Updated April 9, 2021Side sleeping is the most popular sleeping position, particularly among women, the elderly, and overweight adults. It’s also the healthiest sleep position because it promotes neutral spinal alignment better than all other sleeping positions.Regardless, how comfortable you’ll be while side sleeping depends on how well your bedding system and pillow supports you. Your pillow’s job is to keep your head and neck aligned with your spine and ensure you have good posture while sleeping.We’ve shared some of the best pillows for side sleepers along with some tips on how to choose the right pillow for you.Best Pillows for Side SleepersBest Overall Pillow for Side Sleepers: Amerisleep Comfort Classic PillowBest Cooling Pillow for Side Sleepers: Zoma PillowBest Budget Pillow for Side Sleepers: Vaya PillowBest Pillows for Side Sleepers OverviewPillowHighlightPriceAmerisleep Comfort Classic PillowResponsive, plant-based memory foam designed to keep you cool$90Zoma PillowAdjustable pillow built to promote muscle recovery and pain relief$75Vaya PillowResponsive foam filling that won't become flat or unsupportive$60Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper PillowUnique curved design to cradle the head, neck, and shoulders$130Coop Home Goods Eden Adjustable PillowMalleable pillow with extra fill to customize pillow loft$60Purple Harmony PillowUnique foam pillow with a latex core for durability and bounce$159Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow SetHypoallergenic and affordable pillow set$80Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper PillowAn inexpensive, yet supportive pillow for side sleepers$241. Amerisleep Comfort Classic PillowThe Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow is supportive and bouncy for side sleepers, all while staying lightweight and cool.The Comfort Classic Pillow is made from Bio-Pur®, Amerisleep’s plant-based memory foam. Amerisleep uses eco-friendly castor oil to partially replace the petroleum in memory foam since it’s more durable and breathable. Compared to petroleum, castor oil is also less harsh on your skin and minimizes the chance of breathing problems.The pillow also features cooling channels to ensure airflow and help you stay cool at night. It’s also encased in a moisture-wicking cover to further prevent hot sleeping.The Comfort Classic Pillow is 6 inches tall, making it perfect for side sleepers. The pillow is also CertiPUR-US® certified, meaning it’s free of harmful chemicals and won’t have an unpleasant smell upon first using it.Amerisleep offers a 10-year warranty for the Comfort Classic Pillow and ships it to your home for free.2. Zoma PillowThe Zoma Pillow is an adjustable pillow designed to enhance muscle recovery, soothe pain, and promote airflow. Having an adjustable pillow is a good idea if you’re not an exclusive side sleeper and tend to change positions throughout the night. Regardless, the Zoma Pillow still works for those who sleep solely on their side.With the hundreds of shredded MicroCushions™—Zoma’s durable, lightweight foam—you can adjust the pillow’s loft and firmness to ensure you’re extra comfortable. Air can easily flow between the MicroCushions™, preventing you from overheating and getting uncomfortable.The Zoma Pillow is CertiPUR-US® certified and made in the USA. It comes with free shipping and is backed by a 10-year warranty.3. Vaya PillowThe Vaya Pillow is an all-foam pillow with a medium loft. The filling consists of Vaya’s proprietary foam and plush microfibers.This combination allows the pillow to mold to your head and neck to keep your spine neutral throughout the night. Since the Vaya foam has a slight bounce, this pillow will not go flat or lose support over time.Vaya’s foam is also tested by CertiPUR-US® and guaranteed to be free of chemical additives that could be harmful to you and your family. The cover of the Vaya pillow is made with an ultra-soft, microfiber fabric that is perforated to increase airflow. Vaya’s also includes a generous 10-year warranty with each of their pillows.4. Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper PillowIf you’re a side sleeper who struggles with neck pain, take a look at the Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow, a cervical pillow with an ergonomic design. The Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow features a unique curve to accommodate your shoulder while also supporting your neck and head, regardless of what side you are on.The Side-Sleeper Pillow is made of a combination of latex pieces, polyester fibers, and cotton for a supportive feel you can adjust. The pillow cover is made from a blend of organic cotton and polyester and is safe to machine-wash.The pillow has a low-profile zipper—meaning it won’t scratch or irritate you—you can open and add or remove the pillow’s filling to customize the pillow’s loft and firmness.Eli & Elm ships their pillows for free and offers a 45-day trial period along with a 5-year warranty.5. Coop Home Goods Eden Adjustable PillowThe Coop Home Goods Eden Adjustable Pillow is malleable and supportive. Adjustable pillows work well for combination sleepers and side sleepers since they can customize the pillow’s loft and firmness.The Eden Adjustable Pillow is made from shredded, gel-infused memory foam, a malleable and cooling material you can mold and fluff to any shape you please. The pillow comes with an extra half-pound of fill, too, so if it’s not lofty enough, you can make the pillow even fuller.The pillow’s cover is bamboo rayon, a breathable and moisture-wicking fabric. Both the pillow cover and the pillow itself are machine-washable, saving you the hassle of hand-washing or spot-cleaning your pillow.The Eden Adjustable Pillow is vegan, GREENGUARD Gold certified, CertiPUR-US® certified, and hypoallergenic to ensure you and your home are safe.Coop Home Goods makes their pillows in the USA and backs them with a 100-night sleep trial and 5-year warranty.6. Purple Harmony PillowThe Purple Harmony Pillow is a close-conforming, bouncy pillow with a rapid response time. Traditional Purple Grid in other Purple products are a square shape, but the Harmony Pillow’s Purple Grid Hex is a hexagonal shape to maximize airflow and provide a balance of softness and buoyancy.The Harmony Pillow has a Talalay latex core and is encased in Purple Grid Hex, Purple’s proprietary hyperelastic polymer foam. This construction provides plenty of support while staying a bit softer for those who want more cushioning. Latex and Purple Grid Hex are both durable and buoyant so your pillow won’t lose its shape.The Purple Harmony Pillow comes in two high lofts, 6.5 and 7.5 inches, both of which work well for side sleepers. Those with broader shoulders should go for the higher loft, while others can choose the lower loft.Purple offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty for their pillows. The pillows also come with free shipping and returns.7. Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow SetThe Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow Set is a great choice if you enjoy the fluff and luxurious feel of down or feather pillows, but suffer from an allergy or need a more affordable option.The pillow is made from a polyester designed to mimic down and has a cotton cover. The materials are hypoallergenic, so side sleepers with allergies won’t have to worry about dust and other microbes disrupting their sleep.The Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow comes in a set of two. Both pillows come with a 100-night sleep trial, a 2-year limited warranty, and free shipping and returns.8. Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper PillowIf you require an affordable, yet supportive pillow, consider the Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper Pillow. This pillow is made from polyester and has a 300-count cotton cover, both of which are hypoallergenic and machine-washable. The pillow also features 2-inch guests on both sides of the pillow to ensure there is sufficient space between your ear and shoulder.An extra-firm pillow works well for side sleepers who need the sturdiness to prevent their heads from sinking. Using a firmer pillow may also reduce or prevent neck pain entirely.The Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper Pillow is made in the USA and backed by a 3-year warranty.How to Choose the Best Pillow for Side SleepersSide sleepers should look for specific qualities in their pillows to ensure they’re well-supported. The most important features to consider before making a pillow purchase are loft and firmness. Beyond that, you might look into various unique shapes to better support your head and neck.LoftYour pillow’s loft (thickness) is one of the most essential aspects to consider when picking a pillow. Pillow loft impacts how well your head and neck is aligned with your spine and should be just tall enough to keep your body straight.As a side sleeper, your hips and shoulders raise your head and neck far off from the surface of your mattress. So, you’ll need a loftier pillow to fill this gap and prevent pain, pressure build-up, or discomfort. We suggest choosing a pillow with between a 5 to 7-inch loft to keep your head and neck neutrally aligned.FirmnessEven if you get a high loft pillow, it won’t maintain its thickness if it’s too soft. Pillow firmness is the feel of your pillow when it rests under your head. We recommend a medium or firm pillow for side sleepers to prevent them from sinking or causing the head and neck to curve painfully.ShapeAlthough rectangle pillows do a sufficient job of supporting your head, you might consider looking into pillows designed for side sleepers, such as cervical or body pillows, for specialized support. Let’s take a look:Cervical pillow: Cervical pillows are different types of pillows with curved, ergonomic shapes. They often feature a tall hump to support your neck and a recess under the head to promote neutral alignment.Body pillow: Body pillows are large pillows designed to support your entire body. They come in various shapes and sizes, starting with a simple rectangular pillow to an enormous U-shaped pillow to encircle your body. Body pillows work well for side sleepers and are a good option for pregnant women.Pillow Fills for Side SleepersAlthough choosing a fill can come down to personal preference, different pillow fills offer unique benefits to side sleepers. We recommend lofty fills for side sleepers, such as memory foam, latex, or down.Memory FoamMemory foam is a luxurious material known for relieving pressure and pain. Memory foam pillows closely conform to your body’s curves and have a hug-like feel.The two types of memory foam include block and shredded foam. Block is firm and sturdy while shredded memory foam is malleable, soft, and breathable.Traditional memory foam softens and conforms to your body when it comes into contact with heat, but this only causes the foam to get uncomfortably hot. Look for new types of memory foam containing materials such as gel, graphite, or copper to increase your pillow’s breathability.LatexLatex is similar to memory foam because both conform to your curves, however, latex is more durable and buoyant than memory foam. As a result, latex pillows are usually pricier than memory foam.You might come across cheap latex options, though they’re usually made from synthetic or blended latex instead of all-natural latex. We advise you to avoid synthetic and blended latex since they aren’t as durable or supportive as natural latex. Some synthetic and blended latexes are potentially toxic, as well.Poly-FoamPoly-foam is an alternative to latex or memory foam available in many kinds of variations. Some poly-foam pillows are lower-quality, cheap, and widely available. On the other hand, many bedding companies create proprietary versions of poly-foam which are even better than memory foam or latex.DownDown is a luxurious pillow fill made up of goose and duck feathers. What separates down from feathers is that down is the feathers from the birds’ underbellies; it is soft, durable, and doesn’t have pokey quills.While down is plush, breathable, and fluffy, it often lacks support. So, if you need more support—most side sleepers often do—a down pillow isn’t always the best choice.Down AlternativeDown alternative is an inexpensive material made from polyester constructed to mimic down’s feel. With this in mind, it’s not a perfect alternative to real down. Down alternative is less durable than down—meaning it’ll develop lumps quicker than down—and is prone to getting hot.Buckwheat HullsBuckwheat hulls are the durable outer shell of buckwheat kernels. They’re cool, supportive, and conform well under your head and neck. Despite their high price point, buckwheat hulls can be a bit noisy and are heavy (up to 10 pounds per pillow), making it difficult and annoying to adjust in the middle of the night.Benefits of Side SleepingAlthough experts once praised back sleeping and viewed it as the healthiest sleeping position, side sleeping proves to be better. Side sleeping is not only cozy, but can improve your breathing, reduce pain, and minimize symptoms of specific health conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, acid reflux or heartburn, and pregnancy.Reduced Snoring and Sleep Apnea SymptomsObstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where your breathing stops and starts while you’re asleep. It doesn’t sound so bad, but it can disrupt your sleep, leave you waking up feeling tired, and can potentially suffocate you.When lying on your back, your jaw and tongue relax and gravity causes them to rest in the back of your throat, blocking your airways and causing you to snore. When lying on your side, gravity causes your tongue to rest against the side of your mouth, leaving your airways open and ensuring you can breathe safely.Minimized Back, Neck, and Shoulder PainWhile back sleeping may seem like the solution for bodily aches and pains, side sleeping actually does a better job of relieving pain at night.When using a pillow designed for side sleeping, your head and neck is better aligned with your spine, helping relieve tension and pressure. A good pillow also reduces stiffness and minimizes the potential pains associated with side sleeping, namely around your neck and shoulders. Also, side sleeping eliminates the risk of pressure build-up around your lumbar spine.Our guide on the best pillows for neck pain can also help you find a suitable pillow and find better quality sleep.Decreased Risk of Heartburn or Acid RefluxIf you ever eat a large fatty, salty, or spicy meal before heading to bed, you may experience acid reflux or heartburn, both of which can make it hard to sleep. When you sleep on your back, in particular, stomach acid travels up your body and into your esophagus. On your side, gravity keeps the stomach acid in your stomach, preventing heartburn and acid reflux.Safe for Pregnant WomenPregnant women in their second and third trimester should avoid sleeping on their stomach or back for both their safety and comfort. Side sleeping is the best sleeping position for expecting moms, as it prevents the uterus from pressing against the spine or liver. It also improves the blood circulation to the belly and growing child.However, if side sleeping feels uncomfortable, we suggest propping a pregnancy body pillow under the belly for extra support.FAQsDo side sleepers need a pillow?Above all other sleeping positions, side sleepers need a pillow the most. There’s a large gap between your head and neck and the mattress when you sleep on your side because your shoulders are wide.Sleeping without a pillow causes your head and neck to curve unnaturally, leading to pain, aches, and discomfort. Always use a supportive pillow when sleeping on your side.Should side sleepers use two pillows?You only need to use one pillow under your head at a time. However, you can use a second pillow between your knees to further align your spine and prevent your knees from rubbing together painfully. Some brands sell specific pillows designed to go between your knees, but any pillow technically works.Where do I put my arms when sleeping on my side?When side sleeping, you should keep your arms at your side or in front of you to ensure they receive proper blood circulation. Sleeping with your arms over your head or under your pillow can pinch your shoulder or can lead to a dead arm (capillary crush). While this isn’t a huge issue, it can cause arm and shoulder stiffness, achiness, and numbness the following morning.Does sleeping on my side cause acne or wrinkles?The pressure and friction placed on your face when sleeping on your side may contribute to acne and wrinkles. If you apply skincare products before bed, they might also spread onto your pillow versus being properly absorbed.When side sleeping, using a satin or silk pillowcase causes less friction and may reduce your risk of acne, wrinkles, and even hair frizziness or breakage.Why do my hips hurt when I sleep on my side?Your mattress is likely too firm and causing pressure build-up around your hips. As a side sleeper, you need a thick and soft to medium-soft mattress to cradle your hips and shoulders, the widest parts of the body.We recommend switching your mattress out for something more cushioning, but if that is out of the budget for you, try using a softer, thicker (3 or 4 inches) mattress topper over your current mattress.To read more about the best mattresses for side sleepers, check out our other guide. ConclusionKnowing your sleeping position is the first step to finding the best pillow. As a side sleeper, the primary characteristics you should look for in a pillow are a high loft and adequate firmness. Side sleepers need the most head and neck support since their heads are furthest from their pillows.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.