How to Pick a Pillow for a Side Sleeper? The Ultimate Guide

The most crucial factor for anyone's sleep is their pillow, especially for the side sleepers. A good pillow can take you into the dreamland right after you shut your eyes. Contrastly, an unsuitable pillow can give you the pain of your life in just one night. Are you a side sleeper? Has your neck and shoulder pain forced you to search for a good pillow? Worry not, and continue reading this comprehensive guide for side sleepers on choosing the right pillow for making the right decision.
Best Pillow For Side Sleepers

Do you wanna know the qualities of an appropriate pillow for side sleepers? Well, there are two things that you should look for while picking a pillow for a side sleeper. The first feature that you should keep in mind is the high loft, and secondly, the pillow should offer firmer support. These qualities are a must to maintain neutral spine alignment and to avoid stress over the neck and spinal tissues.  

Hack For Choosing The Ideal Pillow

Choosing the right pillow could be a tricky task to do for most people. Firstly, you have to identify your needs (for example, some people have neck pain and should look for a side-sleepers pillow for people with neck pain) and then move to the wants accordingly. If you are a side sleeper, the following are the qualities that you should look for in a pillow:

High Loft

The high loft is the first and foremost thing you shouldn’t compromise on when buying a pillow. When you are a side sleeper, high-profile cushions ensure that your neck is in neutral alignment with your spine, which is very important. 

Additionally, a lofty pillow also alleviates stress over your shoulder, which could result in terrible muscle damage otherwise. If your body’s weight isn’t distributed properly on the pillow, your shoulder has to bear the brunt of your body weight.

To check if your pillow is lofty enough or not, simply place your head on the pillow and see if your head is in a neutral posture with your spine or not. If you feel that the shoulders are digging deep into the mattress and your neck is feeling the weight of your head, then your pillow is not lofty enough.

Firmer Support

The second most important feature a side sleeper’s pillow should have is firm support. When your pillow doesn’t have firm support, you start with a peaceful night which later becomes a disaster. Firm support is vital to maintain regularity in the shape of the pillow throughout the night. 

Suppose your pillow does not offer considerably firm support. Your head with sink even before you fall asleep. It will consequently result in the most unwanted stiff neck the next day. Therefore, get a pillow with firmer support if you want to say goodbye to those stiff neck days. 


No hard and fast rule applies to all of the side sleepers in general. Therefore, in order to fit the pillow to your needs, you should opt for a customizable pillow. Choose soft stuffing materials such as Down, Down-alternative, and Kapok. These materials are firm, smooth, and provide adequate support to your neck, shoulders, and spine. 

If the material of your pillow is too hard, it won’t adjust according to your body and weight. 

Similarly, if the pillow is too soft, your head will sink, leading to fatigue and damage to spinal tissues. 

If I am not wrong, as a side sleeper, you sleep with one arm below the pillow? It is a common practice, and nothing is wrong with it unless you have a shapeable pillow. Now, what is a shapeable pillow? As the name states, shapeable pillows don’t have a rigid shape allowing you to have an arm below cozily. 

Additional Factors To Consider For A Better Sleep

The points mentioned above are general guidelines for all the side sleepers. However, every side-sleeper’s body is designed differently, and everyone also has their own mental needs. In my years of experience, I have found these qualities in a pillow can improve your sleep significantly: 

Breathable Foam

Even some of the best-regarded materials out there are known for heat-trapping. It could lead to inconvenience and discomfort in the middle of the night. If you don’t want to keep waking up all night flipping the pillow, go for a breathable pillow.

Several good-quality pillows you can find on the market offer firm support and are breathable.

Pillows that come with cooling gel are suitable, but only if you live in a hot climate area. 

Hypoallergenic Pillows

The ratio of allergies due to synthetic pillow covers is increasing day by day. If you also wake up with rashes or redness on your body, these are allergic reaction symptoms. Luckily, several reputable brands are working to make organic pillows accessible to the masses.

Natural cotton, organic latex, and cellulosic fibers are among the materials you should search for to go green.

Absorbent Material  

Do you drool while you sleep? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night due to a sweaty neck? Well, my friend, you don’t have to go hard on yourself like this. Several brands offer moisture-wicking pillows. The best part is that these pillows don’t necessarily have to be cool to touch. 

Moisture-wicking pillows suck up any moisture in real-time, resulting in uninterrupted sleep.

3 Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

After years of experience in the sleep improvement field, I can safely say that the following pillows are undoubtedly the best you can get on the market at this time:

Premium Original Adjustable Pillow By COOP – Editor’s Pick

COOP Home Goods is well known for its top-notch quality and attention to detail. There is no surprise that this pillow is on the top of our list. This premium pillow has performed really well not only on the bed but also in the laboratories. I have never seen a person using an adjustable pillow by COOP and waking up feeling sore. 

It is because, as the name states, the pillow offers premium quality and is highly adjustable, making it ideal for side-sleepers. 

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Organic 2 in 1 Adjustable Latex Pillow – Best For Combination Sleepers

The second pillow on our list is as good as the first one. The unconventional double-layer design of this pillow allows it to offer balanced support in every position. This organic latex pillow is particularly best for side sleepers as it boasts a high loft, firmer support, and an organic covering. 

The core of the NATUREPEDIC Latex Pillow features Talalay latex, and the outer membrane is filled with a soft Down-alternative. This combination provides a perfect blend of firmness and comfort. 

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Side Sleeper Pillow By Sleep Artisan – Best Natural Pillow

If you are searching for a hypoallergenic pillow, this side sleeper by Sleep Artisan is second to none. The cover of this pillow is made up of skin-friendly cotton and polyester. On the inside, you get pure, virgin Talalay latex to provide a smooth and balanced texture. 

So, with this natural pillow, say goodbye to those allergies once and forever. 

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Should a Side Sleeper Use a Firm Pillow?

Yes, a side sleeper should use a firm pillow, which is crucial for maintaining neutral spinal alignment. A firm pillow also alleviates stress from your shoulder, resulting in painless mornings. 

What Pillow Types are Best For Side Sleepers?

Pillows that offer a high loft, firmness, and customization are best for the side sleepers. They can choose between different materials and options like breathable and cooling pillows according to their bodies and preferences. 

Picking Pillow For Side Sleepers Concluded

Research shows that the majority of adults are side sleepers. However, most side sleepers are unaware of the type of pillow best for them. In this post, we learned about the ideal qualities of a pillow that is best for side sleepers. Moreover, we also got to know that there are some supplementary qualities that you can opt for to improve your sleep. In the end, we discussed some of the best pillows that you can find on the market.