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8 Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers 2023, Tested by Experts

Aug 30, 2023Aug 30, 2023

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Don't resort to buying a new mattress just yet!

If you love rolling over and falling asleep on your side but occasionally wake up with aches and pains, it might be time to upgrade your bedding with a mattress topper for side sleepers. Though it’s true that certain mattresses are better for side sleepers, you may not be ready to completely replace your bed (and it may not be necessary!). Mattress toppers for side sleepers typically offer between 2 to 3 inches of extra thickness on top of your bed and can significantly alter the feel of your mattress. That means if your current bed is too firm or starting to sag, adding a plush mattress topper is an easy way to get that much-needed softness and pressure relief.

The fiber scientists and analysts at the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab test everything you need to create the perfect bedroom setup, from essentials like top-rated mattresses to mattress pads and mattress toppers all the way to the comfiest pillows and fluffiest duvets. We’ve evaluated more than 45 mattress toppers and pads in recent years alone, reviewing each one for materials, design, specs, softness and more. We also ask at-home sleep testers to assess mattress toppers on their own beds and share feedback regarding their sleep experience. Below you'll find the best the best mattress toppers for side sleepers, based on Lab evaluations and rave consumer reviews.

Still unsure what you need? Learn more about the difference between a mattress pad vs. a mattress topper, explained by our experts. And remember, you may want to check out some deep-pocket sheets to accommodate the added depth of your mattress topper.

A Tempur-Pedic mattress can be costly, so if you’re not ready to swap your bed quite yet, consider this foam mattress topper to achieve a similar soft, plush feel. We like this pick for side sleepers because of the topper’s ability to conform to the shape of your body and reduce pressure on areas like your hips and shoulders.

With 3 inches of foam, the topper will change the feel of your bed and, as a bonus, help reduce bounciness and pesky motion transfer when your partner rolls over. We also like that it features a removable, washable cover so you can easily clean your topper when it’s time, and built-in straps help hold it in place on your bed. Just keep in mind that some testers did report that it shifted overnight despite the straps.

This hybrid mattress topper from Lucid combines the benefits of contouring memory foam with the softness of down alternative. It’s also one of the most affordable quality mattress toppers you can find on Amazon, and it's backed up by nearly 5,000 positive online reviews.

Though it's sold as one piece, this mattress topper actually contains two individual layers, and the top one is machine washable and dryable for easy maintenance. The pillowtop down alternative layer goes onto your bed like a fitted sheet to help keep everything in place. Online reviewers said this mattress topper felt comfortable, and some even said that it helped with hip and back pain. Some found that it can sleep hot.

Named one of our best memory foam mattress toppers, this pick offers the pressure relief side sleepers seek. While the 2 inches of foam won’t totally transform your mattress, it will add cushioning and help reduce pressure off of key areas that support most of your weight like your hips and shoulders. Testers who tried the mattress topper at home reported feeling less hip and back pain after use, and several rated this topper highly for its motion isolation and comfortable feel.

We like that the topper features a non-skid bottom to help it stay in place overnight, and a topper cover helps prevent sheets from bunching. Just keep in mind that this mattress topper and its cover are not machine washable, so you may choose to use it with a mattress protector to protect it from stains and spills.

If you suffer from hip or back pain, it’s important not to aggravate matters during sleep. Known for making some of the best mattresses for back pain, hip pain and sciatica, this Nolah mattress topper features the same contouring foam that’s used in its beds. At 2 inches thick, we like that it won’t add too much height to your bed (yet doesn’t sacrifice its superior pressure relief).

While some testers found this mattress topper almost too soft, others shared that the sink-in feel helped relieve discomfort by contouring to pressure points. Available in two firmness levels, those who prefer firmer beds can opt for Luxury Firm, while those who like a softer feel can choose Plush. We also like that elastic bands are built-in to help secure the topper to your bed, and that its cover is removable and machine washable. Just note that some testers told us they noticed a chemical smell that lasted a few days after opening, so it’s best to let it air out before putting it on your bed.

While this mattress topper is more expensive than other picks on this list, Saatva has performed well in previous Lab tests and has stood out for its use of high-quality materials and comfortable, supportive designs. We like this graphite memory foam mattress topper in particular, which the brand claims is great for all sleep positions, but especially side sleepers seeking pressure relief.

This pick provides a firmer, supportive feel that’s not overly cushy or sink-in soft. It’s also a good choice for couples seeking motion isolation. The topper comes with straps so you can easily secure it to your mattress, and our at-home testers were impressed by how well the topper stayed in place. Though we would have liked it if the topper were machine washable, we appreciate that it comes with a 180-day trial period.

There’s nothing fun about overheating in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep, which is why our sleep experts test all sorts of cooling mattress pads and toppers to help keep night sweats at bay. We like this memory foam topper from ViscoSoft for side sleepers as it's made with a perforated foam that allows for more airflow. The topper also contains a cooling gel that’s designed to pull heat away from your body, all while offering the benefits of pressure-relieving memory foam. Testers agree that they maintained a comfortable body temperature while sleeping on this topper.

Available in three heights, you can choose the right depth for your bed. We also like that the topper comes with handy features like a removable, washable cover, elastic straps and a slip-resistant mesh bottom, but some testers warn of an initial odor when first opening the mattress topper.

The Lift by Amerisleep lets you choose from two frimness levels depending on how you want to adjust the feel of your mattress. Side sleepers should opt for the softer Comfort level to help achieve a more cushioned feel; back and stomach sleepers should opt for the more supportive and firmer Support level. Both options have an ergonomic design that features targeted zones to provide extra support where you need it (the head, back and feet) and more cushioning and softness around the shoulders and hips.

Our testers gave this topper high scores for comfort, and some testers with a history of lower back pain mentioned that they noticed relief after sleeping on it. Though some users point out that the mattress topper was a bit tricky to initially position on their bed due to a micro-gripping bottom that keeps the topper from shifting, that same grip means it's unlikely to shift in the night. We like that the cover is removable and can be machine washed for quick and easy care.

Not only is this mattress topper affordable, but it’s an Amazon best-seller with over 20,000 reviews and an average of 4.4 stars. Because memory foam is notorious for trapping heat, this mattress topper is ventilated to increase airflow. We like that the memory foam material conforms to your body, providing side sleepers with much-needed pressure relief from the hips, shoulders and other joints.

This topper is described as “plush,” making it a great choice for anyone that has a bed that’s too firm or is seeking a softer, cozier feel at night. It’s available in 2- or 3-inch heights so you can choose how much you want to change the feel of your mattress, and purchasing a cover is optional (though it will drive up the price slightly).

For decades, the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab have used their backgrounds and expertise in fiber science and bedding to review the materials, specifications and features of each mattress topper we consider. In recent years, we have tested over 45 mattress toppers and pads, including memory foam models suited for side sleepers. Following our in-Lab evaluations, we send samples home with testers for them to sleep on and provide firsthand feedback. We additionally follow up annually to check on how each topper is performing and whether it has held up over time. These are the criteria our experts consider when determining the best mattress toppers for side sleepers:

✔️ Comfort: Testers score how comfortable a mattress topper is to sleep on overnight.

✔️ Mattress enhancement: They then assess if and how much the mattress topper changed the feel of their mattress.

✔️ Ease of use: Reviewers note whether the mattress topper was easy to place on the bed.

✔️ Temperature: Testers report whether they maintained a comfortable body temperature when sleeping on the topper.

✔️ Stay-in-place capabilities: Toppers are scored for how well they stayed in place overnight and whether shifting occurred.

✔️ Sound: Each mattress topper is rated for any noise it made during use.

✔️ Overall satisfaction: Testers share feedback on their experience sleeping on the mattress topper, including whether they liked sleeping on it and if they would continue to use it, noting any additional feedback.

If you're waking up in the morning feeling pain around your neck, shoulders and hips or if you're having trouble getting comfortable at night, you might benefit from a mattress topper. As a side sleeper, proper spinal alignment is key to a comfortable sleep, and it's important to avoid putting pressure on your hips and shoulders. Though mattress toppers aren't all specifically designed for side sleepers, there are certain materials that benefit side sleepers more than others.

We recommend memory foam in particular, which does a great job of contouring to the body and relieving pressure. We also suggest finding a topper of soft to medium firmness. A topper that is too firm may put unnecessary pressure on the hips and shoulders, whereas a topper that's too sink-in soft may not be supportive enough to ensure a neutral spine.

✔️ Thickness: Mattress toppers are typically anywhere from 2 to 4 inches thick. As the thickness increases, you can expect a greater change to the feel of your mattress. If you're seeking more support, opt for a mattress topper that's thicker, but keep in mind that it will increase the height of your bed. If you only want a small upgrade, a thinner mattress topper will do the trick and save you some money.

✔️ Softness: There's nothing like sleeping on a cushy, cloud-like mattress topper. While side sleepers should certainly find a topper that's soft enough for their preferences, be careful to not purchase a topper that's too soft as you'll need enough support to maintain a neutral spine overnight.

✔️ Support: Foam mattress toppers are a great way to improve support and relieve pain from pressure points around key joints, which is especially important for side sleepers who put a lot of weight on their hips and shoulders as they sleep. We suggest looking for a mattress topper that falls anywhere between soft and medium firmness so you have adequate support.

✔️ Temperature regulation: Side sleeper mattress toppers are typically made of memory foam, which is known for trapping heat. To maintain a comfortable temperature overnight, our experts suggest finding a topper with cooling features like ventilated foam that can increase airflow and phase change materials that can help draw heat away from the body.

✔️ Care: Since most side sleepers will opt for a foam mattress topper, you'll mostly find ones that are spot-clean only. Some have removable covers that can be thrown in the wash for easier maintenance. If you're worried about stains, spills and other accidents, you may prefer a mattress topper with a removable cover, or you can consider topping it with a mattress protector.

✔️ Stay-in-place features: Because mattress toppers sit on top of your mattress, you'll need something to help keep it in place to prevent shifting overnight. Some mattress toppers feature elastic straps or bands that attach to your mattress, while others may come with slip-resistant materials on the bottom. ✔️ Certifications: Foam materials may contain harmful levels of off-gassing chemicals. Look for certification from CertiPUR-US which ensures the foam contains no harmful levels of certain chemicals.

Lexie Sachs is the Executive Director of the Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she oversees testing to find the best bedding, including side sleeper mattress toppers. She has been reviewing toppers firsthand since she joined Good Housekeeping over 10 years ago, reviewing them in the Lab and sending them to the homes of consumer testers for more feedback. She also loves trying out mattress toppers on her own bed and swears by their ability to change the feel of the mattress.

GH Institute analyst Olivia Lipski closely collaborated with Sachs to write this guide based on our Textiles Lab's extensive testing data. As a side sleeper, she has tried a number of mattress toppers to help her get comfortable at night.

Olivia (she/her) is a media and tech product reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute, covering tech, home, auto, health and more. She has more than five years of experience writing about tech trends and innovation and, prior to joining GH in 2021, was a writer for Android Central, Lifewire and other media outlets. Olivia is a graduate of George Washington University, with a bachelor's degree in journalism, political science and French, and she holds a master’s degree in communications from Sciences Po Paris.

Lexie Sachs (she/her) is the executive director of the Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she researches, tests and reports on fabric-based products ranging from sheets, mattresses and towels to bras, fitness apparel and other clothing. She also evaluates luggage, rain gear, disposable paper goods and baby products. Lexie has more than 15 years of experience in the textiles industry and a degree in fiber science from Cornell University. Prior to joining GH in 2013, she worked in merchandising and product development in the fashion and home industries.

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conform to the shape of your body and reduce pressure on areas like your hips and shoulderscombines the benefits of contouring memory foam with the softness of down alternativeadd cushioning and help reduce pressure off of key areas the sink-in feel helped relieve discomfort by contouring to pressure points.high-quality materials and comfortable, supportive designscontains a cooling gel that’s designed to pull heat away from your body, all while offering the benefits of pressure-relieving memory foamergonomic design that features targeted zones to provide extra support where you need itgreat choice for anyone that has a bed that’s too firm or is seeking a softer, cozier feel at nightIn recent years, we have tested over 45 mattress toppers and pads, including memory foam models suited for side sleepers.✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Comfort: ✔️ Mattress enhancement: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Ease of use: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Temperature: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Stay-in-place capabilities: ✔️ Sound: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Overall satisfaction: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Thickness: ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ Softness: ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ Support: ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ Temperature regulation: ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ Care: ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ Stay-in-place features:✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ Certifications: ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️