• Based on over 1,000 hours testing, the Saatva Classic is HelpGuide’s top mattress for side sleepers in 2024, thanks to its high-quality materials and exceptional pressure relief.
  • Side sleepers need a mattress with ample cushioning around the hips and shoulders to keep pressure point pain at bay, along with sufficient support to ensure a neutral spine.
  • Mattresses for side sleepers can cost around $750 to over $2,300, depending on size, construction, and materials.

Your brain needs sleep just like your phone needs to be charged. Research shows that poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health, with people who don’t sleep well experiencing higher rates of depression and anxiety. While there are a number of ways you can address poor sleep, ensuring your mattress is right for your sleeping position is an important consideration and can actually improve your sleep quality.

If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll need a mattress that offers plenty of body contouring and pressure relief. But with so many mattresses on the market, it can be difficult to find the perfect fit. 

Fortunately, the Handbook Team has personally tested hundreds of mattresses and rounded up a list of the 10 best mattresses for side sleepers in 2024. No matter your body type and personal preferences, you should be able to find a mattress that will work for you.  

Best mattress for side sleepers overall

The Saatva Classic is the best mattress for side sleepers because it cushions joints and offers ample pressure relief—side sleepers are especially prone to pressure on their shoulders, hips, and other joints. The Saatva Classic is made with high-quality materials, like organic cotton and zoned coils, so it should last at least 10 years. 

1
Best overall
9.8 Exceptional
High-quality materials offer good pressure relief
Tufted pillow top adds luxurious cushioning
Coil system supports the spine while foam cradles pressure points
Price: $1,295–$2,790
9.8 Exceptional

Our pick of the best mattresses for side sleepers

Quality sleep supports emotional well-being, cognitive function, and resilience to stress. During sleep, the brain undergoes critical restorative processes, such as memory consolidation and emotional processing, fundamental for maintaining optimal mental health.

Ryan Sultan, medical director of Integrative Psych and a psychotherapist and research professor at Columbia University

How we chose the best mattresses for side sleepers

of research
1000+   hours
of research
evaluated
100+   models
evaluated
interviewed
7   people
interviewed
consulted
21   experts
consulted

What you need to know about the best mattresses for side sleepers

Here’s five things you should know about the best mattresses for side sleepers:

  • We chose the Saatva Classic as the best mattress for side sleepers overall. 
  • Side sleepers need softer mattresses that offer pressure relief and body contouring. If a mattress is too firm, it could cause joint pain. 
  • Most brands run sales and promotions that significantly lower the price. 
  • All of the mattresses on this list have sleep trial periods, which give customers several months to try out the mattress and see if it’s a good fit. If the mattress doesn’t work out during the trial period, customers can return it and get a refund.
  • Consult your doctor if you have a specific concern, such as lower back or hip pain. Our recommendations should not replace medical advice. 

Compare the best mattresses for side sleepers in 2024

Price $1,295–$2,790 $936.30–$1,748.80 $749–$1,998 $1,149–$2,049 $999–$2,398 $899–$1,948 $1,949–$4,198 $1,499–$1,919 $1,893–$3,920 $1,169–$2,998
Firmness 6/10 (Plush Soft model) 6/10 6/10 6/10 (softer model) 6.5/10 6.5/10 6/10 6/10 6/10 7/10
Material Innerspring hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Memory foam Hybrid Memory foam Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid
Warranty Lifetime 10 years Forever warranty Lifetime Lifetime 10 years Lifetime 10 years Lifetime Lifetime
Trial period 365 nights 100 nights 365 nights 120 nights 120 nights 120 nights 101 nights 100 nights 120 nights 365 nights
Best for Sleepers who like bouncy beds Side sleepers with shoulder and hip pain Side sleepers who like hybrid mattresses Side sleepers with lower back pain Side and back sleepers Higher-weight side sleepers Side sleepers who like memory foam mattresses Side sleepers who overheat at night Side sleepers who share a bed with a partner Combination sleepers

The best mattresses for side sleepers reviews

Best mattress for side sleepers overall: Saatva

Best overall
Saatva Classic

The Saatva Classic mattress is available in three firmness models: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. The Plush Soft model is a great match for side sleepers because it’s designed to cushion joints and support the spine. Side sleepers shouldn’t feel any pain along pressure points while resting on this mattress.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.8/10.
  • Material: Innerspring-hybrid.
  • Cost: $1,295–$2,790.
  • Warranty: Lifetime.
  • Trial period: 365 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6/10.
  • Height: 11.5 inches or 14.5 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, California king, split California king.

Our final verdict

Our team loved the Saata Classic mattress because it’s made with high-quality materials. During testing, its tufted pillow top, made with organic cotton, made our tester team feel like we were resting at a five-star hotel. The Plush Soft model cushioned our hips and helped alleviate joint pain. We also liked the strong coil system—it helped support our spines and keep them in the proper alignment.

From our tester

“The Saatva Classic mattress is a great match for side sleepers, thanks to its pressure-relieving pillow top. If you like responsive mattresses, this is a great option.”

The Saatva Classic mattress has a classic innerspring feel, making it quite bouncy. We didn’t sink into the comfort layer, so moving around on top of this bed was easy. That said, it doesn’t isolate motion as well as other beds on the market. In our seismograph tests While seismographs are instruments used to test the motion of the ground during an earthquake, we use a similar tool to measure movement across mattresses. , we saw quite a bit of motion after dropping a steel ball on the mattress surface. If you share a bed with a partner, you may want to consider the DreamCloud mattress instead.

Our tester pressing down on the Saatva Classic mattress to test firmness

The Saatva Classic mattress has a classic innerspring feel, making it quite bouncy.

We also found that this mattress doesn’t trap a lot of body heat. The breathable cover and airflow-promoting coils helped dissipate heat and keep us cool throughout the night.

If you are interested in Saatva, consider their adjustable beds. Read our in-depth Saatva adjustable bed review to learn more.

Pros and cons of the Saatva mattress

Pros Available in three firmness levels. Plush Soft model offers pressure relief for side sleepers. Feels cool and breathable. Comes with free white glove delivery. One-year trial period. Long warranty. Cons Doesn’t isolate motion well.
Our top pick

Best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder and hip pain: Helix Midnight

Best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder and hip pain
Helix Midnight

The Helix Midnight mattress feels softer than average, coming in at six out of 10 (with 10 being the firmest) on our firmness scale. This plush feel is great for side sleepers because it helps alleviate shoulder and hip pain. Its hybrid A type of mattress made with both foam layers and spring layers. construction gives it a balanced feel—making it easier to move around on top of the mattress—but it isn’t as bouncy as classic innerspring beds.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.2/10.
  • Material: Hybrid.
  • Cost: $936.30–$1,748.80.
  • Warranty: 10 years.
  • Trial period: 100 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6/10.
  • Height: 11.5 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, short queen, king, California king, RV king.

Our final verdict

Helix sells a wide variety of mattresses, and many work well for side sleepers. But we really liked the Helix Midnight because it cushioned our testers’ shoulders and hips. It feels slightly softer than average, while still offering plenty of lumbar support.

From our tester

“I really like the Helix Midnight’s balance of comfort and support. I got the pressure relief I needed when I slept on my side, and I got plenty of lumbar support when I rested on my back.”

When we tested this mattress, we found it had a balanced hybrid feel. The comfort layers provided gentle contouring, while the coils made the surface feel responsive Good responsiveness means the mattress has a bouncier surface that responds to pressure or the sleeper’s movements, making it easier to move around and switch positions. . Our testers found it easy to move around on top of this bed, and we didn’t feel “stuck inside” it.

Our tester sitting down on a Helix mattress to test edge support

We found that the Helix Midnight has a balanced hybrid feel.

There’s a lot to love about the baseline Helix Midnight mattress, but you can also opt for some upgrades to enhance your sleep experience. If you’re a particularly hot sleeper, you may want to consider purchasing the GlacioTex Cooling Cover as an extra. And if you sleep in multiple positions throughout the night, you may want to choose the Helix Luxe mattress instead. This model has zoned support, which means it feels firmer toward the center of the mattress. This is meant to help promote proper spinal alignment and alleviate lower back pain in many sleeping positions.

Pros and cons of the Helix Midnight mattress

Pros Great pressure relief. Balanced hybrid feel. Good edge support. A great cooling mattress. Cons Poor motion isolation. The luxury add-ons can make the mattress more expensive. Shorter warranty compared to other brands.

Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers: Nectar Hybrid

Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers
Nectar

Hybrid mattresses are great for many reasons: They tend to sleep cooler and are typically responsive and highly durable. The Nectar Hybrid mattress is no exception. This mattress has a classic medium-firm feel, coming in at 6.5 out of 10 on our firmness scale. This makes it a great option for lightweight and average-weight side sleepers.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9/10.
  • Material: Hybrid.
  • Cost: $749–$1,998.
  • Warranty: Forever.
  • Trial period: 365 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6.5/10.
  • Height: 12 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king.

Our final verdict

Our testers loved how the Nectar Hybrid mattress’s comfort layer is plush and responds slowly to movement, and we didn’t feel like we were sleeping “inside” the mattress. The coils supported our lower backs and helped us maintain the correct spinal alignment.

From our tester

“When I slept on my side, I felt the luxurious comfort layer hug my shoulders and hips. Unlike many all-foam beds, the Nectar Hybrid didn’t make me feel hot at night. ”

For a hybrid mattress, the Nectar isolates motion quite well. To test for motion transfer, one of our testers rolled around on one side of the mattress while another rested on the other side. The second tester didn’t feel much movement on their side of the bed, so this should be a nice option for couples.

Our tester pushing down on a Nectar mattress to test firmness and edge support

For a hybrid, Nectar isolates motion well.

This mattress is another great cooling option. The comfort layer is made with gel-infused foam, which helps pull heat away from the body. While not all mattress cooling technology is as effective as advertised by the brand, our testers reported staying cool when they slept on this mattress.

Pros and cons of the Nectar Hybrid mattress

Pros Balanced hybrid feel. Sleeps cool. Good balance of comfort and support. Isolates motion well. One-year trial period. Long warranty. Cons Not firm enough for stomach sleepers. Not supportive enough for people who weigh more than 230 pounds.

Best Mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain: The WinkBed

Best mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain
The WinkBed

The WinkBed mattress has a zoned support system, which means it feels softer near the head and the foot. If you’re a side sleeper with lower back pain, this mattress may be able to help you maintain the proper spinal alignment.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.3/10.
  • Material: Hybrid.
  • Cost: $1,149–$2,049.
  • Warranty: Lifetime.
  • Trial period: 120 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6/10 for the Softer model.
  • Height: 13.5 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king.

Our final verdict

This mattress is available in three firmness levels: Softer, Luxury Firm, and Firmer (it’s also available in Plus for higher-weight people). But side sleepers should opt for the Softer model. When our testers used our pressure mapping A mat rolled across a mattress that uses color-coded thermal imaging to show how much pressure someone puts on the bed when they lie down on it. system on the Luxury Firm model, we saw some pressure along the shoulder and hip region.

From our tester

“The WinkBed mattress works well for a variety of people, because it’s available in many firmness levels. I really liked the softer version when I slept on my side. I felt plenty of lumbar support and pressure relief. ”

The Winkbed mattress has a traditional bouncy feel with a tufted pillow top. It’s similar to what you may find in a hotel room. We found it easy to move around on top of the mattress, and surprisingly, it isolated motion quite well too. If you share a bed with a partner or a pet, you shouldn’t feel any movement on your side of the mattress.

Our tester sitting down on The WinkBed mattress to test firmness

The WinkBed’s traditional bouncy feel is similar to what you’d feel in a hotel room.

Pros and cons of The WinkBed mattress

Pros Zoned support. Plush pillow top. Good motion isolation. Bouncy and responsive. Long warranty. Cons Has a 48-hour off-gassing period. Softer model isn’t great for sleepers who change positions frequently.

Best mattress for side and back sleepers: Nolah Original

Best mattress for side and back sleepers
Nolah Hybrid

With a classic medium-firm feel, the Nolah Original mattress offers the comfort and support that side and back sleepers need. Even though it’s an all-foam mattress (foam is known for holding onto heat), it sleeps quite cool at night. The proprietary AirFoam is more breathable than traditional memory foam, which helps dissipate body heat.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.3/10.
  • Material: Memory foam.
  • Cost: $999–$2,398.
  • Warranty: Lifetime.
  • Trial period: 120 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6.5/10.
  • Height: 10 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king.

Our final verdict

If you prefer a mattress that responds slowly to movement, the Nolah Original is a great option. This all-foam bed is made with three foam layers. The top comfort layer offers good body contouring, which is particularly helpful for side sleepers who need pressure relief. Beneath that sits two firmer foam layers, which offer the lumbar support back sleepers need.

From our tester

“The Nolah mattress is a great all-foam bed. I really like how the top layer hugs my body. It’s also an affordable option that’s great if you’re on a budget.”

Our tester pushing down on a Nolah mattress to test firmness

The Nolah Original is a great option if you like a slow-moving mattress.

Like many all-foam mattresses, the Nolah mattress isolates motion well. To test this, we placed a seismometer tool on one side of the bed and dropped a steel ball on the other side. The motion waves weren’t high, which tells us that this mattress could work well for couples.

Pros and cons of the Nolah mattress

Pros Contains cooling foam. Great balance of comfort and support. Good motion isolation. Long warranty. Cons Lacks a bouncy and responsive feel. Average edge support. Thinner than other mattresses.

Best mattress for heavy side sleepers: Titan Plus Luxe

Best mattress for heavy side sleepers
Titan Plus Luxe

If you weigh more than 230 pounds, you’ll want to find a mattress that’s durable and supportive. The Titan Plus Luxe, made by Brooklyn Bedding, was designed specifically for higher-weight people. This bed is topped with a thick layer of TitanFlex foam, a highly responsive foam that we found also offers the pressure relief side sleepers need. For support, this mattress has steel coils designed to provide edge support Edge support is the bed’s strength and stability around the perimeter. and motion isolation The containment of movement on one area of a mattress so it doesn’t impact other areas. . We found the coils also help support the lower back and prevent sleepers from “bottoming out” on the bed making it a comfortable mattress option.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.2/10.
  • Material: Hybrid.
  • Cost: $899–$1,948.
  • Warranty: 10 years.
  • Trial period: 120 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6.5/10.
  • Height: 13 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split California king.

Our final verdict

Our testers range in height and body type, but for this review, we asked a higher-weight tall person to test it out. When our tester slept on his side on the pressure map, we didn’t see a lot of pressure build up around his shoulders and hips. In fact, he didn’t have a lot of pressure buildup when he slept on his back, either. We did see quite a bit of pressure whenever he moved to his stomach, which was to be expected due to the mattress’s thick comfort layer.

From our tester

“As a heavier side sleeper, I appreciated the Titan Plus Luxe’s balance of comfort and support. I didn’t feel any pressure on my shoulders, and I didn’t feel like I would sink through the top layer. ”

This mattress can also work well for hot sleepers. The individually wrapped coils promote airflow, and if you need some additional cooling features, you can opt for a GlacioTex Cooling Cover.

Best of all, this mattress is a great value. It’s made in the Brooklyn Bedding factory in Phoenix, Arizona, which means the company can cut out the middleman and pass the savings on to the customer.

Pros and cons of the Titan Plus Luxe mattress

Pros Great for people who weigh more than 230 pounds. Ideal for back and side sleepers. Cooling. Good for couples. Cons Has a 48-hour off-gassing period after it’s unboxed. Shorter warranty compared to other brands.

Best memory foam mattress for side sleepers: Puffy Cloud

Best memory foam mattress for side sleepers
Puffy Cloud

The Puffy Cloud mattress is great for people who want to sink into their bed and feel plush memory foam all around them. This all-foam mattress responds slowly to movement, and one tester said it was “like sleeping on a cloud.” It’s softer than average, making it an excellent choice for side sleepers.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.1/10.
  • Material: Memory foam.
  • Cost: $1,949–$4,198.
  • Warranty: Lifetime.
  • Trial period: 101 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6/10.
  • Height: 10 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king.

Our final verdict

When we used our pressure mapping system, we didn’t see a lot of pressure buildup along the shoulders and hips. This makes it a nice choice for side sleepers because it cushions pain points.

Additionally, the Puffy Cloud mattress has some of the best motion isolation results we’ve ever seen. The seismograph barely picked up any motion when we dropped a steel ball from varying heights. This makes the Puffy Cloud a nice mattress for couples.

From our tester

“I really like how I sink into the Puffy Cloud mattress. Its plush feel gives it a luxurious quality.”

Though the mattress contains some breathable foam, it doesn’t dissipate body heat as well as other mattresses on our list. If you tend to overheat at night, you may want to consider getting a hybrid bed instead.

It’s also important to note that some people may have difficulty moving around on top of this mattress. The Puffy Cloud’s slow-moving feel causes people to “sink into” the bed, so it may not be a good option for people with mobility issues.

Pros and cons of the The Puffy Cloud mattress

Pros Isolates motion well. Good pressure relief. Good for people who want a super soft mattress. Long warranty. Cons Harder to move around on. May sleep hot at night. Higher price point.

Best cooling mattress for side sleepers: Leesa Sapira Chill

Best cooling mattress for side sleepers
Leesa Sapira Chill

Like the name suggests, the Leesa Sapira Chill mattress has many cooling features. First of all, our testers found the cover cool to the touch. The comfort layer is infused with cooling gel to dissipate body heat further, and the pocketed coils promote airflow and breathability.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.4/10.
  • Material: Hybrid.
  • Cost: $1,499–$2,399.
  • Warranty: 10 years.
  • Trial period: 100 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6/10.
  • Height: 14 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king.

Our final verdict

The Leesa Sapira Chill is available in three firmness models: Plush, Medium-Firm, and Firm. Our testers found that the Plush model is best for side sleeping. Its soft feel helps alleviate pressure along the shoulders and hips, which is what side sleepers need most.

From our tester

“As a hot sleeper, I appreciated all of the cooling elements in the Leesa Sapira Chill. The coils offered plenty of spinal support and helped promote airflow. ”

Our testers said this mattress had a bouncy and responsive feel, and it was easy to move around on top of the bed. That said, it has a thick comfort layer, so it still isolates motion quite well. In our seismograph tests, we didn’t see a lot of motion after dropping steel balls onto the surface of the bed. This mattress also has impressive edge support, so it’s a good match for couples.

Pros and cons of the Leesa Sapira Chill mattress

Pros Great cooling mattress. Plenty of pressure relief. Good for couples. Easy to move around on. Cons Has a 48-hour off-gassing period. Shorter warranty compared to other brands.

Best mattress for couples: Bear Elite Hybrid

Best mattress for couples
Bear Elite Hybrid

If you share a bed with a partner and you’re both side sleepers, you’ll want to make sure your bed isolates motion well. If it doesn’t, you might feel your partner’s movements on your side of the bed. Also, you’ll want to find a bed that has good edge support. That way, both people can utilize the full surface area of the mattress. And finally, the mattress should offer plenty of pressure relief and lumbar support.

The Bear Elite Hybrid mattress ticks all of these boxes, which makes it our pick for the best mattress for couples who are side sleepers.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.4/10.
  • Material: Hybrid.
  • Cost: $1,893–$3,920.
  • Warranty: Lifetime.
  • Trial period: 120 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 6/10.
  • Height: 14 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, California king.

Our final verdict

The Bear Elite Hybrid mattress is available in three firmness levels, but we’re focusing on the medium model for this review. Our testers thought the medium model was a six out of 10 on our firmness scale, which is slightly softer than average.

The Bear Elite Hybrid performed well in our motion isolation seismograph tests. And when we tested it in person, we didn’t feel a lot of movement transfer throughout the mattress. This bed also has good edge support, which means couples should be able to sleep close to the sides without feeling like they will roll off.

From our tester

“As a side sleeper who sleeps next to her partner (and several pets), I appreciated how well the Bear Elite Hybrid mattress isolated motion. It’s rare to find a responsive hybrid bed that cuts down on motion transfer like this one does.”

Thanks to its zoned support system, the Bear Elite Hybrid works well for back and side sleepers. This bed offers lumbar support where sleepers need it most, so that means couples won’t have to make as many compromises.

Our tester pushing down on a Bear mattress to test firmness and edge support

Thanks to its zoned support, the Bear works well for back and side sleepers

Pros and cons of the Bear Elite mattress

Pros Isolates motion well. Has good edge support. Zoned support. Durable. Long warranty. Cons Higher price point. Has a 48-hour off-gassing period.

Best mattress for combination side sleepers: DreamCloud Premier

Best mattress for combination sleepers
DreamCloud Premier

If you switch from your side to your back or stomach throughout the night, you may need a mattress that’s a bit more supportive. The DreamCloud Premier feels like a seven out of 10 on our firmness scale, so it offers the comfort and support combination sleepers People who sleep in multiple positions throughout the night. For example, a person might be a back-and-side sleeper or a stomach-and-back sleeper. need.

Key product features

  • Brand rating: 9.2/10.
  • Material: Hybrid.
  • Cost: $1,169–$2,998.
  • Warranty: Lifetime.
  • Trial period: 365 nights.
  • Shipping: Free shipping.
  • Firmness: 7/10.
  • Height: 13 inches.
  • Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, California king.

Our final verdict

The DreamCloud Premier is a luxurious mattress with thick coils, a tufted pillow top, and a cashmere-blend cover. Even though it’s a bit firmer than average, it still offers the cushioning that side sleepers need. Plus, the thick interior coils help support the lower back and hips.

And because it’s designed to be so supportive, the DreamCloud Premier can work well for average-weight and higher-weight sleepers. People who weigh less than 130 pounds may not compress the mattress much, though, which could make them feel like the bed is too firm.

From our tester

“As an average-weight person, the DreamCloud premier helps me maintain the correct spinal alignment when I rest on my back and side. I really like the high-end pillow top and soft cover.”

 Our tester pushing down on a DreamCloud mattress to test firmness

People who weigh less than 130 pounds may not compress the bed enough, making it seem firm

The DreamCloud Premier mattress earned nearly perfect scores from our testers. Despite its bouncy feel, this mattress isolates motion quite well. Our testers said it also has great edge support. Plus, the breathable cover and coils are designed to help keep sleepers cool at night.

Pros and cons of the DreamCloud Premier mattress

Pros Supportive and comfortable. Bouncy feel. Cooling. Good for couples. One-year trial period. Long warranty. Cons Has a 48-hour off-gassing period. Higher price point.

4 factors for side sleepers choosing a mattress

Understanding the way you sleep is key to finding the right mattress. Side sleepers tend to put most of their pressure on their hips and shoulders, so a softer mattress may feel better initially, but over time, a mattress that’s too soft may cause issues with your spinal alignment. It’s important to find a mattress offering the right balance of cushioning and support.

Here are the four key factors a side sleeper should consider when choosing a mattress:

1. Pressure relief: To minimize pressure in the hips and shoulders, look for pressure-relieving materials and a cushioning top layer. 

2. Mattress firmness: Side sleepers benefit from a mattress that’s soft enough to contour around their hips and shoulders. Something in the medium-soft to medium-firm range is generally a good choice.

3. Spinal alignment: Regardless of sleep position, a mattress that’s supportive enough to maintain a neutral spine is key.

4. Trial period: It takes time to decide whether a mattress is right for you, so look for brands that offer reasonable trial windows and return policies.

Our testing experience

Our Mattress Testing Process
Purchase mattress as mystery shoppers. Purchase mattress as mystery shoppers.
Set up mattress in testing lab. Set up mattress in testing lab.
Lie on mattress and rank firmness. Lie on mattress and rank firmness.
Lie on back, side, and stomach to find the best sleeping position. Lie on back, side, and stomach to find the best sleeping position.
Place 10-pound ball in mattress center and measure sinkage. Place 10-pound ball in mattress center and measure sinkage.
Find biggest pressure points using pressure map reading. Find biggest pressure points using pressure map reading.
Evaluate cooling capabilities by recording temperature differences. Evaluate cooling capabilities by recording temperature differences.
Drop 10-pound ball onto mattress to measure bounce score. Drop 10-pound ball onto mattress to measure bounce score.
Test motion isolation. Test motion isolation.
Test edge support. Test edge support.
Calculate composite “sex” and “family” scores. Calculate composite “sex” and “family” scores.

The Handbook Team hand-tests every mattress we review. We evaluate brands and models by recording our findings on a 42-question standardized testing form to identify standout features and services, document issues with each product, and describe our personal experience lying on each mattress. For example, we record: 

  • Firmness score and whether the mattress is best for back, side, or stomach sleepers.
  • Starting temperature of the mattress and how much it heats up after two testers lie on the mattress for five minutes.
  • How many times a 10-pound ball bounces on the mattress after dropping from a height of 2 feet in order to arrive at a mattress bounce score.

We paid close attention to specific considerations that sleepers of all ages seek, as identified by respondents in our survey of 600 mattress owners. This included price, features, and the set-up process. We also interviewed real people to better understand the motivations behind shopping for a new mattress as well as the benefits of purchasing one.

According to our survey

According to our survey, about 80 percent of all respondents said their new mattress helps them sleep better, and 65 percent reported improved mental health.

As our testers evaluated each brand and its features, we considered why many people choose a new mattress in the first place. Of our respondents, 42 percent decided to purchase a new mattress for “improved comfort and support for better sleep,” while only 7 percent did so for “pain relief and targeted support.” The most common pain respondents wanted relieved was lower back pain. 

Despite only 42 percent of respondents prioritizing comfort and support for better sleep when shopping for a new mattress, 68 percent reported they sleep longer on their new mattress and 49 percent and 45 percent, respectively, said their stress and anxiety had improved after switching to their new mattress. Almost all mattress owners we surveyed (95 percent) were at least somewhat satisfied with their new mattress. We consulted sleep experts, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and pain specialists to understand what mattresses offer that make an overwhelmingly positive impact.

In order to focus on the mattresses themselves, we structured our test designs to objectively rank each one based on a range of criteria. For example, we tested things like bounce, edge support (the sturdiness of your mattress edge), and cooling capabilities the same way on each mattress and compared the results. That way we can accurately compare each mattress’ score in an unbiased way while also sharing our subjective point of view as mattress testers and experts.

Lastly, we compared warranty lengths, trial periods, and white glove delivery (in-home delivery and setup) options. While most brands offer warranties, not all are comprehensive. And many brands on the market don’t have free white glove delivery. This could be a deal-breaker if you’re nervous to invest in a new mattress because you’re worried the bed won’t get set up properly or offer what you need.

From our tester

“During our research, we realized that the brand’s firmness scale and perceived firmness aren’t always the same. We decided to report how firm we thought the mattress felt so that you can gain a different perspective, but more importantly, feel confident about what you’re purchasing.”

A note on our testing

We acknowledge that every body is different, and what feels comfortable to one person may not feel comfortable to another. Throughout our reviews, we refer to weight categories as light (below 130 pounds), average (130 to 250 pounds), and heavy (above 250 pounds) to distinguish between body weights.

Typically, lighter sleepers perceive mattresses to feel firmer than they are, and higher-weight sleepers perceive mattresses to feel softer than they are. Keep in mind that most mattresses are designed for the average-weight person.

Frequently Asked Questions

Side sleepers should look for mattresses with thick comfort layers. It doesn’t matter if the bed contains coils or foam for support, as long as the top layers offer enough pressure relief for the shoulders and hips.

Soft and medium-firm mattresses work best for side sleepers. Look for something that falls between 5.5 out of 10 and 6.5 out of 10 on our firmness scale. Firm mattresses could put pressure on the shoulders and hips, which can cause joint pain over time.

Memory foam is a great material for side sleepers because it cushions joints and alleviates pressure. That said, you don’t need to get an all-foam mattress if you’re a side sleeper. Hybrid mattresses with coils at the bottom and foam on top can also work well.

Side sleepers with back pain should look for a medium-firm mattress with a zoned support system, such as the Saatva Classic or The WinkBed. Mattresses with zoned support feel firmer toward the center of the bed, which helps keep the spine in the proper alignment. This, in turn, can help alleviate back pain over time.

The best mattress for heavy people is the Titan Plus Luxe mattress. This bed was made specifically for people who weigh more than 230 pounds. It has a strong coil system that won’t sag as time goes on, and it has a plush comfort layer that helps cushion joints.

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