10 Best Pillows for Side Sleepers: Shopping and User Guide

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Sick of waking up with a stiff neck, feeling more tired than when you went to bed?

Side sleeping has both advantages and disadvantages. This position means less snoring (your partner thanks you), but with the downside of more weight ending up on your shoulders and hips.

But the thing you really have to look out for is your neck. The wrong pillow can lead to a stiff neck in the morning, either from the pillow being too soft or too hard. Some sleepers out there even experience numbness in their shoulders or neck upon waking up.

This is a sure sign you’re in need of a new pillow. Your body will thank you!

The Pillows for Side Sleepers We RAVE About

Coop Home Goods - The Original Coop Home Goods 
Best Overall
Coop Home Goods Original Pillow
Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow
Best Budget
Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Pillow Snuggle-Pedic
Best Eco-Friendly
Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Pillow by Snuggle-Pedic

So how do you go about finding the perfect pillow for side sleepers? We’ve got you covered.

Time to switch out your pillow for our number-one pick: the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. This pillow combines the softness of a down pillow with the stability of a foam one. If you’re just here to find the single best pillow for side sleepers, the Coop Original is exactly what you came for.

Knowing Your Sleep Position

Before we even get started, you might ask, “How do I know what sleep position I have?” It’s as easy as this: 

  • Make a note of what position you fall asleep in.
  • Then when you wake up, make a note of that position.
  • Do this two or three nights in a row. If you are going to sleep and waking up in the same position, that is your sleep position.
  • Ask your partner if you tend to change sleeping positions throughout the night–they’ll likely notice if you move around. 

If you go to sleep and wake up in different positions, find the position you most often go to sleep or wake up in. Not too complicated, right?

Choosing the Right Pillow

Now that you know that you are, in fact, a side sleeper, you might be wondering: What makes a side sleeper pillow a side sleeper pillow?

Support quality is the name of the game when discussing side sleeper pillows. Side sleeping requires a pillow that offers firm support for the head and neck. That means a pillow that doesn’t give quite as much when you put your head down on it.

Here at RAVE, we have a comprehensive process for determining our winners. We carefully consider the specific features, advantages, and drawbacks of each product based on hundreds of customer reviews and ratings.

Before they made the cut, each pillow was assessed on a number of key criteria, including:

  • Materials used
  • Price point
  • Potential for allergens
  • Durability
  • Whether the product is eco-friendly
  • Whether the product includes a manufacturer warranty

This thorough analysis allows us to confidently present a list of the 10 best pillows for side sleepers.

Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

1

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow is the highest-rated side sleeper pillow out there. 11,000 people gave it a 5-star review on Amazon, and that speaks for itself. This pillow is machine washable, and it’s adjustable in height to fit your needs. It’s hypoallergenic and CertiPUR-certified, meaning the pillow is made without ozone depleters, heavy metals, formaldehyde, or environmentally damaging flame retardants, and it has low emissions for indoor air quality.

It’s backed by the Coop Home Goods guarantee, which states you can return it for free within 100 days of purchase, no questions asked. What makes this pillow the top choice for us, and for thousands of its loyal fans, is its comfort, its utility, and its durability over time.

Pros

  • Adjustable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not supportive enough for some
2

Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Pillow by Snuggle-Pedic

The Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Pillow by Snuggle-Pedic comes in at second place, but it’s our number one choice for those looking for an environmentally friendly side sleeping pillow. It’s 43% bamboo and CertiPUR-certified, meaning the pillow was made free of ozone depleters, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and environmentally damaging flame retardants. It has low emissions for indoor air quality and is machine washable and hypoallergenic.

The Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo comes with an easily accessible zipper to allow you to add or remove its memory foam filling, giving you the ability to adjust it to your needs. Plus, it’s one of the most resilient pillows we’ve found in terms of keeping its fluff over the long run. Its combination of bamboo, polyester, and a small amount of Lycra gives the pillow the effect of always remaining cool. This contrasts well with some down pillows, which, although soft, don’t regulate temperature well and lose their shape overnight. In addition, it boasts a 120-night no-hassle sleep trial. If you don’t like the pillow, you can return it–no questions asked.

Pros

  • Adjustability
  • Environmental friendliness
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Pricey
  • May not be as comfortable
  • Can lose its shape over time
3

Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow

The Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow comes in at number three on our list overall, but it clinches the title for the most affordable pillow for side sleepers. The previous two pillows on our list, while boasting comfort and environmental friendliness, came in at $60 apiece, which might be a little steep for some of us. The good news is, you can get all the same comfort at a much lower price. This side sleeper pillow is 100% cotton with a visco-elastic memory foam filling.

Just like the Snuggle-Pedic, the Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow is temperature-regulating, cooling down or warming up depending on the heat your body puts off during the night. Because it’s not hypoallergenic and isn’t as eco-friendly as other pillows, the Sleep Better Iso-Cool doesn’t land in the first couple slots on our ranking. But for a balance of support, cooling technology, and value, there’s no better option.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Machine washable
  • Temperature-regulating

Cons

  • Not adjustable
  • Not hypoallergenic
4

Mediflow Original Waterbase Pillow

The Mediflow Original Waterbase Pillow has a pretty unique claim to fame: It’s the original water-based pillow, and it’s been helping side sleepers for over 20 years. When you use it, your head rests on a soft layer of padding, including fiber and cotton, which has at its base a pouch filled with water. Just like shredded memory foam pillows can be adjusted by adding or removing foam, the Mediflow Waterbase can be adjusted by adding or removing water from the waterbase.

That way, you’ll be able to find the right amount of support for your perfect night’s sleep. For many people, there simply is no other pillow out there. Its adjustability combined with its unique water effect makes it ideal for side sleepers—although if you’re squeamish about the (admittedly remote) possibility of mold, this pillow might not be for you.

Pros

  • Unique water-based effect
  • Low price
  • Adjustable

Cons

  • Not machine washable
  • Not hypoallergenic
5

Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow by Xtreme Comforts

The Xtreme Comforts Loft Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow is another great addition to the memory foam side sleeper pillow category. It offers everything you could need in a side sleeper pillow: adjustability, comfort, and breathability. It’s also machine washable, hypoallergenic, and temperature-regulating.

In addition, those looking for an environmentally friendly pillow will be satisfied: The Xtreme Comforts Loft Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow is made using bamboo, and it’s CertiPUR-certified and dust mite-resistant. On top of it all, the Xtreme Comforts Loft Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow has a 30-day, no-questions-asked return policy. While there’s plenty to love about this pillow, it falls to fifth place because of some issues with needing to be re-fluffed on a regular basis. We also have to note that its density may not be suited to all side sleepers.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Adjustable
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • A little pricey
  • Needs to be fluffed frequently
  • Loft may not work for some
6

Classic Brands Conforma Memory Foam Pillow

The Classic Brands Conforma Memory Foam Pillow is a great value: It offers classic, top-quality memory foam at a mid-range price. The memory foam is 100% polyester and provides ideal ergonomic support for side sleepers. Other features we love about this pillow? The ventilated memory foam regulates temperature and is naturally resistant to allergens, mold, and bacteria.

The removable cover is machine washable, too. It comes in multiple sizes and sits at 5 inches in height. This might be a bit high for some, and a number of side sleepers have found the material a little stiff, which is why this pillow comes in at number six on our list.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Not adjustable
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Initial chemical smell
7

Down Alternative Pillow by Five Star

The Down Alternative Pillow by Five Star is a breathable, hypoallergenic pillow made of 100% pure cotton. As the name suggests, it offers a down-like fiber filling that’s just as good—or if you ask many people, even better—than the real thing. This pillow is completely machine washable, which is a huge plus in our book.

It also comes in as one of our least expensive options at just $30. It’s hard to argue with that. This pillow does a good job of keeping its shape, but since it is intended to mimic down, some side sleepers will find that it’s just not supportive enough for their needs. By the same token, if you’re someone who likes their pillows definitively on the squishy side, this is a great choice.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Machine washable
  • So comfortable

Cons

  • Not adjustable
  • Non-temperature regulating
  • Not supportive enough for some
8

Z by Malouf

The Z by Malouf is made with 100% Talalay Latex. The Talalay Latex, manufactured from rubber trees, is created in an eco-friendly process. This is a truly innovative pillow that gives a one-of-a-kind experience for side sleepers. The unique material gives the pillow a firmer-than-most density that won’t lose shape during the night. Although it’s definitely supportive, this pillow is soft enough to conform to your body movements throughout the night.

The pillow also comes with a removable Tencel cover known for its moisture-management properties. It’s temperature-regulating and retains its original shape, never needing to be fluffed throughout the night. All that said, we did take a few points off because it’s not machine washable, and it’s not adjustable, either.

Pros

  • Unique latex material
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Temperature regulating

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not machine washable
  • Not adjustable
9

Beautyrest Latex Foam

The Beautyrest Latex Foam Pillow is a pretty straightforward foam pillow: It’s crafted using natural latex foam and comes with a 100% cotton removable cover. The design ticks the boxes for a great side sleeper pillow, designed to cradle your head and neck all night long. The foam has antimicrobial properties, inhibiting odor and pathogen development. This pillow is breathable, yet keeps its shape throughout the night.

The cover is machine washable. This pillow does leave a few things to be desired. It’s not adjustable, for one, and it doesn’t rank well for environmental friendliness. But, if you’re looking for something tried and true, this is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Machine washable
  • Breathable
  • Very comfortable for most

Cons

  • Design is not adjustable
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Not environmentally friendly
10

CR Sleep Memory Foam Contour Pillow

The CR Sleep Memory Foam Contour Pillow offers you a textured memory foam pillow with a contoured wave design. This pillow is of medium firmness and comes in multiple sizes. The outer cover is a 65% polyester and 35% Tencel, with an inner cover of jersey fabric for breathability. Like several others on our list, this pillow is CertiPUR-certified, meaning that it’s made without ozone depleters, heavy metals, formaldehyde, or environmentally damaging flame retardants, and it has low emissions for indoor air quality.

The foam also has a gel layer that helps regulate temperature. All of that is great, but the pillow isn’t adjustable, and it’s not hypoallergenic either. While many folks love the contoured shape, the firmness of this pillow might be a bit much for some. It is a great value, though, so it’s definitely worth a shot.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Temperature-regulating

Cons

  • Not machine washable
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • No warranty

Related Rankings

What can the right pillow do for me?

The wrong pillow can mean waking up with a stiff neck, shoulders, or hips. This is because, as a side sleeper, your sleep posture means more of your body weight is placed onto those parts of your body. The right pillow is going to align your body, starting with your neck, in a way that relieves that extra pressure.

The net result is that you feel rested and refreshed in the morning. The key to this alignment lies in getting the right height for your head. Differently sized bodies have differently sized shoulders, and because of this, the height of your pillow has to correspond to your shoulder size.

You can take a gamble on a pillow of a certain size, sure. But many of the best pillows for side sleepers are ones that are adjustable. These often come with some form of extra stuffing to adjust the pillow height to fit your build.

What type of pillow should side sleepers use?

There are a few kinds of side sleeper pillows out there. The first is a more firm, single-piece memory foam pillow contoured in the correct shape to align your body. Some of these come in multiple heights to suit a variety of builds. Another kind of pillow for side sleepers is a softer, more malleable pillow in the usual rectangular shape.

These are frequently filled with shredded memory foam or other materials such as cotton. Many of these models are adjustable, allowing you to find the right height, or loft—which is what makes or breaks a good night for side sleepers. At the end of the day, finding the absolute best pillow for you is a matter of trial and error.

We’re more than happy to point you in the right direction: Our list of the 10 best pillows for side sleepers is a perfect jumping-off point for your search.

Can you wash pillows?

What many people don’t know is that a lot of bad stuff can build up in your pillow over time, including bacteria and mold. That’s why even the highest-quality pillow needs to be cleaned between two and four times a year. Some pillows are machine washable; some are not. Whether or not your pillow can be machine washed is usually indicated in the manufacturer’s guide or the pillow’s tag.

For instance, our top pick for side sleepers, the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow, is fully machine washable. Many other pillows on our list are machine washable, or at least they have a removable cover that is. As a general rule, you’ll never put a single-piece memory foam pillow in the washer.

A washing machine can do damage to the foam and a dryer with enough heat can melt it. To clean this type of pillow, spray it with a mild detergent, and then scrub it with a moist cloth. After you’re done, let the pillow air dry.

What are the best pillows for side sleepers?

Through our extensive process for determining the best pillows for side sleepers, we’ve gathered the data to give you all you could want in a side sleeper pillow. Our top choice is the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. It’s environmentally friendly, comfortable, adjustable, hypoallergenic, and machine washable.

If you want the best bang for your buck, you should try out the Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow. If you are worried about environmental impact, the most sustainable pillow on our list is the Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow. We cover these three pillows, and seven other excellent choices, in our full list up above.

RAVE Recommends

Finding the perfect side sleeper pillow is a win, but you need more than just a pillow to sleep tight. Here are a few more sleeping accessories, pillow-related and otherwise, to help you get those eight quality hours:

  • Shredded Memory Foam Fill: A key feature of many of the pillows we reviewed is adjustability. Here’s some extra shredded memory foam to help you get the perfect height.
  • 100% Cotton Pillow Cases: The pillowcase is the part of the pillow that gets dirtiest. With these 100% cotton, 300-thread-count pillowcases, you’ll have an amazing night’s sleep while your other pillowcase is in the wash.
  • Memory Foam Topper: For those of you out there with a memory foam addiction, here’s your perfect 3-inch memory foam topper.
  • Silk Sleep Mask: Whether you’re traveling or just have that pesky bit of light that gets through the window in the morning, this sleep mask provides the best of both comfort and coverage.

Morgan Bennett

Morgan Bennett is a freelance writer living in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. He is known locally as a craft beer evangelist and collector of obscure movie trivia.