Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

Last updated: September 21, 2019

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We all have our preferred sleeping positions, and these are essential considerations whenever we need to buy a new pillow. Pillows that work well for stomach sleepers may not be ideal side-sleeper pillows. Therefore, we need to scrutinize the pillow that we plan to buy.

The wrong choice of pillows may end up costing us not just money but precious sleeping time and comfort as well. We know how we can sometimes overlook important information when we are considering our purchases which is why we came up with a list of the best pillows for side sleepers and their most essential features.

In this list, we scrutinize some of the most popular pillows in the market, so we can check which is the best pillow for side sleepers.

Top Picks for Pillows for Side Sleepers

Nest Bedding Easy Breather – Best Warranty

The Scrumptious Side Sleeper – Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

Cradle Me Cervical Pillow – Best Orthopedic Pillow

Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow – Best Body Pillow

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow – Best All-natural Pillow

Leesa Hybrid Pillow – Best Hybrid Pillow

Eight Sleep – Ultimate Pillow – Best customizable pillow

#1. Nest Bedding Easy Breather – Editors Choice & Best Overall

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Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

Two things immediately stood out when using a Nest Bedding Easy Breather. The first thing you’ll notice is how comfortable it is. The second is how easy it is to adjust the profile of this pillow.

This pillow can be bought in three different sizes: Standard, Queen, and King. You can choose a pillow that is just the right size for whoever will be using it. This is an issue that I have with other brands that come in only one size. Sometimes, the pillows are just too large for smaller members of the family. The filling itself makes for a wonderfully comfortable pillow. The shredded memory foam gives the support that I need without the firmness commonly associated with memory foams.

The cover is soft and has a nice feel to it. It is made from Tencel fabric which makes it breathable. Tencel also has better moisture absorption properties compared to cotton. This pillow cover is easy to keep clean even though it is not machine washable.

Another excellent feature of this pillow is its adjustable height and firmness level. Just open the zippered cover, and remove or add filling until you have the firmness and height that you desire. Just like with the pillow sizes, this is an easy way to customize the pillow based on who will be using it. We all have our preferred sleeping positions, and with this pillow, you can make sure that you have the right height and firmness that will suit your sleeping position. The neck support that it provides makes this an excellent choice for side sleepers.

More reasons to fall in love with this pillow:

  • Breathable. The fabric keeps the air flowing to help keep you cool during hot weather.
  • Adjustable profile.  Makes it ideal for any sleeping position.
  • 100-night trial. You can take your time trying out the pillow to make sure it is the right fit for you.
  • Generous Warranty. Nest Bedding stands by its products with a lifetime warranty.

How firm should my pillow be?

Side sleepers should get firm pillows. A firm pillow fills the distance between the outer shoulder and the ear. A side sleeper should have a pillow that supports the head and neck thoroughly. A pillow that is a medium firmness level is a good pillow since it helps maintain your spine and keep it in a straight and horizontal line.

#2. The Scrumptious Side Sleeper – Close Second

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Scrumptious Side Sleeper

If neck or back problems keep you awake at night, then the Scrumptious Side Sleeper might just be what you need. This pillow is specially made for people who suffer from neck and back pains. The support that it provides keeps your neck and back aligned to relieve the pressure points that make sleeping difficult.

The height of this pillow is also customizable. Reduce or increase the filling until you get the profile that best works for you. Unlike other pillows whose level of softness is proportional to its height, this pillow retains the same level of softness even after you adjust its height. There is no need for you to sacrifice comfort just so you can have a pillow of just the right height.

Here are more reasons why this is a standout pillow:

  • Keeps you fresh while you sleep. The memory foam filling is not just of the highest quality, and it also promotes proper air circulation. With this feature, you don’t have to suffer through unbearably warm nights because this pillow makes sure that your head and neck retains cool temperature all night long.
  • Can help eliminate snoring. Its unique design can also help reduce or eliminate snoring. Snoring is traced to difficulty in breathing, and this pillow provides proper head elevation so you can breathe properly while you sleep.
  • 60-day risk-free trial. You can try out his pillow for up to 60 days without any risks. If you are not satisfied with this pillow, you can return it and you don’t even have to shoulder the cost for shipping it back.
  • Hand-made. In this day and age where everything is machine-made, this pillow is proudly hand-made. This ensures that the quality of the pillow is of the highest standards and that it will last a long time.

What is the best mattress for side sleepers?

Side sleepers need mattresses that can provide the contouring needed to keep the spine aligned. This is the main reason why firmness is of utmost importance when choosing a mattress. A medium or medium firm mattress is preferred. These mattresses can provide even support which is vital for keeping the spine aligned. These types of mattresses also mold to the body to alleviate pain and pressure points. But we should also take into consideration the weight of the sleeper. The rule of thumb is the heavier a person is, the firmer the mattress should be. A heavyset individual will sink in an overly soft mattress.

#3. Cradle Me Cervical Pillow

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Cradle Me Cervical Pillow

This is an excellent pillow if you need one that can help you with your neck and back problems. This high-quality pillow has an orthopedic design that can help ease back and neck pain. Unlike most orthopedic pillows that use gel filling, this pillow uses high-end memory foam that contours to the shape of your neck and head for additional support.

Its unique butterfly shape features a variety of heights so you can get support to the parts of your body that needs them the most. While other pillows can only give you one height at a time, this pillow gives you the choice of several heights without the need to remove or add filling. With the help of the memory foam filling, the muscles of your neck and shoulders are in a relaxed position to relieve neck, back, and shoulder pain.

Here are more reasons to love this pillow:

  • Orthopedic pillow. With the help of this value for money pillow, you no longer need to purchase expensive orthopedic pillows. This is the perfect pillow as an alternative to the tri-core cervical pillow which may be too expensive.
  • This pillow promotes proper spinal alignment to ease neck pain, tension, and stress. This contoured pillow allows for spinal decompression while providing gentle support. With a pain-free good night’s sleep, you’re sure to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
  • Hypoallergenic. This pillow only uses the highest quality memory foam. The foam protects against allergens that may trigger allergies that can potentially disrupt the sleep of sensitive individuals.
  • Buyers are guaranteed that they will only get the best quality pillow. The high-density foam of this pillow will not lose shape even after prolonged use. There is no need to keep buying pillows because they deform after a short period.

#4. Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

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Hello Buckwheat Pillow

If what you are after are all-natural pillows, get the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow. Buckwheat pillows are some of the oldest pillows around. These are traditional Asian pillows that have been around for centuries. These pillows use only organic materials and fabrics. The company that manufactures these pillows also aim to keep a low carbon footprint in their manufacturing process to contribute towards environmental conservation.

With comfort as its main thrust, these pillows are simple in design but durable in construction. The twill casing is made from 100% cotton fiber. The buckwheat husks are organically sourced. These husks are also certified to be free of any pesticides and herbicides. They went through a rigorous cleaning regiment to eliminate any dust, bugs, seeds or other debris which may affect the quality of your pillow.

More reasons to like this pillow:

  • Cool. Buckwheat hulls are highly breathable which makes them ideal as pillow fill. These hulls allow warm air to escape from your pillow to prevent heat build-up. You will always be sleeping on the cool side of the pillow without having to flip it over. This makes it cool to your body even during hot summer months.
  • Comfort. Open the zippered cover and add or remove buckwheat hulls to adjust the thickness of your pillow. Typical pillows are unable to provide adequate support which leads to strain on your neck and back.  These buckwheat pillows are highly pliable, so they conform to your body to provide all-natural support. By adjusting the height of your pillow, you can create a perfect support structure for your neck and head. These pillows help support the space beneath your neck. They can also keep your spine straight and allow your neck and back muscles to relax completely.
  • Washable cover. The cover of this pillow is machine washable and dryable so you can keep it hygienic at all times. The hulls are not machine washable though. The hulls are easy to remove and can be placed under the sun for disinfecting. You can also dry them under the sun if they get wet.

Are there health benefits to side sleeping?

Majority of sleep experts agree that side sleeping is more beneficial compared to sleeping on one’s back or stomach. Sleeping with your back and pelvis aligned can result in reduced pain and pressure throughout the body. This type of alignment can be achieved when you are sleeping on your side.
Research also shows that side sleeping can lead to improved airway circulation. Those who sleep on their side have a reduced tendency to snore. This makes side sleeping suitable for people with sleep apnea.
This can also benefit people who experience acid reflux. If you have acid reflux, it is recommended that you sleep on your left side. The human stomach is located on the left side of the body. When we sleep on our left side, the stomach is positioned lower than our esophagus and mouth. This means that stomach acid will be unable to flow into the esophagus. Sleeping on your right-side places the stomach in a position that is higher than the esophagus. In this position, stomach acid will flow down the esophagus and induce acid reflux.
There are also studies showing that sleeping on the side can lead to improved heart health. When you sleep on your left side, you avoid putting pressure on your heart. This position can alleviate heartburn and improve blood circulation.

#5. Wamsutta Extra-Firm Pillow

Wamsutta Extra-Firm Pillow

If what you’re looking for are extra firm pillows, you need not look farther than the Wamsutta Extra-Firm pillow. The filling is polyester, and the cover is made from 100% cotton with a 300-thread count. This extra firm pillow promises to provide luxurious sleep every night. These pillows contour to your body to provide you with the support you need.

More reasons to love this pillow:

  • These pillows come in 3 sizes: Standard, Queen, and King. You can find a pillow that will suit every member of your family.
  • Affordable. This is one of the most affordable pillows that cater to side sleepers.
  • Machine Washable. Keeping your pillow clean has never been this easy. Just pop it into your washing machine.
  • Durability. Because the filling is made from synthetic material, it retains its loftiness longer compared to down or other natural fillings. Even though it is lofty, your head won’t easily sink in this pillow. Each pillow comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

#6. Leesa Hybrid Pillow

Leesa Hybrid Pillow

When they say that a pillow is customizable, what they often mean is that you can add and remove filling to adjust the height and firmness. Leesa Hybrid Pillow takes it to the next level. These pillows are customizable in the very sense of the word. These pillows have a down-like quilted pocket layer on one side, ventilated gel on the other side, and a removable insert at the center.

More reasons to love this pillow:

  • Adjustable height. If the pillow is too lofty for your taste, you can remove the insert and you’re good to go. The insert can also be useful on its own because it can make a great travel pillow.
  • Head and Neck Support. The quilted pocket top helps make these pillows soft and fluffy. They also provide support to your head and neck. Unlike with most memory foam pillows where your head sinks down into the pillow, the Leesa Hybrid Pillow allows your head to sink a bit, but your head still sits on top of the pillow and not on the bottom.
  • Cooling Properties. The ventilated gel comfort layer is the part that gives support to the pillow. This is also what gives the pillow its weight and keeps it in place. This side is cool to the touch and will come in handy during hot summer nights.
  • Maintenance. Cleaning this pillow just takes a few simple steps. Just open the zippered cover and remove the gel insert. The gel insert is not washable but can be spot cleaned as needed. The rest of the pillow and the pillow insert though can be machine washed.
  • Social responsibility. The makers of this pillow are not just about profit. This hybrid pillow is part of Leesa’s One-Ten Program. Simply put, one pillow is donated for every 10 sold. The free pillows are donated to non-profits that serve the homeless, victims of domestic abuse, and victims of human trafficking.

#7. Eight Sleep – Ultimate Pillow

Eight Sleep Ultimate Pillow

The Eight Sleep Pillow is another customizable pillow that picky side sleepers should consider. It has 3 layers that can be switched around or remove so you can get your desired firmness and height.

Here are more reasons to love this pillow:

  • Cotton Cover. The pillow cover is made from breathable cotton fabric. The cover also has a sewn-in layer made of polyester to give you that extra cushion. The cover has a zipper that makes it easy to remove for cleaning.
  • Memory Foam. A 1-inch memory foam molds to the shape of your head and contours to your neck. This dense material prevents your neck from bending while you sleep. The memory foam layer also keeps your spine aligned to keep you from waking up sore and stiff.
  • Cushions. There are also two cushions containing shredded pieces of foam. There is a 2-inch cushion and a 1-inch one. These cushions make the pillow fluffy and soft as a cloud without sacrificing support. The shredded foam also stays cool at night because they increase airflow and breathability.
  • Money-back guarantee. It has a 30-day guarantee which is ample time for you to test the pillow and return it if you don’t find it to your liking.

What is the Best Type of Pillow Fill?

There are many types of pillow fills, and each of them has their advantages and disadvantages.

Down Pillows. These are light and fluffy which makes them very comfortable. Down clusters are made of light and fluffy filaments that form air pockets. Air is trapped in these air pockets and create insulation. Some down pillows lose their loftiness and insulating ability after just a short period.

Memory Foam Pillows. These have a dense feel to them. These pillows are also known for reverting to their original shape. This is an excellent side-sleeper pillow because of the excellent neck support that it offers. Those who suffer from neck and back pains also prefer memory foam pillows because they reduce pressure points in the body. This is achieved by the pillow continuously molding and adjusting to the shape of the body throughout the night. Even if you change your position while you sleep, memory foam pillows will follow the shape of your body to ensure that you get your well-deserved rest. An example of this kind of pillow is the Iso-cool memory foam pillow. The three main types of memory foam are Latex, Polyurethane, and Visco-Elastic memory foam. Coop home goods are one brand that is well-known for their memory foam products.

Shredded Memory Foam Pillow. As its name implies, this pillow is made from memory foam but in shredded form. It still molds to the shape of your head and neck just like regular memory foam pillows. However, since these are shredded foam, they have some space between them which allows air to circulate and relive the body of heat.

Latex Pillows. Just like memory foam pillows, latex pillows conform to the head and neck to provide comfort and support. Latex has a springy, resilient feel to it. Latex pillows typically have 2 forms: a solid core that provides a more springy and solid feel. The second layer is a shredded filling that doesn’t compact over time.

Gel Pillows. Gel pillows are the most ideal if you suffer from overheating at night. This is done by capturing and dissipating heat to give you a cooler sleeping environment. The most common complaint with gel pillows is their weight. They are heavier than other pillows, and it may take getting used to.

Feather Pillows. Feather pillows are very breathable and can help keep you fresh while sleeping. Feather pillows also provide exceptional support to the head and neck. However, feather pillows are more expensive. The problem with feather pillows is their stems. These feather stems can be quite hard. You also risk getting poked by these feathers.

How We Rate Pillows

There are many different types of pillows. In general, we rate pillows by 6 standards:

  1. Firmness and Support
  2. Loft & Adjustability
  3. Hypoallergenic
  4. Hygiene
  5. Comfort
  6. Structural integrity & Durability

View our full rating process for pillows.