What Are the Best Firm Pillows for Side Sleepers?

Firm Pillows for Side Sleepers

Side sleepers are best using firm, high loft pillows.

When on your side, your pillow’s job is to fill the space between your head and your mattress while keeping your body in a neutral sleeping position — your neck and back should be in a straight line without any upward or downward bends in your spine.

Side sleepers get the best rest best on thick, firm pillows.

Side sleepers are most comfortable with a firm or extra-firm pillow. Softer pillow types tend to collapse under the weight of your head during the night. This loss of support will cause your head and neck to bend downwards, resulting in unnecessary strains that can lead to neck or back pain.

Additionally, side sleepers are advised to use a pillow with more loft (height) than other pillow types. This is simply because there is more space to fill between your head and the mattress when on your side than when on your back or stomach.

What are the best firm pillows for side sleepers?

Unfortunately no single pillow works for everyone.

The perfect pillow has a lot to do with personal preference. Many different types can provide the comfort you need as long as they’re relatively firm and thick. We can see a bit of consensus thanks to SleepLikeTheDead.com’s independent pillow reviews. Thousands of real consumer experiences tell us that the pillow types with the highest overall “owner satisfaction” ratings are:

  1. buckwheat pillows (check out our own Hullo)
  2. feather and down pillows
  3. latex pillows

Pillow Fill Type

Loft and firmness aside, what really makes each type of side sleeper pillow unique is its fill type. Most of us are familiar with traditional pillow fills like down, feather or foam and how they each feel. However, lessor-known fills like latex or buckwheat hulls have unique characteristics that just have to be experienced first hand to appreciate.

Adjustable Pillows

Some pillows are adjustable and allow fill to be added or removed from a zippered case. Adjustable types are most often filled with buckwheat hulls or similar materials that are easily removed or added to a pillow’s case (this won’t work with most latex or down pillows). If you’ve decided on an adjustable pillow, you’ll be able to dial in the loft (thickness) exactly to your preference. With non-adjustable types you’ll need to be a little more discerning in your purchase to be sure you’ve got the proper loft and firmness to suit your preferences.

Sleep on it!

The best way to know what pillow works best for you is to try sleeping on a few different types. Order a pillow (make sure you understand the return policy) and give it a try. Returning a pillow that doesn’t work and trying another is well worth the effort if you consider the amount of time you spend on your pillow each day.

A side sleeper needs a firm pillow with enough loft to support their neck and head while keeping their body in a straight, neutral sleeping position. Above all, your side sleeper pillow should be comfortable – trust your instincts! Experiment with different pillow types and find what works for you.

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