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More than 60 percent of adults say they prefer to sleep on their side, at least for part of the night. To make sure we have it right for the majority of sleepers, we run extensive tests on mattress support.
If your partner isn’t a side sleeper and you want a mattress that rates well for all sleeping positions, check out the options in our comprehensive mattress ratings. (We've also identified the best mattresses for couples.)
How We Test Mattresses for Side Support
In our support tests, we use people of small and large stature. We average the results of both to produce the score for average-sized sleepers.
For the side-sleeping score, we observe several points along each subject’s spine and measure how much they diverge from a straight line. For a test model to score well, the points must remain fairly parallel to the surface of the mattress.
“You might think that softer mattresses would be better for side sleepers, but the average firmness of the models on this list was right around 5 out of 10—or a medium-firm mattress on our firmness scale,” says Chris Regan, the Consumer Reports engineer who oversees mattress testing.
Our comfort and owner satisfaction ratings are based on data from recent surveys on CR members’ experiences with more than 74,000 mattresses purchased in the past decade. We asked them to rate the comfort of their mattress and used the data to generate ratings by brand and type of mattress. Owner satisfaction is based on a member’s overall judgment of such factors as firmness/softness, value, quality of sleep, and more.
CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of standout models that provide great support for side sleepers of all sizes and perform well overall in our mattress tests. These innerspring, foam, and adjustable air mattresses are from brands including Avocado, Casper, Essentia, Ethan Allen, SleepFresh, and Sleep on Latex. For even more options, see our mattress ratings, and check our mattress buying guide as you shop.
Tips for Buying a Mattress
Tossing and turning all night? Maybe it’s time for a new mattress. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, CR expert Chris Regan shares tips on what to look for when mattress shopping.