure relief where your body needs it most. Individually wrapped coils are sandwiched between two core foam support layers.
The Leesa Hybrid is an ideal option for couples for several reasons. First, the average firmness caters to all sleeping styles. Second, the bed has excellent motion isolation and did well in my objective tests and subjective experience. Lastly, with the coils going all the way to the peripheries of the mattress, the Leesa Hybrid has excellent edge support.
What Types Of Mattresses Are Best For Side Sleepers
There are essentially four main types of mattresses on the market: foam, hybrid/innerspring, latex, and adjustable airbeds. Though no one type is the best or worst for side sleepers, they each have pros and cons.
Foam: Popularized by the bed-in-a-box industry, foam mattresses feature layers of gel-infused foam, open-cell foam, or viscoelastic memory foam. The best foam mattresses adjust to the contours of your side-sleeping body for optimal spinal alignment and pressure relief. All-foam mattresses tend to be more affordable than other varieties, but they are likelier to trap heat.
Hybrid/innerspring: Hybrid and innerspring mattresses feature metal coils that add durability, airflow, and support. Though the line between the two types of beds gets blurrier each year, traditional mattresses with pillow tops are generally called innerspring mattresses, while hybrids typically arrive at your door in a box and feature latex or memory foam. However, you can find innerspring beds-in-a-box and hybrids with pillow tops. The suitability of these mattresses for side sleepers will depend on the model, but consider a bed with a pillowtop for the added softness that side sleepers typically need.
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What Mattress Is Best For Side Sleepers Who Have Back Pain
The Level Sleep should be a fantastic match for side sleepers who struggle with back pain it features a zoned construction that offers excellent lumbar support and pressure relief under the shoulders.This should ensure that side sleepers should get the pressure relief they need while staying in proper neutral alignment.
Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
These queen-size innerspring, foam, and adjustable air mattresses offer the best support for side sleepers in CR’s tests
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If your go-to sleeping position is to snooze on your side, you are among the more than 60 percent of adults who say thats what they prefer, at least for part of the night. But with so many mattresses on the market today, finding the right bed for your sleep style can be a challengeuntil now.
Weve put together a list of mattresses that are especially fantastic for side sleepers, according to our rigorous lab tests. We also know that not everyone is a side sleeper. If your partner is not, youll want a mattress that rates well for all sleeping positions. Check out your options in our comprehensive mattress ratings. Weve also identified the best mattresses for couples so that you and your honey can both get a great nights rest.
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Is It Bad To Sleep On Your Side
No. Side sleeping may be the best position for you. With stomach sleeping, your head is to the side, leading to spinal issues. Back sleeping is generally good for your spine, but you’re more susceptible to snoring and breathing problems.
On your side, you reduce your risk of sleep apnea, acid reflux, and back pain, to name just a few benefits.
What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing A Mattress
Spine alignment: A mattress should support the natural curve of your spine so you can sleep with good posture throughout the night. To have proper spine alignment, the mattress will push back to support the weight of your body to prevent the spine from sinking into the mattress, while also having enough give to cradle the natural shape of your back.
Durability: A sagging mattress can cause discomfort and pain. Choosing a high-quality, durable mattress that will last you for several years is an investment in both your finances and your health.
Motion transfer: Motion transfer is an important factor for those who sleep with a partner or pet. A mattress with a high motion transfer score will prevent movements from your sleep partner from making their way to your side of the bed and disturbing your rest.
Temperature regulation: No one wants to wake up sweaty in the middle of the night. A mattress made of breathable materials such as coils and latex, or foam that is formulated with temperature regulation features will help keep the surface of the bed cool throughout the night.
Responsiveness: A responsive mattress will adapt to your bodys shape on the mattress as you change sleeping positions during the night. Choosing a responsive mattress will keep you from feeling stuck in the mattress if you tend to move around, and will also keep your body supported as you switch positions.
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What Side Sleepers Should Consider When Purchasing A Mattress Topper
There are several factors to consider when you purchase a mattress topper. While all of these apply regardless of your sleep position, well highlight special considerations for side sleepers so that you can rest more comfortably in your preferred position.
Material: Toppers typically use memory foam, polyfoam, latex, feathers, down alternative, or wool. Any of these options may be appropriate for side sleepers depending on their existing mattress and how they hope to modify their sleep surface.
Side sleepers looking for more contouring and pressure relief may prefer a memory foam, polyfoam, or latex model. These materials shape to the sleepers body while providing support, making them popular with side sleepers. Memory foam has the closest hug, but its also the most likely to retain heat. Polyfoam usually conforms less closely but with added breathability. Latex spreads out the compression more for a floating feel, and it adds a bit of bounce. Feather, down alternative, and wool toppers add cushioning more than contouring. They can make the sleep surface plusher and more breathable, but they may not give the support and cradling many side sleepers prefer. However, if your mattress contours well, a topper made of one of these materials may be a nice addition.
What Size Pillows Are Available
The most popular pillow sizes are standard, queen, and king. However, some manufacturers offer additional sizes to accommodate sleepers with different preferences. The following table lists facts and figures for the five most common pillow sizes. For the dimensions column, please note these are average measurements that will differ from brand to brand.
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Best Mattress Overall For Side Sleepers
We consider the Saatva Classic the best overall for side sleepers because its so many things to so many people. The plush soft firmness is a favorite for side sleepers, and our score for spinal alignment is a whopping 9.5 out of 10, something that is critical to the side sleeper. And with different firmness options, all weights and all sleeping positions can be accommodated.
Which Is Best For Side Sleepers Firm Or Plush
A beds firmness level will significantly impact how comfortable it is. Of course, firmness is highly subjective, and it greatly depends on body type. But overall, we recommend that side sleepers look for a mattress thats slightly softer than average about 6/10 on our firmness scale.
Plush mattresses typically have thick comfort layers, which help alleviate pressure along the shoulders and hips. If a bed is too firm, you may sink straight through the comfort layers into the support section. This could strain pressure points and cause pain over time.
Youll want to avoid especially soft mattresses, too. Its important to sleep on a supportive foundation so the body stays in the proper alignment.
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Best Mattress For Pressure Relief
More so than other sleep positions, side sleepers need pressure relief to keep the hips and shoulders from painfully digging into their mattress. The Puffy Lux was put to the test, and scored high marks in nearly every category, particularly pressure relief. Testers found it did an outstanding job of cushioning under pressure points, keeping them uplifted and comfy. With its responsive foam and supportive coils, this hybrid is also is a standout option for back and stomach sleepers as well, providing excellent spine alignment and responsiveness.
- Material: Hybrid
- Delivery: Delivered in2-5 business days
- Lifetime warranty
Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress
Side sleepers will think theyve found Nirvana when they go to bed on our Casper mattresses. Topped with a layer of ultra-breathable foam, the Casper Nova Hybrid mattress gives you the luxurious softness you need on top for extra plush comfort.
But the real magic happens underneath this top foam layer, with features such as:
- Zoned Support Pro Zoned Support Pro sections the mattress into seven distinct ergonomic zones, allowing the mattress to cradle your hips and shoulders and reinforce proper spine alignment.
- Resilient springs Adding extra support where you need it most, the springs on the Casper Nova Hybrid mattress are resilient enough to keep you from sinking too deeply into the mattress.
- AirScape® 3 Our carefully perforated foam means youll never have to worry about overheating.
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Key Considerations For Side Sleepers
For side sleepers, a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress is the way to go. But how do you know if your mattress is too firm, or not firm enough?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Spinal alignment The heavier parts of your body, like your hips and shoulders, should sink into the firmer mattress slightly, ensuring that your spine maintains a neutral alignment. This is essential to have in a mattress
- Manufacturers rating Most mattress manufacturers use a standard 1-10 scale for rating mattress firmness, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the most. Side sleepers will be most comfortable on a mattress thats rated at either a 5 or a 6 .4
Whats The Best Type Of Mattress For A Side
For people who have back pain, a mattress that feels medium-firmwhatever that means to themshould offer the comfort and curve-conforming support needed for them to wake up with less soreness and stiffness. We think back-pain sufferers who usually sleep on their side will like the Saatva Classic , a sturdy innerspring with just enough memory foam in the upper layers to keep your spine in proper alignment while you sleep. If youre on a budget, the medium-firm is surprisingly supportive for the price, and it may work particularly well for side-sleepers who occasionally fall asleep on their stomach or back.
The two-piece, flippable Charles P. Rogers Estate SE, a pick in our guide to the best mattresses for back pain, should appeal to people who fall asleep in any position, though the softer side will better accommodate side-sleepers. Purple mattresses are designed with a stretchy, gel-like foam that the company says is better at relieving pressure than traditional memory foam. The Purple Hybrid Premier, a notable contender in our guide to the best foam mattresses, has worked well for a 210-pound staffer with back pain and his 110-pound wife. They told us that the mattress is great for side-sleeping and gentler on the joints than most regular mattresses.
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Some Parting Words For Side Sleepers
Dont sacrifice a good nights sleep by sleeping on the wrong mattress. As a side sleeper, remember that youre in the majority, so there are plenty of mattresses on the market designed to cater to your needs. But that doesnt mean every mattress marketed toward side sleepers will do the trick. Use The Sleep Doctors list to find the right mattress for you.
Ancuelle, Victor. 2015. Effects of an adapted mattress in musculoskeletal pain and sleep quality. Sleep Science , https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1984006315000589
Breus, Michael. 2019. How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health, Your Dreams And Your Personality. The Sleep Doctor , October 9, 2018. https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/10/09/how-your-sleep-position-affects-your-health-your-dreams-and-your-personality/
Brooklyn Bedding. 2020. What is Talalay Latex? https://brooklynbedding.com/blogs/main/what-is-talalay-latex
Casper. 2020. Wave Hybrid Mattress. https://casper.com/mattresses/casper-wave/
Foam Factory, Inc. 2014. Understanding the Temperature Sensitivity of Memory Foam Mattresses and Other Products. Mattress Technical Info, https://www.foambymail.com/blog/understanding-the-temperature-sensitivity-of-memory-foam-mattresses-and-other-products/
Google Patents. 2003. Cooling mattress for sunbathing. https://patents.google.com/patent/US7036162B1/en
Northwestern Medicine. 2020. Picking a Side for Sleep.https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/pick-a-side-for-sleep
The Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
With so many different mattress types and features on the market, it can feel overwhelming to decide which mattress is right for you. Taking our testing teams scores into account, we narrowed down the best mattresses for side sleepers. Take a look at our top picks to find in-depth information on the models we chose.
Our buyers guide can also help you learn how to choose the best mattress for your lifestyle and personal preferences. It covers different mattress constructions, firmness levels, materials, and how each of these affect side sleepers. The guide also details what to expect when it comes to a mattress price, warranty, and lifespan. Well include the benefits and drawbacks of sleeping on your side, as well as how this position affects sleep.
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Is Memory Foam Better For Side Sleepers
Most of the best mattresses for side sleepers have at least one memory foam layer. Memory foam is responsive to your body shape, so it contours your body, cushioning pressure points and keeping your spine aligned. It also helps evenly distribute weight when youre sleeping on your side, supporting the natural curvature of your spine and reducing back pain and other aches that can come with firmer mattresses.
Side Sleepers Dealing With Back Problems Saatva Classic Mattress
For side sleepers with back pain, you should first look at the support level of your mattress and identify the specific area of pain. You will probably end up with a dense foam bed or a hybrid mattress for your back pain.
When it comes to your mattress, you want to make sure the bed is supportive so that youre not melting into the bed. That can put your back at an odd angle. You want to make sure that theyre a straight line from your hips to your head, ensuring that your neck is in ideal alignment.
This has a lot to do with your specific weight and body type, but in general, if youre a side sleeper with back pain, you should probably be looking first at a hybrid mattress. You probably do not want an ultra-plush hybrid bed, nor do you want a firm one. In many cases, youll be happiest with something thats sort of in the middle in terms of mattress firmness.
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Are Firm Mattresses Bad For Side Sleepers
Not necessarily. Side sleepers need some type of cushioning around their shoulders, hips and knees, so an ultra-firm mattress might not have enough give to contour the body properly. If the mattress is too firm, you can wake up with numbness and tingling in your arms. If the mattress is too soft, it can cause back pain.
When it comes to firmness, theres no single answer to pin down the best mattress for side sleepers. It ultimately comes down to comfort, personal preference and how your body is responding.