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Best Pillows For Side Sleepers: Lofty Head and Neck Support

Updated August 16, 2019

Rank Product Highlights Warranty
#1

TEMPUR-Cloud Soft and Conforming Pillow

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  • Stays cool
  • Helps with neck pain
  • Keeps shape
5 years
#2

Layla Copper Infused Pillow

  • Sleeps cool
  • Copper infusion may promote health
  • Very soft and contouring
5 year prorated,
120 night trial
#3  

Classic Brands Reversible Pillow

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  • Comfortably cool
  • Great neck support
  • Dual sided for varying ambient temperatures
3 year warranty
#4

Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow

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  • High, contouring loft
  • Firm support
  • Excellent neck support
30 day returns
#5

Serta Innocor Comfort Pillow

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  • Very cooling
  • Pillow keeps its shape and provides good contouring
  • Very helpful for sore and stiff neck
5 years
#6

Bear Pillow

  • Cooling sleep sensation
  • Highly responsive and supportive
  • Naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial
2 year
#7

GhostBed Pillow

Buy Now

  • Absorbs and dissipates heat
  • Quick foam response time
  • Smells like lavender when opened
100 night sleep trial,
5 year warranty
#8 If you have been asking yourself what kind of pillow do I need, then this article can help you find that answer.

Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow

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  • Fully adjustable to all sleep positions
  • Washable
  • Great for heavier bodies
30 day trial period
#9

Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

  • Fully adjustable
  • Excellent body support and contouring
  • Sleeps cool
100 night trial period

Getting just the right pillow picked out may not seem like such a difficult task, but if you have every purchased the perfect pillow, only to wake with aches and pains, then you know it is not as simple as it sounds. Your pillow choices are almost as important as your mattress choices, and should include not only personal preference, but the acknowledgement of cervical alignment for a truly healthy rest.

Waking feeling more tired than when you went to sleep is a common problem for those who struggle with poor support and comfort. Pillows are critical for proper head and neck alignment, muscle relaxation, and open airways, and side sleepers need a pillow with the specific loft and fill to fit these needs. The best pillows for side sleeper reviews below have all been accessed by our own Sleep Judge Review Team and are our own top picks for side sleeping comfort.

Head and Neck Alignment

When your body is misaligned through the night you wake with aches and pains, or may feel restless and tired due to the interruptions to your sleep as you struggle to get comfortable. Your cervical spine is the gateway of your central nervous system, and the connection between your brainstem and the rest of your body. In short, it controls everything you do, and protection and influence of proper spinal alignment is crucial to your overall health.

While you search for the perfect side sleeping pillow, you will want to pay particular attention to the height it lens to your head, and the support provided to fill the gap created by your neck. You want the soft tissues of your back and neck to be able to relax, which allows you to sleep more comfortably and uninterrupted. This also helps support airways and increases blood flow; all things that lead to a healthier you.

Sleep Position and Pillow Comfort

Side sleeping is actually the most popular position, and a very healthy one overall when correctly supported. It helps keep airways open for anyone suffering from sleep apnea or other airway issues. The goal when side sleeping is to provide a stable, firm, and conforming surface for your head to rest in that allows it to stay level with your spine. The fill of the pillow should be able to fill in the gap between the head and shoulders to allow the neck to rest comfortably.

Gusseted pillows, those with higher profiles and responsive fills, contoured pillows for air way support, and various malleable type fills are all popular choices for side sleepers. Thinner, pliable pillows are also a popular choice to place between the knees to help alleviate any joint pressure, and to also help lift the hip and support overall body alignment as well.

Other Helpful Uses for Side Sleepers

Some side sleepers can benefit from various other pillow support. As mentioned above, placing a pillow between the knees can be helpful, but so can pillow wedges placed at the small of the back, or even body pillows to help stabilize and support the whole body. When side sleeping you may feel that you want to lay back, or even forward, making you a combination sleeper. Unfortunately, back and stomach sleepers require a different type of pillow, although some pillows are able to accommodate both for certain body types.

Thick Pillow Types

Since side sleepers comprise more of the population than back and side sleepers, they have a pretty massive choice of pillow types to choose from. Although a higher profile, thicker, and firmer pillow is suggested, you should always read the reviews of pillows to find what might work best for you.

Gusseted pillows are always a popular pick as they have a side gusset that helps provide the height for your head and neck, support to your shoulders, and allows the filling to evenly distribute and provide better neck support. COntoured pillows that have rolls for the neck are also made to help keep airways open and provide a stable sleep surface. Other fills such as shredded memory foam and buckwheat create a pliable surface that you can shape to provide the perfect place to lay your head.

What to Consider When Choosing a Pillow for Side Sleeping

With the many choices you may have been faced with, it is easy to become overwhelmed and struggle to pick what might be best for you. You want to take into account the needs your body shape and size have concerning firmness and support, but also consider your own personal comfort preferences. For example, if firm surface are not comfortable to you, you might want to look for a firm support that has a softer, more plush surface to rest your head upon.

Are you considered a combination sleepers?

As I touched upon above, combo sleepers are faced with a unique challenge as side sleepers need a thicker pillow than any other sleep position. Look for pillows that offer multi comforts, and read reviews of people who sleep like you do. Also, look for other pillow-like support to provide whole body support to keep you from moving.

Do you tuck your arms up or under you or the pillow?

If you like to tuck your arm up under your head at night, you can can end up misaligning your spine. This is due to the added lift you create under your head. Look for highly responsive fills that will embrace your arm, rather than rest upon it. This is more comfortable, and supportive of your head and neck.

Do you sleep warm?

If you sleep warm, then you know how disruptive a heat sink can be to your sleep quality. Look for natural material construction, and fiber fills, or shredded foams that have many air pockets for improved breathability. Many foams are also gel infused, or have a cooling layer. These will help circulate air and draw heat from your body to dissipate it away.

Our Top Best Stomach Pillow Picks

The following pillows have been personally reviewed by The Sleep Judge Review Team. Although we have many pillows we can recommend, these are some of the best we’ve used for side sleeping across a wide variety of body types, and sleep needs.

#1. TEMPUR-Cloud Soft and Conforming Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Memory foam
  • Loft: ~6.5
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 5 years

Tempur-Pedic has recently introduced a softer, more conforming foam to their pillow designs, creating a pillow more likely to be used by a wider variety of people. The Soft and Conforming Pillow is unlike many of their previous designs, and has a unique, soft core that is never supposed to flatten. It is specifically created to address head and neck alignment in any position depending on your body type. The foam is highly responsive, and responds well to pressure for just the right amount of support. A thick, 100% cotton casing surrounds the pillow, providing a plush like, cooling surface.

Pros

  • Stays cool
  • Helps with neck pain
  • Keeps shape

Cons

  • Memory foam may feel too solid for some people
  • Slight off-gassing

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

Our own trials describe this pillow as lending itself well to most side sleepers no matter what body type or weight they have. It is a quality choice that also may work well for combination sleepers- making it a very versatile pillow indeed.

Read full review here.

#2. Layla Copper Infused Down Alternative Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: kapok and shredded memory foam
  • Loft: ~5.5 inches
  • Comfort Positions: Back and side sleepers
  • Warranty: 5 year prorated, 120 night trial

The Layla Pillow is quite the innovative pillow. Filled with shredded memory foam and a soft, natural Kapok fiber, it is supportive, yet plush and malleable. It feels very much like a highly stuffed feather and down pillow wrapped in a thick, poly blend cover. Made for back and side sleepers, it has a hefty list of comfort claims, the foremost being how well it supports the head and neck in proper cervical alignment. Secondary is the copper infusion found within the casing. This copper may be able to support increased blood flow, creating quicker recovery and body healing.

Pros

  • Sleeps cool
  • Copper infusion may promote health
  • Very soft and contouring

Cons

  • Slight offgassing
  • May be too firm for stomach sleepers

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

This is a truly comfortable pillow that is an excellent choice for back and side sleepers. Our own reviewers were impressed with the quality of the pillow, as well as the quality of sleep it supported.

#3. Classic Brands Reversible Cool Gel and Memory Foam Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Dual sided memory foam
  • Loft: ~ 5 inches
  • Comfort Positions: Side and Back
  • Warranty: 3 year warranty

This dual designed pillow was created to meet the needs of a wide variety of comfort preferences. One side boasts a textured gel layer for a cooling, slightly more firm surface. The reverse side is a medium-soft surface and slightly more responsive. The pillow was made to address temperature regulation, with a 5 inch profile that supports more side and back sleepers. The pillow does provide a gradual memory foam sink to help cradle your head and conform to your body shape and neck. Plus, being able to reverse it allows you to choose your desired comfort.

Pros

  • Comfortably cool
  • Great neck support
  • Dual sided for varying ambient temperatures

Cons

  • Some offgassing
  • Cooling somewhat dependent on ambient temps
  • Might be too thin for some sleepers

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

This pillow is an excellent value for a gel layered memory foam, and the unique dual siding allows for a wider variety of people to take advantage of it. Our own trials found it comforting and supportive. 

Read our full review here.

#4. Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Poly fiberfill
  • Loft: ~7 inches
  • Comfort Positions: Side and Back
  • Warranty: 30 day returns

The overstuffed feel of the Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillows creates a soft, responsive plush surface that helps conform to your head and neck. A 2 inch gussets reinforce the shaping, and help keep the polyester fiberfill filling well distributed under compression, and keeps it from going flat. A 400 thread count, pima cotton casing is smooth, cooling, and provides decent air flow. This is a pillow made for side sleepers and larger back sleepers. It is an excellent side sleeping comfort, and allows for true neck support.

Pros

  • High, contouring loft
  • Firm support
  • Excellent neck support

Cons

  • May be too ‘springy’
  • May be too firm for back sleepers

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

Although considered fairly firm, the polyfill does allow for a great pressure free surface, and is considered very comforting. Our own reviews found it to be a favorite of side sleepers.

Read our full review here.

#5. Innocor Comfort by Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Gel infused memory foam
  • Loft: 2-inch gusset
  • Comfort Positions: Side and Back
  • Warranty: 5 years

Serta has a long standing, dependable name in the sleep industry, and their subsidiary companies have gained a quality reputation as well. Innocor Comfort is one such business that was taken up by Serta, and offers innovative technologies to their products. This gusseted pillow has a gel infused memory foam core to help create even compression, and excellent head and neck contouring. The foam has a slow sink rather than instant response (despite being a softer foam), which allows it to provide the height needed for side sleepers. A micro vented cover also influences air flow for a cooler night’s sleep.

Pros

  • Very cooling
  • Pillow keeps its shape and provides good contouring
  • Very helpful for sore and stiff neck

Cons

  • May be a bit too thick
  • May begin to break down with heavy use
  • Slight off-gassing

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

Made for side sleepers, some back sleepers may also be able to take advantage of this pillow. It is a quality item with excellent workmanship and use of materials. 

Read our full review here.

#6. Bear Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: LOFT-X hybrid memory foam
  • Loft: ~6 inches
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 2 year

The Bear Pillows uses the same hybrid foam in their pillows that they use in their mattresses to create a cooling, comfortable sleep surface. The patent foam is of such that it instantly springs back to shape after being compressed, and feels a little like your head and neck is floating. With a 6 inch loft it is made specifically for side sleepers, although some back sleepers may find it comforting as well. It also has such excellent pressure point reduction you may find it to be a great solution for other areas in which you need support.

Pros

  • Cooling sleep sensation
  • Highly responsive and supportive
  • Naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial

Cons

  • Slight offgassing for a few days
  • May be too high for stomach sleepers
  • May be too narrow for broad shouldered side sleepers

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

The amazing quality and comfort of this pillow really does make it worth checking out. Like most pillows, it may not be for everyone, but our detailed reviews can provide you with the details you need to make a decision.

Read our full review here.

#7. GhostPillow Real-Time Cooling Aerated Gel Memory Foam Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Gel infused memory foam
  • Loft: ~5.5 inches
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 100 night sleep trial, 5 year warranty

Ghostpillow is made by the highly popular GhostBed mattress company, and uses a real time cooling aeration technology to create a cooling, conforming, and supportive surface for your head and neck. The solid memory foam core is infused with gel to absorb and dissipate body heat. It also helps draw moisture from your skin surface. Created for side and back sleepers, it has a softer, more plush surface that provides the underlying, firmer support popular for anyone who needs the lift and structure for proper spinal alignment.

Pros

  • Absorbs and dissipates heat
  • Quick foam response time
  • Smells like lavender when opened

Cons

  • May compress slightly overtime
  • Fairly flat
  • May need a second pillow for  side sleepers

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

The pillow is made for side sleepers, although it may have a bit of a lower profile that does not work well for broad shouldered body types. Because of this is may also be comfortable for some back, and even some stomach sleepers. 

Read our full review here.

#8. TEMPUR-Contour Breeze Side-to-Side Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Solid memory foam core
  • Loft: 4 to 5.5 inches
  • Comfort positions: Side
  • Warranty: 5 year

The Tempur-Pedic Contour Breeze Side by Side was specifically created to address side sleeping posture and and airway support. This highly dense, quality foam is shaped with neck rolls, and a softer, lower inner contour for the head to rest within. The firmer feel lends itself well to both gentle compression, as well as providing a non-shifting side to side lift for night time movement. The pillow also has a cooling layer to draw heat from your body, and a soft, smooth, breathable casing for further cooling comfort. The firmness does require a bit of getting used to, but there are two different lofts to the rolls, making it more accessible to a greater amount of sleep needs.

Pros

  • Very comfortable and supportive
  • Firm contour for side sleeping
  • Supports neck well

Cons

  • May be too firm for some
  • Smaller bodies may find it too high
  • May have slight off-gassing

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

This is the ultimate side sleeping pillow, created specifically for side sleepers, and their own nocturnal movements. Although it may not be a perfect match for all body types, attention has been paid to meeting many nighttime needs.

Read our full review here.

#9. Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Bamboo Cooling Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Shredded memory foam
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 30 day trial period

Adjustable pillows are an excellent choice for all sleep positions, especially side sleepers as they are excellent for providing a more personalized sleep experience and can be customized to height and support. The Coop Home Goods shredded memory foam pillow has a thick, plush, breathable cover, and is wholly adjustable to both firmness and pillow loft. You can add, or subtract, filling to make a support specific to your needs, all without sacrificing the pliable give of a memory foam. Shredded memory foam has become a popular filling pick due to how well it allows air flow through the pillow, as well as the allowance it lends to a more shapeable sleep experience.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable to all sleep positions
  • Washable
  • Great for heavier bodies

Cons

  • Slight offgassing
  • May become lumpy overtime
  • Firm feel with higher loft

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

This is an excellent pick for all sleeper positions, particularly side sleepers due to how much control you have over the loft and firmness. 

Read our full review here.

#10. The Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Shredded Memory Foam/ polyfill blend
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 100 night trial period

The Nest Bedding Easy Breather is another adjustable choice that provides personalization for both comfort and posture support. With a slight gusset, the pillow keeps it shape well under compression, and the soft Tencel cover is excellent for added surface softness- plus it unzips to help adjust the memory foam and polyfil blend that provides soft, malleable shaping. It may take a bit to find the perfect loft adjustment for your own needs, but the removal, or addition of filling is well worth the time it may take to find the perfect sleep.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable
  • Excellent body support and contouring
  • Sleeps cool

Cons

  • Not washable
  • Slight offgassing

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

This pillow was a great choice for side sleepers according to our trials. The thicker profile when fully filled gives excellently under your head and neck to provide pressure point reduction and support open airways.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

Of course your own choices need to be particular to both what body support you need, and what you personally prefer for comfort. Our top best pillows for side sleepers come from our own personal experiences and detailed reviews. There are, of course, many other pillows out there for you to choose from, but these help highlight the many types of materials available, as well as a true guide to the features of each pillow. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with one of these picks in your search for proper support and comfort.