We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
You may not think of posture as something to consider during sleep. But as a side sleeper, it’s important to keep your head, neck, and back aligned in order to avoid pain and stiffness.
If you’re sleeping on an old or worn-out pillow, headaches, a sore neck, and shoulder or back pain may result. You may also experience numbness in your arm.
Choosing a pillow with the right amount of height and firmness can keep your neck and spine in proper alignment, leading to better sleep and pain-free mornings.
- Best firm pillow for side sleepers with neck pain: TEMPUR-Neck
- Best soft pillow for side sleepers with neck pain: Saatva Latex Pillow
- Best pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain: Honeydew Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow
- Best organic pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain: Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow
- Best adjustable pillow for side sleepers: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
- Best body pillow for side sleepers: The Company Store Multi-Position Body Posture Pillow
- Best cooling pillow for side sleepers: TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
- Best budget pillow for side sleepers: I AM A Side Sleeper Pillow
- Best camping pillow for side sleepers: Kelty Camp Pillow
- Most supportive pillow for side sleepers: Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
- Best knee pillow for side sleepers: Coop Home Goods Knee Pillow
We chose these pillows specifically because of their benefits for side sleepers.
We looked at each pillow’s:
- quality of materials and construction
- ease of cleaning
We also analyzed customer reviews, gauged manufacturer transparency, and considered price, keeping budget constraints in mind.
Each of the products on our list has been carefully vetted by our content integrity team to make sure it adheres to our medical and business standards. Learn more here.
- $ = under $65
- $$ = $65–$100
- $$$ = over $100
Best firm pillow for side sleepers with neck pain
The TEMPUR-Neck pillow is extra firm and ergonomically contoured to cushion and support your head, neck, and shoulder.
While a good rule of thumb is to choose a pillow that keeps your head 3 to 4 inches above your mattress, there are 3 TEMPUR-Neck size options to help you find an elevation you’re most comfortable with.
This pillow comes with a removable machine washable cover and a 5-year limited warranty.
A travel-size version lets you bring the same features with you, even when you’re far from home.
Best soft pillow for side sleepers with neck pain
Saatva Latex Pillow
If you prefer the feeling of a soft pillow, you may enjoy this pillow from Saatva. It provides cushioning and softness but also support, making it a good choice for alleviating neck pain.
It has a dense feel that many side sleepers like, according to the reviews.
The fill is made from hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, shredded latex. This fill helps to promote air flow, making this pillow a good choice for hot sleepers, including those dealing with menopausal hot flashes.
The pillow has a cotton cover over the fill, plus a machine washable outer cover.
For more options, consider these pillows for neck pain.
Best pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Honeydew Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow
This handmade pillow has a curved side and is tall enough to help you avoid hunching your shoulder up too close to your ear. This helps maintain neutral spinal alignment during sleep. The ribbon edging helps the pillow resist bunching and sagging so that it maintains its height and shape.
It has a hidden zipper along one seam, so you can adjust the amount of fill you’re comfortable sleeping on. The fill is made from copper-infused foam and micro-gel fiber, which helps maintain a cool temperature.
It’s made in the United States by the Honeydew Sleep Company (formerly Drift). Users like their good customer service and the 60-day risk-free trial with free return shipping.
Some users complain that the pillow has a smell for several days after opening. Others dislike the need to only purchase pillow cases made specifically for this pillow.
Best organic pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow
If you’re looking for a green pillow that’s specifically made for side sleepers, you may enjoy the Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow. It has an ergonomic design that protects the neck and shoulder from cramping, plus it’s hand-crafted in the United States with organic cotton and hemp. The fill is made from organic latex and poly silk.
Users like this pillow’s complete lack of chemical smell. They also like how easy it is to adjust the amount of fill in the pillow to a preferred height.
Unlike other pillows with a curved side, this pillow fits comfortably into a standard pillow case. You can also use a customized pillow case if you prefer.
The manufacturer provides a 3-year warranty.
Best adjustable pillow for side sleepers
Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
Many people are mostly side sleepers who also sleep on their backs or stomachs at varying points during the night. If that’s you, you might appreciate that this pillow lets you choose the amount of fill you’re most comfortable with, allowing you to individualize firmness and height.
It comes stuffed with the amount of fill recommended for side sleepers. It also comes with an extra 1/2-pound bag of hypoallergenic memory foam fill, so you can tailor the pillow’s loft to what’s comfortable for you. You can easily adjust this pillow to accommodate a combination of sleeping positions. This makes it a good choice for stomach sleepers as well.
It has a removable outer cover that’s easy to machine wash. Plus, it comes with a 5-year warranty.
Best body pillow for side sleepers
The Company Store Multi-Position Body Posture Pillow
This chiropractor-designed, tri-section body pillow from The Company Store provides support for the head, neck, back, hips, and shoulders. It’s not as bulky as many other body pillows, and won’t take up the entire bed.
Users say that this body pillow has helped them be more comfortable after hip surgery.
It comes with a removable cotton cover. Users like that this pillow can be machine washed without becoming lumpy.
Best cooling pillow for side sleepers
TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
This medium-firm pillow has a memory foam core surrounded by cooling gel. Users like that the memory foam adapts to their head shape and neck curvature.
It provides neck and head support for side sleepers, but is also recommended for back and stomach sleepers.
This pillow’s cover is removable and machine washable. You can also refresh and plump the pillow in a dryer on the low setting, as needed.
Best budget pillow for side sleepers
I AM A Side Sleeper Pillow
This medium-density pillow has a polyester fiber fill and provides firm support. If you like your pillow to have a solid feel and the ability to maintain a high lift for your head, you’ll like this pillow.
It’s made from cotton and can be machine washed and dried.
Some users find it too firm. Others love that it never loses its shape.
Best camping pillow for side sleepers
Kelty Camp Pillow
Comfort doesn’t have to take a hit when you’re out in the woods. Cozy up in your tent and enjoy sweet dreams while resting your head on this lightweight, portable camping pillow from Kelty. The thin-yet-supportive pillow is better than a pile of sweatshirts for sleeping on your side.
It features a polyester shell and a small sleeve for storing gear, like an extra set of clothes. You can increase the fluff factor by adding fill to the sleeve. A stuff sack for toting around the compressible pillow is included.
Careful, though. According to reviewers, this pillow doesn’t fare well in the washing machine. And some people complain that it’s too thin.
Most supportive pillow for side sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
If you hate the sinking feeling of memory foam, opt for a pillow made of latex foam instead. Supportive natural latex helps cradle the head and neck while you rest easy on your side. The organic cotton cover is said to be breathable, easy to clean, and soft to the touch.
The pillow is also hypoallergenic and available in a low or high loft. High is likely the best choice for side sleepers.
Side sleepers like that the pillow provides plenty of neck support without being too firm. A handful of customers also appreciate that it doesn’t sleep hot like memory foam.
The brand offers free shipping, a 30-night trial, and a 3-year warranty.
Best knee pillow for side sleepers
Coop Home Goods Knee Pillow
Side sleepers may benefit from sleeping with an extra pillow between their knees. This can help to better align the spine.
This adjustable knee pillow is ergonomically shaped for comfort. It’s designed to help side sleepers create more space between the legs. More space helps to reduce hip pressure and maintain proper spinal alignment.
The pillow cover is made from polyester and bamboo-derived rayon and can be hand washed. The fill is all CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane memory foam. It’s hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.
This pillow comes with a removable foam insert, so you can control the pillow’s thickness and density. You can’t wash the fill or the insert.
The manufacturer provides a 100-night sleep trial and return window if the pillow doesn’t work for you, as well as a 5-year limited warranty.
According to a 2017 study, adults tend to spend the most amount of time asleep on their sides. When done right, sleeping on your side can promote proper spinal alignment and prevent or reduce aches and pains.
Using a supportive pillow that gently cradles your neck, as well as a pillow between your knees, can help keep your spine in alignment.
Another important benefit of sleeping on your side is reduced snoring.
In order to best keep your head, neck, and back in neutral alignment, look for a medium-firm to extra-firm pillow that keeps your head around 3 to 4 inches above the mattress. Pillows that have wide side gussets are better at maintaining this height over time.
You may also want to look for a pillow that won’t go flat over time.
If you’re looking to avoid certain chemicals, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), look for brands whose pillows use CertiPUR-US or Greenguard Gold certified materials to narrow down your options.
The ideal pillow material for side sleepers is medium-firm to extra-firm rather than soft. Down and down alternatives may be too soft for those who sleep mostly on their sides. Foam, like latex and memory foam, offers a more supportive surface for side sleepers.
Keep in mind, though, that your preference also plays a part. Despite being fans of side sleeping, some people prefer softer, down-filled pillows and sleep with two pillows instead of one.
The best size pillow for you depends mainly on your size and body type. Ideally, the pillow’s height should put your neck in a position that keeps the spine properly aligned. For most people, the ideal pillow height for side sleeping is about 4 inches or thicker.
- Check the care instructions. Pillows come with care instructions from the manufacturer. You can usually find these with the pillow, online on the manufacturer’s website, or by contacting their customer service. Following these instructions can give your pillow its longest life.
- Know the washing recommendations. Don’t machine wash a pillow that can only be spot cleaned. Doing so may result in clumping and bumps that make it impossible to sleep on. Memory foam and latex pillows often come with a do-not-wash warning.
- Use the dryer instead. Instead of washing, some pillows can be sanitized and plumped in a dryer.
- Use a stain remover. Using a stain remover can help you gently spot clean any pillow that can’t be washed.
- Use a pillow cover. Using a removable, washable pillow protector will help keep your pillow cleaner for a longer period of time.
- Replace them. When purchasing, keep in mind that even the most expensive pillow isn’t meant to last forever. To avoid sleeping on allergy triggers such as dust mites, mold, and dead skin cells, replace your pillows after around 18 months. If you use a pillow protector, this time span may be extended.
What types of pillows are best for side sleepers?
The best pillows for side sleepers are medium-firm to extra-firm pillows made of memory foam or latex foam.
How firm should your pillow be if you’re a side sleeper?
It’ll depend on your body size, but typically, medium-firm pillows work well for side sleepers. They provide the right balance of comfort and neck support.
How often should you replace your pillow?
You should replace your pillow when it no longer feels comfortable to you, or when it goes flat very easily.
Side sleepers typically benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm to extra-firm pillow that has a 3 to 4 inch loft.
A pillow made from memory foam or latex may hold its height and shape longer than one made from polyester or down.