As a predominant side sleeper, I know better than anyone that our kind often gets the short end of the stick. The best pillows for side sleepers are few and far in between. Despite the fact that the majority of adults choose a side or fetal position, the market is still dominated by flat squares of mush that do absolutely nothing to support the head or neck.
Side sleeping is linked to a whole bunch of benefits, but the vast majority of pillows don't provide the right features to make this position particularly comfortable. Most pillows are too flat, lack adequate padding, and are designed for the back of the head instead of the side. As a result, most side sleepers end up stacking their pillows to get the height and support they're looking for.
The best features for side sleeper pillows are often neck and ear contours and arm support. Thicker designs are often more comfortable, too, because there's a bigger gap between your head, and the bed is wider when you're lying on your side. Some of these pillows might look a little bizarre at first glance, but their strange shapes and innovative features are actually ideal for a side sleeper, and just might make all the difference in your quality of sleep.
1. Puffy Sides & A Comfy Spot For Your Ear
Side sleepers love the SLEEPHI Collection pillow: "I am a side sleeper and this pillow is perfect. I just put my head down and do not need to make any adjustments," says one of them. It's filled with thick hypoallergenic padding, has an indentation in the middle for your ear, and a puffiness around the edges to support the neck and spine.
2. A Butterfly Shape With Various Heights & Neck-Supporting Wings
This genius memory foam pillow has a butterfly shape that features multiple heights to provide support in all the right places — even when you switch positions in the middle of the night. It's filled with breathable memory foam, and it has a specific raised curve that's great for supporting the neck: "I am a side sleeper and previous to use, was waking up with neck and back pain.," says one reviewer. "By the end of the first week, I no longer wake up with a stiff back and neck."
3. Angles & Contours That Fit A Side Sleeper's Body
Designed by chiropractors for side sleepers, the Sleep Yoga pillow has carefully designed angles and contours that fit your body. It's got a built-in arm rest, a thick cushion, and a shape to preserve shoulder joint alignment. It's also super soft, machine washable, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable.
4. This Gel Pillow That Stays Cool & Supports Your Shoulder
Because it's made with a layer of temperature-distributing gel on top, this MALOUF pillow is great for those who get hot while they sleep. It's also got a shoulder cut out and a thick supportive memory foam shape which makes it ideal for side sleepers like this one: "Slept without tossing and turning all night for the first time in years ... The cut out allows you to sleep on your side with your neck in proper posture," while the "gel keeps you cool."
5. A Horseshoe Shape & An Ear Hole For Ultimate Comfort
The Remedy Home Easy Side Sleeper supports your whole torso with its horseshoe shape and foam filling. It properly positions your head and neck to straighten your spine, and even has a built-in ear hole for ultimate comfort. "I always end up waking due to shoulder or arm pain or because my ear folded in my sleep and the discomfort woke me," comments one happy buyer. "I bought this about two weeks ago and I love it."
6. Customize Your Level Of Support With Removable Memory Foam
With over 12,000 reviews, this pillow is easily the best selling pillow in the neck and cervical category. It's filled with shredded visco elastic memory foam that you can take out or put in as you see fit. That means that in addition to being insanely comfortable and soft, you can also customize your level of neck support.
7. This 100 Percent Bamboo Pillow For Side Sleepers With Allergies
This bamboo pillow is hands down one of the best options for side sleepers with allergies, given that your face is shoved into your pillow all night. It's made entirely from bamboo both inside and out, meaning that it's totally hypoallergenic, breathable, resistant to dust mites and bacteria, and insanely soft. You can also adjust the height and thickness by adding or removing the filling.
8. This Contoured Pillow For People With Sensitive Ears
If ear pain plagues your side sleeping, The Womfy is for you. It uses anti-compression contours and a memory gel foam core to provide comfort and support, but it's also got holes for sensitive ears. It also comes in two textures and seven different colors with included jersey pillowcases.
9. This One Supports Your Whole Body & It's Built For Side Sleepers
This contoured body pillow supports so much more than just your head and neck, and it's specifically made for side sleepers. An hourglass inner curve supports your back and stomach, the thick cushioning supports your spine, and the removable zippered cover can be washed in the machine.
10. This Softer, Smaller Option That's Still Extremely Supportive
Thanks to its curved J-shape and fluffy but supportive material, this pillow has tons of rave reviews: "Why doesn't everyone know about this?" one side sleeper asks. "I had tried one of those C shaped body pillows and it was great for my shoulder and neck, but I got tangled up in it as I tried to change position in my sleep. This is much better and a lot less expensive." Since it's more compact, it's a better option for those sharing their bed — and the removable, machine-washable cover keeps things sanitary.
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