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Best mattresses for side sleepers: Banish pins and needles and discomfort

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Find the right combination of comfort and support with our pick of the best mattresses for sleeping on your side

Wondering whether your dream mattress is the best one for side sleepers? It goes without saying that the right mattress for you will largely depend on what position you tend to sleep in, whether it be your back, front, side or a combination of all three.

The mattress market is vast, and the amount of choice can be dizzying for anyone, but if you’re the type of person who likes to sleep on their side, then you might find it difficult to get the right level of comfort from your mattress. Too firm and you could put undue tension on your hips, arms and shoulders. Too soft and your body won’t get the support it needs, especially if you regularly sleep on your front and back too.

Side sleepers are in a particularly tricky situation here, but we’re here to help. We’ve put together this list of the best mattresses for sleeping on your side, as well as a short buyer’s guide, to help the side sleepers among you choose a mattress that is just right.

READ NEXT: Best memory foam, pocket sprung, hybrid and budget mattresses to buy

Featured deal: Get an Emma mattress for less than half price

In it's current sale, Emma is offering discounts of up to 50% on products sitewide. Even better, the brand has kindly given us an exclusive discount code that gets you an extra 8% off the marked-down sale price of a mattress. With these discounts combined, a king size Emma original, for instance, is down from £799 to just £368.
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Best mattress for side sleepers: At a glance

  • The best mattress for side sleepers: Brook + Wilde Elite | Buy now
  • Best mattress for a long trial period: Nectar mattress | Buy now
  • Best for couples: Emma Original | Buy now
  • A comfortable budget choice: Silentnight Studio Eco | Buy now

How to choose the best mattress for side sleepers

What level of firmness should I look out for?

As a general guideline, you’ll want to look for a medium or soft mattress if you regularly sleep on your side. As a side sleeper, you put more pressure on your hips and shoulders, and a mattress that’s too firm won’t be able to accommodate this, and you may even wake with pins and needles among other discomfort. On the other hand, a slightly softer mattress with more give will mould to the contours of your body, while 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’s enough comfort layers for your build. If you have a small frame, you’ll 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.

The best mattresses for side sleepers to buy

1. Brook + Wilde Elite: The best mattress for side sleepers

Price: From £899 (single) | Buy now from Brook + Wilde

One of our favourite things about Brook + Wilde is that customers get a choice of three ‘feel’ options when buying their mattress: soft, medium or firm. This is the case with all three of the brand’s mattresses and, somewhat surprisingly, Brook + Wilde is one of the few bed-in-a-box brands to offer this choice.

When we tested the Brook + Wilde Elite (in the ‘medium’ variant), we found it to be wonderfully supportive. The mattress contains a layer of ‘wave technology’ memory foam, which the brand claims aids spinal alignment. This, coupled with the mattress’ comfort layers, makes the Elite our very top recommendation when it comes to side sleeping.

It’s a level of comfort you pay a rather hefty price for, though, with the Elite costing no less than £900 (single). That said, Brook + Wilde offers a 100-night trial period, while also running regular discounts on its site.

Read our full Brook + Wilde Elite review hereBuy now from Brook + Wilde

TypeEight layer (Bottom layer non-slip base, Seventh layer support base, sixth layer 1,000 135mm pocket springs, fifth layer ‘wave technology’ support foam, fourth layer 2,500 mini pocket springs, third layer thermo regulating top layer, second layer memory foam protector, first layer removable and washable top cover)
Needs turning?No
SizesSingle to super king
Warranty100-night trial; 10 year warranty

Save 40% on the Brook + Wilde Elite with our exclusive code EXPERT40

Brook + Wilde's Elite is one of the best mattresses for side sleepers that we've tested, thanks in part to the 'feel' options the brand affords you. Even better, Brook + Wilde has kindly given us an exclusive discount code that gives you 40% off the Elite. Enter EXPERT40 at the checkout, and you can get a king size Elite down from £1,299 to just £779.
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2. Nectar Mattress: Best mattress for a long trial period

Price: From £469 (single) | Buy now from Nectar

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. What’s more, we found that this layer softened further as the bed warmed up, making it comfortable and cosy for sleeping on your side.

The really standout benefit of Nectar, however, 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.

Read our full Nectar review here Buy now from Nectar

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
Warranty356-night trial; forever warranty

Get a Nectar mattress for 45% less

Our favourite feature of the excellent Nectar mattress has always been the generous 365-night trial period, but this enormous discount makes for a close second. With up to 40% off a range of products, you an currently get a king size memory foam mattress, for instance, for just £491, down from £819.
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3. Emma Original: Best for couples

Price: From £449 (single) | Buy now from Emma

The Original was Emma’s first 100% memory foam mattress. Much like the Nectar, it is made from three layers of foam and 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. 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 here Buy now from Emma

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 with money-back guarantee

Save over 50% on an Emma mattress

The Emma Original is a versatile memory foam mattress and right now its half-price in Emma's sitewide sale. What's more, the brand has given us an exclusive discount code affording you an extra 8% off the marked-down price. Enter the code EXPERT at checkout, and you can get the Original in a king size, for instance, for just £368, down from £799.
Emma
Save over 50%

4. Silentnight Studio Eco mattress: A comfortable budget choice

Price: From £359 (single) | Buy now from Silentnight

Silentnight only gives you a 60-day comfort guarantee with its mattress, which is strikingly shorter than the other options on our list - and, it’s worth mentioning, that this is only valid when you order directly from Silentnight. That said, you’re not making such an investment, with the Studio Eco starting at just £279 for a single mattress.

The mattress - while not as plush as some - is a good option if you’re on a tight budget. Indeed, side sleepers will be pleased to hear that, although it contains no foam, its “eco comfort” top layer offers decent levels of comfort.

Read our full Studio Eco review here Buy now from Silentnight

TypeRecycled synthetic materials and pocket springs
Needs turning? Rotate once/month for the first few months
SizesSingle to king, arrives rolled and vacuum-packed, without a box
Warranty5-year warranty, when ordered direct from Silentnight

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