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The Side Sleeper’s Guide To Sleeping

The Side Sleeper’s Guide To Sleeping

Next to back sleeping, side sleeping is the next best thing. However, sleeping on the wrong mattress can put you in a world of pain and discomfort. A mystical land of numb arms and tingling fingers. A place of aching shoulders and sore backs.

After trying many different types of mattresses, I finally found one that allows me to sleep on my side without fear of waking up and feeling like someone had been beating me with a bat. My side & back no longer hurt and my arm is no longer numb upon waking.

~ Scott R.

The Side Sleeper Secret

When sleeping on your side, the best spinal alignment is straight. If your spine is bending, then it’s straining. When your spine is locked in an unnatural position for hours at a time (like when you sit at work or sleep) it results in frequent pain.

When you sleep on your side, it’s essential to have a mattress that supports your rounded areas: your neck and your waist. This is because the muscles and ligaments of your back relax and heal themselves while you sleep.

The Results Are In, Purple Is The Best Mattress
For Side Sleepers

Spine curve comparison chart

Spine Curvature Comparison

Keeping your spine nice and straight will give you the best recharge for the next day. But, most mattresses are simply the worst at handling side sleepers. See how the Purple stacks up. It’s kind of our thing.

Purple mattress

“With my previous mattress, I woke up in pain almost every day but that is now a thing of the past!”

~ Olivia S.

“Finally, a bed that you can wake up with out back pain.”

~ Alexander K.

3 Tips For Side Sleepers

Supportive Mattress

A supportive mattress will have the largest affect on your sleep quality. Try rolling a small towel for under your neck and waist… or just get yourself a Purple Mattress.

Get The Right Pillow

Your pillow should support the natural curve of your neck—your head shouldn’t curve down, nor be propped up too high. A good rule of thumb is that your ear, shoulder and hips should be aligned.

Use A Knee Pillow

If your top leg isn’t supported properly, it can put an angle on your hips and pull your spine out of alignment. Try sleeping with a small thin pillow between your knees and pull your knees slightly toward your chest.

Convinced the Purple® mattress Is Right For You?

Watch this

Back Sleeper Test

Find out which mattress maintains the natural curve of your spine.

Pressure Mapper Test

See which mattress reduces pressure points.

The Science Behind Purple

See how Purple’s Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ gives you the best sleep you’ve ever had.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of mattress is best for side sleepers?

    The best mattress for side sleepers is both soft enough to contour to your curves and supportive enough to keep the spine straight. Yeah, your body is picky that way.

    As a side sleeper, you need enough soft comfort on top to allow your hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress. Otherwise, they will be higher than your torso and your head. As a result, your neck will need to bend for your head to reach the pillow, and your spine will bow like a bridge that’s seen better days. This puts a ton of pressure on your spine in more than one spot and can lead to discomfort and pain.

    But side sleepers also need enough solid support to keep their shoulders and hips from sinking in too much, resulting in the spine getting bent out of shape in the opposite direction. In short, side sleepers need the best in soft comfort and contouring support to make sure the spine stays aligned and happy.

    Purple addresses all of this with the Purple Grid which Instantly responds and adapts to movement and pressure from your body so it’s soft where you want it and firm where you need it, all at once. For any body type and in any sleep position.

  • What kind of mattress material is best for side sleeping?

    The best mattress material for side sleepers features a thicker-than-average comfort layer that allows your body to sink in a bit more. This is accomplished most effectively by the Purple Grid. There are other types of comfort layers, such as memory foam, latex foam, a pillow-top layer, or the Purple Grid, which all have unique pros and cons, but only Purple gives you the best of pressure-cradling comfort and support without compromise. The average comfort layer thickness is about 2 inches. For side sleepers, shoot for 3-4 inches.

    It’s important not to choose a mattress that’s too soft. Remember, comfort for side sleepers doesn’t come from a cushy soft feeling but from proper spinal alignment. The comfort layer of the mattress needs to contour to your body, not suck you in like quicksand. The Purple Grid instantly adapts to your body for soft comfort you crave while providing the support you need.

  • What mattress is best for side sleepers?

    When it comes to the best mattress for side sleepers, we recommend the Purple® Hybrid Premier mattress. The Purple Hybrid Premier is an extra-supportive, extra-soft combo of a coil mattress and extra deep the Purple Grid.

    The Purple® Hybrid Premier is available in two comfort options:

    • 3-inch Purple Grid: Soft, cloud-like comfort. Ideal for average-sized side sleepers.
    • 4-inch Purple Grid: The ultimate in comfort and a favorite of side sleepers, this mattress has a “zero-gravity” feel and offers extra support for heavier sleepers.

    The Purple Grid is the top layer of the mattress. This Hyper-Elastic Polymer material is an open-chamber gel layer that instantly contours to the body and provides a level of comfort that’s out of this world. The Responsive Support Coils below provide the extra support that side sleepers need, reinforcing the contouring support of the Purple Grid comfort layer while preventing excessive sinkage. That’s why the Purple Hybrid Premier is the mattress of side sleepers’ dreams.

  • What firmness of mattress is best for side sleepers?

    Side sleepers should look for a medium to medium-soft mattress. Side sleepers need a mattress with just the right level of softness to promote contouring support for the hips, back, and shoulders. Better yet, a mattress that gives you both the soft comfort your hips and shoulders crave and the firm support your back needs, all at once. You can only get that from the Purple Grid.

    The ideal firmness also depends on your size and weight. Lighter sleepers may want to opt for a softer mattress that will allow them to sink in despite their petite size. Heavier sleepers may prefer a mattress of medium firmness to prevent them from sinking in too much. In the case of Purple, both of these are best met by the Purple® Hybrid Premier 4”.

    Choosing the best type of mattress for side sleepers can be especially difficult for couples, as they often prefer different firmness levels. Until now, couples have had to compromise. But now, both partners can enjoy the best in support with the universal firmness of the Purple Grid™. The Purple Hybrid Premier 3” is the favorite for couples with mixed preferences.

    Purple mattresses are the only mattresses with the Purple Grid. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer material cradles the body in zero-gravity comfort, providing optimal support no matter your size or sleep position. Thanks to Purple, couples of different sizes and sleep positions can enjoy the contouring support and comfort of their mattress.

  • What mattress features are important for side sleepers?

    We’ll let you in on a few key features to consider when shopping for the best mattress for side sleepers. For the full scoop, check out our Side Sleepers Guide.

    Pressure Cradling

    Side sleepers often deal with aches and pains as a result of excessive pressure on the spine. This is caused by the spine bowing or arching as you sleep. A high-quality mattress with pressure-reducing support will take the pressure off your spine and allow it to rest in its natural position. This has pain-reducing effects that radiate throughout the body.

    Spinal Alignment

    For side sleepers, everything comes down to spinal alignment, especially if you’re looking for the best mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain. It’s very easy for side sleepers’ spines to get out of whack, and placing multiple pillows under your arms, torso, and between your legs just for extra support can get pretty uncomfortable and annoying. Choosing a mattress with spinal support means your spine will stay aligned all night, even if you change sleeping positions.

    Cool Comfort

    If your body needs to sink into a mattress, you want that mattress to be comfortable. A cool mattress will help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a good night’s sleep all night long. Purple® Mattresses are famous for their cloud-like comfort and zero-gravity feel. And, thanks to the maximum airflow from the open channels of the Purple Grid, a Purple is the best choice for hot side sleepers.

    Effective Base Support

    The base layer of a mattress provides core support for your body and acts as the mattress’s support system. Side sleepers need a base layer that reinforces the contouring support and pressure cradling of the layers above. If the base layer is too dense, it can cause lower back pain from the hips sinking too deep into the mattress. The best option is an innerspring layer of pocketed coils, such as the base layer in the Purple® Hybrid and Purple® Hybrid Premier. Each coil adapts to the weight of the body without affecting the coils around it, delivering targeted support to each part of a side sleeper’s body—head, shoulders, torso, hips, and legs.


    A responsive mattress has a bit of bounce. This makes it easier to get into and out of bed and change positions. Side sleepers need a soft mattress that still allows them to move easily at night. A mattress that lacks responsiveness will leave you feeling like you’re sleeping on cement. If you can’t easily change positions while sleeping, you might wake up feeling uncomfortable or sweaty. The Purple Grid offers a balanced level of responsiveness that’s just right for side sleepers.

  • What is the best pillow for a side sleeper?

    The best pillow for a side sleeper is a pillow that is tall enough to keep the neck and head aligned with the shoulders. Side sleepers often find themselves sleeping with an arm under their pillow. If you do this too, it means your noggin needs more support. If you want a good pillow, you need one that adapts to the weight of your head without allowing it to sink too low.

    The Purple® Harmony Pillow provides optimal contouring support to the head and neck, thanks to the innovative 360° Purple Grid Hex. The material is similar to the open-chamber gel found in Purple mattresses. In fact, Purple makes a special Harmony pillow that’s perfect for side sleeping. The new Purple Harmony Tall Pillow is 7.5-inches thick! This ensures your head receives all the support it needs when you’re sleeping on your side.

    Switching to a Purple Harmony Pillow can help you get a great night’s sleep.

  • What is the best thickness for a mattress for side sleepers?

    The best mattress thickness for side sleepers depends on the size of the sleeper. Larger sleepers will need a bit more thickness to support their weight, while lighter sleepers can do with less.

    The minimum recommended thickness for a side sleeper is about 10 inches. This accounts for 7 inches of support foam and 3 inches of contouring support from a comfort layer.

    The best mattress for heavy side sleepers should be about 12 inches thick and have a 4-inch comfort layer for advanced pressure relief. The Purple® Hybrid Premier is a perfect example of the right mattress for heavy side sleepers.

    It’s important to remember that thicker doesn’t always mean better for side sleepers. An ultra-thick mattress won’t do any good if it’s too firm to relieve pressure or too soft to support the shoulders and hips. The best way to find the right mattress for side sleepers is to consider mattress features and materials.

  • Do side sleepers really need a mattress designed for them?

    Of course! That’s a bit like asking, “Do people with big feet really need shoes designed for them?”

    All those people with big feet would suffer from a lot of pain wearing ill-fitting shoes. And it just so happens that a lot of side sleepers suffer from unnecessary aches and pains because they sleep on a mattress that wasn’t designed for their sleep style.

    Well, those days are over. The Purple® Hybrid Premier was designed to deliver a truly great night’s rest and may be the best mattress for side sleepers.

    The Purple Hybrid Premier features an extra-thick Purple Grid comfort layer which cushions your hips and shoulders while allowing the spine to align. Sleepers can choose between a 3-inch version (for average-sized sleepers) and a 4-inch version (for larger sleepers and those who want a superior zero-gravity feel).

    The pocketed coil base layer of the Purple Hybrid Premier bolsters the Purple Grid with targeted contour support—a game-changer for side sleepers. The individually wrapped steel coils support the heaviest parts of the body (the hips and shoulders) without causing the torso or head to bow down too.

    Possibly the best mattress for side and stomach sleepers, the Purple Hybrid Premier has enhanced edge support for those side sleepers who like to hang out on the fringes of the bed. The Purple Grid is temperature regulated, divinely soft, and long-lasting, so side sleepers can enjoy optimal support that doesn’t change over the years.