Last updated on April 22nd, 2019

Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

If you find yourself sleeping on your side you might be surprised that you are not alone. In a 2017 Danish study of over 1000 participants, side sleeping was found to be the predominant sleep position in adults. The study also revealed that we are more likely to sleep on our side as we age and with increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) (1).

Pillow Review by a Real Posture Expert – Dr. Paul Paez, DC

I’ve been helping people in healthcare for over 20+ years. I am a Nationally Board Certified Doctor of Chiropractic with specialties in Posture Correction, Posture Neurology and Posture Ergonomics. This puts me in a unique position to review products as I draw from my advanced knowledge on how the body works and my experience of working with clients to find real solutions.

Choosing your Pillow

Not all pillows are created the same. Which is why I created a simple system for helping people find the perfect pillow for them.

Material – Allergies are a big problem for many of people. Companies across many industries including the pillow industry are recognizing this and are upgrading their material to be hypo-allergenic.

Shape and Size – Specifically for side sleepers the shape is very important to maintain proper alignment between the head, neck and shoulders. It’s important to keep the head at a 90 angle to the shoulders. Pillow-makers will offer many different dimensions to accommodate the unique position of side sleeping. They often times will not fit a conventional size pillow case.

Temperature – The cooler the material, the less the pillow retains heat the more comfortable your sleep will be. Researchers who tested pillows for their comfort and support found that pillows that held more heat resulted in greater complaints of unrestful sleep (1).

Pricing – The old adage, “you get what you pay for” holds true when it comes to picking the right pillow. Fortunately, the demand is high enough for an effective, quality product that prices are reasonable. In fact, I recommend avoiding the cheap options, there just not worth it.


Dr Paul’s #1 choice for Best Pillow for Side Sleepers Better Sleep Pillow


  • Hypoallergenic cozy white goose-down and feathers
  • Proper spine alignment anti-snore pillow
  • 5-6 inches high x 29 inches wide x 13 inches long
  • Priced $90.98


  • Although this pillow is slightly larger than most conventional pillows the rest of the features out-weight this point

Feature Highlights

  • Zipped cover
  • 2 arm tunnels
  • Thick layer of padding
  • Gel fiber fill
  • Ergonomic design
  • Find on Amazon

Why Choose this Pillow

It’s challenging finding the best way to sleep. Back sleeping is the best position followed by side sleeping. But what do you do with your arm when you are on your side? This pillow solves the problem, reducing the chances of waking up with a “dead arm” feeling or a stiff neck from being kinked while sleeping.

Dr Paul’s #2 choice for Best Pillow for Side Sleeper – The Side Sleeper’s Ergonomic Pillow


  • Up to 3″ thicker than a typical pillow
  • Soft, hypoallergenic polyester fill
  • Form-fitting cover made from imported brushed microfiber
  • 17″ W x 15″ L x 6″ H. (1 1/2 lbs.)
  • Designed by a doctor of physical therapy
  • Priced at $69.95


  • Great thickness but missing a place for your arm

Feature Highlights

  • U-shaped opening at its bottom that cradles the shoulder
  • A slight depression in the surface of the pillow prevents pressure from building up on the ear and provides optimal neck support.
  • Find on Amazon

Why Choose this Pillow

This is a good option for a side sleeper especially if you have broad shoulders. Even though it is not designed for placing your arm underneath your head because of the thickness of the pillow you may not find that necessary. Good price with a more familiar size to your conventional pillow.

Dr Paul’s #3 choice for Best Pillow for Side Sleeper- HeadRight Pillow


  • Orthopedic pillow that consists of multiple density polyurethane blends strategically combined
  • Individually hand assembled
  • 2 side spinal support sections provide firm orthopedic support
  • Topped with an overlying “super-soft”, specialized polyurethane
  • Priced at $89.95


  • Unique design but does make pillow cases hard to find

Feature Highlights

  • Ergonomically designed with “eggcrate” shaped surfaces
  • Enclosed in a custom fitted cotton cover
  • Find on Amazon

Why Choose this Pillow

The most unique design I’ve seen so far. Good for those who are back and side sleepers. Lots of support with the “side wings” to support you head when you turn on your side.

What makes the Best Pillow for Side Sleeper

There are four areas of your body that need support while you sleep on your side. It’s important to keep the neck and head in a 90 degree angle. Your arm needs a place to be free from impingement. It’s also important that your hips are even and level.  Neck and arm support while on your side can be helpful for relieving common musculoskeletal complaints such as:

  • Morning neck stiffness
  • Numb hands and fingers
  • Headaches

Ideal neck support is actually head support. By placing the head on a pillow you are reducing the kinking between your head and shoulders. It will also relieve pressure on your arm which promotes proper circulation.

Side Sleeper Hip Support

Women in particular may find greater comfort with support between their knees. Women generally have wider hips than men which can create larger space from knee to knee when on their sides. According to work done by Merry, 2005, the angle between the inferior pubic bone arch is about 70 degrees in men, but 90-100 degrees in women. The bones forming the arch are more concave in women but straight in men (2). Particular, women find it beneficial to use a pillow between their knees to reduce the angle of their legs. It is best to use a pillow that is firm and thick but breathable to reduce over-heating.



(2) Merry, Clare V. (2005). “Pelvic Shape”.Mind- Primary Cause of Human Evolution. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-4120-5457-5. Retrieved 2010-08-14.