The Best Pillows For Side Sleepers
The amount of pillow options for side sleepers is vast well help break down what to look for in a side sleeping pillow and give you our picks for the best ones.
At Mattress Advisor, youll find comprehensive, unbiased reviews on the best mattresses and bedding products and thoroughly researched tips for getting your best sleep.
Side sleeping happens to be the most common sleep position: approximately 56% of people sleep on their sides or in the fetal position. Head and neck support is crucial in this position, and not all pillows offer that, meaning over half the population may not be getting all the benefits of sleep simply because of their pillow.
But we are here to help. Well share what weve discovered to be the best pillows for side sleepers everywhere and help you understand why your pillow choice is so important for good sleep.
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What Were Looking For:
Loft: The loft, or height, of your pillow is a crucial factor for side sleepers to consider. Dr. Toussaint-Keshinro explains that keeping your head, neck, and shoulders in a neutral and even position is most important. If a pillow is too flat or too high, it can create an uneven muscle tone in the neck and shoulders, leading to spasms over time. While there isnt a formula to figure out the ideal loft of your pillow, Dr. Dennis Colonello, celebrity and professional-athlete chiropractor at Peak Wellness and all33 co-founder, suggests that your pillow be around four inches off of your mattress. But dont go breaking out your ruler just yet, as there is wiggle room with this number. For taller people with broader shoulders, a higher loft may be more comfortable, and conversely, a petite person with more narrow shoulders will likely rest comfortably with a lower loft.
Firmness: All of our experts agreed that medium-firm pillows tend to be the best option for people sleeping on their side. While there is room for personal preference here, a medium-firm pillow helps your head stay in the right position without sinking while you sleep. For people who like to dream on a bed that feels like fresh brioche buns instead of a firmer surface, gusseted-down and down-alternative pillows can be a plush compromise. Additionally, Cushner and Foley suggest memory foam pillows, as they sort of mimic the softness of down by contouring to your body, while still providing support.
Why Trust The Spruce
This article was written by Cristina Sanza, a lifestyle writer specializing in home products and organization hacks. She reviews the latest and greatest home products for The Spruce. Her work has been featured on Bustle, Ranker, Inside The Magic, and Upright Citizens Brigade. For this list, she used insights from product testers, who slept on each pillow for weeks, evaluating the durability, softness, and comfort of each.
For additional background on pillows, we spoke to Dr. Samantha March-Howard, doctor of chiropractic at 100% Chiropractic office in Dunwoody, Georgia, as well as Robert Hayden, DC, chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. Additional reporting was done by Ashley Abramson, a writer whose work has appeared in MyDomaine, the New York Times, Washington Post, Allure, InStyle, and more.
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How Thick Should A Pillow Be For Side Sleepers
Generally, side sleepers should aim for a pillow thats 3 to 6 inches thick the goal is to keep your head and neck in a straight line with your spine. That said, your pillow shouldnt be so high that it makes your head tilt, nor should it be so low that it collapses toward your shoulders.
If youre unsure or if your preferences change, adjustable pillows are a smart choice for all sleepers. These include the Leesa Hybrid, the Drift Side Sleeper Pillow, the Layla Kapok Pillow and the Coop Adjustable Loft Pillow, all on this list.
Best Pillows For Side Sleepers
Welcome, side sleepers! If youre reading this, that means youre well on your way to finding the right pillow to support you in your go-to position. Yes, its true that there are literally hundreds maybe thousands! of options out there, but Ive saved you some time and energy by rounding up the 10 that I think are the absolute best pillows for side sleepers.
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Best Overall Pillow For Back Sleepers
Parachute Down Pillow
The Parachute Down Pillow is made with European down for luxurious support.
With three densities including soft, medium, and firm you can pick the perfect pillow for your preferred sleeping style. For back sleepers, the medium-density pillow offers softness with a moderate amount of fluff to keep your spine properly aligned.
Hundreds of self-proclaimed back and side sleepers praise the pillows comfort and support in both positions.
This pillow comes with a 3-year warranty but no trial period. It can be dry cleaned or machine washed.
Sleep Trials Returns And Warranties
Sleep trials are a frequent perk with mattresses these days, but they are not as common when it comes to pillows. Depending on the brand, sleep trials for pillows last anywhere from 30-120 days.
Return policies will typically coincide with sleep trial you can return the pillow within the sleep trial window for a full refund. However, if the company does not offer a sleep trial, you will need to do some research on their conditions for returns.
Pillow warranties can also vary, but the average length is 3-5 years, with some companies even offering lifetime warranties. Pillow warranties cover defects in the material or workmanship beyond normal use, such as seams coming apart, sagging, or changes in the shape.
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Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
Customer rating: 4 out of 5 stars
If you hate the sinking feeling of memory foam, opt for a pillow made of latex foam instead. Supportive natural latex helps cradle the head and neck while you rest easy on your side. The organic cotton cover is said to be breathable, easy to clean, and soft to the touch.
The pillow is also hypoallergenic and available in a low or high loft. High is likely the best choice for side sleepers.
Side sleepers like that the pillow provides plenty of neck support without being too firm. A handful of customers also appreciate that it doesnt sleep hot like memory foam.
The brand offers free shipping, a 30-night trial, and a 3-year warranty.
How To Choose The Best Pillow For Side Sleepers
With so many options available, it can feel dizzying trying to find the perfect pillow. However, we believe the most important thing to consider is spinal alignment. Side sleepers will want to make sure their ears line up with their shoulders and their chins align with their sternums. Selecting the correct pillow with the proper loft should prevent and alleviate aches and pains along your neck.
So, how do you reach a neutral alignment when youre resting on your side? Keep reading to learn more about what you should look for.
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Choosing The Right Pillow Materials For Side
The pillow fill material you choose has a big impact on how your pillow feels. While the right loft and firmness level for side sleepers are fairly universal, fill materials can impact more specific preferences. For example, do you want a pillow that feels warm or cool? Bouncy or moldable? Lets go over a few different pillow materials:
Coop Home Goods Eden Adjustable Pillow
Coop Home Goods believes that the secret to improving your day is through a good night s sleep. For this to happen to everyone, they decided to create pillows and beddings that are truly designed to help you sleep.
Because we sleep in different positions, there should also be different pillows that could accommodate our needs. With Coop Home Goods, you will find quality choices that are designed to embrace the needs of different sleepers and body types.
Unlike the first pillow we looked at, the Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow comes in three different sizes: standard, queen, and king. With this, you can choose the right size to match your mattress. Regardless of the size, you can adjust the firmness of this pillow by adding or removing the fill. If you are someone who gets hot when sleeping, this is the pillow of choice for you. For its fill, it boasts a blend of microfiber fill and gel-infused memory foam, providing you with a cooler night s sleep.
The case is made of Lulltra fabric for improved softness and breathability. This fabric is a combination of polyester and viscose rayon derived from bamboo. It has a gusseted design to achieve all-around support. What s more, it is resistant to dust mites and contains no allergens.
- Comes with a five-year warranty
- Can be adjusted to your needs
- Supportive and soft at the same time
- Comes with a bonus fill
- Cruelty-free and vegan
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Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow
When you look at a person s normal day, it comes at no surprise that it can be quite stressful. As such, we all just need to relax and recharge at the end of every day. Sleep Restoration understands this, which is why they do what they do.
Sleep Restoration is a company that is focused on providing you with products to help you sleep better. Their line consists of everything you could ever want in your bedroom, including duvet cover sets, down comforters, heating pads, and, of course, pillows.
Depending on the size of your mattress, you will find a matching pillow from Sleep Restoration. This gel pillow, for instance, is available in three different sizes, which are standard, queen, and king. Each of these is budget-friendly and sure to give you your money s worth.
This pillow, as its name suggests, is filled with gel fiber, which is an extra-plush material that you won t find in cheaper options. This fill is made of 100% polyester and is guaranteed to accommodate any kind of sleeper.
If you are someone who tosses and turns as you sleep, you will be glad to know that this pillow is designed to have a no-shift construction. This means that not only will you be able to sleep after but also stay asleep. Indeed, this pillow will give you the comfort, luxury, and style that your room deserves.
- Available in packs of two
- Durable enough to withstand machine-washing
- Not too firm or too soft
- Some arrive with tears in the packaging
- Needs to fluff up for eight to 10 hours
What Should Side Sleepers Look For In A Pillow
The main thing a side sleeper should look for in a pillow is a thicker and firmer pillow. Pillows with a medium-firm feel to them will support your head and neck when lying down and help to keep your body aligned. Side sleepers may also want to consider a pillow between your knees for spine alignment. That’s why we recommend going for firmer materials like memory foam and latex.
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Best Adjustable Pillow For Side Sleepers: Amerisleep Flex Pillow
The filling of the Amerisleep Flex Pillow is specially designed to suit any sleep position, as it can be fluffed up or flattened to suit different tastes. Inside the pillow, hundreds of MicroFlex cushioned mold to the curves of the head and neck to keep you supported and resting in a safe sleep position. You can reshape this pillow night after night to fit your specific needs.
Since Amerisleeps MicroFlex cushions are shredded, warm air is able to escape quickly, preventing the pillow from becoming too warm and uncomfortable. The soft cover the Flex Pillows is also made with an airy, ventilated fabric that ensures proper air circulation, so you can sleep cooler and undisturbed throughout the night.
The Amerisleep Flex Pillow comes with a 10-year warranty. It is also available in two different sizesqueen and king.
AMERISLEEP FLEX PILLOW
How To Find The Best Pillow
The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for a top-quality sleeping pillow is whether or not it helps you maintain a healthy sleeping position. After that, you can look at things such as the materials used, the design, price, etc. In essence, it all boils down to your specific needs and tastes.
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What Is Real Simple Selects
Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our teamput through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn’t an option. If that’s the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible.
Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our team of sleep experts includes a wide range of sleep positions and body weights so we can determine the best pillows for every type of sleeper. We rigorously test countless models, making assessments based on important performance criteria, such as pressure relief, breathability, and firmness level. This allows us to help you determine the best pillow model for you.
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Can You Wash Feather Pillows
Most feather pillows can be washed, but make sure to read the label to determine what cleaning method to use. Some feather pillows are machine-washable with cold water or a delicate setting. Other pillows may need dry cleaning.
You can fluff some feather pillows in the dryer with a low heat or air fluff setting. Machine washing two pillows together can help ensure that the washing machine doesnt get out of balance.
Pillows of all types need cleaning at least every six months to prevent the buildup of dead skin cells, sweat, and oil.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Feather Pillow
Some feather pillows contain all feathers or all down, while others may have a mix of the two. If you dont want your head to sink deeply into the pillow, you may prefer a pillow with more feathers than down, as this type of pillow tends to have more structure.
The Federal Trade Commission mandates how companies label their feather and down pillows. The materials used to construct the pillow should be listed in the product description and on the pillow tags. Feathers and down are typically sourced from ducks or geese.
FillFeather pillows can contain down, feathers, or a feather/down blend. Pillows with 100% down can be harder to find and more expensive. Pillows with more feathers than down tend to be more affordable. Pillows that are filled with 50% to 80% down tend to balance the plush feel of down with the structure and support of feathers. Synthetic down alternative pillows are also available.
Sleeping PositionYour sleeping position and your pillow should work together to support your head, neck, and spine. The loft and firmness of the feather pillow you choose should help you maintain spinal alignment. Side sleepers usually benefit from a thicker, firmer pillow. Pillows with lower lofts are more suitable for individuals who sleep on their backs or stomachs.
Quality MaterialsMaterial quality affects multiple factors, including support, comfort, temperature, and moldability. High-quality down and feather fill is more likely to keep its shape over time.
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Who Is Best Suited To A Feather Pillow
People who sleep on their backs or sides and like to cuddle their pillow may prefer a feather pillow. Depending on the materials and construction, feather pillows can also be beneficial for hot sleepers.
Feather pillows may not be advantageous for people with allergies, those who awaken easily from noise, or consumers who prefer vegan products.
Feather pillows are particularly suitable for:
- Side and Back Sleepers: People who like to sleep on their side or back may find feather pillows quite comfortable. Back sleepers tend to benefit from a medium loft pillow that conforms to the shape of their head and neck. Side sleepers typically need a high loft pillow that keeps the head and neck aligned.
- Sleepers Who Cuddle the Pillow: Feather pillows can be ideal for side sleepers and others who like cuddling their pillow. Feather pillows are highly moldable. Sleepers can shape the feather pillow for the ideal sleeping position and preferences.
- People Who Sleep Hot: Sleepers who easily get overheated at night may appreciate a feather pillow. Feathers trap less heat than other materials, which can help keep sleepers comfortable throughout the night. However, down is more likely to retain heat, which may make hot sleepers less comfortable.
Feather pillows are less suitable for:
Which Feather Pillow Sizes Are Available
Feather pillows are typically available in the following sizes, though sizing and availability will vary between manufacturers.
- Standard: Typically measuring 20 inches by 26 inches, standard is the most common pillow size. It also tends to be the most affordable. Standards fit well on twin, twin XL, or full mattresses. Couples who share larger beds can use standard size pillows as well.
- Super Standard: This size usually measures 20 inches wide and 28 inches long. People who find standard pillows too small may prefer the super standard. This size is less common.
- Queen: Queen size pillows are common. They typically measure 20 inches wide by 30 inches long. The queen size may be an ideal choice for sleepers who shift positions or move around during the night.
- King: King pillows measure 20 inches wide and 36 inches long. Like the queen size, the king size suits sleepers who move around while sleeping. The larger size also makes it suitable for people who sleep on a king size bed, or those who like to have a backrest while sitting up in bed.
- Body Pillow: Body pillows can be 54 inches or longer. Feather and down body pillows are less common, but many body pillows are filled with down alternative. A body pillow supports a variety of sleeping positions, especially for pregnant women or people who like snuggling with a pillow while sleeping.
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