Buying a new pillow can feel like a very involved and stressful process when you start digging into your options. In fact, you should get excited; this is going to be the pillow that helps you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer, and ease aches and pains in the neck and back. But even if you’ve just done some light skimming of the pillows out there, you’re probably overwhelmed with the incredible number of pillows available to you. Luckily, you can narrow down your choices somewhat easily.
There are a few things you should ask yourself when you start looking for that perfect pillow: What position do I like to sleep in? Do I prefer to sleep on my back or am I a stomach-sleeper? Do I sleep super hot and need a cooling pillow? Do I prefer a high loft or something to sink in to? Then, you can start to filter through some of the brands you recognize; while the brand doesn’t mean everything, you can trust big names and the heavy-hitting pillow and top-quality mattress companies to create a long-lasting and high-quality product.
We’ve filtered through some of our favorite brands and even some lesser-known brands to give you some of the best pillows for side sleepers. You may also want to check our list of the best cheap mattress deals while you are at it.
The best pillows for side sleepers
- Tuft & Needle Pillow — $75 at Tuft & Needle
- Layla Kapok Pillow — $100 at Layla
- Leesa Hybrid Pillow — $110 at Leesa
- — $24 at Amazon
- — $30 at Amazon
- — $80 at Amazon
- — $50 at Amazon
- — $105 at Amazon
- — $100 at Amazon
- Brooklinen Down Pillow — $70 at Brooklinen
Tuft and Needle Pillow
Sure, this is a pricey choice, but if you need an ultra-supportive pillow with a high loft and something that will let you sleep “on top” of it rather than “in” it, Tuft and Needle created a great pillow for you. It’s still comfortable despite being quite firm, and that means you’ll wake up feeling less sore, more refreshed, and you won’t feel like you’ve been straining your neck or shoulders with a low-loft pillow. Memory foam pillows, in general, are great choices for side sleepers, who need plenty of support and loft, but it’s always good practice to try a pillow higher than you think necessary at first. If you’re new to buying a pillow, you’ve likely been using a pillow that’s one-size-fits-all, and you’re no stranger to the middle of the night dance to fold over your pillow and get it to an appropriately high loft. Stop doing that; just buy a lofty pillow like this one.
Interested in the Tuft and Needle Original Foam Pillow? Read our Tuft and Needle pillow review so you know exactly what you’re getting with this choice.
The Layla pillow is another very lofty and supportive pillow, which makes it perfect for broad-shouldered or heavy sleepers. If you feel like you’re wearing through pillows way faster than you think they should be lasting, you’re likely a heavier sleeper who needs to look into a pillow that will support you longer and won’t flatten out after a few weeks. This shredded memory foam pillow will do the trick. Shredded memory foam is known for sleeping cool thanks to the increased level of airflow the shredded foam offers, and one of the best parts of many shredded memory foam pillows is the fact that you can just unzip the side and let out or add some memory foam if the pillow feels too lofty or too flat for you.
Leesa Reversible Hybrid Pillow
This quilted hybrid pillow looks quite different from most pillows, but the quilting is an intentional choice to make the pillow more functional and to ease your frustrations at night. If you’re a heavy sleeper who often wakes up with all of the pillow filling on the edges of the pillow cover and not under your head, this pillow’s quilted design will prevent that shifting. It’s filled with a down-like material, making it super comfy and soft. Plus, this pillow has increased cooling power, as it’s filled with a combination of gel and memory foam. Gel is a popular material in sleep products, as it doesn’t hold onto heat or moisture like other materials do.
Wamsutta Extra-Firm Pillow
This heavy pillow is made for the broadest-shouldered sleepers who need the most loft and firmness. Your average pillow has curved sides, coming to points at each seam, but this pillow was made in three dimensions so your head is kept far from the mattress all night. One of the biggest concerns for side sleepers is dropping the head too far into the mattress, which can cause problems in the spine. You may not notice any pain or discomfort now, but if you sleep on the wrong pillow for years, you’ll undoubtedly cause lasting damage to your shoulders and spine. So, try out a pillow that will support and cradle you. This is also a great choice for sleepers on a budget, made with 100% polyester fill. That fill may not last quite as long as some other pillow materials, but what feels luxurious to one sleeper might be different for another.
Sleep Innovation Memory Foam Contour Pillow
This curvy pillow wasn’t designed just for looks. If you think of the silhouette of a side sleeper, consider the dramatic curve between the jaw and shoulder. With your neck unsupported, many side sleepers can feel uncomfortable or wake up feeling like they’ve been raising their shoulders all night to compensate for the space between their mattress and neck. Obviously, that’s not good. However, contoured pillows like this one by Sleep Innovations are designed to nestle into your neck and support it so your shoulders don’t have to. Again, this is a poor choice for back sleepers, and stomach sleepers should just stay away completely, but if you’ve awoken with a tight neck and shoulders, test out this contoured pillow.
Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods offers a few nice options, especially for side sleepers, but the Eden pillow is particularly great. It’s soft enough that it will naturally reshape to your body, but it’s not so soft that you’ll feel like you’re not sleeping on a pillow at all. The viscoelastic polyurethane and polyester fill means it’s super soft and filled with a shredded material that will encourage airflow and natural cooling, so you won’t feel like you’re overheating at night, even if you’re sleeping with your arms under your pillow. Then, the pillow comes with a bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester case so this pillow is super soft to the touch and won’t irritate your skin.
Xtreme Comforts Kool-Flow Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow
We keep going on and on about shredded memory foam both here on Digital Trends and throughout our sleep content on The Angle, but it really is a great fill choice for sleepers of all kinds. Shredded memory foam is particularly great if you’re not exclusively a side sleeper, as you can remove and add shredded memory foam to the pillow at will and make it softer or firmer as you want. But shredded memory foam is also super air flow-conducive and sleeps cooler than loaf memory foam pillows. Side sleepers are prone to getting hot at night, but this pillow will keep your head off the mattress and keep you cool in the process. It comes with a bamboo cover, which is a sustainably sourced material and incredibly soft to the touch.
Tempur-Pedic Ergo-Neck Pillow
As much as we preach the word of shredded memory foam, loaf memory foam is simply better for tons of sleepers. And no matter who you are, you really can’t go wrong with a Tempur-Pedic pillow. Designed for side sleepers and back sleepers, this pillow features a curve to support your neck and shoulders, and it sleeps cool if you need a pillow to help deal with your body heat. The other interesting thing about this pillow is that it’s sloped downward vertically. If one side is feeling too low or too high on any given night, just turn the pillow 180 degrees and get a different and more comfortable night’s sleep. Depending on your profile build make sure to check out the small, medium, or large pillow sizes.
Drift Pillow Scrumptious Side Sleeper
If you frequently wake up with pain in your shoulders, neck, or even with headaches, the first culprit might be you your pillow and if you’re waking up in pain, you’re definitely not getting good quality sleep. With its curved design, the Drift Pillow Scrumptious Side Sleeper curves around your shoulder, allowing you to slip the pillow further into your neck. This pillow isn’t a great choice for stomach or back sleepers, but if you exclusively sleep on your side, try this pillow out for the 60-day trial and you’ll likely decide to keep it longer.
Brooklinen Down Pillow — Firm
The Brooklinen site explains that their Down Pillow comes with three different construction options for you to select from. The Plush Pillow is best for stomach sleepers, and it’s the softest, brimming with the fluffiest down clusters they have. The Mid-Plush Pillow is best for the versatile sleeper, as it has two separate layers of feathers and down clusters. The Firm Pillow is most supportive, being similar to the Mid-Plush in construction but featuring a higher ratio of feathers to clusters. This Firm Pillow is the one ideal for our side sleepers to choose. Made in Canada, the cozy Brooklinen Down Pillow has a smooth 100% cotton sateen shell, and comes in two sizes: Standard and king.
Are you sick of waking up in the middle of the night, and staring at the ceiling wishing you were asleep? Check out our guides on our sleep hub.
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- The 10 best pillows for back sleepers in 2020
- The 10 best pillows for stomach sleepers in 2020