Best mattress for side sleepers − tried and tested for pressure relief

The best mattress for side sleepers should cushion your shoulders, hips, and knees to ease your aches and pains

A woman sleeping on one of the best mattresses for side sleepers, the Helix Midnight Hybrid.
(Image credit: Helix)
Best mattress for side sleepers 2024: Jump Menu

A memory foam mattress from Zinus on a bed.

(Image credit: Zinus)

1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best overall: Leesa Original
3. Best for hip and shoulder pain: Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt
4. Best for back pain: Nectar Memory Foam
5. Best hybrid: Saatva Classic
6. Best cooling: Nolah Original
7. Best value: Helix Midnight Hybrid
8. How we test
9. Meet the team
10. Best mattresses for side sleepers FAQs

The best mattress for side sleepers should strike a careful balance between comfort and support. You're looking for thick layers of dense foam to absorb your weight and relieve pressure from your hips, knees, and shoulders.

When you shop at the specialist sleep stores, you'll find mattresses with designated ergonomic zones to target particular body parts. If you're a side sleeper who runs a little warm, you should seek out a cooling mattress, while people who suffer from back pain might appreciate the enhanced support of a hybrid mattress. With so much on the market, it's easy to feel spoiled for choice.

That's where I come in. As H&G's resident sleep writer, I lead a team of expert testers. Some of us sleep on our stomachs, while others sleep on their backs, and still more sleep on their sides. I've combed through our reviews to bring you the best mattress for side sleepers.

To help you compare and contrast, I've assessed each mattress against the same criteria: comfort; quality of construction; cooling properties; and the all-important price. I've rounded up the six best mattresses from big-name brands, such as Saatva, Tempur, and Leesa, to suit every style of sleeper and size of budget.

The quick list

If you've already got your eye on a particular mattress, you can skip straight to that section using the jump menu. If you'd rather take stock of your options, browse the best mattresses for side sleepers below.

Best mattress for side sleepers 2024: tried and tested

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best mattress for side sleepers overall

Leesa Memory Foam Mattress on a bed.

(Image credit: Leesa)
Best mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Depth: 10"
Type: Memory foam
Comfort: Medium-firm

Reasons to buy

+
Medium-firm support to suit all sleepers
+
Thermoregulating
+
Reasonable RRP

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling edge support
-
Motion isolation is a little lacking
Buy it if

✅ You like a firmer surface: for a memory foam mattress, the Leesa Original is highly supportive.
✅ You're on a budget: this is one of the more affordable mattresses on the market.
✅ You're a hot sleeper: the foam is aerated to boost breathability.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You sleep on the side of the bed: the edge support is a little lacking.
❌ You share a bed with a pet or partner: you might appreciate a mattress with better motion isolation.
❌ You want a hybrid mattress: the Leesa Original is made from memory foam.

The bottom line

🔎 The Leesa Original Memory Foam Mattress isn't for everyone, but it could be a gamechanger for hot sleepers who like a firmer surface.

I asked two of our expert testers to sample the Leesa Original Memory Foam Mattress, back to back. One of them sleeps on her stomach, while the other sleeps on her side: one didn't think much of the mattress, while the other sang its praises. 

The Leesa Original is filled with memory foam, which is made to mold to the shape of your body and absorb the pressure from your joints. Our side sleeper found that she woke up each morning feeling refreshed, without any aches and pains in her hips and shoulders. 

Our stomach sleeper was less impressed. She found herself sinking into the soft surface of the Leesa Original, so far that her spine began to curve. She shares a bed with her husband, and found that she could feel him tossing and turning through the foam on the other side of the bed.

It just goes to show that there's no such thing as one perfect mattress to suit every sleeper: the Leesa Original is great for side sleepers, but is less suitable for anyone who sleeps on their front or back. If you share a bed with a partner, but not a sleep style, you'll need to consider whether the Leesa Original meets each of your needs. 

You can find more detail in our Leesa Original Memory Foam Mattress review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortSofter surface with lots of give★★★★
Quality of constructionEdge support and motion isolation could be improved★★★
Cooling propertiesThermoregulating foam★★★★
PriceReasonable RRP★★★★

The best mattress for side sleepers with hip and shoulder pain

Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt Medium Firm Hybrid Mattress in a contemporary bedroomH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Tempur-Pedic)
Best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder and hip pain

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King, Split California King
Depth: 12"
Type: Tempur material and steel coils
Comfort: Medium

Reasons to buy

+
Great edge support
+
Excellent motion isolation
+
Cooling

Reasons to avoid

-
Short sleep trial
-
On the more expensive side
-
Heavy
Buy it if

✅ You're a hot sleeper: the ProAdapt is wrapped in a cooling cover.
✅ You sleep on the side of the bed: the ProAdapt has great edge support.
✅ You share a bed with a pet or partner: you'll appreciate the ProAdapt's excellent motion isolation.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: there are much cheaper mattresses out there.
❌ You'd like to try before you buy: the ProAdapt has a limited 90-night sleep trial.
❌ You live alone: you might struggle to flip this heavy mattress by yourself.

The bottom line

🔎 The Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt Medium Hybrid Mattress incorporates the pressure relief of memory foam with the enhanced support of steel springs.

The Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt Medium Hybrid Mattress brings the best of both worlds. The memory foam cushions your hips and shoulders, while the supportive steel springs stop you from sinking in too far.

Like a lot of the mattresses on this list, the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt has excellent motion isolation. That's the memory foam in action, which works to absorb movement. What sets this mattress apart is its edge support. There's a ring of reinforced steel coils running round the edge of the mattress for enhanced support.

As foam mattresses go, the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt does a good job of regulating temperature. I attribute that to the SmartClimate Dual Cover System, which is cool to the touch and super stretchy to accommodate such a deep mattress.

There isn't much I don't like about the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt. Really, it comes down to two things: how high the price is, and how heavy the mattress is. A Queen-sized ProAdapt goes for more than $3,000 at full price, so you might want to wait for a holiday discount or site-wide sale. Even then, you'll want to opt for white glove delivery, especially if you live alone: this mattress is extremely heavy.

You can find more detail in our Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt Medium Hybrid Mattress review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortSuitable for all sleep positions★★★★★
Quality of constructionExcellent motion isolation and edge support★★★★★
Cooling propertiesWrapped in SmartClimate Dual Cover System★★★★
PriceOn the more expensive side★★

The best mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Nectar memory foam mattress on a bed against a dark wall.

(Image credit: Nectar)
Best mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Depth: 12”
Type: Memory foam
Comfort: Medium-firm to firm

Reasons to buy

+
Alleviates back pain
+
365-night sleep trial
+
Highly affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Edge support could be better
-
May be too firm for some 
Buy it if

✅ You suffer from back pain: our expert tester found that the Memory Foam Mattress alleviated her back ache.
✅ You want to try before you buy: Nectar offers a 365-night sleep trial.
✅ You're on a budget: this is one of the more affordable mattresses on the market.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You like a softer surface: for a memory foam mattress, the Nectar is pretty firm.
❌ You sleep on the side of the bed: the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt has better edge support.
❌ You want a hybrid mattress: this mattress is filled with memory foam.

The bottom line

🔎 The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress offers plush comfort and pain relief at a price that everyone can afford.

The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress cushions your neck and shoulders as it lifts and lengthens your spine. It's a great option for anyone who suffers from aches and pains.

No mattress can cure chronic pain. That's the sort of thing you should take up with a medical professional, rather than a mattress manufacturer. With that said, our expert tester found that the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress alleviated the symptoms of her fibromyalgia. She still woke up with sore bones every once in a while, but she knew her pain had nothing to do with the mattress.

For a memory foam mattress, the Nectar sleeps pretty cool. It's wrapped in a quilted cover to dissipate heat and wick moisture. The motion isolation is excellent, though the edge support leaves something to be desired. If you tend to sleep on the side of the bed, you'll have better luck with the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt.

You can find more detail in our Nectar Memory Foam Mattress review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortSoft surface with plenty of give★★★★
Quality of constructionEdge support is a little lacking★★★
Cooling propertiesMemory foam tends to trap heat★★★
PriceHighly affordable★★★★★

The best hybrid mattress for side sleepers

Saatva Classic Mattress in a bedroom.H&G gold badge

(Image credit: Saatva)
Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Depth: 11.5” or 14.5"
Type: Hybrid
Comfort: Plush soft, luxury firm, firm

Reasons to buy

+
Sleeps cool
+
Custom comfort
+
Wide size range

Reasons to avoid

-
On the more expensive side
-
A firmer surface
-
$99 return fee
Buy it if

✅ You like to have options: Saatva lets you choose your ideal mattress height and comfort level.
✅ You're a hot sleeper: this hybrid mattress has the airflow of an innerspring.
✅ You have a particularly small or large bed: the Saatva Classic comes in every size, from Twin to California King.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You like a soft surface: the Saatva Classic is on the firmer side.
❌ You're on a budget: there are much more affordable mattresses on the market.
❌ You like the feel of memory foam: you might prefer the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress.

The bottom line

🔎 The Saatva Classic Mattress isn't just the best hybrid option for side sleepers: it's the best mattress, hands down.

The Saatva Classic isn't just the best mattress for side sleepers looking for a hybrid: it's the best mattress on the market. If you share a bed with a pet or partner who likes to sleep on their front or back, you can rest assured in the knowledge that the Saatva Classic supports them, too. 

This hybrid mattress comes in every size, from Twin to California King, including Split King and Split California King options for couples who share a bed, but not a sleep style. When you shop at Saatva, you can select your preferred mattress height and comfort level, from Plush Soft to Luxury Firm. 

Our expert tester first sampled the Saatva Classic back in 2021, and she still sleeps with it to this day. She's tested the Saatva Classic through heatwaves and cold snaps and found that it keeps her just the right side of cool and dry. 

The Saatva Classic might not be the best fit for everyone. As a hybrid, it's a little firmer than some of the mattresses on this list, even when you select the Plush Soft option. Listed for a little less than $2,000 for a Queen, the Saatva Classic isn't exactly cheap, but it feels like a fair price to pay for the world's best mattress.

You can find more detail in our Saatva Classic Mattress review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortChoose your ideal mattress height and feel★★★★★
Quality of constructionExcellent edge support★★★★★
Cooling propertiesAirflow of an innerspring★★★★
PriceOn the more expensive side★★★

The best cooling mattress for side sleepers

A Nolah Original Mattress on a bed.H&G gold badge

(Image credit: Nolah)
The best cooling mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Short Queen, King, Short King, California King, Split King
Thickness: 10"
Type: Memory foam
Comfort: Medium-firm

Reasons to buy

+
AirFoam boosts breathability
+
Excellent motion isolation
+
Great pressure relief

Reasons to avoid

-
On the softer side
-
Insufficient edge support
Buy it if

✅ You're a hot sleeper: this mattress is filled with aerated AirFoam.
✅ You share a bed: the Nolah Original offers excellent motion isolation.
✅ You have a particularly small or large bed: Nolah makes mattresses in a wide range of sizes.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: for a box mattress, the Nolah Original is pretty expensive.
❌ You prefer a firmer surface: the Nolah Original is soft.
❌ You sleep on the side of the bed: a hybrid mattress, such as the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt or Saatva Classic, would offer more support. 

The bottom line

🔎 The Nolah Original Mattress offers the feel of memory foam without the heat retention.

Memory foam gets a bad rap. It feels plush, and bears weight well, but it tends to trap heat: all that thick foam leaves little space for air to flow. That's why Nolah fill their Original Mattress with AirFoam, instead.

AirFoam is perforated with millions of microscopic air pockets to boost breathability and redistribute your body weight for enhanced support. Just like memory foam, it contours to the curves of your body and springs right back into shape as you stand up. Unlike memory foam, AirFoam is totally free from viscoelastic chemicals for superior thermoregulation.

If that's not enough, the Nolah Original Mattress is wrapped in a cooling cover, which  should feel nice and fresh, even through the best mattress protector

The Nolah Original Mattress isn't perfect. It's a little on the soft side, and might not suit sleepers who prefer a firmer surface, and the edge support is a little lacking. You could pick up a memory foam mattress for less, though it wouldn't do such a good job at keeping you cool.

You can find more detail in our Nolah Original Mattress review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortOn the softer side★★★★
Quality of constructionInsufficient edge support★★★
Cooling propertiesAirFoam boosts breathability★★★★★
PriceReasonable RRP★★★★

The best value mattress for side sleepers

Best value mattress for side sleepers

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 11.5"
Type: Hybrid
Comfort: Medium-Firm

Reasons to buy

+
Pressure-relieving
+
Suits all sleep styles
+
Made for couples

Reasons to avoid

-
Insufficient edge support
-
Motion isolation is a little lacking
-
Comes with limp pillows
Buy it if

✅ You share a bed: this medium-firm mattress supports all sleep styles.
✅ You suffer from aches and pains: the Helix Midnight Hybrid is designed to relieve pressure.
✅ You're on a budget: this is one of the most affordable hybrid mattresses on the market.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You sleep on the side of the bed: the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt and Saatva Classic offer superior edge support.
❌ You're a light sleeper: the motion isolation is a little lacking, and you might stir if your partner tosses and turns.
❌ You're looking for new pillows: our expert tester didn't think much of the complimentary pillows.

The bottom line

🔎 The Helix Midnight Hybrid is designed to relieve pressure and support all styles of sleeper.

Hybrid mattresses can be seriously expensive. Think about it: you're paying for thick layers of dense foam, as well as stainless steel coils for enhanced support. You shouldn't have to spend thousands of dollars to get a good night's sleep. When you shop at Helix, you don't have to.

The Helix Midnight Hybrid offers enhanced pressure relief and medium-firm support to suit all sleep styles. The edge support is a little lacking, which is surprising for a hybrid mattress, but you can't have everything.

Our expert tester and her partner struggle to share a bed. Where she likes a firmer mattress that maintains the natural alignment of your spine, he prefers a softer surface that absorbs his aches and pains. The Helix Midnight Hybrid Mattress hits a sweet spot between comfort and support: it's their favorite mattress they've ever tried.

You can find more detail in our Helix Midnight Hybrid Mattress.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortMedium-firm to suit all sleepers★★★★★
Quality of constructionEdge support is a little lacking★★★★
Cooling propertiesCooling cover costs extra★★★
PriceHighly affordable for a hybrid★★★★★

How we test mattresses for side sleepers

Leesa mattress on a bed.

(Image credit: Leesa)

We put a lot of thought into how we test mattresses. It's more than a matter of sleeping on the job. We like to test mattresses for several months, through heatwaves and cold snaps, to monitor their performance over time and assess their thermoregulation. The best mattress is breathable, able to dissipate heat and wick moisture to keep you just the right side of cool and dry. 

Some of our tests are extremely simple. To gauge the comfort level of a mattress, we just lie down on it and see how it feels. To assess the edge support, we sit on the side of the bed and take note of how far we sink. 

Then, there's the weight bearing test. We take a dumbbell, the sort you'd find in any home gym, and place it in the middle of the mattress. The further the weight sinks, the softer the mattress, and the more suitable it might be for a side sleeper. As we remove the dumbbell, we measure how long it takes for the mattress to spring back into shape: the best mattress should only take a few seconds. 

Our motion isolation test might be the strangest of the lot. We fill a glass with water and set it in the center of the bed. Then, we lie down on the other side of the mattress and toss and turn. The less the glass moves, and the less water is spilled, the better the motion isolation of the mattress. That's the sort of thing you'll appreciate if you share a bed with a pet or a partner or you're a particularly light sleeper.

Meet the team

A headshot of eCommerce Editor Emilia Hitching
Emilia Hitching

Emilia is our resident sleep writer at H&G. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the hottest products and spends her nights testing out the best bedding in her own home.

Jaclyn Turner photo
Jaclyn Turner

Jaclyn is one of our former eCommerce Editors. In her time at H&G, she covered all things sleep. For this article, Jaclyn tested the Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt and the Saatva Classic Mattress.

Alex Frost writer headshot
Alex Frost

Alex is a 35-year-old mom, wife, and journalist in Cincinnati with four sons under 7 and a passion for product reviewing. She tested the Leesa Original Mattress for more than a month before writing about it and still uses it to this day.

Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her five years as a product tester, she's tested hundreds of items first-hand, and her work appears in publications such as Forbes, USA Today, The Spruce, Food52, and more. Camryn does her product testing from her small homestead in beautiful Rhode Island.

Headshot of Jamie Davis Smith.
Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie Davis Smith is a writer and product reviewer with more than 10 years of experience. Her review of the Helix Midnight Mattress is based on her first-hand experience, as she and her partner slept on the mattress for just under a month before writing this review. 

Best mattress for side sleepers FAQs

How can I choose the best mattress for side sleepers?

When shopping for a mattress, side sleepers should consider these two qualities: feel and feeling. Side sleepers tend to rest best on a medium-firm mattress. Too soft, and your knees will overlap, your shoulders will roll forward and your spine will sink: too firm, and your hips, knees, and shoulders will be under undue pressure.

The best mattress type for side sleepers is a hybrid. Filled with supportive steel coils and topped with memory foam, a hybrid mattress lets you sink in just enough to cushion your neck and shoulders: so that you feel you're sleeping on your mattress, not inside it.

Can a mattress for side sleepers relieve back pain?

Yes. Memory foam is made to mold to the shape of your body and ease the pain from your pressure points. The best memory foam mattress could go a long way towards alleviating back ache. That's not to say that a mattress could cure your back ache, mind you: if problems persist, I recommend taking it up with an orthopedic specialist.

What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?

If you sleep on your side, your best bet is a hybrid or memory foam mattress. Unlike latex and innerspring models, these softer surfaces have sufficient give to let your neck and shoulders sink in.

Final thoughts

Once you've invested in one of the best mattresses, it's important to take good care of it. It's worth picking up one of the best mattress protectors to safeguard against sweat, stains, and spills.

Side sleepers tend to rest most comfortably on a thicker pillow that lifts their head and elongates their spine. I've rounded up a few of the best pillows to ease your aches and pains.