Buying Guide for Side Sleeper Pillows
Why buy a pillow made specifically for side sleepers?
Many adults prefer sleeping on their sides, and experts actually say that side sleeping is the most beneficial position for keeping your spine aligned and reducing back pain. Using a side sleeper pillow may enhance these benefits due to having a contoured shape, which can help maintain spine alignment. Additionally, side sleeper pillows may also help keep your airways open, which might help you avoid snoring and breathing problems. Many side sleeper pillows are also designed to stay cool throughout the night, allowing hot sleepers to rest more comfortably.
What should you look for in a side sleeper pillow?
- Firmness: Pillows with medium firmness are ideal for side sleepers because they give a combination of contour and support. Avoid extra-soft pillows that can cause your head to sink, leading to neck alignment problems. On the other hand, hard pillows can cause soreness around the neck and shoulders. Look for something in the middle.
- Shape: If you suffer from neck pain, consider investing in an ergonomic side sleeper pillow. These pillows often have a u-shape that fits over your shoulder to relieve neck discomfort.
- Support: Spinal alignment is critical for side sleepers, so choose a pillow that doesn’t sink too deeply or lift your head too much. You may want to look for pillows with solid foam or latex cores.
- Loft/Height: Pillows with a greater loft are recommended for side sleepers. You may feel your neck tilt if the pillow is too thin, resulting in tension headaches and muscular discomfort over time.
What fill materials are in side sleeper pillows?
Memory foam, latex, and down are popular fill materials you may find for side sleeper pillows. If you opt for memory foam pillows, you’ll find that they hold their shape well and contour to your head to provide support. But some sleepers find them uncomfortable because they tend to trap heat. Polyester and down-filled pillows are soft and may feel cooler, but they may not provide adequate support for people who want a firmer pillow. Other materials you may see when shopping for side sleeper pillows include buckwheat hulls, polyurethane foam, and fiber blends.
Our Picks for the Best Side Sleeper Pillows
UTTU Sandwich Pillow Queen Size
This orthopedic neck pillow helps alleviate neck and back pain for a comfortable night's sleep.
Pros: If you’re looking for a high-quality pillow, this bamboo and polyester pillow may be right for you. The materials are quality-tested for durability and by OEKO-TEX, which requires textiles-based products to be tested against a list of 1,000+ chemicals to limit those which may be harmful to human health. It’s made in a climate-friendly facility as well. There’s an optional middle layer to add height to your pillow. The cover is machine washable and gentle on the skin and hair. And it’s comfortable for side sleepers, back sleepers, stomach sleepers, or toss-and-turn sleepers.
Cons: The foam in this pillow may be too soft for some.
Bottom Line: This is a great pillow that will last at least a year or more with regular use. It can help alleviate minor neck and back pain. And with the optional middle layer, you can adjust the height.
Honeydew Scrumptious Side Pillow
Designed by sleep experts, this side-sleeper pillow helps to stop neck discomfort and cool you for an excellent night's rest.
Pros: This cooling pillow is made by a small business in the U.S. and is a must-have for hot sleepers. That’s because it contains a unique copper gel memory foam which makes this pillow more supportive, more durable, more cooling, and, believe it or not, softer and more luxurious. It’s gently curved to hug your neck and support your head, helping to nix upper back and neck pain on the spot. And it’s designed to contour to your body since the fill level is adjustable, offering you the most restful sleep of your life.
Cons: This pillow may lose its shape over time, but it can be stuffed with more filling to revamp it.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a long-lasting memory foam pillow, this may be a great option for you. It never gets hot or sweaty. And the fabric is soft and dreamy.
Elviros Cervical Memory Foam Pillow
This butterfly-shaped pillow contours your neck, head, and arms for luxurious comfort in bed.
Pros: The contoured design of this pillow perfectly aligns your neck, back, and shoulders for maximum relief and comfort for side sleepers. The sloped center was created to keep your head in place and to help eliminate tossing and turning at night. And the cutouts on the sides of the pillow give your upper arm a place to rest at a comfortable angle so that your shoulder is not hunching over in front of you. Each side of the pillow sits at a different height to support back sleepers or side sleepers. Plus, the breathable pillowcase is soft and machine washable.
Cons: This contour pillow is a bit shallower than some other side sleeping pillows. Also, it only comes with one cover and does not work with standard pillowcases.
Bottom Line: For people with neck stiffness in the morning, this pillow may offer some relief. It’s very comfortable for most people. And it’s made from high-quality polyester materials.
Pillow Cube Side Sleeper Pro
This distinctively-shaped pillow is designed specifically to provide head and neck support for side sleepers.
Pros: This unique cube-shaped memory foam pillow is touted as being made by side sleepers for side sleepers. The Side Sleeper Pro provides support in the area between the neck and shoulder, which helps ease discomfort in that region. This pillow also has a 60-degree temperature-controlling carbon core to help you stay cool as you sleep. It’s available in three sizes, which you would choose from based on your height: thin, standard, and extra-thick.
Cons: This pillow may be too firm for those who prefer a softer, fluffier pillow.
Bottom Line: You can get excellent support for your head and neck with the Pillow Cube’s Side Sleeper Pro. It offers medium-firm cushioning, so if you want to try a pillow designed specifically for side sleepers, give this one a closer look.
Zoey Sleep Side Sleeper Pillow
This side sleeper pillow is adjustable to contour to your specific needs for pain relief.
Pros: The Side Sleeper Pillow by Zoey Sleep is filled with shredded memory foam, allowing you to customize the height, degree of support, and softness by adding or removing the desired amount of foam. The curved surface aligns your spine and neck, relieving the muscle strain and discomfort that side sleepers may be susceptible to. Additionally, the Side Sleeper Pillow provides relief for hot sleepers thanks to its luxuriously soft, breathable cover.
Cons: This is another pillow you may need to air out for a while to help the packaging smell dissipate.
Bottom Line: Consider this pillow if you’re looking for pain relief and the ability to adjust fullness and firmness to suit your needs. The Zoey Sleep Side Sleeper Pillow is available in white or grey and in king or queen sizes.
If you are a member of the popular side sleeping club, no doubt you want a pillow that offers spine alignment and adequate support for your head and neck. Among our picks, you may find the ideal pillow to provide what you need for a comfortable, pain-free night’s sleep.