A tremendous 41% of Americans sleep in the fetal position — on their sides with their torsos hunched and knees bent — according to the National Sleep Foundation. And another 15% sleep on their sides with their torsos and legs straight.
That may be good news, because experts say sleeping on one’s side can have some health benefits, including preventing heartburn and reducing the chances of snoring. It may also be better for our necks compared to other positions, according to a report from Prevention.
Perhaps it’s because so many people favor this sleep position over others, but it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of pillows dedicated to side sleepers. I’ve selected the top five best pillows for side sleepers; these pillows should cover a wide variety of sleep preferences. I’ll also make some recommendations for what to look for in particular when purchasing a new pillow made just for side sleepers!
The Best Pillows For Side Sleepers
Check out our top pillow picks for side sleepers:
- Casper Memory Foam – Editor’s Pick
- Saatva Latex – Best Soft Pillow For Side Sleepers
- Coop Home Goods Original – Best Firm Pillow For Side Sleepers
- GhostPillow Faux Dawn – Best Cooling Pillow
- Bear – Best Foam Pillow For Side Sleepers
- Brooklinen Down – Best Down Pillow
- Eli & Elm Side Sleeper – Best Anti-Snore Pillow
- Avocado – Best Latex Pillow For Side Sleepers
- Purple Plush – Best Budget Pillow
- Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex – Best Pillow For Neck Pain
We’ve laid out everything there is to know about each pillow, including who we think it’s a good fit for. Check it out below!
Casper Memory Foam
One of our absolute favorite pillows on the market is Casper’s memory foam pillow. But, this is no ordinary memory foam pillow. It actually includes three layers of foam, including one layer of Casper’s proprietary AirScape foam. A breathable cover and this AirScape foam both work to make sure you are not sleeping too hot.
The pillow also comes in two heights – Mid Loft and Low Loft. Side sleepers should definitely be considering the Mid Loft pillow. This will help to properly support your head when you are side sleeping.
The Casper is also simply one of the most comfortable memory foam pillows we have tried. When you like down on the Casper memory foam pillow, you should feel it contour to your head while still offering the perfect amount of support.
- Available in two sizes: Standard and King (We reviewed the Standard)
- Comes in two lofts – Mid Loft and Low Loft
- The cover is a knit blend and is very breathable
- Includes Casper’s proprietary AirScape foam
- You can remove the cover for easy washing
- Pricing is Standard: $89 King: $119
Read our full Casper Foam Pillow Review
Casper's Foam Pillow has a polyester/spandex knit cover and a 3-layer foam core that's made with plush outer layers and a firmer center layer. The fill acts as a solid piece of ventilated foam but it's truly a firm pillow that's the best fit for side sleepers.
Best Soft Pillow For Side Sleepers
Soft pillows sometimes aren’t the best option for side sleepers. They can let your head sink in too far, and this can cause pain and discomfort over time. If you want a pillow that is soft but also supportive for side sleeping, the Saatva Latex pillow could be a great option.
The Saatva pillow features soft microfiber fill around a shredded Talalay latex core. The microfiber gives you that softness, while the shredded Talalay latex offers great support. You’ll feel your head sink in, but the Saatva Latex pillow won’t let you sink in too far.
With this design, the Saatva Latex pillow is also a great option for hot sleepers. The cover is extremely breathable and both types of fill allow for some great airflow.
- Pillow Dimensions: Queen – 18″ x 28″ King – 18″ x 34″
- Made from eco-friendly materials
- Boasts a Shredded Talalay latex core and outer fill made of soft microfiber
- The inner pillow can be removed
- Saatva offers 45-day free returns and 1-year limited warranty
- Full price: Queen – $155 King – $175
Learn more in our Saatva pillow review
The Saatva Pillow has an organic cotton cover that is removable. Underneath is an outer pillow made up of hypoallergenic microfibers. You can unzip that pillow and reach a pouch filled with shredded Talalay latex pieces.
Best Firm Pillow For Side Sleepers
Coop Home Goods Original
There are many adjustable, shredded memory foam pillows on the market, but what makes the Coop Home Goods pillow stand out for side sleepers in particular are the larger chunks of memory foam within the pillow that bolster it to greater levels of support. It is a great firm pillow for side sleepers.
These larger foam pieces help give the pillow a significant loft and nearly overstuffed feel. A zipper on the side allows access to the filling so it can be personalized, allowing each person to find their ideal neutral head, neck, and spinal alignment.
To keep the pillow lofted and firm, it needs to make a trip to the dryer and fluffed on occasion – expect to pay around $60 for a Queen size.
- Filling: shredded memory foam mix for comfort and shape-ability, will not go flat
- The cover is 60% polyester, 40% bamboo-derived rayon – designed to keep sleepers cool through the night
- Standard size: 20″ x 26″ | Queen size: 20″ x 30″ | King size: 20″ x 36″
- Made in the USA
- 5-year limited warranty
- Machine washable
- Hypoallergenic and dust mite-resistant
- Comes in Standard, Queen, and King sizes
Read the full Coop Home Goods pillow review.
The Coop Home Good's Original pillow is filled with large chunks of memory foam and comes overstuffed. It's a terrific fit for side sleepers. Click the button to the right for the best deal on this pillow!
Best Cooling Pillow
GhostPillow Faux Down
The GhostPillow is extremely breathable. The cover and fill really allow air to flow through the pillow, keeping it from trapping heat during the night. If you are a hot sleeper and sleep on your side, the GhostPillow Faux Down could be a great option.
The GhostPillow Faux Down is designed to offer the feel and loft of a traditional down pillow. It contains something called Microfiber Gel Fill which helps mimic the fluff of all-natural down. Also, this synthetic fill is hypoallergenic and shouldn’t mess with your allergies like down is known to do.
The Faux Down’s extra fluff makes it a great fit for side sleepers. When you are lying on your side, the pillow should support your head and help keep your spine in good neutral alignment.
- As of now, only one size is available and the dimensions are 20″ x 30″ x 7″
- The outer cover is made of velour, which is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. The inner cover is 100% cotton.
- The Faux Down pillow fill is 100% Microfiber Gel clusters and has the feel of a down pillow.
- The pillow offers a soft, plush, and wrinkle-free feel with a medium firmness
- The entire pillow is naturally hypoallergenic and fully washable
- GhostPillow comes with a 101-night sleep trial and 5-year warranty
Read our full Faux Down pillow review.
The Faux Down GhostPillow has a traditional down feel but it's hypoallergenic and features a velour-like cover that's wrinkle-resistant. The whole pillow is machine washable and is good for back and side sleepers alike.
Best Foam Pillow For Side Sleepers
Side sleepers who like the feel of a foam pillow should pay attention. The Bear Pillow is made with Loft-X foam, a proprietary mix of latex and memory foam. This gives the pillow a balanced feel that offers contouring but also some good response. You should not be feeling “stuck” in the Bear Pillow.
While the pillow is not as lofty as some pillows on this list, it should still be a good fit for light- and average-weight side sleepers. They should feel like their head is properly supported.
Lastly, while it is a foam pillow, the Bear should not be sleeping too hot. It features Double Ice Fabric and mesh panels to help with breathability. Hot sleepers are going to want to give the Bear pillow a shot!
- The pillow boasts Double Ice Fabric which is designed to keep you cool at night
- The core is made with Loft-X Foam: a proprietary blend of memory foam and latex.
- Dual mesh side panels promote airflow throughout the night
- The removable cover is machine washable and dryer friendly
- Free shipping & 2-year warranty
- Queen ($125) and King ($145) sizes available
Read the full Bear Pillow review.
The Bear Pillow is a great option for hot sleepers. Click the button to save 25% on your purchase.
Best Down Pillow For Side Sleepers
Brooklinen Down in Mid-Plush
Brooklinen’s Down pillow in Mid-Plush – the pillow also comes in Plush and Firm options – is unlike a typical down pillow when it comes to supporting the head and neck. While it retains its soft and cozy feel, it doesn’t fall flat as much as a typical down pillow might. That’s because it has a dual-core structure with an extra supportive inner layer of feathers and a super comfy outer layer of down clusters.
It’s also hypoallergenic and antimicrobial (according to the brand) and has a 60-night trial period. I’d recommend the firm option for heavier side sleepers who need even more support as their heads weigh the pillow down.
The pillow truly screams luxury with its 400 thread count cover – it’s also about $70, which makes it an affordable option for a down pillow; returns and exchanges can be made within the first year of owning the pillow.
- Firm feather core chamber with soft down surround
- 400 thread count, 100% cotton shell
- OEKO-TEX® certified to be free of harmful chemicals
- Hypoallergenic with antimicrobial treatment
- 60-night trial
- Comes in Standard (20″ × 26″) and King sizes (20″ × 36″)
- Made in Canada
- Care (from Brooklinen): “We recommend washing our pillows as seldom as possible so as to not disturb the texture and fluffiness of the down fibers. If a product is stained, we recommend spot washing it with Woolite or Oxyclean around the stained area. Should a pillow need to be washed, we recommend washing on a low and gentle cycle and tumble dry on low.”
- Price: $69 for Standard, $89 for King
- Canada Goose Down Certified
- Comes in: Plush, Mid-Plush (my review), and Firm
Read the full Brooklinen Mid-Plush Down review.
The Brooklinen Down Pillow features inner and outer chambers to make sure you get the perfect amount of comfort and support. Click the button for the best deal on the Brooklinen.
Best Anti-Snore Pillow For Side Sleepers
Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side-sleeper
The unique design and supportive fill of this pillow are two features that helped earn its name as our pick as the best anti-snore pillow for side sleepers. This curvature allows for proper head and neck alignment while side sleeping without having one’s shoulder pressing on the pillow, smushing it down, or feeling extra pressure. This also helps to keep your airway completely open, which can cut down on snoring.
The cover is a super-soft, 100% organic cotton cover that is hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, mildew-proof, and dust-mite-resistant. The filling is made up of engineered latex (75%) and polyester fibers (25%). It’s adjustable so sleeper’s can customize the firmness. It comes in at $99 at full price, in just one size
- The pillow comes in one size
- Specially designed to support side sleepers while conforming to the precise contours of the head and neck with curved construction
- The cover is 37% organic cotton, 2% spandex, and 61% polyester. It’s also a temperature-managing material that is designed to dissipate heat
- The filling is made up of engineered latex (75%) and polyester fibers (25%). It’s adjustable so one can customize the firmness
- Noodle latex foam is mixed with extremely soft, cooling gels to regulate body temperature throughout the night
- Hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, mildew-proof, and dust-mite-resistant
- $99 at full price
- 45-day return policy
Read the full Eli & Elm Review
The Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side Sleeper pillow is designed for side sleepers with its curvature and offers great support with its latex foam and polyester fiber combination.
Best Latex Pillow
The Avocado pillow is not a traditional latex pillow but is an eco-friendly, sustainable and organic option for those trying to rid themselves of neck pain with a supportive pillow. It has a certified cotton outer cover and is filled with a mix of natural latex shreds and Kapok fibers. The Kapok fibers give a nice downy and plushier feel but don’t underestimate the support and bounce one gets from those shredded latex foam pieces – it’s a pretty firm pillow overall.
Sleepers can access the inner filling and adjust it to their desire but be warned the Kapok fibers can make a decent mess, so try to adjust outside or in a well-ventilated area. The pillow can be spot cleaned or machine washed and dried as well. Expect to pay about $80 for a Standard (with a 1-year warranty).
- The outer cover is a soft, certified organic/polyester blend.
- There is a zipper on the side because the pillow is adjustable.
- It’s filled with a mix of 100% natural Dunlop latex shreds and 100% natural Kapok fiber (seed pod fluff from a rainforest tree).
- As it comes, the pillow offers a medium-plush feel (maybe even medium-firm to some).
- The pillow is vegan, allergen-free, and handmade in Los Angeles.
- It comes in Standard, Queen, and King sizes. (Standard is $79 at full price, Queen is $89, and King is $99.)
- Optional pillow refill bags are sold separately.
- The pillow comes with a 100-night trial and 1-year warranty.
Learn more in our full Avocado pillow review.
The Avocado pillow is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly pillow filled with a combination of Kapok fibers and natural shredded latex. It has a smooth and plush feel but the shredded latex brings in a lot of support. It is adjustable, making it a good fit for all sleep positions, but its firmness lends itself to side and back sleepers.
Best Budget Pillow For Side Sleepers
I love how effective the Purple Plush is at supporting the head and neck, but I think I love it even more because of the simplicity in the adjustable design – just zip or unzip to add or remove firmness in the pillow. Side sleepers will want to consider zipping up both sides for maximum loft and support.
The filling is what Purple calls “Smart Fluff,” or interlocking, denier poly-fiber puff balls – it definitely has that down alternative feel but the design doesn’t allow it to fall flat or lose a lot of air when compressed. The smooth outer cover is a mix of synthetic lyocell and nylon fabrics.
The pillow is $49 for a Standard size, which is a great deal for an adjustable pillow that’s super easy to care for (completely machine washable), easy to adjust without any mess, and comes with a 100-night trial.
- Available in two sizes: Standard and King
- The cover is 60% Lyocell and 40% Nylon with a moisture-wicking treatment
- The filling is what Purple calls “Smart Fluff,” or interlocking denier poly fiber puff balls
- Feels like polyester fibers that won’t fall flat or lose a lot of air when one presses down
- Adjustable in that sleepers unzip to make it softer and zip it to make it firmer. Features two zippers so one can combine or do half and half for even more precision with no mess
- 100-night trial and 1- year warranty
- Care: Machine wash in cold water, gentle cycle. Tumble dry low heat with a clean dryer or tennis ball
Read the complete Purple Plush pillow review.
The Purple Plush Pillow is a simple but innovatively designed pillow that features a Lyocell and Nylon blended cover and is filled with "Smart Fluff" which is interlocking polyester fibers.
Best Pillow For Neck Pain
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex
If you are a side sleeper with neck pain, you definitely want a pillow to keep your head supported. If your head sinks into the pillow too far, you could exacerbate the issue. With that in mind, side sleepers with neck pain should check out the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex pillow.
The Brooklyn Bedding is made of a thick piece of Talalay latex foam. This material is thick and extremely supportive. You also have loft options – high or low. Side sleepers with neck pain are going to want to go with the high loft. It is 6″ tall and will work to keep your spine in good neutral alignment.
At the same time, the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex pillow is going to be a great fit for hot sleepers. The cover is extremely breathable and the latex is ventilated to promote airflow through the pillow. You shouldn’t be sleeping hot on this pillow!
- Dimension – Queen and King sizes.
- Available in high loft and low loft
- Contains a solid piece hypoallergenic Talalay latex foam
- Made in the USA
- Hyper-responsive latex foam is bouncy and supportive
- The cover is breathable, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial
- 30-day return policy/trial period
- Full Price: $89 for Queen and $99 for King
Brooklyn Bedding's Talalay Latex Pillow is a supportive and pressure relieving blended latex foam pillow. It has a ventilated core and removable soft knit cover. It comes in two loft options, making it a good choice for any sleep position.
One of the suggestions we make, in an effort to guide people towards the right pillow, is to have them determine their body type and narrow it down from there. I am 5’7” and about a medium-weight, so I asked Marten, who is 6’7” and weighs 250 lbs, to offer his opinion and share his personal experience with these pillows and help determine which would be best for heavier sleepers.
Purple Plush: As Katie mentioned, the firmness and support level in this pillow is determined by the zippers on the side. I chose to zip up both sides and make it as firm as possible, and it was definitely firm enough for me as a side sleeper.
Brooklinen Down in Mid-Plush: This is a super firm pillow and, as a larger sleeper, I know that I need something with this level of firmness when I’m sleeping on my side – the firm feel of this pillow definitely delivers.
Eli & Elm Cotton Organic Side-sleeper: The “divet” or curved part of the pillow where the shoulder is going to go is one of my favorite parts about this pillow. It’s also a very supportive pillow so, when I go to sleep on my side, I’m getting good support and an overall comfortable feel.
What Side Sleepers Should Look For – Tips & Tricks
Picking a pillow that will enhance the quality of a person’s sleep is not that different from looking for the right mattress: It’s all about finding something that will promote neutral neck and spine alignment. When the body is properly supported in this way, individuals will avoid waking up with stiffness and joint and neck pain.
RELATED: Best mattress for side sleepersOne of the principal factors to look for when picking a pillow for side sleeping is something that supports the head and neck but keeps these body parts in neutral alignment with the spine.
“Side sleepers need a thicker pillow than back and stomach sleepers to fill the 4″ to 6″ gap in between their shoulder and the mattress,” says Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders, in an interview with Prevention. He says the spine should form a straight line from the nose to the sternum.If it’s hard to tell if one’s neck is neutrally aligned when using the pillow, have someone take a photo of the front of the face so the forehead, nose, and chin are in view. From there it should be clear whether the head is at an angle upward, downward, or in a straight line (as is ideal).
Keep in mind that some pillows have fillings that will flatten or change shape during the night. It could be worth finding pillows that offer return policies or trial periods so sleepers can test them out for a few nights before deciding which is a good fit.
Here is our list of the best pillow for side sleepers:
|Casper Memory Foam||Editor’s Pick|
|Saatva Latex||Best Soft Pillow|
|Coop Home Goods Original||Best Firm Pillow|
|GhostPillow Faux Dawn||Best Cooling Pillow|
|Bear||Best Foam Pillow|
|Brooklinen Down||Best Down Pillow For Side Sleepers|
|Eli & Elm Side Sleeper||Best Anti-Snore Pillow|
|Avocado||Best Latex Pillow|
|Purple Plush||Best Budget Pillow For Side Sleepers|
|Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex||Best Pillow For Neck Pain|
Side sleepers should focus on finding a pillow that supports the head and neck so there’s a straight line from the nose to the sternum — an indication of the neutral neck and spinal alignment. Test out different pillows with good return policies until the right match is found – good sleep is possible!
How high should a pillow be for side sleepers?
Sleep health experts tend to agree that side sleepers need a taller and more supportive pillow than back and stomach sleepers to fill the 4″ to 6″ area of space in between their shoulder and the mattress.
What type of pillow is best for a side sleeper?
Truly any type of preferred material and filling is best for a side sleeper under the condition that it can provide enough loft (height) and support to fill that space between the head and neck and initiate proper neck and spinal alignment. Firmer or overstuffed pillows of any nature tend to be the best options.
How do you pick a side sleeper pillow?
I always suggest starting with what a sleeper prefers in terms of covers or fillings (like foam vs. down and/or cotton vs. polyester or a performance fabric). Then, look for a high profile, tall or overstuffed option within that collection of materials. The cherry on top is a pillow that offers a great risk-free trial period, too.