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Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers

If you sleep on your side, here's how to choose the right mattress for you.

If you tend to sleep on your side, you’re part of the majority - 74% of the population are side sleepers! For this sleeping position, you’ll want to make sure your hips and shoulders are kept aligned, as well as cushion the parts of your body that ‘dig in’ to the mattress.

74%
of people sleep on their side

From how to choose your perfect mattress, to our product expert’s five top picks, here’s everything you need to know about mattresses for side sleepers.

What are the best mattresses for side sleepers?

As a side sleeper, there are a number of things you should consider when shopping for your ideal mattress. The number one thing to remember is that you need to keep your spine in a neutral position, so as to not cause any back pain.

However, you also don’t want to cause joint pain by having a too firm mattress, or rigid structure. You’ll need a good amount of cushioning to ensure your hips and shoulders don’t ache, as these are the areas that will have the most contact with the mattress.

Infographic depicting a cartoon person laying on their side, showing how their spine should be aligned.

Pressure points for side sleepers

Side sleepers put more pressure on their hips and shoulders, so these are the areas that need the most cushioning. As these body parts are naturally heavier, a soft mattress will provide the proper amount of pressure relief, letting them 'dip' just enough, while still keeping the spine aligned.

Recommended mattress type for side sleepers

Pocket sprung mattresses

Pocket sprung mattresses are good for side sleepers, as they offer targeted support to pressure points. The individually pocketed springs are able to adjust depending on how much weight they detect, with some innovative pocket springs, such as Silentnight’s Miracoil® Springs, able to do so extremely effectively.

You might find, however, that pocket sprung mattresses don’t offer the level of cushioning you require, so if you prefer a ‘sink in’ feeling, consider a hybrid mattress that combines pocket springs with memory foam.

Memory foam and latex mattresses

Side sleepers need extra support to their shoulders and hips, to ensure the spine is kept nicely aligned, rather than curving uncomfortably. Memory foam is an ideal solution, as it contours to your unique body shape, providing personalised support exactly where you need it.

For more information on memory foam mattresses, take a look at our Memory Foam Mattress Buying Guide.

If you’re a hot sleeper, you might prefer a latex mattress instead. These provide the same contouring support as memory foam, but don’t retain as much heat. Latex mattresses are also great if you’re a side sleeper with allergies, as the natural material is dust-mite resistant.

Hybrid and pillow top mattresses

Hybrid mattresses offer the ideal ‘best of both worlds’ solution for side sleepers looking for equal support and comfort. Containing both pocket springs for targeted support to your pressure points, as well as cushioning memory foam, latex or other comforting fibres, hybrid mattresses are ideal for sleeping on your side.

Pillow top mattresses also feature pocket springs, with a comfort layer - or 'pillow' - stitched onto the surface of the mattress. These have a luxurious, hotel-like quality.

What is the best mattress firmness for side sleepers?

For side sleepers, we recommend either a soft or medium mattress firmness. This is because although you need adequate support to keep your spine aligned, you need enough cushioning to the parts of your body that ‘sink in’ to the mattress.

You don’t want to place any undue pressure on your hips or shoulders, resulting in morning stiffness. A medium mattress is ideal, as it’ll keep your spine aligned while still cushioning your pressure points. A softer mattress will still keep your pressure points comforted, but you might find it doesn’t offer the support you need. Steer clear from firm mattresses, as they won’t give your pressure points (your hips and shoulders) the cushioning they need.

If you’re over 14 stone, most manufacturers recommend a medium mattress, as a soft mattress won’t give you as much support. You want your hips to be able to ‘dip’ into the mattress, but not ‘sink’ in. For more information on choosing the best mattress firmness, read our Mattress Firmness Guide.

You can always adjust the firmness of your mattress by investing in a mattress topper. Alternatively, our generous 100 Night Sleep Trials allow you to test out your new mattress, so you can try a medium firmness and if it’s not right for you, simply send it back and opt for a softer mattress instead! Head to our Sleep Trial page for more information.

Pillows for side sleepers

You might find that positioning a pillow between your legs helps you sleep more comfortably on your side. Placing a pillow between your knees when you sleep on your side helps to keep your pelvis and spine neutral, reducing back pain. Side sleepers may benefit from putting a pillow between their legs to promote good posture, as well as to ease hip and sciatica pain.

Our top 5 mattresses for side sleepers

Our product experts have pulled together their top five favourite mattresses that offer the best support and comfort for side sleepers.

Silentnight Essentials 600 Mirapocket Mattress

This mattress uses Silentnight’s innovative Miracoil® system - a pocket spring system that ensures spinal alignment all night long. This support layer is topped with Eco Comfort fibres for not only enhanced comfort, but increased ventilation and breathability.

With a medium firmness, this mattress is ideal for side sleepers, minimising back pain and morning aches.

Close up of the corner of the Silentnight Essentials 600 Mirapocket Mattress.

TEMPUR® ONE Soft Mattress

If you and your partner are both side-sleepers, the TEMPUR® ONE Soft Mattress is the best investment you could make for healthy sleep.

Using layers of incredible TEMPUR® Material, billions of ultra-sensitive open cells continuously adapt to changes in your pressure, movement and warmth throughout the night, providing award-winning support and unbeatable comfort.

Close up of the corner of the TEMPUR ONE Soft Mattress.

Dormeo Octasmart Premium Deluxe Mattress

A soft mattress, the Dormeo Octasmart Premium Deluxe uses Octasprings® - innovative memory foam springs that contour to your body, providing excellent pressure relief and support.

With a smart zoning serum of five different zones of firmness, this mattress ensures that sleeping on your side is supported and comforted.

SleepSoul Balance 800 Pocket Memory Mattress

Medium firmness, this hybrid mattress combines both the targeted support of pocket springs with the contouring comfort of memory foam.

For side sleepers, this means expert pressure relief as well as personalised cushioning to your heaviest pressure points as you relax into the mattress. You’ll stay supported and comfortable no matter how you turn throughout the night.

Coolflex ProAdapt™ Memory Foam Mattress

A budget friendly option, this innovative memory foam mattress is perfect for side sleepers, as it combines two different types of memory foam.

ProReact™ Support Foam encourages spinal alignment with orthopaedic support - ideal for back pain sufferers - while ProAdapt™ Memory Foam offers cloud-like comfort.

FAQs

Still not found the answer to your question? Take a look at our FAQs. You might find what you're looking for in our other helpful guides, such as our Mattress Buying Guide: How to Choose a Mattress, or our Ultimate UK Bed & Mattress Guide.

Best mattress for a side sleeper with hip pain?
If you suffer from hip pain at night or in the morning, there’s a good chance that your mattress is a little on the firm side. Due to the way that side sleeping puts more pressure on the hips, you need something that cushions the joints. This means going for a softer mattress. Soft memory foam is a popular choice among side sleepers with hip issues, as it allows you to sink in, while still providing support.
Is memory foam better for side sleepers?
Memory foam is a good choice for side sleepers due to the way it provides support for the entire length of your body. This eliminates pressure points from key areas such as the hips, lower back and shoulders, delivering contoured support.  Memory foam 'remembers' your body shape over time and quickly conforms to your body as soon as you lie down. This means less wriggling to get comfortable and a more restful night’s sleep.  If you are of average weight, a memory foam mattress with a medium rating will be sufficient to provide you with the support you need. However, if you weigh more than 160-180lbs (around 11½-13 stone), you may need to look for a firmer alternative.  If you like the sensation of memory foam but are heavier, the best combination will be a firm mattress with a memory foam mattress topper.
Pain in shoulder when sleeping on side?
When you sleep on your side, your shoulders are one of your heaviest pressure points. You need to make sure they can dip nicely into your mattress, relieving pressure and not cuasing tension. If you find your shoulders hurting after sleeping on your side, it could be that your mattress is too firm, not allowing enough 'give' for your shoulders. A soft memory foam mattress will help to soften your mattress to relieve shoulder pain.
Ear pain when sleeping on side?
Ear pain when sleeping on your side may be caused by laying on the same side for too long, especially if your pillow is too firm. Your ear cartilage will feel crushed and sore if you lay on your ear for too long, so try to switch sides or opt for a softer pillow.
Is sleeping on your side bad?
Sleeping on your side is a very healthy sleeping position, as you're able to support your spine well (with the right mattress!) However, sleeping on the same side too much can put undue pressure on the side you sleep on, so be sure to switch sides from time to time.
Why do most people sleep on their side?
Sleeping on your side has lots of benefits, such as opening up the airways for easier breathing and therefore less snoring. Sleeping on your side also promotes good digestion and reduces lower back pain, so this position is beneficial to your whole body.
What are the cons of sleeping on your side?
If you don't have the right sleeping surface, laying on your side can become painful after a while as the pressure can exacerbate hips and shoulder pain on the side you sleep on. If you sleep on your side, you must take extra care to ensure your mattress promotes proper spinal alignment and pressure relief.