Nothing is more important than having the right pillow to help you sleep peacefully and comfortably as a side sleeper. Side sleeping has its advantages, but it’s also infamous for causing pain in the neck, shoulders, and lower back due to poor spinal alignment caused by incorrect side sleeping positions.
The best pillows for side sleepers have been designed to solve this problem as they offer proper support to just about every part of your body that you might be straining.
If any of your joints or muscles feel strained while sleeping sideways, you should consider changing your pillow. But choosing the best one can be tricky as there are so many models on the market, and they differ in terms of features and price ranges.
I have created this guide on the best pillows for side sleepers and what sets them apart from regular ones to make your decision easier.
My top ten pillows for side sleepers are from my experience, customer comments, and hours of study and testing. Therefore, the following options are worth your consideration.
1. Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Pillow
This hypoallergenic and adjustable pillow is ideal for all sleeping positions. Additionally, it’s an award-winning product that can meet your side sleeping needs. This pillow’s adjustive and adaptive nature makes it perfect for side sleepers who need a thick and warm pillow to lay on.
It also features a new inner zipper design that allows you to adjust the thickness. The fill consists of premium-quality shredded memory foam that doesn’t go lumpy or flat. Instead, the pillow remains in uniform density to support your head and neck contour optimally for a restful night’s sleep.
2. Sleep Artisan’s Side Sleeper Pillow
This is one of the best pillows for side sleepers due to its adaptive and comfortable nature, among other essential features. This Sleep Artisan’s plush pillow is handmade and specifically designed for side sleepers to meet all their sleeping requirements.
It’s also made with adjustable firmness, where you can unzip this pillow’s cover and adjust its firmness. You can personalize your head positioning, neck, shoulder, and spine alignment as you sleep.
Additionally, this pillow features natural latex fillings, providing orthopedic support as you get a good night’s rest. This pillow is hypoallergenic, which suits everyone who enjoys sleeping on their side.
Aside from featuring this as one of the best pillows for side sleepers, it’s also Amazon’s number one bestseller in their Contoured Support Pillows category. Therefore, you will get a pillow to meet all your side sleeping needs.
The pillow is easy to maintain thanks to its removable and washable zippered pillowcase, made of rayon/polyester material. Additionally, this pillow’s unique cervical design makes it perfect for sleeping on your sides.
I like that this pillow maintains its natural curve when sleeping to support your neck correctly.
4. Zoey Side Sleeper Pillow
Featuring a memory foam fill distributed evenly to offer excellent support, this pillow is another perfect option for side sleepers. The Zoey Side Sleeper Pillow is a 100% adjustable and supportive loft for a comfortable sleeping experience.
This design effectively relieves neck and shoulder pain, making this one of the best pillows for side sleepers. It’s an Amazon’s Choice product, and this pillow is certified OEKO Tex and CertiPur-US.
Therefore, this pillow is toxin-free and safe for a relaxing side-sleeping experience. And the unique curved design on this pillow encourages proper body alignment for you to achieve that deserved experience.
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5. Honeydew Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow
The Honeydew Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow is handmade with textiles derived from natural materials. Additionally, this side sleeper pillow is CertiPUR-US Certified, making it safe for everyone’s use.
And with a copper-infused memory foam fill, this pillow offers you the best cooling technology available. It also features an innovative shoulder cut-out design that relieves neck pain due to proper alignment.
You can adjust the fill levels in this pillow to meet your specific body type or sleeping needs. And aside from this pillow coming with a 3-year warranty, you also get a 60-night sleep trial duration. So, you can return this pillow for a full refund if it won’t satisfy you within the quoted period.
6. Dream Rite Shredded Hypoallergenic Memory Foam Pillow
Dream Rite offers one of the best pillows for side sleepers because it checks almost all the necessary features for an exceptional side-sleeping experience. This pillow provides high-quality support with 80% shredded memory foam and 20% polyester fiberfill.
This combination ensures your neck, shoulders, back, and head get the needed support for a restful night. You can also adjust your comfort levels because this pillow is designed with a removable filling.
Therefore, you can customize the sleeping experience according to your preference anytime you feel like it. Lastly, the hypoallergenic technology ensures that this pillow is safe for everyone’s use.
7. Comfyt Side Sleeper Pillow
At a glance, you can certainly tell that this pillow was explicitly made for side sleepers. It features a unique shoulder cut-out design that offers medium-firm support for the best experience when sleeping on your side.
This pillow’s gel dough memory foam fill conforms to your head and neck for pressure release. Besides that, the liquid gel layer also captures and distributes heat for a comfortable and warm sleep.
I also love that this pillow features a removable and washable cover, which gives you an easy-to-care-for experience.
8. Lux Decor Collection Gusseted Bed Pillows
Sold in a set of two, these bed pillows offer top-class sleeping comfort, especially when sleeping on your side. They are made using premium quality materials for a luxurious and comfortable experience.
The fill consists of 100% virgin polyester that gives you an optimal comfort level. As a result, you get a fluffy, odorless, and light side sleeping pillow. Highly recommended by Amazon, these King and Queen size pillows can help you attain a restful night’s sleep for years.
9. Handua Premium Adjustable Bamboo Pillows
You can easily adjust this pillow’s filling level to meet your sleeping needs. This is made possible by the easy zipper opening design on this pillow’s inner liner. The fill consists of memory foam, which offers a comfortable and soft sleeping experience.
This pillow’s removable cover comes from 60% Bamboo-Derived Rayon for extreme breathability and 40% Polyester to ensure durability. And being that this pillow is CERTIPUR-US certified was enough reason to feature in the ten best pillows for sleepers list.
This pillow is worth your consideration, and you will be making a considerable investment going forward.
10. Bedgear Align Performance Pillow – Best for Side Sleepers
Usually, the last option on my list isn’t the least performers in their respective categories, and the same goes for this pillow. It’s one of the best pillows for side sleepers, and I love its stylish design.
This pillow by Bedgear features a single chamber that provides consistent comfort throughout the pad. It also offers a temperature-neutral technology with a proprietary blend of silk-like fibers as the fill materials.
As a result, you get a comfortable and flexible experience when you lie down to sleep on your side. Besides that, this pillow includes a breathable mesh design for an optimal airflow experience when resting on the pillow.
What is Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a common problem affecting people of all ages, including children. The neck muscles or tendons become strained and inflamed due to specific movements or activities.
People who sleep on their side are more likely to suffer from neck pain since this sleeping position puts extra strain on the spine and neck muscles.
Side sleepers often wake up with a stiff neck or pain in the shoulders and upper back because the head is not appropriately supported while sleeping.
You can avoid this by using a specifically designed pillow to support the neck and spine in the correct position.
What Causes Neck Pain?
There are many different causes of neck pain, but the most common ones include:
- Poor posture
- Sleeping in an awkward position
- Strained neck muscles
- Wearing high heels
- Carrying heavy bags
How Does Sleep Cause Neck Pain?
Most people assume that activities only cause neck pain during the daytime, but this isn’t always the case.
One of the most common causes of neck pain is sleeping in the wrong position.
Sleeping on your stomach can cause strain on your neck and back because you have to turn your head to the side or the back to breathe.
And sleeping on your side can also lead to neck pain because you put extra pressure on the spine and neck muscles, leading to inflammation and strain.
This is why it is so essential for side sleepers to use a pillow that supports the head and neck in the correct position, reducing pressure on these areas and helping to prevent neck pain.
If you are suffering from neck pain due to side sleeping, try switching to a different pillow or adding an extra support cushion under your regular pillow, like a cervical roll.
This can help to reduce pressure on the spine and alleviate any pain or stiffness you may be experiencing.
Why Does My Pillow Make My Neck Hurt?
Your pillow may make your neck hurt because of the following reasons:
- It’s lumpy: If your pillow is lumpy, it can create pressure points on your neck and shoulders, leading to pain.
- It’s too high or too low: If your pillow is too high, it can cause your head to tilt upwards, putting strain on your neck muscles. If it’s too low, your head may tilt downwards, causing strain.
- It’s too soft or too hard: If your pillow is too soft, it won’t provide enough support for your head and neck. This can lead to pain. If it’s too hard, it can also cause pain by putting pressure on your neck and shoulders.
- The wrong material: Pillows made of synthetic materials (like polyester) can retain heat and cause sweating. This can lead to discomfort and neck pain. Pillows made of natural materials (like wool or cotton) are typically more comfortable and won’t make you sweat as much.
If you’re experiencing neck pain, it’s crucial to find a comfortable pillow.
The best way to do this is to experiment with different types of pillows until you find one that suits your needs.
What Kind of Pillow is Best for Side Sleepers with Neck Pain?
The best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain is medium-firm and conforms to the head and neck shape.
Some of the best pillows for side sleepers with neck and shoulder pain are:
- feather pillows
- memory foam
- latex pillows
These pillows provide the right amount of support for side sleepers and relieve pressure on the neck and shoulders.
A too-soft pillow will allow the neck to flop forward and pressure the nerves and blood vessels in the neck. On the other hand, a too-hard pillow will push the head forward and cause the neck muscles to strain.
How to Choose a Pillow for Neck Pain – What You Need to Consider
Before choosing a pillow for neck pain, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are some factors to consider:
1. The Loft of Your Pillow
The loft of a pillow refers to the height of the pillow. The best pillows for side sleepers with neck pain will have a higher loft. This is down to personal preference, though, as some people prefer to sleep on firmer surfaces.
If you are unsure what type of loft you like and which would be best for your neck pain, look at our guide to the best pillows for side sleepers.
2. The Material of Your Pillow
Medical professionals often recommend foam pillows as they provide firm support and can have a good loft.
Many people find memory foam pillows to be the most comfortable as they contour to your head and neck, providing support in all the right places.
Some side sleepers also prefer down or feather pillows as they are soft and moldable, but these may not be the best option if you have neck pain as they do not provide enough support for your neck.
Also, down and feather pillows are best used during the summer months as they can lose their shape once they get wet.
3. The Right Pillow Height
Another essential aspect to consider is the height of your pillow, especially when it comes to side sleepers with neck pain.
It would be best if you chose a firm or medium-firm pillow that is not too high, so your head and neck are in a neutral position.
4. Consider the Pillow’s Support
The term “support” in relation to pillows describes how well the pillow keeps your head and neck aligned with your spine.
A pillow that provides good support will help you maintain a neutral alignment when your head, neck, and spine are in a straight line.
This is important because it helps prevent pain in the neck and shoulders and headaches.
There are a few things to look for when determining how supportive a pillow is.
- First, you’ll want to make sure that the pillow is firm enough to provide adequate support. If it’s too soft, your head and neck will sink into the pillow and cause pain.
- Second, you’ll want to consider the thickness of the pillow. Thicker pillows offer more support, but they can also be too bulky for some people.
- Finally, you may want to consider the material that the pillow is made from.
5. Pillow’s Price
As with most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to pillows.
Some novelty or decorative pillows may be cheap, but they might not provide adequate support for your head and neck.
It would be best to choose pillows made from high-quality materials and good firm support for your head and neck.
However, this does not mean you have to pay a fortune for a new pillow. You can usually find reasonably priced pillows that still provide good support.
6 Best Pillow Materials for Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief
The six best pillow materials for neck pain consist of materials suited for side sleepers. These materials work well to support a person’s neck and head while sleeping in the prone position.
1. Buckwheat Hulls
Buckwheat hull pillows are made from natural, hypoallergenic fill that conforms to the contours of your body as you sleep. They have been shown to relieve neck pain, headaches, and TMJ.
2. Memory Foam
Memory foam pillows come from various brands and can be found in different shapes, sizes, and densities.
Memory foam contours to your head and neck, providing support and pressure relief. It is essential to find a memory foam pillow that is not too soft or firm.
Latex pillows are made from natural latex rubber and are often used by people with allergies or sensitivities.
They are supportive and springy, providing both comfort and neck pain relief.
4. Feather Pillows
Feather pillows are soft and have a lot of giving, making them ideal for side sleepers.
They provide excellent support for the head and neck while being soft enough to conform to the contours of your body.
5. Polyfoam Pillows
Another popular choice for side sleepers is polyfoam pillows. These pillows are usually made from shredded foam, providing a lot of bulk and support with less firmness than traditional memory foam pillows.
6. Down Pillows
Last but certainly not least are down pillows. Made from the soft under feathers of ducks or geese, these pillows tend to be very soft and comfortable.
They conform well to your head and neck when sleeping on your side and provide good support without being overly firm.
While there are a variety of pillow materials out there that may help alleviate neck pain, it is crucial to find one that suits your individual needs. Try out a few different types before settling on the perfect pillow.
How to Solve Your Neck and Shoulder Pain When You Sleep
There are two best positioning for neck and shoulder pain when sleeping: on your side and back.
1. On Your Side
It is crucial to keep your spine correctly aligned with a pillow when sleeping on your side.
A thinner pillow between the knees works best for keeping the hips and spine in proper alignment for those with neck pain. You can use a thicker pad under the head for comfort and support.
2. On Your Back
The second way to solve neck and shoulder pain when sleeping on your back is to use a pillow that allows your head to rest in a neutral position.
You can achieve this with the help of a cervical pillow, which supports the neck and keeps it aligned with the spine.
It is also essential to avoid using too many pillows or too thick of a pillow, as these can lead to neck pain.
Additional Tips for Side Sleepers with Neck and Shoulder Pain
Along with using suitable pillow materials, a few tips and tricks can help alleviate neck pain when sleeping on your side.
- Use a thin, firm mattress to keep your spine straight as you sleep.
- Avoid sleeping in positions where your knees are higher than your pelvis or waist while lying on your side.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach, which can exacerbate neck pain and put added strain on the spine.
- Practice good posture while sleeping, keeping your head, shoulders, and pelvis in alignment.
If you are still experiencing significant neck or shoulder pain while sleeping on your side, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about other treatment options.
There are a variety of pillows on the market that can help alleviate neck and shoulder pain. It is crucial to find one that suits your individual needs to get the best results.
Sleeping in the proper position is also crucial for preventing and alleviating neck pain.