Mattress toppers are one of those ingenious inventions that people turn to not only to save money but also for much-needed convenience. It’s much easier to replace a topper every year or two than a mattress. Also, experimenting with different products and firmness levels can be much more cost-effective as opposed to replacing a whole mattress.
However, choosing the best mattress topper can be difficult, especially if you have particular needs to accommodate for, such as sleeping position for example. Typically, a mattress (or topper) can greatly affect the comfort of varying sleeping positions, to the extent that manufacturers often state whether their product is more suited for certain positions over others. If you can’t change out your entire mattress, you can choose a topper specifically which is suited for your sleeping position. In this article, we will discuss the best mattress toppers for side sleepers.
A Note About Mattress Toppers
Mattress toppers are excellent ways to enhance the mattress you have. That said, if your bed is very old and showing signs of wear, a topper might not be enough.
One way to tell if a mattress topper is what you need is to check your current mattress for any deep dents or unusual lumpiness. If the surface is still smooth and supports the same across the entire bed, you probably just need a topper to moderate the firmness.
However, toppers aren’t magic. If there is a noticeable lump where someone has slept for years, lumpiness because of broken springs or other inconsistencies with the mattress support, a topper isn’t going to help. You might need to reconsider your mattress options.
Why Do I Need A Specific Topper?
Picture yourself at your favorite point of the day, getting into bed after a long day running around keeping adult life afloat. Are you staring at the ceiling or the wall? The answer is essential to a good night’s sleep. Side and back sleepers have different needs. If you’re a side sleeper, to get a proper night’s rest, you need the best mattress topper for side sleepers. Side sleepers are more susceptible to pain from pressure points, tension caused by incorrect alignment, and more chronic injuries than back sleepers. Think about it. If you sleep on your back, your spine tends to align itself correctly. Nothing is blocking your air flow, and your pillow correctly supports your neck.
If you sleep on your side, there are significantly more curves to get into the proper position. If you don’t have proper support, the spine gets out of alignment, your neck is at an awkward angle, and there’s tension from the weight on the shoulder and hip. You’re more likely to restrict your breathing and sustain serious injuries if you sleep unsupported on the wrong mattress, (or topper).
How Do I Choose A Mattress Topper?
Several considerations will be important here. Let’s go point by point.
A medium-soft mattress topper is best for side sleepers because it cradles hips and shoulders and conforms to the natural curve of your body. The spine falls into better alignment, and you’re less likely to constrict breathing. However, it must be supple enough to conform to body curves but still support joints and align the spine. Your body should sink into the topper a little more, allowing it to contour to your natural shape.
This contouring relieves pressure on your joints. If you’ve noticed pain when you wake up, particularly in your lower back, hips, or shoulders, your mattress probably isn’t contouring to your shape – Perhaps it is too firm. Additionally, like most wool toppers if it is too soft, there will be too much give and your spine and neck will eventually bend out of shape, thus causing agonizing pain and discomfort throughout the day and well into old age.
Thickness and Density
Thickness and density work hand-in-hand with support.
Density is the way the firmness is calculated or measured. Generally, for the everyday consumer, manufacturers display this firmness level on a scale of 1-10. For example, a medium-soft on a scale of 1-10 would measure around 4, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest.
Thickness is important for a number of reasons. Mainly because the thicker the topper, the longer it is likely to last. Too thin and it will wear away too quick, especially when used by those in higher weight ranges. Also, going too thick may be a waste. For example, some toppers max out around 6 inches. Considering some memory foam mattresses are available at 8 inches thick, 6 inches for a topper could be overkill. But, everyone has their own needs, and bargains are always available online.
Many of the best mattresses for side sleepers are made of latex or some form of memory foam. They have more give than traditional spring mattresses while providing proper support (instead of just giving way). They circulate air providing more comfortable sleep, too. For this reason, we recommend memory foam toppers. The best memory foam toppers for side sleepers give proper support while still giving way to the natural contour of your body. They balance joints and allow for shoulders to fall into a more natural position.
They can even help relieve pelvic rotation a little. Some side sleepers position themselves in the “sprinting” position with one leg bent and one leg straight. These sleepers are most at risk for lower back pain. Memory foam helps conform better to the rotation of the hips and encourage you to straighten your spine.
Wool and feather filled mattress toppers may feel comfortable, and provide extra warmth in the winter, but they aren’t going to conform to your body the way memory foam will. They also don’t breathe as effectively, which might cause some overheating and unpleasant sweating.
Latex mattress toppers are highly rated and also very expensive in comparison, however, they are more suited for back sleepers as they can be a tad firm. If you weigh in excess of 200 lbs and are a side sleeper, a latex topper might be a better option.
Memory foam has a reputation for keeping you warmer than any other type of mattress or topper. If you’re a heavy sweater or generally sleep hot at night, you might consider a topper made of gel foam. The gel helps wick heat away and redistribute it so you can sleep more easily. If on the other hand, you tend to get cold at night or are in a cooler climate, regular memory foam helps keep you comfortable. Additionally, most of the top-rated toppers now have better airflow than old types of toppers. Their covers and fabrics are breathable, and you probably won’t wake up in a puddle in the morning.
The List: Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers
Perfect Cloud Gel Fusion Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Perfect Cloud’s topper is a medium-soft topper with a combination of memory foam and cooling gel. It uses Gelcare technology to redistribute heat and keep you feeling cooler than a basic memory foam topper. The medium thickness (two inches) and density and conforms to your joints while supporting the torso and spine, whilst effortlessly integrating with your mattress to get the right firmness regardless of what type of side sleeper you are.
It has anti-skid material on the bottom, so it will stay in place even if you move around a lot at night. The cover is durable and stretchy, which removes entirely, and can be washed with regular household detergent.
The Perfect Cloud is rated for a wide range of weight, 40 to 400 pounds without compromising density. It provides enough support too for a back sleeper, so if your partner doesn’t sleep in the same type of position, it will still give them the right kind of support.
One great thing about this topper is that it’s eco-friendly; made without PVC, formaldehyde, certain types of chemical flame retardants, and certain phthalates – it’s low VOC and doesn’t require off-gassing before use.
It isn’t water or moisture repellent, so it won’t protect the mattress as an insulated topper would. However, it’s thin enough that you could use an insulated mattress cover on top of both the topper and the mattress.
What we like:
- Combination of gel and memory foam
- A wide range of weight accommodations
- Non-skid base
What we didn’t like:
- Not thick enough for very firm mattresses
- Non-skid bottom not sufficient for some mattresses where sleepers are very active
LUCID 2-inch 5-Zone Lavender Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Lucid’s 5 Zone Lavender is a two-inch topper with five different patterned body zones to help correctly align the spine and prevent obstructions in breathing. It eliminates the most common pressure points associated with side sleeping (the hips, shoulders, knees, and around the feet). Made of memory foam, it helps to distribute your weight and prevent injuries from sleeping improperly.
The materials are certified eco-friendly by CertiPur-US. Independent tests rate the materials as both safe for the environment, and low in harmful odors from chemicals. It doesn’t need to be off-gassed when opened.
One thing we love about this particular topper is the lavender scent. Lavender helps to relax anxious minds and provide a naturally calm environment for sleeping. Lavender is one of the most common herbs for relaxation and sleep, so having it built directly into the topper is a nice touch.
It breathes well, so you won’t wake up a sweaty mess. Though it doesn’t have cooling gel, the textured top does provide better airflow than dense memory foam.
What we liked:
- The lavender scent is a nice touch
- Patterned “body zones” help prevent pressure points when side sleeping
- The design is very breathable
- Certified eco-friendly
What we didn’t:
- The scent might be too strong for those with respiratory allergies
Sleep Innovations 2-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Sleep Innovations is a good all-around topper that fits a variety of sleepers including side sleepers, which features supportive, three-pound foam density.
One good thing right off the bat is that these toppers are made to fit the size of your bed correctly. Many are cut short of the bed’s dimensions to ensure they fit, but that can be annoying if you sleep near the edges. This one fits perfectly.
It’s a flat memory foam of medium density that supports pressure points from side sleepers while supporting the torso and airways. It helps align the spine correctly and you can use it with any mattress.
The Sleep Innovations keeps a pretty comfortable temperature all night, but it does get warm during the hottest parts of the year or if your room isn’t well ventilated. One thing we didn’t like was that the mattress topper didn’t offer any protection against body heat retention – It doesn’t have a gel layer for cooling, nor is it textured to provide different kinds of heat dissipation. It is an excellent all-purpose mattress topper though and if heat retention isn’t an issue for you, this one will fit your purpose just fine.
Letting it air out properly and unfold on its own should give you a durable memory foam topper that’s easy to position and doesn’t leave that annoying unprotected ring around the edge of the mattress. If you have two different kinds of sleepers in the bed, this is an excellent all-purpose alternative to a failing mattress.
What we liked:
- The topper fits the dimensions of the bed exactly
- The comfortable temperature made better with room air circulation
- Good all-purpose design
What we didn’t like:
- All-purpose might not be enough if you’ve already got chronic joint or back pain
Best Price Mattress 4-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper
The Best Price 4 Inch is a high-density memory foam topper with a 2.5 inch high-density foam on the bottom for support, and a one and a 1.5 inch memory foam top cover for better alignment. It contours to your body and supports all the common pressure point areas that side sleepers require.
The topper helps to redistribute motion so there’s less movement when someone adjusts positions. This feature is excellent for partners and spouses. It comes with a soft, polyester mesh cover that can be unzipped and removed.
Additionally, it has been independently analyzed and certified as eco-friendly by CertiPur-US, so produces low emissions and doesn’t need to off-gas. Some toppers may need to unfurl by themselves for the best result and to avoid minor tears in the surface foam, however. It can take up to 24 hours for the topper to fully inflate after shipping.
One thing we didn’t like is that there’s no method to secure the pad to the bed. Other toppers have straps or a nonskid bottom to hold the pad in place. This topper tends to migrate during the night, so you’ll have to adjust its position from time to time.
Overall, the double layer supported joints perfectly and produced much less pain than bare failing mattresses. It’s one of the thickest toppers on the list, and the result is pretty astounding.
What we liked:
- Double foam layer provides both support and cushion
- Reduces motion transfer from sleeping partners
- Eco-friendly certified
- Has a removable mesh cover
- Extra deep topper
What we didn’t like:
- No way to secure the pad to the bed
LUCID has a line of different toppers. This one is an extra thick three-inch memory foam topper which provides excellent support for side sleepers and removes known pressure points.
Being naturally hypoallergenic, Lucid infused their product with Bamboo charcoal which is made when the plant is burned at a very high temperature and then ground up. The charcoal is naturally resistant to odors and bacterial growth, whilst also helping regulate heat and moisture, so you stay more comfortable and won’t wake up a sweaty mess. The LUCID is also certified by CertiPur-US as eco-friendly and has a lower odor than other types of toppers.
It’s extra ventilated with ultra-fine holes, promoting better airflow than dense toppers and regulating your night-time temperature. If you’re a heavy sweater, this type of topper may help with both the smell and your overall comfort.
The LUCID is going to work best on very firm mattresses because of the depth of the foam. The foam density creates a pocket that is supportive, but when repositioning can take a while to adjust compared to the likes of gel foam. This might not be an issue if you don’t move around much in your sleep, or again, if you have a very firm mattress.
It doesn’t offer a multi-layered support like the Best Price above, which can be an issue if you’ve got a very soft bed. A firm bed will provide the support needed in addition to the cushion, but without that, it’s difficult to roll over or get up completely.
If you have a firm mattress, this topper is going to provide all the cushion you’re missing. If you’ve already got a softer bed, it might make your pain points worse. Be aware of what type of mattress you already have before trying this one.
What we liked:
- Excellent for a firm or extra firm beds
- Extra deep foam
- Bamboo charcoal helps reduce odors and bacterial growth
- Good temperature and moisture regulation with charcoal and breathing holes
- CertiPur-US certified foam
What we didn’t like:
- not supported enough for soft beds
Our favorite choice is the two-layer Best Price 4 Inch topper. It works with many types of mattresses because of the dual layer density. The firm lower layer makes sure your torso and spine remain supported correctly whilst side sleeping whilst the top foam contours to your body to relieve pressure points.
It redesigns the way your bed supports you, and it’s even certified eco-friendly so won’t aggravate respiratory allergies. We had excellent experiences with reduced motion transfer, just like a memory foam mattress.
The removable polyester cover helps protect the pad and makes spills and stains easier to clean. The convenience of the cover, and the support of the dual layer, more than makes up for having to adjust the position of the pad from time to time as it migrates.
We’re sure there are solutions to the pad moving around, so don’t let that deter you from this. It won’t show wear for a long time, and it comes with a five-year warranty should anything go wrong. It’s a good investment and one of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers out there.
What kind of side sleeper are you? Do you curl up in a fetal position or are you a “sprinter”? Let us know in the comments below. If you’d like to see our roundup of our top 10 favorite toppers of all time, click here.