What is the Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers?

November 20, 2021

What is the Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers?

As a side sleeper, sleeping on the wrong type of mattress could be the reason you often wake up with a stiff neck, sore hip, or painful shoulders. This is because these pressure points are fragile, and need to rest on a soft conforming surface. However, finding the right pressure-relieving mattress that also offers enough support isn't easy, given that each side sleeper has different comfort preferences.

As a result, many side sleepers use a mattress topper to change how their beds feel. Besides being a cost-effective option over buying a new mattress, a mattress topper also offers several other benefits to side sleepers.

Read on to learn more about what you need to consider when choosing a mattress topper for this sleeping position.

What is a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is a removable layer of foam added to a mattress to alter its firmness. This layer can be made from varying materials, such as latex or memory foam, cotton, down, and wool. The best mattress toppers also come in different levels of firmness, so sleepers can choose whether they want a softer or a firmer sleep surface.

Many mattress toppers are two inches thick, although several others are thinner or thicker, but rarely exceed four inches in thickness. Besides changing how a mattress feels, some toppers offer more benefits that help solve several sleep-related problems, such as nighttime sweating.

Why Invest in a Mattress Topper?

Not only is a good mattress hard to find, but also costs a lot of money. Most sleepers can find a good mattress for a little under $1,000, but many premium quality mattresses cost way more than $2,000. On the other hand, a good topper usually costs less than $500, and can make a huge difference as far as sleep quality is concerned.

Therefore, mattress toppers are a good investment when you don't need a new mattress. They also spare you the stress of shopping for the best mattress to suit your sleep preferences, especially if your mattress is still in good condition.

However, mattress toppers may not effectively fix the problems of an old worn-out mattress. For example, investing in a mattress topper for mattresses with sagging surfaces and broken support cores isn't a great idea. Instead, consider replacing such mattresses.

You can also use a mattress topper on a new mattress to cushion and support sleepers. Side sleepers in particular benefit from this investment because it's often hard to find one mattress that meets all their needs.

Side sleepers have more pressure points compared to other types of sleepers. This is because they carry all their body weight on their necks, shoulders, hips, and necks, causing these parts to sink deeper into the mattress than other parts of the body. When that happens, the spine curves away from its neutral position, leading to low back pain and sore pressure points.

Therefore, a mattress topper helps a side sleeper balance support and cushioning for a more comfortable sleeping surface.

Other benefits of investing in a mattress topper include:

  • Increasing the lifespan of your mattress by reducing direct pressure on the mattress.
  • Adding plush and cozy comfort to a sleep surface.
  • Acting as a mattress protector to keep your mattress clean.
  • Allowing you to change your sleep surface whenever you want.
  • Absorbing movement to reduce motion transfer.

How to Choose the Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers

Mattress toppers aren't a one-size-fits-all kind of product. Instead, you need to consider the preferences of a sleeper and the structure of the topper to find the best one for side sleeping. Ultimately, side sleepers need toppers that provide support in the right places for pressure relief.

They also need a breathable topper that allows for better air circulation to reduce sweating at night. Lastly, the best mattress toppers for side sleepers are made of high-quality materials for durability and better sleep.

Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers

When looking for the ideal mattress topper for a side sleeper, consider the following factors.

The Material of the Topper

The material of a mattress topper determines its firmness, and how best it meets the needs of a side sleeper. Unlike mattresses, most toppers are usually made of a single material such as natural latex, or the traditional memory foam. Therefore, it's important to understand the advantages or downsides of these different types of materials before choosing the best mattress topper for a side sleeper.

Although it isn't the best choice for temperature regulation, a memory foam mattress topper is suitable for pressure relief and cradling. However, some manufacturers create a memory foam mattress topper infused with other materials such as a cooling gel to prevent heat retention.

Natural latex foams are known for responsiveness, breathability, durability, and eco-friendliness. Although they don't cradle the sleeper as memory foams do, their bounciness and responsiveness relieve pressure on the points of contact without letting the sleeper sink deeply. This is especially good for side sleepers because it improves spinal alignment, and reduces the chances of low back pains.

Down or feathers-filled mattress toppers are cozy, plush, and offer a lot of cushioning to sleepers. In addition, these toppers have a generous amount of padding that relieve pressure points of side sleeping. However, they don't usually offer adequate support for a sleeper, and may not be useful on a softer mattress.


Most toppers range between two and four inches in thickness. Thicker mattress toppers are often better for side sleepers because they have more room for cushioning pressure points, and cradling the sleeper. They also add more support to an older mattress to improve spinal alignment.

On the other hand, thinner toppers may not make any difference on the sleep surface of a side sleeper. The weight of the sleeper's body will only squash such a topper, causing it to feel less supportive, and hurt the pressure points even more.

Temperature Regulation and Breathability

Nighttime sweating is one of the common causes of sleep disruptions among side sleepers. This happens when the mattress or topper is made of materials with poor breathability, such as memory foam. To avoid this, choose a topper that dispatches heat from the body, and lets air flow freely around the body while sleeping.

The best breathable toppers are made of materials with an open-cell structure, such as latex foams. Other manufacturers also use copper or gel-infused materials as additional cooling properties for their toppers.

Motion Isolation

A mattress with poor motion isolation can be annoying to a side sleeper when switching sides throughout the night. This problem worsens when a side sleeper shares their bed with their partner. In most cases, they rarely have a peaceful night's sleep.

The best solution for this problem is using a mattress topper that absorbs movement to reduce motion transfer whenever the sleeper turns or gets off the bed.

However, motion transfer entirely depends on the type of material the topper is made of. In general, a memory foam mattress topper is great at motion isolation compared to other types of toppers. Using a noiseless and motion isolating mattress topper cover can also make a huge difference on a motion transferring topper.


Just like mattresses, toppers also come in different firmness levels, ranging from soft to firm. Side sleepers are usually more comfortable on soft to medium-firm toppers than firm ones because of pressure relief on a softer surface.

However, the body weight of a side sleeper also determines the perfect topper firmness levels. Soft mattress toppers work well for lighter sleepers, and offer them the close conformity and pressure relief they need. But the same doesn't apply to heavier sleepers because they sink too deep into the topper. So, instead, a medium-firm mattress topper would be the best pick for heavier side sleepers.


You want to invest in a mattress topper made of durable material because finding a good topper for a side sleeper comes with its own challenges. On average, a mattress topper can last up to five years or longer with proper care. However, durability also depends on the materials the topper is made of.

For example, while memory foam toppers last about three years, latex mattress toppers can last two years longer. Manufacturers often indicate the expected lifespan of a mattress topper on the warranty. Some may also include information on caring for the topper to ensure its longevity.

Fastening Loops

Not all mattress toppers can sit securely atop a mattress. Some may move out of place and sag when the sleeper turns in bed. For this reason, you should choose toppers with the most secure fasteners if required. Luckily, Eco Terra Bed's 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper doesn't need fasteners, and is compatible with several types of mattresses.

Machine Washable Covers

Sleeping on a clean mattress topper improves breathability and comfort, which can be easily maintained when the topper has a removable and machine washable cover. These covers can also add extra luxury and comfort that is especially needed by side sleepers to promote a night of healthy and restorative sleep.

Additional Sleep Tips for Side Sleepers

Sleeping on the sides is the most popular sleeping position, and also has several modifications. Some side sleepers like to curl their body in a fetal position by pulling their feet toward their chest. Others prefer sleeping like a log with their arms stretched towards the lower part of their bodies.

Some side sleepers also like cuddling pillows, while others prefer to sleep with their hands-free in front of their faces.

Whichever side sleeping modification you prefer, there are still additional ways to improve your comfort besides using a mattress topper.

How to Use a Pillow as a Side Sleeper

Pillows are the perfect accessory a side sleeper can use to improve their comfort while sleeping regardless of their preferred modified side sleeping position. For example, side sleepers who like sleeping while hugging a pillow can use one between their legs to cushion the knees.

Those who prefer the log side sleeping position can place a pillow behind their backs to support their spine, and prevent turning over while sleeping.

Pillows are also great for neck support as they help reduce tension and imbalance on spinal alignment. Placing one under your head while sleeping on the sides also opens up the airwaves to improve breathing.

To help keep the spine in its neutral position, reduce tension, and add more support to your body, place a pillow between your waist and the mattress. That way, you'll reduce the chances of waking up with a painful low back.

It's also advisable that pregnant women maintain the side sleeping position, specifically on their left side. This helps improve blood flow in the body, and protects the internal organs from too much pressure.

However, this position may not feel comfortable to many moms-to-be, especially if side sleeping isn't their thing. Again, pillows can help improve their comfort by reducing the pressure between the knees, supporting the weight of the belly, and easing tension on the neck and back.

How Firm Should a Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers Be?

Generally, the best mattress topper for a side sleeper should feel soft. However, other factors, such as the weight of the sleeper and the material of the topper, determine the firmness. Since heavier side sleepers are more comfortable on firmer mattresses, but still need pressure relief, they can use soft toppers made from firmer materials such as latex foams. Lighter sleepers may opt for softer mattress toppers, such as those made from gel memory foam.

What's the Right Mattress Topper Thickness for Side Sleepers?

Toppers that are two or three inches thick are perfect for side sleepers because they adequately conform and cradle pressure points, without letting the sleeper sink too deep. On the other hand, thinner toppers may not change a thing about the side sleeper's mattress, while thicker ones may cause spinal misalignment because of excessive body contouring.

How Much Should a Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers Cost?

It isn't necessarily true that expensive toppers are of better quality than pocket-friendly ones. The most important thing to consider is how well the topper suits the needs of a side sleeper. Many toppers, however, cost under $500.

For instance, Eco Terra Beds has some of the most affordable and high-quality mattress toppers in the market. You can always take advantage of our amazing discounts and offers to shop for the kind of mattress topper that guarantees a night of peaceful sleep for a side sleeper.

What's the Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers with Back Pain?

A medium-firm mattress topper can help solve back pain problems for some side sleepers. Such a topper has enough cushioning and support for the pressure points, and doesn't sink excessively, reducing the chances of spinal misalignment.

What's the Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers with Hip Pain?

Hip pain mostly derives from a sleep surface that feels too firm. Therefore, side sleepers with this problem are better off sleeping on a mattress topper whose firmness ranges between soft and medium-firm.

How the Eco Terra Mattress Topper Benefits Side Sleepers

Your search for the most comfortable mattress topper for side sleepers ends right here, thanks to Eco Terra Bed's 100% Natural latex mattress topper. This topper offers more than pressure relief to sleepers, by providing the best quality latex nature has to offer.

Here are some of the unique features of this mattress topper:

  • Custom-made per order with the finest quality of 100% natural latex, sourced from a single origin.
  • Odorless; not only are you assured of cooler nights and breathability, but also the freshness of nature.
  • Available in three firmness levels to make your comfort choices easier.
  • Available in two and three inches of thickness.
  • You can also choose from the six different sizes, depending on the dimensions of your mattress.
  • They stay put atop the mattress without needing fasteners, regardless of their size.
  • You can add a cotton cover made from GOTS certified organic cotton for the luxurious comfort many side sleepers adore.
  • With a 5-year warranty, this topper helps you save money, and guarantees a peaceful night's sleep.

Additionally, these toppers are inexpensive because no middlemen are involved; all orders are made directly to the manufacturer. When you place your order for an Eco Terra mattress topper, you'll receive your mattress topper perfectly wrapped in a small box within days at no cost to you if you live within the contiguous U.S. You'll then unpack your mattress topper, and let it expand into shape for a few hours before finally enjoying the most rejuvenating sleep experience of your life.

Whether you're looking for the best mattress topper for side sleepers with lower back pain, or one that cools your body as you sleep, Eco Terra Beds has you covered. Handcrafted in California, their products come with a 90-day night trial, including free shipping and returns.

Eco Terra Beds is the place to shop when you need a mattress topper that blends quality, affordability, and durability into one.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.