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Christina Giordano

They say a mattress should last you at least 10 years—but that’s only if it’s hella comfortable and you don’t wake up with pain in your neck or back. Unfortunately, if you’re a side sleeper, you’ve likely experienced that pain or discomfort at some point in your life.

What mattress works best for side sleepers?

When it comes to picking out the perfect mattress as a side sleeper, you’ll have to identify one that provides spinal, cervical and lumbar support, says Carleara Weiss, Ph.D., member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “We want to make sure that the mattress is going to be firm enough, but also flexible enough to prevent pain the next day,” she adds.

1

Best Hybrid Mattress

iSeries Hybrid 12″ Medium Mattress
Serta

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2

Best Pillow Top Mattress

Pillow Top 14.5 Inch Mattress
Stearns and Foster

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3

Best Luxury Mattress

Serenity Mattress
savvy

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4

Best Affordable Latex Mattress

Hybrid Latex Mattress
Brentwood Home

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5

Best Mattress For Couples

Harmony Lux Mattress
beauty rest

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What mattress firmness is best for side sleepers with back pain?

Memory foam provides the perfect level of firmness, says Weiss. The material is flexible enough to contour to your body, but firm enough to provide support to the heavier parts of your body. If those heavier parts of your body sink in too much, that can put pressure on your spine, that can lead to pesky back and neck pain in the morning from a bad night’s sleep.

But, if you’re not into the whole memory foam idea, don’t worry. There are plenty of other options out there that will help you catch some Zs without the pain, but provide the same level of doctor-approved support. If you’re in the market for a new mattress and need help deciding, see below for a list of the best expert-recommended mattresses for side sleepers in 2022.

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1

Best Hybrid Mattress

iSeries Hybrid 12″ Medium Mattress

  • Cooling technology
  • Provides optimal pressure relief
  • Motion separation, which is good for couples
  • Slight odor when you first buy it

Mattress type: Hybrid

Warranty: 10 years

Trial length: 120 nights

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Firmness: medium

Serta’s new iSeries hybrid mattress provides the firmness and support of a spring mattress and the adjustability of memory foam, says W. Christopher Winter, MD, sleep specialist and author of The Sleep Solution.

The pressure relief technology is perfect for those looking for extra spinal support that caters to your sleep patterns. So, if you move around at night, this mattress will take care of you.

2

Best Pillow Top Mattress

Pillow Top 14.5 Inch Mattress

  • Made with gel memory foam to help relieve pressure
  • Suits all bed frame types
  • Shipping could take 3-5 weeks depending on location

Mattress type: Hybrid

Warranty: 10 years

Trial length: 120 nights

Size: Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split California King

Firmness: medium 6

Winter also recommends Stearns and Foster’s pillow top hybrid. If you like the sinking feeling of a memory foam mattress, but need the support of a firmer base, this mattress strikes the perfect balance between the two. “You [still] get that sort of structure, which a lot of people really like,” he says.

3

Best Luxury Mattress

Serenity Mattress

  • Eco friendly
  • Long lasting quality
  • Latex mattresses can be hard to transport, so might not be good for those who move a lot
  • More on the expensive side

Mattress type: latex

Warranty: 20 years

Trial length: 90 nights

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Firmness: Customisable

Latex mattresses are great for side sleepers because some allow you to customize your mattress by choosing your desired firmness for each level of latex in it. For you side sleepers, you’ll want to top this off with a medium firm latex layer that will help the mattress mold to your body.

On the flip side, “theoretically, it could be very well be the last mattress you ever bought,” Winter says. After Winter got rid of his own latex mattress, it was still in near-perfect condition.

4

Best Affordable Latex Mattress

Hybrid Latex Mattress

  • Long sleep trial and warranty period
  • Eco friendly
  • Good bang for your buck
  • Latex mattresses can be hard to transport, so might not be good for those who move a lot

Mattress type: latex hybrid

Warranty: 25 years

Trial length: 1 year

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

Firmness: media 5

If the Savvy Rest is too expensive for you, but you dig latex mattresses, Winter recommends Brentwood’s latex hybrid. Made from recycled organic materials like wool, rubber trees, and recycled denim, the latex hybrid is topped with materials that mold to your body for total support. Unlike the Savvy Rest, this one is not customizable. though.

5

Best Mattress For Couples

Harmony Lux Mattress

  • Customizable pillow top
  • Pressure relief and cooling technology
  • Long lasting quality
  • Does not ship to Alaska or Hawaii

Mattress type: memory foam

Warranty: 10 years

Trial length: 100 nights

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Firmness: medium

Weiss’s favorite mattress for side sleepers comes from BeautyRest. It’s an all memory foam mattress with medium firmness. “They are very good for couples that have different body weights and different sleep positions to maintain good firmness for both people,” she says.

Memory foam is a good option for side sleepers because you want something that will mold to your body. But the real highlight of this mattress, according to Weiss, is the pressure-relieving technology that provides extra spinal support and keeps you from waking up should your partner get up to go get a midnight snack.

6

Best Mattress For Tossers and Turners

TEMPUR-Adapt® Mattress

  • Can make it a hybrid for extra support
  • Many size options
  • Short trial period
  • On the pricing side

Mattress type: memory foam

Warranty: 10 years

Trial length: 90 nights

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King

Firmness: medium

Tempurpedic’s Adapt boasts a feature called dynamic spinal support, which Weiss says functions as movement cancellation. Essentially, if the person sleeping next to you moves, you won’t feel it. But, it also has perks for solo sleepers.

“If you’re sleeping by yourself and move and change conditions during the night, this motion cancelation feature is going to adjust to your body curvature overnight,” she adds. That’s good news for side sleepers to ensure you’re getting the spinal support you need, no matter how much you toss and turn.

7

Best Mattress For Pregnancy

Original Mattress

  • Can make it a hybrid for extra support
  • The most affordable of the bunch
  • Motion isolation and cooling technology
  • May not have the best edge support

Mattress type: memory foam

Warranty: 10 years

Trial length: 100 nights

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California KingFirmness: Medium

For those who are pregnant, Weiss says the Casper medium firm mattress is a good option. The memory foam will mold to your body shape and provide comfort throughout the night and when repositioning. Along with a comfortable mattress, Weiss recommends investing in a good body pillow. For side sleepers, she says to put the pillow between your legs for more support.

8th

Are there any health concerns for side sleepers?

Sleeping on your side has many benefits: It’s the best position for your airways; it can help reduce acid reflux; and it even helps with blood circulation.

Even though there are plenty of health benefits for sleeping on your side, there are some orthopedic downsides. “It [creates] pretty uneven pressure on your body, which is why a lot of people who sleep on their side use a pillow between the legs or a small pillow under their side to create more support,” Winter says.

Often, side sleepers might also wake up with neck, shoulder, back, or hip pain, Weiss says. That’s why lumbar, spinal and cervical support is key when picking out a mattress.

“If you have a mattress that is not firm enough to support those areas evenly, you may wake up the next day with pain because one area can be lower than the other during sleep,” explains Weiss.

9

What should I keep in mind if I’m not shopping for a mattress in person?

Look, I get it, online shopping is so much easier. So, while Winter says it’s best to really get to a mattress store and check things out, sometimes that just isn’t possible, and it limits your options, too. So if you’re shopping online, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the different mattress types out there, Weiss says.

For side sleepers, the most common ones you’ll want to learn about are hybrid, memory foam, and latex.

  • Hybrid Mattresses combine the coils of an innerspring mattress with a memory foam top. This provides foundational support with the flexibility of memory foam.
  • memory foam mattresses are made entirely of foam material that adjust and mold to the body of the person sleeping on it.
  • latex Mattresses are made of eco-friendly materials that provides bounce and shape, especially for side sleepers. They can be more expensive and bulky, but they’re often customizable to create the perfect mattress for you.

Lastly, you’ll also want to keep an eye on the length of the trial period. Mattress companies will give you a chance to try out the mattress for a certain number of nights. If you don’t like it, some will even pick the mattress up for you, so you won’t have to figure out how to send it back.

10

How do you pick a good mattress for a side sleeper?

Comfort should be everyone’s first priority when picking out a mattress, Weiss says. Second to comfort is spinal support. “We are looking specifically for cervical and lumbar areas and also for the shoulders,” Weiss adds.

“Memory foam shines because of its ability to conform to [the curvature of the body] and to give support along your side,” says Winter.

But you don’t have to sacrifice supportive material for a memory foam-only mattress. If you prefer the support of a spring mattress, then you can opt for a hybrid that provides the stable foundation you crave with memory foam layers on top.

When it comes to memory foam, though, you’ll want to keep body weight in mind, Weiss cautions. The firmness of your mattress corresponds to your body weight. If the firmness is not proportional to your weight, the material can become deformed and create more orthopedic issues, Weiss says. Orgs like Sleep Foundation have nifty charts to determine which level is best for you.

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