Did you know that over half the population prefers to sleep on their side over any other sleeping position? 39% prefer fetal (legs bent) and 28% “log” (arms down the side) position. (Source)
I was an avid stomach sleeper until pregnancy. I realized how unhealthy it was for my back and neck (not to mention my baby) so I completely changed my sleeping habits to lie on my side as much as possible.
Choosing a good pillow for side sleeping is not an easy task. You have a choice of multiple types and materials, ergonomic vs regular, firm or soft and so on. On top of that, many manufacturers market their products as such when in reality it’s just ordinary (at best).
Jill, Mark and I slept on 40 different ones this year and decided to make this buyer’s guide and review nine highest rated pillows for side sleepers in 2017.
Let’s start with a quick, side by side comparison and take it from there.
|Nest Bedding Easy Breather||Shredded Memory Foam||9.6||$$|
|Coop Home Goods||Shredded Memory Foam||9.4||$$|
|EasyLife185 Ergonomic||Molded Foam||9.3||$|
|Drift: The Scrumptious||Memory Foam||9.1||$$|
|Cradle Me||Memory foam||9.0||$|
|Malouf Zoned Latex||Talalay Latex||9.0||$$|
|Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo||Bamboo Foam||8.9||$|
|Sleep Yoga Arm Posture||Cotton Blend||8.8||$$|
|MedCline Advanced Positioning||Cotton/Polyester||8.7||$$$|
Our 9 Recommended Pillows For Side Sleepers Reviewed
Nest Bedding Easy Breather (Best Overall)
- Choose between Latex or Foam
- Exceptional Cooling
- Great breathability
- Fully Adjustable
- Good for all sleepers
- Made in the USA
OVERALL RATING: 9.6 out of 10
You must be asking yourself, why is Easy Breather our #1 recommendation even though it has regular and not ergonomic design? To simply put it, I’ve been impressed with the quality of this pillow and as a side sleeper myself I can say that it’s just perfect. The choice of two materials is a huge plus. Some people prefer the hug of memory foam while some would love to have the extra cooling of latex.
Since it’s filled with shredded materials, you can easily take some of the material out to adjust the loft to your preferred height. There is no smell or off-gassing like with cheaper models.
Also, you should keep in mind that the shredded memory foam sleeps significantly cooler than molded. You can rest assured that the Easy Breather lives up to its name and delivers substantial thermal regulation. You don’t have to be worried about waking up in the middle of the night to flip the pillow over.
Considering the overall value and quality you get, not only for side sleepers but in general, we’ve decided to make it our Editor’s pick for this category.
Coop Home Goods (Great Value)
- Washable Covers (Bamboo)
- Affordable Pricing
- Nice, Soft feel
- Made in the USA
OVERALL RATING: 9.4 out of 10
Before we discuss more specialized, ergonomic pillows, I wanted to mention Coop Home Goods since it offers incredible value at this price.
Similar to Easy breather, it’s fully adjustable, and you can take out some of the stuffing to adjust it. It has a softer feel, but it’s still supportive enough, so you don’t have to worry about that. Maintenance is easy. Just throw the covers in the washer, and you can use your dryer for 10 minutes to fluff the pillow back again. This way it will last for years.
This model comes with 30-day trial and amazing 5-year warranty. The pillow is hypoallergenic, and you wouldn’t have to worry about bacteria growth and any potential causes for allergies and skin inflammation. This is why it’s appropriate for people with respiratory issues as well.
Overall, considering the number of positive reviews on Amazon and other retailers and our fantastic experience with it, we decided to include it as a highly recommended pillow for side sleeping (and other positions of course) in this price range.
- Convenient memory foam
- Hypoallergenic properties
- Good for back and neck support
- Extreme ergonomics
- Innovative design
OVERALL RATING: 9.3 out of 10
Right off the bat, one of the first things that you’d want to keep in mind when looking at this particular option is the brand new, innovative ergonomic design. It comes with a uniquely, heart-like shape foundation which aligns curvature of your spine and back to achieve the ultimate support.
This is invaluable as it would alleviate a lot of tension in your back, reducing any possibilities of waking up with a stiff neck.
Even though it is great for side sleeping position, it is also appropriate for those of you who prefer to sleep on your back and stomach as well.
Additionally, another important consideration would be the therapeutic functionalities which are focused to your cervical vertebrae. A fantastic choice if you want a more specialized design.
Drift: The Scrumptious
- Enhanced support
- Adjustable height
- Can maintain the neck alignment
- Alleviates pressure and stiffness
- Helps with snoring
OVERALL RATING: 9.1 out of 10
This is an excellent choice for those of you who prefer a rather plush, softer feeling while you sleep. The pillow is made out of high-end materials, and it is designed to deliver splendid neck alignment. This, in turn, could improve the breathing and it could substantially reduce your snoring if that’s an issue you are dealing with.
There is no better feeling than sleeping on a pillow that’s breathable as it would remain cool throughout the entire night.
The pillow fits great to deliver superior alignment and support for your neck and head, conveniently taking care of morning headaches and stiffness.
The interesting thing about it is that you would be able to adjust the height. There is a hidden zipper which is going to allow you to customize the loft according to your preferences conveniently. This is something quite important. Additionally, the pillow is known for being durable in its supportive capabilities, maintaining great neck alignment throughout the entire time.
- Comfortable memory foam
- Promotes spinal alignment
- Relieves pressure and pain
- Interesting and unique shape
- Orthopedic value
OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10
This is a great option for people who sleep on their side. Right off the bat, this is a high-end quality cervical pillow that would allow you to sleep comfortably without having to worry about waking up stiff.
Even though the pillow is perfectly good for a person who prefers to be sleeping on his side, it is also appropriate for back- and stomach-sleepers as well. This is mainly thanks to the rather unique, butterfly-like shape and memory foam material. The foam is designed to comprehensively relieve shoulder, neck and back pain by allowing your muscles to relax entirely.
The pillow also brings tremendous orthopedic value mainly because it would deliver proper spinal alignment. It is specifically designed to assist people who are experiencing pain in the areas of their neck, back, and shoulders. It is also a great idea for a gift. The product comes with a satisfaction guarantee. It’s also highly suitable for neck pain sufferers.
Malouf Zoned Latex (Amazing Cooling)
- Washable cover
- High-end materials
- Enhanced cooling capabilities
- Innovative technology
- Zoned design for air flow
- Naturally resistant to mites and mildew
OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10
Even though the price tag on this one is relatively higher, it’s worth every cent. It’s intended for anyone, but its main characteristic is the superior cooling.
100% natural Talalay latex delivers enhanced support and perfect sleeping sensation.
Now, zoned technology allows proper and enhanced airflow, and it feels very different from memory foam ones.
It comes with natural protection against mildew and mites. The cover is removable and washable, and it is very soft. It is made out of 25% rayon from bamboo and 75% polyester. You won’t wake up flipping the pillow from one side to another because it got hot that’s for sure.
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo (Good Budget Choice)
- Substantially more affordable
- Great value for the money
- Enhanced support and alignment
- Removable cover
- CertiPUR-US Certified
- Very comfortable
OVERALL RATING: 8.9 out of 10
This is one of better budget solutions on the market right now. The company is reliable, and you can rest assured that it would be a choice that you wouldn’t regret.
A combination of shredded memory is specially designed so it will never go flat. It is made in the USA, and CertiPUR-US Certified for the quality and purity of the materials.
It comes with a zipper for the removable outer cover which is also easily washed in the washing machine and tumble-dried afterward. The company guarantees for the eco-friendly materials used in the pillow and its enhanced capabilities. It is comfortable, comfortable and brings serious orthopedic value thanks to the improved spinal alignment and neck support.
Sleep Yoga Arm Posture
- Machine washable
- Biodegradable materials
- Specifically for side sleepers
- High-end quality
- Improves sleep quality, flexibility and posture
OVERALL RATING: 8.8 out of 10
Made from a convenient cotton blend, this is a pillow specifically crafted for side sleepers. It will enable you to relax your entire arm and to deliver enhance pressure relief.
It is also intended to improve your overall posture naturally and to keep your shoulders joint aligned. This is one of the main challenges of the majority of us.
The cushion is designed in a chiropractor fashion, aligning the angles specifically, contouring your body to deliver pressure relief and increased overall support. The entire thing is made from machine washable, biodegradable and hypoallergenic materials for your ultimate convenience.
MedCline Advanced Positioning
- Washable Covers (Bamboo)
- Affordable Pricing
- Nice, Soft feel
- Made in the USA
OVERALL RATING: 8.7 out of 10
Now, this is the most expensive option on our list but, if we have to be completely honest, the price is well worth it. It has a unique design featuring a special armrest.
It is made from 20% polyester CBC velour and 80% cotton for increased comfort and temperature regulation. You wouldn’t be able to slide down through the night, which guarantees the overall support and consistency of the product.
The pillow has been designed to enhance clinically proven sleeping positions which deliver splendid and superior relief. At the same time, it’s not something that you can use for back- or stomach-sleeping positions, which is ultimately something that you’d also want to account for.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Now, it is also important to understand that you would have to be aware of a few different things before you purchase. Let’s have a look.
One of the things to account for is the material. As you can see, we’ve outlined them as a significant concern and factor in the side by side comparison.
There are quite a few different types of materials which are used for pillow-stuffing, and they are all quite specific. Some are better for support, others for comfort – it is up to you and your personal preference or requirements which would determine the material you’d go for.
Did you know that knee support plays a major role if you are side sleeping? This is the only sleeping position which would tolerate the usage of two different pillows. Of course, one of them would go under your head, and the other would go in between your legs.
Knee support is vital for one primary reason – spinal alignment. See, the position of the legs for people who sleep on their side is critical. It has a direct impact on the way their spine would align and, as such, improper posture could lead to stiffness, chronic pain and other issues of the kind.
This is also the main reason for which side sleepers could use a full-body pillow. This is not something that regular stomach- or back-sleepers could take advantage of.
Who will be using the Pillow?
You’d also want to keep in mind that the user and his personal preferences, as well as requirements, need to be taken into very serious consideration. With this said, a pregnant woman is almost always going to prefer sleeping on her side. She would require a pregnancy pillow that’s slightly different than a regular side sleeper.
Pregnant women, for instance, could take advantage of full-body pillows as they are capable of providing them with splendid support. Not every regular person would need one of these, though.
At the same time, it should address the specific issues that you are having and the personal preferences of yours. For instance, if you are a fan of luxurious, plush sleeping sensation, you’d be better off with some latex pillow.
On the other hand, if contouring is what you’re looking for and you are usually sleeping without moving a lot during the night, you might consider a regular memory-foam pillow. This is something particularly important.
Now, there are a few different conditions that you might be targeting and attempting to fix with improved bedding systems. We’ve identified some of the most common types of pillows to address various health conditions.
- Water Based: these are commonly recommended by therapists and chiropractors as they use water to create a customized level of support, comfort, and density.
- Cervical Pillows: these are usually available in a range of different shapes, materials, and sizes and they deliver advanced and enhanced cushioning to the lower portion of your body.
- Cool Pillows: these are designed for woman experiencing hot flashes as well as night sweats. They are great for women who are going through menopause, and this is something that they have to go through on a regular basis. (See our 7 recommended cooling pillows)
- Oxygen-promoting pillows: If you have a shorter neck, an improper pillow might obstruct the air flow. Pillows which promote the flow of oxygen are known to enhance the overall content in your body and your blood vessels by as much as 29%.
- Anti-Snore Pillows: serious pressure relief in your neck is capable of helping you get through this unpleasant condition.
Pregnancy is one of the more specific conditions that you’d have to consider. The best thing to do here is to go for a c-shape full-body pillow as it has been determined to deliver enhanced support for the woman and her baby.
Pregnant women should only sleep on their sides. That’s something to consider.
With this said, it is also important to understand that regular-shaped pillows would work as well.
Choosing a Perfect Type and Material
Memory foam based pillows come in two primary forms:
Shredded Foam – The filling consists of small pieces of foam, all stacked up nicely to form an excellent pillow shape. The idea here is to deliver the enhanced capabilities of this phenomenal material with its contouring and support without the major drawback – heat retention.
Molded Foam – In this case you get one single molded piece of foam. These can usually sleep a bit hotter but provide better contouring.
Latex pillows are also an option. They are more responsive, and they lack the same contouring as memory foam. They are usually preferred by people who tend to move a lot during the night. They are also characterized by their truly enhanced and highly superior cooling capabilities.
In other words, if heat retention is something that bothers you and you don’t want to wake up, flipping the pillow to its cooler side, this is a great option.
Buckwheat is a type of material which is quite popular throughout the entire Asia. It has helped quite a lot of people handle neck and back pain as well as headaches associated with improper spinal alignment throughout the night.
The hulls are firm, but they are also somewhat malleable and particularly breathable. This is what makes for the perfect pillow fill. They will conform to your particular body, and it will provide comfortable, cool and all-natural sleeping. These are pillows which wouldn’t collapse under your head and would deliver sensational and very restful sleep.
You could also choose down or feather pillows. These are commonly recommended by a lot of experts to deliver great night’s rest. This is something quite questionable, though. A side sleeper would typically search for support, and one of the things about these pillows is that you’d be able to move the stuffing a lot. When you do it intentionally – that’s fine, but when it happens contrary to your will, it may cause certain complications.
The last type is made out of cotton. These are usually the least supportive options as cotton is unable to maintain proper shape. This is the main reason for which they are most commonly used in combination with other types of materials.
The Benefits of Owning a Pillow Designed for Side Sleeping
Obviously, there are undeniable benefits for you to take advantage of when it comes to using a specific pillow which is tailored to your sleeping position. A wide range of sleepers prefer relaxing on their sides, and a special pillow delivers a lot of benefits. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief
Neck and shoulder pain are two particularly common issues that affect a wide range of different sleepers. It could be attributed to any sleeping position, and it’s not necessarily tied to a particular one.
In a lot of the cases, though, sleeping on your side, regardless of whether it’s left or right, could seriously alleviate neck, back, and shoulder pain. This is mainly due to the extended support and relief of pressure points which pillows of the kind are delivering.
Side sleeping pillows are designed to enhance your spinal alignment in a manner which would alleviate all tension and pressure between your body and the mattress. This is quite important. Consequentially, it would conveniently lessen the pain or stiffness that you might be feeling in the areas of your shoulders and neck.
Helps with Snoring
Snoring is a common problem that is capable of occurring for a myriad of different reasons. Back sleeping, for instance, is associated with snoring mainly because your tongue moves right back into your throat while you are sleeping.
If you sleep on your side, however, you wouldn’t have to worry about this particular cause of snoring. The same goes about sleeping on your stomach as well. Of course, we are far from stating that side sleepers don’t snore – it is just less likely because they’ve dealt with one of the most common causes.
At the same time, it is essential that you find a pillow which would provide you with the proper neck alignment as if your neck isn’t aligned, this is going to impact your throat as well. As soon as there is an unnatural or unaligned curvature in your throat, the airflow will be blocked or impaired. Both cases will potentially lead to snoring.
Healthy Spine Alignment
If there is one thing that you’d have to be very well aware of when you’re picking the best pillow for side sleepers, it’s the proper and healthy spine alignment.
This is one of the most significant advantages of this sleeping position as it provides natural alignment which is not affected by the type of mattress as much. In other words, it allows proper flexibility. Even though you are better off with a bed that’s going to deliver good support and comfort at the same time, for people who sleep on their side the tolerance is rather significant.
At the same time, spine alignment is associated with a tremendous amount of different consequences. If your spine is not aligned correctly, this could translate to a range of conditions. You can start feeling pain in your back, neck, lower back, hips, and on your shoulders.
Morning headaches are a common consequence as well, and these can very easily turn to chronic conditions that become particularly challenging to handle. Ultimately, a permanent misalignment as a result of extended improper sleeping position is one of the things that could seriously harm your overall lifestyle.
A single sleeping position, a nice bed, and a good pillow could make the world regarding your overall health. These are not things that you could afford to underestimate.
Have you ever thought that your sleeping position could be giving you wrinkles? A number of researchers have already determined that the way we sleep can dictate the way we age. In other words, if your quality of sleep is insufficient, you could be experiencing premature signs of aging.
Early morning puffiness is something that could accelerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. There are quite a lot of reasons for that, amongst which improper sleeping positions occupy one of the top spots. Other causes include alcohol consumption and hormonal changes.
Even though this swelling is temporary and it’s likely to vanish in an hour or so, the lines which are left from your pillows have already etched across the face, and they are far from being as flattering as you’d want them to. The more they occur, the more your wrinkles will settle in. The older we get – the longer these lines take to disappear.
But it’s not just these lines that are capable of causing premature aging symptoms. Heating can quickly dry out your skin and trigger a range of different conditions. Eczema, for once, is an issue that you’d have to be aware of.
Remember how we mentioned that memory foam isn’t the most important solution as it can’t prevent heat retention and it sleeps rather hot? Well, here is one of the consequences that this could potentially lead to. Therefore, coolness should also be a substantial factor that you ought to take into account.
Finding a perfect pillow as a side sleeper can be very subjective but we hope that this guide helped you to narrow down your choice. If you tend to switch positions a bit during the night grab our Editor’s choice, Active X or Coop Home Goods. If you are looking for more ergonomic construction for neck pain you can go with #3 or #4 or more specialized ones that allow your arm and shoulder to rest.
I’m sure that any of the above-mentioned pillows will be viable for your side sleeping needs.
- The Best Sleep Position for Your Body – sleep.org
- Pillow use: the behavior of cervical stiffness, headache and scapular/arm pain – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- What’s the Best Position to Sleep In? – webmd.com
Author: Sarah Cummings
I think we’re all nerds, but I’m probably the biggest nerd in the group. When we were in college, Mike and Jill would always be the first to fall asleep during our study nights.
As you can tell by my picture, I have a book in my hand almost around the clock. So yes, I’m a nerd just like Sheldon Cooper!
My hope is that everyone who visits our site will walk away with a fresh perspective. I think too many people in society downplay the importance of sleep. In my opinion, it’s the difference between an average life and an amazing one.