Lifestyle

The 8 Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

Stop stiffness with one of these pillows.
By Emily Shiffer
May 20, 2022

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If your preferred sleep position is on your side, you are in the majority of adult sleepers. A 2019 review published in BMJ Open found that 60 percent of adults reported that they preferred to sleep on their side (1).

“For adults, side sleeping is generally preferred because it tends to put the airway in the most favorable position,” says Chris Winter, MD, neurologist, sleep specialist, and author of The Rested Child and The Sleep Solution. “This creates less breathing obstructions (sleep apnea) and snoring, which every bed partner likes! For some people with sleep apnea, their condition can be treated simply by changing their body position.”

There are tons of benefits that side sleeping provides your body. It’s been studied to reduce your risk of snoring (2), sleep apnea (2), heartburn (3), and back pain (1).

So what do side sleepers need in a pillow? According to the Sleep Foundation (5, 6), side sleepers need a pillow that falls on the thicker side, which helps to provide cushioning and fills in the space void between the head and neck that naturally occurs when side sleeping. Think: fabrics like latex and memory foam. This helps keep your neck and spine in proper alignment, and prevents additional pressure from falling on your neck. The addition of a pillow between your legs can also help side sleepers greatly by keeping your knees aligned while also reducing pressure. And this translates to less low back strain.

If you’re in the market for pillows to help side sleepers get better sleep, we’ve rounded up eight of the best pillows for side sleepers below.

The Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

Saatva Latex Pillow

Best Overall

Saatva’s latex pillow promises “hotel-quality”, and its 3-layer latex pillow is made of high-quality materials that are all hypoallergenic. The brand notes that it washes its natural latex filling five times with fresh water, which removes any of the latex proteins that cause allergies. It includes a 100% organic cotton pillow cover, followed by a cotton and microdenier fiber filling that covers the 100% shredded natural latex core. Plus, you can try it out for 45 days, and if you don’t love it, you can send it back for a full refund.

RejuveNite Latex Pillow

Best Value

This latex pillow is a great value, and also has great ratings on Amazon. It comes in three different sizes (Standard, Queen and King), so you can choose the one that fits your bed best. It also comes with a 100% cotton cover which will help keep it clean and cool. Plus, it’s made in the United States.

BEDGEAR Glacier Performance Pillow

Most Luxurious

This pillow is on the pricier side, but credits its cooling abilities to a VerTex cooling cover, mesh gussets and air vents that keep cool air flowing. (Plus, it has a medium firmness polyester and latex fill. Dr. Winter uses this pillow himself, and speaks highly of it. “It’s cold and supportive and fits my body perfectly.”

Purple Harmony Pillow

Best Multi-Layer Pillow

This Purple Harmony Pillow has a whopping 5 layers to it for tons of support. It includes an outer moisture-wicking mesh cover that protects the brand’s Grid Hex gel layer, which looks like a lattice all over the pillow and includes 2,000 open-air channels that helps the pillow retain its shape as you change positions, while simultaneously keeping you cool. And finally, the Talalay latex core offers the majority of the pillow’s support. You also choose your pillow “height”: low, medium, and tall. Side sleepers should go with medium or high, according to Purple.

Cut & Sewn Latex Side Sleeper Bed Pillow for Sleeping

Best Ergonomic Pillow

The first thing you’ll notice about this Cut & Sown pillow is the curved design to help side sleepers fit it between their head and shoulders. It has a fluffy latex and polyester filling that you can actually remove yourself for a more customized fit, and an organic cotton cover to keep you cool.

Pillow Cube Ice CubeCooling Pillow

Best Height Variations

The Pillow Cube was made specifically (and intended for) side sleepers. Plus, this pillow prioritizes keeping you cool throughout the night thanks to its 60° Memory Foam Core that is made of viscoelastic polyurethane (aka memory foam), which helps keep air flowing through it all night. It comes in 5 different sizes and heights (from a square 12”x12” to rectangular 12”x24”, and heights ranging from 4”-6”. The brand has a video to help you decide which size is best for you.)

Cushion Lab Deep Sleep Pillow

Best Contoured Pillow

The shape of this Cushion Lab pillow is pretty unique, and was developed by the brand over 2 years. The shape creates a zero-pressure surface, which is great for the necks of side sleepers. And it has a “sweeping shoulder” curve that will allow side sleepers to snug closer to the pillow with full support on both sides.

Coop Orthopedic Knee Pillow

Best For Knees

Side sleepers who utilize a pillow to keep between their legs will love this one from Coop Home Goods. It will help take the pressure of your upper leg and hips while you sleep while helping to keep your spine aligned. It’s made of memory foam, and also comes with a removable 1” insert so you can adjust and customize the pillow for whatever fits your body best.

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