The best pillow for side sleepers

If you are a side sleeper eager to eliminate your morning back, side, shoulder or full body ache, we've got you covered.

best pillow for side sleepers

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

Finding the best pillow for side sleepers that doesn't give you neck, back or shoulder pain can be difficult. An average soft pillow that provides no support isn't ideal for those who fall asleep lying on their side. The perfect pillow for those who sleep in the side position is one that's nicely firm and will ensure your spine stays properly aligned while supporting your head and neck.

If your pillow doesn't have enough support, it isn't uncommon to experience aches and pains in various parts of your body. Therefore, it's vital to choose your pillow based on the way you sleep. The right pillow designed for back sleepers, front sleepers or side sleepers will ensure you have a comfortable visit to the Land of Nod and have you wake up feeling well-rested. In this article, we'll be focusing on the ideal pillow for anyone who sleeps on their side to make sure you're getting the proper support you need while you're getting your 40 winks.

Best pillow for side sleepers at a glance:

• Best pillow for side sleepers overall: Simba Hybrid Firm Pillow – view on Simba Sleep
• Best cooling pillow for side sleepers: Emma Original Pillow – view on Emma Sleep
• Best contoured pillow for side sleepers: Ecosafeter Contour Memory Foam Pillow – view on Amazon UK
• Best memory foam pillow for side sleepers: Eve Memory Foam Pillow – view on Eve Sleep

If you're someone who sleeps on their side, it is recommended that you go for a pillow with firm support as it will make sure you have all the head, neck and back support you need. In fact, because of all the support you're getting, sleeping on your side is recommended for certain conditions such as osteoarthritis, foraminal herniated disc, or spinal stenosis.

To help you find the best pillow for side sleepers, we've searched the web to bring you pillows that are made by well-known brands, with many coming highly rated by real-life customers and some tested by us, too. From memory foam pillows to fibre-filled options, discover the best pillow to support your sleeping position right here.

Best pillow for side sleepers

Best pillow for side sleepers overall

Simba Hybrid Firm Pillow
Price: £119.25 (was £159)

This Simba Hybrid Firm Pillow will leave you extremely supported, thanks to its versatile design. It features three interchangeable inner pillows: a firm one of foam-enclosed patented Aerocoil® micro springs and two softer ones of breathable Simba Renew. As it's customisable, it's ideal for side sleepers because you can configure it to your own sleep style. All you need to do is unzip the outer layer and rearrange the pillow inside.

Review by Commerical Content Editor, Natalie Corner: "I recently discovered that I was more comfortable sleeping on my side, but my pillow situation has never worked well for me. I have been sleeping with a firm and soft pillow, so to be able to upgrade to the Simba Hybrid Pillow has really helped. So far I've tried out the firm combination which has been very supportive but as I switch over in the night I think having the firm pillow in the middle with the two softer pillows will be perfect. The climate control has also been a dream during these hot summer nights, as I don't wake up with my head in a sweat."


  • Heat control tech
  • Soft but supportive


  • May take a while to figure out which layer combination is the most comfortable for you

Best cooling pillow for side sleepers

A great option for hot side sleepers, the Emma Original Pillow features a feel memory foam layer that keeps you cool but not too cool white perfectly supporting your head and neck. This non-toxic, vegan, and naturally hypoallergenic solution gives you the freedom to adapt the height and firmness to your needs. As a result, this pillow and its three layers of premium foam have been designed for all body types and sleeping positions. It's extra breathable and ultra-durable!

Customer review: "The Emma pillow is a wonderful product. I have suffered with neck and shoulder pain for many years, and since changing my pillow it’s been a life transformation! I never thought my pain was linked to using a bad pillow. Don’t hesitate in buying from Emma, their products are top quality."


  • Pressure-relieving foam
  • Individually removable layers for your comfort


  • Side sleepers are suggested to use all three layers so side sleepers won't get the benefit of adding or removing layers

Best contoured pillow for side sleepers

The Ecosafeter contour memory foam pillow is a fantastic contoured orthopaedic neck pillow for side sleepers. With medium-firm support, the pillow is made of premium high-density memory foam, which is completely adjustable based on your personal sleep position, head size, overall body size and shoulder width. Sleeping in perfect alignment, you'll breathe better and snore less. It also has a dust-proof and breathable inner cover for the pillow.

Customer review: "Very happy with this pillow. Comfortable and provides the right level of support for me. I sleep much better at night now - no more repeatedly having to fluff up the pillow to get comfy."


  • Great for spine alignment
  • Adjustable


  • Not as firm as others on our list

Best memory foam pillow for side sleepers

Renowned for being a pain solution for side sleepers with its perfectly supportive memory foam, the Eve Memory Foam Pillow is carefully designed to relieve tension. Providing a good amount of support, the pillow aims to keep your neck and spine aligned alongside its cooling air holes for maximum comfort. It's washable, making it a great head prop for a relaxing night's sleep.


  • Keeps your neck and spine aligned
  • Cooling air holes to stop you from overheating


  • No customer reviews of individual products

Best anti-allergy pillows for side sleepers

Specifically made with firmer support, this duo of Slumberdown Anti Allergy Pillows will ensure side sleepers who suffer from allergies have a good night's sleep. An affordable option, the pillows offer the right level of comfort and support for your head and neck while keeping your spine straight. They're filled with a specially formulated polyester that has been tested and approved by leading experts at Allergy UK for reducing the build-up of bacteria and dust mites.

Customer review: "For years now I have been waking with a sore neck every morning, wife found these and said they do pillows for side sleepers why don't you try them as we never knew different pillows were made for the different ways people sleep. Ordered and arrived next day and I am being totally honest I wasn't holding up much hope but how wrong was I! Woke pain-free every morning since using these pillows (over 3 weeks) total game changer feel so much better when waking up. if you're having the same problem then don't wait any longer and get yourself some."


  • Filled with an anti-allergy filling
  • Come in a pair


  • Some reviewers felt they were flatter than they expected

Best side sleeper pillow for neck and shoulder support

With firm support, the Snuggledown Side Sleeper Pillow is designed to help support your head to be slightly raised and aligned to your spine, preventing aches and neck pain. It is constructed with soft hollow fibre filling coupled with a soft touch cover to give you that cosy comfy feeling so you can enjoy a good night's sleep. Available individually or in a pack of two.

Customer review: "I have serious neck and spinal pain and this pillow is by far the best I have tried. I have paid £99 for a pillow that was nothing compared to this. It is excellent quality and the price is amazing. I will be ordering more of these as I wouldn't want to be without one now. The very best pillow I have tried and I have tried ALOT. Absolutely beautiful quality, do not hesitate to buy this pillow if you have neck and spinal issues. FANTASTIC, 100 stars from me. Love love love this pillow."


  • Keeps your spine straight and your head and neck supported
  • Washing machine and dryer-friendly


  • Some reviewers felt the filling went lumpy after a few months

Best orthopaedic pillow for side sleepers

Another decent solution for side sleepers who struggle with body pains is the John Lewis Specialist Synthetic 2-Way Memory Foam Pillow. This pillow helps keep your spine aligned for a comfortable and undisturbed night's sleep. The dual-contoured pillow has a pressure-relieving core, whereby the larger contour supports the spine alignment of side sleepers.

Customer review: "Very happy with my purchase. I've had a very annoying neck/upper neck pain for weeks now so thought I'd try a memory foam pillow built for back or side sleeping with the higher and lower side. It has made a big difference very quick and a week later I have no more neck pain. I've tried general memory foam pillows in the past (and i have a tempur mattress) but this one especially for back or side sleepers with the higher and lower side is the best I've used. Very happy!"


  • Has a pressure-relieving core
  • Large contour sports the spine alignment of side sleepers to help ease aches and pains


  • Softer than some reviewers were expecting

Best budget side sleeper pillow

Engineered to give those who tend to sleep on their side full support, made by a much-loved brand and at a great price point, there's a lot to like about the Silentnight Side Sleeper Medium Pillow. Generously filled with a soft touch cover, it's designed to distribute weight to ensure that you sleep easy and wake up feeling refreshed. It's also hypoallergenic and machine washable.

Customer review: "bought this pillow a few weeks ago it's one of the best I have ever bought its so so comfortable best night sleep ever"


  • Made by a much-loved brand
  • Suitable for machine washing and tumble drying


  • One reviewer felt it was a little too deep for them


Why do side sleepers need a specific type of pillow?

Unlike back or front sleepers, when a side sleeper hits the hay, their shoulders and hips create a gap between their head and the mattress, which is why it’s important to pick a pillow that will provide them with proper support and help maintain spinal alignment while they lie in this position. Making sure the spine stays in a straight and comfortable position will reduce the risk of discomfort and pain in the neck and shoulders.

A lot of pillows for neck pain are made with side sleepers in mind as they’re designed to fill some of the gap between a side sleeper’s head and their mattress while ensuring their neck is supported and preventing it from tilting unnaturally. The best pillows for side sleepers offer firm to medium-firm support to make sure the body is getting everything it needs so those who sleep on their side can sleep as comfortably as possible.

How to select the best pillow for side sleepers

Unsure how to choose a pillow? There are a couple of factors to consider when selecting the best pillow for side sleepers:

Firmness: ensure your pillow provides firm support

Loft: ensure the height and the type of fill is medium to high for full comfort. Perhaps go for an adjustable loft if you are a combination sleeper and move between the positions

Shape: keep in mind that some pillow fills such as latex and solid foam keep their shape better and require less maintenance than others

Size: pillow sizes do range, but the two most common pillow sizes include a standard (20 x 26 inches) and a king (20 x 36 inches)

Quality: invest in a pillow with high-quality materials, especially the pillow’s cover and fill to ensure durability

In addition to selecting the best pillow for side sleepers, it might be worth reassessing your mattress or mattress topper to make sure it’s providing enough support. Small knee pillows are also another effective tool in minimizing back, neck and shoulder pain with back and side sleepers.

Simply place the pillow under your knees if you are a back sleeper, or between your knees if you are a side sleeper. This will secure your hip joints and ensure a natural curvature of the spine.

Rosie Floyd is a Pets, Homes and Garden Product Writer for Yours, specialising in home appliances, décor and furnishings, as well as all things dogs. After completing her Journalism & Media degree from Coventry University back in 2015, she started her career writing about must-visit holiday destinations, moving on to creating content around outdoor living and garden buildings, before joining the team at Bauer.

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