Find the right combination of comfort and support with our pick of the best mattresses for sleeping on your side
Wondering whether your dream mattress is the best one for side sleepers? It goes without saying that the right mattress for you will largely depend on what position you tend to sleep in, whether it be your back, front, side or a combination of all three.
The mattress market is vast, and the amount of choice can be dizzying for anyone, but if you’re the type of person who likes to sleep on their side, then you might find it difficult to get the right level of comfort from your mattress. Too firm and you could put undue tension on your hips, arms and shoulders. Too soft and your body won’t get the support it needs, especially if you regularly sleep on your front and back too.
Side sleepers are in a particularly tricky situation here, but we’re here to help. We’ve put together this list of the best mattresses for sleeping on your side, as well as a short buyer’s guide, to help the side sleepers among you choose a mattress that is just right.
How to choose the best mattress for side sleepers
What level of firmness should I look out for?
As a general guideline, you will want to look for a medium or soft mattress if you regularly sleep on your side. As a side sleeper, you put more pressure on your hips and shoulders, and a mattress that’s too firm won’t be able to accommodate this, and you may even wake with pins and needles among other discomfort. On the other hand, a slightly softer mattress with more give will mould to the contours of your body, while keeping your spine aligned.
How should I take my build into account?
Naturally, the more weight applied to your mattress, the more it will sink. So, if you’re on the heavier side, you may be fine with a medium-firm – or in some cases even a firm – mattress.
What’s most important is that there are enough comfort layers for your build. If you have a small frame, you will definitely want to look for something with plenty of give in its top layers – look for deep soft foam layers as you find in the Nectar mattress – but if you’re of larger stature, then you may find that you can get away with thinner comfort layers, especially if the foundation isn’t excessively firm.
Is there anything else to consider?
If you get on well with your mattress apart from it being a bit too firm, mattress toppers offer an easy way of adding an extra layer of comfort without such a significant outlay as buying a new mattress. If that sounds like you, we suggest checking out our list of the best mattress toppers that you can buy.
Before we get on with our list, it’s also important to mention that since there’s no industry standard regarding just how soft a “soft” mattress is, there will be discrepancies between brands. With that in mind, it’s worth highlighting that the trial periods offered by most bed-in-a-box brands are a great way to try a mattress for yourself without any financial risk.
How we test mattresses for side sleepers
While we test all of the mattresses we review by sleeping on them, there are a number of important factors we look out for as we do so. Comfort and support are the obvious merits of a good mattress, but we also take in consideration firmness and temperature control, as well as value for money. For instance, some mattresses (particularly all-foam ones) will feel warmer than others and are less suited to those prone to overheating.
Firmness is particularly important when recommending a mattress for side sleepers. As we’ve already said above, you want something that will be able to accommodate your hips and shoulders, keeping your spine aligned without letting you sink too deep. And it’s important to bear in mind that the base on which you put your mattress – whether that be a divan, solid or sprung slatted frame – will have an effect on how the mattress feels. We explain this in a bit more detail in our best beds buying guide.
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The best mattresses for side sleepers you can buy in 2023
1. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: Best mattress for a long trial period
Price when reviewed: From £949 (single) | Check prices at NectarBuilt from three layers of foam, it’s the Nectar’s top visco memory foam layer that makes it noticeably softer than rivals the Otty Hybrid and Eve Original, and therefore better for side sleeping. It’s still got a very supportive base layer, but its top is soft enough to sink into.
Indeed, Nectar’s soft foam layer is 90mm deep, so it allows your body to sink a substantial amount before coming up against much resistance. What’s more, we found that this layer softened further as the bed warmed up, making it comfortable and cosy for sleeping on your side.
The really standout benefit of Nectar, however, is its 365-night trial. In other words, you get a full year of sleeping on it before you need to decide if it’s the right mattress for you. If you’re not happy with it for whatever reason, Nectar will take it back and give you a full refund. It’s a great perk, though it’s worth mentioning that Nectar is no longer alone in offering it. Bed-in-a-box rival Eve also offers customers a year-long trial period with its mattresses.
Read our full Nectar review for details
|Three-layer (bottom layer 160mm seven-zone supportive foam; middle layer 50mm soft “visco” memory foam; top layer 40mm breathable “visco” foam)
|Single to super king, available online only
|365-night trial; forever warranty
2. Emma Original: Best for couples
Price when reviewed: From £311 (single) | Check prices at EmmaUPDATE: Since publishing our review, Expert Reviews has noticed a recent influx of negative customer reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot, with many customers complaining of delays to shipping and a lack of communication over when deliveries will happen. According to Emma Sleep, these delays have been caused by factors “not under [the brand’s] control”, and a spokesperson said that the process of transitioning “order management and fulfilment platforms” has led to these issues. We’ve also been told that resolving these issues is a top priority for Emma Sleep and the company is expecting to resolve the issues in the coming weeks. We will be sure to bring you more information as we receive it.
The Original was Emma’s first 100% memory foam mattress. Much like the Nectar, it is made from three layers of foam and we found it notably softer than hybrids from Otty and Eve.
Emma claims that it’s “perfect for all types of sleepers”, and indeed we found it notably versatile, offering comfort and support regardless of how you sleep. For this reason, the Original is a great mattress for couples who are struggling to compromise on firmness. At 200 nights, Emma’s trial isn’t quite as long as Nectar’s, but it’s still plenty long enough to make a decision as to whether it’s the right bed for both you and your partner.
Read our full Emma Original review for details
|Three-layer (bottom layer 195mm dense support foam; middle layer 20mm memory foam; top layer 25mm open-cell foam)
|Single to super king (including EU sizes), available online and at some DFS and Carpetright stores
|200-night trial with money-back guarantee
3. Silentnight Studio Eco mattress: A comfortable budget choice
Price when reviewed: From £369 (single) | Check price at SilentnightSilentnight only gives you a 60-day comfort guarantee with its mattress, which is strikingly shorter than the other options on our list – and, it’s worth mentioning, that this is only valid when you order directly from Silentnight. That said, you’re not making such an investment, with the Studio Eco starting at just £369 for a single mattress.
The mattress – while not as plush as some – is a good option if you’re on a tight budget. Indeed, side sleepers will be pleased to hear that, although it contains no foam, its “eco comfort” top layer offers decent levels of comfort.
Read our full Studio Eco review for details
|Recycled synthetic materials and pocket springs
|Rotate once/month for the first few months
|Single to king, arrives rolled and vacuum-packed, without a box
|5-year warranty, when ordered direct from Silentnight