Side-sleeping is the most popular sleeping position for adults, and there are many benefits associated with sleeping in this position. However, as with back and stomach sleeping, this position places particular demands on the body.
The best pillow for side sleepers is one that will provide the perfect balance between support and necessary cushioning to keep the head, neck, and spine correctly aligned. An incorrect pillow may lead to neck and shoulder pain and many nights of restless sleeping. It is essential to do your research to suit your personal needs and preferences.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs in Conclusion)
|PILLOW||CORE FILLING||FIRMNESS||TRIAL & WARRANTY||PRICE|
|Snuggledown Side Sleeper Pillow||Hollow fibre||Firm||NA Nights|
|Kally Sleep Ultimate Side Sleeper Pillow||Hollow fibre||Medium||14 Nights|
|Silentnight Firm Support Pillows||Hollow fibre||Firm||NA Nights|
|Simba Hybrid Pillow||Nanocubes® Foam||Adjustable||NA Nights|
|Snuggledown Duck Feather & Down Pillow||Duck Feather & Down||Medium||NA Nights|
|Tempur Comfort Pillow Cloud||TEMPUR® Material||Medium-Soft||30 Nights|
1. Snuggledown Side Sleeper Pillow
|• 233 thread count cotton cover|
• Walled-side design
• Made in Britain
• Those who prefer a firm feel
• Allergy sufferers
The Snuggledown Side Sleeper Pillow is a firm supportive pillow with walled sides ensuring fullness until the edge, making it a good potential option for side sleepers. This pillow has a 233 thread count cotton cover with a hollow fibre filing to help support the neck and align the spine.
Snuggledown products are made at a family-owned business going back 100 years in Lancashire, Britain. This pillow for side sleepers is hypoallergenic and is machine-washable at 40°C for easy care. There is also the option to purchase this pillow in a 2 or 4 pack. This Snuggledown pillow fits a standard UK-size pillowcase and comes at a very affordable price. Customers highly review this product, often commenting on value for money as well as softness and support.
2. Kally Ultimate Side Sleeper Pillow
|• Walled-side design|
• 14-night trial
|• Hot sleepers|
• Those who prefer a medium firmness
• Side or back sleepers
The Kally Ultimate Side Sleeper Pillow is designed to comfortably fill the gap between your shoulder and ear, ensuring head, neck and shoulder alignment. It is made of medium-density (firmness 6/10) hollow fibre filling and maintains its shape through the night, offering long-lasting support and comfort. In addition, the walled-side design ensures head, neck and shoulder alignment to reduce the effects of a poor sleeping position.
The 100% cotton outer cover is breathable, facilitating a cool, comfortable sleep, as well as anti-allergy and anti-bacterial. This Kally pillow is machine-washable at 40°C and should dry naturally on a flat surface. Manufacturers claim this pillow is suitable for both side and back sleepers. It is available in a single, twin, or four-pack. A 2-year guarantee and 14-night trial are offered to ensure you are completely satisfied with your purchase. Overall, customers seem happy with their purchases, some mentioning that it has helped significantly with neck or shoulder pain.
3. Silentnight Firm Support Pillows for Side Sleepers
|• Soft-touch microfibre cover|
• Firm fibre core
• 2-year guarantee
|• People who prefer a firm feel|
• Allergy sufferers
• Those who prefer to buy British
The Silentnight 2-pack firm pillow is constructed with a deep-fill hollow fibre, which provides a bouncy and supportive feel. The hollow fibres surround the firm fibre core in the centre, added for extra firmness. In addition, the pillows contain hypoallergenic fibres, making them a suitable option for allergy sufferers or sensitive skin.
The pillow is covered with a soft-touch microfibre cover, which has been designed to provide support with a soft surface. Silentnight is a UK-made brand and they claim that this pillow is ideal for side sleepers and can help to maintain spinal alignment. In addition, this pillow is machine-washable at 40°C, and a 2-year guarantee is offered on this product.
4. Simba Hybrid Pillow
|• Open-cell foam Nanocubes®|
• Stratos® active temperature regulation layer
• 1-year guarantee
|• People seeking an adjustable height and firmness|
• Hot sleepers
• Eco-conscious individuals
The Simba Hybrid® Pillow has been designed with breathable and lightweight open-cell foam Nanocubes® that can be added or removed to customise the height and firmness of the pillow. This feature could make this pillow a good potential option for side sleepers.
Six different layers have been combined in this hybrid pillow to ensure optimal comfort and coolness. First, from the bottom up, is a breathable cotton cover, then a soft breathable hypoallergenic microfibre fill above this. Next is the layer of breathable and lightweight open-cell foam nanocubes with a mesh border facilitating maximum airflow. Then, the Stratos® active temperature regulation layer absorbs, stores and releases heat when you need it, ensuring optimal sleep temperature.
This product is CertiPur certified and therefore not harmful to you or the environment. In addition, Simba-Pure foam is free from pollutants and made with sustainability in mind. Simba offers a 1-year guarantee on the Hybrid pillow, and customers review this product very highly - many people mentioning how comfortable and supportive the pillow is.
5. Snuggledown Duck Feather & Down for Side Sleepers
|• 15% duck down and 85% duck feather fill|
• 100% cotton cover
|• Those who prefer medium support|
• Individuals with dust-mite allergies
• Back and side sleepers
The Snuggledown Scandanavian Duck Feather and Down Pillow is a medium support pillow designed for back and side sleepers to maintain correct spinal alignment and reduce aches and pain. The materials consist of an outer 100% cotton cover with a 230 thread count and an inner filling of 15% duck down and 85% duck feather.
This pillow is machine-washable at 40°C, as well as being dust-mite resistant. Snuggledown is a UK family-owned business of over 100 years, and products are made on-site in Lancashire. This pillow comes in a 2-pack and has been highly reviewed by customers. Many people comment on the softness, sleep quality and comfort.
6. Tempur Comfort Pillow Cloud
|• TEMPUR® Extra Soft™ Material|
• 3-year guarantee
• Made in Denmark
|• People with a flexible budget|
• Individuals who prefer a medium-soft feel
• Those seeking a sleep trial option
The Tempur Comfort Pillow Cloud made with TEMPUR® Extra Soft™ Material micro-cushions cradles the head and neck whilst gently conforming to your shape, similar to memory foam. This innovative design claims to offer the perfect balance of comfort and support and may therefore be a good option for side sleepers.
The dual-sided soft textured fabric cover can be unzipped and removed and is machine-washable at 60°C and quick-drying. This pillow is made in Denmark, and manufacturers offer a 3-year guarantee and a 30-night trial. Although on the pricier side, customers overall seem very satisfied with their purchases.
Benefits Of Side Sleeping
Not only is side sleeping the most popular sleep position for adults✓, but it is thought to have the most overall health benefits. For example, studies✓ show that side sleeping can reduce heartburn/acid reflux and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that can lead to snoring. In addition, side sleeping can promote optimal spinal alignment and may help those with back pain. Second to lying flat on your back, side sleeping with the legs straight is believed to be the best sleeping position for your neck and back.
Side Sleeper Pillow: Considerations
In addition to using a mattress best suited for this sleep position, it’s important to choose the best pillow for side sleepers. Keeping the head aligned with the spine is key - essentially filling the gap between the bed and your neck. Like back sleepers, not all pillows may support the higher curve of the neck when sleeping on your side. The following factors are worth taking into consideration and will hopefully guide you in making the best purchase.
Loft refers to the height of a pillow when your head is resting on it and is most likely the most important consideration for side sleeping. The best pillow for side sleepers is usually one with a medium to high loft that provides sufficient cushioning. Pillows that are either too low or too high can interfere with spinal alignment, lead to pressure in certain areas, and result in discomfort or pain. An easy check is to see if your head is at an angle to your spine when lying down. If so, your spine is not correctly aligned. If your needs or preferences change, a pillow with an adjustable loft could be a good idea.
A pillow that feels too soft may cause too much sinking of the head, and one that is too firm may cause discomfort. Both, as with the loft, can potentially result in incorrect spinal alignment and pressure points. Therefore, a pillow of medium firmness that provides a balance of contouring and support is most usually adequate for side sleepers.
The materials used to construct a pillow’s cover and filling can impact several important factors. For example, certain fill materials may compress more over time whilst others are better at maintaining shape. In addition, some fill and cover materials are more efficient at temperature regulation (similar characteristics to cooling pillows). And some may have special hypoallergenic or antibacterial qualities that may or may not be necessary for you.
The price will depend largely on the materials used to construct the pillow. You will generally pay more for higher quality materials or any advanced technologies or design used; however, you can most likely rely on them having a longer lifespan.
Side Sleeper Pillow: Materials
The type of pillow and pillow fill often comes down to personal preference. Certain materials have specific qualities that can offer you the optimal combination of comfort and support, as well as other benefits.
- Hollow fibre: Hollow fibre is made using fine, hollow strands of polyester. These hollow fibres trap air inside them, and this material is therefore known to be lofty, lightweight, soft and breathable. Additionally, hollow fibre tends to be cheaper than other materials, such as foam.
- Memory foam: Memory foam contours to the exact shape of the head, relieving pressure, distributing weight evenly, and providing cushioning and support. Memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic, hygienic, inexpensive and durable. In addition, they retain their shape over time. They are, however, known to retain heat may therefore not be ideal for hot sleepers.
- Feather: Duck feather pillows, goose down pillows, and feather imitation pillows tend to be soft and conform excellently to the shape of the head and neck, have the potential to last a long time, and can be reasonably priced. The downside is that they tend to lose their support and loft over time, feather quills may poke, and they may have an odour unpleasant for some.
Side Sleeping And Shoulder Pain
The shoulder is one of the largest, most movable, and complex joints in the human body. It is made up of the clavicle (collarbone), scapula (shoulder blade), and humerus (upper arm bone). The shoulder joint has a wide range of motion, therefore, making it more vulnerable to injury. This, in turn, unsurprisingly, relates to published data that shows✓ the prevalence of shoulder pain in the UK population at an estimated 7%.
Sleep disturbance and poor sleep quality resulting from shoulder pain due to many different shoulder conditions are well recognised. Although the causes of shoulder pain vary widely, the most causes of shoulder pain at night, according to the Cleveland Health Clinic, are:
- Rotator cuff injuries: Overuse of the rotator cuff can result in tendonitis, strains, and tears of the tendons.
- Rotator cuff tears: Tears of the rotator cuff can happen as a result of an accident (fall) or happen over time as a result of a repeated motion.
- Osteoarthritis: As a result of cartilage degrading over time.
Did you know?
Shoulder disorders are the third most common musculoskeletal condition✓ presented to doctors in UK primary care
Whilst the causes and severity vary greatly, shoulder pain from side sleeping, whether it’s the cause or aggravating an existing issue, can be avoided or minimised using the best pillow for side sleepers. If your pain is not localised to the shoulder, specifically, it may be worth looking into pillows for neck pain or perhaps orthopaedic pillows. Please note, however, that pillows for side sleepers, or any pillow, should not be used as a diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition - always consult with your doctor first.
Side Sleeping And Wrinkles
Although sleeping on your side has been shown to have certain benefits, side sleeping can potentially cause wrinkles. However, it is worth noting that there does seem to be some inconsistency on this subject. Some doctors believe that sleeping in a position that causes the skin to fold causes wrinkles. Others believe sleeping in a particular position won’t significantly contribute to wrinkles. Either way, let’s look at how these wrinkles may come about.
There are two types of wrinkles, namely: dynamic and static.
- Dynamic wrinkles form as a result of muscle motion. Repeated facial expressions/habitual movements cause the skin in that area to stretch. When we’re young, the collagen and elastin in our skin allow it to return to its original position. However, over time the skin is less able to “bounce back”.
- Static wrinkles are caused by gravity, the loss of fat and collagen, and the loss of the skin’s elasticity. These wrinkles develop with time, and at some point, everyone will have them. Sleep wrinkles are an example of static lines caused by repeated mechanical compression of the face against the pillow. When we’re younger, the lines can smooth out during the day, but the lines deepen and become permanent due to the loss of collagen and elasticity with ageing. These lines can be visible on the face, neck, and cleavage.
Interesting to note!
Sleep wrinkles differ from expression wrinkles✓ in the mechanism of origin, location and direction - expression lines tend to be more horizontal or diagonal, whilst sleep lines are usually more horizontal.
The Solution To Sleep Wrinkles
Whilst sleeping on your back seems like the obvious solution, if this is not possible, here are a few things that may help reduce sleep wrinkles:
- Upgrade your pillowcase: a silk pillowcase could be a good option.
- Retinol: Retinols help to boost the production of collagen and elastin in the skin.
- Night creams: Creams containing hyaluronic acid can promote skin firmness and elasticity.
- Sleep: The skin produces collagen when we sleep, so getting a good 7 hours every night may help minimise wrinkles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best pillow for side sleepers?
The best pillow for side sleepers is one that will keep the head aligned with the spine, filling the gap between the bed and the neck. It should have a high enough loft so that the head is neutral with the chin straight ahead but not so high that the upper ear is pushed towards your shoulder.
What type of pillow is best for side sleepers?
The best type of pillow for side sleepers will be one that contours best to your head and neck, relieves pressure, distributes weight evenly, and provides adequate cushioning and support.
What is the best pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain?
For side sleepers to avoid shoulder pain, the pillow should provide sufficient support to keep the head and neck upright and aligned with the spine. Pillows that sink too much or lose shape may result in worsening pain.