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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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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 for couplesEmma Original Mattress (~ from £339)Check price at Emma
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

TypeFoam and pocket spring hybrid (185mm “extra tall” springs, 140mm high-resistance polyurethane foam, 200mm visco-elastic memory foam)
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super-king
Warranty200-night trial; 10-year warranty
Check prices at Emma

2. 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

TypeThree-layer (bottom layer 160mm seven-zone supportive foam; middle layer 50mm soft “visco” memory foam; top layer 40mm breathable “visco” foam)
Needs turning?No
SizesSingle to super king, available online only
Warranty365-night trial; forever warranty
Check prices at Nectar

3. Emma Original Mattress: Best mattress for couples

Price when reviewed: From £339 (single) | Check prices at Emma

UPDATE: Since publishing our review, Expert Reviews has noticed a recent influx of negative customer reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot, with many customers complaining of delays to shipping and a lack of communication over when deliveries will happen. According to Emma Sleep, these delays have been caused by factors “not under [the brand’s] control”, and a spokesperson said that the process of transitioning “order management and fulfilment platforms” has led to these issues. We’ve also been told that resolving these issues is a top priority for Emma Sleep and the company is expecting to resolve the issues in the coming weeks. We will be sure to bring you more information as we receive it.

Great for… motion isolation
Not so great for… edge support

The Original was Emma’s first 100% memory foam mattress. Much like the Nectar, it’s made from three layers of foam and in our tests we found it notably softer than hybrids from Otty and Eve.

Emma claims that it’s “perfect for all types of sleepers”, and indeed we found it notably versatile, offering comfort and support regardless of how you sleep. For this reason, the Original is a great mattress for couples who are struggling to compromise on firmness. Our reviewer, who tends to sleep hot, also found that overheating wasn’t an issue with the Original (it was tested in colder weather, however). One downside that was noted, however, was the lack of edge support, which isn’t great news for those who sleep right at the edge of their mattress.

At 200 nights, Emma’s trial isn’t quite as long as Nectar’s, but it’s still plenty long enough to make a decision as to whether it’s the right bed for both you and your partner.

Read our full Emma Original review

TypeThree-layer (bottom layer 195mm dense support foam; middle layer 20mm memory foam; top layer 25mm open-cell foam)
Needs turning?No
SizesSingle to super king (including EU sizes), available online and at some DFS and Carpetright stores
Warranty200-night trial, 10-year guarantee
Check price at Emma

4. Hypnia Supreme Memory Mattress: A supportive foam mattress for side sleepers

Price when reviewed: From £901 (single) | Check prices at Hypnia

Hypnia Supreme Memory Mattress in a room with paintings against wall, small table and shoes on the floor

Great for… side sleepers
Not so great for… lack of bounce

While all-foam mattresses are usually great for side sleepers because they have plenty of “give” for the contours of your hips and shoulders, they sometimes lack ergonomic support and durability. Not so with this premium mattress from Hypnia, which our reviewer found offers a superb level of support from edge to edge, whether sitting on the edge of the mattress or sleeping in it alongside their partner – though corner support could be improved.

Supreme by name, Supreme by nature, but also Supreme by price. This mattress is certainly an investment – with a king size costing £1,625 when it’s not discounted (which, admittedly, it often is) – but it also feels like a mattress that will last many years without sagging and it comes with a generous 15-year guarantee, which is not a bad deal for such supremely comfortable sleep.

Read our full Hypnia Supreme review

TypeFoam with four layers including premium memory foam, graphite-infused open-cell foam, and multi-zoned support base
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super-king
Warranty200-night trial; 15-year guarantee
Check prices at Hypnia

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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