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

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

  • Price: $936–1,749
  • 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:


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


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

Read our review of Helix mattresses here.

Best cooling mattress: Serta iComfort Hybrid CF 4000

  • 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

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.

Learn about the best cooling mattresses here.

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:


  • 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


  • expensive
  • unavailable from Serta directly

Read our review of Serta mattresses here.

Best for combination sleepers: 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 the company’s website reviews, 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:


  • lifetime warranty
  • choice of firmnesses


  • all-foam design may not be suitable for all

Read our review of Winkbed mattresses here.

Best latex mattress: Birch Natural Mattress

  • Price: $1,248–2,186
  • 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:


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


  • 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

  • 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:


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


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

Read our review of Leesa mattresses here.

Best for lower back pain: Saatva Classic Mattress

  • Price: $995–2,710
  • 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. A CertiPUR-US-certified memory foam layer offers pressure point relief, and the middle of the mattress offers enhanced support for the lower back.

Additionally, more than 800 recycled steel coils 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:


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


  • expensive
  • some users found the plush mattress too firm

Read our review of Saatva mattresses here.

Best hypoallergenic mattress: 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:


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


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

Read our review of Puffy mattresses here.

Best for couples:Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $599–1,698
  • 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. A shift-resistant lower cover also 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:


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


  • expensive
  • extra charge for upgrade options

Read our review of Nectar here.

Best flippable mattress: Layla Hybrid Mattress

  • Price: $1,299–1,899
  • Firmness: soft and firm, depending on 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:


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


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

Read our review of Layla mattresses here.

Best for extra support: 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:


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


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

Read our review of Purple mattresses here.

Best nontoxic mattress: Amerisleep AS4

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

The mattress is non-toxic and fiberglass-free.

The 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:


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


  • 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

Read our review of Amerisleep here.

Best for motion reduction:Nolah Evolution

  • Price: $1,599–3,598
  • Firmness: Plush, firm, luxury firm
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California (CA) king, split king
  • Height: 15”
  • Mattress type: hybrid

This 7-layer hybrid mattress reportedly provides targeted support for the back and pressure point relief, which could make it a good choice to address back pain in side sleepers. A person can choose the degree of firmness they prefer: plush, firm, or luxury firm.

This mattress is designed to promote healthy spinal alignment with soft upper layers cushioning the spine, responsive individually-wrapped coils, and targeted lumbar support. Perimeter coils provide edge support and enhance durability. The foam used in the mattress is Certi-PUR-US certified.

It is handcrafted in the United States and reportedly provides a cool night’s sleep. Other key features include:

  • cooling cover made from heat-shedding ArticTexTM and organic cotton
  • cooling quilted topper
  • 2” graphite-infused foam layer
  • 2” layer of high-resilience foam
  • 1” layer of high density foam
  • a layer of 8” individually-wrapped support coils
  • plant fiber foundation layer

The company offers free shipping, a 120-night sleep trial, and a lifetime warranty.

Individuals can consider the following advantages and disadvantages of the Nolah Evolution mattress:


  • handcrafted
  • comfortable for all sleeping positions
  • effective motion control


  • may be too thick for some
  • not a good choice for people seeking pure foam mattress
  • some users found that it slept too hot

Read our review of Nolah here.

Best for edge support: DreamCloud Premier

  • Price: $1,473–3,546
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California (CA) king, split king
  • Height: 14”
  • Mattress type: hybrid

According to users, this mattress has a medium-firm feel, which can be helpful for people with back pain. It is crafted to promote airflow for a cool night’s sleep.

Individually-wrapped coils move independently, providing customized contouring for each sleeper and reducing motion transfer. Thicker coils along the edges enhance edge support.

According to the manufacturer’s website, the contouring memory foam in this mattress relieves pressure points, which can be helpful for side sleepers. Additionally, this mattress uses Certi-PUR-US certified foams.

The seven layers of this hybrid mattress consist of the following:

  • cashmere blend Euro Top cover layer
  • 1” memory foam for pressure point relief
  • 1” cushioning foam
  • 2.5” transition layer for alignment
  • 8.5” individually-wrapped coils
  • 1” standard foam stability base
  • shift-resistant lower cover

The company offers a 365-night home trial, a lifetime warranty, free shipping, and returns.

Individuals can consider the following advantages and disadvantages of the Dreamcloud Premier mattress:


  • comfortable for side and back sleepers
  • reportedly good for people with back pain
  • balance of comfort and support


  • may not be a good choice for people wanting to sink into a mattress
  • expensive
  • not a good choice for stomach sleepers

Read our review of DreamCloud here.

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

FirmnessSizesTypeSleep trialWarrantyPrice
Helixmedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California (CA) kinghybrid100
10 years$936–1,749
Sertamedium, medium pillow top, extra firmtwin XL, queen, king, CA kinghybrid120
10 years$2,599–3,699
Winkbedssoft, medium, firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA kingmemory foam120
Birchmedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA kinglatex hybrid100
25 years$1,248–2,186
Leesamedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA kingmemory foam100
10 years$849–1,599
Saatvaplush soft, luxury firm, firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, CA king, split CA kinginnerspring365
Puffymedium-plushtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, CA kinghybrid101
Nectarmedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA king, split kingmemory foam365
Laylasoft and firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA kinghybrid120
10 years$1,299–1,899
Purplemediumtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA king, split kinghybrid100
10 years$1,499–2,898
Amerisleepmedium-softtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA king, split kingmemory foam100
20 years$1,499–2,648
Nolahplush, firm, or luxury firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, CA king, split kinghybrid120
Dreamcloudmedium-firmtwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California (CA) king, split kinghybrid365

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, body size and weight may play a role in the level of support a person needs in a mattress.

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

  • 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 insufficient evidence to make definitive guidelines around the best mattress firmness for back pain.

Soft vs. 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 does not support the spine’s alignment may put pressure on the joints. This can cause or worsen back pain and affect overall sleep quality for some people.

Generally, research suggests that a medium-firm mattress is the best choice for people hoping to reduce 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.

Research suggests that sleeping on the side or front can lead to compression and stress on the face, which may increase the appearance of wrinkles. 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 sleeping longer on their sides. There is also increased pressure on the hips while sleeping on the side, which 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 with back pain:

What kind of mattress is best for side sleepers with back pain?

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.

Note that researchers have found that medium-firm mattresses improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of developing low back pain.

When should I replace my mattress?

People 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 wakes up feeling tired or sore.
  • The individual wakes up with a partner’s movement. This can occur because mattresses loses 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 here.

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 various conditions, most will not accept unusable ones.

If people cannot recycle or donate their mattresses, they can dispose of them at a landfill.

Learn more about disposing of a mattress.

What mattress firmness is best for back and side sleepers?

A small study of side sleepers with chronic lower back pain found that a mattress with zoned support reduced pain and increased comfort compared to the person’s own mattress.

The zoned mattress provided softer contouring around heavier parts of the body, such as hips and shoulders, while providing more firm support in the lumbar area and under the head.

Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress for back pain?

Possibly neither. Studies have found that medium-firm mattresses lower a person’s risk of developing back pain and help them sleep better.

Keep in mind that a person should purchase a mattress with a level of firmness they find comfortable.

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.