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Best mattresses for side sleepers 2024: Tried-and-tested options for a comfortable night’s sleep

The corner of a mattress on a white bed frame

We’ve tested a whole range of products to inform our roundup of the best mattresses for side sleepers

The best mattress for side sleepers is one that will provide enough support and cushioning to keep your spine aligned while you sleep. Too soft and your body won’t get that support it needs; too firm and you’ll be putting pressure on your shoulders and hips. Finding that delicate balance can be tricky.

Here at Expert Reviews, we’ve tested more than 40 mattresses of varying types, from pocket sprung to memory foam and hybrid models, and have picked out a handful that are best suited for those that prefer to sleep on their side.

Below our roundup, you’ll find a buying guide offering some advice on what to look for when buying a mattress. We’ve also included some information on how we test mattresses, and what factors we take into consideration in our reviews. If you just want to see a quick list of recommendations, though, check out our snapshot at a glance list just below this introduction.

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You can now save £95 when you purchase the Nectar Memory Foam mattress, one of our favourites for its long trial period. 

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Best mattress for side sleepers: At a glance

Best mattress for a long trial periodNectar Memory Foam Mattress (~ from £475)Check price at Nectar
Best premium mattressSimba Hybrid Pro ( ~ From £929)Check price at Simba
Best hybrid for side sleepersEmma NextGen Premium Mattress (~ from £419)Check price at Emma

How we test mattresses for side sleepers

While we test all of the mattresses we review by sleeping on them, there are a number of important factors we look out for as we do so. Comfort and support are the obvious merits of a good mattress, but we also take in consideration firmness and temperature control, as well as value for money. For instance, some mattresses (particularly all-foam ones) will feel warmer than others and are less suited to those prone to overheating.

Testing a mattress

Firmness is particularly important when recommending a mattress for side sleepers. As we’ve already said above, you want something that will be able to accommodate your hips and shoulders, keeping your spine aligned without letting you sink too deep. And it’s important to bear in mind that the base on which you put your mattress – whether that be a divan, solid or sprung slatted frame – will have an effect on how the mattress feels. We explain this in a bit more detail in our best beds buying guide.

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The best mattresses for side sleepers you can buy in 2024

1. Emma NextGen Premium Mattress: Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers

Price when reviewed: From £419 (single) | Check prices at Emma

Emma NextGen Premium mattress on bed angled close up

Great for… hot sleepers
Not so great for… people who want a softer mattress

Many mattresses claim to offer the best of both worlds – comfortable and supportive, cosy and cool – without ever quite delivering on the promise, but the Emma NextGen Premium mattress hits every mark. This sumptuous design uses a higher proportion of springs than other hybrid mattresses and the result strikes a lovely balance of comfort, breathability, ergonomic support, and motion isolation.

Our reviewer noted that the mattress felt fairly firm to sleep on at first, so if you’re a small person you may find you don’t sink in quite enough while lying on your side. That said, we found it supported the shoulders and hips very well. Most side sleepers will find it hits the sweet spot between comfort and support, and the price is hard to beat.

Read our full Emma NextGen Premium review

Type: Hybrid; Needs turning? No; Sizes: Single to super king; Trial period: 200 nights

Check prices at Emma

2. Simba Hybrid Pro: Best premium hybrid mattress

Price: From £929 (single) | Check price at Simba

Simba Hybrid Pro mattress on a blue background

Great for… a cool and comfortable sleep
Not so great for… anyone on a budget

Out of all the mattresses we’ve tested here at Expert Reviews (and, as we’ve already mentioned, we’ve tested a lot), the Simba Hybrid Pro is one of our favourites. It’s immensely supportive and comfortable and our reviewer found that the mattress’ uppermost wool comfort layer did a great job of keeping them cool throughout the night.

Made up of a combination of memory foam and springs, the Hybrid Pro actually has two separate layers of micro pocket springs. This helps to give it a decent amount of bounce, which you don’t always get with bed-in-a-box mattresses. As our reviewer said: “the mattress accommodates a variety of different sleeping positions too. Indeed, I found it as comfortable sleeping on my side as on my back.”

Of course, all this comes at a rather considerable cost. It may be one of the best, but the Hybrid Pro is also one of the most expensive mattresses we’ve tested – costing £1,329 in a king size (when it’s not discounted). If your budget can stretch to it, though, it’s a great premium option, and you’ve always got Simba’s 200-night trial to fall back on.

Read our full Simba Hybrid Pro review

Type: Hybrid; Needs turning? Rotate once/month for the first six months; once every 3/6 months thereafter; Sizes: Single to super king; Trial period: 200 nights

Check price at Simba

3. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: Best mattress for a long trial period

Price when reviewed: From £475 (single) | Check prices at Nectar

Great for… the indecisive
Not so great for… heavier sleepers

Built from three layers of foam, it’s the Nectar’s top visco memory foam layer that makes it noticeably softer than rivals the Otty Hybrid and Eve Original, and therefore better for side sleeping. It’s still got a very supportive base layer, but its top is soft enough to sink into.

Indeed, Nectar’s soft foam layer is 90mm deep, so it allows your body to sink a substantial amount before coming up against much resistance. While reviewing it, we found that this layer softened further as the bed warmed up, making it comfortable and cosy for sleeping on your side – though not the best if you’re on the heavier side or are prone to overheating in bed.

The really standout benefit of Nectar is its 365-night trial. In other words, you get a full year of sleeping on it before you need to decide if it’s the right mattress for you. If you’re not happy with it for whatever reason, Nectar will take it back and give you a full refund. It’s a great perk, though it’s worth mentioning that Nectar is no longer alone in offering it. Bed-in-a-box rival Eve also offers customers a year-long trial period with its mattresses.

Read our full Nectar review

Type: All-foam; Needs turning? No; Sizes: Single to super king; Trial period: 365 nights

Check prices at Nectar

4. Otty Pure Hybrid Bamboo & Charcoal Mattress: Best mattress for a cool sleep

Price: From £550 (single) | Check price at Otty

Otty Pure Hybrid on an upholstered bed frame

Great for… hot sleepers
Not so great for… those who might have trouble rotating it without handles

The Otty Pure Hybrid is another mattress that feels comfortable across a range of sleeping positions. Our reviewer, who usually sleeps on his back and side, found it hit the sweet spot in this respect: “It’s adequately supportive but also accommodates my hips and shoulders while I’m on my side.” It’s also a remarkably cool mattress, which may be in part down to the use of bamboo and charcoal in its composition – or just its overall design. Regardless, the Pure Hybrid is a good choice if you’re prone to overheating during the night. Edge support is excellent too.

One downside is the lack of handles, which makes manoeuvring the mattress quite tricky – particularly considering that Otty recommends rotating it once a month for the first 12 months, then once every three months. It’s a relatively minor oversight though, and moving the mattress is still doable of course – you just might need someone to help you out.

Read our full Otty Pure Hybrid review

Type: Hybrid; Needs turning? Rotate once/month for the first 12 months; once every 3 months thereafter; Sizes: Single to super king, plus EU sizes; Trial period: 100 nights

Check price at Otty

How to choose the best mattress for side sleepers

What level of firmness should I look out for?

As a general rule, you will want to look for either a medium or a soft mattress if you regularly sleep on your side, since you’ll be putting more pressure on your hips and shoulders. A mattress that’s too firm won’t be able to accommodate this and you may even wake with pins and needles, along with other discomfort. A slightly softer mattress with more give will be able to mould to the contours of your body while still keeping your spine aligned.

How should I take my build into account?

Naturally, the more weight applied to your mattress, the more it will sink. So, if you’re on the heavier side, you may be fine with a medium-firm – or in some cases even a firm – mattress.

What’s most important is that there are enough comfort layers for your build. If you have a small frame, you will definitely want to look for something with plenty of give in its top layers – look for deep soft foam layers as you find in the Nectar mattress – but if you’re of larger stature, then you may find that you can get away with thinner comfort layers, especially if the foundation isn’t excessively firm.

Is there anything else to consider?

If you get on well with your mattress apart from it being a bit too firm, mattress toppers offer an easy way of adding an extra layer of comfort without such a significant outlay as buying a new mattress. If that sounds like you, we suggest checking out our list of the best mattress toppers that you can buy.

Before we get on with our list, it’s also important to mention that since there’s no industry standard regarding just how soft a “soft” mattress is, there will be discrepancies between brands. With that in mind, it’s worth highlighting that the trial periods offered by most bed-in-a-box brands are a great way to try a mattress for yourself without any financial risk.

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