The Best Pillows for Side Sleepers, Tested by HGTV Editors

Sleeping on your side has a lot of note-worthy benefits, like improving joint pain and helping with digestion. If you're a side sleeper, you'll need that extra neck and spine support. Check out our editors' top side-sleeper pillow picks.

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March 10, 2021

Our Top Side-Sleeper Pillow Picks

If you wake up in the morning with lower back pain or if your partner hates your snoring, it might be time to change your sleeping position. Sleeping on your side is one of the most beneficial positions (along with sleeping on your back); it's known to reduce back pain, neck pain and acid reflux (if you sleep on your left side). Plus, it can improve blood flow and digestion and is the best position for those suffering from sleep apnea.

And did you know there are a few ways to sleep on your side? Nearly half of adults sleep in the fetal position (curled up), while others sleep in a log position (straight arms and legs) or prayer position (hands together). Whatever your side-sleeping position is, you'll need a pillow that will support your neck and spine. Traditional pillows are meant for back sleepers, so if you're a side sleeper or want to train yourself to become one, a firm pillow meant for side sleeping is essential. Below, we share our favorite pillows that will provide that extra support your neck and spine need to help you sleep and feel better.

When you sleep on your side, the distance between your head and mattress depends on the broadness of your shoulders. You want your neck to be in a neutral position, so each person needs a pillow firmness specified for his or her body type. Coop Home Goods' adjustable pillow allows you to easily unzip and add or remove filling as needed. (Yes, it comes with extra filling.) It's somehow super soft but provides the firm support your neck needs. Plus, it makes a great pillow to prop up while reading or watching TV.

HGTV managing editor Kayla Kitts says, "While I typically start out the night on my back, I always end up on my side," she explains. "I've used pillows for back and stomach sleepers, since I’ve always considered myself one, but knew I needed to try a true side-sleeper pillow and test the difference. Enter the Original Coop Home Goods Pillow. A word of warning: Be prepared to spend a few nights breaking in the pillow and getting the foam 'just right'. After removing almost half of the foam insert, I understood the rave reviews. While I topped it with my silk pillowcase for the ultimate night’s sleep, the ultra-breathable and super-soft Lulltra case would be incredible on its own."

HGTV editor Laura James says, "The first night I slept on this pillow, I woke up with a headache and realized the amount of filling it comes with was way too thick for my comfort. I removed about a fifth of the filling, re-fluffed it and then started sleeping like a baby and didn’t wake up with any more headaches. I like that this pillow doesn’t lose its shape as easily as a traditional pillow — it’s the perfect combination of firm and soft, perfect for supporting my head and neck as a side sleeper. I also appreciate that it’s hypoallergenic, breathable and machine washable."

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Designed with iCool Technology, the Therapedic Classic Contour Memory Foam Pillow is designed for exceptional ventilation to keep you cool. Ideal for side sleepers, the pillow provides neck support that also cradles your head. Plus, the breathable circular-knit fabric cover adds an extra element of comfort.

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Laura also tested the Purple Harmony Pillow. (You can see her full review here.) She says, "The most unique thing about Purple’s pillow is that it uses a patented purple Grid Hex material instead of traditional filling. It’s constructed in a honeycomb pattern that you can see and feel through the outer fabric; it feels and wiggles almost like there’s a block of unbreakable Jell-O inside the pillow. For me, the best part about this design is that when I lie down, the pillow compresses just where I need it to and always bounces back to its original shape. It maintains its shape over time, too, and it does not require constant fluffing due to the filling shifting around as traditional pillows do. It’s also hypoallergenic, machine washable and breathable, thanks to its moisture-wicking cover. I don’t find this to be a huge deal, but the pillow will sometimes leave a hexagon pattern imprint on my cheek in the morning. The price of the pillow is steep compared to others we’ve tried, but Purple does offer a 100-night trial and a one-year limited warranty as well as free shipping and returns."

Buy It
$129 - $149

In addition to being remarkably cool to the touch — thanks in part to the silky, quilted exterior and a cool gel surface that draws heat away from your head and neck — the Luxury Cooling Pillow from Brooklyn Bedding has memory foam that allows it to comfortably conform to the head and neck. As a result, it’s equally comfortable for both back- and side-sleepers (as well as hot sleepers). Managing Editor Felicia Feaster suggests wrapping the pillow in a thin, preferably silk or breathable, pillowcase (and avoid flannel) to maximize its cooling power.

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$89 - $99

Break the wake, flip-and-fluff cycle of side sleeping on a regular pillow. This medium-density side-sleeper pillow offers unparalleled support and the perfect plushness. It's stuffed with fluffy, 100-percent hypoallergenic down alternative fill that won't wear down as quickly as traditional pillows. Plus, we love the 100-percent sateen cotton shell that's oh-so-soft.

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$89 - $129

Tempur-Pedic's TEMPUR-Neck Pillow is contoured to provide proper alignment, support and comfort by following the natural curve of your body. It comes in three sizes — small, medium and large — to fit all body types and sleep preferences. We love that this pillow provides a therapeutic experience that helps neck and shoulder muscles relax but stay supported through the night.

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This extra-long hypoallergenic body pillow provides great support and can help side sleepers with shoulder pain (propping the arm instead of allowing it to slouch against the body). The Talalay Latex Pillow from Brooklyn Bedding is composed of latex foam that molds to your body, and it’s firm enough to provide comfortable support but is soft and malleable enough to feel like a therapeutic cuddle for those with a rotator cuff or other injury.

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$145 - $165

Have you ever slept in an upscale hotel and gotten the best sleep of your life? Chances are it was the luxurious mattress and pillow, and the Saatva Pillow gives you that same hotel quality. Made with 100-percent down-like microdenier fiber and shredded 100-percent American Talalay latex, it provides neck and spine support while feeling super luxurious (and it's machine washable).

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Deemed "the world’s most relaxing pillow," the CBD Pillow is a pillow unlike any other. It's infused with millions of microcapsules filled with the highest quality CBD for deeper sleep, relaxation and a more refreshing morning. How does it work? Friction causes the capsules to burst, slowly releasing the CBD, which is then absorbed directly through your hair follicles and skin to help regulate your sleep evenly throughout the night. Unlike CBD oil or edibles that wear off after a few hours, the pillow releases microdoses of CBD all night long. The machine-washable outer liner is made of cooling, bamboo-derived rayon that also serves as a built-in pillowcase, and the fill is a medium-firm customizable blend of hypoallergenic shredded memory foam and plush microfiber. The durable, supportive gel memory foam core supports your head and your neck in any sleeping position. And if you’re sensitive to scents, don’t worry. It’s unscented!

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