The best mattresses for side sleepers

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best mattress for side sleepers

The Insider Pick:

  • Finding the perfect mattress is tough for side sleepers. We've done the research and some testing to find the best mattresses for side sleepers. The fully customizable Helix mattress is our top pick because you can actually design it to suit your specific needs.

Side sleepers, it’s a tough life we’ve chosen. Or rather, a tough life that’s chosen us. Finding a mattress that allows us to attain that ever-elusive good night’s sleep may be difficult, but it’s certainly necessary. After all, if back sleepers and even stomach sleepers can find a way to catch some z’s, why can’t we?

Perhaps the biggest challenge that I’ve faced in my side sleeping days is finding a mattress that is firm enough to support my contours, but soft enough to avoid feeling pressure — particularly in my hip and shoulder. And while that mattress may feel like a unicorn, I’m here to bear some good news: There are, in fact, quite a few great mattresses for side sleepers that don't cost a fortune. We've put together this buying guide with the best ones you can buy based on research and testing.

When considering a side sleeping mattress, you should keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, you’ll want your bed to help with spinal alignment. There’s nothing worse than waking up with terrible back pain because you’ve somehow curled up into a rather unstrategic ball during the night.

You’ll also need to find a mattress that alleviates pressure. I often find that I toss and turn because my mattress isn’t forgiving enough on my hip, or that my shoulder is sore because my mattress is just a little too firm.

That means that the ideal mattress for us side sleepers is likely a bit softer than you might otherwise want. But be sure that the mattress isn’t too supple. After all, you’ll need something that will support you across a range of sleeping positions. It’s likely that even though you start off on your slide, you ultimately fall asleep on your back or on your stomach, and as such, you’ll want a mattress that is as dynamic and flexible as you are.

Regardless of which one you choose from our favorites, though, we’re confident that you’ll get a good night’s sleep. And if you find that these mattresses don’t work for you, rest assured that they come with a sleep trial so you can take these beds for a test run before making a long-term commitment.

While the Helix mattress is our favorite mattress for side sleepers overall, you may also consider the Bear mattress for athletes, the Nectar mattress for its contouring capabilities, the Casper Wave mattress for spinal adjustment, and the Leesa mattress for its great design.

The best mattress for side sleepers overall


Why you'll love it: Given that Helix literally designs a bed to suit your particular needs, it’s no surprise that you’ll be able to get an excellent night’s sleep out of this customized mattress.

Helix believes that when it comes to your mattress, there is no such thing as one size fits all. And for side sleepers, that’s excellent news. Buying a mattress from this online company starts with a quiz and ends with a customized mattress. 

The quiz asks basic questions about your height and weight, as well as how many people are normally in your bed and what size you’d prefer. But then, it also gets into whether or not you toss and turn at night, your sleeping position, pressure points, whether or not you feel hot in the night, how firm your current mattress is, and how much you like it. From there, Helix begins to create a mattress that suits your body and your sleeping preferences.

I found that the Helix is particularly useful for side sleepers because of its relative softness. For years, I was convinced that I was a fan of firm mattresses, only to find that the firmer the mattress, the more pain I felt on my pressure points. But Helix’s version of “firm” seems to be a bit less severe than other mattresses. That means that even if you’re as overzealous as I am, you’ll likely end up with a mattress that won’t cause you to wake up stiff or in pain.

The Helix also features a Dynamic Foam top layer, which responds quickly to your movement so you never feel like you’re sinking too far into the mattress (which could also affect your alignment). And if you’re a hot sleeper, this layer of foam works with the microcoils of the mattress to aid in heat dissipation.  

Another important thing to note: Helix can actually personalize a mattress for two people, which means that if you and your partner don’t have the same preferences when it comes to your bed, you can still lay on the same mattress. You’ll have to stick to your respective lanes quite literally, of course, but at the very least, it allows you to comfortably share a bed.

Folks on Amazon have been big fans of the sleep quiz, with one five-star review noting, “Trust the quiz and go with it's recommendation.” Another wrote, “Amazing bed!! Absolutely love it. I was skeptical at first but it was probably one of my best purchases this year.”

Pros: Total customization allows for a soft (yet not too soft) mattress, plush feel, great for couples who have different sleeping positions

Cons: Some customers report that the Helix mattress does not age particularly well

Shop the Helix mattress collection starting at $600

The best mattress for side sleeping athletes

Bear Mattress

Why you'll love it: The memory foam of the Bear mattress combined with Celliant technology, makes this a great bed for active folks looking for some rest and recovery on their sides.

If your muscles are already tired and sore from hours of sports practice and training, the last thing you need is a mattress that leaves you even tighter than before. Bear is here to ensure that doesn’t happen. The mattress is made of a high-density memory foam, which is quick to respond. Because it’s relatively soft, it certainly helps to relieve pressure points, and as one happy buyer noted on Mattress Guides, the Bear “doesn’t cause too much shoulder or neck tension.”

Sleepopolis also created a pressure map to visualize what sleeping in different positions on the Bear did for the body, and happily, there were no dangerous red zones for folks sleeping on their sides.

The real differentiating factor of this mattress, however, lies in its use of Celliant technology, a relatively new innovation that is rarely found in mattresses. All of Bear’s mattresses are woven with Celliant’s FDA Determined Infrared Yarn Technology, which claims to “harness your body’s natural energy to aid recovery time and overall well-being.”

As per Celliant’s own website, the material applies a blend of minerals and “proprietary ingredients” in order to enhance tissue oxygen levels, improve athletic performance, and perhaps most importantly, improve sleep quality.

While this sounds a bit like black magic, don’t be so quick to write these claims off. Folks at the Sleep Judge attested to “waking up feeling a sense of rejuvenation” that was unlike other experiences. I also found that my rest on a Bear mattress seemed to yield better results than sleeping on other products — at the very least, it was easier to go to kickboxing in the morning.

Celliant technology also doesn’t seem to result in any overheating (despite its leveraging of infrared energy). In fact, because the mattress utilizes graphite gel infused memory foam, I found that my body temperature was quite well-regulated, and I didn’t have to kick off all the covers in the middle of the night.

Nearly 3,000 buyers have given the Bear mattress a five-star review on the company website, and I certainly agreed with this assessment.

Pros: Celliant technology, memory foam support and softness, accessible price point, 10 year limited warranty

Cons: While some side sleepers love memory foam, it’s not for everyone. Some reviewers also noted that the bed could be a bit too firm.  

Shop the Bear mattress collection starting at $540

The best contouring mattress for side sleepers


Why you'll love it: The gel memory foam of the Nectar makes it a versatile mattress that conforms to the contours of your body to relieve pressure.

Some of the best things in life have layers, and the Nectar mattress is among them. Nectar’s mattresses boast an impressive five layers, topped with a Tencel Cooling cover, the same material that is often used in workout apparel and heralded for its sweat-wicking capabilities.

But heat dissipation aside, the Nectar is a fantastic mattress for folks who have sensitive pressure points in their hips and shoulders. That’s thanks to the mattress’ layers of memory foam and contouring gel layers. Together, these two materials create a soft yet supportive mattress.

So what exactly are these various layers comprised of? Once you get past the Tencel cover, you’ll find a quilted pad of gel memory foam. The next layer is Nectar’s patented LushFoam, which promises to distribute weight and heat evenly across your body. Then, there’s the Hi Core adaptive foam, which seems to be the key to Nectar’s ability to support your weight, and finally, there’s a base layer of high-density foam, which contributes to the mattress’ overall stability.

When I first lay down on the Nectar, I felt as though I were sinking into my bed in quite a luxurious manner. That’s thanks largely to the one-inch quilted top layer, which is the first stage of the mattress’ pressure relief. There’s actually also another inch of gel memory foam that is key to the contouring aspect of the mattress. I found that the Nectar conformed well to the shape of my body, rather than fighting against it (and my sleeping habits).

Underneath these layers is a three-inch layer of memory foam, which Sleepopolis notes is “slow to respond to pressure,” which means that you won’t meet with a whole lot of resistance when you sink into the mattress for a long night’s rest. Underneath these three inches is yet another layer of memory foam, which again adds some pressure relief.

In essence, you’re getting a bed whose whole purpose is to ensure that you don’t wake up with pain points, which is all I’ve ever asked for in a bed. As SleepAdvisor says, Nectar “contours to curves and reduces pressure, which works wonders for people who tend to sleep on their sides.”

Pros: Provides great pressure relief (particularly to the hips and shoulders), bed bug resistant, great value   

Cons: Some customers have noted that the mattress sleeps too hot

Shop the Nectar mattress collection starting at $375

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

SEE ALSO: The best mattress protectors you can buy

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  1. Hey look at this Bear Mattress review ,here's said that isn't for a side sleepers

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