Best Mattress for Side Sleepers of 2018 & Buying Guide
While price is an important factor when purchasing a new mattress, it’s far more crucial to pick a mattress type that suits your particular needs. Side sleepers require softer mattresses or pillow tops, so as to avoid shoulder pain and hip problems, and allow the spine to relax in its natural position.
Our carefully cultivated buyer’s guide will answer side sleepers’ questions on how to find a suitable mattress. It also includes our list of top picks for the best side-sleeper mattresses available in today’s (sometimes overwhelming) market, within a wide range of budgets.
Signature Sleep Memoir 6-Inch
LUCID 10 Inch Gel
Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12-Inch
Personal Comfort A8
Sealy Posturepedic Optimum
Is a soft mattress really that important?
Side sleepers have the advantage: studies show this position, especially the left side, is the best way to sleep for joint comfort, snoring mitigation, brain function, and overall health. There’s no “exact level” of softness that suits each person, although you should be able to comfortably tuck your arm beneath you, and rest your hip so it aligns properly with the rest of your body.
If your mattress is too firm, it puts undue pressure on these points and can cause joint aches, sciatic pain, and a host of other discomforts. Fortunately, a generous pillow top is an easy solution if you purchase a too-firm mattress.
What if my partner sleeps differently from me/prefers a firmer mattress?
Sleeping differences are a common problem for couples, but today’s market has wisely grown to accommodate this! Adjustable beds are rising in popularity; these models allow customization of each side, so one partner can have a very firm side while the other has a very soft one, without affecting the other’s sleep. You can also add a twin-sized pillow top to one side, or push two mattresses together.
If all else fails, sleeping in separate beds (or rooms) is not the end of the world; a Canadian study revealed up to 40% of couples sleep in different beds or bedrooms on a regular basis, with a surprisingly beneficial effect on their relationship. The consensus seems to be that it’s better to sleep well and apart, than poorly together.
Of course, only you and your partner can decide which of these options works best for your relationship and individual needs.
What is motion separation?
Motion separation is an important element, yet one many buyer overlook. It’s the ability of one person to move, toss, and turn without “shaking” or shifting the other side of the bed—and waking up their partner!
Generally speaking, softer mattresses have higher levels of motion separation, and memory foam or air-chamber models are better at this than spring-models.
Should I buy a mattress made of natural or synthetic materials?
Mattresses can be made of (and filled with) anything from latex, wool, cotton, feathers, and synthetic/man-made versions of these and other materials. Each has their strength and weakness in terms of durability, but personal preference and allergies are even more important.
If you know you’re allergic to a particular material, keep this factor in mind when researching. Signs of mattress allergies include sneezing, watery eyes, wheezing, and reactionary asthma or worsening of existing conditions.
Most models come with a blend of both natural and synthetic materials. If you’re allergic to synthetic materials (or just don’t like them), look for mattresses with natural covers and pillow tops.
That way, the synthetic materials will be “deeper” in the mattress or on the bottom layers, and won’t affect your sleep.
Can’t I just sleep with a body pillow?
Body pillows are an effective tool to mitigate discomfort and joint pressure when sleeping. They can prevent position changes if you’re new to side sleeping, or if you toss and turn frequently.
However, these pillows are not a suitable replacement for a proper mattress. You might use one between your knees to take care of knee and hip pain, but your shoulder can still twist out of position and stretch the tendons, or your back can rest in a misaligned position. Use body pillows as a tool, rather than a remedy, in conjunction with a proper mattress
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers Reviews
1. Lady Americana Renoir Review
For side-sleepers who need softness but prefer firmness (or for couples who can’t agree), the LUCID Gel Memory Foam mattress might be an ideal compromise: with a high-density memory foam, it provides ample support for stomach- and back-sleepers, yet also grants side-sleepers the “give” they need for their necks, spines, and hips to properly align. It’s also quite affordable, at the lower end for most memory-foam mattresses.
For children, teens, and young adults who will most likely replace their mattress within a 5- to 10-year lifespan, the LUCID is a sound choice: a low investment for a mid-level option.
If, however, you plan on having your mattress for more than 5 years and hate the thought of potentially needing a new pillow-top, this low price can’t justify the likelihood of foam breakdown.
This is a great pick for those on a tight budget, or those who plan to upgrade their mattress fairly soon and need an “in the meantime” choice.
2. Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Review
Another lower-budget choice, the Sleep Innovations Shiloh Memory Foam model features mid-level softness, for both support and comfort. It’s especially popular with mismatched partners, since its design accounts for all pressure points.
This is another budget-friendly option that can work well for couples with sleep differences, or for those multi-positional sleepers out there. With its dual-layer foam design, it’s great for larger folks who need softness in a sturdy model. If you overheat easily with most pillow-top or foam mattresses, the Shiloh can provide better ventilation and comfort.
3. Signature Sleep Memoir 6-Inch Memory Foam Review
An incredibly thin mattress (although it is available up to a 12-inch thickness), the Signature Sleep Memoir might be ideal for those in need of a very budget-conscious option. It comes in at a third of the cost of already-inexpensive mattresses, and is perfect for Murphy beds, roll-away or sleeper sofas, and campers.
This is a nomad’s mattress, through and through. With such a low price and compact design, it’s best for first apartments, guest beds, and temporary living situations. If you prefer a softer version, the 10- and 12-inch models are still priced well, and feature the same benefits as the slimmer design.
4. Sealy Posturepedic Optimum Inspiration Gold Plush Review
As one of the “brand names” of mattresses, Sealy Posturepedic beds come with a heftier price tag, but with good reason: customer satisfaction is consistently higher, it’s made in America, and includes a 10-year limited warranty. Sealy has established itself as a forerunner in the mattress innovation game, so its technology is often ahead of competitors’.
For those with a higher budget, the Sealy Posturepedic Optimum Inspiration Gold Plush is worth every penny. You get all the pros of a regular foam mattress, yet the unique innovations and assurance that come with a “big brand name” manufacturer.
5. Personal Comfort A8 Review
Designed to rival the popular Sleep Number adjustable beds, the Personal Comfort A8 has a very high price—but it might be the best solution for couples in need of totally different mattress settings. With each side composed of separate air chambers, it allows for easy customization to suit your individual needs.
Before you go all Ricky-and-Lucy with separate beds, consider an adjustable model such as this. Air-chamber beds have steep price tags, but can be well worth their money if partners have difficulty agreeing on softness and firmness.
The mattress market features thousands of options for side-sleepers, so your choice should factor in several elements, including price, desired firmness, materials, and your partners’ sleeping needs. Above all else, seek models with a balance of softness and support.
If you find your shoulder, hips, or back aching, your mattress is too firm; if, on the other hand, you have a sinking feeling (literally!) and discover it’s difficult to stay in your sleeping position, your mattress is too soft.
It’s a difficult balance to find, but by no means impossible, once you understand what to look for in a mattress. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide has granted you some insight into possible options, and raised important questions to ask in your search for a good night’s sleep.