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What is the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers?

Texas Mattress Makers

October 16, 2020  ·  10 min read

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If you sleep on your side and are on the lookout for a new mattress, chances are you’ve asked the question, “What is the best mattress for side sleepers?” Unfortunately, while many online sources will point you to specific brands or different variations of a bed-in-a-box, there is no single answer to this question

While side sleeping is certainly a category of its own, there are many other factors to take into consideration. Height, weight, weight placement, and preference for a soft vs firm mattress all play a  role in determining what is the best mattress for a side sleeper. 

Texas Mattress Makers is here to help clarify how to take all of these different elements into account when searching for your next new mattress. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about finding the best mattress for the side sleepers in your life. 

Want to start at the beginning? Check out our guides to How to Choose a Mattress, Finding the Right Mattress for Your Body Type, or simply take our mattress quiz

What You Need to Know About Sleeping on Your Side

It is estimated that over 70% of people sleep on their sides at some point during the night, making side sleeping the most popular sleeping position (as opposed to back, stomach, or combination sleeping). 

Side sleeping is also the most highly recommended sleeping position by most doctors, although it does come with some drawbacks if you are not sleeping on a good mattress.  

Benefits of sleeping on your side

If you are sleeping on a mattress that’s fitted to your needs, sleeping on your side may:

  • Help improve breathing, circulation, digestion, and brain health  
  • Help prevent snoring and sleep apnea
  • Reduce heartburn, especially for pregnant women  

Drawbacks to sleeping on your side 

If you are sleeping on a mattress that’s not fitted to your needs, sleeping on your side may: 

  • Increase pressure on certain parts of the body, including the shoulders and hips 
  • Some individuals may also feel increased pressure in their ankles, knees, neck, and ears

Why are you more likely to reap certain health benefits by sleeping on your side as opposed to other sleeping positions? Two words: spinal alignment. Spinal alignment is the key to a good night’s sleep, and sleeping on your side is, quite simply, the easiest way to achieve proper spinal alignment while sleeping. 

All of that said, sleeping on your side without a good mattress will likely cut down on these potential benefits and leave you struggling with aches and pains. The way your body lays on the mattress as you side sleep increases pressure points in certain areas, especially your shoulders. 

The key to solving this problem is to find a mattress that provides the perfect combination of cushion, contouring, and support. All side sleepers need some amount of cushioning to help prevent the creation of pressure points in the hips and shoulders. 

What is the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers? Answering FAQs. 

Texas Mattress Makers gives you the 411 on some of the top questions we receive from side sleepers, as well as some general mattress recommendations for side sleepers to help you start your search. 

What is the best mattress firmness for side sleepers?  

In the mattress industry, firmness and softness refer to the feel of a mattress, whereas support refers to the mattress’s way of providing spinal alignment. In other words, individuals of different weights need different levels of support, whereas individuals of all types of weights can have their own preferences for softness or firmness

That means that there is no real “best” firmness for side sleepers; you can find a mattress that provides a soft feel, medium feel, medium-firm feel, or firm feel, and, so long as it comes with appropriate corresponding level of support, make that mattress work for you.  

As a side sleeper, you will need a mattress with enough support to keep your spine aligned but also enough cushion in the comfort area to provide pressure point relief for your shoulders and your hips.  Different components, such as different foams or foam alternatives, can be used in the comfort layer to help provide pressure point relief while still giving you a variety of feels for your individual comfort preference    

The best way to find a mattress that marries these two concepts to best suit your needs is to visit a trusted mattress retailer. Since Texas Mattress Makers manufacturers each and every one of our mattresses, we know the ins and outs of how they are made. Our mattress experts can quickly help you identify what type of mattress will work best for you. 

What is the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain, neck pain, etc.? 

If you are a side sleeper struggling with shoulder pain, neck pain, hip pain, or other pain in pressure point areas, the support layer and comfort layer of your mattress have created a surface that is either too supportive, too firm, or a combination of both. Start by looking for a mattress with a softer comfort layer, especially if you are lightweight.

If you are a side sleeper struggling with back pain, the support layer and comfort layer of your mattress have likely created a surface that is either not supportive enough, too soft, or a combination of both. Start by looking at hybrid mattresses with a more supportive base layer, especially if you are a heavyweight sleeper. 

What is the best type of mattress for side sleepers? 

Just like there is no one best mattress firmness for side sleepers, there is also no one best type of mattress for side sleepers. We constantly receive questions along the lines of Is a pillow top mattress good for side sleepers? or What is the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers? While we can provide a general recommendation, it’s better to look for a mattress based on the specific needs of the buyer. 

Hybrid mattresses:

At Texas Mattress Makers, we sell more hybrid mattresses than any other types of mattresses. That’s because the makeup of hybrid mattresses — a pocketed coil support layer and a soft (memory foam, latex, etc.) comfort layer — naturally provides a wide variety of support and feel options. We can hand craft a mattress to meet the needs of sleepers with varying heights, weights, feel preferences, support needs, and temperature control needs. 

Pillow top/Euro top mattresses:

Our handmade pillow top and euro top mattresses are crafted to help relieve aches and pains, making them particularly beneficial to side sleepers who have hip and shoulder problems due to their pressure relieving properties. 

Innerspring mattresses: 

While we would not recommend innerspring mattresses for a long-term, supportive sleeping solution, they still provide a perfect, cost-efficient option for limited-use spaces such as guest beds or for growing children and young adult side sleepers.

100% memory foam mattresses: 

All-memory foam mattresses have received a lot of hype over the past few decades. While their cushioning and contouring properties make them truly great options for some side sleepers, they are less ideal for the general population than many mattress retailers would have you believe. 

For example, 100% memory foam mattresses can be perfect for lightweight side sleepers who do not sleep hot, but will likely create comfort issues for heavier individuals (and will definitely be uncomfortable if you sleep hot.) 

This is not to say that everyone can’t enjoy the cushioning benefits of memory foam; if you love the feel of memory foam but shouldn’t sleep on an all-memory foam mattress, check out hybrid mattresses with a memory foam or foam alternative comfort layer! 

100% latex mattresses: 

All-latex mattresses are more eco-friendly, sleep cooler, and provide a more resilient (i.e. bouncy) sleeping surface than their memory foam cousins. Like 100% memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses are not ideal for all body types. If you love the feel of latex but shouldn’t sleep on an all-latex mattress, we manufacture hybrid mattress options that use latex in the comfort layer. 

What is the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers? Our Recommendations. 

While it’s better to pick a mattress that meets your needs across multiple factors, you have to start somewhere! Here are our top picks for certain mattresses, keeping in mind one important element of the mattress selection process. 

Our expert pick: 

Ultra Soft feel: Bel Air Mattress

Medium Firm: Santa Barbara Mattress

Firm feel: Oslo Plush Mattress 

Best memory foam mattress for side sleepers:

Soft feel: Milan Mattress

Firm feel:Niagara Mattress

Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers: 

Soft feel:Bel Air Mattress

Medium Feel: Santa Barbara Mattress

Firm feel: Oslo Plush Mattress

Best mattress for heavy side sleepers:

Soft(er) feel:Florence Mattress

Firm feel:Athens Mattress

Best mattress for light side sleepers:

Soft feel: Bel Air Mattress

Firm feel: Santa Barbara Mattress

Best for hot sleepers:

Soft feel: Bel Air Mattress

Medium Feel: Santa Barbara Mattress

Firm feel: Cannes Plush Mattress

Pro tip: Looking for the “best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain,” the “best mattress for side sleepers with back pain,” or something similar? If you are experiencing regular pain while sleeping, we highly recommend visiting us in person. When it comes to pain management, we cannot in good conscience make a blanket recommendation online; there are simply too many potential factors at play.  

Other Considerations for Side Sleepers 

Do you and your partner have significantly different sleeping needs? Not to worry. A custom, split king-size, or dual comfort mattress made by Texas Mattress Makers allows the two different sides of your mattress to be tailored to fit the needs of each spouse. For sleeping partners who don’t mind having a separate mattress from your spouse (or who each want the luxury of using an adjustable base on their own), there is also the option of a split king mattress. 

For more information, please explore our custom mattress options, dual comfort mattresses, split king mattresses, and our Split King vs. King Mattresses article. 

Find the Best Mattress for the Side Sleepers in Your Life 

Still unsure of what is the best mattress for side sleepers? With over four decades of experience, the mattress experts at Texas Mattress Makers can help you determine the best mattress for the side sleepers in your household. 

Your good night’s sleep is our passion. We hand make all of our mattresses with materials sourced right here in the United States, and are always here to answer any questions you may have about the mattress buying process. 

You can explore our full selection of handmade mattresses online or in-store. Simply choose to shop by either comfort level, mattress type, mattress size, or budget or come and visit any of our convenient Houston locations today!

More Beducation by Texas Mattress Makers:

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