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Best Mattress For Side Sleepers 2021

Last Updated: July 22, 2021

Some people prefer to sleep flat on their fronts or backs, whereas others prefer to sleep on one side. Most side sleepers usually have a preference between the left and right sides. However, regardless of which side, side sleeping inevitably puts added pressure on the shoulders and hips.

The best mattress for side sleepers is one that will provide the perfect balance between support and necessary cushioning to keep the spine correctly aligned. An incorrect mattress may lead to shoulder and back pain and many nights of restless sleeping. It is essential to do your research to suit your personal needs and preferences.

(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs In Conclusion)

MATTRESSTYPEFIRMNESSTRIAL & WARRANTYPRICE
Emma Original mattressMemory foamMedium200 Nights
10 Years
£449
Brook + Wilde mattressHybridSoft, Medium, or Firm100 Nights
10 Years
£599
Nectar Memory Foam mattressMemory foamMedium-firm365 Nights
Forever Years
£466.65
Simba Hybrid mattressHybridMedium200 Nights
10 Years
£454.30
Dreams Annison mattressPocket sprungMediumNA Nights
1 Year
£639
Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000 mattressPocket sprungMedium-Soft60 Nights exchange
5 Years
£649
Prices are referring to the smallest or single size. Information may be subject to change, please check with the brand/manufacturer before purchasing.

1. Emma Mattress

emma mattress
(Image credit: Emma)
HIGHLIGHTSSUITABILITY
• Airgocell foam
• HRX foam support
• Made in the UK
• Those who prefer reduced motion transfer
• Hot sleepers
• People looking for pressure relief

The Emma Mattress has received excellent customer reviews and has been praised highly for side sleepers. It has won numerous awards, making it one of the most popular choices in the market today. It is designed to support all types of sleepers and has proved very popular for side sleepers, potentially making it a good choice.

The first layer is composed of Airgocell foam which aids in regulating temperature and facilitates air movement around the mattress. The second layer consists of visco-elastic memory foam that helps with the even distribution of body weight and cushioning across the mattress, which is very important for side sleepers. The third layer consists of HRX foam which provides side sleepers with sufficient support and ensures that the spine is correctly aligned. If you share a bed, this is also the layer that could leave you undisturbed from your partner's movements.

(Video credit: Emma) *Based on Emma Hybrid Mattress

If you buy directly from Emma they will deliver to your door and help with the recycling of your old mattress. They offer a 200-night trial and a 10-year guarantee. Also, worth noting, we have added a Best Emma Discount comparison to help you get the best deal.

2. Brook + Wilde Lux Mattress

brook and wilde mattress side
(Image credit: Brook + Wilde)
HIGHLIGHTSSUITABILITY
• Wave technology
• 3000 pocket springs in two different sizes
• 100-night free trial
• People who prefer to sleep cool
• Sleepers looking for cushioning and pressure relief
• Those who prefer a hybrid mattress

The Brook + Wilde Lux Mattress mattress is available in soft, medium, firm, and made to order and might be a good choice for side sleepers. We would recommend the medium or soft version, as this should offer sufficient support to keep the spine aligned. It has received an award and great feedback from customers.

This mattress uses “wave technology” foam support to help maximise comfort and efficacy. There are pocket springs (2000 above and 1000 below) on either side of this foam layer to provide sufficient support. Above this layer are the breathable mattress cover and the cooling memory foam layer. The base consists of support foam. These combined layers have the potential to provide a good balance of support and comfort that may make this mattress a good option for side sleepers.

brook wilde side sleeper mattress
(Image credit: Brook + Wilde)

If you’re in the market for something even more advanced, have a look at the Brook + Wilde Elite Mattress. Brook + Wilde offer a 100-night free trial and a 10-year guarantee. They can deliver the mattress to your door, and help recycle your old one.

3. Nectar Mattress

£300 OFF
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Nectar Discount Voucher Code
Enjoy £300 Off any mattress T&Cs apply.
Enjoy £300 Off any mattress T&Cs apply. Show Less
nectar mattress
(Image credit: Nectar)
HIGHLIGHTSSUITABILITY
• Quilted cooling cover
• 365-night trial
• Forever warranty
• People who prefer a medium feel
• Sleepers who enjoy memory foam
• Individuals who value sustainability

This memory foam mattress from Nectar has been reviewed highly by its buyers and might be a good potential choice for side sleepers. It has received several awards and a thumbs-up from several publications.

In terms of support, it falls between soft and firm. It also offers sufficient comfort that creates a good combination for side sleepers. The top part consists of an adaptive cover that is made to draw the heat from your body and promotes air circulation, facilitating optimal temperature regulation. Underneath is the open cell high resilience foam layer that helps to dissipate heat and moisture. There is then a layer of memory foam responsible for support and necessary cushioning of the body. Lastly, there is a supportive base.

nectar mattress side view
(Image credit: Nectar)

This mattress is designed to work with multiple bed frames, so you shouldn’t encounter any problems whether you have slats, a divan, a platform, or any other style of bed. Nectar offers a 365-night home trial (the highest in the mattress with a trial market) and a forever warranty.

(Video credit: Nectar)

4. Simba Mattress

35% OFF
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Simba Discount Voucher Code
35% off on orders over £300 T&Cs apply.
35% off on orders over £300 T&Cs apply. Show Less
simba mattress
(Image credit: Simba)
HIGHLIGHTSSUITABILITY
• Patented Aerocoil spring layer
• Open cell foam layer
• 10-year guarantee
• Those who prefer a hybrid
• People who prefer British products
• Sleepers who require edge support

With over 50,000 reviews to its name, it is clear that this Simba mattress is well-loved by many consumers. This is a hybrid mattress that provides both the support and cushioning required by side sleepers. At the top lies the breathable sleeping surface facilitating optimal temperature regulation. Next is an open-cell foam layer which provides the initial support. Then there is the Aerocoil spring-comfort layer giving these mattresses ample cushioning and comfort. Lastly, there is another foam layer and a support base to help spread the impact of a body across the mattress, and further promote a good balance of comfort and support needed by side sleepers.

simba side view mattress
(Image credit: Simba)

There is a slightly more luxurious version called the Simba Pro Mattress which may be worth a look at if your pockets allow. This mattress is highly spoken of by various organisations and is the recipient of several awards. Simba is made in the UK and can be used with various beds, such as slats or divans. It comes with a 10-year guarantee and a 200-night trial.

(Video credit: Simba)

5. Annison Pocket Sprung Mattress

Up to 60% OFF
dreams discount code voucher uk
Dreams Discount Voucher Code
Up to 60% OFF selected items | T&Cs apply.
Up to 60% OFF selected items | T&Cs apply. Show Less
annison pocket sprung mattress
(Image credit: Dreams)
HIGHLIGHTSSUITABILITY
• 800 individually wrapped pocket springs
• Quilted finish with soft-touch knitted fabric
• Made in the UK
• People capable of rotating the mattress as required
• Sleepers who enjoy a medium feel
• Those who require movement isolation from a partner

The Annison Mattress is an affordable option available in a variety of sizes. It is an upgrade to one of their best-selling mattresses in the range and is believed to work well for sleeping on your side.

This mattress is designed to distribute the sleepers' weight evenly as they rest and isolate the movement from a partner. The Annison is composed of 800 individually wrapped pocket springs, which provide plenty of support. There is also a thick layer of memory foam which helps with support and provides the necessary pressure relief for side sleepers.

Its recommended that you regularly rotate this mattress to help give you optimal comfort and efficacy. It should be turned weekly for the first three months and once a month thereafter (handles provided to facilitate this). It may seem a lot compared to other mattresses, but it is claimed that this will help you adjust and ensure you are getting the best from your mattress.

Buying The Annison Mattress from Dreams offers free delivery and mattress recycling services. It also comes with a 1-year guarantee.

6. Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000 Mattress

Latest Discount
silentnight discount code voucher uk
Silentnight Discount Voucher Code
T&Cs apply.
T&Cs apply. Show Less
silentnight geltex medium mattress
(Image credit: Silentnight)
HIGHLIGHTSSUITABILITY
• Ultraflex 1000 mini springs
• Micropocket spring system (2000 springs)
• 5-year guarantee
• Those with a more flexible budget
• Sleepers who tend to overheat
• People who enjoy a medium-soft feel

Silentnight is one of the most well-known mattress brands in the UK, and they are the go-to for many consumers looking for a quality mattress. Their Geltex Ultra 3000 might be a good option for side sleepers.

The top part of this mattress consists of a combination of Geltex and Ultraflex. Ultraflex is a layer of 1000 mini-springs that provide support. The Geltex covers this layer and allows for air circulation and temperature regulation. Underneath there is the Silentnight Mirapocket spring system. This system contains 2000 individually nested springs that will respond to your body as you move.

This mattress measures just over 14” deep and might be a great potential option for side sleepers who need a good balance of support and sufficient cushioning. When you buy from Silentnight directly, you will get free delivery to your door, and you can arrange to have your old mattress taken away. They offer a 5-year guarantee.

How Sleeping On Your Side Affects Your Sleep

It has been well documented that sleeping on your side, as well as being the predominant sleeping position✓ in adults, has many health benefits. Interestingly, it has been shown✓ that children sleep equally as much on the side, back, and front, but tend to spend more time in the side position as they get older. This preference also increases with an increased body mass index (BMI)✓.

Health Benefits Of Side Sleeping Include:

  • Opened airways and reduced snoring. Restricted airway passages or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can cause snoring, as well as lead to more serious conditions like hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Reduction in heartburn/acid reflux. Studies✓ show this to be true when sleeping on your left side, specifically. Sleeping on the right side has been shown to worsen the problem!
  • Safety of unborn baby✓. Well, research✓ is varied on this one. However, doctors do generally suggest sleeping on the left side, especially as time goes on.
  • Correct spinal alignment. This is of course dependent on your body and spine getting the proper support where needed.

Spine Alignment

Back pain and other issues can result from the spine deviating from a neutral (straight) position. Side sleeping with legs straight is believed to be the second-best sleeping position for your neck and back (second to lying flat on your back). A contouring mattress will ensure both the best cushioning and support in the right places so that the spine is maintained in this neutral position. A higher loft pillow for the head and a thin firm pillow between the legs will also help to keep the spine aligned.

Side Sleepers With Shoulder Pain

One disadvantage to side sleeping is the possibility of shoulder pain. Whilst with the correct support in both pillow and mattress, side sleeping shouldn’t be the cause of shoulder pain, it may exacerbate an existing injury or problem.

Side Sleepers With Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain as a result of side sleeping is most often the result of the shoulder collapsing into the mattress as well as pushing up towards the neck, causing misalignment. This puts additional stress on the area but can be avoided with a pillow high enough to keep the head level with the shoulders, and a mattress firm enough so that the shoulder does not sink in too deep but soft enough so that there is sufficient cushioning.

As for existing issues, if not sleeping on the problematic side is impossible, and problems persist, it may be a good idea to try a thick mattress topper best suited for side sleepers.

Side Sleepers With Back Problems

As with shoulder pain, side sleeping shouldn’t be the cause of back pain. A good way to test if your mattress is to blame is to pay attention to when exactly you are experiencing the pain. If it is the first thing in the morning, and a 15-30 minute stretch alleviates the pain somewhat, then it’s a good sign that your mattress may be the problem. Battling to fall asleep or waking up frequently during the night may also point in this direction.

Side Sleepers With Back Problems

A mattress that does not contour to the shape of the body or provide enough support in necessary places can result in the misalignment of the vertebral column and pressure on the spinal joints. This may cause back problems for side sleepers or exacerbate existing back problems. The best mattress for side sleepers with back problems is one that will offer the correct balance of softness and even full-body support.

Fun fact!
A study in the UK showed 36% of people sleep on their left side. These ‘Lefties’ are likely to be between the age of 45-54 years and are also more likely than any other sleeping position to be degree-educated.  The study showed 34% of people sleep on their right side. ‘Righties’ are more likely to be between the age of 35-44 years, heavier smokers than any other sleep position, and big caffeine fans.

Which Mattress Firmness Is Best For Side Sleepers

Mattress firmness is usually rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the softest, and ten being the most firm, like a futon. For side sleepers, the mattress firmness will determine how much cushioning there is under the
pressure points.

  • A “medium” (somewhere between a soft and medium-firm) firmness is typically best for side sleepers as it offers both equal amounts of pressure relief and necessary support.
  • Bear in mind that a “medium” may differ depending on the brand so best to look at a range between a 5 and 7 on the scale.
  • Other factors for side sleepers to take into account when deciding on mattress firmness include personal preference, body weight, body type, and mattress type.

Which Type Of Mattress Is Best For Side Sleepers

There are several types of mattresses on the market today, each having its pros and cons for side sleepers. The best mattress for side sleepers will offer the perfect combination of cushioning and support in the right places. The most commonly available mattresses are listed below. It’s important to understand the differences so that you can make the most informed decision for your purchase. It’s also important to note that specific mattress models across brands may vary slightly in materials, construction, and unique features.

What Type Of Mattress Is Best For Side Sleepers
  • Innerspring: These mattresses have a support base of steel coils with thin layers of foam or latex, or both, on top. Innerspring mattresses are generally firmer, but can be suitable for side sleepers as long as there are sufficient layers of cushioning to offset the stiffness of the springs.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid mattress uses two types of support structures, typically an innerspring support system, and memory foam or latex support system. The combination of these systems essentially results in a “best of both worlds” mattress, offering contouring comfort, stable body support, pressure relief, and proper alignment for your spine. Hybrids can therefore be a good alternative to innerspring mattresses for side sleepers due to this mattress’s ability to relieve pressure as well as provide enough cushioning.
  • Latex: A latex mattress is constructed with either natural or synthetic latex. These mattresses are known for their soft, springy feel, as well as their durability. They are typically made from foam and latex, and can be ideal for side sleepers as, like foam, latex conforms closely to the body, relieving pressure, and providing adequate cushioning of certain areas.
  • Airbed: An airbed mattress is an inflatable mattress usually made from vinyl, plastic, or rubber. The firmness of these mattresses can be adjusted by filling with, or removing air. Adjustable air mattresses enable you to adjust and customise your comfort. For side sleepers who aren’t sure what their preferred firmness is, or would just like a change, this mattress offers customisable firmness. Models that allow for adjustability in different zones may be advantageous too as side sleepers can adjust the firmness under the shoulders and hips to keep the spine aligned.
  • Foam: A foam mattress is usually made using two types of foam – polyfoam, in the base support layer, and memory foam for the top comfort layers. Memory foam mattresses contour closely to the body cushioning areas like shoulders and hips, providing the comfort and pressure relief necessary for the correct spinal alignment. Side sleepers who opt for this mattress should make sure they choose one with a substantial support layer so that the mattress doesn’t sink and sag.

Accessories Important For Sleeping On Your Side

The addition of sleep accessories such as pillows and mattress toppers can make sleeping more comfortable. Knowing what exactly to look for in these sleep accessories is helpful for side sleepers.

Pillows For Side Sleepers
  1. Head pillow for side sleepers: The correct pillow for your head is necessary for optimal spinal alignment. A medium or high loft pillow should lift your head enough to keep both your head and neck aligned with your spine. This relieves pressure on the neck and shoulders.
  2. Knee pillow: Knee pillows (or softer regular pillows) can also be used to further customise your sleeping position, and aid in keeping the spine aligned and reducing pressure in the hips and legs.
  3. Mattress toppers: A mattress topper sits on top of your mattress providing additional contouring and pressure relief. For side sleepers, a memory foam topper or latex topper may be your best option. These materials offer both support and cushioning which alleviates pressure and keeps the spine aligned. Worth noting, however, that a mattress topper will not compensate for an old unsupportive, or broken mattress. If this is the case, best to invest in a new mattress.

What Mattress Features Are Important For Side Sleepers

When sleeping on your side there is added pressure on the shoulders and hips and it's, therefore, a good idea to take the following factors into consideration when shopping for a new mattress.

Mattress Features Are Important For Side Sleepers
  • Mattress Type: For side sleepers, your ideal mattress should most importantly offer you sufficient contouring and full-body support. Other considerations include factors such as temperature regulation, motion isolation, and pressure point relief. Being clear on your priorities and preferences will guide you when looking for the best mattress type.
  • Contouring: How well a mattress fits to the unique shape of your body will determine how well it contours. A good contouring mattress for side sleepers will combine firm support as well as plush cushioning for the shoulders and hips, ensuring optimal spinal alignment.
  • Quality Materials: High-quality materials result in a mattress that is more durable, comfortable, and lasts longer, however, they may be attached to a heftier price tag. Cheaper mattresses can be less durable and may offer less support over time.
  • Firmness Level: For side sleepers who require a balance of soft cushioning for the shoulders and hips and support to keep the spine aligned, a soft to medium-firm mattress is usually best. This comes down to personal preference, as well as other considerations such as weight. Heavy people may prefer to opt for a firmer mattress, whilst lighter people, a softer mattress.

Side Sleeping Pros And Cons

Sleep quality is largely dependent on the position in which we choose to sleep. Like all sleep positions, side sleeping has certain advantages and disadvantages.

PROSCONS
✓ Believed to elongate the spine✗ May contribute to wrinkles and saggy breasts
✓ Can prevent acid reflux (left side)✗ Can contribute to acne
✓ May reduce snoring and sleep apnea✗ Curling (fetal position) may prevent deep breathing
✓ Can improve blood flow in pregnant women (left side)✗ May cause numb arms due to reduced circulation
✓ May improve blood flow back to the heart (left side)✗ May exacerbate arthritis (fetal position)

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?

For side sleepers, the ideal mattress should most importantly offer you the optimal balance of contouring and full-body support. Other considerations include factors such as temperature regulation, motion isolation, and pressure point relief.

What is the best mattress topper for side sleepers?

A memory foam, polyfoam, or latex model mattress topper could be the best option for side sleepers. These materials offer both support and cushioning which alleviates pressure and keeps the spine in correct alignment.

What firmness of mattress is best for side sleepers?

Side sleepers who require a balance of soft cushioning for the shoulders and hips and support to keep the spine aligned may find a soft to medium-firm mattress best. This comes down to personal preference, as well as other considerations such as weight.

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