The ultimate guide to the Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

Here are our top five recommendations for 2014. Keep reading below the table for our in depth guide on choosing the right pillow.

Filling Machine Washable Hypo-allergenic Cost Rating
Beyond Down Gel Fiber Side Sleeper Pillow, King

Beyond Down Gel Fiber Side Sleeper Pillow, King

Micro Denier Gel Fiber Yes Yes ** 4
Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow, Gusseted Side Sleeper ,Standard

Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow, Gusseted Side Sleeper ,Standard

Memory Foam Yes (cover only) Yes (cover only) *** 4
Allstar Marketing Group SD011104 SideSleeper Pro Neck And Back Pillow – As Seen On TV

Allstar Marketing Group SD011104 SideSleeper Pro Neck And Back Pillow – As Seen On TV

Polyester fibers Yes (cover only) Yes ** 3.5
Beyond Down Gel Fiber Side Sleeper Pillow, Queen

Beyond Down Gel Fiber Side Sleeper Pillow, Queen

Micro Denier Gel Fiber Yes Yes ** 4
Core 200 Tri-Core Pillow Standard Support-Core Products #200

Core 200 Tri-Core Pillow Standard Support-Core Products #200

Fortrel fiber No No ** 4

The Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

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 for 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.

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

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 pillow 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 for side sleepers that provide the most overall support 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.

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