In her book Goop Clean Beauty, Gwyneth Paltrow states that “Sleep plays such a powerful role in determining your appetite and energy levels that I believe it should be your first priority – even before you think about your diet.” I started this blog to help people sleep, feel, and lead better lives.
As a health & wellness coach for the past ten years, I couldn’t agree more. As my clients will tell you, I believe that getting a better night’s sleep is the answer to living healthier in today’s busy world.
Now I cannot promise any one pillow can offer the same relief for all people. But based on your preferences – if you like hard or soft pillows; if you have medical conditions like whiplash or slipped disks; if you snore or have allergies – the pillow reviews and purchasing guide below can help you find the best sleep-aid for your lifestyle.
In today’s topic, I will show you how to choose the best pillows for side sleepers! Let’s jump right in!
- Best Pillows For Side Sleepers – Comparison Chart 2018
- Top 10 Best Pillows For Side Sleepers 2018
- The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Best Pillows For Side Sleepers
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Pillows For Side Sleepers – Comparison Chart 2018
In this section, you’ll find a handy comparison chart that highlights important features of side sleeper pillows that I like.
Top 10 Best Pillows For Side Sleepers 2018
Now let’s get into the good, the bad, and the ugly details about each of these pillows! The following reviews will highlight what I liked and did not like about each of these pillows. I hope this will help you decide which one best meets your needs and preferences.
1Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow: For Allergy Sufferers!
This hypoallergenic, fully adjustable, made in the USA pillow, is a blend of polyester and rayon derived from bamboo. Its shredded memory foam allows you to add or remove foam for your ideal sleep position.
- Great for Pillow Huggers
- Super Soft
- High Quality, Removeable Viscose Rayon Cover
- Offers Superior Neck Support
- Great on Breathability
- A Bit too Firm at First
- Super Soft
- Went Flat Fast
This Coop Home Goods’ pillow is soft and comforming, allowing you to adjust your head level to just the right height for you. Just add more or less stuffing to the shredded memory foam pillow and voila!
What I also like about shredded foam pillows is that they allow for breathability – which lets better airflow pass through more effectively for a cooler night’s sleep (that means less searching for fresh spots on your pillow!). What’s even better is that it comes with a removable viscose rayon cover designed to help you stay cool while you sleep.
At first the pillows were very big, tall and firm, and I had to unzipper and remove some of the shredded foam to my liking. After some use, however, I found the pillows easily went flat. I popped ours in the dryer to fluff them, as the manufacturer suggests doing to keep them plump, and they came back to life again in no time.
Upon opening the vacuum-sealed packaging, you may experience an off-putting smell. Ours was minimal, but it did annoy me. After airing our pillows out for a while I threw them into the dryer with a few sprigs of sage and lavender for a more natural odor.
If you’re look for a pillow that comes in a variety of sizes to match your bedding and body needs, be sure to check out those dimensions.
2Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow: For those with Chronic Neck Issues!
This pillow is composed of a blended bamboo derivative, polyester, and lycra, making it fully machine washable. The easy to slip on an off cover allows you to adjust the thickness or thinness of your pillow, whether you are a side, stomach, or back sleeper.
- Great for Chronic Pain Sufferers
- Made from Top Notch Material
- Personable Custumer Service
- Customizable for Personal Use
- Takes Time to Get Used to
- Very Firm
- Needs a Few Days to Settle
You also get the feeling that this is a well-made product. It has micro-vents to allow better blood circulation, cutting down body heat accumulation. Bamboo has great absorbent properties so that moisture, sweat, and heat will not cause bacteria buildup.
Check out the Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow’s Amazon page for more info on this pillow’s eco-friendly, hypoallergenic properties.
This is a firm pillow that may be too firm for some sleepers’ tastes. Because of this, it may take your body a night or two to get used to it.
Memory foam looks funny when it is first unpacked, because it is compressed in order to ship. You’ll need to fluff it up and air it out for a few days before using it.
I love recommending this pillow to clients who have serious body pangs preventing them from a proper night’s rest. Shredded pillows are great to sleep on and can be customized to your needs.
3Knee Pillow Wedge by Cushy Form: For those Wanting to Sleep like a Side Sleeper Pro!
This memory foam wedge is great for side sleepers. The pillow goes between your knees, allowing you to choose the side that is most comfortable to sleep on.
- Great for Pregnancy
- Relieves Hip Pressure
- Moves with your Movements
- May Get Lost in your Sheets
- Not Ideal for Petite Women
- Not for all Sleep Positions
When I became pregnant with my son, I had heard many women complain about how difficult it was to sleep, especially in the later months of their second and third trimester. You can’t sleep on your belly, for obvious reasons, and back sleeping puts a lot of pressure on your internal organs. Side sleeping is the ideal way to go, but for me, the extra weight on my belly put added pressure on my hip sockets.
The Knee Pillow Wedge by Cushy Form was gifted to me by our neighbor, who purchased one for herself when she had her baby girl. It was a God send! Popping this wedge between my knees had me sleeping solid and pain free the first night I used it.
You’ll want to see for yourself how great this product is!
I’m 5’8 inches and, while pregnant, carried close to 160 pounds. The wedge was a good fit for my frame, but may not be ideal for more petite users whose legs may not feel comfortable being so far apart.
As with many wedge pillows, you may lose them in your sleep whenever you switch sides or toss and turn.
Click on this fun video for more on the benefits of sleep wedges.
4Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow: For Migraine Sufferers!
This 100% cotton pillow shell is filled with comfortable buckwheat hulls that can be formed to the shape of your head and neck.
- Unique Design
- Alternative to Animal and Synthetic Pillows
- Malleable to Preference
- Great for Athletes with Sore Muscles
- Offers a Cool Night Sleep
- Too Small
- Pillow Cases are Hard to Find
View this video for more on how to sleep with a buckwheat pillow.
My mother taught dance classes out of our basement while me and my brothers were growing up. She had all kinds of aches and pains, especially as the years progressed and time had its way with her once ballerina-perfect figure. She used a buckwheat pillow to sleep with, which she still swears by 40 years later!
One cool thing about the buckwheat pillow is that it can be put into the freezer for about an hour and later serve as a type of mini-air conditioner on warm summer nights. This is a great trick for migraine sufferers who may feel soothed by cold compresses along their temple region!
I’ll be honest, it isn’t the softest thing you’ll sleep on, it will not squish when you rest your head upon it. You will not want to flop onto this pillow, face first, after a long day.
Consider though that what it lacks in suaveness it makes up for in support. What can you expect? It is, after all, a sack stuffed with wheat hulls. Of course, those hulls can be shaped around your neck to give you a one of a kind fit for optimal support.
Another downside of this pillow is the size. The Japanese standard size is half as small as those in the United States. It may be too small for your average American user, particularly men.
This pillow can also be a bit noisy. If you’re a light sleeper, or if you move around a lot, the buckwheat’s crunching noises may make it difficult for you to sleep through the night.
The Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow’s Amazon page has a great informative video on the benefits of buckwheat as a sleep aid. It will tell you a bit about the history and make of this one of a kind stuffing.
5 Beegod Bed Pillow: For Shoulder Pain at Night relief!
The Beegod Bed Pillow boasts 100% cotton shell stitched with hyperfine silk velvet. It is recommended for all sleep positions be it side, back, or stomach. It is machine washable and can be tossed in the drier for speedy reuse.
- Beautifully Stitched
- High Quality Material
- Machine Washable
- Maybe too Soft for Some
- May make you Sweat
- Needs Frequent Washing
Getting in a good night’s rest on this pillow will make you feel like your shoulders and neck just spent a week at an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic. I particularly enjoy how comfortable, soft, and versatile it is.
For those into sturdier pillows you may want to look elsewhere. The Beegod is more reminiscent of feather pillows than your state of the art, adjustable foam pillows that are popular on the market today. The filling has a tendency to move around and so your head may sink in if you don’t give it a good fluff or two throughout the night.
I also found that it makes my neck warmer than I’d like – not bad for winter months but for summer this can become an issue if you sleep without air conditioning. Mold and fungus may become a worse problem though if you don’t wash your pillows on the regular.
For starters, this is a really lovely pillow with quilted stitching on one side. I often wish I didn’t have to wrap a pillowcase around it, it is so pretty for display.
6Leachco Back ‘N Belly Body Pillow: For a Sleep Miracle during Pregnancy!
This latex-free, funky looking hour glass shaped pillow was built to offer equal support for side, back, and tummy sleeping. It’s particularly suited for side sleepers because it allows you to turn from side to side, without repositioning, so that your hips and joints can maintain a neutral position, which is the proper way to sleep on a pillow.
- Third Trimester Pregnancy Relief
- Can be used to Help while Nursing
- Great for Post-Surgery Recovery
- Takes up A LOT of Space
- Scratchy Zipper
- Difficult to Store
A friend of mine used this pillow all through her third trimester of pregnancy. She loved that it supported both her tummy and between her legs, and that she could tuck part of it behind her for back support as well. After delivery, she used it to assist her with nursing her baby – so no need to purchase an additional nursing pillow!
Check out Leachco Back ‘N Belly Body Pillow’s Amazon page for an informative video on the benefits of sleeping with a body pillow while pregnant.
This body pillow takes up a lot of bed space, and finding a place to store it can be a challenge. Perhaps find a large garment bag and toss it under your bed.
Now for a bigger problem – the pillow has a strange, tight seam that runs along the neck and shoulders that may cause some discomfort. You may be able to look past this, or find solutions like placing another, softer material along the inside of the U-shape.
For anyone recovering from surgery, this pillow may also come in handy. It may enable you to find different sleeping or reclining options, which can be crucial for some recovery processes.
7Sleep Whale Memory Foam Pillow: For Overstuffed Pillow Lovers!
The Sleep Whale’s outer bamboo cover boasts improved air ventilation that will keep you and your pillow cool and dry throughout the night.
- Easily Rejuvenated
- Over Stuffed
- Helps you Sleep the Entire Night
- Malleable for your Needs
- Memory Foam May Take Some Time to Adjust to
- May be too Firm
- Difficult to Unstuff
To learn more about the benefits of sleeping with bamboo, check out the Sleep Whale’s Amazon page.
It is filled with 100% hypoallergenic shredded memory foam that shifts with your movements for a customized sleep.
What I like about the Sleep Whale is that it never feels like an old droopy pillow. Pop this in the drier and it fluffs to new again, even after months and months of use.
The Sleep Whale lives up to its name. It is chock-full of stuffing, offering fantastic pillow thickness for side sleepers. What’s also great is that the insides can be moved and molded, stuffed or destuffed to your preference, and it never feels flat.
So with that said, it is not called The Whale for nothing. This pillow comes stuffed, maybe even too stuffed. You can remove some of the filling, but frankly it is not that easy to do.
The Whale is very firm and a great option for those sleepers who suffer from neck problems. It may be too firm for some tastes, however.
I talk a lot about memory foam in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this post, but for now I should mention that it does take some time to get used to. Give it a day or two and I am sure you’ll love all the Sleep Whale has to offer.
Watch this video of a chiropractor explaining the benefits of memory foam for more info.
8Tri-Core Cervical Pillow: For Physical Therapist Recommended Sleep Gear!
The Tri-Core Cervical Pillow’s unique, trapezoid center cradles the head in its V-shape for optimal neck support. It is available in a few different pattern designs (there’s a super cute kittens playing in trees option), as well as three different sizes.
Shouldn’t you at least take a look at this one of a kind shaped pillow?
- Great for Side & Back Sleepers
- Funky Shaped
- Great for Side Sleepers with Chronic Ear Pain
- Comes in a Choice of Size and Color
- Not so Good for Side Sleepers
- A Bit Rigid
- The Shape may take Getting Used to
This oddly shaped little pillow is great for side sleepers who suffer ear pain while on one side, because it lets your ear lay in the center of a cushioned trapezoid. I like to think of this as basically a hammock for your side noggin.
I found the neck arch did not provide me much support, and the larger sized arch was a tad too big. Be sure to consult the size guide on the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow’s Amazon page. You’ll be glad you did.
For sleepers used to flat, regular pillows that compress and gather up, it may be difficult to get used to the trapezoid shape. This one is pretty rigid and inflexible.
Watch this video review explaining why Tri-Core Cervical Pillow is recommended by the doctor for helping with posture alleviating neck and shoulder pain.
9Bamboo Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow: For an Anti-Snoring Weapon!
This pillow’s medium-soft density memory foam is ideal for managing neck and back pain. The added bamboo allows for greater breathability and coolness.
- Sleep Mask Included in Purchase
- Will Help Restless Sleepers
- Great for Snoring and Allergies
- The Shape may take Getting Used to
- Too Small for Some Builds
- Perhaps too Light Weight for Foam
This contoured pillow allows your head to rest on a wave of comfort. It is ideal for anyone suffering neck or back pain.
You may be off put by the size. If you’re a big guy, this may feel like you are sleeping on a cozy matchbook rather than a pillow.
Again, as with any non-traditional shaped pillow, it may take some time to get used to sleeping on this type of shape.
Want to know the best part about this pillow? It may help the snorer in your life lead a quieter sleep (which, if I are honest, helps you too). Its added breathability, from the bamboo, may also assist allergy sufferers.
10Mediflow Waterbase Pillow: For a Unique Sleep Experience!
The Mediflow is part cushion, part water chamber, making it a fully adjustable pillow. First you stand the pillow on its end on a firm surface, pushing any unwanted air pockets out of the opening. You then use a funnel, that’s included with your purchase, to pour water into the plastic chamber.
- Innovative Design
- Easy to Refill
- Attention should be Paid to Upkeep to Avoid Mold
Check out this useful video to learn more on how to fill your pillow.
Should you not like your water pillow, Mediflow offers a great return policy to seize the opportunity to try out this unique sleep experience!
It took some time to master the fill mechanism, don’t let me kid you, but once you get the hang of it you should be able to use this neat little sleep tool in about five minutes or less. It’s easy to set up and comfortable to use. Just rest your head on the chamber, which forms a comfortable U-shape for your head to rest in, and let the night go where it may.
This is a heavy pillow, once filled. If you move around a lot while you sleep, you may find it difficult to get used to. That, combined with the swishing noise of any remaining air pockets may keep you awake.
This pillow, because it is filled with water, does throw off some humidity. Be sure you follow the care instructions carefully to avoid bacteria and mold build up.
The Mediflow pillow automatically adjusts to your body positions as you move during sleep, it may prevent frequent wake ups.
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Best Pillows For Side Sleepers
Still having trouble deciding what is the best side sleeper pillow for you? I will help you choose the best pillow options for your bedroom needs in a minute.
Types of Side Sleeper Pillows
Down pillows made from the back, wing, and chest feathers of geese and ducks. The top-quality kinds comprised of large feathers separated out during the sorting process so that unlike regular, non-down feathers pillows, these do not poke out of the casing. That would poke through a feather pillow.
Synthetic pillow stuffing is a blend of down feathers and some manmade product, generally polyester. These are less money than 100% down pillows and are a bit less maintenance to take care. They are less expensive, but of course with that comes less quality.
Typically made of polyester, this material is often an alternative to down or down blends because it is entirely humanmade and does not use animal byproducts. The quality of foam used can make a significant difference in pillow value. Some can be cheap, while others are built to maintain shapes when compressed.
Shredded Memory Foam
This stuffing is made of light weight scraps of polyurethane foam. It’s great for stuffing, unstuffing, and shifting the insides of a pillow around to suit sleepers’ needs.
Buckwheat stuffing makes with buckwheat hulls, which are the hard outer shells that surround the grain. These hulls are strong, non-heat absorbent, and naturally hypoallergenic. They are great alternatives for allergy sufferers or those opposed to using pillows of animal byproducts.
Latex pillows made of natural latex rubber. These are often considered the alternative to memory foam but have some excellent satisfaction ratings for all people because they give a bit more spring and a quicker bounce back, supportive qualities and will last awhile.
Water pillows are synthetic pillows with a pouch insert for filling with water.
Cotton is one of the most popular materials in the world. Like wool, cotton pillows are safe with naturally hypo-allergenic, cruelty-free and resistant to dust mites or mold so will be great for people with allergies and chemical sensitivities. However, cotton pillows tend to flatten out and firm over time.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Side Sleeper Pillow
I talk more about this in the Frequently Asked Question below, but for now, my first bit of advice when it comes to material is know what you’re looking for inside a pillow. It impacts fluff factor, budget, maintenance, and even physical sensitivities.
Down pillows are very fluffy, luxurious, but costly. You can opt for cheaper versions by going with a synthetic blend. These are sometimes machine washable and budget friendly.
Feather based pillows are also less supportive than memory foam, which offers good upper-body support.
Some folks have feather allergies, or have ethical concerns about using animal byproducts. If you fall into this camp, avoid pure down pillows at all cost. Opt instead for hypoallergenic pillows, with alternatives like foam, polyester, latex, and buckwheat that may mimic the feel of down. Also, pillows that come with a mite-proof shell are great investments for allergy sufferers!
Pillow thickness goes a long way for side sleepers, because they need a more supportive pillow to keep the spine aligned. Stomach sleepers may want to go with something thinner to keep their necks from arching too far back. Back sleepers fall somewhere in between the two poles.
Of course, you may fall outside of these guidelines, depending on how you position your neck while you sleep. Your spine should remain neutral, which is why memory foam pillows are ideal for side sleepers.
If you’re having trouble keeping a neutral spine while you sleep, select a core memory foam surrounded with a soft exterior layer for support and coziness. It also adapts to your movements as you sleep.
Caring for your new pillow is important, so check the label to ensure you’re onboard with its washing needs.
Some are dry clean only, others have top loading restrictions, while others only allow spot cleaning. Bottom line is, your pillow will last longer, and be safe from extensive wear, if you wash it a few times per year and dress it in some type of pillow protector.
Down feather pillows are generally dry clean only, with some exceptions. If cared for properly, down will last between two to three years, while a down/feather blend will last five.
Synthetic polyester pillows are machine washable, but also need to be replaced more often. On average, about once per year. Many hypoallergenic and anti-microbial pillows, with properties to stop bacteria, fungi and dust mites, must be hand washed.
Consider your body size with respect to the pillow size. If you are petite or robust, you may want a pillow that matches with your body size.
Remember too, just because your old pillows served you well over the months or years, as you age, your body may require upgrades to suit your changing physique.
You may be wondering, what kinds of changes? Things like weight fluctuations, new aches and pains, or injuries may impact the type of neck and back support you need. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Your body will thank you for it!
It may seem frivolous to mention looks – but everyone has a favorite pillow type. Consider the way you want your pillow to look on your bed. Do you want a variety of sizes to create a layered look? Do you want a simple two header setup? A unique cut and shape?
The cost of a pillow really depends on the quality and make you are looking for. You can buy cheap pillows at retailers like Walmart for around $10 to $15, or you can find super expensive, high quality name brand products like Ralph Lauren pillows for up to $200.
Pure goose down feather pillows with 100% cotton linings will cost you the most money, while synthetic polyester foam and casings will cost you the least.
Don’t be afraid to test out a few different pillows before you commit. When in a department store or other pillow retailer, see if you can get your head down on one you are interested in for at least 10 minutes. Manipulating it a bit will let you determine if it offers the right support you’ll need. If it can take a pushing, you have yourself a strong pillow.
Maybe you feel a bit embarrassed doing this in public. That’s ok too. You can always make your purchase and test it out at home (just be sure you do not remove any of the packaging or plastic or you may not be able to return it if it is not a good fit).
Be sure to check what kind of money back guarantee policy is offered with your pillow. Some give a limited money back guarantee, while others may offer to replace your pillows anytime within a specified time period.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now, here you can find answers to frequently asked pillow related questions.
Here are a few more tips to know when it’s time to invest in new sleep gear.
Tip One: If you have a feather or cotton pillow, fold it in half. If it doesn’t spring back to its customary flat form, it’s probably ready for the bin.
Tip Two: With foam pillows, particularly memory foam, it’s a bit more of a challenge to know when their time is up. You can gage its life expectancy by pressing on the middle of the pillow with your hand. It should bounce a bit. When you remove your hand, it should go back to its original form.
So, you have read my reviews, heard my stories, and learned of my friends, clients, and my own experiences with these pillows. You may be wondering my opinion on the best pillows for side sleepers?
If budgeting were not an option, I would personally choose the Snuggle-Pedic Shredded Memory Foam Pillow. It is multifunctional and can assist you in a number of pain related ailments, it is adjustable for all sleep preferences, and the company offers great personalized customer service.
If I were choosing one for everyday use, one that is affordable and adaptable for a wide range of needs, I would go with something like the Beegod Bed Pillow. This is beautifully stitched, made of top grade material, and is super soft.
So, what’s the bottom line? Well whichever you choose, trust your body and your preferences to know what pillow is best for you. Good night!