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Best mattresses for side sleepers

BEST MATTRESSES FOR SIDE SLEEPERS

Nicky P.

Last updated: 11.05.2021 8 Min.

Did you know that over 70% of adults sleep on their side?

It's certainly the most comfortable position - even if it isn't the healthiest.

Many side sleepers struggle with back, hip, and neck pains as a direct result of their sleeping position.

But, luckily, this is often because they've chosen the wrong mattress.

Sleep Hero is here to come to the rescue 🦸‍♂️

In this guide, we'll tell you exactly how to choose your new mattress and what to look out for if you're a side sleeper.

We'll even recommend some of the best mattresses for side sleepers in the UK!

Let's get to it 🥳

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
  • Overview
  • Side sleepers
  • Stability
  • High point elasticity
  • Pressure distribution
  • Firmness
  • Pelvic rotation
  • Pillows
  • Conclusion
Bestseller
Emma Original Mattress

Emma Original
Price from £ 269 (449 )

Emma Original

The Emma Original is an award-winning mattress that's universally suitable for all types of people and sleeping positions.

This bestselling mattress by the award-winning Emma brand offers 3 layers of premium foam and soft comfort, with sufficient support and stability.

All about the Emma Original

Emma Original

The Emma Original is a best-selling memory foam mattress.

It has been designed to be suitable for most people, sleeping positions, and sleeping preferences.

Made up of 3 different types of foam, it offers soft-to-medium support that's particularly suitable for side sleepers.

The Emma Original is delivered free of charge and comes with a risk-free 200-nigh trial period. 

Emma Original side handles

40% OFF EMMA ORIGINAL

Hybrid construction
Emma Hybrid Mattress

Emma Hybrid
Price from £ 589

Emma Hybrid

The Emma Hybrid is a high-quality hybrid mattress, combining memory foam and springs for superior comfort, support, and breathability.

This hybrid mattress by the award-winning Emma brand combines high-quality foams with pocket springs to offer optimal comfort and spinal support. 

All about the Emma Hybrid

Emma Hybrid

The Emma Hybrid is a high-quality hybrid mattress, combining memory foam and pocket springs.

It is a breathable, supportive, and comfortable mattress.

The mattress adapts well to the contours of your body and relieves pressure adequately, allowing you to relax and enjoy a good night's sleep. 

The Emma Hybrid comes with free delivery & returns and a risk-free 200-night trial period.

Emma Hybrid Mattress

BUY EMMA HYBRID

New in the UK
Emma Original Hybrid

Emma Original Hybrid
Price from £ 1059

Emma Original Hybrid

The Emma Original Hybrid combines the composition of the Emma Hybrid with the firmness of the Emma Original.

Emma's most advanced mattress for exceptional comfort and stability.

All about the Emma Original Hybrid

Emma Original Hybrid

The Emma Original Hybrid is a soft and comfortable hybrid mattress.

It features zoned pocket springs that allow for optimal hip and shoulder support, resulting in spinal alignment, and increased breathability.

It also has pressure-relieving memory foam for body-contouring comfort. 

The Emma Original Hybrid offers exceptional motion isolation and is a great choice for couples.

Emma Original Hybrid

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Eve Mattress

Eve Original
Price from £ 429

Eve Original

The Eve Original is the original best-selling memory foam mattress by Eve Sleep.

This high-quality medium-firm mattress by Eve Sleep is suitable for most body types and sleeping position. 

All about the Eve Original

Eve Original

The Eve Original mattress consists of three different high-quality foam layers and a machine-washable cover.

The mattress has a high level of elasticity and provides great support, promoting optimal spinal alignment and reducing pressure points. 

It is a medium-firm mattress that has been specifically designed to suit most body profiles and sleeping positions.

The Eve Original comes with free delivery & returns and a risk-free trial period.

Eve Original Mattress

20% OFF £500 WITH 'MAY20'

Eve Premium Mattress

Eve Premium
Price from £ 758 (948 )

Eve Premium

The Eve Premium is a four-layered luxury memory foam mattress that offers superior comfort.

Made up of 4 different layers of high-quality foam, this luxury mattress guarantees comfort and support for the best night's sleep.

All about the Eve Premium

Eve Premium

The Eve Premium is a high-quality mattress featuring four layers of premium foam for optimal comfort and support.

I​​​​t's suitable for all body types and best recommended for those requiring a medium-firm sleeping surface.

The high quality of the Eve Premium mattress cover is also worth mentioning.

It has been woven with silver threads that allow it to be naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial.

The Eve Premium comes with free delivery & returns and a risk-free trial period.

Eve Premium Mattress

20% OFF EVE PREMIUM

Eve Premium Hybrid Mattress

Eve Premium Hybrid
Price from £ 782 (978 )

Eve Premium Hybrid

The Eve Premium Hybrid is a luxurious hybrid mattress with 5 layers of new generation foam and over 1500 pocket springs.

This high-end mattress combines foam with pocket springs and offers superior comfort with optimal support and spinal alignment. 

All about the Eve Premium Hybrid

Eve Premium Hybrid

The Eve Premium Hybrid is a luxurious medium-firm mattress that offers superior comfort and excellent support. 

Its unique composition of foams and springs offers a high degree of comfort in all sleeping position.

The mattress adapts well to the body of the sleeper and offers optimal spinal alignment.

This is a great mattress for people suffering from back pain.

The Eve Premium Hybrid comes with free delivery & returns and a risk-free trial period.

Eve Premium Hybrid Mattress

20% OFF EVE PREMIUM HYBRID

Our favourite
Nectar memory foam mattress

Nectar
Price from £ 344 (469 )

Nectar

The Nectar Mattress is a luxurious memory foam mattress that comes with 2 free pillows and a 365-day trial period.

This luxurious memory foam mattress is suitable for most people and sleeping positions and comes with a revolutionary 365-day trial period.

All about the Nectar

Nectar memory foam mattress

The Nectar memory foam mattress features 3 layers of high-quality foam for optimal spinal alignment, pressure relief, and comfort.

It has 7 contour zones to enhance its ergonomic design and keep your body in a healthy sleeping position.

The Nectar mattress also has a removable, breathable cover to provide for a cool & comfortable sleep.

It comes with free delivery & returns, a revolutionary 365-day trial period, and a 'forever warranty'.

Nectar memory foam mattress

 

£125 OFF NECTAR MATTRESS 

Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress

Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress
Price from £ 699

Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress

The Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress is a traditional hand-tufted pocket spring mattress.

This mattress features a luxurious pillow top for additional comfort.

All about the Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress

Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress

The Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress is a luxurious pocket sprung pillow top mattress and a height of 39 cm

It offers edge-to-edge support and superior comfort with a medium-firm feel.

With an individual responsive spring system, this pocket sprung mattress also offers pressure relief to help your muscles relax fully. 

Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress

BUY SILENTNIGHT MIRAPOCKET 2000

Simba Hybrid Pro

Simba Hybrid Pro
Price from £ 696 (929 )

Simba Hybrid Pro

The Simba Hybrid Pro is Simba's second-generation hybrid mattress with up to 5000 titanium Aerocoil® springs and a natural wool top layer.

This second-generation mattress features five layers for ultimate comfort and breathability.

All about the Simba Hybrid Pro

Simba Hybrid Pro

The Simba Hybrid Pro is a second-generation hybrid mattress that features 7 layers.

Combining chemical-free Simba Pure foam with two unique titanium Aerocoil® spring layers, this mattress aims to provide superior support and comfort.

The mattress also features a natural wool top layer and a thick knitted top cover for enhanced temperature regulation.

Simba Hybrid Pro

25% OFF SIMBA HYBRID PRO

What is a side sleeper?

There are all kinds of sleepers in this world 😴

Some lie flat on their stomachs, cheek to mattress. Others lie on their backs, sprawled out across the bed.

A side sleeper is simply someone who sleeps on their side.

There are many sub-categories, like the foetal position, where side sleepers crawl into a ball, or pillow huggers, where side sleepers cuddle with a pillow.

Sleeping on your back is often deemed the healthiest position as it creates the least tension for your body, but most adults sleep in the side position.

This can create quite a fair bit of tension, which is why it's so important to choose the right kind of mattress.

As an aside: Stomach sleepers generally struggle the most with neck and shoulder tension, and this sleep position is not recommended.

Find a mattress that offers good stability and support

Any ideal mattress - regardless of sleeping position - has to offer good stability and support.

Stability should not be confused with firmness. A soft mattress can offer as much stability as a firm mattress can.

For side sleepers, the ideal mattress has to offer the right amount of stability regardless of sleeping position.

This is because the exact sleeping position of a side sleeper can change every night.

Sometimes you'll bend your legs; other times, you'll sprawl them out to the side. Or maybe you'll only bend one leg.

The right mattress will be able to support you well in every position.

So what do stability and support even refer to?

In a nutshell, a mattress with good stability and support will help keep your spine straight.

This is necessary to lower back pain and unnecessary tension.

Achieving this is relatively easy for back sleepers but a little more difficult for side sleepers.

This is because most of the weight of your body will be concentrated in your shoulder and hip areas.

These heavier parts of your body will need to be able to sink into the mattress a little more deeply while the rest of your body remains adequately supported.

Only this will allow your spine to remain optimally aligned.

Ultimately, it's a fine balance of offering the right kind of support - enough to keep your feet and head lifted but not too much to still allow your hips and shoulders to sink in.

You need the Goldilocks of mattresses - not too soft, not too firm, but just right 👩

Zoned mattresses

Very often, you'll find mattresses with integrated comfort or contour zones.

These are specifically zoned mattresses that allow for greater support in some areas and more sinkage in others, keeping your spine in its optimal alignment.

You'll often find high-quality foam mattresses, such as memory foam, latex foam, and gel foam, combined with a stable zoned support layer of cold foam or PUR foam to achieve this effect.

The construction of the base layers often also influences the mattress's durability, so it's generally a good idea to make sure you purchase the best quality you can afford.

All of the mattresses we recommend are high-quality, durable choices with a 10-year warranty (minimum).

Heavy sweaters may want to steer away from foam mattresses and opt for spring mattresses, which offer great air circulation. With added cushioning, these can also work well for side sleepers.

If you choose a zoned mattress, you can also choose a bed frame where the slats match the zoning - this will help enhance the features of the mattress.

Spinal alignment for side sleepers

Choose a mattress with high point elasticity

If you've done some reading on mattresses, you'll have seen the term "point elasticity" thrown around.

But what exactly does this mean?

Point elasticity measures the ability of materials to compress at a specific point without affecting the rest of the mattress.

If a mattress has high point elasticity, it means that you can put a very heavy dumbbell at one point and only have the mattress sink in at that point - the rest of the surface will remain unaffected 🏋️‍♀️

If you've read the above section on stability and support, you'll know that this is exactly what you need if you're a side sleeper.

Your hips and shoulders (the dumbbells in this scenario) will need to sink in more deeply, but the rest of the mattress should remain unaffected.

Point elasticity is influenced by the materials used and the composition of the mattress.

But, you can rest easy in knowing that all the mattresses we recommend have exceptional point elasticity.

Bonus:

Mattresses with high point elasticity also generally have low motion transfer, meaning that you can happily share your bed with a partner and not be disturbed by any tossing and turning.

That said, we still recommend that couples choose larger mattress sizes - like a king or super king - to ensure both partners have enough space to sleep comfortably.

READ OUR GUIDE ON MATTRESS SIZES

Make sure pressure is distributed evenly

We've already mentioned that your body weight in the side position will be more concentrated in your shoulder and hip areas.

But, you don't want this to create unnecessary pressure points, which could result in a build-up of tension and awful aches and pains.

This is why you need to look for a mattress that offers even pressure distribution across the mattress.

This will help relieve pressure points, meaning that your muscles can relax fully while you sleep 💤

Luckily, pressure relief is related to point elasticity, and a mattress with high point elasticity will allow weight to be more evenly distributed.

Memory foam is an excellent choice for side sleepers.

This is because of its body-contouring properties, where the foam adjusts to your body shape, relieving pressure and providing optimal comfort.

Best mattress firmness for side sleepers

If you have a mattress that offers good stability and support, has high point elasticity, and allows for pressure relief, then you've already made a good choice.

The degree of firmness you choose is often simply a matter of personal preference.

But, your size, body weight, and sleeping position influence which level of firmness will be more suitable for you.

Firmness for side sleepers

In general, we would recommend a slightly softer mattress for side sleepers.

On our Sleep Hero firmness scale, this would be any mattress with an average firmness of about 4 - 6 (where 1 is the softest and 10 the firmest).

These are generally softer or medium-firm mattresses 🛌

This is because firmer mattresses often don't allow for sufficient sinkage in the hip and shoulder areas, which will prevent optimal spinal alignment.

Consider your size and body weight

That said, your build, size, and body weight influence this.

If you are a bigger or heavier person (above 90 kg and especially if you're above 130 kg), you should choose a slightly firmer model.

Mattresses with a firmness level of 6 - 8 on our scale will work well.

This is because people who are slightly heavier will sink into the mattress more deeply, and will need a mattress that's firm enough to still offer sufficient support.

Spring mattresses are particularly well-suited to heavier people as they offer greater firmness and stability.

You can always choose a hybrid mattress that features top layers of memory foam, a mattress with a quilted pillow top, or a spring mattress with a memory foam mattress topper to achieve the same level of comfort as with a foam mattress.

The good thing about spring mattresses is that they also allow for greater breathability, enhance airflow, and prevent overheating, which is great for heavy sweaters.

Make use of risk-free trial periods

The only way to really determine whether a mattress's firmness is right for you is by trying it out.

This is where risk-free trial periods are so handy 💵

Most bed-in-a-box mattress brands, which we recommend, offer a minimum of a 100-night trial period.

If you're not fully satisfied, you can return the mattress - free of charge - and receive a full refund.

This way, you'll be guaranteed to find the most comfortable mattress for you.

Firmness according to sleeping position

The danger of pelvic rotation

Side sleepers may suffer from the effects of pelvic rotation.

This results from the displacement of the back muscles and the lumbar spine.

A rotation happens when you turn the upper body in the opposite direction of the lower body.

This can be quite painful 😱

You can prevent pelvic rotation by clamping a pillow between your legs while you sleep.

Choosing the right mattress with the proper support structure can also help.

What is the best pillow for side sleepers?

In addition to choosing the right mattress, side sleepers will also need to pay attention to their choice of pillow.

Even the best and most expensive mattress will be useless if your head isn’t properly supported.

A bad pillow can easily result in severe neck pain.

For side sleepers, the best pillow will cradle the space between your neck and the mattress while still offering sufficient comfort and support for your head.

The pillow's height plays an important role here, and you need to choose a pillow that's not too big or too small.

You also want a pillow that supports your head and neck well but isn't too firm, as this will create unnecessary pressure and tension.

Pillows made of latex or memory foam are particularly suitable ☁️

These materials ensure that the pillow adapts well to the shape of your head and that pressure is distributed well.

Sleep Hero Tip: A pillow can also help in avoiding pelvic rotation. Simply clamp a pillow between your legs while you sleep. This helps keep your spine in a healthy alignment.

Height-adjustable pillows

We also really like pillows with interchangeable layers.

These give you some playroom and allow you to adjust the height and firmness of the pillow to suit your specific needs.

We've recommended some of our favourite ones below.

Conclusion

Side sleepers need the right mattress to provide optimal comfort and support.

While the mattress material may play a role, and latex mattresses or memory foam mattresses are a good choice, you can also opt for a firmer spring mattress with ample cushioning to provide the right feel.

Ultimately, what's important is that the mattress is firm enough to support your body but soft enough to allow your hips and shoulders to sink in more deeply, resulting in optimal spinal alignment.

Medium-soft is generally the way to go.

Pay attention to stability and support, high point elasticity, and pressure distribution.

Luckily, all of the mattresses we've recommend meet these criteria, ensuring that you'll find the best side sleeper mattress and enjoy a good night's sleep, night after night.

Frequently asked questions

  • Does side sleeping cause shoulder pain?

    Yes.

    Unfortunately, sleeping on your side can be related to increased bodily aches and pains, including shoulder pain.

    However, this is often because the wrong type of mattress is being used.

    The right mattress will allow for enough stability and support but will still be soft enough to avoid causing pain.

  • Which side is best to sleep on, left or right?

    Interestingly, it is often said that sleeping on your left side is healthier.

    This is because your organs are thought to be freer in this position and should remove toxins more efficiently.

    But, it's normal for side sleepers to change position quite frequently, and you're likely to shift from the right to the left side (or vice versa) while you sleep.

  • Can sleeping on your side help with snoring and sleep apnoea?

    Yes, it is advised that snorers or people who struggle with sleep apnoea sleep on their side.

    Sleeping in the side position can help keep your lungs and airways open.

    We recommend you check out our article on dealing with sleep apnoea for guidance. 

  • Are there different side sleeping positions?

    Yes, there are actually several side sleep positions.

    These include:

    • Foetal position: Here, the sleeper curls up like a newborn baby.
    • Log: Log sleepers lie on their side with both arms down.
    • Yearner: Yearners sleep on their side with both arms out in front.
    • Hugger: Huggers sleep while embracing a pillow.
    • Thinker: Variation on the foetal position, where sleepers lie with their chin resting on their hand.

    Apparently, your preferred sleeping position says a lot about your personality. 

    Find out what your sleep position says about you. 

Nicky P.

My mum calls me "bear" because I like to sleep so much. I never knew that, one day, that would be a very useful skill. Can you tell that I've found my calling? 

Try these

We can highly recommend these best-selling mattresses.

Emma Original
Emma Original Emma Original Mattress
Emma Price from £ 269 (£ 449 )

Get 40% off the Emma Original, an award-winning soft & comfortable mattress that's suitable for all.

Simba Hybrid
Simba Hybrid Simba Hybrid Mattress
Simba Price from £ 456 (£ 609 )

Get 25% off the Simba Hybrid mattress, a high-quality pocket sprung memory foam mattress with Simbatex synthetic latex layer.

Current mattress discounts:
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We're a team of sleep enthusiasts and experts. We test hundreds of sleep products - mattresses, pillows, toppers, bed frames, and more! - to provide you with the best reviews. Our mission is to help you make the right choice for your sleep. Read more about us

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