TOP 6 Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers in 2021

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 25 minLast updated January 25, 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
Shop Now on PlushBeds.com
Read more about this mattress topper
Layla Memory Foam Topper
Best for Cool Pressure Relief

Layla Memory Foam Topper
Shop Now on LaylaSleep.com
Read more about this mattress topper
Zinus
Best for Large Sleepers

Zinus
Shop Now on Amazon
Read more about this mattress topper
Milemont
Best for Quicker Recovery

Bear ProTopper
Shop Now on Bearmattress.com
Read more about this mattress topper
Sleep on Latex
Best for Natural Materials

Sleep on Latex
Shop Now on Amazon
Read more about this mattress topper
LUCID
Best Affordable

LUCID
Shop Now on Amazon
Read more about this mattress topper

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.

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 Large Sleepers - Zinus

Zinus Mattress Topper

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Highlights:

  • two-layer construction;
  • doesn’t sleep hot;
  • can alter the feel of any mattress.

Another contestant in my review of the best mattress pads for side sleepers is the Zinus. This model has a double-layer construction and 4 inches of thickness, which is enough to cradle and support proper spine alignment of a heavy side sleeper.

So, the topper combines a layer of gel-infused memory foam and a supportive foam base, which results in a medium-firm feel, according to my experience. It can mask sagging well, too, so it can make a reliable temporary fix for an old mattress.

The moldability of this topper is exceptional: it gently cradles your hips and shoulders and relaxes your lower back area — the weakest point for heavy side sleepers. Also, thanks to the cooling gel, the pad can dissipate your body heat into the air, so you sleep cooler.

I want to separately mention that Zinus uses plant-based foams for making their toppers. As well as being eco-friendly, these foams have a less pronounced odor and won’t interfere with your dreams.

Overall, I thouroughly enjoyed sleeping on this mattress topper and recommend it to large individuals or couples who want to boost the comfort of their bed.

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.

Best for Natural Materials  - Sleep on Latex

Sleep on Latex

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Highlights:

  • sleeps cool;
  • doesn’t restrict your movement;
  • may suit heavier sleepers.

My review of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers wouldn’t be complete without at least one "green" option. So, meet the 2-inch latex beauty by Sleep on Latex. It can precisely adjust to your body shape and support your spine without creating awkward curves.

The topper has a soft feel and suits average side sleepers. You can place it atop your overly firm or old bed to upgrade your comfort level. Latex is conforming, so it can mask the saggy points and lumps and create a uniform sleeping surface.

Natural latex sleeps cool, and the manufacturer takes this cooling effect to the next level by adding perforations. So, this mattress topper can help those who are prone to getting hot at night sleep comfortably.

Finally, since side sleepers typically place their face closer to the mattress layers, an eco-friendly mattress topper is a good way to avoid inhaling chemical particles that might be evaporating from the surface of your topper. After all, these chemicals might contribute to allergies, especially in people with sensitive skin.

Overall, this latex pad could be the ideal choice for anyone. It’s durable, cool, and very contouring.

Best Affordable - LUCIDLUCID Mattress Topper

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Click the button below to check current price

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Highlights:

  • thick enough to cradle a heavy sleeper;
  • resistant to mold and bacteria;
  • great value for money.

And the last model in my review of the best mattress pads for side sleepers is for those who want a good yet affordable product. The LUCID performs no worse than more expensive mattress pads, so let’s take a closer look at it. 

First, the mattress topper features bamboo charcoal infused foam. Charcoal particles help prevent mold and moisture build-up inside the foam cells, thus eliminating any funky odors.

Second, the pad has a plush feel and molds closely to your body curves. It can maintain proper spine alignment and relieve pressure and stiffness, thereby making your shut-eye deep and restorative.

Finally, the 3-inch thickness can change the feel of your mattress (which is a plus if you’re not comfortable with the way your mattress feels right now) and it can offer generous cradling for any type of sleeper, including larger sleepers.

So, to sum it up, I was impressed by the LUCID mattress topper. It seems durable, feels comfy, and doesn’t make you sleep hot. And you can get all of this at an appealing price.

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

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!

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

55

Mattress Toppers Considered

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Hours of Research

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Sleep Experts Consulted

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