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The Best Pillows for Side Sleepers in 2024


$100 per Sleep Number

Cross-section of the Sleep Number Comfortfit pillow unzipped showing three removable inserts.

Comfort Fit sleeper number

Best Adjustable Side Sleeper Pillow (Update Currently Out of Stock)

$134 at Casper

Casper Hybrid pillow with Snow technology on white sheets

Casper hybrid pillow with snow

The best cooling pillow for side sleepers

$110 at Amazon

Ellie and Elm pillow

Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow

The best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain

$75 at Nectar Sleep

The white Nectar Residence pillow on a white background The white Nectar Residence pillow on a white background

Nectar Residence pillow

Best Side Sleeper Pillow Available (Currently Out of Stock)

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, your pillows play a bigger role than you might think. Since everyone has different sleeping needs and styles, you will need to find the best pillow that meets your requirements. If you’re looking for a new pillow, it’s vital to know what type of sleep you are. Your pillow should be able to accommodate and support your sleeping position. You’ll also want to consider whether you need a firm or softer pillow.

For side sleepers, the best type of pillow is one that is high and raised (another word for height, in pillow terms). Imagine sleeping on your side without a pillow; your head and neck sag in the empty space between the head and the mattress, promoting spinal misalignment. This happens if your pillow is thin or unsupportive.

After trying many different pillows, from budget buys to more expensive ones, this roundup shows six of what I think are the best side sleeper pillows.

What is the best side sleeper pillow?

The best side sleeper pillow is the Purple Harmony. If you’ve never tried a Purple product or even latex foam before, get ready for a comfortable, unique experience. It’s made with Purple’s GelFlex Grid and Talalay latex, making the pillow soft, airy and light without compromising on support. It is also great for temperature regulation. Side sleepers should feel supported as this pillow is high and elevated and their necks should be aligned.

Best Side Sleeper Pillow 2024

Caroline Igoe/CNET

The Purple Harmony pillow is one of my favorites. It’s not fluffy like a down pillow, but when you lie on it, it feels like a light and airy cloud. Purple’s GelFlex mesh extends across the top layer, providing soft and cuddly comfort, while the Talalay latex in the pillow’s core provides ample head support and prevents the pillow from falling.

The cover is made of soft and stretchy mesh material. Combined with the ventilated latex and GelFlex mesh, the pillow allows air to pass through easily, making it a good option for sleepers on the hot side. With three ceiling heights to choose from (low, medium, high), the Purple Harmony pillow is suitable for side sleepers of all sizes. I recommend the tall option for most side sleepers and the medium for those under 150 pounds.

Professionals

  • Three height options
  • Promotes airflow for a cooler sleep
  • The cover is machine washable

cons

  • expensive
  • It may look too unique for people who want a standard foam pillow

Sleep number

Not a down pillow, but not a true foam pillow either, the Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow offers the best of both worlds. The Ultimate ComfortFit model comes with three inserts inside, each filled with memory foam and alternative fibers. The filling makes the pillow soft and fluffy without flattening at all. It’s also one of the two pillows I sleep with every night; I’ve had mine for months and love it.

Most side sleepers will want to keep all three inserts, but if it’s too high for you, you can always make it lower by unzipping the cover and removing the insert. The cover is machine washable.

Professionals

  • Movable inserts allow the side sleepers to adjust the height
  • Comes with a removable and machine washable cover

cons

  • It may be too expensive for some buyers

Caroline Igoe/CNET

We had high expectations for a pillow with the name snow in it and it did not disappoint. The Casper Hybrid pillow actually tops our best cooling pillow list because of how well its phase change and other cooling technology works. It’s physically cool to the touch and promotes airflow so you feel more comfortable all night long.

The interior of the Casper Hybrid pillow consists of layers of foam and soft fibers that give it a blended feel that’s more responsive than memory foam and more supportive than down. The cover not only cools, but is also removable and machine washable.

Professionals

  • It has a cover that can be removed and washed in the washing machine
  • Effectively regulates temperature and feels cool to the touch

cons

  • High price
  • It might be too cool for side sleepers who don’t sleep hot

The ergonomically designed Eli & Elm Side Sleeper has a U-shape that keeps your head and neck supported while snuggling around the curves of your shoulder. It’s filled with latex pieces that look like little noodles and fluffy polyester fibers, making the pillow soft, fluffy, bouncy and supportive all at the same time. And although it’s not cool to the touch, it regulates the temperature well.

Side sleepers can adjust the height and firmness of the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow by removing the filling. The more stuffing inside, the firmer and taller it will be. You can even order a pillow with extra filling if you’re a bigger side sleeper or want your pillow firmer.

Professionals

  • Removable padding so you can adjust the height
  • Designed specifically for side sleeping
  • You can purchase the pillow with additional filling
  • Machine washable cover

cons

  • It will cost you over $100
  • No king size pillow available

Caroline Igoe/CNET

Another adjustable pick on our list of best side sleeper pillows, the Layla Kapok pillow is extra tall, filled with bits of memory foam and soft, eco-friendly kapok fibers. Layla is known for its light and airy memory foam mattresses, and that’s exactly what the foam in the Kapok pillow feels like. Your head is gently nestled by the foam without sinking too much into the material, and is ideal support for side sleepers.

If you want to make the pillow lower and softer, you only need to remove the filling. In case you spill or drool too much on the soft cover, no problem – it’s removable and machine washable.

Professionals

  • You can remove the padding to adjust the height
  • Machine washable cover

cons

Nectar

I tested the Nectar memory foam pillow, which was forever out of stock. While it doesn’t look like this pillow will be making a comeback, Nectar has introduced the Residence pillow. It has the same construction, is made of the same materials and costs the same as the original Nectar pillow. It just has a small redesign. As such, I think this is the best pillow for side sleepers who want a more budget-friendly option.

It is filled with different types of memory foam. With a pillow-in-a-pillow design, the outside is fluffier and softer, while the inside is firmer for proper head and neck support. It comes loaded with padding, so many side sleepers will probably want to remove some to make it more comfortable.

Professionals

  • The most affordable option on this list
  • You can adjust the height by removing the padding

cons

  • The cover must be cleaned in place
  • Available in one standard size only

How we chose the best side sleeper pillow

I tested about 30 or more pillows and used my experience with the products to select the ones that are best for side sleepers. I considered:

  • Height
  • Hardness
  • Materials
  • Price
  • Additional features such as cooling capabilities

Each pillow is tested for at least two days. Since this list focuses on side sleepers, the goal was to sleep on my side every night without feeling a kink or discomfort in my neck. If I couldn’t sleep at night on one side with a particular pillow, it wasn’t considered for this list.

Factors to consider when choosing the best side sleeper pillow

Height is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best side sleeper pillow. If the pillow is too flat, it will not properly support the head and neck, which can lead to pain. I particularly preferred pillows that offered multiple height options or came with removable filling because they accommodate a wider range of side sleepers.

Firmness was another factor to consider when choosing the best side sleeper pillows. Pillows that are too soft can fall flat and not provide adequate support. Adjustable pillows are great because you can customize the firmness level to your preference.

Materials should also be considered when compiling our best side sleeper pillow. The best materials for an elevated side pillow are foams such as memory foam, polyethylene, and latex foam because they retain their shape throughout the night.

Pillow prices range from under $20 to $200 or more. This means that almost everyone can find a suitable pillow within their budget. Many pillows also come with a sleep trial, so you can get your money back if you feel your purchase wasn’t worth it.

Comparison of the best side sleeper pillows

A pillow Price Dimensions Hardness Materials Machine wash? Trial
Purple harmony $179 Standard King Average Hyper elastic polymer + Talalay latex The cover is machine washable 100 nights
ComfortFit $100 Standard, King Adjustable Memory foam + polyester fiber The cover is machine washable 100 nights
Casper Hybrid $134 Standard, King Average Poly foam The cover is machine washable 30 nights
Eli and Elm $110 Standard Adjustable Latex pieces + polyester fibers The cover is machine washable 45 nights
Leila Kapok $109 Queen, King Adjustable Pieces of memory foam + Kapok fibers The cover is machine washable 120 nights
Residence Nectar $75 Standard Adjustable Memory foam No – just clean on the spot 50 nights

Frequently asked questions about the best side sleeper pillow

What type of pillow should side sleepers use?

Side sleepers should use a high, firm pillow that properly supports the head and keeps the neck in proper alignment with the spine.

What is the best side sleeper stuffing?

Foam padding, whether shredded or full sheet foam. Pillows made only of down or alternative materials tend to fall flat, which can disrupt the alignment of a side sleeper’s spine and neck.

Should side sleepers use a firm or soft pillow?

Side sleepers should use a firm pillow to keep the head and neck supported and in line with the spine.



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