If you're a side sleeper, these 8 pillows are the best options for you
Experts agree- side sleepers require extra support in order to keep their head and neck in proper alignment as they rest. In order to reach the ideal incline—approximately four inches off the mattress—side sleepers should select a firm pillow that won’t flatten from nightly use.
The material type of a pillow is a good indicator of whether it will retain its loft. Memory foam and latex pillows, both traditional and contoured, provide strong support for the head and neck, and retain their shapes better than those made from down or polyester.
The Snuggle-Pedic Ultra Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is one such option, that offers an environmentally friendly, low-VOC alternative to traditional foam pillows. In a unique twist, you can add or remove foam bits to customize this pillow to your preferred height. If you need more foam, the company will ship you some.
The only downside to this pillow: some users complained that it lost its softness and became rock hard with prolonged use. If this should happen, the company recommends placing the pillow in the dryer on high-heat, and it should fluff right back up.
- Lightweight yet firm
- Naturally dust mite resistant
- Exterior features a bamboo-blend, micro-vented cover
- All components manufactured in the USA
- Fully customizable; you can add or remove foam bits for more or less loft
- Size: 28 x 20" (Queen)
- Materials: Bamboo viscose, Polyester, .Lycra, Memory Foam
- Fill Weight: 3.95 lbs
- Warranty: 20 years
- Lightweight yet firm
- Environmentally friendly
- Made in USA
- Customizable: Company will ship extra foam pieces upon request
- May harden up over time
Side sleepers are often prone to headaches and neck pains as a result of their sleep position. Side sleepers often toss and turn at night due to their pillow bunching or drooping awkwardly around their neck. That’s because the standard shape of a pillow isn’t necessarily designed to accommodate this sleep position.
The Sleep Artisan Luxury Side Sleeper Pillow seeks to change that with its ergonomic shape specifically designed for the needs of side sleepers.
The SleepArtisan is among the priciest of our picks for best side sleeper pillows, but in this case we found its features to be worth the cost.
The filling of pillows produced overseas often includes foam byproducts and harsh, cancerous chemicals. All SleepArtisan pillows are handmade in the US, with a premium fill of high-quality latex and microfiber, and enclosed in an organic cotton/hemp/poly blend cover.
The SleepArtisan is fully customizable, and comes pre-filled to the brim with as much stuffing as the pillow will hold. Once you receive the pillow, simply unzip and remove the filling until you reach your desired firmness level.
- Fits snugly against the head, neck, and shoulders
- Customize its loft by simply unzipping and removing filling
- Blend of natural latex and microfiber poly silk
- Handmade in California
- Dust mite resistant, hypoallergenic, non-toxic, antimicrobial
- Size: 28" x 17" x 6"
- Materials: Organic cotton/Polyester blend, Natural Latex/Poly silk blend
- Fill Weight: 3.5 lbs
- Warranty: 10 years
- Ergonomically designed for side sleepers
- Customizable loft options
- Environmentally friendly
- No chemical odor
- Handmade in USA
- Texture of filling was uncomfortable for some users
While memory foam is often the material of choice for side sleepers, this type of pillow does have its drawbacks.
Some users have complained of aches and pains caused by the pressure of the ear against memory foam while sleeping on their sides.
Others simply don’t like the maintenance associated with owning a memory foam pillow. Solid memory foam can harden up over time and requires you to throw the pillow in the dryer to fluff back up. Shredded memory foam tends to slowly lose its loft, and that involves purchasing more foam pieces and changing out the filling.
If you're a side sleeper with sensitive ears or are just looking for a low-maintenance alternative, you may want give the DreamNorth Premium Gel Pillows a try.
DreamNorth Premium Gel Pillows are also a great buy- you get two pillows for around $33, making these the most budget friendly of all our picks.
However, some reviewers complained that these pillows tend to go flat fairly quickly, so you'll want to take this into consideration before you purchase.
If, on the other hand you are a side sleeper who prefers to change out pillows quite frequently, the DreamNorth Premium Gel Pillows may be your best option!
- Feature a poly gel-filled fiber and offer a balance of fluffiness and support.
- The 100% cotton cover allows for breathability and stays soft and dry
- Pillows resist dust mites, mold, and mildew
- Poly-gel blend keeps you cool as you sleep
- The cover removes easily and is machine washable
- Size: 15" x 8" x 4"
- Materials: 100% cotton, Poly/Gel Fiber
- Fill Weight: 1.5 lbs
- Warranty: 1 year
- Low cost and is sold in a pair
- Fluffy and cool
- Low maintenance
- No option to customize fill amount
- Some reviewers found DreamNorth pillows went flat too quickly
If you’re feeling torn between features and price when shopping for a side sleeper pillow, here’s an option that provides the best of both worlds.
The Sable SA-BD009 CertiPUR-US Shredded Memory Foam Pillow offers many of the same benefits as its premium competitors: eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, customizable loft, and CertiPUR-US certified memory foam, all at a price that is among the lowest of the bunch ($35.99). Plus, Sable is low maintenance, machine washable, and designed to keep you cool through the night.
With all these features plus a low price point, the Sable is our top pick for best value in side sleeper pillows.
- Memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified, and free from VOCs, and other toxins
- Bamboo cover features natural fibers woven to reduce sweating
- Comes stuffed with 1500g of memory foam filling to adjust for height
- Long lasting zipper design
- Fully machine washable
- Size: 20" X 30” (Queen)
- Materials: Rayon/Poly Blend cover, memory foam
- Fill Weight: 3.75 lbs
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Best all-around pillow for side sleepers based on price and features
- CertiPUR-US memory foam
- Easy care and cleaning
- Not ergonomically designed specifically for side sleepers
Side sleepers who’ve been in an accident or are otherwise experiencing severe neck pain or muscle spasms may want to consider a cervical pillow. Cervical pillows are orthotic devices and are designed to support and realign the neck and spine into proper position.
The EPABO Contour Memory Foam Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow is a great option for side sleepers with back and neck pain, as the incline of this pillow is 4 inches, the same height recommended by Spine Health as the optimal distance between the head and mattress for proper spine alignment.
As a precaution, the company warns that you may experience discomfort during the first few weeks of using the EPABO Orthopedic Pillow. However, this is normal as the pain is simply the body learning to adjust to its correct positioning.
Before purchasing the EPABO Orthopedic Pillow, you’ll want to understand that its primary function is to provide support and alignment, and therefore it won’t have that same fluffy, bouncing through the clouds feeling that other pillows may offer. Don’t envision yourself sleeping in a five-star hotel, but rather spending the night in a hospital bed. In the case of the EPABO, function trumps luxury.
- Extra firm, best for those with mild to moderate cervical pain
- Ergonomic, designed to align the head, neck, shoulder, and back
- 20 percent higher foam content then its competitors
- Semi-customizable with a removable section
- Includes a free rayon/polyester blend pillowcase
- Made of memory foam that is both breathable and hypoallergenic
- Size: 24'' × 15'' × 4.7''/2.4'' (Queen)
- Materials: Rayon/Poly blend, Memory Foam
- Fill Weight: 2.8 lbs
- Warranty: 30 day guarantee
- Therapeutic device that provides the best possible alignment and support
- High quality memory foam
- Extra firm
- Bonus pillowcase
- May cause discomfort for the first few weeks as the body adjusts
- Limited customization options
- Lacks the squishy, springy comfort found in a traditional pillow
If there were an award for oddest-looking pillow, the PureComfort Side Sleeping Pillow would win hands down. Most of us would cringe if our new pillow came complete with a few holes already in it, but that’s exactly what you get with the PureComfort.
More than just a gimmick, the PureComfort’s cutouts exist for the purpose of relieving uncomfortable pressure placed on our ears from sleeping on our side. Its unique cutout design makes PureComfort a smart choice for side sleepers who suffer from other ailments such as earaches or CNH, or for those who sleep with earbuds or a CPAP machine.
The PureComfort pillow is made from high-quality Certi-PUR US-certified memory foam, comes enclosed in a soft bamboo cover, and carries a generous 100-day money back guarantee.
Because of its odd shape, you'll need to buy your pillowcases directly from the company, as traditional pillowcases will not work on this pillow.
- Has cutouts for ears, designed to alleviate pressure points
- CertiPUR-US certified memory foam.
- Bamboo cover is both hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant
- Includes removable inserts that allow for height customization of the pillow
- Size: 17.7" x 12.1" x 6.5"
- Materials: Bamboo, memory foam
- Fill Weight: 1.1 lbs
- Warranty: 100 day money back guarantee
- Unique ear cutouts help alleviate pressure points and ear pain
- CertiPUR certified memory foam
- Height is customizable
- Generous return policy
- Good for those who sleep with earbuds or ear medical devices
- Does not fit in standard pillowcases, cases must be purchased from company
An important feature that side sleepers may want to consider when searching for a pillow is whether it has a gusset. A gusset is a side panel that provides the pillow with extra height, structural support, and loft. The Coop Home Goods Eden Shredded Memory Foam Pillow features a gusseted design for edge-to-edge support and a level foundation.
Another great feature about the Eden pillow is that its core is infused with gel. Gel is known for its cooling properties, yet a gel filling alone may not provide adequate support to side sleepers. The Eden solves that problem by blending gel with shredded CertiPUR-US certified memory foam to provide a pillow that is both supportive and soothing.
The crosscut memory foam blend inside a zippered cover allows for customization based on fill preferences. As a bonus, a ½-pound bag of extra filling is included with your pillow. Additional fill material is available for purchase from the company’s direct website.
- Gusseted cover for even support and wear
- Infused with cooling gel
- Soft density designed to mimic the feeling of down
- Interlock fabric allows you to easily shape and contour the fill of the pillow
- Handmade in the owner’s Southern California backyard
- Comes fully stuffed with CertiPUR-US certified memory foam filling
- Size: 30" x 20" x 6"
- Materials: Polyester, bamboo rayon, memory foam/microfiber blend
- Fill Weight: 3.75 lbs
- Warranty: 5 years
- Gusseted cover
- Handmade in the US
- Comes with a bag of extra filling
- Softer, may not provide adequate support to some side sleepers
- Some reviewers found this pillow to have a chemical odor
If you find that you suffer from severe neck and back pain from sleeping on your side, you may want to consider a pillow specifically designed for side sleepers. The Z Gel Memory Foam L-Shape Pillow features an ergonomic design that provides support to the head, neck, and shoulders, as well as a cooling, comfort gel foam to aid side sleepers in obtaining a restful night’s sleep.
While many users loved its unique L-shaped design, some reviewers complained of Z’s bulkiness and its tendency to break while changing out the case. Still, we found the Z Gel Memory Foam L-Shape Pillow effectively combines ergonomics with comfort, making it a great pillow choice for side sleepers, especially those who wake in the mornings with pain.
If you're one of those people who have a few pillows set up to surround your and shoulders in order to be at your comfiest, this might be a simple solution. Just remember that you'll need a special pillowcase that will fit its unique shape.
- L-shape provides support to the head, back, and shoulders of side sleepers
- Inside of the pillow consists of a gel-dough memory foam material
- Variety of features mimics those of other pillows, might replace multiple pillows
- Tencel removable cover to assist with moisture-management and temperature regulation
- Size: 26" x 26" x 5"
- Materials: Tencel, polyurethane foam
- Fill Weight: 2.2 lbs
- Warranty: 5 years
- Ergonomically designed specifically for side sleepers
- Cool, soft gel material
- Replaces multiple pillows
- Moisture wicking cover
- Some users found this pillow to be too large, bulky, and a bit awkward
- L-shaped design means it doesn’t fit in a standard pillowcase
If you find that your best night’s sleep comes from lying on your side, you’re in good company. According to Consumer Reports, nearly 70 percent of us are side sleepers.
Since this sleeping style is the clear majority, you’d expect most pillows would be designed accordingly. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, as side sleepers often find themselves with a flat pillow. A once plush, firm and springy pillow can quickly deflate from the heavy pressure inflicted on it by a side sleeper, as this sleep position has the greatest distance between head and mattress.
So, if you're a side sleeper, how do you know what pillow to buy? Simply squeezing one in the store won’t help determine whether a pillow will retain its loft over time. Instead, the best strategy a side sleeper can take in selecting the appropriate pillow is to look for certain features that will best accommodate their sleeping position.
This includes selecting a pillow made from a firm, buoyant material such as latex or memory foam, and avoiding down and polyester fillings, which tend to quickly go flat.
If given the choice of selecting a cover construction for your pillow, go with the gussets. Gusseted covers have side panels along the perimeter of the pillow, rather than the top and bottom parts of the cover joining together in a seam. These are better than solid ones for side sleepers as the gussets provide structure and allow the pillow to better retain its shape.
Side sleepers should also look for pillows that provide support at the proper incline, which is recommended at 4 inches from mattress to head.
Due to the unique needs of this sleep position, pillow choice can be the deciding factor in whether side sleepers obtain a restful eight hours or toss and turn in discomfort. Since pillows aren't like cars where you can easily take them for a test drive (or test sleep!) we’ve made it easy by rounding up a list of the best pillows for side sleepers.
Read on for a little pillow talk, and our top picks!