TOP 6 Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers in 2021

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 21 minLast updated April 7, 2021

Side sleeping is widely considered the most comfortable sleeping position.

But if you sleep on your side and constantly wake up feeling like you’re 80 years old, you might doubt that.

And I’m not here to blame you.

Instead, I will tell you that you can bring the comfort back into your bed — simply by investing in the right mattress pad.

I’ve reviewed the 6 best mattress toppers for side sleepers to help you do just that. So, feel free to take a look at them and check out the buying guide below!

A Quick Preview

Slice of Heaven by Plushbeds
Best Overall

Slice of Heaven by Plushbeds
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Molecule Airtec Topper
Second Best Choice

Molecule Airtec Topper
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Eco Terra
Best for Comfort Variety

Eco Terra
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Tempur-Pedic
Best for Increased Durability

Tempur-Pedic
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Layla Memory Foam Topper
Best for Cool Pressure Relief

Layla Memory Foam Topper
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Milemont
Best for Quicker Recovery

Bear ProTopper
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Our Reviews of 6 Best Mattress Pads for Side Sleepers

Best Overall – Memory Foam Topper by PlushBeds

Slice of Heaven by Plushbeds

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Highlights:

  • 4PCF memory foam;
  • 2 and 3-inch thickness available;
  • environmentally friendly manufacturing process.

Having tested the PlushBeds Memory Foam Topper, I immediately reserved a place on my list of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers for this model. It stands up to its name and can offer you total-body pressure relief in no time. Plus, it’s made of high-density memory foam and may serve you for years to come.

This luxury topper has a soft to medium feel and can suit most sleepers of average body weight. It instantly contours to your body and distributes the weight around the surface, so you can relax and drift off easily. The topper promotes healthy spine alignment in whichever position you prefer and can prevent you from getting a sore back in the morning.

Now, the dense memory foam of this topper absorbs any unwanted movement that may come from your restless bedmate. I’m a pretty active sleeper myself, which is a problem for my wife, and she didn’t have any complaints while we were testing this mattress pad.

We slept on the 2-inch option and found it to be perfect for adding some hug to an overly firm bed. However, there’s also a 3-inch thick option available, which can be combined with worn-out mattresses to mask their uneven surface.

Overall, I think the PlushBed topper is a perfect pick for side sleepers. It can precisely address your needs and offer great pressure relief and spinal support.

Second Best ChoiceMolecule Airtec Topper

Molecule Airtec Topper

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Highlights:

  • AirTec core for improved airflow and cooler sleep;
  • multi-layer construction to deliver proper support and comfort;
  • 30-night risk-free trial to guarantee user satisfaction.

Another model on our list of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers is the Molecule, which would be ideal for those who hate sleeping hot. This model uses proprietary breathable materials that maintain proper airflow even when being compressed. The cover also feels pleasantly cool to the touch (although the fabric is synthetic). 

The Molecule doesn’t only create a temperature-neutral environment, it’s also very comfy thanks to its multi-layer design. The base layer is dense and sturdy, which contributes to optimal weight distribution during sleep. And the comfort layers are cradling and should gently hug your pressure points when lying on one side. And since the Molecule topper has a medium feel (for an average individual), it should work for side sleepers.

Best for Comfort Variety Eco Terra

Eco Terra

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Highlights:

  • natural latex to ensure every user’s safety (suited even for sensitive sleepers);
  • three firmness options to accommodate sleepers that belong to different weight categories;
  • organic cotton cover for superb breathability.

Want to find the best mattress topper for side sleepers but feeling tired of the prevailing foam models that come in one comfort option only? Then you might want to consider the Eco Terra latex topper. The best part about this model is that it comes in 3 firmness and 2 thickness options. Therefore, there’s a suitable solution for any side sleeper. For instance, if you are a petite individual, you can get the Soft option. If you are heavier and require extra support, the Medium or Medium-Firm should work well in this case.

Another cool thing about this mattress topper is that it doesn’t sleep hot. This aspect can be important for many users, especially side sleepers who sink a bit deeper into the topper when lying on one side. With the Eco Terra, you don’t have to worry about that. Latex is naturally neutral and does not retain body heat. Add a breathable cotton cover to the mix, and you get an ideal topper for hot sleepers.

Best for Increased Durability Tempur-Pedic

Tempur-Pedic

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Highlights:

  • removable cover for effortless maintenance;
  • adaptive memory foam to deliver close conforming and fast tension relief;
  • quality materials for durable performance, backed by an extended warranty.

I could not neglect the Tempur-Pedic topper, and there are many reasons behind this choice. One of them is the fact that this model comes with an extra-long warranty period, which is twice as long as most of the competitors can offer. It can be a good indication that the Tempur-Pedic would serve you for a very long time.

However, there’s another aspect that gives this model its place among the best mattress toppers for side sleepers. I am talking about the material used for the Tempur-Pedic. Just like in their famous mattresses, the company uses adaptive memory foam that can deliver pinpoint pressure relief. It’s a great option for side sleepers, even if you have tender pressure points. The foam will contour the protruding body parts, aiding fast relaxation and tension alleviation.

Best for Cool Pressure Relief – Layla Memory Foam Topper

Layla Memory Foam Topper

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Highlights:

  • infused with copper and gel for cooler sleep;
  • 2 inches of memory foam to gently cradle sleeper’s shoulders and hips;
  • elastic straps to keep the topper in place throughout the night.

Does your mattress lack plushness and make you sleep hot? Then, the Layla topper could help save the day (and night). This topper uses gel and copper-infused memory foam to deliver a decent amount of cradling all while keeping you comfortably cool.

The copper component works as an odor-fighting agent, which means you wake feeling fresh every morning. It’s naturally antimicrobial and guarantees a safe, clean, and allergen-free sleep.

The Layla topper measures 2 inches in height and can add a generous hug to your mattress, which comes in handy when your current bed is overly firm. However, thanks to the properties of memory foam, the topper remains supportive. The foam molds to the curves of your body and can help with proper weight distribution.

Overall, this model is a worthy contestant for the best mattress topper for side sleepers. The Layla is gentle on the pressure points and can deliver tension release every single night.

Best for Quicker Recovery – Bear ProTopper

Bear ProTopper

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Highlights:

  • proprietary Celliant technology for restful sleep and faster muscle recovery;
  • copper-infused foam for cooler sleep;
  • contouring memory foam for pressure point relief.

The next item on our list of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers is the ProTopper by Bear. This model brings comfort to a whole new level and proves that a topper can do more than just make your mattress softer. Using powerful Celliant technology, the Bear ensures a restorative sleep and speedy recovery. It could be especially useful to athletes and those who work out frequently.

The Celliant cover uses the natural energy of your body (heat), then the Celliant textile emits an infrared light into your skin and tissue, increasing oxygen levels and improving blood flow. This process aids muscle relaxation and recovery. It has been clinically proven to promote restful, quality sleep.

Another cool thing about the ProTopper is the copper-infused memory foam. Offering a pleasant cooling effect, it also makes the topper fresh and prevents microbial build-up in your sleeping area.

All in all, the ProTopper by Bear is a great option for any side sleeper who wants to enjoy faster relaxation, muscle recovery, and restful sleep.

Why Do You Need to Consider Your Sleep Position When Shopping for a Mattress Topper?

Today, there are hundreds of mattress pads on the market, and the number keeps growing. Manufacturers promise that their topper will improve your sleep, alleviate back pain, and virtually restore your youth! 

All the advertisements might make you think all toppers are equal, and you might feel like purchasing the first model that catches your eye.

But let me share a secret with you.

Not all mattress toppers are universally comfortable for all sleepers. 

Besides, there are some common issues for side sleepers, and your ideal mattress topper should be able to solve them for you:

  • Your spine may get out of alignment. Unlike back sleeping, which is considered the healthiest for your spine, side sleeping can make your back hurt. That’s because side sleepers tend to rotate their upper body to get comfortable, which puts strain on the lower back and pelvic area, resulting in morning pain. Plus, sleeping on your side can make the corresponding shoulder collapse into the mattress and create misalignment that leads to shoulder pain (1).
  • Protruding hips and shoulders may accumulate pressure. These parts of your body experience the most pressure when you’re sleeping on your side. And if your mattress has a firm feel and doesn’t allow your body to sink, you may feel pain and stiffness in these areas.
  • You may experience numbness and tingling in your arms. Sleeping on one side for too long may compress the nerves in your arms and cause you to lose sensitivity. You know the feeling I’m talking about — it’s as if a thousand little needles are stinging you, and it’s highly uncomfortable.

All these issues may get worse when you’re sleeping on the wrong surface. 

So, let’s dive into what makes a mattress topper best for a side sleeper so that you can find one and start sleeping comfortably.

Side sleeping can be more beneficial for certain back pain diagnoses, such as herniated lumbar disks, osteoarthritis, or spinal stenosis (2).

What Are Quality Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers Made of?

What Are Quality Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers Made of

Even though the mattress industry constantly comes up with innovative materials, they’re mostly used for making mattresses.

As for mattress pads, chances are that you’ll be choosing between memory foam, polyurethane foam, and natural latex. So, let’s find out how each of these materials works for side sleepers.

Memory Foam

The queen of cradling, memory foam comes in three different variations when it comes to mattress toppers:

  • Solid. Solid memory foam is cradling and adjustable to your body curves. If you choose a model that is 3–4 inches thick, you can easily rejuvenate the feel of your old bed. However, memory foam is known for its heat retention issues. If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll tend to sink deeper into the mattress, which is why you’ll tend to sleep hot.
  • Convoluted. You’ve probably noticed a lot of mattress toppers with a peak-and-valley design. This design makes for a solid option for side sleepers. The convoluted design contributes to pressure relief, especially in the hip and shoulder areas. Along with that, convoluted foam promotes better airflow, so you’ll sleep cooler. The main issue with egg-crate pads is the peaks can lose their shape quickly, which can negatively affect the supportive properties.
  • Infused. Memory foam is most commonly infused with copper, graphite, charcoal, and cooling gel particles. Adding different mixtures to foams aims to prevent heat retention, odors, and mold development. 

Polyurethane Foam

Polyfoam is a cheaper alternative to memory foam. It has an open-cell structure, so it withdraws heat from your body more effectively and may feel more spongy than viscoelastic foam. 

Also, polyfoam has a quick rebound. This quality comes in handy if you’re looking for a mattress topper for an active side sleeper or individual with mobility concerns.

Possible drawbacks of polyfoam include lower durability and a pronounced odor that may take time to air out. 

Natural Latex

Latex is made from the vulcanized sap of rubber trees. This material offers several benefits:

  • great durability;
  • breathable construction;
  • resistance to mold and dust mites.

Also, a latex topper offers a good balance between cradling and quick rebound, so it means you get precise contouring for your hips and shoulders without limiting your movements.  If you have hip pain, there are some great mattress toppers for hip pain sufferers.

However, not everybody loves how latex mattress pads feel — they can be quite bouncy. Also, latex toppers are most often the priciest on the market, which can be a turnoff for some users.

Even though both polyfoam and natural latex are considered high-rebound materials, the latter has shown better pressure relief and weight distribution in different sleeping positions (3).

Also read: 5 Best Egg-Crate Mattress Toppers

Finding the Right Firmness Point

After defining the materials that best suit your needs, the second factor you need to consider if you want a decent mattress topper for side sleepers is firmness.

And this is where things can get tricky.

Firmness perception varies from person to person and is tied to numerous factors.

  • Sleeping position. Since we’re talking about side sleeping here, I will make suggestions only about this sleeping style. Side sleepers will benefit from a mattress topper with a soft or medium-soft feel because it allows them to sink more deeply and avoid spine misalignment. Also, a soft mattress topper can reduce the pressure created in the hips and shoulders, alleviating stiffness in these areas. 
  • Weight. If you’re a heavy side sleeper, you might be best to choose a mattress pad with a medium or even medium-firm feel. In this case, the topper will withstand the increased load around your hips and maintain correct spine alignment. 
  • Aches and pains. Any kind of pain can alter the perception of firmness. Besides, different aches and pains may require different firmness levels to help you deal with them. For example, a firmer mattress topper with some bounce is good for those who suffer from joint pain. People with lower back pain may need a softer and more cradling topper to support this area.

Speaking of sleep quality, softer beds are perceived as more comfortable (4) and can deliver more stable and deep sleep.

Other Important Checks to Make When Choosing a Mattress Topper

Not only the properly chosen type of mattress topper and firmness make the best mattress topper for a side sleeper. You still need to consider other factors to ensure the model you choose will work as you expect it to.

So, I will list these important factors for you below.

  • Thermoregulation. Hot sleeping is a common issue among side sleepers, so your mattress topper should be able to withdraw excess body heat. Even though the traditional polyurethane-based memory foam has great pressure-relieving effects, it’s still a low-rebound material that can retain some body heat and make falling asleep more difficult (5). To avoid that, look for foams with an open-cell structure or those infused with cooling gel or copper. But, if your budget allows, go for natural latex toppers that sleep much cooler than any foam.

  • Thickness. Thickness is an important factor if you own an old mattress. The thicker your mattress topper is, the more easily it can mask the saggy and lumpy areas and help you sleep soundly.

  • Durability. The durability of a mattress topper depends mainly on the density of the materials used. Medium density for a memory foam topper starts from 3 PCF (pounds per cubic foot). If you go for polyurethane foam, look for 1.5 PCF or higher. Finally, for a latex mattress pad, 4.3–4.5 PCF is a good starting point.

  • Odors. Since foam is a result of a complex chemical reaction, in most cases, it will have a chemical odor. To avoid smelly foams, do not go for cheap mattress toppers. Also, you may opt for scented foams, e.g. infused with lavender or aloe vera. These scents will mask the factory foam odor and may even help you fall asleep more easily.

Some manufacturers suggest you air out the topper for 12–24 hours before sleeping on it. This can help decrease the odor as well.

FAQ

What type of mattress topper is best for side sleepers?

 

The best type of mattress topper for side sleepers is the one made of cradling and responsive materials, such as memory foam, natural latex, or polyfoam as a cheaper alternative to both.

Conclusion

I’m not going to deny the fact that sleeping on the side is extremely comfortable. After all, I’m a side sleeper myself. What I’m going to say is that you can easily <b>make your side sleeping even more comfortable </b>if you purchase the right mattress topper. The six models I’ve tested for you have great value for money and can satisfy most side sleepers out there.

The model that managed to impress me the most was the Slice of Heaven by Plushbeds. Even the name itself sounds promising, and this topper certainly does live up to its expectations. Thanks to its thickness and pleasant hug, the Slice of Heaven made me feel super comfortable, reducing my pressure points and helping me relax. And I’m sure it can do the same for you!

So, what are your biggest concerns about sleeping on your side? Do you think any model of those reviewed above can resolve them? Share below please!

References

 
 
  1. Kristeen Cherney (2019, September 25). How to Sleep on Your Side Without Waking Up with a Sore Back or Neck. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/side-sleeper
  2. Richard Staehler, MD (2017, October 25). Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/mattresses-and-sleep-positions-each-back-pain-diagnosis
  3. Fan-Zhe Low, Matthew Chin-Heng Chua, Pan-Yin Lim, Chen-Hua Yeow. (2016, October 21). Effects of Mattress Material on Body Pressure Profiles in Different Sleeping Postures. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28228692/
  4. G. G. Bader, S. Engdal (2000, October 2). The Influence of Bed Firmness on Sleep Quality: a Comparative Study. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11059462/
  5. Shintaro Chiba, Tomogo Yaki, Motohiro Ozone, Mari Matsumura, et al. (2018, June 27) High-Rebound Mattress Toppers Facilitate Core Body Temperature Drop and Enhance Deep Sleep in the Initial Phase of Nocturnal Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6021054/

Our research

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Mattress Toppers Considered

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Hours of Research

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Sleep Experts Consulted

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