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How to find the right mattress for side sleepers

Think about mattress firmness

What's the best mattress firmness for a side sleeper? Here, we describe the various mattress firmnesses appropriate for sleeping on your side.

Soft mattress

Generally, we recommend side sleepers sleep on either a soft or medium firmness. This is because when you lay on your side, you need support and pressure relief at the shoulders and hips, as these joints will receive the most impact in this sleeping position. The cushioning you receive at these pressure points will promote proper spinal alignment, so you won't wake up with aches and pains from a lack of support.

Medium mattress

A medium mattress is recommended for the same reasons as a softer mattress, as described above. Both mattress firmness tensions ensure your body is supported throughout the night. A medium mattress is slightly firmer than a softer mattress, so we recommend trying both options to see your preference. If you share a bed with a partner and are both side sleepers, we suggest you opt for medium tension. This is because the springs are more rigid and are better suited to support two people's body weight. However, if you prefer a slightly softer mattress and don't sleep with a partner, you may opt for a soft bed.

Other mattress firmnesses

Lastly, we recommend medium firm mattress support for couples who share a bed but have different preferred sleeping positions. For example, one prefers to sleep on their side, but the other on their stomach or back. Medium firm support is the best mattress to promote proper spinal alignment across all positions. This is because the sleeping surface is soft enough and firm enough.

What types of mattresses are suitable for side sleepers?

With many mattress types available, it can be a minefield. Here, we describe the best mattresses for side sleepers and those to avoid.

Pocket sprung mattress

Affordable, supportive and comfortable, a pocket sprung mattress for side sleepers is one of our most popular options. Consisting of varying numbers of individually wrapped coils or springs in a fabric pocket, they all move independently so the mattress surface can mould around your pressure points. Pocket springs make for a comfortable mattress to keep your spine aligned all night while sleeping. Compared to an innerspring mattress, pocket springs are the best for side sleepers because they offer tailored support according to your pressure points. This will evenly distribute your body weight for a great night's sleep.

Memory foam mattress

Known for being one of the most pressure-relieving mattress options on the market, memory foam is an ideal choice for side sleepers. We stock a variety of types, including all-foam options such as the Nectar memory foam mattress or a hybrid mattress option. A hybrid mattress is where memory foam is paired with a sprung support unit. Memory foam mattresses can mould to the contours of your body, unlike any other mattress type besides a memory foam mattress topper. Air seeps out from the millions of tiny holes when you lay on the mattress, allowing the sleep surface to shape around your body position. This makes for the ultimate pressure-relieving memory foam mattress. Mattress toppers include these properties, too, adding extra comfort to your original bed.

However, if you're a hot sleeper and struggle to stay at a cool temperature at night, you may opt for a different mattress type. The minimal airflow that can pass through the mattress isn't the most breathable option, retaining your body heat well. We stock sleeping solutions engineered to bypass this issue, such as gel foam and Geltex mattresses. Acting similarly to memory foam but with cooling qualities, you can benefit from the pressure relief this type of mattress features.

Hybrid mattress

As mentioned above, hybrid mattresses combine two types of beds to create one comfortable and supportive sleeping solution. For example, many combine pocket springs with memory foam or gel-infused memory foam so you can enjoy the support from the springs and sink-in luxury from the comfort layers. Many of our hybrid mattresses are available in the mattress tensions described above, so many hybrid options are appropriate for side sleepers.

What side sleepers should avoid

Innerspring mattresses

Most of our coil spring range consists of medium firm, firm and extra firm mattress options, which aren't the most appropriate mattresses aside from the former. Open coil or innerspring solutions aren't the best mattresses for side sleepers due to their spring structure and typical mattress firmness. Moreover, innerspring mattresses and their spring units are made from a continuous coil that runs from side to side. Essentially, this doesn't allow for the body-moulding, pressure-relieving support a side sleeper needs to promote healthy spinal alignment.

Firm and extra firm mattresses

These mattress tensions will not supply support and pressure relief to the shoulders and hips to ensure you have healthy spinal alignment all night long. The mattress surface would be too rigid and would therefore cause people who sleep in this preferred position to wake up with aches and pains.