The Best Side Sleeper Pillow Is Waiting for You
February 7, 2013 • By
Finding the best side sleeper pillow can be a thoroughly confusing experience. There are hundreds of different types of pillows to choose from and separating the good from the gimmicks isn’t easy. The wrong pillows can potentially cause or worsen headaches, neck and shoulder pain, arm numbness, general discomfort and even sneezing.
Your precious rest is at stake, so choose wisely!
What does sleeping position have to do with pillow type anyway?
Consider the reason we sleep on pillows in the first place: they help to keep our head in neutral alignment while we sleep. Ideally your head should be perpendicular to your shoulders and your neck should not be bent too far in any direction. For side sleepers, the pillow fills the gap between your ear and the bed, keeping your body consistently and comfortably aligned.
Sleeping with a pillow that is too soft or thin will cause your head to lay too low, creating a downward bend in your neck. Conversely, using a pillow that’s too thick will create an upward bend. Neither is comfortable or conducive to restful sleep. These circumstances can cause excessive stress on your neck and shoulders which can potentially cause aches and pains.
What’s the best side sleeper pillow?
Side sleepers generally require a firmer, fuller pillow than back or stomach sleepers. This is simply because there is considerably more space to fill between your head and the bed while on your side. Soft or thin pillow types do not provide adequate support for most side sleepers because their head is inevitably positioned too low.
The ideal side sleeper pillow:
- provides enough loft (height) to keep your spine straight, but isn’t so thick that it bends your neck upwards out of alignment.
- stays firm throughout the night. The fill does not collapse on itself, allowing your neck to bend downward.
- is comfortable. Ultimately, it’s best to trust your instincts. If a particular pillow works well for you, stick with it.
Go pillow shopping.
You’ll quickly discover that there are hundreds of different pillows designed specifically for side-sleepers. Of these, many come with a predetermined shape, meant to conform to the shape under your neck. Before you spend your hard-earned money on these, keep in mind that most people change position frequently during sleep. While you might prefer to be on your side, it’s quite likely that you move to your back and stomach many times throughout the night. These pillows are designed to work best while you’re lying perfectly perpendicular to your mattress. They only work for those that hold a relatively static sleeping position during the night.
For most, a malleable side sleeper pillow with down, shredded latex, or buckwheat hull fill is preferable. We prefer our own Hullo buckwheat hull pillows, but don’t take our word for it, check out these reviews.
Two tips that’ll make your side sleeper pillow choice simpler:
- Sleep on it. It’s impossible to test pillows online or even in a store. The best manufacturers will allow you to try their pillows in your home with a money-back guarantee. Sleep with the pillow in your own bed to determine if it’s right for you.
- Look for an adjustable pillow. Unfortunately you can’t adjust most pillows on the market. Some pillows allow fill to be added or removed through a zipper opening. This allows you to alter the both firmness and loft of your pillow to your personal preferences. Be aware that if you like your pillow lofty and extra firm, you may need to purchase additional fill separately.
The best side sleeper pillows will provide support for both your head and neck. Above all, it’ll simply be comfortable. If you’re careful and deliberate with your purchase, you’ll get the most restful sleep possible. Trust me, it’s worth it!