Best mattress for side sleepers: 8 top picks for contouring comfort all night long

Comfortable and supportive, the best mattress for side sleepers will cushion and contour your body and neutralize any pressure points

Tuft & Needle Mint best mattress for side sleepers
(Image credit: Tuft & Needle)

According to research from the National Library of Medicine, approximately 54% of people sleep on their sides.  We've seen other sources claim that number is as high as 74%. This tells us there are many of us out there. So, among the sea of mattresses out there, we've pinpointed the best mattresses for side sleepers. 

Speaking from experience, balancing comfort and support can be a pain for a side sleeper. 

Too soft and you’re sinking straight into a back ache. Too firm and you can’t manage to fall asleep, plus uncomfortable hip and shoulder pain. A mattress that both contours to your body and offers pressure relief is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Unlike back and stomach sleepers, side sleepers need cushioned support along their hips and shoulders. In mattress terms, this means you need a medium-soft or medium-firm bed. 

Side-sleepers often cite back pain and interrupted sleeping as common complaints. But what if you could eliminate the groggy mornings and achy joints? Our experts are confident you can.  A little insider tip— a supportive pillow can improve your sleep, too. And if you've found your mattress is to firm for your liking, well a mattress topper is also a convenient fix. 

But, let's start straight with the source of it all. The mattresses below have been tested by our very own side-sleeping crew, and these the one that left us the most impressed. Keep scrolling to see why these beds crushed their competition as the best mattresses

Best mattress for side sleepers 2022

best mattress leesaReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Leesa)
Best mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Type: Foam
Firmness Rating: 6.5/10, medium
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Depth: 10"
Warranty: 10 year limited
Trial: 100-nights
MSRP: $849-$1,399

Reasons to buy

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CertiPUR-US certified 
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Cooling foam top layer
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Helps lower back pain

Reasons to avoid

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Requires a good base to prevent sagging
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Droopy edges

If you’re suffering from back pain, hip pain, or shoulder pain, Leesa may hold the key to relief. Made of premium memory foam, this mattress was designed to contour to the body’s curves, while providing just enough bounce.  

What is the Leesa like to sleep on?
The Leesa hits the sweet spot, not too firm and not too soft. The body sinks into the Leesa the perfect amount, helping alleviate stress on the joints and even eliminating back pain. Layers of foam are the perfect match for restless sleepers, reducing motion transfer and helping their partners stay asleep through tossing and turning.

One of the three layers is a cooling foam layer, which fares well and offers a bit of bounce. The responsiveness of the Leesa is a welcomed feature, making it easy to get comfortable in any position. Edge support isn’t the greatest, but overall the mattress is so comfortable it’s safe to say it’s a fair exchange for a restful night's sleep for most side-sleepers.  

Things to note
The top layer of the Leesa is made from ultra-responsive foam, so your body feels like it’s being hugged by the mattress (not laying on top of it). This foam also serves as a cooling medium, preventing nighttime overheating. 

Real Homes Rated: 4.5 out of 5 stars | Read our full Leesa Original mattress review.

Nolah Natural 11" mattressReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Nolah)
Best organic mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Type: Latex Hybrid
Firmness Rating: 5/10, medium-plush
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Depth: 11"
Warranty: 10 year limited
Trial: 120-nights
MSRP: $1,499-$2,099

Reasons to buy

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Extremely comfortable
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Hypoallergenic
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Expands quickly, can be slept on right away
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Plush and supportive

Reasons to avoid

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Might sink for heavier individuals
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A Faint odor lingered for days

The Nolah Natural mattress is one of the most comfortable mattresses we’ve come across, and It’s organics, thanks to a latex hybrid construction. Delivery was a breeze, and setup was just as simple thanks to the convenient mattress handles. Seriously plush and supportive, the Nolah offers the ultimate sleeping experience for side sleepers. 

What is the Nolah like to sleep on?
Heavenly. I own a Nolah Natural mattress, and it’s by far the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. It feels like a pillow-top but offers substantial support and spinal alignment. As a side sleeper, it provides the perfect amount of support while still allowing me to sink in (just enough). The Talalay latex offers over 30% more pressure relief than other latex, and is naturally cooling, which is an added bonus! Spinal alignment was almost perfect laying on this Nolah mattress, which is important for everyone, especially those of us who sleep on our sides. 

All 6 layers of this Nolah organic mattress are Class-1 certified, meaning they contain NO gross chemicals and this can be slept on right away. In fact– my kids jumped on it as soon as I unboxed it! With kids, it’s always great to know they’re not breathing in any harmful substances– a reason I highly recommend this to families. 

Trust Nolah when they say Talalay latex is cooling. As someone who is notoriously hot and keeps their thermostat at 68 year-round, I’ve had no night sweats sleeping on this natural mattress! 

Things to note
With solid edge support and a great balance of pressure relief and comfort, customers have few complaints. Couples love the Nolah Natural because it has minimal motion transfer, meaning you can finally sleep through your partner tossing and turning. The only recurring criticism is the smell– which disappears within a week or so. 

Real Homes Rated: 4.5 out of 5 stars | Read our full Nolah Natural mattress review.

Casper mattress sale casper original mattressReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Casper)
Best memory foam mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Type: Foam
Firmness Rating: 5/10, a true medium
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Depth: 11"
Warranty: 10 year limited
Trial: 100-nights
MSRP: $895-$1,695

Reasons to buy

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Best customer service out there
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Cooling and comfortable 
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Great for people of all sizes

Reasons to avoid

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Lingering chemical smell

Side sleepers, wiggly sleepers, hot sleepers and back pain sufferers unite. Casper Original checks all the boxes you need to get a cozy night’s sleep and wake up refreshed, and the company helped influence the mass amount of beds-in-a-box out there today, meaning simple set up. 

With patented features, such as AirScape and Zoned Support, the Casper original mattress was thoughtfully designed to improve sleep. Cooling and supportive, we’re not shocked this OG has over 20,000 5-star reviews! 

What is the Casper mattress like to sleep on?
Casper’s original mattress is divided into three zones: durable base, zoned support, and AirScape. The base provides solid support, built to prevent any sagging or excessive sinking (very important for side sleepers). Zoned support is divided into multiple zones to provide the perfect amount of support for the shoulders, hips, and back– the three most common areas side sleepers complain about! Each offers a different level of firmness for optimal spinal alignment. Last but not least, the AirScape top layer is made of perforated foam, designed to circulate air and help sleepers stay cool all night. 

With a 5/10 firmness rating, Casper Original is a true medium mattress, which is beneficial for those of us who sleep on our sides. Too soft tends to misalign the spine, and too firm can cause aches and pains.

Things to note
Thanks to AirScape, Casper will keep you cool all night long. Almost every mattress on the market claims to be cooling, but lots of times those claims are false. Casper Original got the job done using thousands of perforations to literally increase air flow. 

Foam also decreases motion transfer. According to Linda (our trusted mattress tester), a fidgety partner won’t wake you on the Casper Original!

Real Homes Rated: 5 out of 5 stars | Read our full Casper mattress review.  

Tuft & Needle Mint MattressReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Tuft & Needle)
Best mattress for side sleepers seeking pressure relief

Specifications

Type: Foam
Firmness Rating: 6.5/10, medium
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 12"
Warranty: 10 year limited
Trial: 100-nights
MSRP: $1,295-$2,295

Reasons to buy

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Heat-wicking 
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Reinforced support edges
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New, washable cover

Reasons to avoid

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Hard to move if you live solo
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A medium mattress on the softer side, this Tuft and Needle Mint bed is super comfortable, with a slight sinking sensation

The Tuft & Needle Mint is an incredibly versatile mattress. It’s great for side-sleepers, because it provides extra pressure relief thanks to a third layer of memory foam. Graphite and ceramic cooling gel infused foams contribute to 

What is the Tuft & Needle Mint like to sleep on?
Each layer of the 12” gel memory foam mattress offers unmatched pressure relief, making this a perfect fit for side sleepers. Reinforced edges provide edge-support, making it easy to get in and out of bed, while the “Mint layer” eliminates all signs of motion transfer.

Even better, the inclusion of graphite and ceramic cooling beads within the T&N adaptive foam makes this mattress feel minty fresh. Oftentimes memory foam and gel foam take a while to get used to, but not here. The Mint mattress leans a bit on the softer side, which side sleepers appear to enjoy. Reviews are consistent in saying it is the best sleep people have ever had.

Larger individuals made note that this mattress holds its shape and the edge support remains in full-force, which is an added bonus! 

Things to note
Tuft & Needle’s patented HeiQ can be added as an extra safeguard against microbial growth, helping to prevent odor and germs. Tuft & Needle also just updated the Mint design with a zip-off removal cover for easy cleaning.  

Real Homes Rated: 5 out of 5 stars | Read our full Tuft & Needle Mint mattress review.

Purple plusReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Purple)
Best mattress for combination sleepers and couples

Specifications

Type: Foam
Firmness Rating: Medium
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Depth: 11"
Warranty: 10 year limited
Trial: 100 nights
MSRP: $1,199-$2,898

Reasons to buy

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Increased cushioning and pressure relief
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Pleases both of those who want plush or firm
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Breathable
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Easier handling to set up, with carrying handles on packaging

Reasons to avoid

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Heavy to carry
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OK edge support
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In-home set up costs extra

We get it, you may sleep on your side, but your partner chooses a different path. For combination sleepers and couples, the Purple Plus excels at being soft where you want it and firm where you need it. Oh, and it offers tremendous support and motion isolation so you won't be disturbed by your partner's rolling over... though we can't say the same about any snores.

What is the Purple Plus like to sleep on?
Considered a more plush option to the original Purple mattress, the Purple Plus incorporates an additional two-inch layer of premium foam that provides better cushioning, response, and breathability. This works in conjunction with the infamous "Purple Grid," a squishy and responsive Hyper-Elastic Polymer material that offers top tier pressure relief plus thousands of holes to enable better air flow and help you sleep cooler. We describe it as like lying on zero gravity. The mattress offers plusher support around hips and shoulders, with firmer support for spine and lumbar regions, making it a dream for side sleepers. 

Things to note:
The mattress is ready to sleep on almost immediately, but keep in mind that this mattress ( we tried in a king) can be quite heavy to maneuver and install. While it scored high in terms of support, motion transfer and breathability with us, the edge support comparatively was a little weak. 

Real Homes rated: 4.5 out of 5 stars | Read our full Purple Plus Mattress review (opens in new tab)

GhostBed Luxe

(Image credit: GhostBed)

6. Ghostbed Luxe

Best cooling mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Type: Foam
Firmness Rating: medium-plush
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Depth: 13"
Warranty: 25 year limited
Trial: 101-nights
MSRP: $1,895-$4,090

Reasons to buy

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Gel memory and bounce foam
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Super plush yet contouring
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25 year warranty

Reasons to avoid

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Pricey

GhostBed’s website claims the Luxe is the “coolest bed in the world” and we’re here for it. Comfortable and cooling? Count us in. Cool to the touch and a true medium firmness, This 13” mattress is composed of 7 cushy layers of gel and foam– all of which work together to contour to your body and draw heat away. 

What is the GhostBed Luxe mattress like to sleep on
Similar to memory foam, you feel like you’re sinking into the mattress. However, the Luxe retains its shape and offers a bit more support. The gel memory foam hugs your body while the 2” “Ghost bounce” layer responds like latex, and makes you feel like you’re floating on top of the mattress. The top layer of the Luxe is literally cool to the touch, keeping you cool all night long!

The mixed construction of gel and foam is a great choice for couples sharing a bed, because it minimizes movement throughout. This combo also cradles the hips and shoulders, which is ideal for side sleepers. The contouring you feel while sleeping on the Luxe provides pain relief and significant pressure relief. Shoulder and hip pain fade away as quickly as one week, according to one reviewer.  

Things to note
Mixed-construction of foam and gel offers the best pressure relief for side sleepers, reducing hip and back pain. Also impressive, the 25 year warranty.

Helix Midnight Luxe A mattress on a bed in a darkened room

(Image credit: Helix)

7. Helix Midnight Luxe

Best mattress for side sleepers to splurge on

Specifications

Type: Hybrid
Firmness Rating: 5/10, medium
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 14"
Warranty: 15 year limited
Trial: 100-nights
MSRP: $1,199-$2,499

Reasons to buy

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Insanely comfortable
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Enhanced lumbar support
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Memory foam is great for side sleepers
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Options for cooling cover

Reasons to avoid

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Some reviewers say it’s too soft
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More motion transfer than alternatives

Luxe is a fitting name for the Helix mattress. Considered a supportive pillow-top, even the contoured lumbar support boasts comfort. Rated a “medium” firmness, the Helix Midnight Luxe is a top pick for side sleepers looking for pressure relief you can melt into. 

What is the  Helix Midnight Luxe like to sleep on?
I've never slept on a cloud– but if I had, this is what I’d imagine it feels like. With 6 layers and over 14” tall, the Midnight Luxe is a total upgrade from most other mattresses! It’s unbelievably cushion-y, with hidden lumbar support.

Within those 14” are over 1000 coils, which provide the majority of the lumbar support. You can also thank them for limiting motion transfer, an underrated quality of mattresses. If you’re a side sleeper who shares a bed with someone, Helix is calling your name. 

Memory foam offers the support side-sleepers need, while also making sure you and your partner don’t wake each other up. Neck and back pain is gone for many, and some even say they wake up feeling more energized. 

Things to note
Helix left no detail behind here in offering not one, but TWO options for cooling covers– TENCEL and GlacioTex. One touts maximum cooling properties, while the other actually pulls heat away from the body, making this a great option for anyone on the hunt for a cooling mattress.

Nectar mattress 2021Real Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Nectar)
Best budget-friendly mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Type: Foam
Firmness Rating:
Available sizing: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Depth: 10"
Warranty: Lifetime
Trial: 365-days
MSRP: $499,$1,398

Reasons to buy

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Affordable 
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Great pressure relief
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No motion transfer
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100% carbon neutral

Reasons to avoid

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Not supportive for heavier sleepers
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Takes two days to fully expand

Nectar has built a mattress that suits all sleepers, but particularly side sleepers. With three layers of pressure-relieving foam, the Nectar Memory Foam mattress is both comfortable and supportive.

What is the Nectar like to sleep on?
It's 11 inches of cushion-y supportive layers will catch you as you sink into the mattress, soothing aches and pains. The top layer feels like a pillow top, but don’t let it fool you. The memory foam is not just plush, but supportive too. Known for being the best material for side-sleepers, memory foam contours to the body while reducing stress on joints. 

Thanks to the responsive memory foam, motion transfer is virtually non-existent, making this an excellent choice for couples. You can rest comfortably knowing you won’t be woken by fidgety movements in the night (or knowing you won’t bother your partner). 

Last but not least, the cooling cover draws heat from the body, helping sleepers stay cool all night long– a much appreciated feature of the Nectar. While most foam mattresses trap the high temps, this one does a great job of offsetting. It’s not quite as chilled as the GhostBed, but it’s certainly up there. 

Things to note
A three inch layer of gel memory foam provides amazing pressure-relief, making this another great choice for anyone suffering aches and pains. Nectar also cares about the environment, and has designed their mattresses to be long-lasting. So long-lasting, they’re backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Real Homes Rated: 5 out of 5 stars |Read our full Nectar Mattress Review.

Qualities side sleepers should consider in a mattress

  • Material: Different materials offer different advantages. Memory foam is a great choice if you’re hoping to minimize motion transfer, but it might not be the best pick for a hot sleeper. Gel foam is a cooler alternative, which is more attractive to those of us who experience night sweats. 
  • Firmness: Side sleepers require adequate pressure relief, which is most often found in medium and medium-soft mattresses. Anything too soft will cause poor spine alignment, and anything too firm can hurt the hips and shoulders. 
  • Pressure relief: Side sleepers need adequate support that cradles their bodies, specifically their shoulders and hips. Memory foam mattresses are recognized for being the best option for pressure relief. 
  • Sleep Trial: Pay attention to the length of trials. Even our budget-friendly picks are pricey, and nothing is worse than sleeping on a mattress you don’t love. We spend nearly a third of our life sleeping– we deserve comfort! There’s no one size fits all for beds, and sometimes it takes a few tries before you find a winner. 

Midwestern freelancer Courtney Irwin is a working mom of three who loves nothing more than a good deal. Equal parts entrepreneur and family-gal, she believes hard work deserves to be celebrated. Often times in the form of a new gadget or sun-filled vacation (don’t forget the large glass of vino)! When she’s not on the hunt for the next big trend, you can catch her in her kitchen, which is currently under construction. Courtney has spent years curating home renovation and beauty content, and is excited to join the Real Homes' Real Reviewers team and try out all of the latest and greatest things home. 

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