What is the Best Pillow for Side Sleepers?
When you sleep, you need to be as comfortable as possible so you’ll wake up rested and ready to start a new day. Aside from your bed, your pillow and sleeping position can easily affect your sleep.
How you’re positioned in bed can dictate how fast you snooze and if you’ll be able to sleep through the night instead of having to wake up every now and then. And since most of us sleep on one side, it’s only natural to find the best pillow for side sleepers.
The Importance of Having the Right Pillow
Not a lot of people pay much attention to their pillows, thinking that these bed accessories aren’t really vital to a good night’s sleep. However, nothing can be farther from the truth.Pillows are essential in getting quality sleep as the right one can ensure the proper alignment of your body while lying down. Finding a suitable pillow for your sleeping position is also highly important, because different sleep styles and positions require various kinds of support to ensure your comfort.
As experts put it, a pillow is primarily used to keep your head in a “neutral alignment” while in bed. This means that your head is held up the right way, without it bended back or pushed forward. The right pillow should provide ample support to your head so it keeps its right position, so your neck and spine won’t be contorted in any way, which can leave you aching and sore the next morning.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all pillow. Various sleeping positions require a different kind of pillow so you will stay comfy. Just think about it: those who sleep on their backs require a different pillow height and firmness from those who sleep on their sides and stomachs. If you are a side sleeper, then here are some guidelines for you in finding the best pillow.
A Quick Overview on Pillows for Side Sleepers
A large number of people all over the world sleep on one side at night. For some reason, it proves to be one of the most comfortable ways to doze off, especially if you share a bed with someone else (like your spouse) and you like to snuggle close to get some extra warmth and intimacy.
However, side sleeping is only the second best sleeping position, according to experts. While it’s great for improving the circulation to the heart (especially if you sleep on the left side), relieves pressure to the lower back, and ease heartburn and acid reflux, it can put pressure on the stomach and lungs.
Your arms can also get squished, affecting your muscles and nerves. This position also forces your shoulder to take the brunt of your weight, causing some constriction on the neck and shoulder muscles. Sometimes, sleeping on the side can also cause hip and neck pains, especially if your bed and pillow doesn’t provide ample support to those areas.
Finding a pillow that suits you is essential to lessen its negative effects. Experts suggest that if you sleep on your side, you need at least three pillows to cushion the problem areas in aligning your body properly while sleeping:
- A pillow for your head and neck that won’t let it tilt down or push it too far forward. According to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiolgical Therapeutics, the most ideal pillow height is 10 cm or about four inches above the mattress.
- A small pillow for your waist so your midsection won’t curve down and burrow into the mattress.
- A knee pillow between your legs so your legs will be properly supported and pressure can be relieved from your hips, joints, and lower back.
Of course, it’s entirely up to you whether you want to have all three kinds of pillows when you sleep at night. Some mattresses and mattress toppers can actually provide great support for the hips, so the need for a pillow for your midsection can be eliminated. However, if your mattress doesn’t provide support of that sort, you might feel more comfortable with a pillow.
What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Pillows for Side Sleepers
When shopping for a pillow that will suit the needs of a side sleeper, there are a number of things to consider. These factors will help you make sure that you’re picking the best product that will match your needs and help you sleep better even if your sleeping position proves to be a challenge in terms of getting ample support.
So, what are the things you need to consider before picking out a pillow for side sleeping? They are listed below:
Pillows come in a wide array of materials nowadays so you always have several choices as to which one to go for. You need to pay close attention to what’s inside your pillow as these things can have a direct effect on your zzz’s. If you have respiratory issues or allergies, being very particular about your pillow’s material is highly important.
As you put your face directly on top of these things, you’re definitely exposed to what’s inside for long periods of time, so you need to find something that won’t have a negative effect on your health. Various materials also have different ways of supporting your head, so you’ll need to really take note of what pillow make to go for.
Here are some popular options for pillows:
- Memory foam – Known to follow the contours of your head, neck and shoulders, this type of pillow stuffing guarantees ample support for your head. As it follows the shape of your body, you can be sure that it can prop your head up in the right level to achieve proper spinal alignment. However, some brands may get too hot and can sometimes emit a chemical smell that can also affect sleep.
- Down feather – One of the oldest types of pillow stuffings, you can find down feather pillows almost everywhere. They’re soft and luxurious and can be a bit pricey. They’re not for those who have allergies, though, especially if your system can’t handle dust as these products tend to be a magnet for them.
- Latex foam – If you want to rest your head on a soft and luxurious pillow without sneezing your head off, latex foam can be a great option. Made from natural rubber, these products have the right balance of softness and firmness, making it a highly comfortable option for all kinds of sleepers. It’s also great for side sleepers because this material provides great support and can follow the contours of your body. It’s a lot like memory foam, but it doesn’t heat up, making it a lot comfier. It’s a bit pricier than other options, though, especially with the rising demand for such products, but there are lots of affordable options if you know where to look.
- Polyester filled – If you want the most affordable options, polyester filled pillows are the way to go. These are filled with polyester fiber, making them fluffy and soft to touch. They vary greatly depending on the density of the filling, so you’ll want to be very particular when shopping for one. They can accumulate dust and wear out pretty fast, though, so replacement could be necessary every so often. Good thing they’re affordable, so you won’t feel so bad having to get a new pair of polyester pillows regularly.
- Buckwheat – Natural stuffings like buckwheat are also pretty common options for pillows. These are actually great for side sleepers because they’re easy to adjust. You can easily add or reduce the amount of fill in the pillow to determine the right height and support you need when you sleep on your side. It’s very breathable, guaranteeing that you won’t feel stuffy as the night wears on. As it is also made from natural ingredients, it can be good for your health and the environment. The only disadvantages for these pillows are the noises the buckwheat tend to make, as well as its heavy weight.
- Cotton filled – For a breathable and healthy pillow, a lot of homeowners rely on cotton filled pillows. Offering the right balance between soft and firm, these pillows are ideal for back and side sleepers with its considerable height. If you also get to find a 100% cotton pillow, you don’t have to worry too much about allergies and getting hot while asleep.
Not all pillows are made equally, so you need to be very careful in choosing one based on its quality. Aside from making sure that the fills are 100% made from your stuffing of choice, you should also look into the craftsmanship of its casing, so your pillow won’t fall apart after a few uses.
Your pillow should also feel comfortable for you, so you can be sure that it can help lull you to sleep. Make sure to test out a few pillows so you know how they feel like and make sure to learn about their return policy before making a purchase. This way, you can be sure to get the right pillow that will cater to your needs.
Our Top Picks: Pillows for Side Sleepers
To help you find a great pillow that suits you, we have created the best pillow for side sleepers reviews to help you get to know your top options and enable you to make an informed decision. Check it out:
Made from US grown buckwheat hulls, the ComfySleep Buckwheat Pillow offers great customizable support and comfort for side sleepers.
With a cover made from durable organic cotton twill, it’s safe and hypollergenic, as well as good for the environment.
Each package also comes with an extra pound of buckwheat so you can customize how soft or firm the pillow will be. As the filling can shift inside the pillow casing, you can adjust it easily to follow the contours of your neck and shoulders.
This allows the product to be at your needed height, ensuring that your head is properly aligned to your body, eliminating neck and shoulder pains.
Another interesting fact about this product is that each item is sewn by Mennonite women with YKK invisible zipper and Gutermann thread from Germany. So, if you’re the type who like supporting cottage industry businesses, this product is definitely worth a shot.
Designed to replicate the luxurious feel of goose down pillows for those who have allergies, this SleepBetter pillow is definitely luxe as it is made with 100% cotton packed with a 300 thread count 100% cotton casing.
Filled with micro denier gel fiber that feels like goose down, it is ideal for all sleep positions.
Bendable and bunchable to adjust to the height that you need, it still manages to keep its shape well. Although, it’s a bit heavy, it’s soft enough for you to put your arm under it without the pillow squeezing the life out of your limb. It’s also hypoallergenic, so you can be sure that you won’t find issues in resting your head in them for long periods of time.
Tempur-Pedic is one of the most trusted memory foam mattress manufacturers in the world so it shouldn’t surprise you that they also produce great pillows that will help you get a good night’s sleep.
The NeckPillow is made especially to make you more comfortable as a side sleeper as it is designed to properly support the head and neck by filling in the gap between the shoulder and the neck with its ergonomic shape. This design helps relieve pressure from the shoulder and ensures that your head is at the right angle to avoid straining the neck muscles.
Made from high grade viscoelastic polyurethane foam, this pillow offers a firm surface to rest your head on. It comes with a removable and washable cover that is dust mite and allergen-resistant, making it safe for those with allergies. It can also last a long while, so if you’re worried about the price, you can always think of it as an investment on your comfort.
Latex foam is deemed to be a better option than memory foam as it is made from natural ingredients, consistent in its firmness, and breathable.
This is why side sleepers can also enjoy the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow, as it is in the running for being the best pillow for side sleepers for the money with its affordable price and uncompromising quality.
Naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to microbe growth, this latex foam pillow won’t pose health problems to sleepers. It’s also great for side sleepers, as it is able to keep its molded form and ability to keep your head properly aligned while lying down despite years of use. It’s also soft on the face, so you get to be comfortable all over.
Offering generous loft that will provide ample height for proper spinal alignment, the Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow is designed for side sleepers but can also work with back sleepers.
Made with gel memory foam combined with the Cool Vent design, you won’t sleep hot with this product as both aims to provide cooling comfort that will keep the pillow in the optimal sleep temperature.
Although this pillow is soft-firm, it contours to your head and shoulders nicely, giving a nice cradling effect to your head as you sleep. This design also allows it to properly support the neck, so you won’t wake up with strained necks and aching joints.
To keep your spine aligned properly while you sleep, side sleepers might also need to wedge a pillow on the side of your stomach. This is definitely on a case to case basis, especially if your mattress doesn’t provide ample support for side sleeping and you feel hip pains in the morning.
This product is actually a pretty huge pillow that will cover you from the head to your hips.
It is ergonomically designed as a wedge pillow so your upper body is elevated to provide relief for health issues like GERD, snoring, acid reflux, and sleep apnea.
Even if you don’t suffer from any of these, it’s still a pretty comfortable surface to lie on. Made of firm polyurethane foam with a top layer of memory foam, it contours to your body while providing firm support. It also comes with a removeable cover, making it breathable for an optimal sleeping temperature and easy to keep clean.
If your mattress don’t provide ample support on your hips when you sleep at night but a mattress topper is not an ideal option for you, this Ultra Slim Sleeper Memory Foam Pillow can be the best pillow to cushion the side of your hips when you sleep.
Extremely thin at 2.5 inches for a pillow, it is typically used by back sleepers who can’t find comfort in taller pillows. For side sleepers, it can double as a hip pillow, cushioning your side nicely and ensuring your spine is aligned properly as you catch some zzz’s.
Knee pillows are designed to provide support to the hips and joints when you sleep on your side. The pillow will actually prevent your upper leg from resting on a lower surface and pulling your spine out of alignment.
Designed especially to keep thighs and knees comfortably apart, this leg pillow is made to maintain hip and knee alignments properly.
With its unique shape, it will keep your legs in place all night long, so you don’t have to worry about misusing it.
Made from memory foam, this Dreamsweet product is comfortable and durable. It also comes with a soft velour cover, making it a lot cozier.
Recommended by physicians, the Knee-T DLX Memory Foam Knee Pillow is another excellent product made for side sleepers.
With an anatomically correct design, it is definitely able to provide ample support for your legs, preventing it from misaligning while you sleep.
This Knee-T knee pillow also comes with a strap to keep the pillow in place during the night. Made from hypoallergenic materials and CertiPUR certified memory foam, you can be sure of the quality of this product. Some even last for more than ten years, guaranteeing durability and longevity.
The InteVision Four Position Support Pillow may not seem like much at first glance due to its half cylindrical design, but it is actually a pretty handy pillow to have.
It is specially designed to provide support to the knees, whether you want to place it in between or under them.
It can also be used as a travel and lumbar support pillow, giving you more bang for your buck. Made from highly resilient memory foam, this pillow will surely provide comfort and support at the same time. It also comes with an Egyptian cotton cover, making it extra nice to touch.
Making a Choice
Finding the best pillow for side sleepers may require a bit of research and you’ll have to check several options so you can arrive at the right decision. Good thing there are lots of options available in the market today and a great amount of information is readily available to help you pick the finest product.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the choices, start with the ones in this list. With the right pillow, you will always look forward to getting a restful sleep so you can be re-invigorated every morning.