Choosing a sleeping position isn’t something you can do since it comes naturally. However, choosing a mattress that aligns with your sleeping position is all on you.
Side sleeping is the most common position and it’s no surprise that sleeping on your side has tons of benefits. For instance, research suggests that your brain refreshes better when sleeping on your side.
Nonetheless, it’s hard to get quality sleep or enjoy any side sleeping benefits without the right mattress. If your mattress is extra firm, it puts undue pressure on your shoulders and the hips, and if it’s too soft, it lacks the necessary support.
So how do you differentiate the best from the worst mattress types for a side sleeper?
Memory foam and latex mattresses top the best mattresses for side sleeping. They’re medium-firm, meaning they’re neither too hard nor too soft. This makes them flexible enough to allow spinal alignment and relieve tension on your pressure points.
On the other end, the foam-coil hybrid mattress takes the lion’s share of discomfort hence the worst for side sleepers. Its high-level firmness makes it rigid, denying any sinkage. This reduces spinal alignment resulting in chronic back and shoulder pain.
What Should The Ideal Mattress For a Side Sleeper Feel Like?
Generally speaking, the best way to identify the best mattress from the worst for side sleepers is by considering the firmness level. The mattress should be soft enough to absorb the pressure points and firm enough to support the spine. This way, you’re guaranteed quality sleep and general wellbeing.
What follows will be a list of the worst to the best mattress types for side sleepers. I want to be clear that I will only cover each of the mattress types in general.
Truth is that many of these mattress types do come with different firmness levels, meaning the worst type for side sleepers can still be a decent option if you can find the correct firmness level for your body weight and preference.
But in general, this is a good list to consider if you are a side sleeper, so let’s get to it.
List of The Worst to Best Mattress Types For Side Sleepers
1. Foam and coil hybrid mattress
This combination of foam and innersprings produces one of the firmest mattresses. It comprises three foam layers resting on individually wrapped coils. The more than one thousand coils give the mattress a high level of firmness.
Consequently, it remains rigid under pressure disallowing sinkage and absorption of the pressure points. This means you feel like you’re lying on a hard surface.
While this could work for back and side sleepers, this mattress isn’t ideal for side sleepers. This is because it doesn’t allow the body to take its natural shape as you lay. Therefore you’re likely to toss and turn since it’s uncomfortable or wake up with shoulder and back pains.
2. Innerspring mattresses
Unlike the innerspring mattresses of the earlier days, the current ones are firmer due to the high number of coils. The higher number of coils equals more firmness. This makes them rigid and less bouncy, especially with individual coils. Hence, they’re unsuitable for side sleepers since they don’t offer flexibility around the pressure points.
A side sleeper’s pressure points include the ears, hips, and shoulders. Sleeping on the firm innerspring mattress can cause soreness around these areas.
This becomes a problem especially for lightweight individuals who exert only a little pressure on the mattresses. If you’re are a lightweight side sleeper, you should keep off the innerspring mattress.
3. Soft foam mattresses
The thing about this mattress is that it’s too soft. Although it’s uncommon to find it in the market, it still exists. It’s made of extra soft and low-density foam. Some companies use only a few layers, making it less than five inches thick.
While side sleepers require a level of sinkage to absorb the pressure points, this mattress allows too much sinkage, which is unhealthy for the spine. The hips and shoulders sink too deep, causing an unbalanced posture. This could result in serious back and neck problems. Therefore, it’s unsuitable not only for side sleepers but also for back and stomach sleepers.
4. Firm hybrid mattresses
Hybrid mattresses have become the most popular in the market. This is due to advanced technology allowing a combination of materials for firmer and higher-quality mattresses. This is a relief since hybrid mattresses are durable.
However, it’s important to avoid extra-firm hybrid mattresses as a side sleeper. Particularly the ones whose firmness level is above 7. This makes them inflexible, and you feel like you’re sleeping on a rock. Since they don’t allow sinkage, your body takes a straight line. Therefore, they prevent the spine’s natural curvature.
When shopping for hybrid mattresses, you should test how they react under pressure. A good hybrid mattress for a side sleeper should be soft to allow sinkage.
5. PillowTop mattresses
Pillow top mattresses come with a padding layer on top. The layer can be made of various materials including foam, cotton, latex, or wool. Depending on the material, this mattress can be suitable for side sleepers.
Most pillowtop materials are flexible and allow body contouring. However, while they provide a high level of comfort and luxury, they aren’t durable. Some of the materials wear off easily, leaving you with an unproportional lump of materials, which is dangerous for side sleepers due to back problems.
6. Gel mattresses
These mattresses are usually a foam-gel hybrid. It’s a good mattress for side sleepers since it offers some sinkage. On a scale of ten they would score six, which isn’t very low to be honest. The reason is that foam has little flexibility and traps a lot of heat. Therefore it can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re a side and hot sleeper.
However, the gel foam hybrid adoption has made things better since the gel distributes the heat trapped by the foam, giving a cooling effect.
7. Water bed
These mattresses were most popular in the 80s, but they are still available. As a side sleeper, you can benefit from this bed due to the soothing effect associated with the water.
They come in two versions, hard-sided and soft-sided. The former has a rectangular wood water chamber while the latter has a rectangular foam water chamber. Then, the chambers are covered with upholstery paddings such as foam and fiber. This makes them buoyant while providing the necessary support for the spine.
Additionally, you can adjust the firmness to your preferences, making it suitable for all positions. This means you can get a free flow or a restricted flow to suit your comfort levels. Some waterbed mattresses allow varying adjustments for co-sleepers. Therefore partners don’t have to compromise on comfort and support.
The draw about this mattress is that it takes time to set up and is heavy hence inconvenient for frequent movers.
8. Air mattresses
This mattress comprises air chambers covered with foam, latex, or fiber materials. You use a pump to fill the chambers with air and remote control to adjust the firmness. This makes it ideal for side sleepers because you can set the firmness to your liking.
Furthermore, the supporting material provides the necessary support for the spine to avoid backaches. For the best experience, you can settle for one with a memory foam top cover for enhanced softness.
The best thing about the airbed is that it’s adjustable and therefore suitable for side sleepers who like to read or watch TV in bed. Moreover, the mattress prevents soreness on the pressure points when you assume the sleep position for long.
Recommended Air Mattress For Side Sleepers
The EnerPlex air mattress is a great option for side sleepers. It’s multifunctional, and you can use it for camping or home purposes. In addition, it has a superior coil beam construction to ensure it’s not sloppy and can support lightweight and heavy-weight side sleepers. You can purchase this mattress from Amazon.
- It has a puncture-resistant PVC and waterproof surface making it ideal for campers without compromising durability.
- Its 16 inches height creates a suitable ground distance, thus feeling like a conventional bed.
- It has an inbuilt pump and a carrier bag for easy travel.
- It takes time to set up
- Large sizes are hard to find.
9. Pocket spring mattresses
Pocket spring mattresses have become popular due to the support and comfort they offer. The mattresses consist of springs at the lowest levels which support the upholstery materials such as polyester. This ensures the mattress is steady while maintaining flexibility hence suitable for side sleepers.
Unlike the former versions, the current spring mattresses utilize individual springs meaning they react independently. This reduces disturbance for co-sleepers who move a lot. The spring’s independence offers selective support to the pressure points.
The springs have different tension varieties, and you can choose the best for your body weight. For example, the thinner springs are better for lightweight sleepers, and the thicker ones are suitable for heavy-weight side sleepers.
Recommended Pocket Spring Mattress For Side Sleepers
Richmond Pocket Spring
Richmond 3000 Pocket Spring Natural Fillings Mattress is a cozy mattress that offers orthopedic benefits. Its upholstery materials include fibers such as wool, cashmere, and mohair, offering high comfort levels.
In addition, this gives it a firm sinkage to absorb the pressure points without sinking too much.
- Comprises natural fillings for best comfort
- Individual springs offer unparalleled support
- It offers breathability to avoid stuffiness
- It’s expensive
- You must flip and rotate it every six weeks.
10. Memory foam mattresses
Second only to latex, memory foam is one of the best mattresses for side sleepers. If you love the sinking and snuggly effect, memory is your choice of mattress.
It has a high level of sinkage that’s dependent on your weight. It perfectly absorbs and relieves tension from the pressure points to help you relax. It takes your body shape as you lay to ensure the spine is well aligned. Then it bounces back to its shape as you wake.
This mattress provides the best support for side sleepers, allowing a restful night.
Recommended Memory Foam Mattress For Side Sleepers
The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress is the best for a side sleeper. It offers great pressure relief through deep contouring. It comprises breathability and cooling effects from its breathable poly-blend cover and layer of gel.
- The gel helps to minimize heat offering a cooling effect
- It’s best for relieving and preventing back pain
- Provides the best spinal support and alignment
- Has high level sinkage ideal for side sleepers
11. Latex Mattresses
Among the organic mattresses, latex is the best for side sleepers. The only difference between latex and memory foam is that latex is organic, and it springs back immediately after waking up.
It allows a high level of sinkage and makes you feel like you’re being hugged. The combination of springs and latex ensures you get support and comfort as a side sleeper.
Recommended Latex Mattress For Side Sleepers
Relyon Highbridge Dunlopillo
Relyon Highbridge Dunlopillo® Latex Mattress is one of the luxury mattresses for side sleepers. The latex is obtained from Relyon, which offers great pressure-relieving properties.
- It’s hypoallergenic and safe for people with allergies
- It’s eco friendly
- Offers edge to edge support
- It has a pillow top that gives you a luxurious cashmere feeling
- It’s a great remedy for back pain
- It’s expensive
Side sleeping is one of the most common positions. It’s recommended for pregnant women, children, and heartburn and reflux problems.
To improve sleep quality, it’s important to get a mattress suitable for side sleeping. The best mattresses for side sleepers include pocket spring mattresses, memory foam, and latex. They contour your body, providing comfort and support for the best spine alignment.
The worst mattresses for side sleepers include firm types such as foam and coil hybrid, innerspring, and soft foam mattresses.
Improve your sleep quality today by choosing the right mattress for side sleeping.