Last Updated: May 30, 2018.
Side sleepers require a special kind of mattress design and engineering. When sleeping, we apply more pressure towards our shoulders and hips, which can cause neck pain, arm numbness, and back pain. Luckily, mattresses that are designed with sleeping on your side in mind provide much needed comfort. They tend to be medium in feel and firmness, allow adequate mobility to switch sides comfortably, and comes with edge support.
Sleeping on your side has a lot of benefits as well. It reduces snoring and the effects of sleep apnea, alleviate acid reflux, and other gastrointestinal disorders. Sleeping on your side can also help drain clogged sinuses naturally and provide congestion relief. However, we are concerned about whether your spine is twisted in any awkward positions and the pressure that comes to your shoulder, arms, hips, and legs.
In this article, we review and recommend the top mattress for side sleepers. They have all the advantages geared towards side sleepers to ensure our spine is aligned properly and the common pressure points are relieved, providing comfort and support for your entire body.
Reviews of the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
The Turf & Needle Mattress is a 10-inch memory foam mattress that uses a proprietary T&N Adaptive Foam not found in other mattresses. The mattress is comprised of two layers of high-density polyurethane foam that is CertiPUR-US certified and OEKO-TEX approved.
- The top layer is 3 inches of T&N Adaptive Foam
- The base layer is 7 inches of support foam
The Turf & Needle design and engineering is focused on pressure relieving and adaptation to the shape of your body. The Adaptive Foam is soft, with bounce and support. It is made with cooling technology (gel and graphite) using a mix unique to the mattress.
The top layer 3 inches of foam allows for a comfortable sleeping surface give for side sleepers to relieve the shoulder and hips common pressure points. This top layer is 2.9 pounds in density. The base layer is 1.8 pounds of density, with 7 inches of support foam ensures the body can still sink into the cushion, without going far deep.
The T&N mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and comes with a 10-year warranty for minimal risk, longer trial period to ensure the mattress foam layers conform to your body, and protection from any defects.
The WinkBeds is an amazingly thick 15-inch hybrid mattress between gel memory foam and innersprings material. The WinkBeds company is a brand that sells only online, using a factory-direct model for low costs and passing savings to their customers. The mattress is made in the USA, with materials sourced throughout the USA. There are four layers of foam and coil:
- Top foam layer is 2 inches of euro-top style
- Second layer is 2.5 inches of microcoils
- Third layer is high profile coils 7.5 inches thick
- The base layer is 2 inches of support foam
This interesting set of layers structure provide a feel that is unique to WinkBeds. The top layer is rather soft, providing pressure relief essential to side sleepers. The two layer coils below the top foam layer provide firmer support so you won’t sink into the mattress.
With a thin layer of foam as the top and a double coil innerspring system below, you get a highly responsive sleeping surface. For side sleepers, you may want to request the softer version of the Winkbeds mattress as innerspring tends tend to have a higher surface bouyancy, especially with only two inches of foam with the case of WinkBeds.
The mattress can be customized in firmness to your liking by contacting WinkBeds before or after ordering. The mattress comes with a 101-night free trial, is CertiPUR-US certified, latex and allergen-free, and comes with edge support. The edge support, unlike traditional metal edges with innersprings, uses high-ILD foam. This edge support system lets the mattress retain flexibility and makes it compatible for adjustable bed frames.
The GhostBed is an 11-inch gel beads memory foam mattress made in the USA. As one of Amazon’s Choices for top mattresses, GhostBed offers a leading 20-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial so you can have minimal risk when test-running and have protection from any defects. Returns are free.
The GhostBed has 3 layers of foam to its mattress:
- 1.5 inches of aerated latex
- 2 inches of 4lb gel memory foam
- 7.5 inches of high density support foam
The naturally responsive latex provides a pressure-relieving top layer that a lot of side sleepers need for their arms during a night’s sleep. Aerated is a process where air pockets are integrated into the mold of the foam. This provides airflow channels and, ultimately, cooler sleep. The second layer of 4lb memory foam provides a “flooring” cushion so that the hips, arms, and shoulders don’t sink too far deep. The cooling gel of the memory foam also helps regulate temperature and disipate heat trapped within the mattress by absorbing your heat. The memory foam is thick enough and far deep underneath the latex layer that the gel beds cannot be felt during sleep. Lastly, the high density support foam base layer provides the deep compression support.
The Ghostbed mattress use a removable zipper cover to be easily taken off and washed. The cover is a blend of fabrics, including viscose and polyester, that provides a soft, plush feel. The material fabrics of the cover can help wick away moisture and heat (although it is highly recommended you use a bed sheet at all times).
A lot of side sleepers have reported to be content with the GhostBed. Reviewers reported that the Ghostbed conforms well, with no shoulder or hip pain, and feels comfortable. The drawback of the Ghostbed is that it isn’t built with edge support so will be more reliant on the foundation you use. However, the edge is still firm despite having some give.
What stands out from The Purple Bed, aside from its color, is the interesting grid sleeping surface design. The purpose of this improvement in design is to minimize motion and relieve pressure points throughout the body. The grid walls provide upward support along the body and can fold to relieve pressure depending on how much is placed on it. For the side sleepers that need more supportive firm sleeping surfaces and found themselves sinking too far into their mattress, The Purple Bed can be an improvement on that problem.
There are three layers to the foam mattress:
- 2 inches of Hyper-Elastic polymer (also known as The Purple)
- 3.5 inches of high density medium-soft comfort foam
- 4 inches of high density medium-firm support foam
The top layer smart grid is a hyper-elastic polymer, a patented FDA-certified and CertiPUR-US certified foam that relieves pressure for a more comfortable sleeping surface. Its grid system design also provides fair flow so no heat gets trapped, regulating the surface temperature for cooler sleep. The Purple layer is also naturally antimicrobial and can protect against allergens and dust mites. The thick middle layer provides more sinking to balance out the firmness of the Purple layer, while the base layer base layer ensures deep compression support.
The Purple uses a fancy white cover that is stretchy and removable for wash. The mattress also comes with a 30-day free trial and a 10-year warranty to protect against defects.
The Sleep Innovations Shiloh Mattress is a 12-inch memory foam mattress picked as one of the top Amazon’s Choices for mattresses. It is a low-budget mattress that uses two layers of foam:
- 2.5 inches of SureTemp memory foam
- 9.5 inches of support foam.
The top layer SureTemp memory foam is a patented special mix polyeurethane foam only available to the Sleep Innovations mattress brand. The SureTemp provide pressure relieving property to minimize pain and bed sores in sensitive areas. For side sleepers, we can get behind less pressure on our joint tissues such as the shoulders and hips. The base support layer is a very thick layer that provides support to the back and allow your spine to stay in a neutral position with adequate support. Together, the two layers of foam mean more support for your body, less sinking feeling, and better sleep with less pressure pain.
The Sleep Innovations Shiloh Mattress is made in the USA. It is resistant to dust mites and is naturally antimicrobial. You have two choices of white cover between a quilted design or a smooth one. The mattress comes with a 30-day trial period covered by Amazon, and a 20-year warranty to protect you from defects.
What Makes A High Quality Mattress for Side Sleepers?
For side sleepers, one of the more important features of a quality mattress is its moldability, or being able to contour to the shape of your body without losing its deep compression support to maintain your spinal alignment.
Type of mattresses for side sleepers. Memory foam mattresses are ideal as polyurethane can conform to your body sinking deeply. Latex mattresses, alternatively, can be a good choice for those in need of a generally less firmer (medium to medium-firm) option. Innerspring can also be a good choice. The problem with innerspring is that it might not have sufficient foam which can create more pressure on the hips, arms, and shoulders. Hybrid mattresses, combining innerspring with thick layers of foam such as memory foam, can give the best of both worlds with bounce from the coils and body curve conformity of the memory foam.
Adequate spacing for switching from side-to-side positions. Ensuring your mattress have enough space for you to toss and turn is important. Although most side sleepers have a preferred side to rest on, changing your sleeping position throughout the night is expected to relieve pressure on one side of the body. Single sleepers should look for a full size or higher, while a queen size or higher is suitable for couples. For those who are a little heavier, king or California king size mattresses are recommended.
Easily change sides during sleep. A quality side sleeper mattress won’t cause an uncomfortable sink during sleep with sufficient bounce and/or responsiveness. Responsiveness of a sleeping surface is the ability for the mattress to return to its normal shape. Slow responsive times can mean higher likelihood you can feel your body impressions during rest and wake up from the uneven sleeping surface. Innerspring and latex mattresses would rank high in this category while memory foam tend to have a slower response time for a sleeping surface that can comfortably mold to the shape of your body.
Edge support for those sleeping near the edge of their mattress. One major pain point of side sleepers is rolling off the side of a mattress because it doesn’t have the consistent support throughout the entire sleeping surface. Most mattresses have edge support engineering that ensures getting on and off the bed is comfortable. However, only a few will have actual edge support, either in the form of metal, thicker foam density, or higher profile coils.
Owning the Right Pillow as a Side Sleeper
As side sleepers, we need to elevate the head to maintain a leveled, neutral position neck-to-spine alignment. In addition, we want a pillow to have sufficient cushion to relieve pressure on our ears and jaws. We wrote a buyers guide with recommendations on the best pillows for side sleepers to check out.
Flat-design pillow and cervical pillows are highly recommended options for sleeping on your side. Cervical pillows accommodate the curve of the jaws and back of neck, and are also great for back sleepers. Memory foam pillows is the preferred and popular material type as they provide the necessary thickness while letting your head sink comfortably for a good night’s cradle and rest.
If you are a hot sleeper at night, you may want to consider a cooling pillow with gel-infused material or gel beads.
Our Final Thoughts
When it comes to sleeping on our side, we need to ensure a mattress can provide adequate pressure relief and full body support. In this article, we review and recommend five of the best mattresses for side sleepers. We look at the features of top rated mattresses, how their inner layers work together, and what makes them worthwhile for side sleepers.