The 10 Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

Last Updated May 30, 2022

Also known as the lateral sleeping position by sleep scientists, the side sleeping position is the most popular. And, while side sleeping can help prevent snoring (winning!), side sleepers also tend to put a lot of pressure on their shoulders and upper arms while sleeping. However, don’t fret. The good news is that the right pillow can help take the pressure off your neck, arm, and shoulders while also helping to correct the position of your spine. We’ve compiled a list of the best pillows for side sleepers so you can get a restful, comfortable and pain-free night’s sleep.

Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

These are our picks for the best pillows for side sleepers:

1. Ecosa Memory Foam Pillow ($150)

The Ecosa Memory Foam Pillow is great not just for side sleepers but all sleepers due to its adjustable nature. It is designed to be able to change the height of the pillow to suit a range of different sleeping styles – see the graphic below.

 

Another awesome feature they’ve added is compression bags so you can compress your pillow and take it with you whenever you’re travelling. While it’s not considered a budget pillow, it’s certainly not the most expensive on the market. And with a 100 night trial, there’s no risk in giving it a go and seeing if it works for you.

2. Onebed Pillow ($100)

The Onebed pillow conforms to your body and is incredibly supportive. It also does a great job at hugging your neck while keeping the rest of your body aligned. Like the Ecosa, this pillow is adjustable. There is a zipper in the cover allowing you to remove or add filling to achieve your ideal loft. Two comfort layers surround the fragmented memory foam core – by fragmenting the memory foam instead of using one big chunk, a pressure-relieving effect is achieved, molding to your head as gently as feathered pillows.

 

3. Peacelily Latex Pillow ($119)

Peacelily has two pillow options: Peacelily Latex (firm) and the Peacelily Kapok (plush). For side sleepers, we recommend a firm pillow, such as the latex pillow. The Peacelily latex pillow is made from 12.5-cm of Dunlop latex. Latex is the ideal material for side sleepers as its density can sufficiently support your neck alignment while also providing good pressure relief and helping relax stiff shoulders. Not to mention latex is naturally cool and breathable, ensuring you don’t sleep too hot. It also comes with a 100 night risk free trial so if you don’t love it, you can get your money back.

 

4. Emma Foam Pillow ($200)

It seems the hallmark of a good pillow is its adjustable nature, with the Emma Foam Pillow also coming with the adjustable height feature. No matter if you sleep on your side, on your back, or on your stomach: with the adjustable layers of the Emma Foam Pillow, you can adjust the height according to your sleep needs. Meanwhile, the ZeroGravity foam provides weightless support, while the HRX Supreme Foam offers firmer support. The soft and ultra-breathable Airgocell® foam and moisture-wicking UltraDry cover keep you comfortably cool all night. It also comes with a 100 night trial for peace of mind.

 

5. Sleeping Duck Antigravity Foam Pillow ($120)

The Sleeping Duck Pillow gives you the best of both worlds: the cushioning comfort and pressure-relieving properties of memory foam with the mobility properties of latex. It will enable you to change positions easily and leave your neck and upper back feeling supple, limber, and well-rested. The structure of our AntiGravity® foam means the pillow is 8x more open than standard latex and memory foam combinations, which in turn provides a cool and comfortable night’s sleep.

Side Sleeper Pillow Buying Guide

You might be thinking: “A pillow is just a pillow – what does it matter?” Well, it does matter. Your pillow shape, size, and material all matter in ensuring you get a good night’s sleep and keep your body pain free. Let’s look at all of the features that make a perfect pillow for side sleepers.

Side Sleeping Pillow Features

While every sleeping style has its own requirements for the perfect pillow, it’s extra important you have the right pillow if you’re a side sleeper. Lateral sleeping isn’t the an ideal position for spinal health because your head is heavy, and if the pillow cannot support your head, you can easily strain your neck. Also, side sleeping puts all your body weight on your shoulder, which can cause stiffness and pain.  

What features do you need to look out for when shopping for the best pillow for side sleeping?

Loft

As a side sleeper, your pillow should fill in the space between the ear and the bed, which is about shoulder width. This is known as the pillow loft – or height. On average, pillows sit around 12-13 cm. Alternatively, you can choose a pillow with an adjustable loft, especially if you’re a combo sleeper.

Firmness

Side sleepers need a firmer pillow that will maintain shape without sinking too deep under the head. That’s why memory foam and latex are typically the best options for side sleepers.

Cover

Being a side sleeper, your pillow will usually touch your face and gather all the oil from your skin are hair. This buildup can be awful for allergy sufferers after a while, so make sure you find a pillow that has a washable cover.

Best Pillow Type for Side Sleepers

  • Memory foam (solid). Memory foam conforms to the curves of the body. So, a solid memory foam pillow will offer great support while also gently cradling your neck and relieving pressure. However, one downside of solid memory foam is that it sleeps warmer unless they are filled with cooling components.
  • Memory foam (shredded). Shredded foam pillows are more breathable and can sleep cooler than solid memory foam. Many of them also come with the feature of height adjustability, while being just as cradling and supportive as solid memory foam. However, foam pieces may form lumps with time and become very uncomfortable. If you buy a quality pillow, whoever, this shouldn’t happen.
  • Latex. Latex is another excellent choice for side sleepers as the material can deliver great support without forgoing pressure alleviation. Latex can mould the curves of the neck and head, but it won’t hug you as much as foam. Latex pillows also sleep cool, making them the ideal pillow for hot sleepers.

FAQs

What is the best pillow for side sleepers?

The best pillow for side sleepers offers good support and prevents your head from sinking too far into the bed. It should have enough loft and firmness to fill all the space between your head and the mattress surface.

How thick should a pillow for side sleepers be?

While it depends on your height and body shape/size, side sleeping pillows should typically be between 7cm to 15cm.

Is a memory foam pillow the best option for side sleepers?

Generally, memory foam is the most recommended pillow for side sleepers as it’s a highly adaptive material that gently cradles the head and contours the neck. However, make sure it’s tall and firm enough and not too soft (as this can vary from different memory foam pillows)

Final Thoughts

A good side sleeping pillow has a high loft, is firm and is breathable. If your pillow ticks all these boxes, you have found the perfect pillow for a side sleeper.

Ally Burnie Head Dreamer Ally Burnie
Journalist, presenter and host based in Sydney with a passion for cooking, outdoor adventures, hiking, humanitarianism, and travel.

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