Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

Not all pillows are created equal. If you sleep on your side, these are the best pillows for you.

When it comes to pillows, one size does not fit all. Not only do different body types require different pillows, but your sleep style also makes a huge difference in the type of support you need from a pillow. And more specifically, if you’re someone who sleeps on your side, you need extra support to fill the space your shoulders create between your neck and the mattress.

What kind of pillow is best for side sleepers? “If you’re a side sleeper, your pillow should take up the space between your head and mattress without tilting your head,” says Jennifer M. Bowser, MD, chiropractor at the Laser Spine Institute. “A great rule to follow is to keep you ears aligned over your shoulders in whatever sleeping position you prefer.”

The best pillow will keep your neck and spine in alignment through the night, according to Dr. Bowser. Poor spinal alignment can of course cause neck and shoulder pain, and it can keep you from sleeping well. Insufficient sleep has a well-documented (and lengthy) list of negative effects on health, including heart disease, decreased libido, obesity, and depression. Good, restful sleep definitely matters.

But what features do we need to look for in a pillow? “You’ll want a firmer pillow,” says Bowser. “Memory foam or gel pillows are great options, but there are many choices available on the market today.” The bottom line is that you want to find a pillow that fits you.

If you sleep on your side, we’ve rounded up the best pillows to help meet your side-sleeping needs.

Sleeping Pure Luxury Side Sleeper Natural Latex Foam and Down Alternative Pillow

The Luxury Side Sleeper Natural Latex Foam and Down Alternative Pillow is designed specifically for side sleepers, and its unique shape is more like a crescent than your standard rectangular pillow (it tucks down under your chin no matter which side you’re lying on). This shape supports your head and neck and helps keep your spine in optimal alignment. This pillow is filled with latex foam filling and poly silk, and it can be raised or lowered so sleepers can find their perfect head position.

Brookstone BioSense 2-in-1 Shoulder Pillow

While memory foam pillows are known for their contouring comfort, they are also known for “off gassing,” or letting off a chemical smell. If you have a sensitive nose and are worried about being able to sleep if your pillow lets off a little too much of an odor, the Brookstone BioSense 2-in-1 Shoulder Pillow for Side Sleepers may be for you. The memory foam is made with green tea, charcoal, and seed oil to control odors. Plus, the shape still gives you the support that you need to keep your neck aligned and happy.

Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow

If you find yourself endlessly looking for the cool side of the pillow, the Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow may be a good option. Not only is it thick enough to adequately and comfortably support side sleepers, but it also contains a gel memory foam that’s designed to disperse body heat. The cool side of the pillow will always be the side that you’re on. It even comes with a mesh cover for optimal airflow that’s breathable and wicks away moisture. Plus, it’s affordable, it’s made in the USA, and it has a five-year warranty.

SRSS Shoulder Support System and Neck Support Pillow Combination

Side sleeping can cause shoulder pain if your pillow isn’t providing adequate support. And the SRSS Shoulder Support System and Neck Support Pillow Combination is one of the best pillows for side sleepers who need lots of support. Think of it as more of a pillow system than a standard rectangular pillow. The system is comprised of a wedge component that elevates you to fit your shoulder down into the pocket above the wedge, alleviating the pressure from your body weight off of your shoulder, and a Neck Support Pillow, which is a separate piece that goes on top of the Shoulder Relief Support Pillow. The neck pillow has an adjustable height option feature to enhance comfort at your level. It it made with a cooling gel memory foam and comes with a custom case and cover. It also includes a custom case and cover, and it’s made with cooling gel memory foam. It’s not the cheapest pillow on our list, but the unique design provides an innovative way of supporting your head and neck you’re not likely to find in another pillow.

MyPillow Premium

Billed as “The World’s Most Comfortable Pillow,” the MyPillow Premium pillow is personalized for the sleeper. To order a MyPillow, you choose your desired size and fill level (selections include least firm, regular fill, more fill, and firm; recommendations are based on your sleeping position and size). And if for some reason it doesn’t meet your needs, it’s covered by a 10-year warranty, and you have 60 days to try it out without risk.

Drift The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow

The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow features a curved shape that is specifically designed to support a side sleeper’s spinal alignment, but reviewers say that it’s even comfortable if you occasionally sleep on your back. You can also unzip this pillow and add or remove the unique fill made of shredded cooling gel foam and silk fiber to customize the loft to perfectly fit your neck. The fill maintains its shape and substance, so you won’t have to worry about the pillow flattening out or feeling lumpy.

Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper Pillow

Who doesn’t love a full-sized pillow at a mini-sized price? The Wamsutta Extra-Firm Side Sleeper Pillow is just that. It offers the firm support side sleepers need at an extremely reasonable price. As the name would suggest, this is an extra-firm pillow, so side sleepers won’t lack support as with softer pillows that sink in too much. The Wamsutta is made of 100% polyester fill and features a 2″ gusset that provides firm support while you sleep.

Sarah Kovac