The Best Pillows for Side Sleepers to Rest Easy

We found the Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow to be the most comfortable

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Purple Harmony Pillow

The Spruce / Rachel Marek

Side sleepers need a pillow that keeps their head and neck in alignment at night. A pillow that is too high will hyperextend their head, while a thin option won't give enough support. The best pillow types can come in memory foam, down, or polyester fill, but a medium firmness is ideal.

"The height and thickness of the pillow is critical," explains Robert Hayden, DC, chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. "If it is too tall or too short, it will create angles in the neck that may cause long-term harm, such as chronic strains or bone spurs." Dr. Hayden adds that the pillow should be firm enough that the head does not burrow into it, creating those angles while you sleep.

We tested the below options for durability, comfort, and quality after months of sleep and found the Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow to be the best pick for most side sleepers, but when it comes to pillows, personal preference plays a big part.

After months of testing, here are the best pillows for side sleepers.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow

4.8
Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

Courtesy of Coop Home Goods

Who else recommends it? Forbes, Allure, and The Strategist all picked the Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow.

What do buyers say? 88% of 49,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

What We Like
  • CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold-certified

  • Adjustable filling

  • Cooling effect

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This adjustable pillow was a winner with our tester because it could be customized to their needs with the easily removable stuffing that can be added or taken out. The thick cover also provided added support while our tester slept on this.

The fill is unique with its memory foam and microfiber that’s breathable and hypoallergenic. For added peace of mind, the foam is also CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold-certified, meaning it's met rigorous safety testing standards. The pillow is described as being medium-firm, though its texture can be called cloud-like.

The real perk of this pillow for side sleepers is that it ships with an additional half-pound of filling that you can add to the pillow for extra loft. Side sleepers will especially appreciate this feature since sleeping on your side can create the need for support between your shoulder and neck. The stretchy liner makes it easy to squish, scrunch, and mold the pillow into the position that's just right for you. What's more, the breathable outer cover is made from bamboo-derived viscose rayon for a soft touch and cooling feel.

It’s hard to beat the assurances that come with this adjustable pillow for side sleepers. In addition to customizing the fill, the company offers a 100-night sleep trial in case you don't love it right away. It's also machine washable for years of sweet dreams.

Sizes: Queen, king | Fill Material: Gel-infused shredded memory foam, microfiber | Shell Material: Viscose rayon and polyester | Care: Machine-wash cold, tumble-dry low

Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow

The Spruce

"The foam has a fluffy feel—similar to a down-filled pillow—and it even comes with a bag of extra foam for those who prefer a denser cushion."—Michelle Hainer, Product Tester

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Purple Harmony Pillow

4.4
Purple Harmony Pillow
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Maintains its shape

  • Three pillow heights

  • Breathable outer layer

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Using the same technology seen in their mattresses, Purple's Harmony Pillow is a supportive and cooling option that's perfect for side sleepers. Depending on your needs, you can choose from three different heights—Low, Medium, and Tall—and the website provides detailed instructions for picking the perfect height for you and your needs.

The Harmony Pillow incorporates a gel-infused layer with a moisture-wicking breathable mesh cover to keep you cool throughout the night. Our tester loved how this pillow regulated their temperature throughout the night, helping to avoid overheating. It held its shape throughout use, never falling flat or losing its shape. The moisture-wicking cover is removable and can be tossed in the laundry, and our tested notices no changes in its quality or shape after multiple washes.

Sizes: Queen, king | Fill Material: Ventilated Talalay Latex with Polyester Knit Cover | Shell Material: 92% Nylon Fiber, 8% Spandex Fiber | Care: Machine-wash cover on cold, air dry

What Testers Say

"I love that the pillow always maintains its shape, it springs right back up once you sit up. The inner material feels like memory jello (like memory foam, but the most comfortable jello!). As a side and stomach sleeper, I was very comfortable in all positions."—Patricia Huffstead, Product Tester

Purple Harmony Pillow

The Spruce / Rachel Marek

Best Memory Foam : Marlow The Pillow

4
Marlow Pillow

Courtesy of Marlow

What We Like
  • Cooling

  • Adjustable

  • Easy to fluff up

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to clean

Keep cool and sleep better with this memory foam pillow for side sleepers. Designed to be both breathable and supportive, Marlow's The Pillow is a good choice if you sleep hot. Side sleepers will find it strikes a perfect balance that supports the head and neck without pressure points—particularly on the ear.

One of our favorite parts about this pillow is that it's adjustable, with two zippers to customize the height and loft. After a bit of trial and error, our tester found the perfect stiffness for her, eliminating overnight neck pain. Even hot sleepers will find this pillow to be comfortable enough to sleep on, which isn’t always the case with memory foam pillows.

Sizes: Queen, king | Fill Material: 80 percent polyurethane foam (memory foam) and 20% polyester fiber | Shell Material: 100 percent cotton sateen | Care: Spot clean

What Testers Say

"At first, I didn't like this, but once I started experimenting with the side zippers to modify the firmness, I began experiencing better sleep. I haven't woken up with a sore neck once."—Siobhan Wallace, Product Tester

Marlow The Pillow

The Spruce / Rachel Marek

Best Down Alternative: Parachute Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow

Parachute pillow

Parachute 

What We Like
  • Gusset keeps the fill in place

  • Hypoallergenic fill

  • Sateen shine

What We Don't Like
  • Not as long lasting as other picks

Gussets are a great option to look for when purchasing a pillow for a side sleeper. Gussets keep the fill in place which prevents you from having to re-fluff throughout the night. The 3.5-inch gusset on this pillow is just the right height to give your shoulders and neck support without putting too much strain on alignment.

In general, a medium-firm pillow, like this option, is the best for side sleepers because it's not too soft or too firm for your body. If you suffer from allergies you'll enjoy the hypoallergenic down-alternative fill that gives you the down-like feel without the sneezes. But for those who do prefer down pillows, you can get the same side sleeper pillow with that fill. Our testers have always enjoyed Parachute's premium pillow shell, and this 100 percent cotton sateen shell adds a nice luxurious touch while also looking good after many nights of rest.

Sizes: Standard, king | Fill Material: 100 percent hypoallergenic microfiber fill  | Shell Material: 100 percent cotton sateen | Care: Machine washable

Best for Combo Sleepers: Casper Original Pillow

4
Original Casper Pillow

Courtesy of Casper

What We Like
  • 100-night trial

  • Supportive and lofted

  • Fill remains distributed evenly

What We Don't Like
  • Only one firmness option

If you frequently shift between your side and stomach while you snooze, the Casper Sleep Pillow features a unique pillow-in-pillow design that supports all sleep positions. It has a supportive inner pillow and soft and fluffy outer pillow to keep you comfy and align your neck, which our tester loved. Plus, there's a breathable 100 percent cotton cover with a percale weave that feels crisp and cool. What's more, the pillow has a 2-inch gusset along the sides to support the neck and keep the microfiber fill evenly distributed.

Aside from accommodating multiple sleeping positions, the pillow-in-pillow design makes it easy to remove and machine-wash the outer layer. Our tester found the pillow to be soft, but not so soft that it won't support your head throughout the night.

Sizes: Standard, king | Fill Material: Polyester microfibre fill | Shell Material: 100 percent cotton | Care: Machine washable

"We were pleasantly surprised to find that the pillow delivered a lot more loft and support than expected. The inner core of the pillow prevented our heads from sinking straight through to the mattress, while the outer fluff amped up the comfort factor."—Tierney McAfee, Product Tester

Best Down: puredown Natural Goose Feather Pillow

puredown Natural Goose Feather Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Medium firmness

  • Feathers don't poke out

  • Relatively affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Cover can be stiff at first

Down feather pillows are a popular option with side sleepers since they offer soft support that easily conforms to a variety of sleeping positions. This set of two goose down pillows features a gusseted design with medium support for your neck and shoulders, whether you’re a true side sleeper or also sleep on your back and stomach.

One advantage of these Pure Down pillows: They don’t lose a considerable amount of feathers compared to other down pillows on the market because the weave of the 100 percent cotton pillow cover helps keep the feathers inside. Not only does this keep the pillow full for longer, but it also means fewer feathers poking you when you lay your head down at night. These down pillows may look very flat upon unpacking, but follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to give these pillows 24 hours to fluff up to their full loft. Feather pillows can also be cleaned in the washing machine.

Sizes: Standard, queen, king | Fill Material: 95 percent goose feathers and 5% goose down | Shell Material: 100 percent cotton | Care: Machine wash cold on gentle, tumble dry low

Best Body Pillow: Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Body Pillow

Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam
What We Like
  • Reduces pressure on hips and lower back

  • Customizable fill

  • Easy to fluff and refresh

What We Don't Like
  • Appears lumpy at first

The Snuggle-Pedic Body Pillow is constructed with shredded memory foam and offers a solid pillow with plenty of give that can support your legs, back, or arms. Some side sleepers might like to rest their head on top of the body pillow and use the rest to support their neck, torso, and knees for proper spinal alignment.

"Putting a pillow between your legs [when sleeping on your side] helps the hips and lower back to relax. That way it reduces pain," says Samantha March-Howard, D.C. "On your back, having a pillow beneath the knees can also relax the lower back muscles and reduce pain."

Since everyone has different views on how firm a pillow should be, Snuggle-Pedic offers fill customization. The company will actually adjust the proprietary mix of shredded foam inside to make changes to the support, firmness, thickness, or weight of the pillow if you go to the manufacturer directly.

You may find the pillow is lumpy when it's initially unpacked, but following the manufacturer’s instructions to fluff and refresh the pillow in a dryer seems to help. And while Snuggle-Pedic has stellar customer service and pillow customization, one con is that the pillow is sewn shut on the end and you can’t make simple adjustments to the fill yourself.

Sizes: One size | Fill Material: Shredded memory foam | Shell Material: Not Listed | Care: Machine wash cold on gentle, tumble dry low

Final Verdict

When it comes to the best pillow for side sleepers, we recommend the Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow. It’s filled with a combination of memory foam and microfiber so it’s both breathable and hypoallergenic. However, if neck pain keeps you up at night, Parachute’s Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow is an excellent choice. The unique construction helps keep your body in proper alignment throughout the night for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

Marlow The Pillow

The Spruce / Rachel Marek

How We Tested

To compile this list, we first researched highly rated pillows on the market. Then, we put our top picks to the test at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, evaluating each option's quality, construction, and durability. Our long-term side sleeper testers then took each of our picks home to sleep on and test for weeks. They noted if their sleep was enhanced or hurt during this time, earning them high or low marks. With our writer's research and our tester's notes, we published our final results.

What to Look for in Pillows for Side Sleepers

Material

Pillows come in a whole range of materials, and each has its pros and cons. Think about what is most important to you, and look for a material that supports that. For instance, memory foam pillows are firm and maintain their shape well, but they can trap heat at night. In that case, look for one specifically made to regulate our temperature, like Marlow's. Our tester loved that they didn't overheat throughout the night. Down pillows and polyester-stuffed pillows are fluffy and pliable, but may not offer enough support for those who like a firm place to lay their head. For a hypoallergenic option, look for a down alternative like our pick from Parachute.

Shape

Look for a pillow shape that will properly support your neck and accommodate your shoulders properly when you sleep on your side. The best pillows for side sleepers are a bit boxy, rather than round, in order to keep your neck and spine aligned as you sleep.

Purple Harmony Pillow

The Spruce / Rachel Marek

Firmness

In the case of pillows, softer isn't always better. While your preferred firmness is a personal decision, side sleepers will need a medium-firm pillow to keep your neck properly aligned while you rest. If you like a super-soft surface to lay your head, consider a pillow with a firmer core and a fluffier outer layer to give you the best of both worlds. Some brands even offer an adjustable firmness like Marlow or three different pillow heights like Purple, both of which scored big points with our testers.

FAQ
  • How do you wash pillows?

    Just as you'd wash your sheets and beddings, you may want to wash your pillows from time to time. The good news is, many pillows can go in the washing machine. Foam pillows may not tolerate the agitation of a washing machine, so stick with hand washing for those. Before you wash any pillow, read the care instructions on the label. In general, it's best to use the gentle cycle, cool water, and mild detergent.

  • How often should you replace pillows?

    Over time, your pillow can accumulate dirt and allergens and lose its shape, which can affect your sleep comfort. According to the Sleep Foundation, it's a good idea to replace your pillows every one or two years. Of course, you can try a new pillow any time you want!

  • Why do pillows turn yellow?

    As with any fabric, a pillow can discolor over time due to normal wear and tear. If you wear makeup or sweat, you may notice more yellowing on your pillow. Taking care of your bedding with regular washing can increase its longevity, but you may need to replace your pillow if it's yellow beyond repair (if only for aesthetic purposes).

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

The Spruce / Rachel Marek

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Cristina Sanza, a lifestyle writer specializing in home products and organization hacks. She reviews the latest and greatest home products for The Spruce. Her work has been featured on Bustle, Ranker, Inside The Magic, and Upright Citizens Brigade. For this list, she used insights from product testers, who slept on each pillow for weeks, evaluating the durability, softness, and comfort of each.

For additional background on pillows, we spoke to Dr. Samantha March-Howard, doctor of chiropractic at 100% Chiropractic office in Dunwoody, Georgia, as well as Robert Hayden, DC, chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. Additional reporting was done by Ashley Abramson, a writer whose work has appeared in MyDomaine, the New York Times, Washington Post, Allure, InStyle, and more.

Updated by
Ashley Abramson
Ashley Abramson
Ashley Abramson is a freelance lifestyle and home writer based in Milwaukee, WI.
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  2. The 7 Best Pillows for Side Sleepers, According to an Orthopedic Surgeon. Allure. https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-pillow-for-side-sleepers

  3. What’s the Best Pillow for Side Sleepers? The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-pillow-for-side-sleepers.html

  4. Is your pillow hurting your health? Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.

  5. Say Good Night To Neck Pain. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School.

  6. Pillow Buying Guide. ConsumerReports.org.

  7. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedding-information/how-often-should-you-replace-your-pillows