If you prefer to sleep on your side, you’re in good company. More than two-thirds of us prefer that position at night. As a result, you have lots of pillows to choose from, all designed to support your spine properly when you lie on your side.
But don’t worry if you tend to roll onto your back. Some of the side sleeper pillows we selected are comfortable for sleeping in that position, too. So let’s have a brief overview of what to look for when you’re shopping for pillows for sleeping on your side.
- Characteristics of the most comfortable pillows for side-sleeping
- Top pillows for side sleepers
- Beckham Hotel Collection Gusset Gel Pillow
- Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow
- Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper Pillow
- Wamsutta Dream Zone Synthetic Down Side Sleeper Pillow
- Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
- Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow for Back & Side Sleeper
- Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow
- Comfort & Relax Ventilated Memory Foam Bed Pillow with AirCell Technology
- Double Airflow Memory Foam Pillow by Perfect Cloud
- Sable Bed Pillow for Side Sleeper
- Luxuredown Goose Down Pillow, Medium Firm
- The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow from Drift (Honeydew Sleep Company)
- Z Zoned DOUGH Memory Foam Pillow from MALOUF
- Z 100% Natural Talalay Latex Zoned Pillow from MALOUF
- Nature’s Guest Cervical Support Pillow
- Comfy Neck Side Sleeper Buckwheat Hull Pillow
- Cradle Me Orthopedic Contour Pillow with Memory Foam
- Sleep Yoga Side Sleeper Arm Rest Posture Pillow
- MedCline Advanced Positioning Wedge Pillow
- Bed Pillows for Sleeping for Side and Back Sleeper
- Brookstone’s Biosense 2-in-1 Memory Foam Shoulder Pillow with Soft Fill Cover for Side Sleepers
- Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Pillow for Side Sleeping
- Why You Want a Pillow Designed for Sleeping on Your Side
Characteristics of the most comfortable pillows for side-sleeping
The best pillows for side sleepers have certain characteristics that make them more comfortable than a basic pillow. For example, they tend to be thicker since there is a four to six-inch space between an adult sleeper’s head and the mattress. And a thicker pillow keeps the spine aligned in a neutral position.
Next, to avoid fluffing up the pillow in the middle of the night, it’s best to have one that’s moderately firm. If it’s too hard, it will put pressure on the side of your head. But if it’s too soft, you could end up with a stiff neck from sleeping awkwardly.
Finally, the type of material makes a big difference, too. You might prefer a closed-cell foam pillow that’s contoured for your neck. Just be aware that foam retains heat. Shredded foam stays cooler, but it can get lumpy over time. Fiber-filled hypoallergenic pillows are a good choice if you suffer with allergies since you can wash them without damaging them. And many sleepers still prefer a traditional down pillow, too.
Top pillows for side sleepers
Let’s dive into the reviews of the best pillows for side sleepers. Then, later on, we’ll present our Buyer’s Guide to choosing pillows for sleeping on your side.
Beckham Hotel Collection Gusset Gel Pillow
The Beckham Hotel Collection gel pillows meet all the criteria for encouraging a good night’s rest. First, they are thick enough to support a side sleeper perfectly. And they are gusseted, which means they have thicker edges that don’t get squashed flat as a basic pillow does.
Next, the filling is gel fiber that keeps your face and neck cool. It doesn’t have an odor like memory foam, and it’s hypoallergenic. Plus, the material also resists mildew, mold, and dust mites. And you can wash the pillow in cold water and let it drip dry.
Finally, the surface fabric is soft and silky microfiber in an attractive diamond pattern. It’s almost a shame to put a pillowcase over it. And the manufacturer offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee with a full refund if you don’t love the Gusset Gel Pillow.
Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow
Nest Bedding offers a one hundred night trial of their Easy Breather Pillow so you can test it thoroughly. It’s made in the USA of shredded memory foam that gives firm but moldable support. And the principal material is CertiPUR verified to be free of chemicals and allergens. That fact means there’s no off-gassing or odors, and no latex, either.
Although the shredded foam filling might feel lumpy in a cheaper pillow, the Easy Breather has a thick Tencel-blend fabric case that provides a smooth surface. And you can also adjust the thickness of the pillow by removing the stuffing, too.
Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper Pillow
If you prefer firm support for your head, try the Wamsutta Side Sleeper Pillow. It has an extra-firm 100% polyester filling with a cool 100% cotton cover. And the two-inch-high gusset around the edges keeps the pillow from going flat in the night.
Fans of the Wamsutta Extra-Firm appreciate that it’s machine-washable. And they love that they can purchase two or three of these pillows for the price of one of the other top brands.
Wamsutta Dream Zone Synthetic Down Side Sleeper Pillow
The Dream Zone is made by Wamsutta, the manufacturer of the Extra-Firm Side Sleeper Pillow. But the Dream Zone is quite a bit softer and much more moldable.
The interior core of the pillow is filled with memory fiber, giving it both loft and support. And the exterior layer is a 100% Pima cotton cover with synthetic down. This combination of materials fulfills a variety of functions. First, it keeps you cool as you sleep. Next, it’s versatile enough for back and stomach sleepers to enjoy, too. And third, the pillow is machine-washable.
While the Dream Zone might seem pricey, it comes with a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Snuggle-Pedic’s Ultra-Luxury Pillow has shredded memory foam at its core, and its thickness is adjustable just like the Easy Breather from Nest Bedding. All you need to do is unzip the cover to remove the stuffing.
The breathable vented cover is made from polyester and viscose of bamboo, a cooling combination. It’s resistant to dust mites, which can cause allergic reactions. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, with no flame retardants, formaldehyde, or phthalates used in its production.
The manufacturer offers a 20-year warranty along with a 120-night trial period. If you’re not pleased with the Snuggle-Pedic during this time, you can get free customization or refund.
Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow for Back & Side Sleeper
The Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow was designed and made in the USA by a well-known manufacturer, Hollander Sleep Products. It’s CertiPUR-verified to be free from formaldehyde and other chemicals that pollute indoor air. And you can wash it in the machine and dry it in the dryer.
Customers who love the Beautyrest pillow comment on its durability. Even after months of ownership and multiple washes, the pillow retains its loft. This is due to the NaturesLoft fiberfill and the two-inch tall gusset. As a result, you’ll find that it’s not too hard against your head, but springy enough to keep its shape.
Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow
Serta makes a Gel Memory Foam Pillow that suits both side and back sleepers. Its main advantages are that it doesn’t create pressure points and it stays cooler than regular foam pillows.
The rectangular shape fits inside typical pillowcases. While it compresses under the weight of your head, it never goes completely flat. It just conforms so that your shoulder and neck can relax.
While the gel foam isn’t washable, the pillow has a removable cover you can machine-wash. And this cover wicks away sweat in the night, so you feel more comfortable.
Comfort & Relax Ventilated Memory Foam Bed Pillow with AirCell Technology
If you look under the cover, you’ll see that Comfort & Relax’s pillow is made of memory foam with plenty of ventilating holes. The holes are a patented design called AirCell Technology, and it’s an effective way to keep a sleeper cool at night.
The cover is also innovative because it has two usable sides. One is polyester and Tencel for winter, and the other is “ice fabric” that’s perfect for a hot summer night.
Like many of the memory foam pillows made by reputable companies, the Comfort & Relax is free from toxins like methane chloride and formaldehyde. And it’s resistant to allergens like dust mites, bacteria, and mold. Although you cannot wash the foam, you can machine-wash the cover.
Double Airflow Memory Foam Pillow by Perfect Cloud
Perfect Cloud’s Double Airflow Pillow has a visco foam core and ventilated mesh trim. The goal of this design is to circulate body heat away from your skin, so you sleep cooler. And the removable knit cover is plush enough that you may not want to use a pillowcase over it.
The manufacturer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with a 30-day trial. And the pillow is covered by a 10-year warranty.
Sable Bed Pillow for Side Sleeper
If you’re hoping to spend a little less on your next pillow, try the Sable ones made for side sleeping. The shredded foam interior is CertiPUR-verified to be free of toxins. And you can reduce the volume by unzipping the cover and removing stuffing until it feels just right.
The cover is made of bamboo fiber which wicks away perspiration and helps you stay cooler even with a conventional pillow case on top. And Sable points out that you can machine-wash both the cover and the foam pillow itself.
Luxuredown Goose Down Pillow, Medium Firm
It’s challenging to find a good down pillow for side sleeping. Part of the problem is that down pillows tend to be softer, and that doesn’t lead to proper spinal alignment. But Luxuredown’s Goose Down Pillow is rated medium-firm, ideal for side sleepers.
In fact, Luxuredown reveals that the pillow has 650 fill power white goose down. While fill power can be a little obscure, it has to do with how fluffy and heavy the feathers are. And the 650 rating is right on target for feeling firm but still fluffy and comfy.
The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow from Drift (Honeydew Sleep Company)
One glance at the Scrumptious pillow and you’ll see why it’s recommended for side sleepers. Its curved side lets you cuddle right up to the pillow without your shoulder getting in the way.
When the pillow arrives, it may look overstuffed, but that’s on purpose. The company wants you to be able to adjust the thickness to your liking. Just unzip it and remove the CertiPUR and gel memory foam until it feels right.
Each Scrumptious pillow is hand-made in Los Angeles. You can purchase a fitted pillowcase for it, too.
Z Zoned DOUGH Memory Foam Pillow from MALOUF
The Zoned DOUGH pillows from MALOUF come in high, low, and medium lofts. Each one has zones, or ventilation holes, which circulate air and keep you cool as you sleep. And each one is made of soft as dough memory foam.
Some of the Zoned pillows come with a plush cover made of Tencel, a material that’s excellent at managing moisture. Others come with a plush rayon and bamboo fiber case.
This innovative company is based in Logan, Utah, the home of Utah State University. They also manufacture pillows with odor control derived from charcoal or soothing lavender to promote peaceful sleep.
Z 100% Natural Talalay Latex Zoned Pillow from MALOUF
While memory foam has its advantages, so does latex—as long as you’re not allergic to it. Latex is less dense than memory foam, which means a high loft pillow can squish down to a comfortable size. It feels less rigid but still gives good support. And it may outlast memory foam, too.
The Talalay Latex Zoned Pillow from MALOUF is made of natural latex from plant sources. It’s resistant to mites and mildew, although it cannot be machine-washed. But it comes with a velour bamboo fiber cover.
Nature’s Guest Cervical Support Pillow
It’s not often you find a cervical support pillow that’s adjustable and not made of memory foam. Instead, this one from Nature’s Guest is filled with a microfiber stuffing that you can add or remove according to your needs.
This pillow is suitable for side and back sleepers. That’s useful since some of us tend to roll over during the night. But Nature’s Guest will give you firm support either way. It has a gusseted edge and a soft cotton cover. Plus, all the materials used in its construction are from natural sources and are not treated with chemicals.
Comfy Neck Side Sleeper Buckwheat Hull Pillow
If you aren’t a fan of traditional down, fiber, or foam pillows, try buckwheat. The Comfy Neck Side Sleeper is filled with 100% clean buckwheat that wasn’t treated with harsh chemicals. And buckwheat is naturally good at letting air circulate for cooler sleeping. It also molds to the perfect position without the need for constant fluffing.
The organic Pima cotton cover is removable for washing. Plus, it has an invisible zipper that won’t get in the way.
Cradle Me Orthopedic Contour Pillow with Memory Foam
While you won’t find a traditional pillowcase that goes well with the Cradle Me pillow, you probably won’t care. This cervical pillow lets you choose from several sleep positions for perfect comfort. And it’s made from odor-free memory foam so you can use it right away. If you don’t love it, return it for a refund.
Sleep Yoga Side Sleeper Arm Rest Posture Pillow
The Sleep Yoga Side Sleeper pillow isn’t for your head. Instead, it exists to help you maintain perfect alignment in bed. You can rest your arm on it, and that keeps your shoulders in position as well as supporting your arm joints. A chiropractor created the Sleep Yoga Pillow so that side sleepers would rest in maximum comfort.
MedCline Advanced Positioning Wedge Pillow
Let’s imagine you suffer from gastric reflux, but you love to sleep on your side. Your doctor tells you to lie down on a wedge cushion to incline your torso, but that’s so uncomfortable. In that case, you need the MedCline Advanced Positioning pillow.
Again, this isn’t a pillow for your head, but rather a ramp to support your body and the pillow of your choice. The MedCline has an opening for you to rest your shoulder and arm as you lie on your side. Problem solved!
Bed Pillows for Sleeping for Side and Back Sleeper
Sormag is a soft pillow with 100% poly gel fiber. It is made of long-staple cotton and the pillow stays soft and dry. This pillow does not cause any damage to your body. This pillow is comfortable for the stomach, back, side and is suitable for any sleep style.
Sormag bed pillow is a gel pillow and easily supports machine washing and drying. After washing the pillow, allow the pillow to dry under the sun for two to three hours for better use. The pillow remains feathery even after numerous wash.
Brookstone’s Biosense 2-in-1 Memory Foam Shoulder Pillow with Soft Fill Cover for Side Sleepers
Brookstone’s Biosense pillow stays smelling fresher than a typical one made from memory foam. That’s because it contains charcoal, seed oil, and green tea which control odors and fight microbes. And while you can’t wash the foam, you can wash the luxurious outer cover.
The microfiber cover is filled with Better Than Down, a soft, hypoallergenic material. And once you unzip it, you’ll discover that the foam core is ventilated similar to the Comfort & Relax pillow.
The final feature that makes the BioSense appealing to many side sleepers is its contoured shape. There is a curved cutout for your shoulder to help you snuggle right up to the pillow for maximum comfort.
Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Pillow for Side Sleeping
Now that you’ve seen our selection of comfortable pillows for side sleepers, it’s time to discuss what features matter when you’re shopping for one.
What to consider before buying a pillow?
There are several factors to consider when you’re pillow-shopping. Let’s cover them now.
Pillows for side sleepers might contain memory foam, latex, buckwheat, down, synthetic filling, or a mixture of materials. Other than knowing that you’re allergic to one thing or another, how do you decide which is best?
Here’s a handy chart that covers the main pros and cons of each type of pillow material:
|Memory foam, solid core||Firm but gives way to relieve pressure|
Lasts for years
Retains body heat which is soothing in cool weather
|Sometimes has a mild odor that takes a while to fade
Can’t be washed
Maybe too firm for some sleepers
Might be too hot for summer
|Latex foam||Less firm than memory firm but offers good support|
Cooler than memory foam
Natural latex doesn’t off-gas strong odors
May outlast memory foam
|Can’t be washed
Might be too warm for summertime
|Shredded foam||Combines support with flexibility for less pressure|
Pillows with shredded foam tend to have an adjustable loft
Combination of a cooling gel with memory foam or latex remains cooler than solid core foam
|Might have an odor
Some sleepers will feel the need to fluff this kind of pillow during the night
|Down||Traditional comfort, soft and fluffy|
Cooler than foam pillows
|Might be too soft for side sleepers
Doesn’t last as long as foam
|Synthetic fiber filling||Washable|
Usually less expensive than foam or down
|Doesn’t last as long as foam
Might need fluffing during the night
|Buckwheat||Harder and firmer than any of the other fillings|
Cooler than foam or down because of good air circulation
Molds into shape for firm support
100% natural, not harmful to animals or the environment
There are other details to take into account, too. For example, to avoid unpleasant odors with a foam pillow, check that it contains CertiPUR-verified foam. This label means that it meets low-VOC standards to protect your indoor air quality. It will also be free from heavy metals, flame retardants, and formaldehyde.
Next, if you prefer down, the type of feather matters. Some down feathers are fluffier than others, and some are heavier. A fill power rating isn’t the best indicator of firmness if you don’t also know what kind of bird the feathers came from. Of course, to avoid this confusion, it’s best to test the pillow and see if you like it.
If you need to choose between memory foam or latex foam, ask yourself one question. Do you move around a lot at night or not? If you move, try latex. It’s plush and responsive but still gives good support. On the other hand, memory foam takes a few moments to adjust to your new position, so it’s better for those who don’t move as much.
When you choose a pillow, chances are it comes with a removable cover. The cover may allow you to adjust the amount of stuffing inside, or it may be there to help you stay cooler by wicking away moisture.
While your focus should be on the material inside, the cover has an impact on your comfort, too. Some are plush while others feel icy cool. Some are thick enough to disguise the texture of what’s inside, and others may keep dust mites and allergens at bay.
When shopping for a side sleeper pillow, take into account the cover, too. You might even decide to purchase an extra one if it’s drip-dry only.
It’s a fancy word for a simple feature. The gusset is the extra fabric added to the seam around the edge of the pillow. It usually measures an inch or two in height. And it makes more room for stuffing, plus it keeps the pillow from mashing as flat as it might without a gusset.
Finally, you might find you prefer a gusseted pillow because you can snuggle up close to it. Then, you can fully rest your head without putting your shoulder on top of the pillow.
We included shredded foam pillows in our reviews because many of them are adjustable. This is an excellent feature when you just aren’t sure how firm you want your pillow to feel. Simply unzip the closure and add or remove stuffing to suit.
Shape or contour
A contoured pillow has a plus and a minus. On the minus side, it can be difficult to fit them inside a pillowcase that matches your bedding. Or you may not want to cover up the custom cover that comes with it anyway. Many of these covers are plush and luxurious by themselves.
But on the plus side, a contoured pillow can’t be beat for ultimate comfort. Some of them like the Cradle Me, fit more than one position for perfect support.
Warranty and satisfaction guarantee
When you purchase a pillow online, you’re taking a certain risk. You probably haven’t been able to test out this type of pillow at home. In fact, even squishing one with your hands at a store still isn’t enough to determine if you’ll like it.
Those are the reasons why it’s smart to look for pillows with a satisfaction guarantee. Many times this comes in the form of a trial period where you’ll have time to test the pillow at home in your bed before you decide.
And you might also prefer a warranty. While pillows can potentially stand up to regular use for years, you might get a dud. In that case, it’s nice to get a quick replacement.
Why You Want a Pillow Designed for Sleeping on Your Side
You might have reached this point and thought that it’s not worth the trouble. Any old pillow should do. But this is really not true.
Some pillows purport to be for side and back sleepers, or side and stomach sleepers. But any pillow designed for sleeping on our stomach or back is probably too soft to support your head and neck in a side sleeper position.
Pillows for side sleeping are typically firmer to keep your head and neck aligned correctly with the rest of your spine. They shouldn’t need a lot of fluffing up to stay comfortable during the night. And they might even come contoured to fit your shoulder for maximum relaxation.
Do yourself a favor and get a side sleeper pillow. Say goodbye to cricks and aches. Avoid snoring and annoying your partner. And wake up feeling more rested than you ever did before.
The importance of a comfortable pillow cannot be overrated. This essential piece of bedding ensures that you sleep restfully and awaken without aches and stiffness. It may also reduce snoring, too.
There are many brands and styles of pillows for side sleepers available. But the choice isn’t too daunting once you’ve narrowed down the type of material you want. Then just consider features like whether it’s adjustable, washable, and comes with a satisfaction guarantee. Soon, you should be sleeping with a whole new level of comfort on your new side sleeper pillow.