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Side sleepers often suffer from persistent pains in their lower back and shoulder if they sleep on an unsupportive mattress for a long time.
That said, with the right mattress, sleeping on your sides comes with major benefits, such as better digestion and improved breathing. Side sleepers usually prefer to sleep on mattresses that contours well to their body’s shape while offering superior relief to their pressure points.
But they need to consider their body weight while choosing the right mattress firmness and feel because not every mattress is suitable for all sleepers. Although it might sound like a lot of work, we’re here to help you make a well-informed decision.
In today's article, we've reviewed 5 of the best mattresses in the UK that can be perfect for side sleepers, so they can enjoy a relaxing and refreshing slumber without any pain or discomfort.
This Nectar hybrid mattress combines the comforting and body-contouring qualities of the Nectar memory foam mattress while featuring a layer of pocket springs to improve breathability. It facilitates localised movement, allowing natural changes in your sleeping positions without disruptions. Furthermore, the individually encapsulated pocket springs offer additional comfort to side sleepers, making the mattress an instant favourite.
The hybrid construction makes it quite a firm mattress to relieve your pressure points much better than any ordinary soft mattress. Moreover, its dynamic support layer provides superb body support with added responsiveness, while the micro-spring layer enhances airflow, which is ideal for side sleepers. Its adaptive memory foam layers offer superior pressure relief beneath your shoulders, hips, and legs to ensure better spinal alignment while sleeping on your side.
Although the mattress's pocket spring layer promotes breathability, its foam layers tend to trap and absorb body heat, making you feel uncomfortably warm while sleeping.
The ability of the micro-spring layer to promote localised movement and enabling you to change your sleeping positions effortlessly, makes this Nectar mattress ideal for side sleepers. Not to mention, the adaptive foam layers relieve the pressure points around the hips, shoulders, and legs, helping you enjoy a relaxing slumber.
The Emma Original mattress features 3 premium foam layers for superior pressure relief, and it's suitable for all sleeping positions and body types. But its Halo memory foam layer is specially tailored for side sleepers and adapts to your body shape to provide improved pressure relief, body-hugging comfort, and targeted spinal alignment. Emma's Point Elastic Airgocell technology also enhances breathability and regulates body temperature for a sweat-free, uninterrupted slumber.
Furthermore, the Emma UltraDry breathable memory foam mattress topper comes with superb moisture-wicking qualities to prevent moisture buildup while keeping the mattress cool and fresh. It even has a zone of 5 adaptive cut-outs to distribute your body weight and reduce lower back pain by minimising pressure. Hence, you can experience better body support and stability as a side sleeper by choosing this mattress.
Since this is a memory foam mattress, it doesn't offer the responsiveness or bounciness of hybrid and pocket-sprung mattresses, so you might experience a sinking feeling.
The memory foam layers of this Emma Original mattress are specially designed to offer superior body contouring, no matter your sleeping position. On top of this, this mattress's 5 adaptive cut-out zones help distribute your body weight evenly while keeping your spine aligned to relieve lower back pains.
The DreamCloud luxury hybrid mattress combines ActivEdge pocket springs with the benefits of memory foam to offer unparalleled stability and support. It comes with a breathable "dream plush" memory foam offering excellent body-contouring all night long, which is ideal for heavy side sleepers. The support foam layer also cradles your body while quickly adapting to your sleeping position. Plus, the ActivEdge coils minimise motion transfer for uninterrupted slumber.
Its 6.5/10 mattress firmness offers excellent pushback support and responsiveness while preventing excessive sagging. You can sleep comfortably without experiencing any sinking feeling, even if you're a heavy side sleeper. It even has a luxury quilted mattress topper to offer premium softness and enhanced breathability. Additionally, unlike ordinary memory foam mattresses, this premium hybrid mattress is built to last and comes with a lifetime warranty.
This luxurious mattress doesn't come with adjustable firmness options, so you can't change its firmness if you prefer to sleep on a slightly softer mattress.
Thanks to the superior contouring support of the "dream plush" memory foam layer, this mattress is excellent for side sleepers, especially if you have a higher body weight. Furthermore, the layer seamlessly adapts to your body posture and sleeping style to offer optimum comfort for a refreshing night's sleep.
The Simba Hybrid mattress features super-strong titanium micro-springs in its Aerocoil comfort layer to relieve pressure points and offer maximum comfort irrespective of your sleeping position. Each Aerofoil micro-spring flexes gently to support even the slightest movements without interrupting your sleep. Moreover, as these micro-springs contract and expand, they promote air circulation throughout the comfort layer to dissipate body heat and maintain an ambient temperature for a refreshing slumber.
Its Simbatex open-cell foam also allows 30 times better airflow than standard memory foam mattresses to regulate body temperature and prevent overheating. This model is infused with graphite particles to draw away heat so that you don't experience uncomfortable night sweats. Additionally, the multi-zoned foam base with 5 support zones keeps your spine perfectly aligned while sleeping on your sides to reduce back or shoulder pain.
This Simba hybrid mattress is a soft mattress and might not be the best pick if you like sleeping on a firmer mattress with minimum sagging and body contouring.
The Aerocoil comfort layer makes this mattress a great choice for side sleepers because it can extend and compress in response to your body's movements, offering maximum support. Not to mention, the innovative graphite-infused Simbatex open-cell foam allows you to experience a breezy and peaceful slumber by dissipating body heat for excellent temperature control.
This 8-layered Elite hybrid mattress comes with unique wave technology to keep your spine aligned while sleeping on your sides and reduces pressure on the neck, shoulders, hips, and legs. It offers a softer cushioning under the shoulders to support and relieve pressure for reducing shoulder pain. Moreover, the specialist foam layer adapts to your body's natural curves for more targeted lumbar support.
The wave technology also offers excellent neck support by keeping your head and neck aligned with your spine. Additionally, the pocket spring layers provide more pushback support and bounce than traditional memory foam mattresses for optimal pressure relief. The mattress's top layer comes with a 4-way breathable stretch cover allowing superior air circulation. It even has an open-cell structure for better temperature regulation.
Even though the mattress has a hybrid construction with an advanced coil system, it offers poor edge support, and you can slip off the mattress edge.
The revolutionary wave technology of this Elite hybrid mattress makes it ideal for side sleepers because it offers better spine alignment while supporting the neck, shoulders, hips, and legs. On top of this, it provides sufficient pushback and responsiveness without excessive sinkage for pressure relief, thanks to its two pocket spring layers.
Now that you've gone through the qualities and drawbacks of the best mattresses for side sleepers, your head must be flooded with questions. So, we will answer some of the most popular questions that customers often ask while purchasing the right mattress.
Side sleeping is the most common and healthy sleeping position, and experts highly recommend it because of its medical benefits. Sleeping on your sides can open up your airways and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnoea, such as snoring. It can also improve brain health and prevent neurological problems.
Sleeping on the left side has been known to lower acid reflux during pregnancy and in people having heartburn. The side sleeping position is excellent for keeping your spine well-aligned as long as you choose a comfortable mattress for proper support.
But sleeping on an unsupportive and uncomfortable mattress can put excessive pressure on your shoulders, neck, and back while side sleeping which causes body ache. You can consider the following factors to understand how side sleeping impacts your sleep quality.
Perfect spine alignment is when your spine is in a neutral and straight position, but if it gets misaligned, it can cause back pains and other neurological issues. Although side sleeping is not likely to cause spinal problems, you need to take certain measures to maintain a perfect spinal alignment while sleeping.
For instance, a contouring mattress helps keep your spine in a neutral position and responds well to pressure points while cushioning the shoulders and hips. But side sleepers maintaining a symmetrical spine position have lesser chances of suffering from back pains. So, try sleeping on your sides while keeping the legs stretched out, and use a higher pillow under your head.
You can use a thinner pillow between the knees to keep the hips square and make sure that your neck is well-supported by avoiding tucking in the chin. These measures make it easier to keep your spine in a neutral position when sleeping on your side.
While side sleeping, the shoulders withstand all the pressure from the entire body weight, so you can experience pain on the side on which you sleep. Moreover, if your mattress doesn't offer sufficient contouring support and cushioning, this added weight on your shoulders can cause severe health issues.
Pushing one of your shoulders towards the neck while side sleeping can also misalign your spine, resulting in pain. That's why choosing a mattress with the right firmness is essential to reduce shoulder pains in side sleepers to improve their sleep quality.
Consider your body weight along with mattress firmness because heavier people tend to experience more sinkage while sleeping on a mattress than lighter individuals. An ideal mattress should cushion your shoulders and prevent them from sinking too much into the hard base layer of the mattress.
You can also try using a high loft pillow to keep your neck and shoulder perfectly aligned, preventing the shoulder from pushing towards the neck while sleeping.
The best way to check whether your mattress is causing you back pain is to pay close attention to the pain all day long. If you experience back pain in the morning after waking up that subsides as the day goes by, your mattress is the problem.
A right mattress can be a lifesaver for side sleepers with severe back problems. On the other hand, a wrong mattress, which doesn't adapt to your body's shape and can't offer ample support, can lead to misalignment in the spine and body joints.
Under such circumstances, the muscles are forced to work overtime without relaxing to maintain a neutral alignment. However, purchasing a contouring mattress can keep your spine, hips, and shoulders well-aligned while relieving chronic joint pains. You can also look for mattresses, like the Elite hybrid mattress, offering targeted lumbar support.
Responsive mattress materials, such as pocket springs or memory foam, can cushion your pressure points and keep your spine aligned to reduce back pain. The best mattresses for side sleepers should also have a flat and even surface with minimum indentations or sagging and offer full-body support to prevent back problems.
According to the 10-point mattress firmness scale, medium (5) to medium firm (6) is the best mattress firmness for side sleepers. However, the ideal mattress firmness can vary depending on several factors, so choosing a soft or a firm mattress will mostly depend on your preference.
Mattress firmness essentially depends on how much the mattress will cushion your shoulders as a side sleeper. It also determines how much your hips and shoulders will sink to keep the spine well-aligned once you sleep on the mattress. Any good mattress with the right firmness can reduce chronic pain symptoms.
That said, the mattress firmness is bound to vary with mattress types and mattress comfort layers. For instance, all-foam mattresses closely conform to your body, while latex mattresses offer gentle body contouring with much more bounce. At the same time, a pocket-sprung mattress has an innerspring that could add more pushback support and firmness.
Body weight is another essential factor to consider when choosing mattress firmness. Heavier sleepers sink much deeper into the mattress compared to lighter individuals, so the same mattress can feel different to people based on their body type and weight.
Side sleepers of this bodyweight category usually prefer softer mattresses having deep contouring because overly firm mattresses might not offer sufficient cushioning or pressure relief to their hips and shoulders. Most of these sleepers prefer to sleep on a medium soft or medium mattress, having a firmness range of 4 or 5 on a scale of 10.
Side sleepers belonging to this category can find the best balance between contouring and body support in mattresses that are firm but still conform to their bodies. Mattresses with firmness ratings between medium soft (4) and medium firm (6) work well for these people.
Side sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds usually go for firmer mattresses to avoid the feeling of excessive sinkage. Some might prefer extra firm mattresses with a firmness between 9 and 10, while most people in this weight category choose medium firm or firm (7 to 8) mattresses. These mattresses offer sufficient cushioning to relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips.
A hybrid mattress comes with several foam comfort layers and offers excellent contouring to relieve any pressure point while keeping the spine perfectly aligned. Furthermore, the pocket springs prevent sagging and offer better body support to side sleepers.
The supportive base layer of innerspring mattresses usually offers superior edge support and ensures that side sleepers experience even weight distribution throughout the entire bed surface. These mattresses also prevent sagging around the edges.
A latex mattress is naturally bouncy and offers gentle body contouring to relieve your pressure points and prevent excessive sinkage. This makes it great at reducing back and shoulder pains for side sleepers. Not to mention, a latex mattress allows better airflow and temperature regulation that guarantees added convenience for heavier sleepers.
As a side sleeper, if you prefer the close, body-hugging feeling with optimum contouring to relieve pressure around the hips and shoulders, all-foam mattresses can be the best choice. The memory foam design adapts to every curve of your body while cushioning your shoulders, hips, legs, and neck. These mattresses also promote neutral spinal alignment to reduce back problems.
Every mattress comes with certain advantages and drawbacks, but side sleepers need to consider a mattress with full-body support and superior contouring. When buying a new mattress, you need to focus on key features, such as pressure point relief, temperature control, and motion isolation.
The contouring quality of a mattress depends on how well it can conform to your body's shape and respond to pressure. A mattress with superior body contouring keeps the spine perfectly aligned and offers sufficient cushioning or padding to the pressure points of side sleepers.
Even though the mattress feel and firmness are subjective and can vary from person to person, side sleepers mostly require soft and comfortable cushioning for their hips and shoulders. But that doesn’t mean they can compromise on adequate body support to maintain a neutral spinal alignment.
So, always consider your body weight and personal preferences to select a mattress firmness which can provide optimum support and comfort.
As mentioned earlier, side sleeping can put pressure on your shoulders, neck, and hips, so always consider mattress materials offering maximum pressure relief for these areas. Body-contouring mattress materials, such as latex or memory foam, can relieve your pressure points and alleviate shoulder or back pain.
Since side sleeping puts a lot of pressure on your neck, shoulders, and hips, pressure can build up throughout the night and cause pain or discomfort. Soft mattresses can prevent this excessive pressure buildup by cradling your hips and shoulders. That said, side sleepers need adequate support from the mattress to prevent their lumbar region from sinking and avoid spinal misalignment.
While soft mattresses can promote good posture for side sleepers, you should also consider whether the mattress offers sufficient body support. Sleepers with a lighter weight usually prefer a soft mattress for sufficient support and body contouring because they don't experience as much sinkage as heavy people.
As you can see from our article, a side sleeper must consider several factors, such as contouring, cushioning, support, and firmness, while choosing the best mattress. To make the task easier for you, we've only included premium-quality mattresses in our list, which are specially designed to benefit side sleepers.
If you're still feeling a bit confused, we recommend you try out the Nectar hybrid mattress, featuring durable micro-springs for excellent pressure relief and contouring support. The pocket spring also allows localised movement and naturally adapts to your sleeping position to cushion the shoulders and hips.
You can also look through other products on our list or roll up your sleeves to do some more digging before choosing the right mattress. But always prioritise your sleeping requirements over anything else, no matter which mattress you choose!