What Are the Best Pillows for Side Sleepers?
The power of a good night's sleep cannot be underestimated. Getting a good rest will improve your concentration and productivity and impact your mental and physical health.
There are many great beds, mattresses, and pillows available to find the perfect combination that suits you, but there are certain things to consider. One of the most important considerations you will have to make when investing in bedding is your sleeping position.
This article will look at the best pillow options available for those that like to sleep on their side. Side sleeping is by far the most common sleeping position. In fact, studies show that almost three-quarters of people sleep on their side.
As you might imagine, with so many people sleeping on their side, there is a considerable side sleeper pillow market and lots of choices.
Keep reading for some of the best options available and the information you need to make the most suitable choice.
Best pillows for side sleepers
No 'best of' list is ever cut and dried, and there are often generalisations that might not suit individuals. That is why we have chosen to offer you some of the best pillows for different categories, and this should help you find the ultimate side sleeper pillow for you.
Best overall - Snuggledown Side Sleeper Firm Support Pillow
The Snuggledown Side Sleeper Firm Support Pillow is a firm pillow with a 100% cotton cover and 100% hollowfibre filling. It offers excellent value for money and superb performance.
At a depth of 18 cm, it's a great height, and the firmness helps support your neck. It is an excellent choice for those that move about because it is also comfortable for back sleepers.
The dimensions are 18 cm thick, 74 cm long, and 48 cm wide, so it fits standard pillowcases, and its box support shape helps the pillow keep its form. The pillow is also hypoallergenic, making it ideal for anyone with allergies.
Best value - Snuggledown V Shape Firm Support Pillow
V-shaped pillows provide additional support, elevate your head whilst sleeping, and reduce neck pain. They are also great for stopping people tossing and turning during the night, helping with a deeper, more settled sleep.
The Snuggledown V Shape Firm Support Pillow is a fantastic option for those looking for a high-quality pillow without breaking the bank. Snuggledown is known for its well priced, comfortable pillows.
This firm, V-shaped pillow has a 100% hollowfibre filling, and the cover material is 50% polyester and 50% cotton. It's also machine washable at 40°, making it a convenient choice.
Thanks to its comfort and support, this pillow style is particularly popular among pregnant women.
Best cooling - Slumberdown Cool Summer Nights Pillow
Overheating during the night is a significant cause of restlessness, and constantly turning your pillow over to the cool side disturbs your rest. The Slumberdown Cool Summer Nights Pillow is an excellent option for warmer nights as the light hollowfibre filling, and microfibre cover material stays cool whilst supporting your head and neck.
Thick, firm pillows are better for side sleepers because they help to support your neck's natural alignment. This enables you to avoid a stiff neck and is better for providing restful nights.
An added bonus is the incredible value you get from this relatively low-priced, supportive pillow.
Most comfortable - Slumberdown Super Support Pillow
The core block of the Slumberdown Super Support Pillow is designed to support your head and improve your neck and spine alignment. The core is constructed from comfortable foam and surrounded by hollowfibre filling to offer more support.
These pillows come in a two-pack and are perfect for side sleepers looking for firmer support. The microfibre cover provides a soft touch for ultimate comfort.
Most easy to care for - Slumberdown Everyday Essentials Pillow
Finding the right pillows for your needs can be tricky, but you should consider everything before buying. One thing that is often overlooked is how easy to maintain your pillows are. Thankfully, the Slumberdown Everyday Essentials Pillow is a great option.
The primary purpose of your pillow is for comfort and support, and the Slumberdown Everyday Essentials Pillow offers both as they are full and firm. They are also remarkably easy to look after as they are machine washable and can even be tumble dried.
The pillows are also hypoallergenic, perfect for those who suffer from allergies.
Best for neck & shoulder support - Sleepseeker Side Sleeper Firm Support Pillow
Neck and shoulder support is essential in pillows for comfort and minimising neck pain risk. The Sleepseeker Side Sleeper Firm Support Pillow uses a deep box wall to ensure the structure of the pillow is not compromised when you lay on it. This helps to align the spine when laying down on your side.
As well as offering support, the pillow is extremely comfortable thanks to the hollowfibre filling and 230 thread count, 100% cotton cover.
Using hollowfibre improves comfort and keeps your pillow cooler, and allows you to move from feather and down pillows to a vegan-friendly, hypoallergenic alternative.
Best for minimising aches & pains - Slumberdown Memory Plus Firm Support Pillow
The last thing anyone wants is to wake up with aches and pains. It means you will be struggling during the day ahead, but it also results in a poor night's sleep.
One way to combat that is by looking for the best side sleeper pillows. The Slumberdown Memory Plus Firm Support Pillow is great for minimising the pain associated with sleeping in the wrong position.
The pillow contains a hollowfibre filling wrapped in memory foam for excellent support and comfort. This helps to minimise the risk of back and neck pain and provides a deep, comfortable sleep.
Best for head support - Slumberdown Box Edge Firm Support Pillow
Your side sleeper pillow should offer support and provide you with a comfortable night's sleep. The Slumberdown Box Edge Firm Support Pillow is designed to do just that.
The pillow supports your head to keep it in the correct position and promotes a straighter spine, benefiting from the unique box edge system.
The cotton cover and hollowfibre filling are breathable and comfortable, helping you enjoy a deep sleep that will leave you well-rested and ready for the day ahead.
What are the benefits of side sleeping?
Side sleeping is one of the most popular positions, and the benefits help to show why. Side sleepers can expect to enjoy some or all of the following benefits;
- Less back pain - Back pain can be debilitating and finding any way to minimise this is always recommended. One of the leading causes of back pain is sleeping in awkward positions. Sleeping on your side relieves the pressure applied to your spine that sleeping on your front can cause, and side sleeping has been shown to reduce this.
- Minimises the risk of sleep apnea - Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that tends to impact older people or those suffering from obesity. It is when your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to obstruct your airways and cause snoring or sleep apnea; sleeping on your side minimises this risk.
- Better gut health - Many people don't realise the critical role that body position plays in your internal health. Side sleeping has been shown to improve issues such as heartburn, bloating, and constipation.
- Improved brain efficiency - Studies have shown that the brain's ability to remove waste is improved when sleeping on the side.
- Better for pregnant women - Pregnant women may find side sleeping more comfortable than sleeping on their back. It also stops the baby's weight from resting on the vein that carries blood to the mother's heart from her legs.
How to choose the best pillow for side sleepers
Now that you know a bit more about the benefits of side sleeping, and the best pillows for different categories, you might want to know how to go about choosing the best pillow for you.
Take a look at the factors below for more information on what side sleeper pillow will suit you.
The materials of the filling and cover will play a big part in what pillow you might want to buy. Some offer easier cleaning, some will provide anti-allergy properties, while others will be better for warmer nights.
There is an old saying that you "get what you pay for." While you will be able to invest in long-lasting, high-quality side sleeper pillows, there are plenty of great budget options to choose from as well.
Budget pillows can be a great way to test the water and find the perfect pillow that suits you.
The loft of a pillow is the height when it is lying flat on a bed. Thinner pillows are better suited to those who sleep on their back or front, while a higher loft will help support your head and align your neck and spine when sleeping on your side.
Your pillow shape will also make a big difference to your comfort levels, so it is worth looking at the options. Traditional pillow shapes will always prove popular as they are aesthetically pleasing and well-suited for providing the support needed.
Other options worth looking at include ergonomic pillows and v-shaped pillows. These different options can offer support and may suit different people and circumstances.
Level of firmness
Mid to firm pillows are better suited to side sleepers because of their support. A slightly elevated head helps to align the neck with the spine, minimising the risk of aches and pains.
What are the best pillow materials for side sleepers?
Alongside the other decisions you need to make when buying a pillow, you should think about the filling material you want. There are many great choices, with some more suitable for side sleeping pillows than others.
Down is the undercoat of birds, used to create a soft, fluffy filling for pillows that adapt well to the shape of the head and neck. It is a long-lasting filling that can even be replaced or topped up.
Unfortunately, a down pillow can be an expensive option that is prone to flattening after prolonged use. They are great for the winter but can be quite warm for the summer. They are not suitable for vegan use or for people with allergies.
Feather pillows are common, thanks to their affordability. They mould your head and neck shape easily and are lightweight but can face similar issues as down pillows do with flattening and heat retention. Feathers can start to poke through after time as well.
A memory foam pillow is ideal for side sleeping because it provides excellent support and firmness and moulds to your shape.
Memory foam is made using compounds including polyurethane and won't clump or go flat like other pillows. They can be pretty warm during the summer and are relatively expensive compared with alternatives.
Shredded memory foam pillows are also an option that is cooler than a standard memory foam pillow.
Hollowfibre pillows are ideal if you’re on a budget. They offer a great level of support, and you can choose from differing firmness levels. These pillows contain a light and airy centre, making them comfortable to sleep on all year round.
The synthetic filling also makes these a great choice for anybody who has asthma or allergies, including hayfever.
Side sleeping tips to sleep comfortably at night
As well as choosing the best pillow, here are some other suggestions that may improve your sleep.
Select the right the mattress
Picking the right mattress is as essential as choosing the right pillow. Side sleepers are advised to go for medium-firm to medium-soft mattresses that will help to cushion the points of impact. Back or stomach sleepers are better with firm to medium-firm mattresses as their body weight is spread over a greater area.
Consider using a pillow between the knees
Side sleeping with the right pillow will help align your spine and reduce aches and pains. Some people also like to sleep with a pillow between their knees as this helps align the hips and pelvis during sleep, reducing the strain on muscles and ligaments.
Get a mattress topper
Mattress toppers are a great way to improve the comfort of a mattress by providing an extra bit of cushioning. They are also a great way to protect the mattress from stains.
FAQs about side sleeper pillows
How many pillows should a side sleeper use?
Side sleepers should use two pillows in total, but only one beneath their head. A good pillow should be enough to support your head and help your neck align with your spine. The second pillow should be used between your knees to align your hips and pelvis.
What is the ideal pillow loft for side sleepers?
Your side sleeper pillow should support your head, aligning your neck with your spine. This would usually be between 5 and 7 inches but may differ depending on the person. It is possible to buy an adjustable pillow that lets you alter the size for your needs.
How firm should a side sleeper's pillow be?
Your side sleeper pillow should be a medium-firm pillow, allowing your head and neck to be supported sufficiently whilst moulding into the shape and providing a level of comfort that will allow a restful night.
Are wool pillows good for side sleepers?
Wool pillows are great for temperature regulation, and as long as the pillow you select is the right size, shape, and firmness, this would be fine.
Choose the right side sleeper pillow
The way you sleep plays a big part in your overall health and wellbeing. Finding the best bedding to suit your position can also play a big part in how good a rest you get.
Finding the best pillow for side sleepers can help stop neck pain and improve your sleep considerably, so whether you plan on buying a memory foam pillow, v shape, or are going to start sleeping with a pillow between your knees, we hope our guide has helped you with your way to making the right decision.
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