All sleepers aren’t the same, so why do all pillows seem to be the same? Some people like to sleep on their back, a few special individuals sleep on their stomach, while others (myself included) are dedicated side-sleepers. More often than not, however, side-sleepers find that normal pillows simply don’t provide enough support, being either too soft or too flat to properly hold up one’s head and neck.
It’s not hard to see why this can be a problem: When sleeping on your side, your head is naturally going to be higher up off of the bed than it would be if you were lying on your back. If your pillow isn’t holding your noggin up high enough, your head and neck will be lying at an awkward angle relative to your spine, which is uncomfortable at best (resulting in poor sleep and a stiff neck) and can cause lasting problems at worst.
If you’ve tried doubling up on pillows or buying larger ones to no avail, then it might just be time for a new pillow one made specifically for sleeping on your side. We’ve rounded up the best pillows for side-sleepers that comfortably give you good neck and head support, and if you’re a hot sleeper, also be sure to check out these great cooling pillows for some additional options.
This queen-sized model from Wamsutta features an extra-firm filling that offers great head and neck support when you’re lying on your side. Customer reviews say that the “extra-firm” label is not mere marketing the Wamsutta pillow is densely built for serious side sleepers and doesn’t sag or let your head “sink” in. The polyester filling sits inside a 300 thread-count cotton cover and the pillow comes with a generous three-year warranty from Wamsutta. It’s also the cheapest side sleeper pillow on our list at just $26 from Amazon.
With a dense down-like polyester filling, the Premier pillows from National Sleep Products give you the plushy feeling of down along with the firmness and head support needed for side-sleeping. The down-like interior is also covered by a soft 230 thread-count sateen cotton case. Although the Wamsutta pillow is the cheapest single item on our roundup, the National Sleep Products pillows are the best value overall at just $40 for a two-pack from Amazon.
We featured the Xtreme Comforts Kool-Flow in our cooling pillows roundup, and it gets another mention here because it’s also one of the best pillows for side sleepers. Not only will the firm neck-contouring memory foam support your head, but the aptly named Kool-Flow features a ventilated bamboo-derived cover that breathes so you don’t get all sweaty if you’re a side sleeper who runs a bit hot, this is the pillow for you. Better still: These pillows are made right here in the USA. The Kool-Flow pillow rings in at $50 for the standard size, $55 for the queen, and $60 for the king.
In contrast to most side-sleeper pillows, which typically use smaller foam pieces as filling, the Brookstone BioSense features a large memory foam pad that’s designed to contour to your head and neck. Also unlike most other pillows made for side sleeping, the BioSenses’s large shoulder divot lets you get your head higher up on the pillow. The BioSense foam is ventilated as well, making it great for hot sleepers, and contains ingredients like charcoal and green tea extracts to neutralize bacteria and odors. You can grab the BioSense shoulder pillow for $54 from Amazon.
If you’re looking for a truly custom side-sleeping experience, check out the Pancake Pillow. The 300 thread-count cotton cover contains six inner layers that you can add or remove to dial in the perfect loft and firmness for you. The Pancake Pillow is available from Amazon for $80 for the queen size (or $150 for a two-pack) and $100 for the king. It’s fairly pricey compared to other pillows for side sleepers, but happy customers say it’s more than worth it especially if you’ve been struggling for years to find the best pillow for side-sleeping.
Perhaps you’ve tried other side-sleeper pillows maybe even a few that are on this list and found them wanting. If so, then we’ve saved the best for last: The Leesa hybrid pillow does double duty as a pillow for side sleepers and as a cooling pillow, with an additional inner layer that can be removed to help you find the best level of support for your head and shoulders. At $135 for a queen size, the Leesa hybrid pillow is the most expensive pick on our roundup, but it’s not bad considering you’re effectively getting two pillows in one (and it might prove to be the last you’ll ever need to buy).