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Choosing pillows for a side sleeper featured image

Choosing pillows for a side sleeper

Choosing pillows for a side sleeper

by David Smith


The position you sleep in plays a factor in pillow selection; however, it’s not the most important necessarily. When searching for pillows as a side sleeper, there are some other factors to consider.

Side sleeper positions


First let’s look at physiology. Determine if you’re male or female (that should be fairly simple) and make note of your height. Finally in this category, determine if your shoulders are broad or normal for your height.


Next, when choosing pillows, a side sleeper must also look at their bedding environment. Regardless of the type of sleep surface you rest on, it affects how your neck aligns with your spine, how your shoulders compress the surface, and your overall comfort.  The softer your mattress or sleep surface, the more your shoulder will compress it. This minimizes the area your pillow needs to fill when sleeping on your side. Do you sleep on a soft, medium, or firm surface?


Finally, what position do you mostly sleep in? Most of the population does spend a great deal of their sleeping hours as a side sleeper. When choosing your pillow, however, you want to decide if you roll to your back or roll to your stomach. This position is the deciding factor when selecting pillows as a side sleeper.


We have a quiz that walks you through the questions above, scores your results, and then recommends the right pillow personality for you. You can find that quiz here.


Why do pillows matter?

spine alignment

Ideally, you want your spine to be in the same alignment as you would be in while standing. If your pillow elevates your head while sleeping, your  neck bends forward or to the side, which leads to muscle strain throughout the neck and shoulders. This position may also cause obstruction when breathing and lead to snoring or sleep apnea.


Best side sleeper pillows

The best pillows for side sleepers are the ones that are most comfortable. Another deciding factor is whether you sleep in or on your pillow. When you sleep in your pillow, your head sinks into the pillow. It feels like it’s floating. Whereas, when you sleep on your pillow, you have a feeling of support.


These are different textures and are derived from the differences between down and feather. Down clusters look like dandelion puffs. They’re airy, and the higher quality (fill power) of down, the airier the down cluster. Conversely, feathers have less air. They are denser objects and have more “weight.”


Ultimately, your comfort is the deciding factor when choosing pillows as a side sleeper. When you try our pillows, you have our Perfect Pillow Policy on your side. If your pillow is not quite right, we will adjust the density one level up or down for free.

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