What’s the Best Pillow for Side Sleepers?

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Pillow for Side Sleepers

Best Pillow for Side SleepersSleep studies have found that almost 70% of adults sleep primarily on their sides. Though side sleeping is considered one of the healthiest sleeping positions, a good mattress and a supportive pillow can make the quality of your sleep even better. Sleeping without proper support may lead to neck problems, soreness, numbness, or pain in the shoulders or spine.

Much of this pain can be prevented by purchasing a comfortable side sleeper pillow. These pillows use materials and contouring to hold the neck in alignment throughout the night. If you’re a side sleeper who experiences neck pain or back pain, consider purchasing one of the following top rated side sleeper pillows for better sleep and improved orthopedic health.

Why Buy a Pillow for Side Sleepers?

Side sleeping is one of the best positions for spine and neck alignment. If you are a regular side sleeper, however, you may need to make some adjustments to your bedding in order to ensure that your sleep will be restorative and pain-free. Side sleepers, for instance, may feel pressure on their bony prominences, such as their hips and shoulders, when they sleep. Regular side sleepers should choose a softer mattress, or opt for a mattress topper to contour to the curves of the body. In a similar way, a good neck support pillow can support the natural curve of the cervical spine.

Some of the many issues that may be caused or worsened by sleeping with an old or unsupportive pillow include:

  • Headaches
  • Sore neck
  • Neck stiffness
  • Numbness of the arm or shoulder
  • Shoulder pain or stiffness
  • Allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing or congestion
  • and more…

Those with existing neck, shoulder or headache conditions may find that sleeping with a low-quality pillow exacerbates their discomfort. Pain may also reduce the quality or duration of your sleep, leading to additional symptoms.

Though side sleeper pillows generally cost more than generic pillows, individuals who experience pain generally find that the benefits of pain-free sleep outweigh the costs of investing in a quality pillow. In short, any side sleeper who experiences pain or stiffness in the neck or upper body may benefit from purchasing a new side sleeper pillow.

How to Choose the Right Side Sleeper Pillow for You

It is practically impossible to name the best type of pillow for side sleepers. The truth is, different types of pillows work for different people. While one individual may desire a firm, solidly-molded pillow, another may find that a soft microfiber pillow is easier on their neck. Ideally, you should strive to visit a mattress or bedding store to try out different types of side sleeper pillows. By doing so, you can more easily determine which pillow best fits the curvature of your neck. If this isn’t possible, read reviews and check ratings to determine which side sleeper pillow will offer you the most benefits.

Here are some of the most important things to consider when deciding which side sleeper pillow you should buy.

Pillow Shape

Side sleeper pillows come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A number of pillows resemble standard bedroom pillows, opting for a rectangular shape. Others maintain this shape but feature a curve for supporting the shape of the cervical spine. Some pillows feature an indentation in the center of the pillow for the purpose of cradling the head.

Other pillows abandon the standard rectangular shape altogether. Some pillows are made from heavy foam and feature a large impression for supporting the entire head. Brands also offer L-shaped and U-shaped sleeping pillows, which may suit some individuals better. Yet another option is a cervical roll, a tube-shaped pillow that can be used to support the neck’s curvature.

If possible, sample a number of pillow styles at a local store. If you’re buying online, read reviews to see what users recommend to individuals with your particular sleeping habits or health conditions. If you’re still uncertain as to which pillow is best for you, check the return policies on the pillows you are considering. You may be able to sample a pillow and return it if it causes you discomfort.

Pillow Material

Many traditional pillows are made from fabric and are filled with synthetic feathers or down. Though these pillows can be comfortable to sit upon or lay against, they are often less than ideal for nighttime neck support. For this reason, most side sleeper pillows are designed using other materials.

Perhaps the most common side sleeper pillow material is memory foam. As pressure is applied to the memory foam, it changes shape to fit the curvature of the spine. Memory foam is one of the most supportive and adaptable bedding materials. Memory foam mattresses are also a great choice for side sleepers suffering from back and shoulder pain.

Other popular materials that may be used in side sleeper pillows include microfiber filling, polyester, bamboo-derived rayon, fiber springs, firm foam, and more. Some of these pillows are hypoallergenic, while others are not. As with all pillow features, it is good to sample a few pillows to see which material suits you best.

How You Sleep

In addition to sleeping on your side, you may sleep in other positions. You should consider whether or not the pillows you are considering will be suitable for all of your sleeping positions, as some may be better for back and stomach sleeping than others. Curved pillows may also be better for individuals who sleep with their arms up or around their pillow. Reflect on your sleeping posture before making a final purchase.

Quality

Like all things, side sleeper pillows vary wildly in quality. In general, high-quality side sleeper pillows are more expensive than standard pillows, often costing between $30 and $100. Though some pillows are available for a lower price, consumers should consider the quality of the product they are purchasing. Knock-off products may go flat after only a short period of use, for instance. If you are looking for a pillow that will last you for years, be prepared to pay a slightly higher price.

Additional Features

Though side sleeper pillows are a fairly simple product, some pillows do come with additional features. Some pillows, for example, have foam that can be added or removed to increase pillow firmness and support. A few pillows feature cooling gel to promote airflow and keep the pillows a comfortable temperature throughout the night.

In addition to these features, buyers should pay attention to the size and fill of the pillow they purchase. Some brands offer pillows of various sizes and levels of firmness. If you prefer a small, firm pillow or a larger, plushier cushion it is important to choose something that will provide you with comfort as well as support.

All in all, it is important to read at least one positive and one negative review of each pillow you are considering to determine whether or not it will meet your most pressing needs. By doing your research, you can find a pillow that will support you for years to come.

Top 5 Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

1.) Coop Home Goods Bamboo Rayon Pillow

Coop Home Goods Bamboo Rayon PillowCoop Home Goods Bamboo Rayon Pillow

Nearly 7,000 customers recommend the Coop Home Goods Bamboo Rayon Pillow, giving it a perfect five-star rating. Most of the customers who have purchased this pillow rave about its quality, comfort, and durability. This impressive side sleeper pillow is made from super-soft bamboo polyester fabric and filled with shredded memory foam. Unlike standard memory foam pillows, the shredded material used in the Coop Home Goods pillow creates a plush, full, breathable texture similar to that of a down pillow. Unlike down, however, this pillow offers lasting lift and support.

The most heavily-praised feature of this pillow, however, is its ability to be adjusted and customized. Shredded memory foam can be added to the pillow or removed from it, allowing customers to find a fill level that best suits their needs. For those who are uncertain as to whether they prefer a firm pillow or a softer one, this feature may prove to be invaluable.

Those who suffer from allergies will also love the Coop Home Goods pillow. Hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, this pillow will prevent sneezing and will allow you to wake up congestion-free. Unlike some memory foam cushions, this pillow is machine-washable, too. With a five year warranty guaranteeing fullness and durability, side sleepers have nothing to lose by choosing this excellent pillow.

For fluffy and soothing neck support, choose the Coop Home Goods Bamboo Rayon Pillow.

Pros:

  • The Coop Home Goods pillow has tremendous lift, making it perfect for individuals who prefer full, fluffy pillows.
  • The pillow is durable and possesses high-quality stitching.

Cons:

  • This pillow is not ideal for those who seek a firm, highly supportive pillow. It is softer than most memory foam pillows.
  • Some customers have noted that newer versions of the pillow include less filling.

2.) SNUZ Ergonomic Bed Pillow

SNUZ Ergonomic Bed PillowSNUZ Ergonomic Bed Pillow

The SNUZ Ergonomic Bed Pillow is a great choice for side sleepers. The best feature of this pillow is its two-chamber hourglass shape. This design allows for perfect cradling of the head and neck. Much like the Coop Home Goods pillow, the SNUZ pillow is filled with memory foam microfiber. The filling creates a supportive yet adjustable cushioning for the neck.

Customers rave that the SNUZ Ergonomic Bed Pillow is perfect for those who sleep with one or both of their arms under their pillow. Unlike solid memory foam pillows or extra-airy down cushions, the weight and fill of the SNUZ pillow is light yet dense enough to prevent the arms from “falling asleep” under the pillow at night. Preventing numbness and tingling in the arms is a huge perk for those who sleep in such positions.

Individuals with chronic back pain, snoring, and persistent stiffness all claim that the SNUZ pillow has helped them wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free. For the price, the pillow offers better support and is more durable than many competing products. The ultra-soft 300 thread count cotton pillow cover adds an extra touch of comfort to this therapeutic side sleeper cushion. If a fluffy, pain-reducing pillow is what you seek, try the SNUZ Ergonomic Bed Pillow.

Pros:

  • In addition to being a great pillow for side sleepers, the SNUZ pillow is also ideal for those who regularly sleep on their back and stomach.
  • Unlike the majority of memory foam pillows available today, the SNUZ pillow is manufactured in the United States.

Cons:

  • Like the Coop Home Goods pillow, the SNUZ pillow is a relatively soft cushion. Customers with neck pain conditions that require more support, such as bulging discs in the cervical spine, may want to opt for a firmer pillow.
  • Some customers found that the pillow got slightly too warm over the course of the night.

3.) Equinox Memory Foam Pillow

Equinox Memory Foam PillowEquinox Memory Foam Pillow

The Equinox Memory Foam Pillow is another great option for side sleepers. Unlike the Coop Home Goods and SNUZ pillows, the Equinox is ideal for those seeking a firm, highly-supportive pillow. This solid, molded memory foam cushion is topped with honeycomb-shaped cooling gel pockets. Customers who have struggled with hot, overly-cushy pillows have found that the Equinox pillow meets and exceeds their expectations.

Side sleepers praise the pillow for its comfort and solid orthopedic support. Though the pillowcase that comes with the pillow didn’t impress some customers, many reported that switching the pillowcase had no effect on the pillow’s cooling functionality. This hypoallergenic pillow is also great for sleepers who struggle with dust mite allergies. Side sleepers looking for firm, cool neck support will love the Equinox Memory Foam Pillow.

Pros:

  • The Equinox Memory Foam Pillow’s cooling gel makes it one of the best options for those who get overheated at night.
  • The memory foam pillow offers excellent neck support for those suffering from chronic neck problems or pain.

Cons:

  • Some users felt that cooling gel did not remain cool enough long enough into the night.
  • Customers occasionally complained that the pillow had an unpleasant scent.

4.) Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow

Therapeutica Sleeping PillowTherapeutica Sleeping Pillow

If you’re a side sleeper who suffers from severe neck pain, the Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow is a top rated pillow that is well worth considering. This hard foam pillow looks different than standard pillows. A curved trench in the middle of this pillow is meant to cradle the head in a position parallel to the bed. A chiropractor who suffered from multiple neck injuries raved that the pillow was the best that he’d ever used. Many customers suffering from conditions ranging from fractured vertebrae to TMJ echoed his sentiments. Additionally, the pillow provides excellent support for back sleepers.

Thought the Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow takes some adjusting to, most customers confessed that after a few days it had them sleeping like babies. If you’re willing to try a new type of pillow for pain relief, invest in the Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow.

Pros:

  • The extra-firm foam support offered by the Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow makes it one of the best pillows for individuals suffering from persistent neck and jaw pain associated with side sleeping.
  • The pillow comes in a variety of sizes, allowing men, women, and children to find the best fit for them.

Cons:

  • The Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow costs nearly $100, making it a somewhat costly investment.
  • Despite Therapeutica’s claims of a 5-year warranty, the company makes it costly and difficult to return the pillow. Customers should be sure that this pillow is right for them before making a purchase.

5.) Tri-Core Cervical Pillow

Tri-Core Cervical PillowTri-Core Cervical Pillow

More than any other pillow on our list, customers who purchased the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow praise the therapeutic benefits of this cushion. One review states that the pillow reduced their neck pain by 80%, a feat no other pillow had managed to achieve. One reviewer skeptically purchased the pillow, only to find that his neck pain was gone and his range of motion was restored after sleeping on it for just two weeks.

The contouring of the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow gently supports the head in all positions, including stomach sleeping. Though some users found the pillow somewhat uncomfortable to sleep on at first, most praised the pillow’s ability to dissolve their headaches and neck pain. For those who are looking for a firm and supportive pillow for side sleeping, the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow is an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • The indented trapezoidal design of the pillow makes it the perfect choice for those who sleep on their side, back, or stomach.
  • The contour of the pillow offers ideal orthopedic correction of the cervical spine’s curvature.

Cons:

  • After some time the neck supports in the pillow may go flat, lending less support to the cervical spine.
  • Though the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow offers optimal neck support, some users find sleeping on it to be a difficult adjustment.

In Conclusion:

Though sleeping on your side is good for your neck, your body may still require additional support to prevent aches and pain. In addition to stretching, exercise, and good posture, a well-designed side sleeper pillow can improve the health of your cervical spine. With less pain and better sleep, your quality of life may even improve.

Whether you feel inadequately supported by your current pillow or are looking to prevent neck pain in the future, investing in an excellent side sleeper pillow will surely help you attain a better night’s sleep.

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