Finding The Best Pillow For Side Sleepers
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Since the side sleeping position is by far the most popular among adults, its only natural that weve been investigating what the best pillow for side sleepers looks and feels like. And though there are many reported benefits to sleeping on your sidelike reduced sleep apneawhen done improperly, it can cause neck and shoulder strain, potentially leading to nerve pain and soft tissue issues in the spine.
Pittsburgh-based Premier Chiropractic Clinic owner and chiropractor Dr. Brian Meenan regularly advises his over 1.6 million followers on TikTok and treats patients for sleep-related pain everyday. According to him, your ideal pillow should put the least amount of stress on your spine and neck. You want your neck mostly in neutral, not bending too far to the right or left when lying on your side, he says. So to help you achieve the most restful nights sleep, weve rounded up the 16 best side sleeper pillows we could findincluding recommendations from Dr. Meenan, top-reviewed online picks, and cushions my colleagues at AD and I have tried ourselves.
What Size Pillows Are Available
The most popular pillow sizes are standard, queen, and king. However, some manufacturers offer additional sizes to accommodate sleepers with different preferences. The following table lists facts and figures for the five most common pillow sizes. For the dimensions column, please note these are average measurements that will differ from brand to brand.
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:
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Pay Attention To Firmness
The pillows firmness defines the amount of sinkage your head will get when you sleep on it. Soft pillows tend to have more give and make you sink in, whereas firmer pillows keep your head atop and dont hug it too much.
Choosing the right pillow firmness is essential for your comfort.
And if youre a side sleeper, you will benefit the most from a medium-firm pillow. This firmness level offers a good balance between support and contouring.
Heavier sleepers, especially if they have a softer mattress, might need a firmer pillow. It will balance out the sinkage in the shoulder area and keep their neck in the neutral alignment.
What Is Neck Pain
Neck pain can be defined as discomfort in the structures of the neck including muscles, bones, nerves, joints, and the discs between the bones. Your neck might feel stiff or sore, and you might have difficulty moving it from side to side.
Sometimes, neck pain is caused by a chronic health condition such as fibromyalgia. In other cases, an accident or fall can injure your neck and cause pain.
Discomfort in your neck from time to time typically isnt something to worry about. However, its important to seek medical care if your symptoms dont go away within a week if the pain is very severe or if you have other symptoms, such as a fever and headache or symptoms of a heart attack.
Its difficult to sleep when youre experiencing any kind of pain, including chronic neck pain. You might toss and turn all night to find a comfortable sleeping position.
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Best Down Alternative Pillow For Side Sleepers
Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow Set
Sensitive to down, but still prefer its light support over the weightiness of foam? Tuft & Needles down alternative pillow is a hypoallergenic synthetic that works well for both side and back sleepers. These pillows are sold in sets of two and can be machine washed.
The company offers a 2-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.
Why Its Good For Side Sleepers
- The foam layers comfortably cradle the head and neck, relieving pressure at the shoulders.
- Theres enough support here to promote neutral spine alignment.
- Its medium-firm feel prevents the pillow from going flat while you slumber.
Price: $89$119, with a one-year limited warranty.
For the full scoop, be sure to check my full Casper Foam pillow review!
The Casper Foam Pillow sleeps cool and has the balanced support that’s great for back and side sleepers!
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Snuggledown Goose Feather & Down White Pillow
Best for sleepers who want a high quality down pillow with natural materials!
Snuggledown Goose Feather & Down White Pillow is ideal for back and side sleepers as it provides the necessary support to keep the head in a proper position relative to the spine while sleeping in these positions. The head of back and side sleepers must be raised to achieve a spine alignment.
A blend of 85% Goose Feather and 15% Goose Down was used for filling, which guarantees you comfort, but also breahability. It is suitable even for hot sleepers. You also get a 230 thread count cotton cover for added comfort and softness, which is often what sleepers look for in their top pillow. You can wash this down pillow for side sleepers in the washing machine and use dryer afterwards.
- Materials: Cover:- Cotton Filling:- Goose Feather & Down
Wrinkles And Sleeping On The Side
Sleeping is one of our very common daily activities. Thats why we must know anti wrinkle pillow for side sleepers if you want to free from sleep wrinkles. We have to sleep to retrieve our energy again. Naturally, doctor recommendation is to nap for eight hours. Now if we sleep 8 hours/day, then we sleep average 229,961 hours in our lifetime which means one third our life. This is why, to produce wrinkle is common if we sleep on our side at every time. This regular formation of wrinkles makes our skin older and we look senior concealing our real age.
Side sleeping means sleeping on your side. There are two types of sleeping position: one is side and another is back sleep. Side sleep has a direction connection to aging because in this position face goes to press on the pillow which makes unwanted sleep lines. Best anti wrinkle pillow for side sleepers will help people to avoid sleep lines.
Sleep wrinkles normally look like a vertical or slight angle. Repeated pressing on pillow makes the accumulation of blood in specific areas of the mouth. Thats why, back sleep is better. But to make it habit you have to give time. After trying for a long time you will be able to sleep on your back.
According to American Academy of Dermatology, sleep lines are a major cause of early aging, and this is number fifth reason to cause aging. However, this organization also recommends for back sleeping.
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Most Versatile Memory Foam Pillow
Shop Now Leesa Memory Foam Pillow, Leesa, $75
First impressions: Theres a strong memory foam smell, and while it dissipates after a while, none of the other mem-fo pillows I tested had such a scent. Unwrapping the pillow, I noticed a warm, fuzzy outer layer which made me skeptical of any claims about staying cool.
Surprisingly though, it does keep your head cool all night and feels much softer in practice than youd think if you were to punch into it at a store
Sleep: 7/10I woke up without a stiff neck but the smell was weird and distracting.Propping up against headboard: 10/10It stayed in place, and felt like the perfect back rest.Scrolling: 8/10It was very comfortable to watch TV with and felt super supportive . No impaired vision while looking at my phone here.
Honeydew Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow
Customer rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This handmade pillow has a curved side and is tall enough to help you avoid hunching your shoulder up too close to your ear. This helps maintain neutral spinal alignment during sleep. The ribbon edging helps the pillow resist bunching and sagging so that it maintains its height and shape.
It has a hidden zipper along one seam, so you can adjust the amount of fill youre comfortable sleeping on. The fill is made from copper-infused foam and micro-gel fiber, which helps maintain a cool temperature.
Its made in the United States by the Honeydew Sleep Company . Users like their good customer service and the 60-day risk-free trial with free return shipping.
Some users complain that the pillow has a smell for several days after opening. Others dislike the need to only buy pillowcases made specifically for this pillow.
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Side Sleeping And Shoulder Pain
The shoulder is one of the largest, most movable, and complex joints in the human body. It is made up of the clavicle , scapula , and humerus . The shoulder joint has a wide range of motion, therefore, making it more vulnerable to injury. This, in turn, unsurprisingly, relates to published data that shows the prevalence of shoulder pain in the UK population at an estimated 7%.
Sleep disturbance and poor sleep quality resulting from shoulder pain due to many different shoulder conditions are well recognised. Although the causes of shoulder pain vary widely, the most causes of shoulder pain at night, according to the Cleveland Health Clinic, are:
- Rotator cuff injuries: Overuse of the rotator cuff can result in tendonitis, strains, and tears of the tendons.
- Rotator cuff tears: Tears of the rotator cuff can happen as a result of an accident or happen over time as a result of a repeated motion.
- Osteoarthritis: As a result of cartilage degrading over time.
Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow
We recommended this pillow for side sleepers in our general guide to pillows for its adaptive qualities: You can add or remove the memory foam fill to adjust the thickness and firmness. All you have to do is unzip the outer case and liner to access the fill. The pillow has an average rating of 4.5 stars from over 49,000 reviews on Amazon. The company also offers a 30-day return policy.
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What To Consider When You Choose A Wedge Pillow For Side Sleepers
A wedge pillow can be used separately or with a standard pillow top. Choosing the best wedge pillow can be confusing for side sleepers. This is because there are many wedge pillows you can buy in the market at an affordable price.
The below best wedge pillow for side sleepers guide shows you essential factors that you should consider while looking for a wedge pillow.
Our Pick: Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow
*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.
In four years of testing, the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow has consistently outperformed many pricier pillows, but in recent testing two of the four Xtreme Comforts pillows we tried had a strong chemical odor that made them unusable . If you get one that doesnt smell, its a great pillow that typically costs about half the price of our favorite shredded-foam pillow from Nest Bedding. It offers comfortable neck support without being too stiff, a problem with many loftier pillows. The breathable, micro-perforated cover, a bamboo viscose and polyester blend, keeps hot sleepers cooler, and the removable shredded-foam fill makes the pillow easy to adjust for your body. Although its lumpier than the Easy Breather, and the texture took getting used to for some of our testers, most of our back- and side-sleepers, as well as a few stomach-sleepers, have liked it over the years. This pillow gives much better support for my neck than any down/synthetic down pillow I have owned in the past, one side-sleeper told us.
The Xtreme Comforts best surprise is its low price, half as much as that of the other shredded-memory-foam pillow we liked, our pick, the Nest Bedding Easy Breather. And despite the Xtreme Comforts popularity with our testers, it wont work for every body, so a 30-day return policy gives you the flexibility to try it without risk.
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Choosing The Right Pillow For Side Sleepers
If your best sleep position is on your side, then you want to make sure you choose a pillow that lets you rest comfortably through the night. Additionally, youll want to make sure the pillow properly cradles your head and neck and offers good back support.
There are various considerations to take into account when selecting the right pillow. Read on to learn about these important factors so that youll be better prepared to buy a pillow that suits your sleep needs.
Size is a very important aspect when choosing your pillow. In addition to choosing a good size for sleeping on your side, youll want to make sure it offers a practical amount of support based on your height, bed size, etc. Below are standard pillow sizes and the related advantages of each size.
Generally speaking, pillows come in even or curved surfaces. Even-surface pillows are far more common. They may have full or flat shapes, depending on the material. The best-known example of a curved-surface pillow is a cervical memory foam pillow, which is elevated beneath the neck and recessed beneath the head. These pillows are popular with sleepers who experience chronic neck and shoulder pain.
Loft, or thickness, is important for side sleepers. Generally speaking, there are three categories of pillow loft:
- Low-loft: Pillows that measure less than three inches thick.
- Medium-loft: Pillows that measure three to five inches thick.
- High-loft: Pillows that measure more than five inches thick.
The 7 Best Orthopedic Side Sleeper Pillows
Here are the best side sleeper pillows for neck pain, how to pick a side sleeper pillow, and our detailed reviews below:
SleepBetter Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow
Memory foam contour pillows are usually made with synthetic foam, which is firm and durable .
Memory foam consists of millions of spherical open cells made from polyurethane with additional chemicals added to increase density.
Contour pillows are orthopedic pillows, designed to keep your neck and spine aligned, made with heat-sensitive foam that acquires the shape of the head sleeping on it.
They are also very helpful for sleep Apnea sufferers, people who tend to snore, and who suffer from lower back pain and insomnia.
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Memory Foam Pillows Pros
2. High neck pain-relieving potential.
3. Contoured support.
4. Quiet under all conditions.
5. Wont clump or shift
6. Low maintenance.
7. Relatively lower price than Buckwheat and latex.
8. Resistance to allergens, anti-microbial
1. Loft/Thickness may not suit individual needs, not adjustable.
2. Initial off-gassing, synthetic ingredients.
3. Tend to heat through the night.
4. Average longevity/durability
5. Not cuddly
Through our research, we found that the Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow is one of the best contour pillows for side sleepers, and heres why:
1. It has microscopic beads that absorb heat and feels cool all through the night.
2. 100% cotton cover, 300 thread-count, zippered
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Is A High Medium Or Low Loft Pillow Better For Neck Pain
It depends on what type of sleeper you are. If youre a stomach sleeper, it may be best to choose a pillow with a low loft to minimize the pressure on your spine. If youre a back or side sleeper, a medium loft pillow that allows your head, neck, and spine to form a straight line may be right for you.
Finally, if youre a side sleeper with bigger shoulders, a high loft pillow may be suitable. Note the pillow should equal the distance between the ears and the edge of the shoulders.
The Best Pillow For Side Sleepers
Weve updated this guide to reflect the redesigned Nest Easy Breather Pillow, which is now washable.
Nothing highlights the importance of a good pillow like trying to sleep on a bad one, and people who sleep on their side, in particular, can have a tough time finding the right fit because they need more neck and head support. After more than 1,000 nights testing 119 pillows, weve found a number of options for side sleepers and think the Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow is the best for a range of side-sleepers.
This pillow has a customizable and washable filling that offers firm support for back- and side-sleepers. What it doesnt have: the lingering chemical smell weve noticed in some other shredded foam.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $100.
We recommend the Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow for both side- and back-sleepers in our full guide to bed pillows, and we know some stomach-sleepersthose who sleep half on their side, half on their stomachalso find it comfortable, and it offers neck support that doesnt cause pain.
Many companies advertise their pillows for specific sleep positions, but in our experience their recommendations dont match up all that well. Overwhelmingly, our side-sleeping testers have preferred pillows with shredded memory foam because of its moldability.
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How We Chose The Best Pillows For Neck Pain
We rounded up a list of top consumer-rated pillow options that can help relieve neck pain while you sleep.
We looked mainly for foam and latex pillows. Why? Because research suggests that these materials are helpful for people with neck pain. According to a 2020 study , latex and memory foam pillows may offer more support than traditional pillows and may help reduce neck fatigue.
Additionally, we looked for ergonomic pillows designed to provide ample cervical support without elevating the head too much. A 2021 study found that increased pillow height changes the way your spine curves and increases pressure in your cervical spine, or neck.
Finally, we still included several alternative pillow options, like models filled with down and buckwheat, since a foam pillow may not work for everyone.