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Best Memory Foam Pillows for Side Sleepers: Buyer’s Guide

Lara Vargas

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When laying down, side sleepers have a large gap between the mattress and their head and neck. A basic down, feather, and polyester filled pillow cannot offer the support a side sleeper’s neck needs to keep your head in alignment with the rest of your spine. Lack of neck and head support can cause neck pain and other conditions.

Shredded and solid memory foam pillows are known for alleviating pressure and pain by offering firm neck and head support.

This article will suggest the best memory foam pillows for side sleepers. We will also explore the benefits of owning a side sleeping pillow and how to choose one.

Best Memory Foam Pillows for Side Sleepers

PillowHighlightsPrice
BEST OVERALL MEMORY FOAM PILLOW FOR SIDE SLEEPERSAmerisleep Comfort Classic PillowThe solid Bio-Pur® memory foam relieves tension in the neck to alleviate pain.
BEST ADJUSTABLE MEMORY FOAM PILLOW FOR SIDE SLEEPERSAmerisleep Flex Pillow
Flex PillowAmerisleep
Hundreds of MicroFlex cushions enable the pillow to adapt to your every movement.
BEST TWO-IN-ONE MEMORY FOAM PILLOW FOR SIDE SLEEPERSAmerisleep Dual Comfort PillowBio-Pur® memory foam has a soft and firm side to suit back and side sleepers.
$130-150Buy Now
BEST COOLING MEMORY FOAM PILLOW FOR SIDE SLEEPERSZoma PillowThe MicroCushions™ contour to the neck and head to give firm support and alleviate pressure in the neck.
Coop Home Goods Eden The shredded gel memory foam filling cools the sleeper while maintaining support.
Honeydew Sleep Company Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow
Honeydew Sleep
Company
Scrumptious
Side Sleeper
Pillow
The zippered cover allows you to remove the pillow’s filling to adjust the height.
Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow
Nest BeddingEasy Breather
Pillow
The shredded memory foam fill and encourages airflow to prevent heat retention.

Best Overall Memory Foam Pillow for Side Sleepers: Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow

Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow

The Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow is filled with solid Bio-Pur® memory foam. It doesn’t lose support but conforms to alleviate tension in the neck and align the head to the spine.

Best memory foam pillow features
  • Memory foam responds to a side sleeper's movement, contouring the head and neck.
  • Bio-Pur® foam aerated to allow air circulation and prevent overheating.
  • Castor oil is one of the ingredients in Bio-Pur® foam, for an eco-friendly material.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers who want a basic memory foam pillow to support their head and neck.
  • Side sleepers whose body temperature runs hot and want a ventilated memory foam pillow.
  • Side sleepers who want the security of a generous warranty.

The Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow doesn’t trap heat as the aerated Bio-Pur® memory foam fill increases air circulation. The pillow provides conforming support for side sleepers.

The Bio-Pur® fill is a solid piece of foam. Bio-Pur® is more breathable and responsive than traditional memory foam. The material gives under pressure to conform to the head and neck, relieving pain and pressure.

Amerisleep’s cover is soft and breathable to encourage uninterrupted sleep.

The Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow comes with a 10-year warranty. The warranty states Amerisleep will replace a pillow with material and workmanship defects.

Best Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow for Side Sleepers: Amerisleep Flex Pillow

Amerisleep Flex Pillow

A side sleeper can shape the Amerisleep Flex Pillow to suit their head and neck, ensuring the pillow is neither too tall nor too short.

Best memory foam pillow features
  • The pillow can be fluffed up to support a sleeper or pushed down if the loft is too high.
  • MicroFlex cushions shift and move, leaving space for air to move between and wick away heat.
  • The pillow's adjustable fill stretches out its likely lifespan.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers looking for an easy-to-clean pillow they can toss in the washer.
  • Side sleepers who want a memory foam pillow with an adjustable fill that's like down.
  • Hot side sleepers seeking a cool memory foam pillow.

The Amerisleep Flex Pillow takes its name from its flexible fill. Instead of one large piece of memory foam, the pillow’s core is hundreds of shredded memory foam pieces known as MicroFlex cushions. You can fluff or flatten the cushions as you wish, twisting your pillow’s shape to suit your liking.

The Flex Pillow offers “custom-made” comfort that can suit any individual’s sleep needs. Amerisleep highly recommends their Flex Pillow for combination sleepers, who benefit from a pillow that can adapt quickly to their movements. However, sleepers of any style should find that the Flex Pillow provides all the support and cushion that they need.

Amerisleep offers a 10-year warranty guaranteeing your pillow’s quality. If your pillow shows signs of material or workmanship defects, reach out to Amerisleep’s customer service to file a claim.

Best Two-in-One Memory Foam Pillow for Side Sleepers: Amerisleep Dual Comfort

Amerisleep Dual Comfort

Side sleepers can choose between a soft side and firm side if they pick this pillow. Amerisleep recommends the firm side for side sleeping, to ensure proper neck support.

Best memory foam pillow features
  • Bio-Pur® is more breathable than traditional memory foam, with added air channels to keep cool.
  • Firm side maintains neck support for a side sleeper, while the soft side cradles the head and neck.
  • Bio-Pur® foam is partly plant-based, creating a more sustainable material than the average memory foam.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers who occasionally switch to sleeping on their backs.
  • Hot side sleepers who want a soft or firm memory foam pillow that's cool to the touch.
  • People looking for an all-inclusive pillow for a guest room.

Amerisleep’s Dual Comfort Pillow offers twice the comfort of your average pillow. It has a ventilated core of Bio-Pur® foam, with one side focused on soft cushion and the other side providing a lightly firm lift.

The firm side is well-suited for side sleepers, who need a supportive pillow to limit strain on their neck muscles. The soft side cushions a back sleeper’s head and neck while maintaining support.

Each side relies on the breathable and responsive nature of Bio-Pur® foam. The material is quick to regain its shape and stays cool as you sleep.

You can choose from a 5-inch or 6-inch loft. The 5-inch loft is recommended more for back sleepers and the 6-inch loft for side sleepers.

The Dual Comfort Pillow comes with a 10-year warranty.

Best Cooling Memory Foam Pillow for Side Sleepers: Zoma Pillow

Zoma Pillow

You can mold The Zoma Pillow to your desired shape to get the perfect neck support each night. The Zoma Pillow also comes with a 10-year warranty.

Best memory foam pillow features
  • Hundreds of tiny MicroCushions™ make it easy for air to flow and remove excess heat.
  • MicroCushions™ repels bacteria and dust, promoting a clean and hypoallergenic pillow.
  • Side sleepers can mold the pillow into the shape they find comfortable.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers who want a machine-washable memory foam pillow that resists germs and pests.
  • Hot side sleepers who want a pillow that encourages airflow.
  • Side sleepers who want a few months to decide if a pillow is right for them.

The Zoma Pillow is 6 inches tall by 16 inches wide by 27 inches long. The pillow offers uninterrupted sleep through breathability and conformability.

The Zoma Pillow’s MicroCushions™ filling is moldable, so the sleeper can shape the pillow into the shape to provide the best comfort. MicroCushions™ has enough loft to provide correct alignment and support. The material is also germ and dust resistant.

The Zoma Pillow is constructed with two covers. The outer cover is washable and made of ventilated polyester fabric to keep the head cool and wick away heat and moisture. The inner cover keeps the pillow’s shape.

The Zoma Pillow comes with a 10-year warranty. The 10-year warranty states Zoma will replace the defective pillow at no cost to the owner.

Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow

Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow

The shredded gel memory foam filling is removable, so you can raise and lower the pillow’s loft as you please.

Best memory foam pillow features
  • Gel memory foam disperses heat, while the shredded fill allows air to pass through.
  • Elastic inner liner ensures the pillow can be contorted into a variety of shapes.
  • GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US® certified for a clean, hypoallergenic fill.
Recommended for...
  • Hot side sleepers seeking a cool pillow with gel infusions.
  • Allergy sufferers seeking a hypoallergenic pillow.
  • Side sleepers looking for a pillow with a removable filling.

The Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow is made with breathable and hypoallergenic materials. The Eden pillow is also adjustable, so you can add and remove filling to fit your comfort needs.

The shredded gel memory foam filling wicks away heat and promotes spinal alignment. The filling is CertiPUR-US® and GREENGUARD Gold certified, so it’s made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP, heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates, and low on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).

The user can gain access to the filling through a zipper in the inner liner. The liner stretches, allowing you to mold the pillow into different shapes.

The pillow’s Lulltra™ cover encourages airflow to ensure the sleeper’s head doesn’t overheat.

The Eden pillow comes with a 5-year warranty to protect you from defects. The pillow also comes with a 100-night sleep trial where you may test the mattress and return the product if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

Honeydew Sleep Company Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow

Honeydew Sleep Company Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow

The Honeydew Side Sleeper Pillow has a curve for extra neck and shoulder support.

Best memory foam pillow features
  • Honeydew's pillow cover removes heat for a cool sleep surface.
  • Copper infusion eliminates bacteria and keeps the pillow odor-free.
  • Pillow fill is adjustable and be molded into a shape that suits your needs.
Recommended for....
  • Side sleepers interested in the support a curved pillow offers, instead of the standard shape.
  • Side sleepers who live in a warm climate or tend to sleep hot.
  • Side sleepers looking for pillow that stays fresh.

The Honeydew Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow has a unique curve in the bottom to support the shoulders and neck when you’re on your side.

The CertiPUR-US® certified copper-infused foam and fiberfill is moldable and adjustable. You can shape the pillow to fit your needs and remove filling through the zippered cover. The copper infusion kills bacteria and keeps the pillow smelling fresh.

The cover naturally wicks away heat to keep you cool throughout the night.

The Scrumptious pillow comes with a 60-night sleep trial, free shipping, and a 3-year warranty.

Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

The Easy Breather Pillow focuses on, as the name suggests, breathability. Air can easily flow through the pillow, picking up and removing heat.

Best memory foam pillow features
  • Shredded fill encourages airflow to carry off absorbed heat.
  • Memory foam yields to a sleeper's weight, contouring for pressure and pain relief.
  • Foam is durable and CertiPUR-US® certified.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers who want to add or subtract their pillow's fill as needed.
  • Hot side sleepers who want a breathable pillow with a shredded fill.

The Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow is CertiPUR-US® certified for a clean night’s sleep. The pillow mimics the feel of a down or feather pillow while cradling and supporting the neck.

The shredded memory foam fill encourages air to circulate through the pillow, preventing heat retention. The foam gives way to pressure and pushes up where the sleeper needs support, alleviating pain and pressure. The filling in the Easy Breather Pillow is also adjustable, so you can add or take filling to meet your sleep needs.

The Tencel® blended fabric wicks away heat and promotes airflow to keep your head from overheating.

Nest Bedding’s pillows come with a 30-night sleep trial. Unfortunately, the pillow does not come with a warranty.

Benefits of Pillows for Side Sleepers

Many side sleepers experience pain when they sleep without proper support. While the best mattress for side sleepers can alleviate pain and relieve pressure points, supportive pillows can offer extra support where a mattress cannot.

Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief

Neck and shoulder pain are common issues for side sleepers. Since side sleepers spend most of the night resting on their shoulders and hips, pressure points develop in those areas, which can cause muscle soreness. The right pillows can alleviate neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Side sleeping pillows for the head can maintain spinal alignment while alleviating muscle tension and pressure points; as a result, they minimize pain and stiffness in your shoulders and neck.

Knee pillows prevent the hips from rotating and the spine from twisting. If the spine is twisted and overextended for an entire night, the back muscles, vertebra, and spinal cord can become damaged. A knee pillow pulls the hips into alignment, preventing the spine from twisting.

Healthy Spinal Alignment

Supportive pillows and a good mattress should promote spinal alignment. Even if your mattress isn’t ideal, a couple of good side sleeping pillows can correct your spinal alignment.

You should look for a pillow that allows your head to rest in a neutral position. When shopping for a pillow, check to see if the pillow lifts your forehead above your chin or that your head doesn’t sag toward the mattress.

If you don’t have the correct pillow loft and firmness, you can feel pain in the back, neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips, which can quickly become chronic. Correcting your spinal alignment, the proper head pillow can improve your overall health by eliminating pain.

How Side Sleepers Can Pick the Best Pillow

Side sleeper’s pillow needs are vastly different from stomach and back sleepers. Side sleepers need a thick, firm pillow that won’t flatten during use. To find the best pillow for your needs, consider the type of filling, the pillow’s loft, firmness, and the pillow’s moldable and adjustable features.

Pillow Type

Memory foam pillows have one of two filling types: shredded, solid, and contoured. You may find one type of memory foam pillow more comfortable than the other. Memory foam pillows also take different shapes to provide the sleeper greater comfort.

Body pillows are usually 60 inches long or more. They are I, U, C, J, and L shaped and are used to support the head and knees. Body pillows are great for people who snuggle with pillows or pregnant women who need stomach support.

Shredded memory foam pillows feel like feather or down pillows, although they don’t need regular fluffing. The shredded memory foam filling is resilient and bounces back when pressure is removed from the pillow’s surface.

Solid memory foam pillows are aerated memory foam pieces with soft covers. The aerated design decreases heat retention and maintains its height throughout the night.

You can find solid memory foam pillows with more height at one end of the pillow than the other. These pillows are called contoured pillows. They offer better neck support.

Loft

Loft refers to a pillow’s height. Side sleepers need a thick pillow. We suggest a loft higher than 4 inches to maintain neutral spine alignment and relieve pressure in the shoulders. We suggest a pillow with extra support under the neck to alleviate tension.

Firmness

Most lofty pillows flatten with pressure. A side sleeper needs a firm enough pillow to maintain its shape. Feather and down pillows tend to flatten with enough pressure. Shredded memory foam pillows may lose some loft throughout the night. If you need extra support, opt for a solid memory foam pillow.

Adjustable Fill

Adjustable fill pillows allow you to manipulate the loft of the pillow to fit your needs. These pillows have zippered covers to give the user access to the filling. If you find the loft needs adjusting, you can take out or add more stuffing until you’ve found your perfect loft.

Knee Pillows

Sleepers need support between their knees to keep their hips in alignment with the rest of their spine. Too often, side sleepers sleep with their hips and shoulders rotated in opposite directions, causing the spine to twist.

If the spine rests in unnatural positions for too long, chronic pain issues such as sciatica, herniated discs, neck pain, and lower back pain can develop. Placing a thick pillow between the knees will prevent the hips from rotating and promote spinal alignment.

Knee pillows are shaped like hourglasses to keep them from slipping out from between the knees. Some have straps to keep the pillow in position as you sleep.

Other Pillow Materials

We suggest memory foam pillows as the best pillows for side sleepers; however, every sleeper’s comfort needs are different, and some material may cater to your needs better than memory foam.

Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam is a durable, responsive, and supportive material that reacts to pressure and body heat. The material contours to the body and is known to alleviate pressure points and pain. Some memory foam materials are infused with conductive materials such as copper, gel, and graphite to wick away heat.

Latex Pillow

Latex pillows are very dense, firm, and maintain their loft. The latex is often aerated to promote air circulation and prevent overheating.

Talalay and Dunlop latex are made with rubber tree sap. Dunlop latex is dense and firm. The chemical additives in Talalay latex produce a light and springy material. Both natural materials have antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties.

Synthetic latex pillows are made with a chemical compound to mimic latex properties. Latex allergy sufferers can use synthetic latex pillows safely.

Blended latex is a mixture of natural and synthetic latex; it’s cheaper than natural latex but only has some antimicrobial qualities.

We discourage buying synthetic latex bedding as the material may contain harmful additives. If you decide to buy a synthetic latex product, make sure it’s CertiPUR-US® certified.

Buckwheat Pillow

Buckwheat pillows consist of woven cotton cases filled with buckwheat hulls. They don’t go flat, and they conform to your head and neck to provide firm support—great for side sleepers.

Traditional Pillows

Traditional pillows are typically filled with cotton, feather, down alternative, or down.

Cotton filling isn’t common and tends to clump together.

Down and feather pillows are soft and cooling. They are filled with a mixture of duck and goose feathers called down. Because this pillow is plush, it doesn’t have the support side sleeper’s need.

Down alternative pillows are filled with polyester fibers—an affordable material. The material retains heat more than down and feathers; however, polyester mimics the feel of down and feather pillows. You can find firm polyester filled pillows, but it won’t provide the best support.

FAQs

What is the most comfortable pillow for side sleepers?

We recommend a conforming but firm pillow that won’t lose its shape during the night. When resting on your side, you need a pillow that will keep the head lifted and aligned with the neck and spine. The head should not drop or be pushed upward, this can put pressure on the neck and spine, leading to aches and pains.

What is the best pillow for side sleepers with neck problems?

We suggest a medium loft memory foam pillow for side sleepers with neck problems. These pillows contour to the head and neck to promote a safe, neutral spine. When the head is supported and the spine is neutral, neck muscles can completely relax and tension can ease.

Can memory foam hurt your neck?

If you have a memory foam pillow that is too thin or thick, the pillow may be doing more harm than good. You will need a pillow that supports your head and neck in a neutral position to prevent chronic pain issues. If you are a back sleeper, a softer memory foam pillow will cradle the head and neck to sleep the spine neutral. If you are a side sleeper, a firmer pillow will lift the head and keep it aligned with the neck.

Do side sleepers need firm mattresses?

When side sleeping, the hips and shoulders bear most of the body weight. If the mattress is too firm, it can cause pressure and tension to build up near these joints. Therefore, side sleepers need soft to medium mattresses that will alleviate pressure points and prevent sore muscles and joints.

What is the healthiest sleeping position?

In most cases, back sleeping is the healthiest position because it keeps body weight evenly distributed, so the spine can remain neutral. If you suffer from sleep apnea or loud snoring, an adjustable bed or a wedge pillow can make back sleep safer and more comfortable. A slightly elevated head will open the airways and make breathing more comfortable.

Conclusion

Memory foam pillows can prevent pain and alleviate pressure points in the neck, a key necessity for side sleepers. Make sure the pillow is thick enough to keep your head from slumping toward the mattress and firm enough to keep its shape throughout the night. Placing a pillow between your knees can also correct sleeping posture by aligning your hips with your spine.

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