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Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

a headshot of our reviewer Connie

Written By Connie

CPD Sleep Consultant

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How We Test

Our testing process

The Sleep Advisors reviewer sleeping on side

9 April 2024 17 min read

Dear side sleepers – we sympathise with you as finding the best pillow for side sleepers the UK has to offer is not an easy task! We know the struggle of sleeping on one side and waking up with a sore neck and a numb arm. The struggle is real, especially when you are looking for the ideal pillow for your night's sleep. And some of us know that from first-hand experience, pun intended.

But, it's just the way it is – you fall asleep the way your body wants to. Luckily, we know some ways you can improve your quality of sleep – and it all begins with getting the best pillow for side sleepers.

And it all comes down to proper spinal alignment and neck support! Think about it, when you're on your side, the pillow needs to perfectly cover the distance from your shoulder to your cheek, otherwise your head will be tilted to one side. And this puts a lot of strain on your neck and makes the top of your spine crooked as well!

So, if you're a side sleeper and are looking for sleep improvement techniques, trust us when we say – getting the right pillow should be step number one! Therefore, we've selected the best pillows you can buy in the UK and displayed them all here.

And if you're curious about side sleeping advantages, as well as how to ensure proper neck support and spinal alignment, stick around until the end.

10 Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

If you are looking for some of the best pillows for side sleepers the UK has to offer – we got you covered. Check out our buyer's guide, and soon enough, all you side sleepers will be sleeping soundly.
    Pillows 1
    our reviewer holding the Panda memory foam pillow
    Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
    Best Overall
    Pillows 2
    TSA presenter holding snuggledown pillow
    Snuggledown Goose Feather & Down White Pillow
    Best Down
    Pillows 3
    A product image of Temperature Reactive Memory Foam Firm-Support Pillow
    Temperature Reactive Memory Foam Firm-Support Pillow
    Best for Neck Pain
    Pillows 4
    TSA presenter with silentnight geltex pillow
    Silentnight Geltex Pillow
    Best Adjustable
    Pillows 5
    product image of BedStory 2Pack Pillow
    BedStory 2Pack Pillow
    Best Two-Pillows Pack
    Pillows 6
    TSA presenter sleeping on Emma original pillow
    Emma Original Pillow
    Best Classic
    Pillows 7
    a product image of simba hybrid pillow with stratos
    Simba Hybrid
    Best Hybrid
    Pillows 8
    otty-deluxe-memory-foam-pillow
    OTTY Deluxe Pure pillow
    Best Firmness
    Pillows 9
    TSA presenter with Panda hybrid bamboo pillow
    Panda Hybrid Bamboo
    Best Temperature Regulating
    Pillows 10
    a product image of nectar premium pillow
    Nectar Premium
    Best Memory Foam

Best Overall: Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow

Get rid of your body heat with this medium-firm pillow that can alleviate your joint pain!
Best Overall
our reviewer holding the Panda memory foam pillow

Introducing the Panda Bamboo Pillow, our top pick for side sleepers in the UK. This memory foam pillow is not only highly breathable but also exceptionally durable, making it an ideal choice for those seeking relief from neck and shoulder pain. Its innovative design caters to all sleeping positions, with a special focus on side sleepers, ensuring optimal support and comfort.

The memory foam is infused with bamboo, enhancing its adaptability to your body shape and temperature. Meanwhile, the bamboo cover not only adds a touch of luxury but also prevents moisture retention and bacteria buildup, keeping the pillow fresh and hygienic.

In a quick look, the Panda Bamboo Pillow (check its review here) stands out as one of the best memory foam pillow options, especially for those suffering from neck and shoulder pain. Its high-quality support and adaptability to various shoulder widths make it a top-notch choice for side sleepers. Plus, with the added benefit of the bamboo-infused cover acting as a pillow protector, you can enjoy a peaceful and refreshing slumber every night.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 60 x 12 x 40 cm
  • Weight: 1.5 kg
  • Material: Cover: 60% polyester, 40% bamboo fibre Filling: 3rd generation memory foam
  • Warranty: N/A
  • Delivery: 5-7 days
  • Care: Dry clean
  • Good for : Back & side sleepers

Advantages

An icon depicting a firm & supportive surface indicating support & firmness
Optimal firmness
You get an optimal firmness and an ideal spine alignment.
An icon depicting a leaf indicating hypoallergenic properties
Hypoallergenic
Bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic material.
an icon depicting a removable cover
Removable cover
Remove the cover and keep the pillow fresh all the time.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting off gassing
Slight off gassing
Slight off gassing. Especially in the first few days.
An icon depicting a money bag indicating an expensive product
A bit pricey
Some people think it is small for the price you pay. It is expensive when compared to similar products.

Best Down: Snuggledown Goose Feather & Down White Pillow

The best pillow for sleepers who want a high-quality down pillow with natural materials!
Best Down
TSA presenter holding snuggledown pillow

The Snuggledown Goose Feather & Down White Pillow is a fantastic option for side sleepers as it offers the perfect blend of comfort and support, keeping your head in the right position to align with your spine during sleep.

Made with a combination of 85% Goose Feather and 15% Goose Down, this pillow ensures not only a cosy feel but also excellent breathability, making it suitable even for those who tend to get hot during the night. The 230 thread count cotton cover adds an extra layer of softness, meeting the criteria that sleepers often seek in their top pillow.

Convenience is a key feature of this pillow, as it can be easily machine-washed and tumble-dried, making maintenance a breeze.

So, if you frequently change positions during the night and want the best pillow for side sleepers that offers both comfort and support, the Snuggledown Goose Feather & Down White Pillow is an excellent choice.

Read our detailed review of the Snuggledown Goose Feather & Down pillow to find out more on this product.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 74 x 48 x 10 cm
  • Weight: 2.1 kg
  • Material: Cover: cotton Filling: goose feather & down
  • Warranty: N/A
  • Delivery: 3 days
  • Cary: Dry clean
  • Good for: Back & side sleepers

Advantages

An icon depicting a washing machine, illustrating a product that is suitable for machine washing
Machine washable
Easy maintenance, thanks to being washing-machine friendly.
An icon depicting a cotton plant, illustrating a product that contains cotton material
High quality cotton
High quality cotton, 230 thread count.
An icon depicting a back sleeper
Great for back sleepers
Back sleepers will adore it.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting a stomach sleeper, illustrating product is not stomach sleeper friendly
Not for stomach sleepers
The majority of stomach sleepers will find it too soft.
indicating no hypoallergenic properties
Potential allergies
Some people might be allergic to feathers and/or down.

Best for Neck Pain: Temperature Reactive Memory Foam Firm-Support Pillow

If you’re looking for a firm pillow that can support your neck all night long, this memory foam pillow from Dunelm is the ideal choice for you!
Best for Neck Pain
A product image of Temperature Reactive Memory Foam Firm-Support Pillow

The standout feature of this Dunelm pillow, perfect for those who prefer sleeping on their sides, is its exceptional loft. In contrast to many other pillows filled with down or synthetic materials, this one boasts an impressively high loft that plays a crucial role in maintaining proper spinal alignment during side sleeping.

What sets it apart even further is its remarkable firmness, which prevents your head from sinking and tilting during the night. This attribute is particularly beneficial for individuals who frequently wake up with neck discomfort, especially if they have broader shoulders. Additionally, the memory foam filling of this pillow ensures not only support but also a high level of comfort.

Moreover, the pillow's back is crafted from 100% cotton, promoting breathability and effective dissipation of excess heat. This feature ensures that you stay comfortably cool throughout the night, avoiding the discomfort of waking up drenched in sweat. In summary, this Dunelm pillow is a must-have for side sleepers seeking both the right loft and firmness to enhance their sleep quality and overall comfort.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 64 x 40 cm
  • Weight: N/A
  • Material: Cover: Front: 100% polyester, Back: 100% cotton Filling: memory foam
  • Warranty: N/A
  • Delivery: 1-5 days
  • Care: Machine washable
  • Good for: Side sleepers

Advantages

An icon depicting a thermometer illustrating a good thermo regulating properties
Thermo regulating
A must-have feature for hot sleepers.
An icon depicting a washing machine, illustrating a product that is suitable for machine washing
Machine washable
Super easy to keep clean.
An icon depicting a man laying down in multiple positions indicating comfort & ergonomics
High loft
The high loft keeps your spine aligned.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting a stomach sleeper, illustrating product is not stomach sleeper friendly
Not for stomach sleepers
A high loft doesn't work for stomach sleepers.
An icon depicting off gassing
Slight off gassing
There might some slight off gassing during the first night.
An icon depicting no warranty
No warranty
There is no warranty for this pillow.

Best Adjustable: Silentnight Geltex Pillow

The best adjustable pillow with soft cotton that will match your sleeping style and keep your spine aligned all the time!
Best Adjustable
TSA presenter with silentnight geltex pillow

If you're on the hunt for a pillow that goes above and beyond in delivering outstanding support, exceptional breathability, and a firm yet comfortable feel, your quest should lead you straight to the Silentnight Geltex Pillow. This pillow stands as the ultimate choice for individuals who prefer sleeping on their sides. What sets it apart is its remarkable extra firmness, and it proudly bears the reputable name of one of the most well-established and respected brands in the pillow industry.

The Silentnight Geltex Pillow is meticulously designed to address the unique requirements of side sleepers, who often contend with discomfort in their neck region due to the significant gap that exists between their necks and the sleeping surface. Recognising this common issue, this pillow has been crafted with precision to provide the ideal solution.

As a result, the Silentnight Geltex Pillow emerges as a premier option for side sleepers seeking not just any solution, but the perfect one to meet their specific needs. Its combination of firmness, quality, and thoughtful design makes it a standout choice for individuals who prioritize their comfort and overall sleep experience.

Here is our thorough review of Silentnight Geltex pillow so take a look.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 74 × 48 cm
  • Weight: 1 kg
  • Material: 100% Polyester with 4cm geltex foam insert
  • Warranty: N/A
  • Delivery: 4 days
  • Care: N/A
  • Good for: Back & stomach sleepers

Advantages

An icon depicting a leaf indicating hypoallergenic properties
Hypoallergenic
Great for people with allergies.
An icon depicting a magnifier indicating high quality
High quality materials
Premium quality materials were used.
an icon depicting a removable cover
Removable cover
Remove cover and wash it in a washing machine.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting no trial or warranty
No trial period
There is no trial period.

Best Two-Pillows Pack: BedStory 2Pack Pillow

The best pillow for neck pain and the best for sleepers who want two pillows!
Best Two-Pillows Pack
product image of BedStory 2Pack Pillow

What distinguishes the BedStory 2Pack Pillow, apart from its affordability and the fact that you receive two shredded memory foam pillows, is its innovative ergonomic design, specifically tailored to address neck pain in the UK. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone who experiences discomfort in the neck and head area upon waking.

These pillows feature a filling composed of a down alternative, ensuring that you enjoy the plush comfort reminiscent of traditional down pillows. However, what sets them apart is the use of polyfiber instead of natural down, making these two pillows hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites. Furthermore, their machine-washable feature adds to their convenience and ease of maintenance.

Despite being a pair, the BedStory 2Pack Pillow proves to be among the finest pillow options available in the UK market. Its exceptional quality shines through, particularly in its capacity to provide enhanced support for the neck and head, ultimately contributing to a more comfortable and pain-free sleep experience.

Here is our BedStory 2Pack pillow review.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 70 x 42 x 11 cm
  • Weight: 1.30 kg
  • Material: Cover: No cover Filling: 100% polyester; down alternative
  • Warranty: N/A
  • Delivery: 3 days
  • Care: Fully machine washable
  • Good for: Back & stomach sleepers

Advantages

an icon depicting a money bag, illustrating an affordable product
Affordable
Considering the price and quality, it is affordable.
An icon depicting a washing machine, illustrating a product that is suitable for machine washing
Washable
Machine-washing friendly.
An icon depicting a leaf indicating hypoallergenic properties
Hypoallergenic
Forget dust mites and allergy-related issues.

Disadvantages

An icon representing a non-removable cover
Non removable cover
You cannot remove cover.
An icon depicting negative warming properties
Slight overheating issues
Hot sleepers might need a more breathable pillow.

Best Classic Design: Emma Original Pillow

A classic choice you can't go wrong with!
Best Classic
TSA presenter sleeping on Emma original pillow

One of the standout memory foam pillows that offers an impressive degree of loft customization is the Emma Original pillow. It has a unique design featuring two sloped layers that provide firm support, enveloping a softer memory foam layer that delivers exceptional comfort. For those seeking to adjust the loft to their preference, this pillow allows you to easily remove the layers, granting you the flexibility to achieve your desired loft height.

The Emma Original pillow, designed with side sleepers in mind, boasts a durable and thick case crafted from a blend of polyester and 2% elastane. The added convenience of being able to remove and wash this cover ensures hygiene and longevity. Importantly, this pillow is hypoallergenic, making it an ideal choice for side sleepers who contend with allergies.

In terms of quality and safety, the pillow holds an OEKO-TEX certification, providing assurance of its adherence to high standards. Additionally, it comes with an enticing 200-night trial period, allowing you to truly test its suitability for your needs, and a generous 2-year guarantee. As a bonus, the Emma Original pillow offers free delivery, making it a compelling option for those seeking a customizable, comfortable, and allergy-friendly pillow for their side-sleeping needs.

Check out our full Emma Original Pillow review.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 40 x 70 x 11 cm
  • Weight: 1.30 kg
  • Material: Cover: polyester (98%) & elastane (2%) Filling: Polycotton
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Delivery: 1-3 working days
  • Care: Machine washable
  • Good for: Back & side sleepers

Advantages

An icon depicting a leaf indicating hypoallergenic properties
Hypoallergenic
Allergies will stay away as it is hypoallergenic.
An icon depicting a washing machine, illustrating a product that is suitable for machine washing
Easy maintenance
Thanks to “carbon-free” concept, this pillow is eco-friendly.
An icon depicting a medal indicating a warranty
1 year warranty
You get 1 year warranty.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting a negative moisture properties
Not for hot sleepers
Not for hot sleepers as there might be slight overheating.

Best Hybrid: Simba Hybrid

Super-cooling pillow with nanocubes!
Best Hybrid
a product image of simba hybrid pillow with stratos

The Simba hybrid pillow is a remarkable fusion of traditional memory foam and cutting-edge Stratos technology, inspired by space science, to ensure an optimal airflow system and enhance cooling effects. This innovative design allows you to easily customize your pillow height by removing the “nanocubes,” thereby enabling you to alleviate any neck pain you may experience.

This tech-savvy pillow offers a dual-sided feature catering to various preferences. On one side, it boasts a softer surface crafted from 300 thread count cotton, providing a cozy and comfortable option. On the flip side, the Stratos technology is harnessed to deliver a cooling effect, making it particularly suitable for hot summer nights.

One of the standout qualities of the Simba hybrid pillow is its durability; it maintains its shape and support even after prolonged use. Should you notice any slight sagging, the solution is as simple as unzipping the case and adjusting the nanocubes to attain your desired pillow shape and height.

In summary, the Simba hybrid pillow offers a blend of traditional and cutting-edge technologies, making it a versatile and adaptable choice for those seeking a comfortable and customizable pillow that stays cool and supportive, no matter the season or level of use.

Here is our detailed Simba Hybrid pillow review.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 70 ×45 cm
  • Weight: 450-640 g
  • Material: Open-cell memory foam cubes
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Delivery: Free, carbon neutral delivery.
  • Care: Non-machine washable
  • Good for: All types of sleepers

Advantages

an icon depicting a removable cover
Removable cover
Stratos technology keeps you cool all the time.
An icon representing an eco-friendly & sustainable concept
Eco friendly
Thanks to “carbon-free” concept, this pillow is eco-friendly.
An icon depicting a medal indicating a warranty
1 year warranty
You get 1 year warranty.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting no trial or warranty
No trial
There is no trial period available.
An icon depicting a stomach sleeper, illustrating product is not stomach sleeper friendly
Too soft for stomach sleepers
Those who sleep on their tummies may find it too soft.

Best Firmness: OTTY Deluxe Pure pillow

Adjust the height and firmness to have a comfortable night's sleep! True luxury!
Best Firmness
otty-deluxe-memory-foam-pillow

The OTTY Deluxe Pure pillow immediately stands out to us as the perfect pillow for side sleepers. That's because, even at a glance, you can notice that the loft is quite high and that the pillow doesn't compress all that much.

And that means that your head and neck are getting all of the support they need all night long! Plus, if you are a hot sleeper or have allergies, this pillow will be perfect for you.

Not only is it completely hypoallergenic but OTTY have gone the extra distance to make it antibacterial by infusing the foam with charcoal. There's even bamboo in the pillow so that you can stay nice and cool even during the colder months.

So, while this pillow would give any stomach sleeper quite a neck-ache, it's perfect for supporting side sleepers and keeping them comfortable.

Here is our OTTY Deluxe pillow VS OTTY Adjustable pillow comparison so take a look.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 60 x 40 x 10 cm
  • Weight: N/A
  • Material: Open-cell memory foam
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Delivery: N/A
  • Care: N/A
  • Good for: All types of sleepers

Advantages

an icon depicting a removable cover
Removable cover
Cover is removable, making the maintenance easier.
An icon depicting air passing through a fabric
Breathable
Highly breathable due to high quality memory foam material.
An icon depicting microbe, illustrating anti-bacterial product
Antibacterial
Charcoal keeps nasty bacteria away from your pillow.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting off gassing
Slight off gassing
Since it is made of memory foam, slight off gassing is present.
An icon depicting a money bag indicating an expensive product
A bit pricey
It is expensive when compared to similar products.

Best Temperature Regulating: Panda Hybrid Bamboo

This special pillow is made with activated bamboo and charcoal memory foam, which helps to regulate temperature and wick away moisture.
Best Temperature Regulating
TSA presenter with Panda hybrid bamboo pillow

The Panda Hybrid pillow offers a distinctive and natural infusion that not only enhances your sleep quality but also works to neutralize unwanted odours, creating an exceptionally fresh and clean sleep environment. However, its advantages don't stop there! This innovative pillow also incorporates Active O2 Micro-pods, strategically designed to optimize airflow, resulting in a cooling effect that eliminates the need to flip the pillow during the night. The added side mesh further contributes to improved breathability.

To add the cherry on top, the bamboo cover of the Panda Hybrid pillow offers temperature regulation, ensuring that you stay comfortably cool during the hot summer months and warm during the chillier winter nights. This all-encompassing approach to comfort and functionality makes it an exceptional choice for those seeking a pillow that goes the extra mile to enhance their sleeping experience.

Do check our review of Panda Hybrid pillow for more information.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 70 x 40 x 13 cm
  • Weight: 2.2 kg
  • Material: Semi-synthetic fiber rayon & bamboo
  • Warranty: 10 years
  • Delivery: 3 days
  • Care: Machine washable cover
  • Good for: All types of sleepers

Advantages

An icon representing an eco-friendly & sustainable concept
Eco & vegan friendly
Made with eco-friendly & vegan-friendly concepts.
An icon depicting a thermometer illustrating a good thermo regulating properties
Thermoregulating
Perfect thermoregulation ensures optimal sleep.
an icon depicting that the product is supportive
Supportive
The perfect balance of support & firmness.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting delivery that isn't free or takes longer
Delivery can take up to 3 days
We would expect the same day delivery for this price.
An icon depicting a ruler indicating lack of different sizes & dimensions
One size only
It is available in only one size.

Best Memory Foam: Nectar Premium pillow

You get two high-quality memory foam pillows at an affordable price when you opt for the Nectar Premium pillow.
Best Memory Foam
a product image of nectar premium pillow

If you happen to suffer from neck pain, another top recommendation is the Nectar Premium pillow due to its remarkable support and pressure-relieving properties. Many side sleepers who have made the switch to this pillow have reported a significant reduction in neck discomfort.

Furthermore, the Nectar Premium pillow not only provides excellent support but also offers exceptional comfort, with a loft height of 12 cm that suits the preferences of a vast majority of customers. While it doesn't have adjustable loft options, it has proven to be well-suited for around 90% of users.

The pillow's cover, made from durable polyester, stands up to wear and tear impressively well. It's robust enough that some individuals have even used the pillow without an additional pillowcase without experiencing any signs of deterioration. However, it's worth noting that the cover isn't removable, and the pillow isn't fully machine-washable, which may be a minor inconvenience for some users. Nevertheless, the Nectar Premium pillow's support, comfort, and durability make it a compelling choice for those seeking relief from neck pain during their sleep.

Check our review of the Nectar Premium pillow.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: 60 x 4 0 x 12 cm
  • Weight: N/A
  • Material: Tencel fabric
  • Warranty: Forever
  • Delivery: Free
  • Care: Not machine washable
  • Good for: All sleepers

Advantages

An icon depicting good cooling properties
Cooling
Tencel cooling fabric keeps you cool all the time.
An icon depicting free shipping
Free delivery
You don't pay any additional fees. Free shipping included.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting a stomach sleeper, illustrating product is not stomach sleeper friendly
Not for stomach sleepers
Stomach sleepers may find it too soft.
An icon depicting a washing machine, illustrating a product that is not suitable for machine washing
Not machine washable
Since you cannot wash it in a washing machine, maintenance is difficult.

What are the benefits of side sleeping on the correct pillow?

For many years, side sleeping was a sleeping position that was considered less healthy than back sleeping. However, various studies have shown that with the right choice of pillow and an adjustable mattress, side sleeping is an equally healthy sleeping position, even healthier for specific health problems.

So, let's discuss a few ways in which having the right pillow can help you stay comfortable and heatlhy!

Opening up your airways

The first and most noticeable benefit of side sleeping is the reduction of snoring problems and sleep apnea, which can be alleviated using adjustable pillows or thicker pillows.

When you sleep on the side, your airways will always be open and this will allow undisturbed sleep for both you and the person sleeping in bed with you. However, if you don't have the appropriate pillow, you might automatically flip over to your back while asleep.

Plus, if your pillow is too soft, the end of the pillow could end up in front of your mouth and nose, making it more difficult to breathe properly! So, some forethought should be put in.

Better digestion

Digestive tract problems and heartburn symptoms can be significantly alleviated if you sleep on your side, and sleeping on your left side is especially beneficial. Our bowels are not symmetrical and that is why doctors recommend sleeping on the left side.

With that being said, sleeping on your back can possibly get you the same results. However, this usually involves propping your head up with multiple pillows, which can be uncomfortable and put strain on your neck.

Spinal alignment and health

The most important benefit you can get by having an appropriate pillow for side sleeping is taking care of your neck and back. Unlike sleeping on your back or stomach, keeping your spine completely straight and supported during the night is a bit more difficult.

In fact, you have to get the right mattress and the right pillow to accomplish it! Not to mention your shoulder, which is under a lot of pressure if your hips don't sink into the mattress properly.

And it's especially easy to get the wrong pillow, as you might not notice that your head is slightly tilted to the side. However, even a small tilt can produce neck pain over the long run. So, for both neck and shoulder pain relief, getting the right pillow and the right mattress are essential!

Correct spine position

Better overall health

Did you know that sleeping on your side is the healthiest position for pregnant women? That's because it provides the best circulation for the mother and the baby! Just make sure to have a good body pillow to ensure proper joint support.

But you don't need to be pregnant to enjoy side sleeping. And if you have the appropriate pillow, you might notice your overall sleep quality go up. After all, you'll be able to get more comfortable more quickly and won't have annoying neck aches to deal with.

And enhancing sleep quality then makes all other aspects of health better! So, if you like what you read, and if you want to try sleeping on your side more, consider trying some of these side sleeping tricks.

How to find the best pillow for side sleepers?

When buying the top pillows for side sleepers, you need to consider many factors before you are able to make the right decision about which one is ideal for you.

Some of the most important factors to consider are the filling, a machine washable cover/pillowcase, loft, support, shape and firmness. But there are also other nice-to-have features. For example, if you have allergies, look for a hypoallergenic pillow. And if you want to ensure a completely safe and clean sleeping environment, look for pillows with the OEKO-Tex certification.

Each of these factors will have a significant impact on whether you will be able to sleep comfortably during the night.

Remember that not all side sleepers have the same personal preferences, so consider what you need. Also if you have pain in a particular place, then that is the first thing to address. And don't forget, your mattress and topper also play a big part. So, if you're dealing with neck and back pain, know that you might need a new mattress along with a new pillow!

But let's now look at these features a bit more closely and see what differentiates a good pillow from a bad one!

The thickness or loft of the pillow

We place the thickness of the pillow, also commonly referred to as loft, as the first factor to consider when buying the top pillow for side sleeper in the UK. The loft is even more important for side sleepers than it is, for example, for back sleepers.

Side sleepers need high loft pillows, to have the necessary support for the neck and keep it in line with your spine. How thick the pillow needs to be depends on your build. Those with very broad shoulders should try to find the thickest pillows they can while those with a smaller build can get away with some lower-loft pillows.

If you are shopping online, look for high-loft pillows and check the measurements. While it's not an exact science, as pillows compress, the pillow should be thick enough to cover the distance between your cheek and shoulder. And if you're getting a pillow in person, see how the size compares to your build while taking into account possible compression.

The firmness of the pillow

Pillow firmness levels are important as they dictates how much the pillow will compress. Thus, it will factor in when deciding on the perfect loft.

In other words, a soft down pillow is going to compress quite a bit. Therefore, just because it looks like it's the perfect size while on the shelf, doesn't mean it will actually suit you when sleeping on your side. On top of that, if you sleep in the middle of the pillow, the sides of the pillow can end up in front of your mouth if the pillow is too soft. And this can make it more difficult to breathe properly.

With that being said, firm pillows aren't going to always be perfect either. While a firm pillow does have a “static” loft, it also might be less comfortable. After all, most people like the feeling of having your head sink into the pillow when sleeping on your side.

So, for most people, a medium-firm pillow is going to be the best option. However, if you need extra support or are on the smaller side, something firmer or softer can work as well. But we'll discuss that in more detail when talking about the types of pillows for side sleepers.

our reviewer sleeping on the Tempur pillow

Support

Thickness, along with the firmness level, affects the support that the pillow will provide you. And as we've mentioned, getting a supportive pillow to keep your spinal and neck allignment healthy is a must. Besides just getting the right size and firmness of the pillow, you should also consider additional features.

For example, a memory foam pillow is going to contour to your neck, thus offering pressure relief. And an ergonomic pillow is going to ensure that your head stays straight during the night.

With that being said, support can be a bit tricky to gauge. We recommend simply lying on your side next to a mirror or using your phone to record yourself. Then check whether your head is alligned with your spine. And, of course, note if you have any neck aches the following morning.

Shape

You will find different shapes of pillows on the UK market. People who sleep on their sides can certainly sleep comfortably on a standard-shaped pillow, but there are also pillows that have a shape specifically designed for side sleepers.

In case the standard shape is not comfortable for you, then it is definitely advisable to consider an ergonomically designed pillow. Such pillows reduce the pressure on the neck, spine and shoulders, so they are ideal for all those who experience pain in that area.

However, if you're a combination sleeper, an ergonomic pillow might feel weird when sleeping on your stomach or even your back. For example, when reviewing the Tempur Original Pillow on our YouTube channel, we got the following comment “Was told by physiotherapist that for side sleepers you use the high side and back sleepers should use the lower side of the pillow.”

This just goes to show that a) ergonomic pillows are tailored to your sleeping position and b) combination sleepers might have more issues staying comfortable.

an image of a woman sleeping on snug contour pillow

Easy maintenance

Pillow cleaning and care is another important factor to take note of. After all, the easier it is to take care of your pillow, the longer it can stay in tip-top condition. And while pillow durability and lifespan don't vary too much across different materials, maintenance does.

For example, a contouring memory foam pillow will usually have to be hand-washed while a synthetic pillow could potentially be dry-cleaned. If you want a down pillow, you need to take into account that it has to be refluffed every few days.

And most importantly, you need to take note of the pillowcase. If the pillowcase is removable and machine-washable, it's fairly simple to keep the pillow clean. However, if the pillow has a non-removable cover and a memory foam filling, you will have to take extra care to clean it by hand gently.

What material makes for the best pillow?

Different pillow materials have different characteristics and that is why all of them are more or less used for making pillows. An important note not to forget – even if you have the best-rated pillow for side sleepers, the same pillow might not be that comfortable for other people – even if they sleep in the same sleep position. So, we have to consider personal preferences. However, the material of the pillow is a crucial factor when shopping for a pillow.

There are natural and synthetic materials, with each having a number of different options. And the material of the pillow is going to dictate important factors such as: breathability, whether the pillow is hypoallergenic, bounce, controuring, and comfort.

Memory foam is the most commonly used synthetic material, while of the natural materials feathers, down, buckwheat and latex are used the most.

For side sleepers, all the mentioned materials can be suitable, so the choice will depend more on whether you want a cooling pillow, what kind of bounce rate you want and the like. Also, we need to take the pillowcase into account, as it's the one in direct contact with your skin. But more on that later. For now, let's go through the different pillow materials and see what they have to offer.

Memory foam

otty-deluxe-memory-foam-pillow

Initially made by NASA, memory foam is among the most popular and beloved pillow materials. That's because memory foam contours to your body, providing excellent pressure relief and keeping you comfortable!

In fact, most ergonomic pillows use memory foam for this reason. And when it comes to dealing with neck pain in general, it's a very common solution. That being said, they're not perfect.

For one, memory foam pillows tend to trap heat, especially at lower price points. So, if you're a hot sleeper, you might find your cheek covered in sweat the following morning. Plus, memory foam pillows aren't always that thick, so people of a larger build can find it difficult to find the perfect size for sleeping on their side.

And while this is a very negligible factor, do keep in mind that memory foam tends to smell for the first night or two. So, you might not want to use it right away.

Feather and down

our reviewer talking about Slumberdown Super Support pillow

Feather and down pillows are a bit tricky when it comes to side sleepers. On the one hand, they are incredibly soft and comfortable. Plus, unlike memory foam, feather and down pillows don't hold on to heat. So, you won't have to worry about overheating!

However, getting the correct loft can be a challenge. This is because feather and down pillows tend to compress a lot – especially if they use majority down. Of course, if you take this into account, it shouldn't be an issue.

But if you have broad shoulders, we would recommend looking for either an adjustable feather and down pillow or a pillow that's 90/10 in favour of feathers. This is because you will likely need a bit of added support and firmenss to stop your head from sinking to deep into the pillow. You can also look into goose feather and down pillows specifically, as they tend to be a tad firmer.

Latex

Product image of TALATEX Talalay Pillow.

In a lot of ways, latex pillows are like memory foam pillows. They contour to your body, offer excellent pressure relief, and have a similar spungy feeling when you lie down. However, there are also a few key differences.

For one, latex doesn't suffer from heat retention nearly as much as memory foam. That's because latex pillows usually have tiny holes throughout the upper layer that allow for air to move freely.

Secondly, latex has more bounce than memory foam. So, it will adjust to your movement more quickly and usually be a bit firmer. 

However, latex pillows are also more difficult to find. And if you opt for natural latex, they can be more expensive than memory foam pillows as well. Lastly, while it isn't too common, you could be allergic to latex.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls and can be a dream come true for all side sleepers because of the support they provide and because they provide the same support as on the first day and after a long time of use, even up to 10 years.

These have helped many to cure neck pain and are also very breathable. However, unlike memory foam, many users will find buckwheat pillow way too hard, so we recommend that you try it before buying. Plus, they're not nearly as popular. So, finding a buckwheat pillow can prove to be a real challenge.

Synthetic pillows

When it comes to synthetic pillows, they cover a very wide range. On the one hand, synthetic pillows are often the cheapest pillows you can find. However, these models usually offer very little bounce and tend to overheat.

However, there are also higher-end synthetic pillows that can give natural fillings a run for their money. For example, a down alternative pillow can be just as fluffy and comfortable as the real thing.

Plus, synthetic pillows come in all shapes and sizes. So, if you're looking for an extra large firm pillow, for example, you'll have more luck looking at microfibre pillows than memory foam models. And for side sleepers, this can be a very big plus.

Good additional features for side sleepers

The features we've discussed so far will ensure that your new pillow is at least decent. However, we didn't set out to find the “most decent pillow for side sleepers”, now did we?

So, to truly find the best pillow for side sleepers, we're going to look at a few additional features that can move the needle from good to great! But do note that these features are all preference-based. So, you might not care about any of them or you might want all of them!

Cooling pillows

While we've talked about breathability when looking at the pillow fillings, cooling is a slightly different beast. For example, we've established that memory foam can trap heat. Well, if that memory foam is mixed with graphite or bamboo, that problem goes away! The same applies to cooling gel.

A pillow could also have side vents to boost breathability. Or, as we'll discuss later on, a pillow cover that's cold to the touch and breathable. So, if you tend to feel like a furnace at night, look into temperature-regulating pillows that also check off all the other boxes a side sleeper would want.

Adjustable pillows

If you're worried about getting the wrong loft for your pillow, or just want the option to sleep in other positions from time to time, an adjustable loft pillow is for you! Like the name implies, these are pillows that can be adjusted to an extent.

Adjustable pillows can be a multi-layer pillow, where you take out any layers you don't need, or fully adjustable, where you can take out some filling by hand. Generally, multi-layer pillows might be a better deal, since you're basically getting two or three pillows for the price of one. However, fully adjustable pillows are a much safer pick.

Our reviewer unzipping the Aeyla pillow and demonstrating how the dual loft feature works

Ergonomic pillows

While we've mentioned these pillows already, we wanted to give them a proper spot. Basically, any pillow that's the right loft and firmness can help with neck pain. However, ergonomic, contouring pillows are going to make the process a lot smoother.

This is especially true for side sleepers, since your neck is a lot more likely to be under pressure.

So, getting a pillow that's curved at the end so that it reaches your neck is going to feel amazing. And since it's also a contouring pillow, this doesn't come at the cost of comfort. Do note that these pillows sometimes also go under orthopaedic pillows but they're the same thing.

What makes for a good pillowcase?

Regardless of whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach, your pillowcase is going to be on the front lines. And that means that even if you have a great cooling pillow, a bad pillowcase will make it feel stuffy. If your pillow is hypoallergenic but your pillowcase isn't, you can still have a reaction. If your pillow is comfortable but your pillowcase is coarse and aggitating, falling asleep will still be difficult.

So, we generally advise to approach the pillowcase with the same standard as the pillow. You want to look for good materials, like bamboo or silk. You want breathable pillow materials, so, avoid cheap polyester. And you want it to be easy to clean, so, look for removable, machine-washable pillowcases.

If you sweat a lot, moisture-wicking fabrics are also a good investment. And if you want to be extra careful, you could even look into pillow protectors.

What is the ideal size of pillows for side sleepers?

You must avoid falling into the trap of underestimating the importance of choosing a proper pillow and its size. Your head and neck should have enough space. Of course, it is necessary to check the loft, firmness level, fill material and more. However, if you do not choose the right size, all these other features will be less important for your neck support pillows.

Standard

The standard size, as its name suggests, is the most common pillow size you will find on the market. The dimensions are 20W ”x 26L” and because such models are very common, they are usually the cheapest. It will suit most side sleepers of a standard build.

However, people with broad shoulders might need a slightly larger model, as standard pillows might have a lower loft. Also, if you use a pillow that's going to compress a lot, like a down pillow, it might be smart to get a larger size as well.

Super standard

The Super Standard differs only slightly in dimensions from the standard size. It's a bit longer as the exact dimensions are 20W “x 28L” and it's rare on the market, so you'll probably have a hard time finding one. It is ideal for people who toss and turn a lot and/or sleep with their head in the middle of the pillow.

Queen

Queen is another size that you will easily find and it is the best-selling size after the standard. The queen-size pillow is 4 inches longer than the standard, which brings us to the dimensions of 20W ”x 30L” and this gives you a significantly larger surface. We recommend it even more than the Super Standard for all those who toss and turn and are on the hunt for their new top pillow.

King

King size is the third regular size and you won't have a problem finding pillows of that size. It is significantly larger than the standard, measuring 20W ”x 36L” and gives you a lot of space. If you toss and turn at night and like to watch TV while you drift away, a King-size pillow could be what you're looking for. And besides getting a body pillow, this is usually the largest size you're going to find.

Body

Body pillows are very long and are usually used by pregnant women. It is also the first choice for all those who like to have the feeling that someone is hugging them while they sleep. It is completely different in size and shape from other pillows as its not a strictly rectangular shape and is usually 48W ”x 20L” but can be even wider, up to 55W.

And the main benefit of body pillows is that you can put your knees on top for added comfort and joint support.

Conclusion

So – there you have it! The ultimate top 10 best pillows for side sleepers in the UK! We made sure to include various types of pillows as we know that not everyone has the same taste when it comes to comfort. Whether you like an adjustable pillow, soft, medium or extra firm pillows – you can definitely find one in this list.

And we strongly suggest that you invest in a proper pillow. Not only will this ward off any potential neck and upper back pain but it will also enhance your overall sleep quality. And, as we've said, when your sleep quality goes up, all other aspects of good health go up with it!

But if you have any questions about pillows, side sleeping, or anything else related to snoozing, feel free to ask us in the comment section!

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FAQs about pillows for side sleepers

Before we wrap everything up, let's go over some of the most frequently asked questions we've found about pillows for side sleepers. And if there are any we've missed, let us know in the comments!

What type of pillow is the best for side sleepers?

The type of pillow doesn't matter too much. As long as you get the appropriate pillow loft for your build, you should be happily sleeping on your side.

What height of a pillow is the best for side sleepers?

The height of the pillow needs to cover the distance from the end of your shoulder to your cheek when fully compressed.

Which pillows do chiropractors recommend for side sleepers?

Chiropractors recommend ergonomic pillows that can support your neck as well as your head as you sleep.

What type of pillow can I use for my neck pain?

If you suffer from neck pain, you can get an ergonomic pillow that can support your neck and head as you sleep. These pillows usually have an valley in the middle for your head and a raised portion at the bottom for your neck.

What is the best pillow for neck pain UK?

The best pillow varries from one side sleeper to another. Just make sure it has the appropriate loft, a good cover, and a high-quality filling.

Should side sleepers use firm or soft pillows?

Medium to medium-firm pillows are usually a safe pick. However, larger individuals might need a firmer pillow while smaller individuals might need a softer pillow.

Are memory foam pillows good for side sleepers?

Yes, as long as they are made of high-density foam. HD foam ensures good pressure relief as well as support.

Can an inappropriate pillow cause neck pain?

Yes, it certainly can. However, it usually won't occur right away.

How often should side sleepers buy a new pillow?

Most experts agree that all sleepers, not only side sleepers, should replace their pillows every 1 – 2 years to ensure the pillow is supportive, clean and free of any allergens.

What level of firmness is in general good for side sleepers?

Soft to medium – a rating anywhere between 3 – 7 showed positive results accross the board.

Comments (1)

Tom 15/06/2023

I have the Simba hybrid pillow and i think it's the best pillow for side sleepers


About the author

Connie
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant I know how important sleep is. And as a combination sleeper, I have found it difficult to get products to suit my sleep style. I have more than 2 years product testing experience with The Sleep Advisors which means I have slept on, with and under more than 500 products with varying degrees of success. This is added to more than 2 years experience as a product reviewer for Closer, Heat and Grazia magazines, so I've got a rigorous process. I love sharing my sleep testimonials with our readers and hearing their experiences too.
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