The 10 Best Pillows for Side Sleepers Reviewed
Side sleepers tend to put a lot of pressure on their shoulders and upper arms while sleeping because their head lies on the pillow, which lies on their arm. The right pillow can help to take the pressure off your neck, arm, and shoulders while also helping to correct the position of your spin. That’s a lot to expect from a pillow!
Side sleepers are also more likely to get neck lines and wrinkles. Also, because your body is out of alignment when you side sleep, you end up putting pressure on your lower back. You can help with not just a side sleeper pillow but also with a pillow between your knees. Side sleepers have a ton of options, and we found the best, plus read the buying guy and FAQ section below to make sure you know all the best options.
Before you spend another night with a subpar pillow, take a look at the ten best pillows designed for your specific sleeping needs. From unique shapes to memory foam and more, we found the best options so you can finally get a good nights sleep without trying to force yourself to try again to learn to sleep on your back. We did all the work, and from one side sleeper to another, we know exactly what you are looking for and even gave options!
Best Pillows for Side Sleepers
These are our picks for the best pillows for side sleepers:
Many pillows are made to accommodate every style of sleeper, but the Ocesoph Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain-for Side Sleepers was made just for us side sleepers. Ocesoph also makes a larger version of this pillow to work for other sleepers, but the unique needs of side sleepers require the 13 x 23.6-inch length. Moreover, this pillow comes with a unique design to cradle you in all the right spots for a better alignment while sleeping.
If you wanted a cervical pillow made of memory foam, then look no further as this one comes with a 3-5 second slow rebound to distribute body weight evenly. It comes with a medium to soft firmness to both support you and cradle your head. Furthermore, it reduces head, neck, and shoulder pain. The pillow can even reduce snoring by promoting spinal alignment and thereby opening up your airway.
Even better, the pillow comes with a removable pillowcase. It keeps your skin cool, and it’s machine washable without having to wash the entire pillow. Memory foam isn’t very washable, so make sure to use a pillow protector if at all possible. Only time will tell if this pillow will work for you, but if it doesn’t, you can return it for a refund.
The Coisum Cervical Adjustable Memory Foam Neck Support Pillow offers a similar shape to the Ocesoph pillow above but with a little more targeted shape sure to be the perfect option for many side sleepers. Like most pillows, this one also works well for back sleepers but still comes with a unique shape worthy of checking out.
A contoured shape adapts to your cervical spine to reduce pressure on your skull while you sleep. This means it supports your neck, which is needed as most pillows are a single shape, and yet your head and neck are not a single shape. Finally, a pillow shaped the way you are instead of you needing to hope a pillow will adjust to your shape.
The thick slope keeps your head from rolling out of a stable position and comes with cutouts for your arms and shoulders, so you don’t have to hunch into your pillow. For side sleepers, the height is close to the width of your shoulder, so you don’t end up waking up with shoulder discomfort or neck pain.
Lastly, the pillow comes with a detachable 0.8-inch memory foam layer to adjust the loft height to suit your size. This is on top of the already memory foam filled pillow with medium softness. It also includes a high thread count knit cover. Finally, get the height you need where you need for the best sleep possible.
Get a gently rolling contour shape with the Vesgantti Memory Foam Pillow 4 Layers Adjustable Height. The shape gives you two options for neck and shoulder support. Choose either the higher or lower side to better suit your needs, but the higher side keeps your shoulder from scrunch up into your neck, causing wrinkles. Traditional pillows cannot provide an ergonomic pillow to reduce pressure points.
Memory foam means the pillow will keep its shape for years. Moreover, it helps to align the spine and relieve pain in your neck, head, shoulder, and improve your quality of sleep. The pillow uses different density foam to provide various combinations of firmness for targeted support. This also helps to improve the life of your pillow, so it’s ready to support you for years to come.
The only reason the pillow is lower on the list is the cover is made of 100% polyester meaning it’s not breathable and will trap heat which memory foam also does. If you tend to overheat at night, this is not the pillow for you. The pillow comes vacuum sealed and can take up to two days to completely fluff out to its full shape.
Finally, the pillow’s cover zips off for machine washing. You should still get a pillowcase to go over the case and not use it alone as memory foam tends to be difficult to wash. If you don’t like the layout of the foam layers, just unzip, change the layers, and get the exact support you crave and need.
Side sleepers who don’t want a contoured shape may fall in love with the INGALIK Shredded Memory Foam Pillow for Side Sleeper with Cooling Gel. You get several size options, including standard, queen, or king, and you can even get two packs to save a few bucks. The best part of the pillow is it uses shredded memory foam to keep the pillow soft and malleable.
The cover is made with viscose rayon from bamboo and polyester to give both a little breathability and warmth. The bamboo means the pillow can absorb moisture, so you sleep dry every night. Thanks to the memory foam, the pillow rebounds back to its original shape quickly after use. Moreover, you can unzip the double zippers to re-fluff and reposition the shredded foam as you see fit.
Lastly, the shredded foam moves around to mold to your body for ultimate comfort. However, the pillow may not offer dedicated support and focuses more on comfort. If you wake up regularly with sore shoulders or neck pain, you may want to pick a contoured pillow instead.
Moving back to contoured pillows, the BODESY Contour Memory Foam Bed Pillow provides pain-free sleep with leveled support. With the high side of the pillow under your neck, you get targeted support with an ergonomic design ready to keep your body aligned for pressure relieving sleep. Even better, like the other pillows, this one is made with memory foam, the most comfortable material for both support and cushion.
The memory foam rebounds to regain its shape night after night for years. However, if your pillow doesn’t meet your high standards, you can try the pillow for 48 nights worry-free. Moreover, it comes with a removable and washable cover that breathes, so you get circulating air while you sleep.
Also, the pillow comes with a slight indent in the middle on the high side to make your arm or shoulder more comfortable. If you tend to sleep on your side and back, this pillow adjusts to suit both sleep style. Mind you, as with all pillows, it can take two weeks for your body to fully adjust to the new, improved sleep position.
Last of all, you get a hypoallergenic, breathable fabric that resists dust mites. You can take the cover off and toss it in the wash, but as always, keeps the cover covered with a pillowcase to protect the long life of your new orthopedic pillow. The only reason the pillow is lower on the list is a 100% polyester cover, which comes with a textured weave to improve breathability, but honestly, the pillow will be uncomfortable for hot sleepers.
For side sleepers who don’t want or like memory foam, Serta has you covered with their 300 Thread Count White Down Fiber Bed Pillow-Side Sleeper. The pillow comes in two sizes, either king or jumbo size, and do not use foam for padding, but they do offer a lot of value. However, the price is a little high but was designed for side sleepers in mind.
The pillow provides a 100 percent cotton cover with 300 thread count for high quality. Inside, it’s filled with 75 percent white down fiber and 25 percent white feather fiber. Using an innovative FreshLoft process ensures the feather down is free from dust, dirt, and allergens. It also uses 500 fill power and two-inch gussets on the side, which is what side sleepers need.
Pillows with just the one seam all around tend to flatten easier, whereas with two seems, the pillow maintains its shape. It’s extra stuffed to provide the medium-firm softness you need for neck and head support. Mind you, if you pick the jumbo size, you may need to find or make special pillowcases because of the extra size and width.
Some side sleepers end up experiencing ear pain from added pressure on one ear. The PureComfort – Side Sleeping Pillow was made specifically with these sleepers in mind. With ears in mind, the oddly shaped pillow provides cutouts for your ears to reduce pressure and help relieve pain. The pillow also works great for people who use CPAP machines while side sleeping.
The pillow is made of memory foam with a fully adjustable height insert so you can customize the pillow to your comfort preferences. Moreover, the pillow’s longer shape allows your pillow to rest comfortably without your ear sitting on your wrist. This translates to less shoulder pain, arm pain, ear pain, and more. Even better, the pillow comes with all the correct certification to know you have the healthiest memory foam available.
Next, the cover is both hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, thanks to a soft bamboo cover. It’s perfect for those with allergies, and it’s machine washable too. As a matter of fact, the pillow comes with a five-year warranty, and you can return it within 100 nights for a refund, no questions asked.
Finally, this special side sleeper pillow provides better circulation and reduces pressure better than a standard pillow. All this with a reasonable price for the unique shape and all the benefits the pillow allows. Try it tonight if you tend to have blocked ears or ear pain.
Sleepers who want a little bit of a contoured shape without the added height, the Maywind Orthopedic Contour Memory Foam Ergonomic Pillow may fit the bill. It comes with high ratings and a midrange price perfect for most budgets. What’s really unique about this pillow is the natural curve and unique cover. Let’s take a look.
First, the pillow comes with a rounded shape with a little lift at the bottom to provide comfort for your shoulders. It supports your neck, head, and shoulders while working for any style sleeper but works perfectly for side sleepers because of the gentle slope. You can relax into the pillow and get a better sleep poster for quality sleep.
Second, the traction pillow’s unique shape comes with memory foam to conform to your body. You can adjust the height for better posture, open airways, and better quality sleep. Moreover, the pillow uses proprietary material to maintain temperature and sensitive skin. The hollow silk soft technology is soft and comfy, with a little bit of stretch for breathability. Manage overheating with this unique pillow designed to regulate temperature no matter how much you shift in the night.
Finally, the pillow provides an armrest space and targeted memory foam right over your arm for ultimate comfort. No more waking up with fatigue or numb arms. A slightly concave shape inside the pillow works best for your face and to reduce ear pressure too, Even if you lay only partially.
How does a pillow made to the exact specification of a side sleeper sound? That’s exactly what you get from the Drift The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow. It’s the length of a regular pillow but with a cut out where your neck goes with longer sides and gusseting for support. The pillow provides extra space for your arm while letting your neck rest where it needs to for perfect comfort.
Ordinary pillows may be great for back sleepers, but side sleepers need a unique shape to encourage the correct ergonomic alignment. Inside the pillow, you will also find superior copper infused foam. This foam allows for effective cooling and is naturally antibacterial to keep you fresh all night long. While it’s not memory foam, but it’s thinner and stronger than silk for incredible comfort.
Finally, a hidden zipper allows you to have the fluff where you need it with a little bit of rearranging. Try the pillow risk-free for sixty days. Also, get proper neck alignment for side sleepers to get the best night of sleep. Pair it with a knee pillow for perfect comfort and support. If you want a slightly smaller size, try the Honeydew pillow by the same brand.
Gusseted pillows like the Luxury Side Sleeper Pillows by Utopia Bedding provides an extremely affordable set of two pillows for side sleepers. Pick from queen or king size and even gray gussets or navy. The pillows are filled with extra padding for a medium-firm blend with top quality material to ensure the best sleep possible.
While any style sleeper can enjoy the pillow, it’s designed with you in mind. Cotton surrounds the outside of the pillow but doesn’t come off, meaning you can’t wash the pillows at home. You will need to dry clean the pillows, or instead, you should consider a pillow protector case to keep your pillow super clean.
The pillows may take two to three days to expand to their full height. Also, they are filled with down alternative instead of memory foam for those who have an allergy or just want a more traditional pillow. What you get is a pillow with a standard shape perfect for allergies. They may actually be a little too high for your head, though, but this works out well if you suffer from shoulder pain.
Buying Guide for Pillows For Side Sleepers
You would think pillows for side sleepers would all be relatively similar, but they aren’t, and that’s because even side sleepers sleep differently. Take a look at all of the features that go into making a perfect pillow for side sleepers.
The Trifecta for Pillow
The perfect side sleeping pillow provides proper neck support, knee support, and stomach support. Sorry, pillows cannot do all three at once except maybe a body pillow, and even that doesn’t do a perfect job. Do not underestimate the benefit of trying out a pregnancy pillow because they are built with all three of these in mind. Otherwise, you may need to get a pillow for your neck, knee, and stomach to get the best alignment.
Shape & Size
Some side sleeper pillows look like the typical rectangular pillow found everywhere. These are a decent shape but not always the right option for everyone. Side sleepers often need longer pillows like a king-size to accommodate their arm too. Other pillows offer a contoured shape better suited to the needs of a side sleeper.
The only way to know which works best for you is to try out several shapes. We suggest trying a contoured, an L-shaped, or pillows with different heights, and even a body pillow to find the best option for you. Which every shape you look for try and find one with enough length to allow your arm to fall where it naturally wants to lie.
Another thing to consider with a memory foam pillow is the material but not just the internal or external material but also the loft of the pillow-like shredded or solid memory foam. If you want a firmer pillow, choose solid foam, but if you prefer softer more pliable material, than choose shredded or down alternative innards.
Most side sleeper pillows us either cotton, polyester, bamboo, or a blend for the external cover. Polyester doesn’t wrinkle but doesn’t breathe well, so only choose this option if you are cold at night. Otherwise, you may want to choose cotton or bamboo, which wrinkles more but also breathe better to keep you cool all night long.
Finding a pillowcase for an odd shape pillow is basically impossible, leaving you only a couple of options. First, you can do what most people do and simply use a normal shaped pillowcase and learn to deal with the pillowcase shifting around more and causing creases. Second, you can sew your own pillowcase or ask someone else to make a custom fit case for your pillow. Either way, you go, you may want to keep a regular pillow around to decorate the bed and find another place to put your custom shaped pillow.
Style of Side Sleeper
Side sleepers can sleep in a few different ways. First, let’s discuss what side people sleep on, and that only leaves two options – the right or the left. If you didn’t already know, it’s best to sleep on your left side because it correctly lines up your bladder and internal organs for optimal use. The best you can do is try falling asleep on your left side and hope you stay there!
There are three types of side sleepers the straight line, the fetal position, and the arms out. The first is easy to recognize, they sleep in a straight line with their arms down by your side. The fetal position usually sleeps with their legs up and usually one arm under their head. The last is the arms out, and that’s usually paired with legs straight out. Figuring out how you sleep usually helps you make a better decision pillow wise.
Side Sleeping Advantages
While side sleeping can cause problems, there are some advantages. For one, this position can provide better spinal alignment with the proper pillows. It’s also the better option for those who suffer from acid reflux because it helps your internal organs line up properly if you sleep on your left side.
Yes, side sleeping provides improved circulation, airways, and reduce heartburn. Again only if you sleep on your left side as right side sleeping can make the problem worse. Moreover, side sleeping can even reduce snoring, especially for those with sleep apnea because it opens up your airways better than sleeping on your back or your stomach.
Side Sleeping Disadvantages
Side sleeping can cause a few problems. First, if you can only sleep on your right side, you are putting a lot of pressure on your body and not just the same arm and shoulder but your internal organs too. Even sleeping on your left side can cause problems for people suffering from liver, stomach, or lung problems.
Sleeping in a fetal position can increase arthritis, restrict your diaphragm, and can even lead to an inability to breathe deeply. Those with arthritis may have circulatory issues in this position. You may need to consider learning to sleep with your legs and arms down for the best advantage for your body.
Finally, side sleeping can put a lot of pressure on your ears and even on your teeth at least compared to back sleeping. This can cause unnecessary pressure and pain. If you have problems with TMJ or get frequent ear pain or infections, you may want to find ways to reduce pressure. While it can take a while, an adjustable bed frame may help you to train to sleep on your back.
Questions About Pillows For Side Sleepers
What other things can I do to make sure side sleeping is more comfortable?
More pillows! Yes, you might want to consider a knee pillow, a stomach pillow, and even a pillow to rest your arm on like the Sleep Yoga BP-SY02 Side Sleeper Arm Rest Pillow. Also, if you haven’t switched to a memory foam mattress yet, then you need to consider doing so now. No matter what position you sleep in, a memory foam mattress will help to correctly align your body and cradle you completely.
For more information on how to properly sleep on your side, watch this video:
I’m pregnant and a side sleeper, is it safe to sleep on my side?
Actually, sleeping on your left side is the best option for pregnant women. Side sleeping helps your internal organs function better and improve circulation. It also helps to take the pressure off of your back too. If you are pregnant and have issues sleeping on your side, then you may want to look into pregnancy pillows. These also help you to stay more comfortable with all the extra upfront weight.
How can I prevent wrinkles and necklines when side sleeping?
The first thing you need to do is correct your alignment. If you are like me, you tilt your head when you sleep, and this can cause extra stress on your neck and cause necklines. Also, side sleepers put their face on their pillow, whereas back sleepers put their pillows under their hair, so they only thing that gets wrinkled is their hair. This means lines from the pillow etch into your face!
To fix the problem, you can do a couple of things. First, get a silk pillowcase because it doesn’t wrinkle, and it’s super smooth on your skin. Second, you can wear a neck brace or silicone neck wrap to keep the pillow from leaving marks on your neck, and it helps to keep your neck aligned.
Final Thoughts About Pillows For Side Sleepers
Side sleepers need a contoured memory foam pillow for the best spinal alignment and epic amounts of comfort. If you still can’t decide, we suggest the Ocesoph Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain-for Side Sleepers because it offers everything you want and everything you need to reduce pain, provide alignment, and finally get the best sleep of your night. Yes, you can use a regular pillow, but a targeted design will give you the perfect night of sleep to improve your days.