Healthy Choices

9 pillows for side sleepers that will forever change the way you sleep

January 22nd, 2021

Are you a side sleeper? It turns out that a lot of people are. To avoid tossing and turning all night, side sleepers need the right sleeping habits. It also helps to have the correct pillow.

Side sleeping

The chances are that you might be a side sleeper. Seventy percent of the population is. Unfortunately for us, we don’t always get the same restful sleep that back and stomach sleepers do. We’re more prone to tossing and turning. We also need extra support to keep our spines in alignment due to hours spent each night on one side or the other.

Good sleeping habits

The good news is that side sleeping may be just as beneficial as sleeping on your back. It helps to reduce strain on your neck, spine, and joints. It may also help to decrease snoring and may help those with sleep apnea. The bad news is that, when done wrong, side sleeping can actually leave your neck and spine in worse condition by morning.

Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the most from side sleeping while avoiding the pitfalls:

  • Sleep on your left side more often to take the strain off organs.
  • Use a firm pillow and a medium to firm mattress.
  • Don’t tuck your chin into your chest. Keep your neck relatively straight.
  • Sleep with your arms below your neck. If you can, sleep with them by your sides.
  • Use an extra pillow between your knees to help support the knee and hip joints.
  • Sleep slightly curled by lifting your knees somewhat towards your chest.

Pillows for side sleepers

Side sleepers need a thicker pillow to avoid long term back problems and also just to get a more restful sleep each night. The extra thickness of a side sleeper pillow is to support the head and neck while keeping them in a neutral position and keep pressure off the spine.

The shape is important too. A good side sleeping pillow should comfortably fill the gap between your head and your shoulder, supporting the neck and allowing your back to maintain a healthy posture.

Last but not least, a side sleeper pillow should be on the firm side to avoid sinking or moving out of alignment as you sleep. The amount of firmness depends on your comfort level.

Here are our top picks chosen by side sleepers:

#1 Best ventilated pillow for side sleepers: The Weekender, $29.99

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Amazon Source: Amazon

The Weekender is the top pick among side sleepers for a lot of very good reasons, including its hotel-level quality. The gel memory foam pillow perfectly contours to fill the gap between your head and shoulder, and the 5-inch loft makes sure that it’s situated just right with the height needed by side sleepers.

In addition, the ventilated pores allow for airflow and temperature regulation, helping to ensure a full night’s sleep. It also comes with a soft and easily removable cover to simplify washing.

Pros:

  • CertiPUR US certified memory foam
  • Provides pressure relief for side sleepers
  • Ventilated for health and comfort
  • Hotel quality
  • Contains temperature-regulating gel
  • Supports the neck and spine
  • Impressive 5-inch loft

Cons:

  • You’ll never be happy with any other pillow again

#2 Best extra-firm pillow for side sleepers: Warmsutta, $14.99-$19.99

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Bed Bath and Beyond Source: Bed Bath and Beyond

Anyone who likes an extra-firm pillow will be in love with this option. The 2-inch gusset provided by this super-firm pillow helps to provide consistent neck support throughout the night. The 100% cotton cover is machine washable, making laundry a breeze.

Pros:

  • 2-inch gusset
  • 100% cotton cover
  • Extra-firm
  • Supports the neck
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • Some side sleepers have found it to be too inflexible

#3 Best adjustable pillow for side sleepers: Layla Sleep, $99-$119

swiggle1 dot pattern2 bed
Amazon Source: Amazon

This adjustable ergonomic pillow is copper-infused to disperse heat and keep sleepers cool and comfortable throughout the night. It’s also natural, organic, and eco-friendly.

Pros:

  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial
  • Disburses body heat
  • Adjustable
  • Supports the neck and spine

Cons:

  • It does not always maintain its shape over time

#4 Best natural latex pillow for side sleepers: Avocado, $99

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Avocado Source: Avocado

This supportive molded pillow contains a charcoal-infused core to eliminate odors and reduce moisture. It also contains organic materials and is easy to clean.

Pros:

  • Organic materials
  • Breathable
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Supports the neck

Cons:

  • Too thin for side sleepers with larger shoulders

#5 Best hypoallergenic pillow for side sleepers: Eli & Elm, $129,99-$149.99

swiggle1 dot pattern2 pillow
Amazon Source: Amazon

This pillow is designed to perfectly conform to the natural contours of the head, neck, and shoulder, making it an ideal pillow for side sleepers. The hypoallergenic pillow is a must for any side sleepers struggling with allergies.

Pros:

  • U-shape design
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Removable filling for adjustable levels of firmness
  • Supports the neck and spine

Cons:

  • The pillow can become uncomfortably warm in summer

#6 Best fluffy pillow for side sleepers: Purple Plush, $49

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If you aren’t ready to give up on having a huggable and squeezable pillow, this may be your perfect solution. The pillow is adjustable and contains “smart fluff” that rebounds and keeps your head supported the entire night.

Pros:

  • Soft
  • Rebound technology
  • Adjustable
  • Moisture-wicking

Cons:

  • May not offer the same level of support as firmer pillows

#7 Best memory foam pillow for side sleepers: Coop Home Goods, $59.99

swiggle1 dot pattern2 extras
Amazon Source: Amazon

This adjustable loft pillow conforms to the neck with memory foam technology while providing a hypoallergenic option for sleepers with allergies.

Pros:

  • CertiPUR-US certified
  • Supports the neck
  • Memory foam
  • Hypoallergenic
  • High-quality materials

Cons:

  • The fabric may be too rough for sensitive skin

#8 Best buckwheat pillow for side sleepers: ComfyComfy, $95

swiggle1 dot pattern2 man
Amazon Source: Amazon

Buckwheat has been helping side sleepers to maintain the pillow shape they want throughout the centuries. This durable cotton twill-covered pillow continues the tradition.

Pros:

  • Natural fill
  • Breathable
  • Organic materials
  • Supports the neck
  • Maintains its density over time

Cons:

  • May make noise like a beanbag when moved

#9 Best down-alternative pillow for side sleepers: Casper, $59

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swiggle1 dot pattern2 pillow
Casper Source: Casper

This pillow is both soft and supportive. There is an inner pillow that offers support, while the outer pillow adds some extra fluffiness and comfort.

Pros:

  • 2-inch gusset
  • Soft and supportive
  • Breathable
  • Supports the neck

Cons:

  • May flatten somewhat over time

Sources:

Healthline

NYMag

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

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