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For side sleepers, having the right mattress can make or break your quality of sleep, since, for some, sleeping in this position on the wrong mattress can often lead to neck or back pain. Enter, the mattress topper.
In fact, there are even mattress toppers out there made specifically made for side sleepers. They're not nearly as expensive as an actual mattress, yet they compensate for the qualities your mattress might lack.
For example, if your mattress is pretty old, it may start to sag, which can lead to discomfort down the line. In this case, you can top it with a mattress topper that's firm, comfortable, and supportive. On the flip side, maybe you have a new mattress that feels extra firm because it hasn't been used long enough yet. In this sitch, you can buy a softer mattress topper as a buffer between you and the new mattress. "The idea is that [a mattress topper] is basically a more budget-friendly way to enhance the feel of a bed and maybe extend its usable lifespan," says editor at Sleepadvisor.org and certified sleep science coach Jill Zwarensteyn.
Bottom line: A mattress that's too firm or sinks too much will create pressure imbalance that can lead to muscle pain. So, you want a mattress topper that can produce the right balance to meet your needs. If you're ready to check out some options, read on for the 12 best mattress toppers for side sleepers you can shop right now, according to rave reviews.
The Saatva mattress topper was designed with a three-inch layer of memory foam that's infused with cooling graphite and topped with sweat-wicking organic cotton. So, you know it's extra breathable. The memory foam contours to your body for a comforting experience that helps you actually rest (not toss and turn) while you're sleeping.
Rave Review: "We requested this topper be sent to help the break-in period of our memory foam mattress, and it made a tremendous difference in how soft the top of the mattress felt...It's just the right thickness. "
Green Organic Latex Mattress Topper
Latex is another material that aids pressure relief, says Zwarensteyn, so it's also great for side sleepers. This one from Avocado is made with two inches of GOLS-certified organic latex and can be shopped in two different firmness levels (firm and plus) to meet your specific needs.
Rave Review: "I love this mattress topper. A few years ago I bought a firm Avocado mattress and I love that. I recently bought the soft mattress topper and combined with the firm mattress, I think it makes the perfect combination."
High-Density Foam Mattress Topper
This high-density topper was designed with medium firmness ro support you no matter how much you toss and turn at night. It's also treated with Guardin botanical antimicrobial to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
Rave Review: "I love this topper! I snuggle in and am so cozy at night! I don’t like firm mattresses, and while I purchased the Organic Pillow Top Saatva Mattress, it wasn’t quite soft enough for me. Adding this topper made the bed perfect! I sleep like an absolute baby and never really want to leave my bed!"
Alpaca Wool Plush Mattress Topper
Anyone that has tried Avocado's alpaca organic mattresses will tell you that their mattress topper is just as great. If you're a sustainable shopper, you'll love that the topper is made with 100-percent organic cotton and ethically-sourced alpaca fiber that feels super comfy, too.
Rave Review: "The mattress is wonderful, but the alpaca pillow topper is what made this the perfect purchase! I actually measure my sleep with an app, and I've moved from poor/good to consistently great sleep."
Comfy Mattress Topper
Sometimes the key to comfort lies in the extra layers built into a topper. This one from Casper has a top layer that's responsive to your movement—especially great if you toss and turn. It's also made with perforated foam that pulls heat away so you don't sleep hot.
Rave Review: "I bought the twin XL for my dorm room and ABSOLUTELY loved it! I am about to order the full size for my apartment bed…100-percent recommend!"
Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
If you've never tried a gel topper, consider this your sign. The cooling gel memory foam this topper is made with is a major plus for anyone who's a hot sleeper. It'll keep you cool and provide all the support you need for a good night's rest.
Rave Review: "This topper is amazing. I was so uncomfortable sleeping on an expensive mattress, but this really added a new element of comfort. It is like sleeping on pillows!"
Supreme 3-Inch Medium Firm Mattress Topper
Nothing is worse than being woken up in the middle of the night because you partner climbed into bed or has been tossing and turning all night. With this topper, you won't feel any of the motion transfer, so you can get your sleep in peace.
Rave Review: "Wow, where has this been all my life? I haven't had back pain since I got it. It is very comfortable. So much so that I drift off to sleep easily and quickly and wake up with no pain."
Queen Mattress Topper Microfiber 3D
Just because you have a thick mattress doesn't mean it shouldn't be breathable. With this Redkey topper, you can get the best of both worlds. It overfilled with down alternative to make it super plush, feels soft on the skin, and doesn't trap heat.
Rave Review: "Absolutely LOVE it! It's so cushiony and relaxing. I thought for sure it'd be another one that was basically flat with no cushion, but this wasn't the case. This one is definitely as described. It's nice and thick with deep pockets to cover any type of mattress, and it has just the right amount of soft cushion."
Cooling Mattress Topper for Back Pain
Side sleepers need support, and this mattress topper has that covered. It's also overfilled with down alternative, making it extra thick and supportive for your hips and shoulders. At less than $100, it's also more affordable than other options on this list.
Rave review: "I love this topper! It helped with my back pain from having my baby. It’s so comfortable now that I lay down and get an amazing night's sleep."
Spiral Fiber Filling Cooling Mattress Topper
Another great option for hot sleepers is this Drovan mattress topper. The 7D spiral fiber filling adsorbs sweat, so you can stay dry while you're busy catching Z's. It's especially helpful if you live in warmer climates or are prone to night sweats.
Rave Review: "This mattress pad is like floating on a cloud. It is soft and luxurious. When you get in bed, it makes you relax immediately. I love it!"
Thick 5D Snow Down Mattress Topper
If you got a new mattress that's feeling extra stiff, this soft mattress topper might be just what you need to get the balance you're hoping for. It's thick, yet soft and comforting when you lay on it.
Rave Review: "This mattress topper has taken my bed to a new level. My husband has always liked softer beds, and this is perfect for him and me. My cat also enjoys it!"
Two-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper
There's a lot of memory foam mattress toppers out there, but this one excels at contouring to your body and it comes in two-inch or three-inch options. It's pretty plush so it's a better option if you're looking to soften up your existing option.
Rave review: "I love this foam! My guest bed's mattress is terribly hard. I bought this mattress topper, and it made a huge difference. I got the three-inch one and was scared that it wouldn't be thick enough, but I was wrong. It hugs you like a cloud. I love this topper!"
How Our Team Chose The Best Mattress Toppers For Side Sleepers
Women’s Health editors, including our editorial assistant Sabrina Talbert, vetted the bestselling, top-rated mattress toppers for side sleepers. Our team consulted editor at Sleepadvisor.org and certified sleep science coach Jill Zwarensteyn, and then evaluated thousands of customer reviews and ratings to narrow down the best mattress toppers for side sleepers for a wide range of needs and preferences.
Is memory foam okay for side sleepers?
Yes! Memory foam is a great option for side sleepers. "When you sleep on your side, you have more weight concentrated on your shoulder and hip," says Zwarensteyn. So if you're looking for pressure relief, memory foam can help since it contours to your body shape.
How thick should a mattress topper be for a side sleeper?
As with any kind of bedding, there are a few things to keep an eye out for if you're a side sleeper looking to throw down your wallet for a mattress topper. Here's what you should consider:
If you're not getting a lot of support from your current mattress, you'll probably want to look for a topper that's pressure-relieving. Think: memory foam or latex.
Alternatively, if your mattress is sinking a lot, that can also lead to pressure. In this case, a medium firm topper can prevent sinking while providing comfort.
When buying yourself the right topper, price isn't everything. "I would say don't just focus on the price, but look at other important factors like your body weight and the kind of support and pressure relief you need," says Zwarensteyn.
Of course, if you're on a budget, you shouldn't break your bank account for a mattress topper. But aiming for a happy medium between price and quality is a good target.
There are many different places to buy a mattress topper, but it doesn't hurt to make sure they're a reputable retailer. Zwarensteyn recommends checking for customer reviews, seeing if the store sells other bedding products, or going to test them in person. You can also do some deep digging into the company's history to see if they are generally trusted by customers.
Trial and warranty
When you're spending hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars, having a financial safety net is a big plus. "It gives you some comfort to know that you're not just buying something, and if it doesn't work, you're screwed," says Zwarensteyn.
Ideally, you want a minimum 30-night trial and a year-long warranty. Every retailer is different and bedding accessories tend to have shorter testing periods than mattresses, so double-check before making a purchase.
What firmness should a side sleeper have?
According to Zwarensteyn, medium firmness is the best place to start when buying a new mattress topper. Weight, specifically, is a factor in the decision-making process for a mattress topper because it determines how much you compress into the material, she adds.
"I wouldn't go super firm with a topper unless you have a very soft mattress so it can balance things out. If it's too soft, you're going to sink in too much and develop pressure," says Zwarensteyn.
Can mattress toppers relieve back pain in side sleepers?
In short, yes. Mattress toppers can help with back pain by providing extra support to the spine. "Ideally, you want your spine to be as neutral as possible when you're sleeping because if there's extra pressure or an awkward angle, that can lead to back pain," says Zwarensteyn. In other words, anywhere your mattress lacks support can be adjusted using a topper.
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