Finding the Best Mattress For Side Sleepers
Unlike many of the review sites out there, I sleep test every mattress that I review for about 2 weeks. This means that I can only get to 20-25 mattresses per year, so I am pretty selective about the ones that I choose to test. Everyone has different sleep preferences and there is no one solution for every sleeper. If you are a side, back or the rare stomach sleeper we have solutions for you.
We have compiled a list of the best mattresses for side sleepers that we have tested and separated them into different categories to help you choose. The prices listed are before discounts on a queen size mattress.
Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
|Foam||Leesa Review||$995||$130 Off & Free Pillow|
|Foam||Tomorrow Sleep Review||$980||Nonbiased125 for $125 Off|
|Foam & Polymer||Purple Review||$999||Free Pillow|
|Foam||Layla Review||$899||$60 Off Code NONBIASED60|
I’m a side sleeper, so this category is my specialty. I try to avoid mattresses that are too squishy or too firm. As a petite person I will end up with lower back pain, sometimes hip pain. My go to type of mattress would be a medium-firm / medium-soft. When sleeping you can almost always find me on my side.
Number 1: Leesa
The Leesa Mattress is one of the best mattresses you can buy. You feel great sleeping on a mattress from a company that does so much to support the community. Leesa donates one mattress and one pillow for every ten they sell. This means that they have furnished over 23,000 mattresses to those in need.
Leesa has one of the best covers in the business, that coupled with the perfect hug that you get make it a great choice for side sleepers.
Number 2: Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid
What makes the Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid so special is that it is a hybrid mattress, yet you wouldn’t know it unless you are told that it is. The people at Serta designed a mattress that is so supportive yet soft that you don’t notice the feel of the pocketed coils. The sides of the bed are wrapped in foam, so you actually have to cut into the Tomorrow Sleep in order to see them. Rather than voiding your warranty by cutting into it, why don’t you take my word for it.
Another great feature of the Tomorrow sleep is the feel of the cover. This is one of those mattresses that begs you to not use a mattress protector, and not bother to use sheets. There are times when I sleep directly on the mattress cover. It has a nice combination of gel and memory foam so it is cool to the touch and extremely soft. Of course, that would be risky and if you have little ones who manage to find a way to spill on every piece of furniture you have.
Here is the kicker on the Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid, with the code nonbiased125 you will save $125 off your order and you will be able to get a super high quality hybrid mattress for under $1,000.
Did I mention that they are a division of Serta Simmons Bedding? Unlike a lot of the newer online direct to consumer mattresses, the Tomorrow Sleep warranty is a virtual lock.
At number 3: the Purple Mattress
I actually PAID for my Purple mattress (try to find another reviewer who can say that). Do I go back to it between testing because I want to get my money’s worth out of it? Or is it just that I happen to love it? I view the Purple mattress as my reset button. After a couple of weeks testing a new mattress, there is just something I love about spending a couple of nights on the Purple. It is difficult to explain the feeling of the Purple mattress as it is a unique blend of foam and their Hyper-elastic polymer™ Smart-Comfort Grid. When you buy a Purple Mattress it comes with one of the squishies below, it gives you an idea of what you are sleeping on, so that you don’t have to cut it open like I did.
I can give you an idea of what the polymer layer looks like, but to describe the feel is difficult. As much as I’m sure the people at Purple hate the following; to me it feels kind of like sleeping on a waterbed. If you tap your toe and shake the bed a bit you can feel the vibrations being carried through the mattress. Now that sounds like a bad thing for light sleepers, but I assure you it isn’t. What makes the Purple mattress really sing is that this vibration when coupled with an adjustable base’s massage feature (available in the Purple Powerbase) is to die for. You get the entire body massage out of your adjustable bed when you use the Purple.
Honorable Mention: Layla Sleep
For a side sleeper I suggest the soft side of the Layla, what’s that? If there is a soft side, there must be a firm side right? Sorry, let me back up a bit. One of the unique benefits of the Layla is that you can flip the mattress to either the firm side or the soft side. This allows you to experience 2 levels of comfort and increases the longevity of the mattress, as long as you are willing to flip it every few months. This feature makes it so easy to recommend as you get 2 chances to get your preferred level of firmness. This also helps keep Layla’s return rate below that of their competition.
I LOVE the cover of the Layla mattress. They were smart enough to use the same material when they introduced the Layla Pillow. It is a nice combination of polyester and rayon.
What really helps this mattress is that both the firm side and the soft side are infused with copper. If you don’t know all of the benefits of copper, it is time to study up. Copper is antimicrobial, helps to regulate temperature and may have some health benefits. The thing that I find the most fascinating about copper is that it has been used to fight off water fouling creatures for hundreds if not thousands of years. Ship builders realized that adding copper to their hulls kept creatures from accumulating on their ships, this in turn led to ships that lasted longer and were faster. Wouldn’t you like to sleep on a mattress that tells the bugs to stay away?
The Pricing Table below is as of 1/19/2018.
|Company||Twin||Twin XL||Full||Queen||King||California King|
I have a relationship with Tomorrow Sleep, Leesa and Layla Sleep, and Purple which means I can pass along some great savings with the links below. You can read more about my affiliate relationships on my disclosure page.
$125 off a Tomorrow Sleep Mattress (code nonbiased125)
|Twin||38″W x 75″L||Children, Single Adults (under 6 ft.)||Leaves room for activities, used in most bunkbeds||Children will outgrow them|
|Twin XL||38″W x 80″L||Split Adjustable bed users, Single Adults (up to 6’4″)||Used in Adjustable beds (buy 2)||Likely won’t fit in bunk bed|
|Full (Double)||54″W x 75″L||Children, Single Adults, Skinny Adult Couples||Will make the room look large||Too small for most adults|
|Queen||60″W x 80″L||Single Adults, Couple (average size increased intimacy)||Ideal size for normal sized couples||Too small for tall and heavy people|
|King||76″W x 80″L||Couples, Couples with Large Pets||Ideal size for large couples||Will take up large part of bedroom|
|California King||72″W x 84″L||Couples, Single Adults (comfortably up to 6’8″)||Ideal size for tall couples||More difficult to find bedding & frames|
|Split King ||38″W x 80″L||Adjustable Frame users (with different sleep preferences)||You want firm, partner wants soft, go split king||Creates a “no mans land”|
 Split Kings have what I call “no mans land”. There will be a dip between the mattress. This means that you and your partner can’t use the middle of the bed, which otherwise is a nice meeting area for couples.
 You need to purchase 2 Twin XL mattresses for a split king. This will allow you and your partner to have different angles on an adjustable bed. Also you can choose to get two different types of mattresses, as long as they are similar in thickness.
We use 10 categories to rate the mattresses we sleep test. Each category is scored 1-10. Unlike other reviewers we aren’t scared to give a mattress a low score if it is deserved. If I spend 2 weeks sleeping on a mattress that consistently gives me back pain, you will read about it on my review!
First Impressions count right? Some of the mattresses come in boxes, and some come in over sized bags. I prefer boxes as they are much easier to move around. Some boxes have cute logos and some have really fun quotes, and yes I really made a video called box vs. box vs. box in a box. Try saying it fast three times in a row. Did you get tongue tied?
On the subject of first impressions, some of the mattresses will have a bit of an odor when they are unboxed. Most people use the term off-gassing to describe it. Some of the mattresses take a few days for the smell to go away and sometimes it is barely noticeable.
When you lay on a mattress and it’s not comfortable that’s surely something that we should point out right? If I’m having trouble sleeping on a bed, I’ll tell you that. If I can’t sleep on a mattress I will scream to high heaven that you need to steer clear of a mattress if you have a similar sleep profile as I do (petite side sleeper). Remember, just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you.
This is a key category to focus on when you are going through my various reviews. The more mattress that I sleep test the larger my comparison database gets. If you ask me about 2 mattresses that I have tested, I can instantly tell you which one was more comfortable to me.
I have had a ton of mattresses which fail to give me the proper support. There is nothing worse than falling into a deep depression that you have to climb out of. Sometimes you can even get multiple sinking parts and huge mountains in between, clearly not ideal for restful sleep. I test for support with:
- sitting on the edges and corners
- jumping/standing/walking on the mattress
If I fall all the way through the mattress to the ground, it won’t score very high. Conversely, if I hardly notice any sinking in the mattress it will get a high score.
Recently we added adjustable base tests to our review process. How do different mattresses stand up to the test?
Have you ever walked into a mattress retailer? Of course, you have! Did you notice that almost every mattress is now on an adjustable base? This is the wave of the future, I know that I will never sleep on a bed frame that isn’t adjustable. Sure, I’ll test different frames and foundations, but my go to sleep set will always be adjustable. It’s hard to explain, but once you try one you won’t go back. I even credit my adjustable frame with curing my husband’s snoring with just a click of the anti-snore button on my remote.
With the hundreds of new brands that have popped up over the last few years it is difficult to sort through them. I’m putting in the leg work to figure out which companies are connected to each other. In doing so I can help determine the expected longevity of each of these mattress companies. If I don’t think a mattress company is going to make it in the long term, then I won’t expect their warranty to hold up. A company my promote a forever warranty, but if it closes down in six months you surely won’t be able to get your bed replaced.
- I use Fakespot to see if companies are planting fake reviews. You will be amazed by some of the results some of these online retailers get on fakespot.
- I research other review sites to see which ones are owned by mattress companies. For example; Sleepopolis, mattress clarity and slubersearch are all connected to Casper.
- Community outreach by the company: I love companies that give back to their communities. If your company is holding an event for the community in the Phoenix area let me know and I’ll cover it.
- Customer support: If a company has poor communication or support, you will read about it here or hear about it on my video reviews.
- Warranty: the companies in our top categories all score highly in the warranty field. If we don’t think a company will be around to honor their warranty they won’t be included on our list.
When I’m standing on a bed and a wine glass doesn’t move when I walk near it, it will score high on this test. A high number is great for when you have a partner who is tossing and turning and not disturbing you. On our scale from 1-10, one is a waterbed, 10 is; wait what? There is someone in the same bed as me!
If I’m not able to sleep on a mattress, then it’s possible that you may have the same issues. This is really the most important category that a buyer should be focused on. It is nice when a bed is well constructed or made by a reputable company. However, if you can’t sleep on it, you are going to find yourself shopping for a new bed sooner than planned.
I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and I’ll tell you a little secret about the weather here… It gets hot in the summer. Having a breathable mattress is a must here. There aren’t a ton of things worse than having extra heat rising up from your mattress making your back or side sweat. I’m a huge fan of talalay latex, gel infusions, and alternative construction (like Leesa’s Avena foam).
Surely what’s inside the mattress matters right? I also pay close attention to the covers. Size matters; the Casper Essential is 8.5″ while the DreamCloud is a full 15“. Almost double the thickness of the mattress, but is it double the price as well (no)?
You really have to look at the prices of the mattress vs. the competition. Not just the direct to consumer, bed in a box model, but the in store values as well. The bed in a box model offers consumers huge cost savings vs. buying from the store. This is because the middle man is cut out and the companies don’t have to pay electricity and rent.
We give each category a score from 1-10 with 10 being the highest. I am using a 10 point must system. The mattress that preformed the best in a category gets a 10 and all other mattresses are judged against that standard.
Mattress Firmness Scale
We also assess the overall firmness of a mattress from 1-10 with 10 being almost rock hard firm. Since different people have different preferences on the firm level that works best for them, that number doesn’t go into the total ratings. Here is our Firmness scale as of 10/4/17
Recently, we noticed that just about every mattress you see in the store is staged on an adjustable frame. These giant retailers must be on to something right? So, we decided that every mattress we test should also go through a few cycles of adjustments with our adjustable bed. Currently we are using a Rize Verge. We assume that other adjustable frames will have many of the same characteristics. What we have found is that some mattresses don’t fare well on an adjustable frame, while others take a step up to a new level.
If you haven’t been on an adjustable frame you are really missing out, so we feel that it is crucial to our review process to add this wrinkle. We understand that everyone doesn’t have an adjustable bed, but if you are considering one with your next mattress purchase we feel you should be prepared. If a mattress is too thick or sturdy, it likely won’t perform well on an adjustable base. If it has interlocked coils, forget about it.
Want to do your own comparison? Just drag and drop the mattresses you want to put side by side, from the table below:
- It will ship directly to you, most of the time for free
- Do you really enjoy having a mattress salesman follow you around and check you out as you try out all of the mattresses? The answer is NO
- Wouldn’t you rather take some time to test a mattress rather than just be lead around by the salesman to the highest commission bed he sells? Most online retailers offer a trial period of 100 days or more to test out your new mattress.
- Same quality mattress for a fraction of the cost.
- You have more time to comparison shop from your home.
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