More than half of all adults usually sleep on their side—and for good reason. Side sleeping is one of the best positions for your overall health. It can help prevent back pain as well as mitigate symptoms of conditions like acid reflux and snoring. But too many nights on the wrong mattress as a side sleeper can leave you with sore joints and spinal-related discomforts.
If you sleep on your side and like the feel of a body-hugging memory foam mattress, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you will be adequately supported and remain comfortable all night long. In fact, the mattress that’s right for you will be different from the one that’s ideal for back or stomach sleepers. Here’s what to look for in a memory foam mattress if you’re a side sleeper.
How to find the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers
While no one mattress is best for any particular sleep style, memory foam is a good option for side sleepers thanks to its contouring ability. That’s because memory foam will “hug” your curves, relieving pressure on hips and shoulders. Side sleepers will also benefit from these features:
- Slightly softer comfort level: The best mattress for side sleepers—memory foam or not—is one that is soft (or “plush”) enough to cradle your hips and shoulders while supporting your spine in a neutral position. A too-firm memory foam mattress will cut off circulation at your hips, shoulders, and neck, leaving you with aches and pains. Many mattresses measure firmness on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. A memory foam mattress in the 5-7 range will provide adequate comfort and support for side sleepers.
- Added lumbar support: If you’re a side sleeper, it’s particularly important to find a memory foam mattress that has added reinforcement in the lumbar region, as this will help support the heaviest part of your body, across your hips and belly. You will find added lumbar support in the form of denser foams or gels in the center third of the mattress. (Learn how to protect your back while you sleep.)
- Cooling features: Memory foam can sometimes sleep hot—so whether or not you’re a side sleeper, choose a memory foam mattress with cooling features. Look for cooling gel or other “phase change” material in the mattress foam and a breathable mattress cover.
Saatva’s Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers
Loom & Leaf Memory Foam
Premium memory foam, handcrafted in the U.S. with eco-friendly materials. Breathable organic cotton, cooling spinal gel, and layers of high-density support foam assure a cool, comfortable night’s sleep.
One thing to keep in mind: Memory foam mattresses are best suited to sleepers under 200 pounds, as they may not offer adequate support to higher-weight individuals. If you weigh more than 200 pounds, are a side sleeper, and like the feel of memory foam, consider a latex mattress or a hybrid mattress (featuring an innerspring support core and memory foam and/or latex comfort layers) instead. Here’s how to find the best mattress for heavy people.
How to find the best pillow for side sleepers
Matching your pillow to your sleep position is important too. A thicker pillow will fill in the gap between your shoulder and head and help maintain your neck in a neutral position. For additional shoulder support, cradle a body pillow in front of you, and put a pillow between your knees to keep your hips level.
For more advice on finding the right memory foam bed for you, here’s how to choose the best memory foam mattress for your sleep position.