Contents of Article
- Best Overall: Puffy Lux Mattress
- Runner-up: Saatva Classic Mattress
- Budget Choice: Sweetnight 12-Inch Plush Pillow Top
- Most Popular: Ashley Chime 12-inch
- Other Options: DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
- Other Options: Loom & Leaf Mattress
- Other Options: Nolah Signature 12
- Other Options: Brentwood Home Charcoal-Infused Mattress
- Frequently Asked Questions
Sleeping on your side when you have back pain can be challenging. According to Medical News Today, this position can pull the spine out of alignment and increase your lower back strain. However, using the right mattress (and putting a pillow between your knees) can make things significantly more comfortable and help reduce back pain.
Here are our top eight choices for mattresses for side sleepers with back pain, as well as some additional information on buying products in this area.
Note: The links below are for Queen-size mattresses, which are the most popular size in the United States. However, most beds on the list have other sizes available.
Best Overall: Puffy Lux Mattress
The Puffy Lux mattress is one of the most expensive options on this list, but you get what you pay for in a bed. It’s designed for sleepers of all types and fits on practically any surface, including slats and adjustable frames.
It comes with a 101-night sleep trial, which is good but not outstanding for a luxury mattress. However, it does come with a lifetime warranty and free shipping to most areas in the United States.
Now, there’s nothing about this mattress that’s especially unique. It has different layers to support optimal temperatures, plus components that help minimize pressure points. The main reason to consider this mattress is that it does its job exceptionally well. There are no significant flaws to worry about, and even the price is good for a high-quality mattress.
- Fits on virtually any frame or surface that can hold a mattress, including adjustable frames
- Suitable for back, side, and stomach sleepers
- Comes with a stain-resistant, removable cover
- Uses body-adapting foam to support side sleepers
- Outstanding quality at a mid-range price
- Has excellent payment plans
- Has maintained a 5-star rating after thousands of reviews
- Has an optional version with coils
- Out of some buyers’ budgets, despite the payment plan options
There’s a lot to love about this mattress and not a lot to dislike. The only significant negative for some buyers is the price, and even that is usually tolerable if you pick some financing options.
Runner-up: Saatva Classic Mattress
Saatva is a great, reputable brand that produces outstanding beds at a reasonably low cost. This particular mattress isn’t as popular as the Puffy Lux, but it’s a reliable option if you want to pay a little less for a new bed.
The main thing that stands out about this mattress is the extensive research that went into it. Saatva’s engineers spent time studying luxury mattresses’ features, then combined the most popular choices to create a great overall bed.
The Saatva Classic mattress has a Euro-style pillow top, which has more cushioning than regular pillow tops. It’s also tucked underneath the cover for a sleeker look and supported by a foam encasement around the outside. Dense foam encasements are relatively rare outside of luxury mattresses, so this provides a much more supportive feel.
- The pillow top is significantly softer than most competitors offer
- The foam encasement helps prevent sagging and provides outstanding support
- Hundreds of individually-wrapped coils help minimize motion transfer while promoting airflow
- A lumbar zone offers additional support in the middle for side sleepers
- Ultra-durable coils at the bottom help the foam encasement prevent sagging
- Luxury-level quality at a moderate price
- Available in several firmness options at no change in price
- Recommended by chiropractors
- Great for relieving back pain
- Still somewhat expensive
- Not suitable for some back injuries
This is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a luxurious mattress at a reasonable price. While it’s not quite as good as the Puffy Lux, it’s also about half the price, and that’s an important factor. However, this mattress does trend fairly firm, so you may want to get the plush model unless you know you want a firmer mattress.
Budget Choice: Sweetnight 12-Inch Plush Pillow Top
Sweetnight’s twelve-inch hybrid mattress is more affordable than most other options on this list, but it’s surprisingly good despite its lower price. The individually-wrapped coils help limit motion transfer to anyone else on the bed, while two separate layers of airflow foam help keep the temperature just right.
Now, this is a decent mattress on the merits, but it isn’t anywhere near as good as our top two options. Luxury and budget mattresses have incredibly different definitions of what counts as good, so don’t expect anywhere near the same performance out of this bed as you could expect from the Puffy Lux.
Performance is one of the essential buying factors when you’re dealing with back pain because a bed that doesn’t help alleviate your pain isn’t serving its fundamental purpose. We recommend focusing on quality over price, but if you have to focus on budget models, this is one of the best choices.
- A three-zone pocket spring system
- Has multiple airflow layers
- Fits all queen-size frames
- Supports excellent spinal alignment
- Uses CertiPUR-US foam, with no harmful substances like formaldehyde
- Designed to last for at least ten years
- It takes about 72 hours to reach its proper plush shape after opening, which is very slow for a mattress
- No edge support
This is a good mattress if you’re looking to save money, though again, we have to stress that it doesn’t offer the same help for back pain as a more-expensive mattress will. It also lacks support on the edges, which is good if you want to roll out of bed but might be a problem in some households.
Most Popular: Ashley Chime 12-inch
Ashley furniture’s Chime 12-inch bed is one of the best-selling mattresses around, and it’s even more affordable than the Sweetnight. Pricing has a lot to do with this because not everyone wants to spend over $1000 on a new bed, but this solid-foam bed offers excellent overall durability and performance for its price range.
This mattress has three primary layers beneath a hypoallergenic, stretch knit cover. The first two inches of the bed are memory foam, which help contour to your body for added support. The next two inches are what’s known as transition foam, and then the eight inches below that are thicker foam that helps support your body.
This particular mattress runs quite hard, and it doesn’t conform to your body particularly well. You may need to buy a plush topping or use an extra pillow between your legs while sleeping on your side, but this bed does offer a great degree of quality at a budget price.
- Provides firm support for sleepers
- Functionally maintenance-free
- Has a high-quality stretch knit cover
- Compatible with all frames
- Does not require flipping
- Great value for the money
- Great if you prefer firm mattresses
- Lacks the performance of more-expensive mattresses
- Too firm for many people
- Does not come with a thin mattress protector, which the manufacturer recommends using
If you’re looking for a simple, firm mattress, this is a solid option at a particularly affordable price point. While it’s not quite as good for back pain all on its own, you can invest the money you’ll save into other things that can help you when you’re sleeping.
Other Options: DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
DreamCloud’s luxury mattress has considerably less foam than most of the other options on this list, and that alone helps it stand out from competitors. Many people prefer solid foam, so we’re including this option not just on its own merits but for the variety.
This particular mattress has five layers, but the huge majority of its performance comes from the targeted-support coil layer. This section includes individually-wrapped coils that help minimize motion transfer while also providing outstanding support to the rest of your body. The coils all sit on a particularly dense base layer, which helps ensure this mattress’s overall performance.
- A quilted foam/cashmere top provides a luxurious touch on the skin
- A thin layer of pressure-relief memory foam provides better contouring at night
- An extra foam layer supports sinking in without getting too deep
- Excellent airflow thanks to the individually-wrapped coils
- Comes with a 365-day sleep guarantee
- Designed for luxury firmness, which is slightly on the firm side without being too hard
- Fits on most bases without trouble
- Not good if you prefer mainly-foam mattresses
- May need an extra topper for optimal comfort
This is essentially a premium spring bed. DreamCloud advertises it as a hybrid mattress, and while that’s technically true, it only has a minimal amount of foam above the spring coils. The focus on springs is good if you move around a lot because they help absorb vibrations, while the extended trial period is good for figuring out if you like mattresses in this style.
Other Options: Loom & Leaf Mattress
Loom & Leaf isn’t as well-known as some other brands, but they offer premium quality at a more affordable rate. However, they’re not a separate company in their own right. Rather, Loom & Leaf is a brand name for Saatva, which you may recognize from our runner-up above. This is a noticeably different bed from that one, however.
Several factors help this mattress stand out. The organic cotton and natural thistle flame retardant cover is an unusual choice, but it meets safety standards. Beneath the cover is layers of cooling spinal gel and 5-lb memory foam, which is denser and better than what most competitors add.
The memory foam in this mattress has no off-gassing, too, which means no strange smells when you open the package. That’s a nice touch, particularly compared to mattresses that can give off gases when they start to break down.
- Organic cotton cover, with natural thistle as a flame retardant
- Has a layer of cooling gel for increased comfort in warmer areas
- Uses denser, premium-quality memory foam for contouring
- Has a multi-layer breathable foam level for structural support
- Better components than most of their competitors
- Works especially well with adjustable bases
- The manufacturer has a heavy emphasis on eco-friendly production
- Relatively expensive to start with
- Gets even more expensive if you start buying the add-ons, many of which are genuinely good components
This is a premium bed at a premium price. In fact, the cost is the main reason it’s not our best overall. That said, the organic and natural ingredients are a nice change, while the higher-quality foam they use provides a meaningful difference at night.
Other Options: Nolah Signature 12
Nolah offers beds in several thicknesses, but the Signature 12” mattress is one of the best choices for side sleepers. Unusually for a mattress, it has flippable firmness, so you can try out either feel without having to return and exchange the mattress.
This mattress has four main layers, plus an unbleached organic cotton cover. The soft side is 2.5” of AirFoam, which is a polyurethane foam that doesn’t have the same heat-trapping chemicals that regular memory foam uses. This is a different material from memory foam, and it offers many of the benefits of latex in a foam-like package.
The important thing to know about this material is that it’s much cooler than regular memory foam. Below the soft layer is another 1.5” of high-resilience foam for a responsive bounce, then 7” of high-density core foam, and, finally, 1” of firm foam for support on the bottom. This last layer is something you can sleep on by flipping the mattress over.
- Soft and firm sleeping choices in one mattress
- It has an organic cover
- More durable than regular memory foam
- Excellent relief for side sleepers
- More flexible than most of the competition
- The soft layer is deep enough to help reduce most back pain
- Great quality at a reasonable price
- Doesn’t let you choose the firmness for each half of the bed
- A relatively short trial at 120 nights
This is an excellent bed overall, and it’s a strong contender for our top recommendation. With two firmness options on one mattress, you don’t have to try and guess between different options. It’s also a straight upgrade over their original 10” option. However, the firm side isn’t quite as good as the soft side, so keep that in mind when deciding on a bed.
Other Options: Brentwood Home Charcoal-Infused Mattress
Brentwood Home’s charcoal-infused classic mattress is a bit unusual for a mattress, and it’s available at a solidly mid-range price. It’s not a budget option, but it also doesn’t cost enough to fit into the luxury category, which is rather rare for mattresses.
The reason for this is that most people focus on either the price or the comfort when they’re buying, so mattresses trend towards those extremes. Mid-range options like this are something of a minority for the market.
The charcoal-infused foam in this mattress provides outstanding help with moving heat and moisture, making it a great choice for sweaty sleepers looking for some relief. It also has a 25-year warranty, which is noticeably longer than many of its competitors.
- A rare mattress that uses charcoal for various natural benefits
- Surprisingly cool for a foam-based mattress
- Expands quite quickly
- Outstanding value for the price
- A rarer mid-range option
- Particularly good for those with back issues
- Side sleepers should get the 13-inch Luxe version rather than the cheaper 11-inch classic version
- Firmer than most of the other options on this list
This isn’t the best mattress overall, but it’s a great option for side sleepers who want something better than a budget mattress without going all the way into the luxury end of things. Note that this mattress does trend towards firmness, so you may need to soften it a little with something else.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions that side sleepers who have back pain ask about their beds.
How Firm Should My Mattress Be?
While individual preferences vary, side sleepers usually do best with a soft to medium-firm mattress. This is because sleeping on your side concentrates more weight in a smaller area, so you’ll go deeper into the mattress than other people tend to.
Men should usually get slightly firmer mattresses. Bodyweight also affects your ideal firmness, with lighter people doing better on softer mattresses. In general, you shouldn’t sleep on a bed less than ten inches thick when you’re sleeping on your side.
What Else Can I Do To Ease Back Pain?
Sleep with a reasonably firm pillow between your legs. Some companies make pillows specifically for side sleepers, and these are typically better than using a generic pillow. The reason for this is that forcing your legs apart a little helps realign your spine, reducing back pain and often granting a better rest.
What Are The Price Ranges for Mattresses?
Opinions vary. In general, however, we like to use the following guidelines:
- $0 to $500: Mattresses in this price range are generally budget options. While some are quite good on their own merits, budget mattresses can’t compare to better mattresses in terms of overall performance.
- $501-$999: Mattresses in this range are mid-range options. As mentioned above, these are fairly rare, but you can find options in this range if you look. They offer moderate improvements over budget mattresses.
- $1000+: Mattresses in this range are luxury options. They broadly perform much better than anything in the lower categories, and this is the best most people will consider buying.
- $5000+: Beds in this range are extreme luxury options. These are harder to find and most people won’t even look at these options. Our list here does not include any mattresses in this price range.
If you want to get a great mattress without spending too much, something around $1200 is usually the best value.