Side sleeping is one of the most popular sleeping positions worldwide. As the main concern for sleeping on your side is an unnatural spine alignment, a pillow for side sleepers may be something worth looking into.
To help you choose the best pillow for side sleepers, we compiled a list of the most promising products on the market.
- Eli & Elm — overall best pillow for side sleepers
- PlushBeds — best soft pillow for side sleepers
- Zonli — best cooling sleeping pillow for side sleepers
- Sleepsia — best memory foam pillow for side sleepers
- Pillowy — best buckwheat pillow for side sleepers
Criteria for choosing the best pillow for side sleepers
Finding the best pillow for side sleeping might be a challenging task. After all, there are many products on the market. Following some of the criteria below, we compiled a list of pillows that can be suitable for side sleepers.
|Allows to customize firmness/height or comes in different sizes
|Various shapes to suit everyone's needs
|Products could be sent back for a refund
- Customization. Every individual has unique preferences, so we prioritize products that can be adjusted by height or firmness.
- Price. We curated a list that contains goods at a high range of price points, so you would be able to select according to your budget.
- Shape. We picked a few products that come in different shapes to allow you a bigger selection.
- Refund policy. Nowadays, most e-commerce brands will grant some kind of money-back guarantee. We prioritized products that can be returned for a refund.
- Reviews. To check if the product is reliable and well-received, we analyzed customer reviews. This allowed us to understand the product better and discover potential drawbacks.
Top 5 pillows for side sleepers: an overview
If you are looking for a new pillow, you understand the struggle of finding the best one for you. To aid your search for the perfect pillow for side sleepers, we crafted a list of products that are specially tailored for that purpose.
1. Eli & Elm — best rated pillow for side sleepers
Side Sleeper Pillow by Eli & Elm is an ergonomic pillow for side sleepers that has captured the hearts of their customers. With over 1600 reviews, it is one of the most popular products by Eli & Elm.
Its unique U shape is designed to support your shoulder and neck area. As reviewers claim, it might help you to get a restful night's sleep and wake up refreshed.
Furthermore, this pillow is made from latex and polyester filling. Latex pillows are known for their potential to alleviate cervical pain. As you can add or remove some of the filling, this pillow can be easily adjusted to your desired firmness and height.
Eli & Elm pillow is also certified by CertiPUR-US®, ensuring that it is free of toxic elements. As the manufacturer claims, this pillow is safe if you have allergies as it is anti-microbial, mildew proof, and dust mite resistant.
You can get the Eli & Elm pillow for $129.99. If you end up not liking the pillow, you can return it for a full refund within 45 days.
2. PlushBeds — excellent soft pillow for sleeping on your side
Wool Side Sleeper Pillow from PlushBeds is a breathable, natural cotton sateen and wool pillow that is truly loved by customers. This premium quality pillow is made from ethically sourced Shropshire wool and is adjustable in height and firmness.
This PlushBeds pillow is U-shaped and is a perfect fit for people who prefer to sleep on their side. As claimed by reviewers, the pillow is comfortable, supportive, and relieves shoulder tension.
The materials used for this pillow are naturally elastic, meaning it is a plausible substitute for memory foam products and should spring back into shape after usage. Additionally, this pillow is great at regulating temperature allowing you to remain dry throughout the night.
Right now, you can grab this pillow for $219. For your peace of mind, this item is backed by a 5-year warranty to ensure the product stands the test of time. Due to sanitary reasons, this pillow is not covered by any money-back guarantee.
3. Zonli — best temperature-regulating pillow for side sleepers
While the Zonli AirCell Cooling Pillow stands out as the most unconventional product on this list, it is also one of the best cooling pillows on the market. Made from thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), this pillow is a winner when it comes to temperature regulation.
TPE is durable, extremely flexible, and oil-resistant. Moreover, this item is made from recycled materials, is non-toxic, and hypoallergenic.
Zonli pillow is created using an innovative honeycomb structure designed to efficiently dissipate heat. Even though it can not be customized, it is still a versatile product. Side sleepers are recommended to sleep on the higher curve and Zonli allows to adjust the height by just simply turning the pillow upside down.
At the moment, this pillow is retailed at $99. Plus, this product is backed with a 30-day refund policy.
4. Sleepsia — best foam pillow for side sleepers
In addition to being comfortable for side sleepers, full body pillows might also be an ideal option during pregnancy. If you are considering giving one of them a try, this Sleepsia pillow is an excellent choice. With the total length of this pillow is 54 inches, it offers ample support and is especially relaxing.
As this pillow is made from shredded memory foam, it conforms to your body, ensuring a comfortable, but not overly firm, feel. You can remove some of the memory foam to alter the firmness and height of the pillow. As reviewers claim, the Sleepsia pillow might help you manage back pain during pregnancy.
Right now, you can buy this pillow for $63.99 without a discount, making it one of the most affordable items on this list. The product can be returned within 30 days after delivery.
5. Pillowy — outstanding buckwheat pillow for side sleepers
One of the biggest complaints from side sleepers is neck stiffness and shoulder discomfort in the morning. Pillowy Buckwheat Neck Pillow is among the best pillow for side sleepers not without a reason — the materials in the pillow should allow the pillow to adapt to one’s head and neck contours. This, as asserted by the manufacturer, may offer more support to your body and relieve neck and shoulder pain.
This cylinder-shaped pillow is made from 100% all-natural and organic buckwheat hulls. It is hypoallergenic, contains no harmful chemicals, and can be adjusted by removing or adding more filling.
While this particular pillow has not gathered a substantial number of reviews so far, Pillowy products are consistently receiving positive reviews, attesting to the company's reliability.
This item is currently priced at $70.99 without a discount. It is important to note that Pillowy products come with a 101-day return policy, ranking amongst the most generous in the industry.
Comparing the best pillows for side sleepers
|Price without the discount
|Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow
|Latex and polyester
|Adjustable firmness and height
|PlushBeds Wool Side Sleeper Pillow
|Adjustable firmness and height
|Zonli AirCell Cooling Pillow
|Sleepsia Full Body Pillow for Side Sleepers
|Cylindrical full body
|Adjustable firmness and height
|Pillowy Buckwheat Neck Pillow
|Adjustable firmness and height
The importance of ergonomic pillows for side sleepers
If you're a side sleeper and you're about to choose a pillow, it is crucial to consider its height since it affects the alignment of the spine. The right pillow for your needs will be able to support your neck and keep the spine curve in a natural position, thus enabling your muscles to relax. Opting for adjustable pillows allows you to choose the most appropriate height.
Also, it has been noted that neck and shoulder pain is a common complaint of side sleepers. Studies have suggested that sleeping on a latex or memory foam pillow may be useful in reducing discomfort in the neck.
On the other hand, it is always recommended to select a pillow that is most comfortable for you, and this may vary greatly. While an extra firm pillow for side sleepers may be recommended, it is always best to follow your preferences. An uncomfortable pillow, even if it is ergonomic, may be hard to get used to.
What is the best type of pillow for side sleepers?
There’s no agreement on what is the most comfortable pillow for side sleepers as it highly depends on one’s personal preferences. For this reason, we selected a wide variety of products to help you choose the most suitable for you.
|May support neck and shoulders
|Eli & Elm and PlushBeds
|May reduce neck pain
|Eli & Elm
|May reduce neck pain
|May be beneficial during pregnancy
|May ensure better sleep quality
Pillows for side sleepers: reviews from customers
If you are looking for a good pillow for side sleepers, it is advisable to investigate the customer reviews. The reviews can give you a better grasp of whether the item will be suitable for you.
A great deal of the items on this list have received numerous favorable reviews. We used these reviews to help us determine the quality of the items and the overall satisfaction of the products and customer service.
From our reviewed pillows, Eli & Elm has the highest number of reviews: over 1600 on their official website, with the majority of them being overwhelmingly positive. Keep in mind that reviews may not be reliable. Because of that, it is advised to check other factors such as certifications to ensure high quality.
Health risks of using the wrong pillow for side sleepers
Side sleepers are susceptible to neck and shoulder pain, especially in the morning. This is because of the possible unnatural alignment of their spines during sleep. This issue may also be partially attributed to the use of an improper pillow: when the head and neck are not properly supported, it may result in misalignment that could cause pain.
An ill-suited pillow may be exacerbating this problem and causing side sleepers to wake up with a sore neck. Pillow firmness for side sleepers could be a significant factor, as studies suggest that latex pillows may be more effective in supporting the head and neck compared to feather pillows.
It is important to pick an item that can properly support one's body. For instance, memory foam pillows can contour to the sleeper's particular shape. Additionally, there are a plethora of adjustable pillows on the market that allow you to alter the height and firmness.
Specialized pillows for side sleepers with health conditions
While pillows are not used to treat any conditions, they might be useful in promoting better outcomes.
For example, people with sleep apnea are often advised to sleep on their side or even their stomach as sleeping on the back might worsen the symptoms. For this reason, side pillows might be also beneficial, especially if they are highly breathable. Thus, a specialized pillow for those sleeping on the side might be a great option to manage the symptoms and enjoy a good night's sleep.
Moreover, people experiencing neck pain are advised to try latex pillows as studies found them to be helpful in some patients with chronic neck pain. Memory foam pillows might also play a role in reducing neck pain, especially if combined with physiotherapy. Eli & Elm and Sleepsia are the most suitable options if you are looking to try out latex or memory foam pillows.
Some research suggests that sleeping on one’s back during pregnancy might increase the risk of low birth weight or stillbirth — and, although the research is still emerging, it is best to avoid the supine sleeping position. Body pillows might help minimize lower back pain during pregnancy, thus they can be a viable option as well.
What sleeping position is the best?
There’s no straightforward answer to which sleeping position is the best. It can depend on various factors such as one’s individual health and preferences.
Usually, sleeping on your back is postulated as a superior position, but it is not always the case. While it does keep your spine in natural alignment, making it excellent for your back, it may aggravate the symptoms of some conditions such as sleep apnea.
In addition, the supine position is best avoided during pregnancy due to the possible increased risk of low birth weight or stillbirth. If you are pregnant, it is recommended to sleep on your side.
Stomach sleeping is usually regarded as the worst sleeping position and may be linked to an increased risk of neck and shoulder pain. However, similarly to side sleeping, it may be useful for people with certain conditions such as sleep apnea.
While the supine position is often regarded as the best sleeping position, sleeping on your side also has its benefits and applications. If you are in a habit of sleeping on your side, it is not crucial to switch to supine sleeping. Nonetheless, it may be beneficial to invest in a special pillow for side sleepers as they are better suited to support one’s body.
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What is the best pillow for side sleepers?
The best pillow for side sleeping will depend on many factors such as one’s overall health and skin sensitivities but it should be able to support your neck. Adjustable pillows are an excellent choice for anyone as they allow one to modify the height of the pillow.
How often should you replace pillows?
Typically, it is advised to replace your pillows every 1–2 years, but this can vary depending on such factors as material, quality of the product, and how it was maintained. Some pillows are more durable than others — for example, latex pillows can last up to 5 years.
Is a firmer pillow always better for side sleepers?
While a firm pillow for side sleepers could be advantageous as it can help to minimize neck pain, it is not always the case that you should avoid softer pillows.
- Manual Therapy. Pillow use: The behaviour of cervical pain, sleep quality and pillow comfort in side sleepers.
- Sleep. Effect of Sleep Position on Sleep Apnea Severity.
- Clinical Biomechanics. The effects of pillow designs on neck pain, waking symptoms, neck disability, sleep quality and spinal alignment in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
- Healthcare. Ergonomic Consideration in Pillow Height Determinants and Evaluation.
- Obstetrics & Gynecology. Sleep Position, Fetal Growth Restriction, and Late-Pregnancy Stillbirth.
- PLOS One. Going to sleep in the supine position is a modifiable risk factor for late pregnancy stillbirth; Findings from the New Zealand multicentre stillbirth case-control study.