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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.
The pillows on this list were chosen specifically because of their benefits for side sleepers.
We looked at quality of materials and construction, as well as pillow height, adjustability, and firmness. We analyzed customer reviews, gauged manufacturer transparency, and considered price, keeping budgetary constraints in mind. We also looked at how easy each pillow is to clean.
Pillows come in a fairly wide price range. No matter what your budget, there’s a good choice for you. The pillows on this list are standard Queen size. They range in price from around $15 to $145.
We indicated cost as:
- $ = under $65
- $$ = $66–$100
- $$$ = over $100
If you’re a side sleeper who wakes up with neck pain from a pillow that encourages your neck to rest at a bad angle, you may be able to find relief by simply replacing that pillow.
A good rule of thumb is to choose one that keeps your head 3–4 inches above your mattress.
The TEMPUR-Neck pillow is extra firm plus ergonomically contoured to cushion and support your head, neck, and shoulder. There are three 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-sized version lets you bring the same features with you, even when you’re far from home.
The Saatva Pillow
If you prefer the feeling of a soft pillow, you may enjoy the Saatva. This pillow 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.
The filler is made from hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, shredded latex. This filler helps to promote air flow, making this pillow a good choice for hot sleepers, including those dealing with menopausal hot flashes.
The Saatva has a cotton cover over the fill, plus a machine washable outer cover.
For more options, consider these pillows for neck pain.
The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow
This rectangular handmade pillow has a curved side and wide gussets to help you avoid bunching your shoulder up too close to your ear. This helps maintain neutral spine 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 situated 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 manufactured domestically 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.
Sleep Artisan Luxury Side Sleeper Pillow
If you’re looking for a green pillow that’s specifically made for side sleepers, you may enjoy the Sleep Artisan. It has an ergonomic design that protects the neck and shoulder from cramping, plus is hand-crafted domestically 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 the ease of adjusting the amount of fill in the pillow to their 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.
Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
Many people are predominantly side sleepers who also sleep on their backs or stomachs at varying points during the night. For that, this pillow lets you choose the amount of filler 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 filler 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’s CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified, meaning it contains no toxins or harmful chemicals. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.
It has a removable outer cover that’s easy to machine wash. Plus, it comes with a 5-year warranty.
Multi-Position Body Posture Pillow
This chiropractor designed, tri-sectioned 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 have mentioned that this body pillow 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.
Wamsutta Extra-Firm Density Side Sleeper Pillow
This budget pillow provides extra firm support and will not sag. It also has 2-inch gusseted sides to help maintain ample space between the ear and shoulder.
This pillow is machine washable, with a 100-percent polyester fill and a cotton outer cover. It’s also latex-free.
Users who like the feel of a very firm pillow enjoy the Wamsutta. Many users who are side sleepers find that it helps reduce neck soreness. If you prefer some softness, you may have trouble adjusting to this pillow.
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. The pillow can also be refreshed and plumped in the dryer on a low setting, as needed.
Shop for the latest Tempur-Cloud Breeze pillow and for older models of the Tempur-Cloud cooling pillow online.
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.
Kelty Camp Pillow
The great outdoors is a lot greater when you don’t wake up with a sore neck or shoulder. This pillow has some heft and firmness, making it a good, occasional choice for side sleepers. It has enough fill to give you a solid night’s sleep while camping or traveling, but won’t take the place of a nightly pillow with a higher heft.
This pillow is made from polyester, cotton, and nylon. It’s lightweight and small, measuring 5 x 9 inches.
Weighing in at 8 ounces, the weight is worth it to some users for backpacking comfort. Other users find it doesn’t pack down as small as they’d like.
It has a three-sided pocket, which some people have used to add stuffing into. It doesn’t come with extra filler.
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 spine alignment.
The pillow cover is made from polyester and bamboo-derived rayon and can be hand washed. The filler is all CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane memory foam. It’s hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. This pillow comes with a removable foam insert, so you can control the pillow’s thickness and density. You can’t wash the filler 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.
- Look for CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold badges for less off-gassing. 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.
- Aim for 3 to 4 inches of height. In order to best keep your head, neck, and back in neutral alignment, look for a firm or extra firm pillow that keeps your head around 3–4 inches above the mattress. Pillows that have wide side gussets are better at maintaining this height over time.
- Foam and latex fillers can provide both loft and softness. Since side sleepers require loft of around 3–4 inches, you may wish to choose a pillow made from filler materials that don’t flatten readily, such as memory foam or latex.
There’s a wide range of fillers and materials to choose from. Each has a different feel and the ones you like best may simply come down to personal preference.
- 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.
Side sleepers typically benefit from sleeping on a firm or extra firm pillow.
There are many pillows across multiple price points which are suitable for side sleepers.
Side sleepers may maintain proper spinal alignment by sleeping on a pillow with a 3–4 inch lift.
A pillow made from memory foam or latex may hold its height and shape longer than one made from polyester or down.