TOP 6 Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers in 2020

Written by: Alex Savy
Read 24 minLast updated June 11, 2020

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 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

Sleepjoy
Best for Making a Firm Mattress Softer

Sleepjoy
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Zinus
Best for Large Sleepers

Zinus
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Milemont
Best for Cooler Sleep

Milemont
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Slice of Heaven by Plushbeds
Best for Pressure Relief

Slice of Heaven by Plushbeds
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Sleep on Latex
Best for Natural Materials

Sleep on Latex
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LUCID
Best Affordable

LUCID
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Read more about this mattress topper

Our Reviews of 6 Best Mattress Pads for Side Sleepers

Best for Making a Firm Mattress Softer - Sleepjoy

Sleepjoy

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Highlights

  • low motion transfer;
  • has a soft feel;
  • open-cell foam structure for cooler sleep.

Does your mattress feel overly firm? No more suffering! The Sleepjoy can soften the feel of your mattress and bring the comfy shut-eye back into your life, and that’s why it’s in my review of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers.

The Sleepjoy is made of solid memory foam with a soft feel and is 3 inches thick. This is enough to alter how your mattress feels and offer a good hug for petite and average-weight side sleepers.

While testing this mattress pad, I noticed that it absorbs motion pretty well. So, if you share a bed with an active sleeper, it can help you avoid waking up due to your partner’s movements.

Another great feature is that the foam has an open-cell structure and may help you sleep cooler. I compared this mattress topper with several other models and found that it withdraws heat pretty well and sleeps neutral.

To sum it up, if you need a basic mattress topper to add comfort to your overly firm mattress, the Sleepjoy will make a great purchase for you.

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 made by Zinus. This model has a double-layer construction and 4 inches of thickness, which is enough to cradle even a heavy side sleeper and support proper spine alignment.

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 pretty well, too, so it can make a good temporary enhancement for an old mattress.

The moldability of this topper is exceptional: it will gently cradle your hips and shoulders and relax the lower back area, which is 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 will sleep cooler.

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

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

Best for Cooler Sleep  - Milemont

Milemont

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Highlights

  • gel-infused foam for cooler sleep;
  • may suit owners of overly firm beds;
  • great pressure-relieving properties.

I gave the Milemont a place in my review of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers mainly because it doesn’t have the typical drawback of memory foam — hot sleeping. Despite being made of memory foam, this mattress pad is able to cradle your body and cool you down even if you’re a chronic hot sleeper.

So, the Milemont has a soft feel and measures 2 inches high. You can use it to add some comfort to your innerspring bed or rejuvenate a foam mattress that starts sagging a bit, but don’t expect it to alter the feel of your mattress completely. 

Gel infusion is the main reason this pad sleeps cool. Yet, there also are small perforations around the whole surface, which promotes airflow between your body and the mattress.
Overall, I loved sleeping on the Milemont mattress pad. It has temperature-neutral design and relieves the tension in your hips and shoulder areas, thereby improving the quality of your sleep.

Best for Pressure Relief - Slice of Heaven by PlushbedsSlice 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 Slice of Heaven mattress topper, I immediately reserved a place on my list of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers for this model. It literally stands for 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.

So, the Slice of Heaven has a soft to medium feel and can suit most sleeper types of average body composition. It instantly contours your body and distributes the weight around the surface, so you can relax and drift off easily. The topper also promotes healthy spine alignment in any position you prefer and prevents you from getting a sore back in the morning.

Now, the dense memory foam of the Slice of Heaven can also absorb 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 even with worn-out mattresses to mask their uneven surface.

Overall, I think that the Slice of Heaven is a perfect pick for side sleepers. It can precisely address their needs and offer great pressure relief and spinal support.

Best for Natural Materials  - Sleep on LatexSleep 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 full 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 the spine without creating awkward curves.

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

Also, 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. After all, these chemicals might contribute to allergies, especially in people with sensitive skin.

Overall, this latex pad may become a perfect pick for literally anyone. It’s durable, cool, and very contouring.

Best Affordable - LUCIDLUCID Mattress Topper

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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 to your body curves very closely. It can maintain proper spine alignment and relieve pressure and stiffness, thereby making your shut-eye deep and restorative.

Finally, the 3-inch thickness kills two birds with one stone: it 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 heavy guys.

So, to sum it up, I was really impressed by the LUCID mattress topper. It looks pretty 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?

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

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

Seeing all those advertisements could make you think that all toppers are equally good, so you can purchase just any model that catches your eye.

But let me tell you something:

Not all mattress toppers are universally comfortable for all sleepers. In fact, there might be just a few that are.

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

  • The spine may get out of alignment pretty easily. 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 a 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 a bit, 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 squeeze the nerves in your arms and cause you to lose sensitivity. Not mentioning that the feeling of a thousand little needles stinging you is highly uncomfortable.

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

So, let’s see what makes the right mattress topper for a side sleeper so that you could 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, and if you choose the model that is 3 or 4 inches thick, you can easily rejuvenate the feel of your old bed. However, memory foam is known for issues with heat retention. Plus, side sleepers tend to sink deeper into the mattress, which is why they tend to sleep hot.
  • Convoluted. You probably noticed a lot of mattress toppers with peak-and-valley design. They actually are a good 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 that the peaks might lose their shape pretty fast, which will 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 can come 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 of 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 can offer you 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 all people love how latex mattress pads feel, as it is quite bouncy. Also, latex toppers generally are the priciest on the market, which might be a downside 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 material that will suit your needs, the second factor you need to consider if you need a really good mattress topper for side sleepers is firmness.

And this is where things might get tricky.

Firmness perception varies from person to person and is tied to numerous factors, such as:

  • 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 may choose a mattress pad with a medium or even medium-firm feel. In this case, a topper will withstand the increased load around your hips and will 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 bit 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

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 that the model you choose will work as you expect it to.

So, I will list these important factors for you right 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 will be a good starting point.
  • Odors. Since foam is a result of a complex chemical reaction, it will have a chemical odor in most cases. 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 make your side sleeping even more comfortable 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 gave me the most restorative sleep is the Zinus. I love how cradling this mattress topper is to the hips and shoulders. It will maintain the lower back area properly aligned and is thick enough to support even a heavy sleeper. 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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