Side Sleeping is considered to be the healthiest position of all. This is because this position lets the user enjoy proper spinal alignment. It also opens up airways, improving the way the sleeper breathes. That is why this is the sleeping position of choice for people suffering from sleep apnea or acid reflux.
But you need to know that this sleeping position is not perfect—it does come with a few issues. For one, it may cause arm numbness. Moreover, it may put a lot of stress on your shoulder, neck, and back which may cause aches in these parts of the body.
Lucky for you, you can avoid these issues by merely investing in a highly supportive bedding system.
Why Regular Pillows Are Not Enough
You may think that a thick, flat regular pillow will be enough to keep the aches away but if you wish to enjoy a pain-free sleeping experience, you would have to go for a pillow designed specifically for side sleeping.
Think about this:
Your head is higher than your pillow or your bed when you are sleeping on your side. If you are using a pillow with a flat surface, your head will be at an awkward angle to your spine. This position can be quite comfortable and may pace tremendous amount of stress to your neck, shoulders, and back.
To combat this, you would need a pillow that contains fillers that can support both your head and neck when you are lying down. With that in mind, what is the best pillow for side sleepers? Read this article to find out!
Best Pillow for Side Sleepers Comparison Table
To help you to compare the different side sleeper pillow in this list easily, take a look at the comparison table I have prepared for you below:
|Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Contour Pillow|
|Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Bed Pillow|
|Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow|
|Mastertex Down Alternative Pillow|
|Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Memory Foam Pillow|
Best Pillow for Side Sleepers of 2018: My Top 5 Recommendations
1. Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Contour Pillow- Your Neck and Back’s Best Friend
The best thing about this pillow is it has a layer of SureTemp foam inside which promotes proper airflow. And let us not forget that it comes with a machine washable cover that is made up of 25% polyester and 74% cotton.
Another good thing about this pillow is that it comes in three sizes—queen, travel, and standard—which is perfect for different builts and heights of users.
Why It’s Good for Side Sleepers:
Just like most memory foam pillows in the market, this one’s designed to accommodate the contour of your head and neck. It is designed to stabilize your head at night and put less pressure on your neck and back.
Moreover, this pillow has a loft of 4.8 inches (which can be considered medium loft) and is perfect for standard sizes of side sleepers.
Considering that the pillow is made of solid memory foam, I can say that it is already pretty affordable.
- SureTemp foam for temperature control
- Contoured surface for superior support
- Perfect thickness for most people
- Comes with machine washable and breathable cover
- A bit of odor initially
- Some users claim that the built of the pillow has changed and has become softer
2. Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Bed Pillow – Bye Bye Allergies
What caught my attention with this product is its construction. As its company boasts, the pillow is made of shredded CertifiedPUR- US memory Foam. What astounds me is that the foam has been analyzed by independent testing labs and have been proven to be free of mercury, heavy metals, lead, ozone depleters, and other unwanted chemicals.
Another unique feature of this pillow is its hypoallergenic bamboo cover. The Microvented Kool-Flow Technology cover makes it highly breathable as it promotes proper air circulation. Aside from its advanced technology, the cover is also machine washable, dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic.
Why It’s Good for Side Sleepers:
As mentioned, the pillows are made of shredded memory foam that has uniform density and will not go lumpy and fat. As a result, it can conform to the contour of the user’s head and neck.
Additionally, it allows the user to adjust the thickness of the pillow to suit his needs.
The cost of this pillow is double the price of our first product, but you know what? With its advanced technology and wide array of features, I can conclude that it is worth the price.
- The cover’s Kool Flow Technology promotes proper air circulation
- Shredded memory foam for easy adjustment of the pillow’s loft
- Comes with a hypoallergenic pillow cover
- Dust and mite resistant
- Free of harmful chemicals
- A bit pricey
- Fluffiness may be lost after a few months
3. Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow – Thickest Pillow in The List
The Coop Home Goods Pillow is another pillow made from memory foam. As per its manufacturers, they use a proprietary mix of shredded viscoelastic memory foam and microfibers that are CertiPUR- US certified. This means that the pillow does not contain harmful chemicals.
The product comes with a pillow cover that is made of 60% polyester and 40% rayon, both of which are derived from bamboo which means that it is highly breathable, hypoallergenic and resistant to mite and dust.
Why It’s Good for Side Sleepers:
The main reason why I include this product in the list of the best pillow for side sleepers is because of its adjustable feature. The pillow has a zipper closure system which you can conveniently use to remove excess memory foam until you achieve your desired thickness.
Moreover, I appreciate the fact that this pillow retains its shape pretty well so it can provide the user the support that he needs.
The price of this pillow is quite high, but from its quality and features, it is worth splurging on.
- Highly adjustable pillow
- Zipper closure system for easy adjusting
- High loft which may be suitable for people on the heavy side
- Stylish pillow cover
- Retains shape well
- Strong chemical odor
4. Mastertex Down Alternative Pillow- Super Soft Pillow of Your Dreams
A breath of fresh air from the other pillows in this list, our fourth product is made up of a down-like fiber filling which is soft and fluffy yet firm. This pillow is recommended for people suffering from allergies because the down alternative used for the pillow delivers excellent ventilation and is hypoallergenic.
The pillow’s cover is not hypoallergenic, but it is 100% cotton with 300 thread count, so you are assured that it is breathable, soft and comfortable to lie on.
The entire pillow (even the cover) is machine washable which is a big plus.
Why It’s Good for Side Sleepers:
The pillow is designed to be ultra soft and comfortable to the head. As a down alternative, it is designed to be firm enough to provide the neck and back the support that they need.
The pillow has a 1.5-inch gusset which allows the user to take advantage of maximum loft and back and neck support.
The pillow has a standard price that is comparable with most of the pillows in the market. This is considered to be a great benefit considering that it is a good alternative to down (which is expensive).
- Comes in all sizes—queen, king, standard and euro
- Machine washable pillow and cover
- Hypoallergenic and highly breathable
- Suitable for combination sleepers too
- Great alternative for people with down allergies
- Feels a bit flat for many users
- It lacks neck support
5. Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Memory Foam Pillow- Fluffy and Plush
Adding to the other memory foam pillows in the list is this pillow from Snuggle-Pedic. Same with the memory pillows in the list, this one is made of shredded USA-Manufactured CertiPUR-US and eco-friendly memory pillow.
The pillow is sold with a pillow cover containing 56.4% polyester, 43% viscose, and .6% Lycra designed to regulate temperature and help you feel cool at night.
Why It’s Good for Side Sleepers:
This is another memory pillow that has a zipper on the side which allows the user to adjust the loft and density of the pillow easily. As compared to most of the products in this list, this pillow has the finer and softer memory foam pieces which give the pillow an easily adjustable plush and fluffy support.
Moreover, the small size of the memory foam pieces makes the pillow heavier and firmer, ensuring that it will be able to return its shape even for a long time.
This is one of the high-end pillows in the market (meaning it is a bit expensive). But since it is a cut above the rest, you may want to include this in your options.
- Adjustable density and thickness
- Smaller-sized memory foam pieces make the pillow soft yet firm
- Retains shape for a long time
- Temperature-regulating cover
- Longest return policy available
- Has a bit of chemical smell and needs to be aired for a day
- Too firm for most users
Benefits of Side-Sleeper Pillow Over A Regular Pillow
You may think that a regular flat pillow would already do, but a side-sleeper like you would need more support if you do not want to suffer from backaches and other sleeping issues.
If you have any doubts as to why you should look for a side-sleeper pillow, here are some of its benefits that you need to know:
• Gives support
The first thing that makes side sleeper pillows unique is that they are made of firmer materials than the feather (which is the filler of choice for regular pillows). It is essential that the filling of the pillow will not sink under the weight of your hand so it will be firm enough to support your head in your sleeping position.
• Encourages proper alignment
One thing that differentiates side sleeper pillows from the regular ones is the former have high arches which can keep your head in straight alignment with your spine.
• Makes sleep comfortable
The best slide-sleeper pillow compresses easily and is soft to the face, ensuring that you will feel comfortable and help you enjoy longer sleep.
You may also want to watch this video to know how to sleep on the side properly:
What to Look for in a Side-Sleeper Pillow
Now that you know what benefits you can get from using an excellent side-sleeper pillow, it is time that you discover how you can choose the right side-sleeper pillow for your needs. How do you do that? You can do that by considering the factors that I have compiled below:
• Filling Material
As mentioned, side-sleeper pillows are made of different types of materials, all of which has their own pros and cons. With that in mind, below are some of the most common filling materials you may encounter when shopping for these pillows:
You may find pillows that are made of outer shells of buckwheat hulls. Many experts recommend this material because of its high breathability, allowing the user to sleep cool. Also, this is close conforming and ensures good support. However, it is a bit expensive for some people and noisy.
This offers above-average support to side sleepers. The nature of the material allows the user to easily adjust the pillow’s loft (thickness) too.
– Memory Foam
This filling is either shredder or solid viscoelastic foam. This has become popular in the pillows industry because of its ability to soften when it is warm and maintains its shape when it is cool. Just like the buckwheat, this one offers adjustable loft and close conforming. Besides, it is also noise-free.
However, it has a short lifespan.
This conforms closely to the head and delivers good support to the user.
This is either a goose or duck down (which refers to the soft inner plumage located under the outer feathers. Many people like this filling material because it is also adjustable, lightweight and soft. More than that, it has a short break-in period and a long lifespan.
However, this material has the potential for allergy and bad odor and poor shape retention.
It is soft and comfortable but not may give adequate support to the user.
This is made of either shredded or interlocking polyester fibers and is known for excellent shape retention and low cost. However, it has a short lifespan and has high noise potential.
These pillows offer fuller shape and may provide good support to the user (except for the shredded ones).
This type of material uses solid latex which is a natural substance collected from the sap of rubber trees. This is close conforming and allows the user to sleep cool. However, it can be a bit too heavy and dense and is non-adjustable.
This product conforms to the head, but its loft cannot be adjusted.
• Loft (Thickness)
Under this factor, there are three categories. These are as follows:
– Low Loft: Less than three inches thick
– Medium Loft: 3 to 5 inches thick
– High loft: More than 5 inches thick
For side sleepers, the perfect pillow has medium to high loft. This is because there is more space between your head and the pillow when you sleep on your side. The higher the loft is, the better it could compensate for the said gap.
Other factors that you should consider when deciding on the pillow’s loft are the weight of the sleeper, shoulder width, mattress firmness, and head size.
There are six standard pillow sizes available in the market. Check out this pillow sizing guide to know more about these sizes.
Small, standard, super standard and queen sizes are perfect for people who like to toss and turn at night. King and Euro sizes are best used as headrest or backrest while reading a book or watching TV. Lastly, body-sized pillows are recommended for pregnant women.
• Surface Shape
Under the surface shape, you have two options—flat or curved. A pillow with curved surface is elevated in the area under the neck and recessed on the part under the head. This is recommended for people experiencing shoulder and back pain.
• Skin Response
If you plan to buy a pillow from a physical store, you should test how the pillow feels on your skin. The feel must be soft and gentle.
Due to the filling material used, the pillow may have an unpleasant chemical odor. It is recommended that you shy away from pillows with this kind of smell.
Most pillows retain their shape, but the best pillow for a side sleeper has to be moldable so they can be reformed to suit the sleeping position of the user. The most moldable filling materials are down, and buckwheat while the least moldable ones are latex and solid memory foam.
This fancy term refers to the extra fabric found at the seam surrounding the edge of the pillow. The purpose of this feature is to allot more room for stuffing and prevent the pillow from going flat. That is why you should go for a gusseted pillow.
• Closure system
Some of the pillows that you can find in the market are adjustable, meaning you can be able to remove stuffing from the pillow until the thickness suits you best. For these pillows, you need to consider the pillow’s closure system. A zipper closure system is the easiest and most convenient option for you.
If you plan on purchasing a pillow online (which I totally understand since going to a physical store can be a bit of a hassle), you are taking a particular risk. After all, you have no idea how the pillow looks or feels.
If this is the case, you can minimize your risk by looking for pillows that have warranties or satisfaction guarantees.
The Best Pillow Positions for a Side Sleeper
Are you having some problems sleeping correctly? Well, you can adjust the positions of your pillow to help you feel more comfortable as you sleep.
In addition to placing a pillow under your head, here are the best pillow positions that you can try:
• In Between the Knees
When your hips are improperly aligned (which is usually the case when you sleep on your side), the spine is forced out of position. As a result, you may experience pain in your muscles and nerves. Placing a pillow in between your knees will help to maintain the hips in proper alignment.
• Behind the Back of in Front of the Stomach
When you sleep on your side, there would be plenty of tension on your muscles because they exert extra effort in keeping your body stable and balanced.
A pillow behind your back or in front of your stomach (or both) will provide your body with the support it needs to remain balanced without straining the muscles.
If you are a pregnant woman who likes to sleep on her side (remember to sleep on your left), it is recommended that you also place a pillow under your tummy for additional support.
Final Verdict- Here’s the Best Pillow for Side Sleeper
It took me some time (and a lot of money) to determine which is the best pillow for side sleepers but it will all pay off since I can be able to share my discoveries with you!
So which of these pillows is the best for side sleepers? For me, it is no other than the Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Memory Foam Pillow. This is because it has everything you would want in a side sleeper pillow—high loft, soft yet firm feel, highly moldable, adjustable density and thickness and a thermoregulating cover.
But I know that my choice may not be the best for all conditions and situations. If you have a few suggestions, I would love to hear from you below!