Best Pillows for Side Sleepers: Our Top 5 Picks & Pillow Buying Guide
Finding the best side sleeper pillow that can make side sleeping comfortable can be somewhat difficult because you have to find a quality pillow that is somewhere in between soft (as in comfortable) and firm (for support). It is important that consistent side sleepers find a durable pillow that is capable of properly supporting the head to keep it aligned with the spine.
If you are a side sleeper, you often find yourself putting your arm underneath the pillow for more support. This is because the arm slightly raises the pillow (and your neck), aligning it with the rest of your body. If you have the quality pillow made for side sleepers, you won’t need to do this all the time and strain your arms in the process.
In this case you may need a side sleeping pillow that is very firm underneath and soft on top or two stacked pillows (one soft and one firm). However, there are products especially catered for side sleepers without the need to improvise.
What Are The Top-Rated Side Sleeping Pillows?
Below we have listed products that side sleepers ought to try. Although you can sometimes find a good quality pillow for side sleepers at Walmart, Target, or Bed Bath & Beyond, we prefer the options for side sleeper pillows available on Amazon.
These top-rated pillows are firm enough to support and line your body the right way, so that you won’t wake up with a sore neck and stressed back. Sleep is meant to be relaxing, but one single low quality pillow can ruin it. Therefore, finding the right pillow for you is definitely necessary if you want to maximize the rest you get from sleeping.
Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow, Gusseted Side Sleeper, Standard
This memory foam pillow is effective for side sleepers because it contours to the shape of the neck giving the needed support as well as comfort for a good night’s slumber.
It also features an iso-cool technology that adjusts to your temperature, minimizing sweating on the pillow. The microscopic Phase Change Material (PCM) beads embedded on the pillow’s material sense the changing temperatures of your body and tells whenever it’s too warm or too cool. The beads absorb the heat and feels cool to regulate body temperature and vice versa.
This memory foam pillow is stuffed with visco-elastic foam in plush, gusseted design for the comfort of side sleepers. The foam is housed in a hypoallergenic 300-thread count cotton cover that can be machine-washed and dried. If you don’t want memory foam, you can get an equally luxurious fill made of spiral-spun polyester. It may not contour to the shape of your neck, but it is quite firm and supportive.
Beyond Down Gel Fiber Side Sleeper Pillow, King
This pillow is filled with luxurious micro denier gel fiber that is soft enough to ease your sleep but firm enough to provide support for your neck and head. As to not be confused, there is no molded gel layer found in this pillow, but instead gel is infused in the down materials inside the pillow to make it more firm.
The filling is housed inside a 300-thread count 100% cotton. The pillow and cover are hypoallergenic and can be machine-washed and dried. Some people have found this more comfortable than a memory foam pillow as there is a hint of softness in it but doesn’t sink in too much. This is because the fiber is looser inside, unlike a compact foam pillow.
Because it is filled enough inside so that it is firm, this pillow is quite heavy. Definitely not recommended for pillow fights.
BioSense 2 Shoulder Pillow for Side Sleepers
This pillow is great if you’re looking for both comfort and support. It is filled with a memory foam core that won’t budge or push down on pressure so you’ll have a solid lining under your head and neck.
It’s good for the sides of your face because it comes with a plush outer cover that is filled with hypoallergenic Better Than Down microfiber. This is recommended for people who like the support a memory foam pillow gives but doesn’t like the feel of stiffness. Like the pillow previously reviewed, this one has temperature control that adjusts to your temperature to minimize frequency of getting woken up.
The cover is removable and machine washable but you don’t have to do this often as it is odor controlling due to four natural ingredients infused within: green tea, charcoal, seed oil, and peppermint.
Mediflow Original Waterbase Pillow
This pillow is unique because it can be adjusted according to your preferred level of stiffness. You can fill it with water to determine your choice of support: soft, medium, or firm.
The water-based pillow also effectively responds to your head movements as you sleep to maintain proper support. The pillow is not all water though so it is not squishy. The upper part is composed of soft hypoallergenic polyester filling. This upper layer is supported by thin waterbase at the bottom.
The water in the pillow minimizes inconsistencies in your sleep because it doesn’t require fluffing and re-stuffing. It comes in one size: 20" x 28" jumbo size that fits standard or queen cases.
SleepRight Splintek Side Sleeping Pillow
This pillow, made especially for side sleepers, is advertised to be the most advanced side sleeping design available. It was developed to help reduce head, neck, and jaw tension.
It has a full facial cradle that reduces pressure points on the jaw and ear, which makes it great if you usually sleep for hours in one side. There’s also a 12-degree shoulder cradle that keeps the correct angle between your head, neck, and shoulder while sleeping on your side.
The only con is that this pillow is a bit expensive compared to other ones reviewed here (almost double) and it is also quite heavy. If you are the kind of sleeper who moves around a lot, you’ll have to drag this pillow with you. Due to the weight, it might fully wake you.
The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Pillows For Side Sleepers
What Is A Side Sleeper Pillow?
A Side Sleeper Pillow is usually a thick & firm pillow designed to keep your head and neck aligned when lying down on your side. These types of pillows are fairly common, since about 63% of people sleep on their side, according to WebMD. Any type of pillow fill from down to foam can work for side sleepers as long as the pillow is thick enough to support your neck.
Do Side Sleeper Pillows Work?
Simply put, yes- as long as a given pillow achieves proper alignment. Several studies found that sleeping on your left side tends to calm heartburn and may help digestion, although the reason for this is not completely clear. It's believed that sleeping on your right side relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and may lower nervous system activity, enabling gastric acid to move between the stomach and esophagus, which can reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
Where To Buy A Side Sleeper Pillow?
You can usually buy a side sleeper pillow at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Mattress Firm, Target, and of course on Amazon.com. They shouldn't be too hard to find in-store, but the easiest option is to order a high-quality, top-rated side sleeper pillow online.
Conclusion on Side Sleeper Pillows
Side sleepers won’t have trouble looking for the best pillow for them because many manufacturers have created and designed pillows that are not only comfortable, but also firm enough to support the head and the neck. The top 5 pillow picks for side sleepers above are all great options, all of which are easily buyable on Amazon, however our #1 recommendation for a pillow for side sleepers has to be the SleepRight Splintek Side Sleeping Pillow. Side sleepers can rest assured that they won’t wake with sore neck and back when testing out one of these top-rated pillows for side sleeping.