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The right mattress for a side sleeper with back pain may depend on the type and location of the pain.

A quick look at the best mattresses for back pain in side sleepers:

MNT chooses mattresses, sheets, pillows, and other bedding that meet the following criteria:

  • Certifications: MNT will choose products that have CertiPUR-US or other certifications. This means that the products are low in pollutants and free from heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.
  • Size: MNT chooses products that are available in various sizes.
  • Materials and fill: MNT selects products made from different materials and fills, such as memory foam and latex, to suit a range of sleep and lifestyles.
  • Budget: MNT features products to suit a wide range of budgets.
  • Firmness: MNT selects mattresses that are available in a range of firmness options to suit most people’s sleeping styles.
  • Sleep trials: MNT chooses companies that offer a sleep trial.
  • Shipping: Where possible, MNT will include shipping information, such as where the company delivers to and whether shipping is free.
  • Warranties and return policies: MNT will include products that carry warranties and clear returns policies.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for hip and shoulder pain: Helix Midnight Mattress

Helix Midnight Mattress
  • Price: $799–1,549
  • Firmness: medium firmness
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California (CA) king
  • Height: 11.5 inches (in)
  • Mattress type: hybrid

This mattress is a hybrid, meaning it features both memory foam and coils. Helix claims this product is best for side sleepers.

Learn more about hybrid mattresses here.

The company describes it as medium firmness, with several layers of memory foam featuring different densities. The middle layers conform to the shape of a person’s body and provide cushioning for the hips and shoulders.

This mattress is also reportedly suitable for couples with different firmness preferences.

The Helix mattress’ foam layers are CertiPUR-US certified, meaning that they are free of toxins.

All Helix mattresses have breathable covers and come with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

A person can consider the following advantages and disadvantages of the Helix Midnight Mattress:

Pros:

  • recommended for side sleepers
  • pressure point relief
  • suits couples with different preferences

Cons:

  • may not be firm enough for some
  • user reports of low motion transfer control
  • some users with back pain did not find it supportive enough

Learn more about Helix mattresses here.

Best cooling mattress: Serta iComfort Hybrid CF 4000 with Cooling and Comfort Upgrade

  • Price: $2,599–3,699
  • Firmness: medium, medium pillow top, extra firm
  • Sizes: twin XL, queen, king, CA king
  • Height: no information available
  • Mattress type: hybrid
Serat iComfort Hybrid mattress on navy blue background

Serta’s iComfort line comes in a range of firmnesses and has various cooling features. This mattress may be best for people who tend to sleep hot or live in warm climates.

It comprises a supportive foam design that moves with and contours to a person’s body. It also alleviates pressure points where the body naturally carries more weight. The Carbon Fiber Memory Foam draws heat away from the body and provides strong support for the neck and back.

This mattress also includes Serta’s UltraCold System, which comprises another extra-cooling later of Carbon Fiber Memory Foam. The cover consists of cool-to-the-touch performance fibers.

The iComfort is a hybrid model, meaning it has both memory foam and inner springs. The company says that the spring layer provides durable support that adapts to a person’s body shape.

The advantages and drawbacks to consider include:

Pros:

  • several cooling layers
  • comes in a range of firmnesses
  • foam and spring layers conform to body shape
  • Carbon Fiber Memory Foam layer provides strong back support

Cons:

  • expensive
  • unavailable from Serta directly

Learn about the best cooling mattresses here.

Best for combination sleepers: Winkbeds GravityLux

Winkbeds GravityLux
  • Price: $1,199–1,999
  • Firmness: soft, medium, firm
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA king
  • Height: 11 in
  • Mattress type: memory foam

This mattress may suit side sleepers and people who switch between their sides and back. The company notes that there are seven support layers to provide a softer surface for the shoulders and legs and a firmer layer for the torso.

Learn about the best mattresses for combination sleepers here.

Winkbeds adds that its memory foam contains small air capsules to follow the body’s contours and help heat dissipate, allowing an individual to stay cool.

According to reviews on the company’s website, this mattress has helped some people with back pain. However, it is an all-foam design, which may not be suitable for those with heavier body weights. That said, a person can choose between three firmness options.

It comes with a 120-night trial and a lifetime warranty.

A person can consider the following advantages and drawbacks:

Pros:

  • lifetime warranty
  • choice of firmnesses

Cons:

  • all-foam design may not be suitable for all

Learn more about Winkbed mattresses here.

Best latex mattress: Birch Natural Mattress

Birch Natural Mattress
  • Price: $1,399–2,149
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA king
  • Height: 11 in
  • Mattress type: latex hybrid

Research suggests that mattress materials can affect sleep quality. A small study from 2017 compared latex and polyurethane foam mattresses. It found that latex mattresses performed better overall and provided more pressure relief for side sleepers.

As a result, side sleepers may prefer latex mattresses.

Learn more about the best latex mattresses here.

The manufacturer of this mattress notes that this mattress features organic cotton, organic wool, and natural Talalay latex, materials that may help regulate body temperature. Additionally, the steel coils in the base reportedly help prevent motion transfer.

The company holds Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and GREENGUARD Gold certifications. This means that the mattress is free from polyurethane foam and harmful chemicals. It also uses sustainably sourced organic materials.

It comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 25-year warranty.

The advantages and disadvantages of the Birch Natural Mattress include:

Pros:

  • studies found latex beneficial for side sleepers
  • uses natural materials
  • lengthy warranty
  • recommended for side sleepers
  • holds environmental certifications

Cons:

  • not suitable for people with a latex allergy
  • not suitable for people allergic to wool
  • not suitable for vegans

Best memory foam mattress: Leesa Original Mattress

Leesa Original Mattress
  • Price: $849–1,599
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA king
  • Height: 10 in
  • Mattress type: memory foam

According to the manufacturer’s website, foam mattresses are suitable for side sleepers as they support the pressure points while contouring the body. Additionally, 2021 research states that medium-firm mattresses are best for those with back pain. This is because memory foam has a high density, providing the firmness that those with back pain need.

Learn more about memory foam mattresses here.

The Leesa foam mattress uses 100% premium memory foam, which reportedly offers contouring, pressure relief support, and cooling properties. The top layer comprises cooling memory foam, while the second and third aim to provide support. The central layer aims to relieve back, hip, and shoulder pressure.

This mattress has certification from GREENGUARD Gold.

A person can also receive two free down alternative pillows when purchasing this mattress.

It comes with a 10-year warranty and a 100-day trial.

The advantages and drawbacks to consider include:

Pros:

  • comes with two free pillows
  • low volatile organic compounds certification

Cons:

  • made to order, lengthening delivery time
  • some users report it is too soft

Learn more about Leesa mattresses here.

Best for lower back pain: Saatva Classic Mattress

Saatva Classic Mattress
  • Price: $935–2,450
  • Firmness: plush soft, luxury firm, firm
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, CA king, split CA king
  • Height: 11.5 in or 14.5 in
  • Mattress type: innerspring

Saatva writes that chiropractors recommend this mattress, which can reportedly relieve back ache. The company uses its patented Lumbar Zone technologies to provide back support. There is a CertiPUR-US-certified memory foam layer that offers pressure point relief, and the middle of the mattress offers enhanced support for the lower back.

Additionally, there are more than 800 recycled steel coils that contour to a person’s body shape. These coils are firmer in the center of the mattress to further support the back.

This mattress may be suitable for people with lower back pain.

Learn about the best mattresses for lower back pain here.

This mattress also reportedly uses a botanical, nontoxic antimicrobial treatment to inhibit mold and bacteria growth. It consists of organic and environmentally conscious materials, including its organic cotton cover, CertiPUR-US-certified foam, natural flame retardant barrier, and recycled steel.

Also, it is an innerspring mattress as it has a 3-in pillow that sits on top of the dual-coil layers.

It comes with a lifetime warranty and a 365-night trial.

Advantages and disadvantages to consider include:

Pros:

  • multiple firmness and height options
  • uses several environmentally conscious materials
  • antimicrobial properties
  • lengthy sleep trial
  • lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • expensive
  • some users found the plush mattress too firm

Learn more about Saatva mattresses here.

Best hypoallergenic mattress: Puffy Lux Hybrid

Puffy Lux Hybrid
  • Price: $1,749–3,598
  • Firmness: medium-plush
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, CA king
  • Height: 12 in
  • Mattress type: hybrid

This mattress features a hypoallergenic cover that aims to reduce allergies and prevent the buildup of dust mites and dust.

Learn about hypoallergenic pillows here.

It is a hybrid mattress that uses memory foam and springs. There are three foam layers and one spring layer with reinforced foam edge supports. The Cooling Cloud Foam is a gel-infused layer that aims to keep sleepers cool, and the Plush Dual Cloud Foam relieves pressure.

The coils aim to stabilize the mattress and provide edge support.

This mattress comes with a 101-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. A person will also get two free pillows, bedsheets, and a mattress protector with their purchase.

Individuals can consider the following advantages and disadvantages of the Puffy Lux Mattress:

Pros:

  • hypoallergenic
  • comes with free bedding and pillows
  • lifetime warranty
  • delivery within 2–5 business days

Cons:

  • expensive
  • neutral or negative reviews are not easily accessible
  • people with specific pillow preferences may not need the extra accessories

Learn more about Puffy Lux mattresses here.

Best for couples:Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
  • Price: $973–2,286
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king, split king
  • Height: 12 in
  • Mattress type: memory foam

This Nectar memory foam mattress comes with five layers. It has a quilted cool cover that keeps heat away from the body and a smart layer that includes a 3-in of pressure-relieving gel memory foam.

It also features a dynamic support layer that helps individuals get into a deep sleep and a stay-stable base layer. There is also a shift-resistant lower cover that helps the mattress stay in place.

This mattress may be a good option for couples, as it provides minimal motion transfer.

Learn more about the best mattresses for couples here.

Additionally, the bedding product holds the CertiPUR-US certification.

Nectar offers a 365-night home trial, free shipping, and a lifetime warranty.

Advantages and disadvantages to consider include:

Pros:

  • suitable for couples
  • lifetime warranty
  • keeps body cool
  • compatible with most bed frames

Cons:

  • expensive
  • extra charge for upgrade options

Learn more about Nectar memory foam mattresses here.

Best flippable mattress: Layla Hybrid Mattress

Layla Hybrid Mattress
  • Price: $1,299–1,899
  • Firmness: soft and firm, depending the mattress side a person sleeps on
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king
  • Height: 13 in
  • Mattress type: hybrid

This mattress has a flippable design. One side is soft, and the other is firm, so individuals can easily flip the mattress to choose their preferred firmness level.

Learn about the best flippable mattresses here.

Layla offers this hybrid mattress that supports all sleeping positions. It features an individually wrapped coil system, which controls the individual’s movements.

It has a double coil perimeter which provides edge support.

It also consists of polyester, rayon, viscose, and poly/lycra construction. It comes with a reverse black zipper.

The manufacturer states that this mattress is compatible with adjustable bases.

A person can benefit from a 120-day money-back guarantee, free shipping, and a 10-year warranty.

Individuals can consider the following advantages and drawbacks:

Pros:

  • flippable
  • compatible with adjustable bases
  • free shipping
  • edge support

Cons:

  • can be expensive
  • may have an unpleasant smell at first

Learn more about Layla mattresses here.

Best for extra support: Purple Plus Mattress

Purple Plus Mattress
  • Price: $1,499–2,898
  • Firmness: medium
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king, split king
  • Height: 11 in
  • Mattress type: hybrid

Purple Plus Mattress comes with extra cushioning and provides a less bouncy feel. It helps keep the body cool during sleep, and its SoftFlex Cover supports body movement.

The company uses nontoxic materials, and the product is hypoallergenic. It is also Clean Air Gold certified.

Also, the Plus Mattress has extra padding so that it is able to cradle the hips and shoulders. It also retains its shape during movement.

Purple’s mattress comes with a 10-year warranty, a 100-night trial, and free shipping.

The bedding product has some advantages and disadvantages:

Pros:

  • extra padding
  • retains its shape
  • heat-wicking material
  • hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • minimal vertical support, so sleepers may slide off
  • may require a mattress topper to reduce back pain

Learn more about Purple mattresses here.

Best nontoxic mattress: Amerisleep AS4

Amerisleep AS4 mattress
  • Price: $1,499–2,648
  • Firmness: medium-soft
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king, split king
  • Height: 12 in
  • Mattress type: memory foam

Amerisleep stocks this mattress that features extra cushioning for side and combination sleepers.

It comes with plant-based Bio-Pur memory foam and HIVE technology that increases airflow and targeted support.

According to Amerisleep website, the AS4 mattress’ base foam helps prevent sagging and uncomfortable sinkage.

The mattress is non-toxic and fiberglass-free.

It mattress contains eco-friendly materials that prevent heat build-up and holds the CertiPUR-US certification.

The manufacturer offers a 100-night trial, a 20-year warranty, and free shipping.

There are pros and cons that a person may consider:

Pros:

  • eco-friendly materials
  • prevents sagging
  • breathable
  • works with an adjustable base

Cons:

  • may take some time until the body gets used to the mattress
  • may feel firm for some persons
  • customer service may not be very helpful

Learn more about Amerisleep here.

The table below compares each of the mattresses in this article:

FirmnessSizesTypeSleep trialWarrantyPrice
Helixmedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California (CA) kinghybrid100 nights10 years$799–1,549
Sertamedium, medium pillow top, extra firmtwin XL, queen, king, CA kinghybrid120 days10 years$2,599–3,699
Winkbedssoft, medium, firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA kingmemory foam120 nightslifetime$1,199–1,999
Birchmedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA kinglatex hybrid100 nights25 years$1,399–2,149
Leesamedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA kingmemory foam10 years100 days$849–1,599
Saatvaplush soft, luxury firm, firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, CA king, split CA kinginnerspring365 nightslifetime$935–2,450
Puffymedium-plushtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, CA kinghybrid101 nightslifetime$1,749–3,598
Nectarmedium-firmtwin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king, split kingmemory foam365 nightslifetime$973–2,286
Laylasoft and firmtwin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA kinghybrid120 days10 years$1,299–1,899
Purplemediumtwin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king, split kinghybrid100 nights10 years$1,499–2,898
Amerisleepmedium-softtwin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king, split kingmemory foam100 nights20 years$1,499–2,648

Before purchasing a mattress, people may wish to consider the following factors:

  • Firmness: Medium-firm mattresses are usually suitable for all sleeping positions. However, the sensation of firmness is subjective, and a person should choose a mattress that best supports their body.
  • Materials: Memory foam mattresses may provide extra pressure relief, while hybrid mattresses may offer cooler sleep.
  • Sleeping position: People should ensure that the mattress they purchase is comfortable in all sleep positions.
  • Sleep trial: Some companies may offer a sleep trial. With these, individuals can try a mattress for a period of time to ensure that it is comfortable.
  • Warranty: A person may wish to purchase a mattress from a company that offers a lengthy warranty.

Generally, mattresses that support spinal alignment relieve pressure on the back and joints and may alleviate back pain for some people. Research is inconclusive regarding mattress firmness and side sleeping.

However, weight may play a role in the level of support a person needs in a mattress.

Here are some mattress types that may benefit different-sized side sleepers with pain back:

  • Soft mattresses: People with lighter body weights may find soft mattresses comfortable and supportive.
  • Firm mattresses: Individuals with higher body weights may require a firmer mattress.
  • Memory foam mattresses: Generally, firm and memory foam mattresses are considered supportive for those with back pain. However, a 2014 review found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to make definitive guidelines around the best mattress firmness for back pain.

Soft and firm mattresses

During sleep, the main force affecting the back is gravity. Because of this, sleeping on a mattress that is too soft or hard or that does not support the alignment of the spine may put pressure on the joints. This can cause or worsen back pain and affect overall sleep quality for some people.

Generally, firm and memory foam mattresses are considered supportive for those with back pain. However, a 2014 review found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to make definitive guidelines around the best mattress firmness for back pain.

A person should purchase a mattress that keeps their spine in a neutral position and contour around pressure points, such as the hips and shoulders. Additionally, people should feel comfortable in every sleeping position.

People usually sleep on their sides, fronts, backs, or a combination of all three. The sections below detail the benefits and disadvantages of side sleeping.

Benefits of side sleeping

Individuals may find that sleeping on their sides reduces snoring. Some research suggests that people, especially those with obesity or higher body weights, are more likely to snore while sleeping on their backs than in any other position.

Additionally, pregnant people may find it more comfortable to sleep on their sides. Sleeping on the side can also reduce the risk of stillbirth.

Disadvantages of side sleeping

One of the disadvantages of side sleeping is that it can lead to sleep wrinkles. One 2016 literature review suggests that sleeping on the side or front can lead to compression and stress on the face, which may increase the appearance of wrinkles. The researchers note that sleeping on the back may reduce face compression and stress.

Also, some older research suggests that side sleeping may worsen shoulder pain. The author suggests that shoulder pain may be due to people spending longer periods sleeping on their sides. There is also increased pressure on the hips while sleeping on the side, and this can worsen discomfort in that area without proper support.

A person should speak with a doctor if their back pain is severe, limits their movement, or interferes with daily activities. They should also get medical advice if their back pain does not improve with a new mattress or other self-care methods.

Individuals should seek urgent medical advice if they experience the following symptoms along with back pain:

The following are some frequently asked questions about mattresses for side sleepers.

Should side sleepers use a soft mattress?

A soft mattress may be suitable for side sleepers because it can relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips, which are common trigger points.

However, people should purchase a mattress that has a comfortable level of firmness. Some individuals may find that a medium or medium-firm mattress is a better fit than a softer mattress.

When should I replace my mattress?

A person should replace their mattress if they believe it no longer offers adequate support.

The following are some other reasons for replacing a mattress:

  • The mattress shows signs of wear and tear, such as soft spots, lumps, or broken springs.
  • The person is waking up feeling tired or sore.
  • The individual is waking up with a partner’s movement. This can occur because mattresses lose motion isolation as they age.

People may find that they need to replace their mattresses every decade. However, mattresses featuring certain materials, such as memory foam, may last longer than this.

Learn more about how long mattresses last.

How can I dispose of my mattress?

People can dispose of their mattresses by recycling them, donating them, or leaving them at a landfill site.

A person could recycle most of their mattress. Materials, such as springs, foam, and polyester filling, are all recyclable. However, people need to take the mattress apart and separate the materials.

If a mattress is still useable, some companies or charities may accept it to donate to others. Although some places may accept mattresses in a range of conditions, most will not accept unusable mattresses.

If a person cannot recycle or donate their mattress, they must dispose of it at a landfill site.

Learn more about disposing of a mattress.

People who sleep on their sides may prefer a mattress with softer areas around the shoulders and legs and a firmer middle area. This can help support the spine’s alignment.

However, everyone has different needs, and finding the right mattress may take some trial and error. With this in mind, many companies now offer trial periods.

If back pain persists after a person takes steps to ease it at home, it may be a good idea to contact a doctor.