Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: May 23, 2021
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What is your favorite sleeping position? We all have one where we feel particularly comfortable. Some people like sleeping on their backs or stomach, but the majority of us are side sleepers. If you want to optimize your sleep and wake up well-rested, it is necessary to pick the right pillow for your position.
In this article, we are focusing on finding the best side sleeper pillow. You can choose different types and materials, such as cotton, bamboo, memory foam, etc. It is vital to find a pillow that will provide optimal support for your body and help you to maintain a proper body position. That is why we analyzed the most important features of pillows, including case material, filling, size, and adjustable height.
Our team spent more than 60 hours searching the internet up and down. But that’s not all, we also consulted industry experts and medical professionals. As the result we have shared the information in our detailed reviews of the best pillows for side sleepers, as well as a comprehensive buying guide that should help you choose the perfect one for your needs. We won’t waste your time anymore, so feel free to start your search for the pillow of your dreams!
"If you are looking for bamboo covered pillow with memory foam that perfectly replicates the shape of your head and neck, then this side sleeper pillow is ideal for you. Zipper on the side also makes it easier to wash."
"Bamboo-derived rayon pillow with a pack of extra memory foam filling which makes it comfortable and easy to adjust. It is Green Guard certified for no toxic chemicals, and also no animals were hurt during the manufacturing."
What do you want from your pillow? First, you want it to adjust to the contour of your head and neck to provide optimal comfort. Xtreme Comforts ensured that with the certified memory foam used in this product.
You can mold the pillow any way you see fit, but you can also adjust the filling. The pillow has an inner zipper cover, which allows you to choose the desired height. Thanks to that, the item is suitable for fans of both flat and fluffy pillows.
You don’t have to worry about dust mites or mold because the pillow is hypoallergenic. It is also machine washable, which makes maintenance a whole lot easier.
A small drawback is that it is a bit heavy, which might make it tricky to flip in the middle of the night. However, it is reliable, comfortable, and durable, and that is what matters at the end of the day.
What makes it special?
Adjust the filling to your taste
A hypoallergenic pillow resistant to mold and dust mites
It is interesting to note that the pillow comes in rolled and vacuum sealed packaging. Once you unpack it, you will notice the extra breathable cover. The pillow contains a mixture of polyester, bamboo, and lycra. It should be the optimal combination to keep you cool throughout the night.
The pillow is hypoallergenic and made without heavy metals and other toxic compounds. Thanks to the high-quality memory foam, it supports your body well and adjusts to your head and neck.
You can choose from three different sizes based on your preferences. It is easy to maintain the pillow since you can place it in a washing machine. The item is also quite durable, and the manufacturer offers a generous warranty. You will receive a trial period to try out the pillow.
Why is it special?
A mixture of polyester, bamboo, and lycra keeps you cool at night
Hypoallergenic pillow free from toxic compounds
Easy to maintain and durable
What are the flaws?
It might have a specific odor for a couple of days
Utopia Bedding designed a pillow with many excellent features, so there are the reasons why you should consider it.
First, it is a great choice if you are not a fan of memory case pillows. The manufacturer used a plush fiberfill, which can provide the necessary comfort and softness. You can easily adjust the pillow to your preference because it is fluffy and easy to shape.
Second, it is an affordable unit. In fact, it is a set because you get two pillows for the price, which is a tempting deal.
The pillow looks nice, but the gray edges are a bit too dark. That may be a problem if you use white or light pillowcases because the edges might show through them. As for maintenance, you can wash the pillow using a gentle cycle on the machine, but make sure to dry it to extend the longevity.
What are our favorite features?
An excellent alternative for those that don’t like memory foam
According to the manufacturer, this may be the best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain. The specific design will reduce the pressure that your back and neck muscles feel while you sleep, which can provide pain relief. Additionally, you will notice an unusual design. The pillow shape is ergonomic and aims to provide optimal support.
The creators used polyurethane memory foam, which is the reason for an odor you may feel during the first couple of days of using the pillow. The company aerated each item, which is the reason why the odor should go away quickly.
If you like your pillow cool, you will appreciate the ventilation holes that Aeris Contour has for optimal airflow.
You can easily remove the velour cover case to wash it in a machine whenever that’s necessary.
What do we love it for?
Ergonomic design specifically optimized for those with neck pain
Ventilation holes deliver a cooling effect
The cover case is easily removable and machine-washable
What were we disappointed with?
The pillow might have an odor for a couple of days
The chances are you love pancakes, but will you like the Pancake Pillow? The product of an intriguing name is a versatile pillow that comes with a case made 100% out of cotton. Thanks to that and the plush fiberfill, it secures incredible softness.
The materials are hypoallergenic, and the pillow features zippers on three sides so that you can access the filling easily.
As for the filling, you will notice that it comes in layers. The product comes with a total of six pancake-like layers. You can easily remove or add them to find the optimal height.
You can choose between three different sizes, but the Queen one is the smallest. Feel free to wash the inside layers in a machine, but keep in mind that they may fluff up considerably after washing.
Why is it special?
A soft case made 100% out of cotton
Layer filling for effortless height adjustment
Hypoallergenic materials were used in the manufacturing process
Coop carefully selected bamboo-derived rayon as the material of choice for this pillow. It is a durable material that provides softness and breathability at the same time.
You can feel free to put your head on the case because gusset is there to provide optimal support and comfort. If you need to adjust the height, you can unzip the case and access the filling. You can remove some of it, or use the extra bag to add even more.
The filling is a mixture of microfiber and gel-infused memory foam. Although that should deliver a cooling effect, the pillow could perform better in that area.
The manufacturer emphasizes that not a single animal was hurt during the process of making this pillow. It will also protect you thanks to its hypoallergenic and mite-resisting characteristics.
What are its best features?
High-quality and hypoallergenic materials
You can adjust the fill to your preference
Resistant to dust mites and hypoallergenic
What could be improved?
The cooling foam may not perform as well as expected
If your priority is a pillow that will keep you cool during the entire night, this may be the right solution for you. It is a quite comfortable memory foam pillow for side sleepers, and we know that it was specifically designed for that sleeping position.
The manufacturer produces the pillow infused with copper. The foam provides the optimal combo of softness and support while the copper is in charge of providing the cooling effect.
You will notice the ergonomic shape of the pillow that helps to keep proper neck alignment. If it is necessary, you can also adjust the height of the pillow to tailor your needs.
One thing you can’t do is wash this product in a washing machine, which is why you should stick to using a pillowcase.
Why did it make our list?
Specifically optimized for side sleepers
A fine combination of softness and support
It provides the same cooling effect throughout the entire night
Are you a fan of large pillows? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider this item designed by Utopia Bedding. The company claims it may be the best pillow for side sleepers during pregnancy.
This is not a regular pillow, but rather a body pillow designed for those looking for additional support. The first impression is that the product is quite large. Although it will be good to go an hour after you unpack it, it will achieve full fluffiness in 48 hours.
The manufacturer used ball fiber as the material of choice for the filling. As for the outer case, it is 100% cotton, and that is why the pillow manages to be so soft. You can easily mold it to your body contour.
The product is machine-washable, but make sure to follow the instructions in the manual.
What makes it special?
Suitable to use during pregnancy
A smart choice for those who like large pillows
Machine washable for easy maintenance
What cons did we find?
It takes 48 hours for it to achieve full fluffiness
Are you looking for the best pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain? If you have tried different “standard” variants, how about going for an L-shaped pillow?
Contour Products claims that this boomerang item not only has the right shape to relieve pain, but also an adequate amount of stuffing. Apart from the classic use, you can also use it as a body pillow.
The product has a polyester feel. While it is reliable, the filling may be the reason why the pillow goes flat quicker than you expect without proper care and maintenance.
You will definitely enjoy sleeping. While you do that, you will notice the softness ensured by the soft outer cover. The product is machine-washable, but make sure to dry it to prolong its lifespan.
Why are we impressed?
An L-shaped pillow specially designed to provide neck and shoulder pain relief
Versatile and suitable to use as a body pillow, or for sit-up in bed
Tempur-Pedic gave its best to design a premium quality pillow. At first glance, it seems to deliver everything that a side sleeper would want.
For starters, the manufacturer used 100% memory foam for the filling. Additionally, the gel layers are there to keep you cool during the night. The pillow is also light, and you can easily flip it in the middle of the night. You will even get a soft cotton case, which should be incredibly comfortable even for the most demanding sleepers.
The main issue of the product is that you can’t adjust its height. While some may consider 6.4” to be the right fit, it is hard to imagine that one height will fit all users. On a more positive note, you can wash the pillow in a machine, which makes maintenance effortless.
Why are we impressed?
A premium quality pillow made with high-quality memory foam
The cotton case is exceptionally comfortable
Light materials are easy to flip in the middle of the night
What negatives must you be aware of?
The height of the pillow is not adjustable
The price is a bit high
Things to Consider
If you take a look at our list of side sleeper pillows, you will find many products that deserve a place in your bed. Ultimately, it is all about personal suitability and comfort. That is why you should know how to choose the right pillow for your needs. We are here to help with our buying guide that will cover all the essential features you should take into consideration during the purchasing process. You will also find answers to frequently related questions regarding this topic.
How to pick the best pillow for side sleepers?
Before we dig into major features, allows us to give you a piece of advice. You should never rush your decision. Instead, make sure to have enough time to check all the relevant characteristics of the product you want to buy. The best way to make a smart final decision is to choose carefully. We want to help you, which is why we singled out the most important features of every pillow designed for side sleepers.
The first thing we will discuss is the case material. Let’s take a look at the most common materials used when designing a case:
Cotton – many claim this to be the softest material of all the available out there. If you go with this option, you want to ensure the case is 100% cotton.
Polyester – a synthetic option that is usually not the most durable, and fails to provide an optimal cooling effect.
Velour – this is a knitted textile or fabric that reminds of velvet. The source fabric is polyester or cotton.
Bamboo – a natural fabric that can provide excellent softness and comfort.
The filling is the material that makes the inside of your pillow. In some cases, it can be accessible by unzipping the case. Other manufacturers keep the inside protected by excluding zippers from the design.
These are the most common options used for pillow filling:
Memory foam – it is a special type of foam that “memorizes” the contours of your head and neck. You should look for a certified foam of the highest quality. Some pillows like Aeris Contour use polyurethane memory foam, but you will also find shredded and other variants.
Plush microfiber – some pillows feature a generous fiber filling. These can be incredibly soft and moldable items. They might, however, need a couple of days to achieve full fluffiness after you unpack them.
You may also encounter a filling made of buckwheat, feather, down, or synthetic down alternatives. However, side sleepers should stick to the options mentioned above.
Shape and size
Pillows in a standard even shape are the most common ones out there. You will find some pillows with curved surfaces, which are mostly ergonomic, but their suitability may depend on personal preference. If you have neck issues, you may consider something like the Contour L-Pillow, which has an L-shape specifically designed for the pain.
As for the size, you shouldn’t go for small pillows, especially if you are a restless sleeper that often switches from one side to another.
The standard size is set at 20 x 26 inches, and it should be a fitting choice for most users. If you prefer, you can go for a queen size that measures 20 x 30 inches. That will ensure an extra sleeping surface, which some people may appreciate. You also have a king-size pillow, which has dimensions of 20 x 36 inches, but you should only consider it if you also need something for using as a sit-up or reading in bed.
The loft is another name for the thickness of the pillow. You can choose among three different loft types:
Low – these are thick up to three inches.
Medium – their thickness is between three and five inches.
High – their loft goes over five inches.
If your weight doesn’t go over 130 pounds, you should consider a high-loft pillow. Those that weigh between 130 and 230 pounds should go for a medium-loft pillow, and low items are for those that weigh over 230 pounds.
In most cases, you can unzip the case and access the filling. From there, you can add or remove filling as you please until you find the optimal position for sleeping on your side.
Do you know that situation when your pillow gets exceptionally hot in the middle of the night, and you start sweating? That is what happens during warm weather, but the temperature doesn’t have to be high for your head to sweat.
Fortunately, there are pillows like The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow that has an impressive cooling effect. In most cases, they use gel-infused memory foam to maintain coolness throughout the night. You will also find units with ventilation holes and other approaches that try to secure optimal airflow.
Benefits of having the pillow for side sleeping
Each sleeping position has its pros and cons. If you sleep on your side, you may have a higher likeliness to develop wrinkles over time. However, let’s focus on the benefits as they significantly outweigh the drawbacks. Here is a closer look at the advantages of being a side sleeper.
If you are having spine issues, sleeping on your side might help. The alignment of the pelvis and the spine is what can deliver pain relief and spine pressure. You want a pillow that will provide the necessary support.
While it is important to choose the right pillow, it is also vital to pick a suitable mattress. The ones filled with memory foam can be a great option.
The product you should choose will depend on the type of pain you feel. For example, the Contour L-Pillow is a great choice if you are looking for neck and shoulder pain relief.
Its shape is different than the standard one, and that is how it manages to provide optimal support. The keyword is “support” because you want the pillow to relieve pressure and offer the necessary support to the area in pain.
How many times did your partner wake you up because of your snoring? The cause of your snoring may be obesity or conditions like sleep apnea. Either way, finding a suitable pillow will assist in reducing that kind of breathing issues.
It is interesting to note that the very sleeping on the side can help to decrease snoring problems. According to the experts, sleeping on the back is the position most prone to snoring.
Comfortable sleep during pregnancy
Pregnancy shouldn’t stop you from sleeping in your favorite position. Although it may be a bit tricky to sleep on the side when you are pregnant, a proper pillow might help.
Utopia Bedding Soft Body Pillow is an excellent choice for pregnancy. However, you should keep in mind this is a body pillow. You may need another one to place under your head to boost optimal comfort.
Please briefly answer the following questions (one paragraph and 100-150 words per question):
The cleaning process depends on the pillow you purchase. That is why it is important to read the instruction manual and follow the guidelines given there. You can only maximize the product’s longevity and performance by sticking to the instructions. The majority of pillows are suitable to wash in a washing machine. However, some units only have a machine-friendly outer case, which is something you should keep in mind. You will probably have to use a gentle cycle. When it comes to drying, it is recommended to place the pillow in a dry area, and give it some time to dry naturally.
If you are a side sleeper, you should always go with a pillow made of a relatively firm material. These materials are more suitable because you need to fill the space between the neck and shoulders. When you lie on your side, that space stays empty. A firm pillow can fill it up and provide the necessary support. It is also vital to mention that the firmness may depend on your preference. Some users may go for extremely firm pillows, while others may feel that moderate firmness is all they need. However, try to avoid soft pillows as they were primarily designed for stomach sleepers.
The chances are you will feel some progress the next morning. If you switch to a more comfortable pillow, you should feel less pain or stiffness when you wake up. However, it may take a while to minimize neck or shoulder pain significantly. Keep in mind that sleep quality can also affect pain and stiffness you feel in the morning. That is why you should try to stick to optimal sleep patterns, and try to relax when the sleeping time comes. Massages can also be helpful, so consider visiting a parlor or asking your partner to massage you in the evening. If the pain has been present for a while, you should consider visiting a doctor.
It is time to pronounce the winners of our pillow showdown!
The third place is reserved for the Utopia Bedding Gusseted Quilted Pillow. If you are not a fan of memory foam, you will enjoy the generous plush fiberfill. You can shape the pillow effortlessly, and you can’t ignore the fact that two pillows come in a set at an affordable price.
The second place goes to Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow. The careful mixture of materials provides a nice cooling effect throughout the night. The product is durable and simple to maintain, and the materials are hypoallergenic.
The ultimate winner of our best side sleeper pillow roundup is the Extreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Cover. The value of this pillow goes beyond the adjustable and comfortable filling. It also provides optimal support and has fantastic durability. That makes it a long-term investment that can promote the quality of your sleep, and help to have the optimal comfort each time you put your head on the pillow.