Side sleepers are one of the most sensitive groups to satisfy — particularly when it comes to choosing a pillow.
If you sleep on your side, you’ll need a pillow with the right density to fill the space between your head and your neck.
Soft pillows may end up sinking your head, while overly thick pillows may cause discomfort and tension to your neck and ear.
Consequently, you need a pillow that sits at the center — soft enough to allow movement yet firm enough to hold up your head.
What we Look for When Choosing a Pillow for Side Sleepers
- Firmness — Side sleepers require a relatively firm pillow to hold up their head owing to the pressure on their neck and shoulders.
Deeply contouring pillows are likely to position your head leaning downward as you sleep, causing you to wake up with neck pain.
- Washability — It’s essential to consider whether the pillow can be hand-washed, machine-washed, or whether it strictly requires spot cleaning.
- Material — The best pillow for side sleepers should be thick enough to support their head. This will, in effect, reduce pressure on their shoulders. Memory foam pillows are great for this, as they’re soft while still offering support.
- Mattress type — Though pillows and mattresses are not directly related, it’s important to consider the mattress type you use. Side-sleepers generally prefer medium-firm mattresses that can hold up their weight and still provide enough contouring to ease pressure on their shoulders and hips.
We’ve narrowed down the best pillows for side sleepers and will dive into them in greater detail below.
- Layla Pillow – Overall best pillow for side sleepers
- Coop Home Good – Best memory-foam pillow for side sleepers
- Parachute Home Down – Best down pillow for side sleeping
- Casper Sleep Pillow – Best for combined sleepers
- Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow – Best shoulder support option
- Bear Pillow – Best cooling pillow for side sleepers
Best overall for side sleepers: Layla Pillow
The Layla Kapok Pillow is our best overall choice for side sleepers.
Like the Layla mattress, the Layla Kapok pillow is the ultimate definition of softness and support. It’s filled with fibers from the kapok tree along with shredded memory foam. The fibers are amazingly soft, allowing you to move your head freely.
The pillow’s snuggly softness makes it an excellent choice for sleepers who prefer to cuddle their pillow while they sleep.
At 4 inches thick, it’s a medium-loft pillow.
The memory foam inside comes infused with copper, which is renowned for its heat dispersion capabilities. The copper infusion has antimicrobial abilities to deter odor accumulation, leaving your pillow smelling fresh at all times.
The pillow’s impressive softness makes it an excellent option to place between your knees for extra support.
Tagged with a mid-range price, the Layla Kapok pillow compares favorably against other shredded memory foam pillows on the market.
It comes with free shipping for those living within the contiguous US and an extra delivery fee for those in Alaska and Hawaii. Buyers enjoy a 120-night trial and a five-year warranty.
Best memory-foam pillow for side sleepers: Coop Home Good Pillow
The Coop Home Good Pillow stands out among its peers due to its unique blend of softness, comfort, and adjustable fill.
This memory foam pillow is made of gel-infused memory foam and microfibers that provide maximum comfort and an irresistible cooling effect.
The memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified for foam quality and standard. The fill on the pillow is adjustable, allowing you to customize the foam pillow to your ideal size.
The pillow liner is made of lightweight stretch fabric that enables you to shape the pillow to your preferred sleeping position. This helps support alignment in your head and neck.
Maximize surface comfort with the Ultra™ fabric case, which allows you to toss and turn freely. It’s also machine washable.
The Coop Home has a reinforced gusset. This is extra material that improves the pillow’s structure, ensuring optimal support — regardless of your sleeping position.
This pillow boasts enhanced breathability across multiple features. The bamboo blend on the cover makes it quite breathable, while the cross-cut gel and microfibers increase heat dispersion.
The medium fill variety is one of the best for side sleepers and comes in both king and queen sizes.
In terms of pricing, this pillow pick is pocket friendly. Coop Home also offers bundled discounts, driving the price down further.
Every purchase comes with a 100-night trial and a five-year warranty. Free shipping is offered to all shoppers in the USA.
Best down pillow: Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow
Due to their extreme softness, down pillows tend to sink — making them unsuitable for side sleepers who require additional support to ensure spinal alignment.
However, the Parachute Down side sleeper pillow has solved this dilemma. The pillow is made with 3.5-inch gussets along all four corners, ensuring it retains a firm structure.
This pillow is made of luxurious and premium European down (85%) and feather fibers (15%), allowing heat to dissipate and consistently providing a cool night’s sleep.
Reinforced with double-stitched piping to increase support, you can be sure the pillow will hold up your head’s weight.
The casing has a 100% sateen cotton shell to prevent feathers from popping out. The down pillow can either be dry cleaned or machine washed using a liquid laundry detergent.
In terms of pricing, the pillow is relatively affordable compared to other down and feather filled pillows on the market.
Free shipping is offered to shoppers throughout the US as well as army post office locations. It comes with a 60-day return period and a three-year warranty.
Shoppers can choose between standard and king sizes.
Best for combined sleepers: Casper Sleep Pillow
Perhaps you just can’t decide whether you’re a side sleeper or a stomach sleeper. If that’s the case, the Original Casper Pillow is ideal for you.
It addresses the needs of side and stomach sleepers to produce a two-in-one pillow. One side of the pillow is soft, making it ideal for stomach sleepers, while the other side is firmer — perfect for side sleepers.
This is a deluxe pillow, with two-inch gussets along the sides to enhance head and neck alignment while ensuring the down is always evenly distributed.
The Casper Sleep pillow has a 100% pure organic cotton cover that features a breathable percale weave. This ensures maximum airflow as you sleep.
The fill is made of polyester microfiber that promotes freshness and you can return it to its original puffiness with a quick fluff in the morning.
Cleaning is made a breeze by simply unzipping the outer layer from the inner layer. Clean both separately with cool water and a mild detergent.
This is an ideal choice for tightly budgeted shoppers as it comes at a relatively affordable price.
Casper offers free shipping to shoppers in the US and Canada.
Enjoy a 30-night trial and a one-year limited warranty on this pillow. Shoppers can choose between standard and king sizes.
Best shoulder support: Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow
Side sleepers have to contend with pressure build-up around their shoulders as they sleep. This may make your sleeping experience uncomfortable.
The Eli & Elm Side-sleeper Pillow stands out as one of the best pillows for side sleepers due to its distinctive U shape. This provides a space for the shoulder to rest, reduces neck pain, and promotes spine alignment — making it ideal for side sleepers.
The pillow is made of removable latex (75%) and polyester (25%) filling for adjustable firmness.
With an extra-smooth cotton cover blended with fine polyester and spandex, the pillow’s surface provides ultimate comfort. The top-quality fabric is highly breathable, enhancing freshness and optimizing heat dispersion to ensure a cool sleep.
For those with allergies, the pillow cover is tightly woven to ensure that it’s dust mite resistant, mildew proof, and antimicrobial — keeping those allergies at bay.
The pillow comes at a relatively high price point compared to other side sleeper pillows.
Every purchase enjoys a 45-night trial period and a five-year warranty. Free shipping is provided to shoppers within the contiguous US.
Best cooling pillow: Bear Pillow
One of the most significant cons associated with a foam pillow is its heat absorption and retention. This makes it unfavorable for sleepers who prefer a cool night’s sleep.
The Bear Pillow is a perfect blend of the comfort that comes with foam and phenomenal cooling abilities. This cooling pillow is made of a hybrid of latex foam for resilience and bounce and shredded memory foam for comfort and deep contouring.
The foam is aerated to ensure maximum airflow. On top of this, the pillow’s sides are equipped with two mesh panels.
The pillow cover is made of a double-ice fabric that stays cool to the touch all night long. What’s more, the cover is machine washable.
When it comes to comfort, the Loft-X foam is neither too firm nor too soft; this provides the required support while allowing your head to sink in a bit for the much-loved contouring.
The pillow is hypoallergenic and microbial, so you can be sure that mites, allergens, and bacteria are not likely to disturb your sleep. The foam itself should only be spot cleaned as the specialty cooling fabric does not respond well to machine washing.
The Bear Pillow comes with a 100-night trial and a two-year warranty. Free shipping is provided to shoppers throughout the contiguous US and Alaska, and Hawaii at an additional fee.
The pillow is ideal for thriftier shoppers as it comes at a mid-range price point. Shoppers can choose between standard and king sizes.
Verdict: Best Pillows for Side Sleepers
Your choice of pillow is one of the most important sleeping decisions you can make, especially if you’re a side sleeper. Consider your individual preferences in terms of material, cooling choices, contouring, and support in making this decision.
Our review above should provide a great starting point. Stay tuned to Sleep Reviews for more reviews on pillows and other sleeping gear.