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The Best Pillows for Side Sleepers: The Definitive Guide


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Writers at Sleep Authority are supported by a research team conducting in-depth research about the topics. The editorial team reviews them for accuracy and facts to ensure the most authentic and accurate content is published. Sleep Authority does not offer any medical advice, and you should not rely solely on our content for your course of treatment. Consult your medical professional to discuss any health concerns, chronic conditions, treatment options, or diagnoses.


December 22, 2022

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What is Side Sleeping?

Side sleeping is for those who prefer feeling pressure on their shoulders and thighs when they sleep. Sleeping on your side happens in several different ways; tucking your knees to your chest, putting a pillow between your legs, and reaching out to the other side of the bed. Regardless of how you arrange yourself as a side sleeper, it’s important to know how this sleeping position affects the sleep you get each night.

Pillow Positions for Side Sleepers

Women sleeping

Under your head isn’t the only place a pillow can help you sleep. Think of additional pillows as accessories of comfort; if used properly they can move and align parts of your body in a more natural way so you aren’t sleeping in a way that causes pain or soreness after a long snooze.

  • Hip Supporting Knee Pillow

Side sleepers will benefit from placing a comfortable pillow between their knees. This will keep your spine aligned properly and helps to keep the pressure off of your hips so you won’t have the uncomfortable feeling of your thighs stretching out of place.

  • Back and Stomach Supporting Pillows

If you find that your back and stomach need a little extra support, use additional pillows to “hug” your body. This will ensure that you can’t move out of place during the night and that your body will stay true to its natural form.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Side Sleeper Pillow

Side sleepers find themselves most content when using the right kind of pillows in the right kind of places. There are things you need to consider when purchasing a pillow depending on your needs and preferences.

  • Material

You know the outside material of pillows is important because denim pillowcases are not the latest rage, the real determiner of a good pillow is what’s inside.

Memory foam pillows are widely recognized for their comfort and “hugging” feeling. These pillows are great for keeping your neck properly aligned at night. One drawback that might sway your decision is that they tend to retain heat and become very warm at night which could make sleeping difficult for someone who needs to feel cool while they sleep.

If heat is a big issue for you when you sleep than you might benefit from a gel pillow instead. These pillows are made from either silicone or polyurethane which allows for better temperature regulation giving you that cool other-side-of-the-pillow feeling.

Feather pillows may sound like the definition of weightless comfort, and though that may be true for some people (anyone who lived in a castle thousands of years ago), they provide little benefit for spine and neck alignment. They also retain heat and attract bugs so this may not be the best option for everyone.

Latex pillows are hypoallergenic, feature strong support and have a lasting comfort. These are great for sleepers who don’t like the trapping feeling of memory foam.

  • Company Reputation
  • Formed or Moldable
  • Knee Support
  • Who will be using the Pillow?
  • Medical Conditions
  • Pregnancy

What Makes a Great Side Sleeper Pillow?

  • LOFT

Types of Side Sleeper Pillows

  • Memory Foam
  • Water-Fill or Buckwheat
  • Gel-Fill
  • Latex
  • Feather/Down
  • Cotton

The Benefits of Owning a Pillow Designed for Side Sleeping

  • Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief
  • Helps with Snoring
  • Healthy Spine Alignment
  • Prevent Wrinkles
Is this article helpful?

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