Best pillow for side sleeping: Physio review (buying guide)

memory foam pillow

Have you ever had that unpleasant feeling of waking up with neck pain or back, hampering your daily activities and well-being? If you are a fan of side sleeper, be aware that the choice of your pillow can make all the difference between restless nights and restful sleep!

In this article, we have a clear objective: to help you find the best pillow for side sleeping.

So get ready to make an informed choice and offer yourself the comfort you need for a spine in good health and optimal well-being!

ProductPillow for side sleeping
Benefits– Good alignment of the spine
– Good head and neck support
– Reduced pressure on the hips and shoulders
– Reduction of neck pain
– Prevention of respiratory problems
Drawbacks – Heat retention
– Sometimes excessive firmness
– Chemical odors (dissipates quickly)
– Not suitable for people who change position during sleep
– Sensitivity to ambient temperature
alternatives – Normal pillow (thick enough)
– Body pillow (especially for pregnant women)
– Rolled towel
Our opinionWe strongly recommend that "side sleepers" use pillows specially designed for them, as they provide adequate support for the head, neck and spine during side sleep, thus effectively preventing muscle pain and tension. .

Our recommendations

Last updated on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

What is the best position for sleeping?

there is no sleeping position universally "best" that suits everyone. The ideal sleeping position varies from person to person depending on their individual preferences, its health (presence of a possible affection of the vertebral column…), of its corpulence and its specific needs.

However, each sleeping position has advantages and disadvantages:

Sleep on your back (dorsal position)

This position is great because it helps maintain proper spinal alignment and reduces the risk of neck and back pain.

She is also beneficial for preventing wrinkles and skin folds, because the point of support with the pillow is located at the back of the head and the neck (the skin of the face is not compressed and abused during sleep).

However, people prone to snoring or breathing problems may see their symptoms get worse sleeping on your back.

Indeed, the dorsal position favors lowering of the soft palate under the effect of gravity – remember that snoring occurs when the muscles of the back of the throat, tongue and uvula relax during deep sleep, creating vibrations as the air passes through the airways superior air.

In addition, the sleeping position on the back is known to worsen symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in people with this disorder.

Sleep on your stomach (prone position)

Sleeping on your stomach can have a positive effect on snoring and GERD problems. Some people also find that it relieves lower back pain.

However, this position entails a bad posture of the spine, creates neck and back strain and leads to a excessive pressure on joints and muscles. In short, the prone position is not recommended!

Sleeping on the side (lateral position)

La lateral position has several advantages when it comes to sleep:

Advantages of the lateral position:

  • Good alignment of the spine: sleeping on the side helps maintain a natural alignment of the spine (respect for physiological curves), which reduces pressure on the back and joints. This can be beneficial for people with back pain or posture issues.
  • Reduction of snoring: the lateral position is beneficial for people prone to snoring or breathing problems. Indeed, by sleeping on the side, the airways are more open, which promotes better air circulation that can reduce snoring.
  • Improved digestion: According to health professionals, sleeping on the left side promotes better digestion and helps prevent acid reflux by allowing the stomach to lie slightly below the esophagus.
  • Reduction of sleep apnea: for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, the lateral position is strongly recommended, as it helps to significantly reduce apnea episodes. By avoiding sleeping on your back, which can lead to blocked airways, the lateral position promotes more regular breathing.

Disadvantages of the lateral position:

La side sleeping position also presents some cons, especially :

  • Risk of tension and pain: If the pillow used does not provide adequate support, sleeping on your side can lead to tension and pain in the neck, shoulders and hips. It is essential to choose a pillow suitable for the lateral position to maintain spinal alignment.
  • Risk of wrinkles and pressure on the skin: Regularly sleeping on the same side of the face can lead to the formation of wrinkles and skin folds. In addition, the pressure exerted by the weight of the body on certain parts of the face can lead to irritation or temporary marks.
  • Possibility of nerve compression: in some cases, sleeping on your side can lead to nerve compression, especially if the position is held for long periods of time. This can cause numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.

Here is a summary table of advantages and disadvantages of the different sleeping positions:

On the back (dorsal position)– Good alignment of the spine.
– Prevention of wrinkles and skin folds on the face.
– Worsening of snoring.
– Worsening of sleep apnea.
– Worsening of GERD.
On the window (prone position)– Misalignment of the spine.
– Poor breathing.
– Fewer bulges
– Fewer GERD symptoms and better digestive comfort.
On the side (lateral position)– Good alignment of the spine.
– Reduced snoring.
– Better digestive comfort and reduction of GERD.
– Risk of tension and pain if the pillow is unsuitable.
– Risk of wrinkles and skin folds.
– Risk of nervous pressure.

Pillow for sleeping on the side: Benefits

If you are a fan of the side position when you sleep, we give you 4 good reasons to choose an ergonomic pillow specially designed for sleeping on your side:

Spinal alignment

When you sleep on your side, it is crucial to maintain proper alignment of your spine, i.e. respect physiological curvatures of the latter so as to limit the tensions and stress that are created there.

If you use an unsuitable pillow, your back will be in a bad posture throughout your sleep, causing tensions and pain of, shoulders and of .

A pillow designed specifically for side sleepers will allow you to keep your spine perfectly aligned when you sleep. You will wake up like this without neck pain or muscle tension in your back in the morning!

Adequate head and neck support

A pillow specially designed for side sleeping provides a adequate support for your head and neck. It is generally farm to prevent the head from sagging downwards – knowing that the sagging of the head leads to tension and pain in the neck.

In addition, this type of pillow is sufficiently thick for fill the space between your ear and your shoulder, thus maintaining a straight line from your neck to your spine.

Reduced pressure on shoulders and hips

When you sleep on your side, a significant portion of your body weight is concentrated on your shoulders and your hips (main points of support during the lateral position). A well-fitting pillow distributes this pressure evenly, thereby reducing painful pressure points and improving your general comfort during sleep.

Prevention of respiratory problems

A pillow specifically designed for side sleepers will help you keep your airways clear during sleep. It therefore allows a better air circulation, which may be beneficial for people prone to snoring or respiratory problems such as sleep apnea (particularly common in obese or overweight subjects).

Pillow for sleeping on the side: disadvantages

Even though pillows specially designed for sleeping on your side have many advantages, they also have some cons to consider.

here are some common drawbacks pillows available on the market:

  • Heat retention: some pillows, especially those with memory foam, tend to retain body heat. This can be a drawback, especially if you tend to sweat at night or prefer to feel cool when you sleep.
  • Excessive firmness: some memory foam pillows may be too firm for people who are used to sleeping on a softer pillow.
  • Initial odors: Some memory foam pillows available on the market may give off an unpleasant chemical smell, often referred to as an "off-gassing smell", which comes from the materials used in their manufacture. Fortunately, this smell tends to dissipate over time, but it can be an initial inconvenience for people with a keen sense of smell.
  • Difficulty adjusting: memory foam pillows have an adaptability that can be a benefit for some, but can also make it difficult to change positions during the night. If you're used to moving around frequently in your sleep, you might feel a bit "trapped" in the shape of the memory foam pillow.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: the firmness and feel of the memory foam pillow may vary depending on the ambient temperature. In cold weather the pillow may feel firmer, while in warm weather it may feel softer. This can be a drawback for some people who prefer a consistent consistency.

Pillow for sleeping on the side: My opinion as a physiotherapist

As physiotherapist, I strongly recommend the use of pillows specially designed for side sleepers. These pillows are designed to provide adequate support for the head, neck and spine during side sleeping in an effort to help prevent muscle pain and tension.

The pillows for side sleepers are usually thicker than traditional pillows. This allows to keep the head and neck aligned with the spine, thus promoting a more natural position and reducing the risk of bad posture during the night.

A voucher side sleeper pillow should offer a firm yet comfortable support. He must fill the space between the shoulder and the ear, thus maintaining the alignment of the spine.

Some specific pillows for side sleepers are also equipped with additional support zones for the shoulders, what can relieve the pressure exerted on this delicate area.

Additionally, pillows for side sleepers can come in different shapes, such as the U or V shape, which follow the contours of the body and provide additional support for specific parts of the body, such as the stomach, legs or arms.

Using a pillow specifically designed for side sleeping may improve your comfort at night, promote a better quality sleep be duereduce the risk of pain and muscle tension on waking.

However, it is crucial to choose a pillow that suits your personal preferences and individual needs!

How to choose a good pillow for side sleeping? (Choice criteria)

When looking for a good pillow designed specifically for side sleepers, it is necessary to take into account the criteria following to do the best choice :

  1. Firm support;
  2. Adequate height (dimensions);
  3. Quality materials;
  4. Ergonomic shape;
  5. Breathability and temperature regulation;
  6. Hypoallergenic character;
  7. Trials and return.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these criteria:

Firm support

Opt for a pillow which offers a firm support for your head, neck and shoulders. This will help keep your spine aligned and reduce neck and back strain.

Make sure the pillow keeps its shape et does not sag over time. Indeed, some poor quality pillows quickly lose their shape, which risks exposing you to pain cervical ou Dorsal because of misalignment of your spine during sleep.

Be careful, the firmness of the pillow must be adapted to your morphology! Generally, the heavier your head (imposing morphology), the firmer and fuller your pillow should be (density of 50 kg/m3) to prevent it from collapsing during sleep by exposing your cervical region to significant stress.

Adequate height

Choose a pillow sufficiently thick for fill the space between your ear and your shoulder. This ensures a neutral position of your neck and a straight line of the spine. Improper height can cause tensions and pain.

Quality materials

Opt for a pillow made with high quality materials which offer both soutien et comfort.

We recommend the memory foam pillows (also called polyurethane) which often have the ability to conform to the shape of your head and neck.

The latex pillows et in feathers can also be considered according to your personal preferences!

Ergonomic shape

Look for pillows designed with a specific ergonomic shape for side sleepers.

Indeed, some pillows have a nick that conforms to the natural curve of your neck, giving you a extra support when you sleep on your side!

Breathability and temperature regulation

Make sure the pillow allows for good air circulation and has temperature regulating properties. These "features" help to maintain a adequate temperature et to avoid heat build-up overnight for a better comfort and better quality sleep!


If you are sensitive to allergies ou asthmatic, opt for a hypoallergenic pillow. These types of pillows are designed to minimize allergens such as dust mites, mold, and pet allergens, which can improve your sleep quality and reduce your allergy symptoms.

You can also choose pillows with removable covers et Washable in machine for easy cleaning and allergen prevention.

Trials and feedback

Preferably choose a pillow whose seller offers a trial period or an flexible return policy. This will allow you to test the pillow at home and make sure it meets your needs before making a final decision.

In fact, everyone has personal comfort preferences, so it is important to listen to your body and choose a pillow that suits you best!

Always take the time explore different options and read the opinions of other users to take a informed decision.

A pillow adapted to your sleeping position will promote sleep repairer and painless awakening for several years, never hesitate to return a pillow that you are not satisfied with!

If you want a pillow that satisfies all the criteria mentioned (very high quality materials, ergonomic shape, hypoallergenic, refreshing, etc.), you can opt for the next product which is the top seller on Amazon and whose user reviews are mostly positive:

Last updated on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

What are the types of pillows for sleeping on the side?

when you sleep on the side, it exists several types of pillows specially designed to meet your specific needs. You can therefore easily get lost in front of the different models available on the market. So here are some of the options to consider to help you make your choice:

classic pillow

Un classic pillow, i.e. with a form rectangular ou square, may be suitable for side sleepers. Just choose a model instead farm et thick – enough to adequately bridge the distance in your ear and shoulder – and which offers a good support to keep your spine aligned.

Last updated on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

Ergonomic pillow

These pillows are recognizable by their particular shape, with rounded ends and hollow center.

These are designed to match the shape of your head and neck, giving you perfect alignment of your spine and relief from neck and back pain.

Last updated on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

U-shaped pillow

The pillows in U-shape are designed to wrap around your head and neck.

Place your head in the U curve for optimal support. This type of pillow also prevents rolling onto your stomach or back at night, now thus a comfortable side position.

U-shaped pillows are also widely used among pregnant women, because they allow you to sleep on your side in a comfortable way while maintaining optimal alignment of the vertebral column and excellent support for the head and neck.

Last updated on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

Heated pillow

If you tend to get cold at night, a heating pillow may be a good option. You can adjust the temperature to your preference, which helps, in addition to improving your comfort, relieving neck pain and keeping your musculoskeletal system well supported.

Last updated on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

cooling pillow

For those who tend to get hot at night, a cooling pillow can offer a feeling of freshness very pleasant ! This type of pillow is equipped with a cooling gel padding , here regulates the temperature, allowing you to stay cool on hot summer nights and relieve head and neck pain (discreet analgesic effect of the cold).

Depending on your personal preferences for shape, comfort and need for temperature regulation, choose the pillow that best suits your side sleeper. Keep in mind that the main objective is to maintaining proper spinal alignment and promote a comfortable and restorative sleep!

Last updated on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

Practical application

Now that you've treated yourself to an oreiller specially designed for side sleeping, you must use it properly to maximize its benefits!

So discover in what follows some advices and answers to the most frequently asked questions by side sleepers after acquiring a pillow specially designed for them!

A few tips for side sleepers!

In addition to choosing a support pillow that promotes alignment of your spine, you can put into practice the following strategies for sleep comfortably on your side each night :

  • Choose the right mattress

Opt for a mattress that offers a good shoulder and hip padding to align your spine and reduce pressure in different areas.

As a side sleeper, prefer a softer feel mattress that molds to the shape of your body without sinking too much under the heaviest areas.

  • Use a pillow between your knees

Place a pillow between your knees for improve the alignment of your spine et reduce pressure on the lower back and hips.

pillows filled with fluff, feathers, shredded foam or others moldable materials generally offer more comfort for this use.

Last updated on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

  • Invest in a mattress topper

Un mattress topper is a layer of padding placed on top of your mattress that can increase the softness or firmness of your mattress.

For side sleepers, a mattress topper can improve the adaptation of the mattress to your body, promote a better spinal alignment et reduce pressure on contact points.

Last updated on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

How to use a pillow designed for side sleeping?

To use a side sleeping pillow optimally, follow these steps:

  • Position the pillow so that it supports your head and neck comfortably. Make sure your head is resting in the center of the pillow and your neck is aligned with your spine.
  • Place a pillow between your knees to reduce pressure on your spine and maintain proper alignment.
  • Find the position that suits you best! By slightly bending your legs and bringing them closer to your chest, you can help relieve pressure on your back and keep your spine aligned.
  • If you feel tension in your neck or shoulders, you can adjust the thickness of the pillow by adding or removing padding (if it's an adjustable pillow).

If you feel uncomfortable in a particular position, feel free to experiment with different positions by adjusting the pillow and your body placement until you find the one that works best for you!

How do you wash a pillow designed for side sleeping?

Le washing a pillow specially designed for side sleeping is generally simple enough et does not differ from that of a classic pillow:

  • Check care instructions: check the pillow label for specific manufacturer recommendations for washing and care. Some pillows may require special instructions due to their filling or covering.
  • Remove the pillowcase: if the pillowcase is washable, remove it and follow the specific care instructions for washing it.
  • Check if the pillow is machine washable: some pillows designed for side sleeping can be machine washed, while others require dry cleaning or specialist cleaning. Be sure to check the care instructions to determine if the pillow can be machine washed.
  • If your pillow can be machine washed, be sure to use a suitable size machine to avoid overloading. Select a delicate cycle or a cycle for delicate fabrics et use lukewarm to cold water for washing.
  • Use a mild detergent: use a mild detergent that is safe for pillows in the washing machine. Avoid using bleaches or fabric softeners, as they can damage the filling of the pillow.
  • If possible, add a clean towel or two to help balance the load of the washing machine.
  • Rinse and spin: after the wash cycle is complete, be sure to rinse the pillow thoroughly to remove any detergent residue. You can also do a gentle spin to remove excess water, but avoid strong spins which could damage the pillow.
  • Pillow drying: air-drying is generally recommended for pillows designed for side sleeping, as this helps preserve their shape and structure. Lay the pillow flat or hang it in a well-ventilated area to dry completely. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight as this can damage the materials of the pillow.
  • Reshape the pillow: Once the pillow is completely dry, push it back into shape by giving it a few gentle pats to distribute the filling evenly.
  • Some specific pillows may have different care instructions, so be sure to consult the specific recommendations of the manufacturer to ensure proper cleaning!


Take the time to choose a pillow adapted to your preferred sleeping position, especially if you are sleeping on the side, because it is of paramount importance for your health and well-being! By ensuring you have the right support for your head, neck and spine, you can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep and reduce the risk of pain and tension.

As we have explained throughout the article, when you sleep on your side, your pillow plays a vital role in maintaining the correct alignment of your spine. An unsuitable pillow can indeed lead to poor posture while you sleep, leading to problems such as neck pain, muscle tension and back problems.

On the other hand, a pillow specially designed for side sleepers provides adequate support for your head and neck, allowing for proper alignment and even weight distribution.

Do not hesitate to read user reviews, try different models and ask your healthcare professionals for recommendations if necessary! Don't underestimate the importance of a good pillow and give your body the support it needs to give you a peaceful and revitalizing night's sleep. !

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