According to the Better Sleep Council, about 66% of Americans sleep in one of 3 side sleeper positions.
A couple benefits of side sleeping are relieving insomnia or sleep deprivation. So, if you find yourself tossing and turning from one side to the other and back again, it may be because your pillow isn’t quite right for you as a side sleeper.
We decided to take a look at the best pillows for side sleepers and will share the information we found. Who knew that there were so many options out there!
SIDE SLEEPER POSITION VARIATIONS
If you’re a side sleeper, you most like sleep in one of three variations: fetal position, yearner position, or log position.
Depending on which of the three positions you sleep in, you may have different pillow-related needs. So, let’s take a rundown of the best pillows for side sleepers.
Recommended Pillows for Side Sleepers
Pillow preferences are definitely a very personal thing. So, while we have looked at some recommendations from physicians, as well as consumer reviews on Amazon, it is still up to you to find the pillow that works best.
You may need to try a few different pillows before you find the one that takes you to your dream state quickly and peacefully.
CORE PRODUCTS TRI-CORE CERVICAL PILLOW
- THIS PILLOW IS DESIGNED TO HELP CORRECT SPINAL POSTURE OF THE NECK. The concave center cradles the head as the cervical...
- A VERY FIRM PILLOW: Tri-Core must be FIRM to provide therapeutic benefits. For the most aggressive correction, choose...
- CHOOSE A SIZE: Most men and taller women prefer the full size pillow. Most women, petite men, and children over 10...
This item in our list of best pillows for side sleepers is recommended on Health.com by Dr. Christopher Winter, M.D., medical director of Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center.
It comes in 7 different sizes, so can be used by both adults and children; and you should be able to find one that fits you perfectly.
Unlike standard pillows, it has an indent in the middle to relieve any undue pressure on your ear. However, the firm edges support both the neck and the head, creating proper alignment between the head, neck, and body.
SNUGGLE-PEDIC BAMBOO COMBINATION MEMORY FOAM PILLOw
- Shredded Style Combination Pressure Relieving Memory Foam Pillow That NEVER GOES FLAT! Doctor Created To Provide Proper...
- Now With Zipper Removable Outer Cover To Allow For Easy Adjustment of Thickness and Comfort. Conforming Shape...
- Making America's Best Pillows for over 18 Years, 2012 Audited and MADE IN USA CERTIFIED Bed Manufacturer Using...
Also fairly high on our list of best pillows for side sleepers is this one from Snuggle-Pedic. This is a great option for side sleepers because it is a thicker pillow, enabling you to get enough support between the mattress and your neck.
It is made of small pieces of memory foam, rather than one big piece, so is incredibly comfortable. And, it has the added benefit of cool air flow technology to keep you from getting overheated on hot summer nights.
UTOPIA BEDDING ULTRA SOFT BODY PILLOW
- BODY PILLOW - The body pillow comes in a handy size of 20 by 54 inches in order to fit the natural contours of the body...
- BALL FIBER FILLING - Our soft body pillow with Ball Fiber Filling provides the perfect support for your shoulders, hips,...
- SOFT AND DURABLE - 100% cotton (Outer Shell) makes it super soft and durable
Also recommended by Dr. Winter on Health.com, this pillow is another great choice for side sleepers.
A body pillow like this allows the sleeper to have their whole body supported during sleep, in addition to the head and neck. You can even put the bottom part between your knees, helping with hip alignment.
According to the product description on Amazon, the pillow is filled with 2000g ball fiber filling and the cover is made from 100% cotton.
DOWN ALTERNATIVE PILLOW BY FIVE STAR
Some people prefer the feel of down pillows over memory foam or latex. However, they can have the hassle of allergic reactions or tiny feathers escaping through the cover. This down alternative pillow has all the comfort of down, but none of the inconvenience.
It works for side-sleepers because it is wide enough and thick enough to properly support your neck.
LEACHCO BACK ‘N BELLY CONTOURED BODY PILLOW
- The first and true original Back 'N Belly
- Can help provide equal support for back and belly at the same time
- No repositioning pillows during the night, simply turn from side to side
Another item on our list of best pillows for side sleepers is this second full body pillow. This differs from the other body pillow in that it is u-shaped and actually supports your front and back.
Although often marketed to pregnant women, this pillow may be perfect for you if you’re a side sleeper and you want full support of your neck, back, hips, and knees.
The product description indicates that if you turn from side to side during the night, you won’t need to reposition the pillow because both sides are equally contoured and can be used facing both directions.
NATURE’S PILLOWS ORIGINAL SOBAKAWA BUCKWHEAT PILLOw
- Each Sobakawa Pillow is Filled with 100% Buckwheat Hulls: The only pillow that provides adjustable support and keeps...
- Sobakawa Buckwheat Hulls Provide Adjustable Support for Your Head & Neck: Adjustable support comforts pain of the neck,...
- Sobakawa's Natural Buckwheat Keeps Your Head Cool: The buckwheat hulls repel heat allowing air to flow between husks.
MEDIFLOW ORIGINAL WATERBASE PILLOW
- CLINICALLY PROVEN: Our Water base technology has been clinically proven by an independent Johns Hopkins study to reduce...
- IDEAL FOR ALL SLEEPING POSITIONS: -If you are a side, back or stomach sleeper or switch in between - the water will move...
- CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR COMFORT: Our Water based Pillow can be customized to your liking! Adjust the water level for make your...
This is another one that might seem a little different because water-filled pillows aren’t something you see every day.
And, for those of us over a certain age, these water-filled pillows might bring back memories of the waterbeds of the 1980s.
However, this Waterbase pillow is also an excellent choice for side sleepers. You can adjust the firmness by adding or removing water until it fits you perfectly.
Buying Guide for Side Sleeper Pillows
If you don’t find something on this list of the best pillows for side sleepers, you may want to pick your own from the many options available.
Here are a few things to think about when shopping for a pillow if you’re a side sleeper.
What is the Pillow Filled With?
There are many different types of pillow filling out there. And, the type of filling can really impact the firmness and support offered by the pillow. Some of the most common fillings available are:
As a side sleeper, you’ll want to pick a pillow filling that offers the most support and isn’t flattened much by the weight of your head when you lie down to sleep. The four types of filling that you should likely stick with are as follows
1. Memory Foam
You should specifically look for a pillow filled with shredded memory foam or cut-up memory foam pieces. These offer greater coolness and breathability than the solid chunk of foam.
Additionally, the shredded foam gives you the opportunity to shape your pillow a bit before you lay your head down, allowing for personal differences and preferences.
If your personal preference is to sleep on an “extra” firm pillow, then you can still consider a solid memory foam pillow as a good side sleeper option.
You will want to choose a pillow that has several air holes throughout the pillow. This will prevent your body heat from making the pillow too warm and transferring the heat back to you.
With water filling your pillow, you will experience the ultimate in “conformity” to your body. Nothing else molds quite so well to your own personal shape.
One thing to keep in mind is that these pillows may tend to be a bit warmer than some of the others due to how well water conducts heat.
Buckwheat shell filling offers some of the same benefits as a water-filled pillow, but with the added benefit of being much cooler.
Many buckwheat pillows come with the ability to add or remove shells as needed to meet your specific needs. And, the shells are so small that they move around in the pillow to conform to your shape.
Gel-fill isn’t what you typically think of when you hear the word “gel.” Instead, it is actually memory foam microfibers.
Gel-fill is hypoallergenic and provides a softer pillow experience for those who prefer a softer pillow rather than a firm one. And, it still gives the level of head, neck, and body support needed by a side sleeper.
Is the Pillow Moldable?
This one really comes down to personal preference as the best pillows for side sleepers can be either moldable or formed.
If you like a pillow that will stay in its perfect shape all night, then go for a formed pillow. However, if you like a pillow that adjusts as you toss and turn, then go for one that is moldable.
What is the Reputation of the Pillow Manufacturer?
Sure, you can go down to any of several local retailers and look for deals on pillows to find the cheapest one.
But, as a side sleeper, you really should consider spending a little more money to get the support you need from a pillow created by a reputable company.
If you are going to spend a little more, it’s important to choose a pillow from a company that stands behind their products with warranties or guarantees and excellent customer support.
You should expect a guarantee against damage or flatness from a company that is easy to work with if you do have a problem.
Time for a Good Night’s Sleep
You are now armed with enough information to go out and get yourself your perfect side sleeper pillow.
Remember, you may need to try a couple before you find the perfect one for you. Don’t be afraid to try one and then return it if it isn’t quite right. (Remember our comments above about buying from a company that guarantees their product.)
Once you have your pillow, be sure to take care of it. Use pillow covers or shams to protect them from dirt and oil.
If your pillow is machine-washable, then wash it 3-4 times per year. If the manufacturer says it is NOT machine-washable, then don’t stick it in the washing machine. Instead, consider double-covering it to keep the dirt and oils completely away from the pillow itself.
Now, get your pajamas on and get ready for a great night’s sleep with your new pillow.