If you’re like the majority of people in the world, you probably spend most of the night sleeping on your side. It is extremely important to get a good night’s sleep, and if you’re wondering what side-sleeping pillow will do the best job for you, we’ve got the perfect information to help you decide.
To help understand the importance of the right side-sleeping pillow, check out this video.
• Latex Pillows
Latex pillows are made from either a natural polymer or a synthetic blend. As with most things, natural is always the better option. The latex is formed to make a plethora of tiny bubbles that give it its infamous bounce.
Many confuse latex pillows with memory foam, but latex is more reactive to pressure and has a more instantaneous bounce-back. These types of pillows tend to have great moisture and heat dissipation properties, making them an ideal option for allergy sufferers.
Most types of pillows collect dust mites and other allergens, whereas latex helps eliminate those issues. If you’re a side sleeper but also suffer from allergies, a latex pillow is a perfect option for you. There are a variety of different types of latex pillows, but it’s best to choose one made from natural latex.
• Thin Pillows
There are a lot of people that assume that big, fluffy pillows are the best to use. But sometimes that just isn’t true. Thin pillows can be easily remolded to fit comfort levels and can help support the neck, especially for side sleepers.
While thin pillows are a great option for people who like to move their pillows around a lot, you must be careful when choosing one. If a pillow is too thick, it cannot provide the adequate amount of support; creating an unwanted downward bend in your neck.
Thin pillows are great for side sleepers who move around a lot and need their pillows to go where they do. They’re also great for those who love to have a pillow in between their knees when they sleep. Just be sure to find a thin pillow that is firm enough to support your neck and spine.
• Chiropractic Pillows
According to Sleep.org, chiropractic pillows are also knowns as cervical pillows and their purpose it so support the neck properly so your spine maintains its natural shape. These pillows are contoured, with an indentation in the middle of the pillow.
You must be careful when choosing these pillows as a side sleeper, because many are designed for sleeping on your back. If you are considering a chiropractic pillow and are a side sleeper, recommendations from your chiropractor can help set you on the right path.
These types of pillows are wonderful for people who suffer from neck/spine issues, whiplash, tension headaches, and/or arthritis. They are meant to reduce neck and spine discomfort and are made out of a variety of materials, from memory foam, to water or latex.
• Orthopedic Pillows
These types of pillows are much like chiropractic pillows, but tend to have different benefits. Just like the chiropractic pillows, they are designed to correct your body position and come in a variety of different forms, like contour pillows, neck pillows, wedge pillows, and body pillows.
According to chiropractor John Schubbe, these pillows are perfect for side sleepers but may be uncomfortable at first. They can be made out of a variety of materials and come in a variety of sizes. They are especially good for side sleepers to help keep your spine perfectly aligned.
Benefits of side-sleeping with orthopedic pillows are endless. They can help relieve conditions like snoring, insomnia, sleep apnea, acid reflux, poor blood circulation, breathing difficulties, and back/neck pain. If you’re a side sleeper with any kind of health issue, orthopedic pillows are a viable option.
• Soft Pillows
Softer pillows are usually not recommended for side sleepers, but instead for stomach sleepers. If you enjoy having a nice, soft pillow under you, you should also consider getting another type of pillow to compensate, like getting a softer, orthopedic pillow for example.
The problem with soft pillows and side-sleeping is that the softer the pillow is, the less it supports your neck and spine. For under your head, consider a firmer pillow that has a softer filling. If you want a full-body pillow or a pillow for in between your knees, softness should not be an issue.
Softer pillows could be beneficial if they are made of the right materials, as they could be easily molded to fit your neck as you move around. There are many memory foam or latex pillows that feel extremely soft, but are not soft enough to create curvature to your neck and spine.
• Duck-Down Pillows
When many people think of down pillows, they think “old fashioned” or “vintage”. But there’s a reason why down pillows are still very popular- they are remarkably comfortable. Duck-down pillows in particular are a great option for people who are on a budget but still want to enjoy the finer things.
Duck-down pillows are more plump and fuller than most other pillows, providing a great support for side sleepers. They are also harder to come by because goose-down pillows have become more popular. The down side to this type of down is that duck-down is less resilient and therefore has a shorter lifespan.
These pillows are lightweight and airy, but still firm enough to support your neck while sleeping on your side. If you’re considering this type of pillow, try to choose one that is 100% down, so it lasts longer (even though it may cost a little more).
• Firm Pillows
Most physicians and chiropractors recommend a firmer pillow for side-sleeping. The more firm the pillow is, the more support it provides for your neck and spine. Spine alignment is an extremely important factor when considering a side-sleeping pillow, even if you don’t have neck/spine issues.
According to Christopher Winter, MD, it is important to find “something that keeps the head and neck in place and even separates the knees,” creating a neutral position for your body. Firm pillows with contours or firm body pillows are perfect options.
Firm pillows are especially beneficial for side sleepers who suffer from and sort of neck/spine issues. Most orthopedic and memory foam pillows are on the firmer side just for that reason. When you lay on your side, a space is created between your neck and the bed; firm pillows fill that gap.
• Memory Foam Pillows
The people at Nature’s Sleep claim that memory foam pillows have many benefits. Memory foam tends to be very dense, which helps prevent your neck from bending in uncomfortable ways. They also help to keep your spine aligned while sleeping on your back.
While they are pretty dense, memory foam pillows also mold to the shape of your head, contouring itself to your body shape no matter which way you lay. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, perfect for side sleepers’ heads, knees, and/or bodies.
If you find yourself always fluffing or changing your pillow around while you sleep on your side, memory foam pillows can help you get a more restful night’s sleep by continuously changing to suit your body’s needs as you move.
• Contour Pillows
Contour pillows encompass any type of pillow that are “contoured”, meaning that there is a depression in the pillow to fit the curves of the body. This could include memory foam pillows, orthopedic pillows, and latex pillows.
According to Dr. Andrew Bang, sleeping on your side with your head bent will make any issues worse. Contoured pillows allow side sleepers to sleep with their head resting in the depression, leaving your neck to rest on a higher elevation.
Dr. Bang also recommends trying a latex contour pillow before trying a memory foam one, as latex tends to be more breathable and will keep you cooler at night. These pillows provide support for your neck and spine, while still being comfortable. And they can be found for very reasonable prices as well.
• Goose-Down Pillows
Goose-down is a little more popular these days than duck-down, and typically more expensive. You’ll want to look for one that has a high percentage of down, as most use a certain percentage of filler that tends to poke and prod you at night.
They are only expensive because of their well-known, consistent quality. The down contains a higher fill-power than the down made from duck, and are exceptionally comfortable. For side sleepers, they are comfortable, but still firm enough to support your neck and spine.
They are not the perfect choice for those who suffer from neck and spine issues, as they do not provide the amount of support that the other side-sleeping options provide. They also take some fluffing and shaking to ensure the down is plump and evenly distributed.