The best pillows for side sleepers – optimum support for those that sleep on their side

These best pillows for side sleepers offer the perfect neck, head and back support for curling up on your side

best pillows for side sleepers
(Image credit: Tempur)

We've found six specialist best pillows for side sleepers, which we've tried and tested. Read on for our verdict...

Roughly half of us sleep on our side, in the foetal position. In fact, research has shown that sleeping on your left side is the best option for mums-to-be because it allows for optimal blood flow from the inferior vena cava, the large vein that runs parallel to your spine.

If you’re a side sleeper, thinking about the firmness and filling of your pillow is especially important as pressure points can cause aches and pains if not managed correctly. Everyone has a unique ideal pillow ‘loft’ - or height - which is based on your specific neck, shoulder and head measurements. To find what is right for you, look for one that offers support for your head to rest without pressuring your shoulders or spine. Here are six of the best pillows for side sleepers, to suit every budget. 

We've also rounded up the best pillows all round, as well as the best travel pillows for when we can finally book our long-haul holidays again...

The best pillows for side sleepers

best pillows for side sleepers

(Image credit: Otty)

1. Otty adjustable pillow

Make bedtime bespoke by tailoring this to your needs

Reasons to buy
+Customisable to your specific needs+Machine washable once memory foam is removed
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Doesn’t include a cover

This design has removable memory foam pieces contained in bags which allow you to shape the pillow exactly how you want it, personalising it to give the right comfort and support. Loft height - which is that space between shoulder rest and face - can be adjusted to a maximum of 25cm when fully stuffed. It means that whatever size you are this will work for you, removing any fear of ordering a pillow that you just don’t like. It also retains its shape well, and looks great, but you’d expect nothing less with this price tag.


best pillows for side sleepers

(Image credit: John Lewis)

2. John Lewis & Partners Synthetic Clusterfibre Pillow

Firm support that won’t sag at a great price

Reasons to buy
+Good value for money+Machine washable+British made
Reasons to avoid
-May be too firm for some

Not specifically designed for side sleepers, but this pillow’s impressive firmness helps to keep your spine aligned for a comfortable night's sleep. Thanks to the clusterfibre filling it provides great support, and the plumpness bounces back the next day. Machine-washable at 60°C and the woven cotton cover is breathable, making it a good quality purchase at a great low price. 


best pillows for side sleepers

(Image credit: Brook & Wilde)

3. Brook + Wilde Marlowe Goose Down Pillow

Makes every night feel like a hotel stay

Reasons to buy
+100% goose down and goose feathers+Ethically manufactured
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive 

As the most premium end of the pillow market is this Brook + Wilde number. Available in medium or firm, the latter provides the best support a side sleeper’s head and neck. Yes, its expensive, but when you consider that you spend a third of your life in bed, why not treat yourself to the pure comfort of Masurian goose down and European goose feathers? As well as aligning your head and neck, it offers the kind of gold standard luxury that gives every night that sumptuous fresh-sheets-feeling.


best pillows for side sleepers

(Image credit: Kally Sleep)

4. The Ultimate Side Sleeper Pillow by Kally Sleep

Designed to give extra support for side sleep

Reasons to buy
+Good value for money+Specifically designed for side sleepers+Anti-allergy to protect against bacteria  
Reasons to avoid
-Boxy design may be off-putting

Designed to give side sleepers balanced support by filling the space between your shoulder and ear, which is crucial in helping to prevent neck, shoulder and back pain. It is filled with premium bouncy hollowfibre, which maintains its shape well. The side-walled, box-shape of this pillow can take a bit of getting used to, but it allows for great loft and balanced support for side sleepers. A great option at a very reasonable price.


best pillows for side sleepers

(Image credit: Tempur)

5. TEMPUR® Original pillow

A memory foam masterclass in support

Reasons to buy
+Designed to take pressure off the neck+Soft fabric cover is machine washable at 60°C+3-year guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-Unusual contoured design -Quite expensive 

Like all memory foam pillows, the Tempur Original Ergonomic pillow can seem heavy and solid if you’re not used to them. What’s different about this pillow is it is contoured, it's shaped with a dip in the middle which is designed to better support the neck. Recommended by some osteopaths, it can help support side sleepers by taking pressure off the neck. But its likely not all of your pillow covers will fit, adding extra expense 


best pillows for side sleepers

(Image credit: The White Company)

6. The White Company perfect everyday duck down pillow

Great value

Reasons to buy
+Good support +Value for money
Reasons to avoid
-May be too soft for some

This supportive pillow is another one that while not specifically designed for side sleepers, it which offers fantastic firmness to support the head, shoulder and neck. It has three main chambers made up of different proportions of duck feather and duck down, which is what gives the great structure and means it doesn’t seem to flatten with age. Plus the 233 thread count cotton percale cover with piped edges makes it feel super luxe.


How do I know what loft - or height - pillow I need?

Generally, the broader your shoulders are, the higher pillow height you’ll need, so as a rough estimate, if you’re a small to average-sized, go for a medium height pillow, if you’re a large woman to average man, go for something on the larger side.