How to Choose a Hybrid Mattress for Side Sleepers
Innerspring mattresses have come a long way from the days when the springs inside were notorious for popping through the mattress's outer covering. Nearly all of them on the market today feature a layer of cushiony memory foam or latex for added pressure relief and comfort. Because these mattresses combine springs and foam for a "best of both worlds" sleep experience, they're often referred to as hybrid mattresses.
But the right hybrid mattress for you may not be the best choice for someone else. If you sleep mainly on your side and are interested in trying a hybrid mattress, there are a few things to consider in deciding for yourself: Are hybrid mattresses good for side sleepers?
Here, learn about the benefits of a hybrid mattress and how to choose the best hybrid for side sleepers.
What is a hybrid mattress?
Technically, a hybrid mattress can be any mattress made from more than one material. But, as Better Sleep Council board member and director of mattress education Mary Helen Rogers explains, the term "hybrid mattress" is most often associated with innerspring mattresses that contain a coil support system along with another material, such as memory foam.
This combination of traditional coil support with the contouring comfort of foam is what gives a hybrid bed mattress its appeal. “Many will say that hybrids bring the best of both worlds together," says Rogers.
Of course, the specific feel of any individual hybrid mattress depends on the type of materials inside it. But it will usually be different from what you feel if you lie on a traditional innerspring or a pure foam mattress, explains Mark Kinsley, vice president of marketing for the Bedding Group at Leggett & Platt, a company that manufactures bedding components (including some of the materials used in Saatva mattresses).
Initially, you'll experience the soft feeling that foam provides. But you'll also feel reinforced support from the coils, making it easier to move around and change sleeping positions than on an all-foam mattress. Kinsley says the foam-spring combination makes you feel more elevated and buoyant—instead of sinking, as you would on an all-foam mattress.
Hybrid spring-foam mattresses also tend to sleep cooler than all-foam mattresses, because more air can circulate through the springs than is be able to circulate through foam layers. (Learn about non-toxic mattresses so you can find the healthiest hybrid mattress for you.)
Benefits of a hybrid mattress
These are the top benefits of sleeping on a hybrid mattress if you're a side sleeper:
Ensures a cool night's sleep
You get airflow from the coils, and even more cooling if you choose a hybrid with a layer of natural latex. If you decide on a hybrid mattress with a memory foam comfort layer, look for one infused with cooling gel or graphite, as traditional memory foam tends to sleep hot.
Reduces motion transfer
The added layer of foam on top of the mattress helps reduce the sensation that you're riding a wave as your sleep partner moves around in the middle of the night—and likewise if you're the one who moves.
Provides excellent support for side sleepers
The top foam layer provides pressure relief under shoulders and hips, making it an ideal choice for side sleepers by keeping your spine properly aligned while you sleep.
Our Best Hybrid Mattresses for Side Sleepers
Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers
Keep in mind that no one mattress is “best" for any particular sleep style. Generally speaking, though, the best hybrid mattress for side sleepers will conform to your body's natural curves and take the pressure off your hips and shoulders. When your spine is properly aligned, your muscles can relax for the most restorative night's sleep.
If you're a side sleeper shopping for a hybrid mattress, look for the following features:
- Individually wrapped coils. The best hybrid mattresses feature individually wrapped coils, which move independently and reduce motion transfer. (The Saatva Classic includes a “coil on coil" system: a base support layer of tempered steel coils, plus another layer of individually wrapped coils in the top portion of the mattress.)
- Slightly softer comfort level. As a side sleeper, you need a hybrid mattress that is soft (or “plush") enough to cradle your hips and shoulders while supporting your spine in a neutral position. A too-firm hybrid mattress will cut off circulation to your hips, shoulders, and neck, leaving you with aches and pains.
- Added lumbar support. Lumbar support is one of the most important features to look for in a hybrid mattress if you're a side sleeper. Lumbar support will ensure your spine is kept in neutral alignment while you sleep. A memory foam hybrid mattress will include added lumbar support from denser foams or gels in the center third of the mattress. In a latex hybrid mattress, lumbar support is often referred to as "zoned" support. This means the mattress has firmer foams in the center third.
Still trying to decide if a hybrid mattress is right for you? Here's how it compares to other mattress types: