"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."
Side sleeping is the too-often forgotten sleeping position. Everyone says on your back is best, your stomach is the worst. But, the majority of people are actually side sleepers. We're not the refined mummy-like back sleepers. We're not the slovenly, childish tummy sleepers. And we need some special tools to get our quality eight hours.
Of course, getting a high-quality mattress will help. Side sleepers should go for soft mattresses to help ease their pressure points. There's also great bedding, a smart alarm clock (we love Loftie), or even a sunrise alarm clock that will help you get some higher quality shut eye. But, paramount to side sleepers is the pillow. Side sleepers might have the most specific pillow needs.
Side sleepers are particularly prone to sleep pain because of how gravity pulls the neck down over time. And regular pillows or flat stomach sleeper pillows just don't quite do the job. Side sleepers need something tall to keep their spine aligned, and supportive to keep their head from drooping down over the course of the night. Beyond that, it's all personal preference. We tested a bunch of the most popular options, and we've covered all bases here with these nine best pillows for side sleepers.
Saatva Latex Pillow
Sweaty sleepers pay attention: Shredded latex, if you aren't aware, is a cooler alternative to memory foam. You'll find it here in this winner from Saatva, plus a plush down alternative. Which means without even the slightest rise in your own temperature, you can keep that spine in alignment no problem while you snooze.
One thing we found is that the standard loft is too short for most side sleepers, except those with really narrow shoulders. In 90 percent of side sleeper cases, we advise going for the high loft.
Original Loft Pillow
We're huge fans of Coop pillows. And while there are actually dedicated side sleeping models, we really just like the original. It's got additional foam you can pump it up with—if it doesn't come with enough already for your liking—which makes it ideal for those finnicky side sleepers. We could tailor the fit to our exact shoulder dimensions, which is amazing. As with everything we've got on this list, it's supportive without being rock hard.
Side Sleeper Pillow
This is why we didn't suggest the Coop cutout pillow—because Eli & Elm make such a good one. The smart little crevice leaves room for you shoulder to get the space it needs without sacrificing support elsewhere. We've tried a handful of cutout pillows, but none have such a good combination of height and texture. It works for side sleepers of any size.
The Harmony Pillow
Purple's signature Hex grid gel support is a great, comfortable option for people who don't like memory foam or tend to sweat through other materials. This one looks a little higher than it really is and is best for people who don't have a whole lot of difference in neck and head placement when they roll to the side.
Down Side Sleeper Pillow
On the opposite end, this Parachute pillow is dramatically large—and that square shape makes it look even bigger. It's a great option for anyone who is constantly layering two pillows on top of each other to get the right support.
It is also fully down, so it offers a bit of give. Great for tall sleepers, but shorter sleepers will find it just as useful.
This Tempurpedic pillow is a classic. (It's really the first shape that really caught on with side sleepers everywhere.) With its supportive memory foam and strategic support for your cervical spine, it's as good now as it's ever been.
The only downside we found was that it does run a bit warm at night. And because of the unique shape, it's a one-sided pillow, using the cool side of the pillow is a bit out of the question. So those who run hot may want to choose another option from this list.
MedCline Relief System
OK, yes, this pillow has a lot going on. You might even call it a contraption. But for people who are really struggling with getting comfortable while they sleep—or those for whom that side sleep position is compounded by an injury or another health ailment—this mutli-pillow set up is the most ergonomic option on the market.
Perhaps your neck feels fine but you feel tight in your back after you sleep? This pillow is designed to fit in between your knees so that they align with your hips and your back—meaning: no more uncomfy twisting. An added bonus is that there's also no need to shell out a lot of money on a fancy pillow.
Essential Cooling Pillow
Sleep on your side and sleep hot? The problems are piling up. Casper's cooling pillow is our recommendation.
The reason it's better than other conventionally shaped pillow is because it's actually more like a half-square pillow in shape. There's a gusset that runs around the perimeter of the pillow, and it makes the overall shape a bit taller and denser. Thus, you get that nice neck alignment, while a breathable cover and chambered design keep you cool.
What to Look for in a Side Sleeper Pillow
We've gotten a lot frequently asked questions about side sleepers, so let me address some of the most important things.
What do side sleepers need?
In most cases, it's neck support. If your head droops down too much, that puts your spine in bad alignment, and it creates issues. You want a tall pillow that will keep your spine on as level a plane as possible.
What is the best pillow material?
This is mostly personal preference. I love down, but a lot of side sleepers like memory foam or latex. Foam and latex are much more dense than down, so side sleepers get their much needed neck support.
Why Trust Esquire?
We don't claim to be sleep doctors here at Esquire, but we do love and cherish our 8+hours. We don't just believe in internet research, we believe in human research. We're fighting the good fight against AI and robots, testing the things you can't. We actually drink the alcohol, use the sheets, stay in the hotels, and of course, we use these pillows for real. We're only recommending the best of the best, because that's what you deserve.
You Might Also Like