Memory foam is a great choice for side sleepers because it can relieve the hip and shoulder pressure that you so often feel in this position. However, not all memory foam mattresses are suitable for side sleepers. It’s important to find a model that provides you with deep pressure relief while still giving good support for your spine.
Fortunately, choosing the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers isn’t rocket science. That being said, there is a lot of choice on the market, so it can be confusing to try and work out which mattresses are worth the hype and which will be a waste of money. In this article, we’ll reveal all the tips and tricks you need to know to pick the right mattress for your needs, alongside our 5 best memory foam mattresses for side sleepers reviews by our in-house experts.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is also known as viscoelastic foam made from a material called polyurethane. It was originally pioneered by NASA to protect their astronauts during rocket launches, but it soon gained popularity as a material for mattresses because of its ability to mold to the shape of your body and relieve pressure. This molding and pressure-relieving ability means that memory foam is no longer used in just mattresses. You can also buy memory foam pillows, shoes and even bathmats.
Nowadays, memory foam mattresses are becoming more and more technologically advanced. One of the main complaints about memory foam is the fact that it sleeps relatively hot due to its dense structure. In response, mattress manufacturers have been quick to find innovative ways to engineer their foams to make them more temperature neutral. This makes it possible for side sleepers to get the benefits of memory foam without overheating at night.
Types of Memory Foam Mattresses for Side Sleepers
As we mentioned above, memory foam mattresses are becoming more and more advanced. This means that side sleepers have a wide range of memory foam mattress types available to choose from. Side sleepers may also wish to consider latex foam, which behaves similarly to memory foam while providing great support. In this section, we’ll look at the different types of memory foam mattresses to help you decide which will give you the best sleep experience.
Traditional memory foam
Traditional memory foam can mold well to the shape of your body, but its closed structure means that it retains heat more easily. If you’re concerned about sleeping hot, you may be better off considering another form of memory foam that’s been specially engineered to sleep cool.
Open-cell memory foam
Open-cell memory foam behaves in a similar way to traditional foam, but its structure has been changed to create tiny air pockets. This means that air can circulate more freely inside the foam, making it more breathable and helping heat to escape during the night. So, open-cell memory foam mattresses don’t sleep as hot as those made from traditional memory foam. It’s also worth noting that open-cell memory foam has a bouncier, more responsive feel than regular memory foam, so you’ll get good pressure relief without deep sinkage. This could make this type of mattress a good option for side sleepers if you want the pressure relief but dislike the sensation of sinking in too deeply or like a little more bounce.
Gel memory foam
This type of memory foam has been infused with heat wicking gel particles, which means you’ll get the benefits and molding of memory foam while sleeping a little cooler. However, some gel memory foam beds sleep cooler than others, so it’s important to check how highly a mattress ranks in terms of sleeping cool if this is of particular concern to you. You should also know that some manufacturers use other heat-wicking infusions in their foams such as copper and graphite, although these are less common.
Why are Memory Foam Mattresses Good For Side Sleepers?
Memory foam mattresses are an ideal choice for side sleepers because they provide excellent pressure relief. When you sleep on your side, pressure can build up in your hips and shoulders and cause pain. This is especially likely to happen if you have a mattress that is too firm for your needs.
Memory foam mattresses relieve pressure by molding to the shape of your body in response to your body heat. This creates a comfortable, cradling sensation that relieves pressure on aching joints. Many people love the ‘sinking in’ sensation of memory foam and find it very comfortable. However, if you don’t like the feeling, you can get around the issue by choosing a memory foam mattress made using open cell technology. These are more responsive and bouncier than regular memory foam mattresses while still giving you the pressure relief that you need for side sleeping.
How to Choose a Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers
Choosing the right memory foam mattress for side sleepers can seem like a daunting task because there is so much choice available. However, all this choice is actually a good thing for consumers because it allows you to find the perfect mattress for your own unique needs.
The best memory foam mattress for side sleepers will be different for every person because everyone has a different idea about what’s comfortable. You also need to take your body weight and various other needs into account. So, instead of looking for the number one memory foam mattress, you should think about choosing the one that’s right for you. In this section, we’ll explain how to go about choosing the perfect memory foam mattress as a side sleeper.
Firmness is probably the number one consideration you need to take into account before settling on a particular mattress. A mattress that is too firm or too soft could cause pain and pressure over time. So, what is the best mattress firmness for side sleepers?
The vast majority of side sleepers will find that a medium memory foam mattress is ideal for their needs. This firmness setting will allow your body to sink in and relieve pressure without compromising on support. However, there are exceptions. People with very low body weights may find that they need a softer mattress to avoid a build-up of pressure around their hips and shoulders. Conversely, people with high body weights may need a medium firm mattress to give them the support they need. However, a firm or extra firm mattress will always feel too hard for side sleepers.
Memory foam mattresses get their support from a dense base layer of polyfoam. It’s important to check that a mattress is highly rated in terms of support before you buy it. Although pressure relief is key when you sleep on your side, it’s also important to make sure that the mattress is supportive enough for good spinal health. The best way to do this is by reading unbiased expert and customer reviews.
Once you’ve found a comfortable mattress, the last thing you want is to have to replace it too early. So, make sure you choose a mattress that’s made from quality materials and is highly durable. You can prolong the life of your mattress by following the manufacturer’s guidance regarding mattress care.
Temperature control may not be high on your radar when it comes to buying a mattress but it’s an important consideration, particularly if you are prone to overheating. Although regular memory foam mattresses tend to sleep hot because of their structure, you can buy plenty of models that have been engineered to sleep cool. Look for mattresses that use open-cell technology, heat-wicking infusions like gel or copper, or feature air channels to increase breathability. Many memory foam mattresses make bold claims about their heat controlling abilities, so it’s important to verify these by reading reviews before you commit.
Motion isolation (the ability of a mattress to dampen movement from one side of the bed to the other) is generally very good in memory foam mattresses. So, this makes them a good option for couples, especially if one of you is a restless or a light sleeper. However, if you buy a hybrid mattress with memory foam comfort layers and a spring support system, motion transfer may be more of an issue, so it’s worth checking this out before you buy.
It’s important to make sure that any mattress is safe before sleeping on it for 7-8 hours every night. For this reason, we recommend selecting a memory foam mattress that’s Certi-Pur or GREENGUARD Gold certified. These certifications prove that the mattress has been made without any chemicals that could be hazardous to human health.
Made in the USA
In addition to certifications, it’s important to make sure that you only buy mattresses from the USA or Canada from a safety point of view. Mattresses made here are subject to stringent safety rules, which means that they are guaranteed to be safe to sleep on. If you buy from abroad, the foams used may be manufactured or treated with chemicals not licensed for use in the USA that could be potentially harmful.
Mattress warranties entitle you to a replacement or repair if you discover a fault in your mattress caused by a manufacturing error. It’s important to look for a warranty of at least 10 years (the industry standard) unless you are buying a very cheap mattress to protect you for its expected lifespan. However, many companies offer much longer warranty periods or even lifetime warranties. It’s also important to check whether the warranty is prorated and check that you are happy with the implications of this. When a warranty is prorated, it means that you will be obliged to pay a portion of the cost of replacement or repair, whereas a non-prorated warranty can be redeemed at the manufacturer’s expense. You should also check exactly what is covered by the warranty terms before you buy it.
A sleep trial allows you to return your mattress for a refund during a set period if you’re unhappy with it. This is especially important if you are buying a mattress online without trying it out first. Sleep trial lengths vary, but we recommend looking for one that is at least 90 days long to give you time to make a decision. You should also check to see if there is a settling in period, which means you are obliged to sleep on the mattress for a certain amount of time before returning. However, it is generally advisable to give yourself at least 30 nights to adjust before deciding your new mattress is wrong for you. Many mattress companies donate unwanted mattresses to good causes instead of sending them to landfill.
Where to Buy a Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers
When you’re shopping for a memory foam mattress for side sleeping, you have the choice of buying online or instore. Many people prefer shopping instore for the obvious reason that it means they can try a mattress out before they buy it. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you will only have a limited choice unless you are prepared to visit multiple stores. As sales professionals in mattress stores usually work on commission, you may also find yourself subjected to hard-sell tactics.
The alternative is buying online, which makes many shoppers understandably nervous. Of course, the main disadvantage of this method of buying is that you will often end up buying a mattress that you haven’t tried in person. On the other hand, you will have access to the whole of the memory foam mattress market and find that it’s much easier to compare your options online. You may also find that you get a better deal. This is because it’s far cheaper for brands to sell their mattresses online than in-store, so they can pass these savings onto their customers. If you decide to buy a mattress online, always make sure that you are happy with the terms and conditions and sleep trial length. Otherwise, you could find yourself with an uncomfortable mattress and no way of returning it.
5 Best Memory Foam Mattresses for Side Sleepers Expert Reviews
Now that you understand why memory foam mattresses are so well-suited to the needs of side sleepers, it’s time to start considering individual brands and models. With so many makes to choose from, consumers can be picky about picking a memory foam bed for side sleeping that suits their needs perfectly.
There are so many great memory foam mattresses out there, but our experts have picked their five favorite products to help make your decision just that little bit easier. In this section, you’ll find various options in a range of constructions and materials, so you should be able to find one that gives you the perfect night’s sleep.
1. Puffy – Best Gel Memory Foam Mattress
Support core: The supportive base of the Puffy mattress is made from 6 inches of dense polyfoam to provide stability and durability while encouraging a good spinal alignment.
Transitional layer: The Puffy’s 2-inch transitional layer is made from temperature-resistant polyfoam that’s denser than the comfort layer. This enhances the mattress’ support and helps you to sleep cool while preventing you from sinking through the comfort layer to the support core.
Gel memory foam comfort layer: The top comfort layer of this mattress is made from 2 inches of soft, low-density memory foam infused with gel particles. This gives deep pressure relief, making it suitable for most side sleepers. The gel infusion can transfer heat away from your body which allows the mattress to sleep cooler than a standard memory foam bed.
Polyester cover: The Puffy’s cover is made from breathable, stain-resistant polyester fabric. The cover can be unzipped, and machine washed for seasonal cleaning. This is an unusual feature for a mattress at this price point and makes it simple to keep your bed fresh and sanitary.
- Medium firmness ideal for most side sleepers
- Deep pressure relief
- Sleeps cool
- Removable and washable cover
- Good motion isolation
- Lifetime warranty
- Made in the USA
- 101-night sleep trial
- Free shipping to the contiguous United States (customers in Hawaii and Alaska will be charged for delivery)
- Some off-gassing
- May not be supportive enough for people with high body weights
2. Nectar Mattress- Best Memory Foam for Side Sleepers
The original Nectar mattress is made by renowned bed manufacturer Nectar Sleep and is one of the best-loved online memory foam mattress models. The Nectar mattress is built to provide a medium firm level of support while still providing the pressure relief that side sleepers need around their hips and shoulders. This firmness setting is generally comfortable for all sleeping positions, making the Nectar mattress a good choice if your partner sleeps in a different position to you. However, side sleepers with low body weights may find the Nectar mattress a little firm. The Nectar mattress usually retails for $888 for a queen-size and comes with two free pillows with a retail value of $150.
Supportive base layer: The Nectar mattress features a high-density polyfoam base layer that provides a good level of spinal support and makes the mattress stable.
Adaptive Hi Core Memory Foam: The next layer of the Nectar mattress enhances its level of support and acts as a transitional layer. This stops your body from sinking through the mattress to the dense core and reduces the sinkage, so you won’t get the deep sinking sensation you would associate with traditional memory foam.
Gel memory foam comfort layer: The top layer of the Nectar mattress is made from adaptable, gel-infused memory foam. This provides deep pressure relief for side sleepers while wicking heat away from your body during the night. This combines with the mattress’s breathable construction to prevent you from sleeping hot at night.
Quilted memory foam cover: The cover is made from a breathable Tencel blend fabric which makes the mattress even more breathable. The cover is quilted with soft memory foam to provide additional pressure relief and a soft and comfortable sleeping surface.
- Good value for money
- Deep pressure relief
- Good spinal support
- Suits all sleeping positions
- Certi-Pur Certified
- Suits all bases and frames including adjustable beds
- 356-night sleep trial
- Forever warranty
- Free shipping and returns
- Sleeps cool
- Good motion isolation
- May feel a little firm for side sleepers with low body weights
3. Plushbeds – Best Plant-Based or Natural Memory Foam
This mattress is made from responsive latex foam instead of memory foam, providing a hypoallergenic and non-toxic sleep surface that can still relieve hip and shoulder pressure for side sleepers. Of all the mattresses on our list, the Botanical Bliss mattress is the most customizable. It is specially designed to allow you to change the firmness yourself at home.
When you buy the Botanical Bliss mattress, the first step is to choose an initial firmness setting. It comes in medium and medium firm, but we generally recommend medium for side sleepers unless you have a very high body weight. The mattress also comes in a choice of a 9″, 10″ or 12″ profile. The Botanical Bliss mattress in a King or California King size also has the option for split firmness if you share your bed with someone with different sleep needs.
Adjustable firmness: The Botanical Bliss mattress is made from layers of responsive and pressure-relieving organic latex. This material is supportive while providing exceptional pressure relief for side sleepers. Although your mattress will be shipped arranged to your selected firmness, you can rearrange the layers to customize the feel of your mattress more closely by unzipping the cover. The 9 and 10-inch versions of the Botanical Bliss have 3 layers of organic latex, while the thickest version contains 4 layers. This means that you can create more combinations with a wider choice of firmness options if you select the 12-inch model.
Organic New Zealand wool: Underneath the cover of the Botanical Bliss mattress, you will find a layer of organic New Zealand wool to help you sleep cool and wick away moisture and warmth during the night.
Organic cotton cover: The Botanical Bliss’ top cover is made from sustainable, eco-friendly cotton knit fabric. This cover has moisture-wicking properties and is designed to provide maximum breathability, helping to keep you at a comfortable, neutral temperature while you sleep.
- Customizable feel
- Excellent pressure relief
- Organic, natural and eco-friendly materials
- Sleeps cool
- Split firmness available in some sizes
- GREENGUARD Gold Certified
- Free delivery and returns
- 100-night sleep trial
- Three thickness options
- 25-year warranty
- Relatively expensive
4. Lull Mattress
The Lull mattress has an all-foam construction and a medium feel. The overall mattress thickness is 10 inches, which makes it ideal for people with a light or average body weight who sleep on their side as it can conform closely to your body to provide deep pressure relief around the shoulders and hips. However, it is unlikely to be supportive enough for people with higher body weights. At just $949 for a queen-size, the Lull mattress offers customers very good value for money.
Dense support core: The Lull mattress features a 7-inch thick layer of dense polyfoam in the base layer to provide spinal support and stability.
Transitional layer: The next layer of the Lull mattress is made from 1-5 inches of neutral-feel polyfoam. This stops your body from sinking through to the base layer and gives a more responsive sensation, so the feeling you get sleeping on the Lull mattress is somewhere between polyfoam and memory foam.
Comfort layer: The top comfort layer is made from 1.5 inches of adaptable memory foam that can contour to the shape of your body to relieve pressure and provide a soft, comfortable sleep surface. This is infused with gel to help wick away body heat.
Soft cover: The top cover of the Lull mattress is made from a breathable polyester and rayon blend fabric. This can be removed but it isn’t suitable for machine washing, so you’ll have to spot clean any spills or stains.
- Deep pressure relief
- Medium firmness ideal for side sleepers with low or average body weights
- Certi-Pur Certified
- 10-year warranty
- Good motion isolation
- Temperature neutral
- Good value for money
- Free shipping to the contiguous United States
- 100-night sleep trial
- Does not actively sleep cool like some comparable products
- Not supportive enough for people with high body weights
5. Novosbed Mattress
The Novosbed is a breathable, 11-inch thick memory foam mattress that provides a good balance of pressure relief and support. The Novosbed is available in three basic firmness settings of soft, medium and firm. We recommend the soft setting for side sleepers with low body weights who prefer a deeper sinking sensation and the medium for side sleepers of any weight. However, Novosbed offers an innovative Comfort + service which allows you to adjust the firmness of your bed to perfectly suit your own needs. If you wish to change the feel of your mattress, Novosbed will send you a free Comfort Adjustment Kit. The Novosbed retails at $999 for a queen-size, making it excellent value for money.
Support zone: The base layer of the Novosbed mattress is made from dense polyfoam. This gives the mattress its support and spreads your weight evenly across the surface of the mattress.
Transitional layer: The transition layer of the Novosbed is made from memory foam that can conform to your body and relieve pressure while bridging the gap between the comfort layers and the support core.
Comfort layer: The top comfort layer is made from memory foam made using open cell technology. This gives it an airy structure that allows heat to escape, so the Novosbed sleeps cooler than a traditional memory foam mattress. This layer also provides deep pressure relief and cushioning for increased comfort.
Breathable Tencel cover: The top cover of the Novosbed is made from Tencel, a highly breathable fabric that helps with temperature control. It is eco-friendly and can be easily removed and machine washed. This is an impressive feature for such an affordable mattress and makes it easy to keep your bed in a sanitary condition.
- Deep pressure relief
- Sleeps cool
- 3 firmness settings
- Customizable firmness
- Removable and machine washable cover
- Compatible with all bases including adjustable beds
- Free shipping and returns
- 120-night sleep trial
- 15-year warranty
- Significant off-gassing
It’s important to make sure that you pick an appropriate mattress for your sleeping position. As a side sleeper, you could find that your mattress puts painful pressure on your shoulders and hips if you pick the wrong one. To help you understand as much as possible about choosing the perfect mattress for side sleeping, we’ve included some of our top FAQs answered by our team of experts.
Q: Are memory foam mattresses good for side sleepers?
A: Memory foam mattresses are a great choice for side sleepers because they can conform to the shape of your body to relieve pressure, especially around the shoulders and hips which are usually problem areas in this position. Many side sleepers find that a memory foam mattress is more comfortable than a traditional innerspring and helps reduce pain and discomfort.
Q: Is memory foam better for side sleepers?
A: Many side sleepers report that memory foam mattresses reduce pressure on their hips and shoulders more effectively than other mattress types. However, it’s important to remember that comfort is subjective, so what feels good to one side sleeper may not for another. So, you should use your own knowledge of what feels comfortable for you when choosing a mattress type.
Q: How firm should a mattress be if you sleep on your side?
A: Most side sleepers prefer a medium soft or medium mattress. This is because mattresses of this firmness allow the side of your body to sink in comfortably and relieve pressure. A firmer mattress is likely to feel too hard and lead to discomfort around your hips and shoulders. However, if you have a higher body weight, you may find a medium firm mattress more comfortable because it will provide extra support.
Q: Do memory foam mattresses smell?
A: Memory foam mattresses release a smell known as ‘off-gassing’ when you first unpack them. This is caused by the chemicals used when making the foams. However, it doesn’t pose a risk to your health. Many people find the smell very unpleasant, but it should dissipate after a few days if you air the mattress out thoroughly. If you are particularly sensitive to smell, it may be worth checking this out before you buy, because some memory foam mattresses off-gas more than others.
Q: Do memory foam mattresses sleep hot?
A: Traditional memory foam mattresses sleep hot because they have a dense structure. This means that they retain heat more easily than mattresses made from other materials. However, you can still get the benefits of memory foam without overheating by selecting a mattress specially designed to sleep cool. Mattresses made using open cell technology or heat wicking materials like gel or copper are good options.
Q: How much do memory foam mattresses for side sleepers cost?
A: The answer to this really depends on the model you buy. On average, you can expect to spend around $900 on a queen-size, with a usual price range of $600-$1200. However, you can buy budget-friendly memory foam mattresses for much less than this, although you probably shouldn’t expect anything too durable for less than $600. On the other end of the scale, some luxury brands sell premium memory foam mattresses with prices going into the thousands.
Q: Should I consider a memory foam hybrid mattress if I sleep on my side?
A: These types of mattresses combine memory foam comfort layers with an innerspring core, giving you the adaptability of memory foam with the bounce and support of springs. They can be a good option for side sleepers who want the best of both worlds. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that hybrid mattresses are generally more expensive than most memory foam beds. It’s also important to check that any hybrid mattress you’re considering buying provides good motion isolation if you share your bed with a partner.
While finding the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers can feel like a tall order, it should be a much simpler process if you follow the advice and recommendations in this guide. Whatever your needs and budget, you should be able to find a memory foam mattress that’s comfortable and supportive. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a memory foam mattress with an array of luxurious features, especially if you’re prepared to shop online.
Before you commit to buying a memory foam mattress for side sleeping, always do your research. We recommend comparing a range of memory foam mattresses at a similar price point to make sure you’re getting the best model possible for your money. It’s also a good idea to read a range of unbiased user and expert reviews like the ones here at Sleep Aim to make sure your mattress lives up to expectations.