Best mattresses for side sleepers 2023: the ultimate in pressure relief

Take the pressure off your joints with best mattresses for side sleepers

Best mattresses for side sleepers: pink and green bedroom with white bedding
(Image credit: Future PLC )

Everyone has a different sleeping style, and the best mattresses for general use might not be the best mattresses for side sleepers. Unfortunately, side sleepers are the most prone to aches and pains in the night. 

That's because side sleepers need to consider pressure relief. When you sleep on your side, all of your body weight is bearing down onto your shoulders, hips and knees. If you don't have the right mattress, that guarantees a poor night's sleep. 

We've whittled down our list of the best mattresses to just two. There's no extra selling points or jargon here — we've made it really simple. If you sleep on your side, these are the best mattresses you can buy. 

Alex David author profile photo
Alex David

As Head of eCommerce and a long-suffering side sleeper, Alex is well placed to work out the best mattresses for side sleepers. He got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute and has since worked on a variety of publications, testing homewares, kitchen appliances and gardening machinery. 

Leesa Original mattress 2022

(Image credit: Leesa)
Best mattress for side sleepers


Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Depth: 10"
Type: Comfort foam/ memory foam
Comfort: Medium firm
Sleep trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $849-$1,599

Reasons to buy

Medium firmness
Temperature regulating layers to prevent overheating

Reasons to avoid

Middling edge support
Motion isolation could be better

Why you should buy it: A supportive memory foam design for those who like the sink-in feel

Why we love it:
The big issue for side sleepers is pressure relief. Because you're lying on your shoulders, hips, and knees, the wrong mattress can quickly lead to discomfort.

This never happens with Leesa's Original Memory Foam mattress. Our tests found it the best mattress for side sleepers on the market. When she put it to the test, our expert tester Alex Frost went further, saying "If you have joint problems, buy this mattress." If all you care about is a decent night's sleep on your side, you can't beat this. You'll sink right in, preventing any pressure on your joints.  

Made from three layers of memory foam, the top layer keeps you cool, the middle softly moulds to your body and the dense 6” core claims to support your joints. 

Don't just take my word for it. Here's a rare intervention from none other than our Editor-in-Chief, Lucy Searle:

Another point of view
Lucy Searle
Another point of view
Lucy Searle

"I'm a side sleeper who really suffers on mattresses with no give... I found it ideal for me — there were no uncomfortable pressure points, which meant I slept well and woke up with no aches or pains."

Good to know: While this mattress can't be beaten for side sleeping, it's far less successful in other areas. It lost significant marks on our test for its softness. If you're a side sleeper that likes a firm mattress, this might not work for you. Where this is initially pretty firm, you'll start to sink in throughout the night. The sinking feeling doesn't stop here, because where the edge support is poor. It gets mushy in the corners, which in turn means the motion isolation isn't very good, so if your partner moves in the night, you might wake up, though. 

Alex's full Leesa Original Memory Foam Mattress review goes into more detail.

Tempur-Pedic Pro Adapt mattress lifestyleH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Tempur-Pedic)
Best mattress for pressure relief


Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King, Split Cal King
Depth: 12"
Type: Hybrid: Tempur Material and coils
Comfort: Medium
Sleep trial: 90 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $2,799-$5,598

Reasons to buy

Sleeps cool
Cover zips off
Decent edge support and excellent motion isolation
In-home delivery

Reasons to avoid

Very Expensive
Shortest trial period on the list

Why you should buy it: advanced pressure relief, superior contouring, and motion isolation.

Why we love it:
The ProAdapt is our pick for the mattress with the best pressure relief, which makes it an excellent choice for side sleepers. When we tested it with a kettlebell to simulate the weight of a shoulder, it sank in 6 inches while maintaining firmness in the surrounding areas. That's perfect for side sleepers, as your shoulders and hips can sink into comfortable, supportive foam that offers relief while still keeping your spine aligned. 

If you worry it might not work for you, you can personalize this mattress with soft, medium, firm, and medium-hybrid designs, finding the exact softness you need.  bedding expert Jaclyn loved the hybrid benefits of contouring foam and extra support from the individually wrapped coils. 

It's might be a cliché, but this mattress makes you feel completely weightless. Unlike the Leesa, it has good motion isolation, so you won't be woken by your partner moving in the night, and it has great edge support, so it never feels mushy. If you and your partner have different sleep styles, it's also well-suited to back sleepers. 

We've also found that he ProAdapt is a great investment if you tend to overheat in the night. This mattress worked its way into our pared-down rundown of the best cooling mattresses. It withstood a hot Georgia summer, which is no mean feat. The cooling cover is also washable, which is a great feature for hygiene. All in all, this remarkable bed is well worth considering.

Good to know:
Our big criticism is the high price point. A list price of $3,000 is positively eye-watering, and coupled with a very short trial period of 90 days, in which you have to sleep on the mattress for at least a month, that's not the best value. To add insult to injury, if you want to return it, you'll need to fork out another $175. It's one of the best mattresses around, but that doesn't come cheap. 

Jaclyn's Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt Medium Hybrid mattress review goes into more detail.

Jaclyn Turner photo
Jaclyn Turner

As former sleep commerce editor, Jaclyn's tested out all things mattresses and bedding. She's took on the Tempur ProAdapt, finding a mattress that makes it easy to sleep through the night. In addition to Homes and Gardens, you can find her work in sister magazines Real Homes and Livingetc

About this review
Alex Frost writer headshot
About this review
Alex Frost

Alex is a 35-year-old mom, wife, and journalist in Cincinnati with four sons under 7 and a passion for product reviewing. She tested the Leesa mattress for more than a month before writing about it and still uses it to this day.

Can a mattress for side sleepers relieve back pain?

The short answer is yes, but — and we cannot stress this enough — this is no substitute for seeing a doctor. An old mattress can be the cause of back pain, but you need to rule out medical problems first. There's no guarantees a mattress can fix back pain, and given how expensive mattresses are, that's a gamble that could cost thousands of dollars. 

What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?

Memory foam. The keen-eyed among you will have noticed that both mattresses featured here are memory foam, and that's no coincidence. Side sleepers need a responsive, soft material that takes pressure off their joints but still cradles their spine and keeps everything in alignment. Memory foam is best for this, because its firmness varies depending on temperature and pressure. Latex and innerspring mattress can't quite compete for side sleepers.

I'm a side sleeper, but my partner isn't — what should I do?

This is a tricky one. Buying a bed with someone else can frustrating, as there's no guarantee that your sleep styles align. Thankfully, lots of mattresses offer a 'Split King' option where the bed is essentially split in two, offering two different mattress firmnesses. This can get a little pricey , so a good option is the Nectar Memory Foam mattress, which should keep you within budget.

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.

With contributions from