Last updated on October 11th, 2018

If you sleep on your side, you’re not alone. Recent studies have shown that about one-third of all people sleep in this position and need a side sleeper pillow. If you factor in the similar fetal position, that number skyrockets to five-sixths of the population.

We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best pillows for side sleepers, those who suffer from bad cervical pain, budget-conscious shoppers, and more. After going over the importance of a pillow for a side sleeper, we’ll be uncovering which pillow is right for your night’s rest.

In a Hurry? Check out the editor’s choice for the best pillow for side sleepers: Coop Home Goods

Ranking
Editor's Choice
-
Best Body Pillow
-
Top High End
-
Best Cervical Back Pain
-
Best Value
-
Top Wedge Acid Reflux
-
Preview
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft - Shredded...
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Full...
The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow (Queen)
Water Pillow by Mediflow: The first and original water...
Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow, Gusseted Side Sleeper ,Standard
Bed Wedge, FitPlus Premium Wedge Pillow 1.5 Inches Memory...
Rating
93
91
90
88.6
88
88
Editor's Choice
Ranking
-
Preview
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft - Shredded...
Rating
93
Best Body Pillow
Ranking
-
Preview
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Full...
Rating
91
Top High End
Ranking
-
Preview
The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow (Queen)
Rating
90
Best Cervical Back Pain
Ranking
-
Preview
Water Pillow by Mediflow: The first and original water...
Rating
88.6
Best Value
Ranking
-
Preview
Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow, Gusseted Side Sleeper ,Standard
Rating
88
Top Wedge Acid Reflux
Ranking
-
Preview
Bed Wedge, FitPlus Premium Wedge Pillow 1.5 Inches Memory...
Rating
88

Side Sleepers—What You Need to Know

While sleeping on your side is often debated in the best sleeping position for your body (alongside back sleeping), the truth is that almost anyone needs a pillow that’s going to support their head and retain spinal alignment while sleeping like this.

There’s very good evidence to suggest that sleeping on your side is an innate sleeping position that’s instinctive. While several variations of side sleeping exist, there are several commonly shared aspects of side sleeping that need to be addressed.

Side sleeping is very popular since it allows the natural curves of your spinal column to loosen without excessive torsion. This comes as opposed to stomach sleeping, which forces the head to turn one way or the other to breathe.

Sleeping on your back is usually considered good for decompressing the lumbar spine, but does little to keep up the natural curves of the upper back. Sleeping on your side keeps both curves with none of the drawbacks.

Or does it?

Side sleeping is effective in comfort and spinal alignment, but only if the correct pillow is involved. Too thin a pillow will force the neck to hyperextend to rest, and too thick a pillow will weaken the diaphragm’s ability to maintain airflow in the night.

You’ll need a pillow that’s soft enough to support the head, while still firm enough to maintain spinal alignment. It’s a tall order, but there are several pillows that have managed to provide both in a single package.

Here are the best pillows for side sleepers:

Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

Coop Home Goods – Editor’s Choice

This pillow may not look like much—but it made Editor’s Choice for a reason.

The Coop Home Goods pillow comes with a unique proprietary blend of shredded memory foam. This foam can be accessed through a side compartment that allows you to pull out the foam or fill in moreas necessary.

This feature alone sets the Coop Home Goods pillow apart from the competition as it allows the pillow to adjust to any sleeper. If the pillow comes too plush right out of the packaging, simply remove the excess foam.

If the pillow is too thin, extra padding is included to help you make up the difference. It’s that simple. Coop also ships each pillow with a generous warranty that can sway even the stingiest of buyers.

This pillow runs at a fairly pricey premium, but a hypoallergenic build and washable cover help round out this product and make it well worth its price tag.

Still, even a pillow like this has its drawbacks. Seemingly due to demand, the Coop Home Goods pillow often comes too plush for side sleepers right out of the packaging.

While the excess foam seems helpful, there is no included place to store the extra shredding, and the shredding itself is reported to be a bit firm for lighter sleepers.

At the same time, any memory foam pillow like the Coop Home Goods pillow is going to suffer from off-gassing. For those uninitiated, the highly absorbent foam material in memory foam pillows will soak up the smells of the factory it was manufactured within.

The result is a pillow that’ll remind odorous for several days to a week after arriving. The smell is reported to go away, but taken alongside other complaints it’s certainly worth mentioning.

All that being said, if the price is right for you and you’re prepared to deal with the off-gassing, it’s hard to think of any better place to start than with the Coop Home Goods pillow.  

Pros

  • Adjustable
  • Generous Warranty
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • Off-gassing can be a problem
  • Premium cost
  • Lots of excess foam

Snuggle-Pedic – Best Body Pillow For Side Sleepers

Much like its namesake, this pillow serves as a great way for stomach sleepers to switch to a healthier position. The Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo pillow seems to have come as a direct competitor to the Coop Home Goods pillow.

Featuring their version of shredded memory foam that’s heavy on viscose of bamboo, this pillow comes with several variants, a ridiculously generous warranty, and isn’t afraid to skimp on size.

On top of the above features, the Snuggle-Pedic is also hypoallergenic and features significantly less off-gassing considering its size. It’s a fair competitor to Coop’s version, and for some people, may even be more comfortable.

However, the true value of the Snuggle-Pedic isn’t in its ability to support your head, but rather, your body.

If you’re new to side sleeping, you may be struggling to keep off of your back and stomach. Most physicians recommend the use of body pillows to keep such rolling to a minimum and allow you to open up the diaphragm.

Holding tightly onto the king-sized Snuggle-Pedic to keep the diaphragm open is one of the best uses for this large, plush pillow.

Petite sleepers that might be too intimidated by the large size of the pillow will especially prefer this setup, rather than attempting to use it as a head pillow.

Overall, the Snuggle-Pedic draws many pros and cons from its similar cousin over at Coop, including issues with off-gassing, and cost. However, it is its size and plush quality that makes it stand out not only as a pillow but as a means to keep side sleepers right where they are throughout the night.

Pros

  • Doubles as a body pillow
  • Plush
  • Generous Warranty

Cons

  • Too large for many sleepers
  • Off-gassing
  • Premium cost

The Scrumptious – Top High End

If the previous two bottom lines weren’t concerning enough for you, this pillow’s price would be sure to suggest a step above the rest in quality.

Coming in at around 100 dollars, it’s hard to notice anything else but cost upon first observation of the Scrumptious side sleeper pillow. The second observation you may make afterward, however, would most likely be the shape.

Made from five-inch thick gel fiber and foam, the Scrumptious side sleeper pillow holds a unique curved shape in a premium, hand-made package. Unlike the first two pillows on our list, the Scrumptious does not need to double as a body pillow.

In fact, it’s both a head pillow as well as a body pillow. The curved shape of the Scrumptious allows for you to cradle the pillow while still resting your head on it.

This 2-in-1 design is one of the most unique we’ve seen on the market, and a hidden pouch to adjust filling is also at your disposal to make this pillow exactly the proper height for your neck.

Despite the price and feature set, however, we do need to note a few problems before you head out and purchase this pillow.

From what we can see, warranty information and coverage on the Scrumptious pillow is very much lacking. At the same time, not everyone can adjust to the unique design.

If you don’t already utilize or enjoy a body pillow, jumping straight from a head pillow to this pillow may be moving too fast.

Generally, the Scrumptious overcomes these smaller issues and remains our pick for Top High End. There is simply no pillow that promises to provide a night’s sleep quite like this one. 

Pros

  • Curved, innovative design
  • Hand-made in USA
  • Adjustable

Cons

  • High cost
  • Unique design not for all sleepers
  • Weak warranty

Mediflow Waterbase – Best Pillow To Reduce Cervical Back Pain

This pillow isn’t afraid to toss away the memory foam trend and make big waves in the industry. Literally.

The Mediflow Waterbase, as the name would imply, manages to support the head and neck by utilizing an internal bladder to be filled with water. Simply remove the plug, fill to the recommended amount for your desired firmness, and seal.

The Mediflow Waterbase is perfect for those sensitive to the off-gassing commonly found in memory foam pillows, or those who need complete control over firmness. For this reason, we recommend the Mediflow Waterbase for those suffering from cervical pain.

The unique design, affordable cost, and 1-year warranty are quite the attention grabbers, but upon closer inspection, there are a few points of contention brought up in reviews.

Public perception on the Mediflow Waterbase is somewhat average, with those dismissing the product citing questionable build quality in the seams and supposedly leaky bladder.

Likewise, there’s only one size available as of publication of this article, which limits those who may have wanted a bigger or smaller pillow. Water can also slosh around within the pillow and distract a tired mind from sleep if the instructions aren’t closely followed.

We’re fairly confident that fine-tuning this pillow still makes it the best choice for those who need specific support, but for others, this novel feature can quickly turn into a detriment if not properly cared for.  

 

Pros

  • Highly adjustable firmness
  • Great for neck pain
  • No smells

Cons

  • Questionable quality
  • Tends to leak
  • Difficult to clean

Iso-Cool Memory Foam – Best Value

While many of the pillows on our list feature innovative designs and unique features that draw in a fair amount of attention, this pillow attempts to impress with a comfortable design at a reasonable price.

The Iso-Cool memory foam pillow is an American-made foam pillow that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The product advertises a heat absorbing cotton material that both gives the pillow its name and prevents the problem of overheating people experience with foam.

Priced at $40 and below, the Iso-Cool memory foam pillow is the cheapest on our list by a significant margin.

Surprisingly enough, it is the also the pillow with the most variations. For the price of other pillows we’ve mentioned, you can pick both a contoured Iso-Cool pillow for your head and another for your body.

That cost differential, along with few reported issues with smell, makes the Iso-Cool memory foam pillow our pick for Best Value. That value, unfortunately, is not without a few flaws.

Public perception is mixed, with several finding issues with overheating—despite the product’s name. Support is also a major issue, so for those larger sleepers out there, the thinner nature of this pillow may not be enough to keep your head and neck in alignment.

Still, it’s hard to discredit the Iso-Cool pillow too much. For the average side sleeper, there are few better products for the price. 

 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No off-gassing reported
  • Several variations available

Cons

  • Can sometimes overheat
  • Questionable quality
  • Little support for larger sleepers

FitPlus Premium – Top Wedge Acid Reflux Pillow For Side Sleepers

Our final pillow bears little resemblance to the others but promises to keep acid reflux and insomnia at bay.

The FitPlus Premium is referred to as a wedge pillow for a single, very obvious reason. The reason for the unique design?

According to FitPlus, gently tapering off the edge of the pillow keeps the pressure on the shoulders to a minimum and keeps the head elevated enough to prevent acid reflux.

That claim, luckily, seems to have been met—as public perception of the FitPlus premium is among the highest of any pillow on our list. Back sleepers, in particular, are big fans of the ergonomic design, dual foam and memory foam build, and unique shape.

Unfortunately for the FitPlus Premium, however, side sleepers are shafted somewhat by design. Getting used to a wedge pillow as a side sleeper can be a frustrating experience that may send you back to your standard rectangular pillow.

Likewise, the pillow is firm. Very firm. So firm, in fact, it can be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning. Such a steep adjustment period does not always bode well for a product like this, which already tends to force sleepers off of it due to the shape.

If you’re a side sleeper that can also sleep on your back, or have a specific need to combat acid reflux, the FitPlus pillow may be right for you. If a plush, soft pillow is more your speed, however, then maybe a wedge pillow wouldn’t be our first recommendation.  

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No off-gassing reported
  • Several variations available

Cons

  • Can sometimes overheat
  • Questionable quality
  • Little support for larger sleepers
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Final Thoughts

So, which pillow is the best pillow for side sleepers?

The Coop Home Goods pillow is a personal favorite of ours, but it may not be for everyone. If budget isn’t much of a concern, the Scrumptious may be more up your alley. Or the Mediflow Waterbase for back problems.

We can think of many reasons why you’d want any of the six pillows listed here. However, only one will best fit your need and provide you with the best night’s sleep as a side sleeper. Be sure to do your research, consider your specific needs, and pick the pillow that’s right for you.

->See the Editors Choice For Best Pillow For Side Sleepers

Efrain Ruiz

Efrain is a culture and lifestyle writer from Atlanta. He loves indie music, minimalism, and helping people get a better night’s rest.

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