More people prefer side sleeping than any other sleep position. If you are a side sleeper, the best mattress should provide adequate cushioning and support in order to promote even spinal alignment. That said, we’ve found that it’s just as important to choose the proper pillow while sleeping in this position. Side sleepers generally need thicker pillows to fill the space beneath their head and neck. Pillows that are too thin do not provide enough cushioning, while excessively thick pillows can interfere with spinal alignment and lead to more pressure points.
Our team came up with a list of the best pillows for side sleepers. These selections are based on our own product research and hands-on testing. We evaluated criteria such as firmness, support, pressure relief, and overall comfort.
Side-sleeping is “one of the healthiest sleeping positions because of its ability to improve spinal alignment, reduce the risk of snoring, and reduce back pain,” Cushner tells us. But to achieve the perfect spine, neck, and head alignment, choosing the right pillow is key. Dr. Rennes Toussaint-Keshinro, a chiropractor and mental-health coach, tells us that a side sleeper should “maintain a neutral position/posture of the back,” which means your pillow should lift your head high enough that it lines up with your neck and your spine but not so high that it puts painful stress on that area.
75 percent latex, 25 percent polyester fiber fill | Adjustable loft | Adjustable firmness | Machine-washable cover With a unique “U” shaped design, JIUZE’s side-sleeping pillow nestles into the space between your head, neck, and shoulders like a puzzle piece to create the ideal spine alignment. It’s filled with a blend of soft and supportive noodled latex and polyester fiber, and you can adjust the height and firmness by removing or adding filling. According to Cushner, most side sleepers need medium-to-high-loft pillows that provide “enough cushioning for the head and neck without sinking too low,” so the customizable fill level will help you figure out the loft that works best for your body. The filling is encased in a liner that is protected by a machine-washable exterior cover.
Loft: Loft, or thickness, is arguably the most important consideration for side sleeping. Most side sleepers need medium to high loft pillows that provide enough cushioning for the head and neck without sinking too low. If your thickness preferences vary by night, you may be a good candidate for a pillow with adjustable loft levels.
Support: Support refers to how well the pillow maintains an even surface for your head and neck. Spinal alignment is imperative for side sleepers, so you’ll want a pillow that doesn’t sink too much or elevate your head excessively. We’ve tested a vast array of pillows and have found that models with solid foam or latex cores typically provide the best support.
Firmness Level: A pillow that feels too soft will probably sink too much beneath your head, leading to alignment issues and the potential for added pressure. If the pillow is too firm, then you may experience discomfort around the neck and shoulders. Pillows with mid-level firmness are usually the best choice for side sleepers because they provide a balance of contouring and support.
Pressure Relief: Many side sleepers feel pressure in the shoulders and hips because their mattress is not supportive enough. Likewise, pressure points may develop around the neck and shoulders if the side sleeper’s pillow does not keep these areas aligned with the spine. For this reason, side sleepers generally need a supportive pillow that also contours to the body.
Shape: Some fill materials compress over time, causing the pillow to flatten and feel less comfortable. You’ll need to regularly fluff these pillows in order to give them a full shape. Other materials, such as solid foam and latex, maintain their shape with less effort.
Price: Theprice of a pillow largely depends on its material components. We’ve observed that pillows made of polyfoam, down alternative, and feathers typically have the lowest price-points, while those with memory foam, latex, down, and buckwheat hulls tend to be the most expensive models. That said, you should be able to find a high-quality pillow with any fill material for $150 or less in a queen size.
Quality Materials: The materials used to construct a pillow’s cover and inner components can impact a wide range of qualities, including durability, temperature regulation, and shape retention. You may pay more for a pillow with higher-quality components, but you can also count on more longevity and stronger performance from many of these models.