The ultimate guide to the Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

Here are our top recommendations for 2015. Keep reading below the table for full reviews and  our in depth guide on choosing the right pillow.

ComfySleep Buckwheat Pillow
Our favorite for 2015
Core 200 Tri-Core Pillow
The best option if you're on a budget
Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Stay Cool Bamboo Cover
A fantastic shredded memory foam pillow, ideal for side sleepers!

Are you looking for a specific type of side sleeper pillow?


Buckwheat PillowThe ComfySleep Buckwheat Pillow  may be a little unusual for a choice when it comes to a pillow, but for those who are prone to allergies from down feather, sensitive to heat during sleep which can cause sleep disruption or side sleepers who get their heads “trapped” in the center of pillows when they change sleeping positions, this pillow is a winner.

This is primarily because you control the shape and density of the pillow’s content of buckwheat hulls. You can either remove or add your desired amount of hulls depending on your preference. No other pillow will allow you to customize like this one from ComfySleep. Additionally, the pillow cover is made from 100% chemical-free material and stitched durably with Gutermann thread.

If you are the kind of shopper who puts weight on customer reviews when purchasing a product, you will find that the Buckwheat Pillow  is everything that satisfied customers have written it to be. Take note that each pillow is handmade by a Mennonite farming family, your assurance of tailoring excellence.

Shredded Memory Foam PillowThe Shredded Memory Foam Pillow by Good Life Essentials may just be the pillow you have been looking for. On the plus side, this pillow, unlike others similarly filled with memory foam material, will not build up heat because it provides excellent air ventilation.

This simply means that the pillow remains cool for the user even in warm or hot temperatures, meaning no sleep disruption in any climate or weather. Neck, shoulders, and head are firmly supported by this pillow to prevent and alleviate pain in these areas upon waking up in the morning.

The pillow’s bamboo cover is eco-friendly, a deal maker for those who prefer only natural materials. This pillow is 100% made in the U.S. Because we all spend a third of our lives sleeping, rest assured that this is manufacturer-guaranteed never to go flat or out of shape.

Core 200 PillowSide sleepers will find themselves more comfortable if they use pillows especially designed for their particular needs. One such pillow recommended by medical professionals and chiropractors is the Core 200 Tri-Core pillow that has a trapezoidal center to gently cradle the head yet firm support the neck of the side sleeper.

This tri-core pillow’s support for the mentioned areas helps maintain a naturally-straight and horizontal line for the spine and distributes the user’s weight evenly to prevent unnatural pressure or bending that can lead to a crooked spine and chronic pain the neck, head, and shoulder areas. Made of wrinkle-free and crease-proof Fortrel material, the Core 200 is the leading pillow in its class with orthopedic benefits.

Made of 50% polyester and 50% cotton, the pillow measures 24 inches by 16 inches that fits any standard-sized pillowcase. If you would like to eliminate pain in your neck, shoulders, and head upon waking up in the morning, try the reasonably-priced 200 model on for size.

Iso-Cool Memory Foam PillowIf you have sleep problems because of extremely-soft pillows that “trap” your head and neck with their sides, you should consider buying the Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow. Admittedly, this pillow can be a tad firm for those who have been used to soft pillows. Those who want to improve their spinal alignment, however, should get an Iso-Cool precisely for its firmness.

Additionally, this pillow is very affordable for its class as well as for its numerous features, especially the PCM beads that make the Iso-Cool versatile. The major buying point for the Iso-Cool pillow is the fact that gives twice the benefit of having two separate pillows: one that keeps you cool when the temperature is soaring and another that keeps you warm when the temperature is freezing.

Those who sleep on their back sides will benefit much from the pillow’s gusseted design and the visco-elastic material of the memory foam as the fill provides the sleeper with neck and head support with its higher loft. And the hypo-allergenic material of the Iso-Cool ensures that you don’t sneeze while you snooze, a feature that will be appreciated by those who are allergy-prone.

What To Look For In A Pillow If You Sleep On Your Side

Did you know that between the three most common sleeping positions, sleeping on your side is the most common? That should mean that a majority pillows are designed with side sleepers in mind, and that side sleepers would have the most universal choice when shipping for new bedding right? Well, to answer your question: yes and no. People who sleep on their side do benefit from a plethora of options that are a good compromise between the thin, almost non-existent, stomach sleeper pillows, and their firmer cousins designed for back sleepers.

Take a step back and look at the shape of the body, which sections of the body do you usually lay on when you are asleep in bed? When you are on your side, regardless of which direction you are facing, the hip and the shoulders are going to take most of the impact from the mattress, and the side of your skull next to your ear is going to support the weight of your head against the pillow.

When you sleep on a pillow that is too thin, your head and neck are going to lay parallel, leaving a minute space against your neck and forcing those muscles to keep your neck upright and in line with your head. If the reverse is true and you sleep on a pillow that is too firm or too thickly padded, your entire head and neck is going to be forced upward which will un-align your spine from its natural positioning. That means that the best choice for your well-being and health is going to be a medium to medium-soft pillow that gives enough resistance to your head to support the weight of your head with enough inflation to support your neck.

Try and analyze how much you move during the night when purchasing a pillow because this can help you to decide on the right type of material for the pillow. If you are someone that likes to toss and turn throughout the night, you might prefer a buckwheat organic pillow or a feather pillow whose content moves around as you do. The only problem with some of the buckwheat pillows is they do have a tendency to make more noise when you move, so do not invest in this type of pillow if you are a light sleeper.

Optimally, if you are a sedentary sleeper that tends to stay in the same place, you want to shop around for an ergonomic design that differs from the traditional rectangular and flat shape of most pillows. Some pillows have extra padding or filling along the lower half of the pillow where you place your neck so that the concentration and the location of the filling inside your pillow is not as dependent on whether or not you get a good nights sleep. These pillows already have a pre-set shape in most cases so again, if you move around, this pillow may not be the best choice for you.

What Should Side Sleepers Look For?

After taking into consideration all of the ideal factors that should go into your purchasing decision, what is the best type of pillow? The best type of pillow depends on you and what you prefer to sleep on, but some of the recommended options that would suit side sleepers are memory foam, latex, and buckwheat pillows.

Memory foam and latex foam pillows have become one of the more popular options in the last few years because of their incredible ability to retain the shape of your body and provide equal support to both your neck and head. These options, unlike down filled pillows, do not let your head slump down into the pillow; rather they meet individual resistance requirements to provide optimal support. The cost of these options are decreasing and can now be found for as little as $20 at some stores, but they still remain one of the more expensive types on the market; however, memory foam pillows often come with some type of warranty and are expected to last for several years, whereas their latex cousins have been known to last up to 20-years in some extreme cases.

Buckwheat pillows

Buckwheat pillows are an eco-friendly design made out of 100% natural buckwheat hulls. Sometimes companies will also use hops, grass, or other natural materials instead of buckwheat for the same purpose. Buckwheat doesn’t collapse like foam or feathers so you get an extra level of support .These pillows also don’t retain as much heat as other types on the market so they are great if you hate sleeping on a hot pillow or always find yourself flipping over the pillow in the middle of the night to find some relief. The only downside to buckwheat is that it is rather heavy,  with some  brands weighing as much as 4-5 pounds, and they will need to be replaced about every other year.

How to Choose the Right Pillow for Shoulder Pain if you Sleep on Your Side

the ideal pillow  if you have shoulder  pain whilst you sleep on your sideThere are as many sleeping problems as there are sleeping positions. The way you position your body as you sleep determines what kind of problems you encounter when you wake up.
Side sleepers usually deal with shoulder pains in the morning. This is because their necks are bent at an awkward angle and kept for hours in that certain position, causing the muscles to cramp and get damaged over time.

This is why side sleepers need pillows that are designed to provide good support for the neck, all the way to the shoulders. This is a bit tricky because you need a specialized pillow to make side sleeping both comfortable and natural.

In line with that, you’ve got memory foam pillows and waterfill pillows in the market as well. To find the right pick for you, go with something that you’re personally comfortable with. Pillows are like clothes. You’ve got to try them on before you can say they’re good on you.
And if you’re budgeting, go for a smaller pillow size with a good brand so you can still save and sleep well at the same time.

Finally, you want to ask if a certain pillow is chiropractor-designed. Nothing puts your mind at ease better than a pillow that’s designed for therapeutic purposes.

Knee Pillows if you are a Side Sleeper

the ideal pillow if you sleep on your sideChiropractors recommend sleeping on the side, also known as the fetal position, which we all assumed as babies in our fetal development in the wombs of our mothers for nine months. While we are comfortable sleeping on our sides, we shouldn’t forget to safeguard our posture, even if it means buying another new pillow to give our necks, shoulders, and heads the proper support and our spine the correct alignment.

Assuming that you have the correct knee pillows, place one or two of these under your head and your neck, and an additional pillow between your knees to keep your hips open, and your knees and legs separated. Most knee pillows are priced affordably, albeit some brands – such as Tempurpedic – are relatively more expensive. The knee pillows in the previously discussed reviews, however, are all good quality brands.

Shoulder Pillow if you are a Side Sleeper

choosing a dynasty mattressShoulder pillows for side sleepers like you will be ideal if you lay in a perpendicular position with your mattress, meaning they will work best for people who maintain relatively few sleeping positions during their sleep. But that is not always the case because even side sleepers shift positions while asleep. Pillows that are too malleable will not provide the firmness needed by the side sleeper.

For people who sleep on their side, keeping the spine straight during sleep is non-negotiable. The space between your outer shoulder and your ear is empty when you are a side sleeper and that is where a pillow should be, a firm one to be precise, to keep your weight distributed evenly and not suspended or bent unnaturally. Without the correct pillow, a side sleeper’s body and neck will not be well positioned during sleep.

Sleep is an integral part of all our lives and you deserve to get a sufficient amount of it regardless of whether or not you sleep on your side. Side sleepers, however, need to choose their pillows more carefully because they have special needs, so to speak, that may not be met with a one-size-fits-all kind of pillow.

Choosing the Right Thin Pillow for a Side Sleeper

how to choose the right thin pillow if you sleep on your sideSleeping on the side has been proven good for reducing acid reflux, and preventing or treating snoring. Sleeping on the side can also prevent neck and back pain. This sleeping position is recommended for pregnant women as well.

With these benefits it is easy to understand why you’ll continue to sleep on your back. Having the right pillow, however, can mean the difference between feeling refreshed and young in the morning, or feeling stressed after tossing and turning all night long.

As mentioned earlier, the pillow you must have in your bed should not be too thick or too thin. Having a pillow that is too thin would allow your head to tilt towards the bed. On the other hand, a pillow that is too thick would have your head tilting away from the bed, and potentially causing stiff neck in the morning. Or you can end up having stiff and achy muscles, or numbing sensation in the arms and hands.

While shopping online for a pillow is convenient, there is also the disadvantage of not being able to test the pillow. Hence you really have no clue on how the pillow would feel, or how well it would support your neck and head.

Fortunately, most of the makers of thin pillows do offer a refund to their customers who are not satisfied with the products they bought online.  You can also minimize the risks of ordering the wrong pillow by looking for customer testimonials on the thin pillow that you are interested in getting.

Keep these pointers in mind the next time you shop for a pillow online, and chances are, you’ll get a pillow that suits you.

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