Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

Best Pillows For Side Sleepers UK (2022)

Written by Nicky

Last updated: 20.07.2022

7 Min.

About 74% of the world’s population sleeps on its side. 🌏

And probably about half of those people wake up with neck and shoulder tension because their pillow doesn’t adequately support them.

Finding the right pillow for side sleepers is vital to ensure optimal upper spinal alignment - and prevent pains. 😲

But how do you know if a pillow is suitable for side sleepers?

Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. 😉

In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the best pillows for side sleepers in the UK - and tell you what to look out for!

So let’s get started. 🚀

Best pillows for side sleepers

The UK's best pillows for side sleepers:

Emma Original Pillow

The Emma Original pillow is a height-adjustable pillow with customisable layers for the best individually-tailored support possible.

The Emma Original pillow contains three high-quality foam layers for exquisite comfort and support.

The Emma Original pillow consists of three different foam layers, including cold foam, Airgocell foam, and memory foam.

Conveniently, you can add or remove these layers as you wish. 💪

emma original pillow layers
The Emma pillow comes with three individual foam layers.

This means you can adjust both the height and the firmness of the pillow.

  • If you need firmer support, sleep on the cold foam layer.
  • If you want orthopaedic pressure relief, sleep on the memory foam layer.

Considering you can adjust the pillow's loft, this is an ideal choice for back, front, and side sleepers. 

The Emma Original pillow also comes with a removable machine-washable cover. 🛀

It's delivered within 3 working days and comes with a 200-night trial period.

50% OFF EMMA PILLOW

  Emma Original Pillow
Composition: Memory foam, Airgocell foam, and cold foam
Firmness level: Adjustable
Trial period: 200 nights 
Guarantee: 2 years
What we love: How easy it is to adjust the pillow to get the neck support you need.
What could be improved: The pillow may be too rigid for some sleepers.

Panda London Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow

The Panda bamboo memory foam pillow combines supportive memory foam with a soft and sustainably sourced bamboo cover.

Third-generation memory foam conforms to the shape of your neck, providing improved support and spinal alignment.

The Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow combines supportive memory foam with a breathable bamboo cover. 🐼

Third-generation memory foam technology provides improved neck, shoulder, and spine support.

panda bamboo pillow
The Panda pillow bamboo cover is soft and comfortable.

Plus, the bamboo cover is eco-friendly and promotes airflow to keep you cool and comfortable even if you are a warm sleeper. ❄️

Bamboo is antimicrobial by nature, which helps to keep dust mites and germs at bay.

A mesh fabric protector is also included and helps extend the life of your pillow. 📆

Panda pillows come with a 10-year warranty and a 30-night trial period, so you have time to make sure it’s the perfect fit for you.

The Panda bamboo memory foam pillow offers amazing value for money!

20% OFF PANDA PILLOW£ 35.96

  Panda Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow
Composition: Memory foam with bamboo pillow case
Firmness level: Medium
Trial period: 30 nights
Guarantee: 10 years
What we love: 3rd generation memory foam and a sustainable, breathable, and antibacterial bamboo cover.
What could be improved: The pillow cannot currently be adjusted.

Tempur Queen Original Pillow

The ergonomic shape of the Tempur Pillow Original Queen is contoured for optimal neck support.

This pillow is ideal for back and side sleepers who need some extra neck support.

Made with solid NASA-developed memory foam material, this Tempur ergonomic pillow has an extra-firm feel.

It features a unique ergonomic design for enhanced neck support.

The unique design is contoured to follow the shape of your head, neck, and shoulders. 🤗

person laying on original queen graphic

If you often wake up with neck pain, this may be the pillow for you.

The Queen Original Neck pillow comes in 3 different sizes to offer support for everyone.

It also comes with a removable soft fabric cover that is washable up to 60 °C. 🛀

If you are unsure about the unique shape of the Queen Original pillow, then the 30-night trial could help you decide. 

BUY ORIGINAL QUEEN£ 95

  Tempur Queen Original Neck Pillow
Composition: Memory foam
Firmness level: Extra-firm
Trial period: 30 days
Guarantee: 3 years
What we love: The 3 sizes of this unique pillow mean you can choose one tailored for your body shape. 
What could be improved:  The fixed shape of this ergonomic pillow is not ideal for those who change positions during sleep. 

Groove Original Pillow

The Groove memory foam pillow (formerly EasySleeper pillow) has an ergonomic design to combat neck pain.

This pillow enables upper spinal alignment and has been designed for back and side sleepers.

The Groove pillow (formerly known as the EasySleeper pillow) features a unique ergonomic design to combat back, neck, and shoulder pain.

Made from soft and comfortable memory foam, this pillow adapts to the shape of your neck, while the unique design gives you the support you need to wake up pain-free. 😁

groove pillow from side
The side mesh increases airflow.

While not suited to stomach sleepers, the Groove pillow is well-designed for back and neck sleepers.

The memory foam used in this pillow is also charcoal-infused, which helps to enhance breathability. 💨

The pillow also features a quilted diamond-patterned cover that's soft and luxurious to sleep on.

The cover is also machine-washable at 30℃. 🛀

Conveniently, the Groove pillow also comes with a 100-night trial period.

BUY GROOVE PILLOW£ 29.95  

  Groove pillow
Composition: Bamboo-charcoal-infused memory foam
Firmness level: Medium-firm
Trial period: 100 nights
Guarantee: /
What we love:  Snuggly and comfortable to sleep on.
What could be improved? A more natural cover would be fantastic.

Kally Sleep Body Pillow

The Kally Body Pillow offers full-body support and comfort.

The Kally Body pillow is designed by Harley Street practitioners for pressure-relieving and supported sleep. 

The Kally Body pillow provides orthopaedic support for the entire body. 

kally body pillow

The pillow is fully machine-washable at 40°C and should be left to dry on a flat surface. 

The Kally Body pillow includes:

  • A free pillowcase in a choice of colours and materials.
  • Soft hollowfibre filling for adjustable support.
  • The perfect shape for side sleepers who like to hug their pillow. 

The Kally Body pillow is also popular among pregnant women who experience back pain while sleeping. 

The pillow has soft pressure-relieving support, and you can shape it to suit your individual sleeping style. 

The Kally Body pillow also includes a 14-night sleep trial, so you can thoroughly test it and get your money back if unsatisfied. 

BUY KALLY BODY PILLOW£ 49.99

  Kally Body Pillow
Composition: Polycotton cover, hollowfibre filling
Firmness level: Medium-soft
Trial period: 14 days
Guarantee: 2 years
What we love: The 14-day trial means you can thoroughly test this pillow before deciding if it's the right choice for you. 
What could be improved: The pillow may need to be plumped regularly to keep its shape. 

Aeyla Dual Pillow

The Aeyla Dual Pillow (formerly Mela Dual Pillow) is an osteopath-approved product with a pillow-in-pillow design.

Conveniently, this pillow is fully machine-washable!

The Aeyla Dual Pillow (previously the Mela Dual Pillow) has a unique pillow-in-pillow design.

This allows you to adjust the loft of the pillow to best suit your sleeping needs - and combat nasty neck and shoulder pain. 🥳

aeyla dual pillow

The pillow is osteopath-approved to keep its shape - and support - night after night, though you may need to re-fluff it weekly. 😴

Aeyla's Dual Pillow has a down-alternative microfibre fill, making it suitable for vegans and people prone to allergies.

The pillow also features a cooling cotton cover to help keep you cool and comfortable. 

Conveniently, the Dual Pillow is fully machine-washable. 🛀

Aeyla offers you free shipping and a 30-night trial period.

BUY AEYLA DUAL PILLOW£ 69

  Aeyla Dual Pillow
Composition:  Hollowfibre with cotton cover
Firmness level:  Medium-firm
Trial period: 30 nights
Guarantee: 1 year
What we love: We love that this pillow is fully washable!
What could be improved: Would be great to have the design with other fill materials.

Why should you use a different pillow as a side sleeper?

Many people focus on price when choosing a pillow. 💷

But sometimes it helps to be intentional and a bit more technical when choosing a pillow.

After all, your sleeping position dictates both your required pillow thickness and firmness level.

We'd add that your build and body size also play a role. 🙎‍♀️🙎‍♂️

Happy woman with pillow
You need a pillow that will make you happy.

If you're a petite back sleeper, you'll need a very different pillow than your average larger-build side sleeper.

We'd avoid stomach sleeping altogether as it's terrible for your neck.

Back sleepers are in luck - as long as their pillow is comfortable and doesn't strain their neck, they should wake up quite happy. 😁

But side sleepers frequently feel neck, shoulder, and back pain upon waking.

This is primarily because their pillow isn't keeping the upper spine in alignment.

Upper spinal alignment
The ideal pillow will provide for upper spinal alignment.

They need a very supportive pillow. 🤗

Side sleepers should always choose a pillow that aligns the neck and spine, keeping everything in a neutral position.

But how exactly do you do this? 🤔

Well, read on - we cover all the nitty-gritty in the next section!

What to consider when purchasing a pillow for side sleepers

So how exactly do you decide which side sleeper pillow to get?

Two people in bed
There are a few criteria to help you decide on the perfect pillow.

There are a few things that you ought to consider. 🙇‍♀️

Pillow loft

The height of the pillow is vital.

Generally, your sleeping position affects the pillow loft as follows:

  • Side sleepers need a high-loft pillow.
  • Back sleepers need a medium-loft pillow.
  • Stomach sleepers need a low-loft pillow.

But, your build and body size also affect this. 🤔

Upper spinal alignment
The perfect loft will keep your spine in a healthy alignment.

If you're of a more petite build, with a shorter neck-to-shoulder distance, you would need a lower loft pillow than someone of a larger build with a longer neck-to-shoulder distance.

We’re big fans of adjustable loft pillows, as these would allow you to choose the loft that’s perfect for you.

Customisable pillows allow you to add or remove filling to find your perfect match.

Some of our favourites include:

Pillows with layers like the Nectar and Emma will give you slightly more support. 👍

50% OFF WHOLE NIGHT'S SLEEP PILLOW£ 51.48

Shredded foam pillows
Shredded foam pillows are often height-adjustable.

In contrast, shredded foam pillows like the Simba will give you more of that traditional pillow feel.

SIMBA PILLOW: -35% / MATTRESS£ 70.85

Pillow firmness and support

While pillow loft influences whether or not your neck bends up, down, or stays in a neutral position, the pillow support will also influence how much this will change during the night.

Memory foam pillows like the Panda Bamboo pillow will give you even support all night long. 🌱

20% OFF PANDA PILLOW£ 35.96

panda london pillow
The Panda pillow is spongy and supportive.

If you choose a softer pillow - like a hollowfibre or microfibre pillow - your support may dwindle.

Cheaper shredded foam pillows also generally offer decreased support as the filling is likely to move during the night. 🤦‍♀️

But, you could do fine on a softer pillow that's bunched up to fill the space between head and mattress.

Generally, though, we’d recommend side sleepers opt for a firmer pillow.

A firmer pillow will keep your head and neck in optimal alignment all night long and not sink in too much as you exert pressure on the pillow.

But, you still need to sink in slightly, so don't go for an extra-firm pillow unless you're of a larger build.

Pressure relief

Pressure relief, of course, is largely related to pillow loft and pillow support.

If your pillow doesn't have the correct height and doesn't offer a good amount of support, you're likely to experience a build-up of tension and pressure points.

Back pain
An unsuitable pillow is likely to cause you pain.

This will cause you to wake up with aches and pains. 😳

Your ideal pillow will relieve tension and pressure points so you can wake up ready to jump into your day.

Pillows with ergonomic designs, like the Tempur Queen Original Neck pillow, can also help support you in the right places and relieve unnecessary pain and tension.

BUY ORIGINAL QUEEN£ 95

Pillow shape and size

Pillows come in a range of different shapes and sizes.

The standard UK pillow sizes include:

  • Standard pillow size: 50 x 75 cm (19.6 inches x 29.5 inches)
  • Super king-size: 50 x 90 cm (19.6 inches x 35.4 inches)

A standard size is a good option for most sleepers, though this is also down to personal preference. 🤔

Standard pillow sizes

Some neck pillows also have unusual designs, offering enhanced ergonomic support.

While these can be great for a good night’s sleep, remember that you’ll have a greater difficulty finding a suitable pillowcase. 🤷

These pillows may also not be comfortable for some people.

Price

While we agree that the above points are the most important, it would be unrealistic not to consider your budget. 💰

The price of a pillow is largely dependent on the materials it is made of - and the quality of those materials.

This is why the Kally adjustable pillow is much cheaper than the Nectar adjustable pillow. 😲

BUY KALLY PILLOW£ 39.99

Both have different foam layers you can add and remove to suit your preferences, but the Kally is made out of hollow fibre, while the Nectar is made from more expensive memory foam.

That said, you don't necessarily have to purchase one of the expensive Tempur pillows to get a good-quality pillow.

Man sitting on coins
You should always opt for the best quality you can afford.

As long as the pillow gives you enough support, you could choose budget or premium options.

Keep in mind, though, that premium pillows are likely to last longer.

Most hollow fibre pillows will need to be replaced after 2 years, but latex, memory foam, or down pillows can last up to 10 years. 🗓

Side sleeper pillow discount codes

You can also buy your pillow when it's on special. 🤑

Our favourite pillow brands have frequent sales and coupon codes.

We share all of them on our discounts page.

piggy bank
It's always worth buying a product on sale.

Which pillow material should you opt for as a side sleeper?

While pillow material may influence the firmness level, you also need to consider what type of pillow you enjoy.

  • Do you like your pillow to be firm and stable?
  • Or are you the type of person who likes to cuddle with the pillow?

You won’t be able to do the latter with a memory foam pillow like the Emma!

Different pillow materials
There are dozens of different pillow materials.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common pillow materials. 👇

Memory foam pillows for side sleepers

Memory foam is an excellent pillow material for side sleepers.

This is because memory foam pillows tend to be firmer and offer more neck support. 🤗

They’re also very contouring, so your head will sink in just enough to be “hugged” by the pillow, but not enough to decrease support.

Memory foam pillows
Memory foam pillows are great for side sleepers.

But, some people don’t like the feel of memory foam pillows. ☹️

If you prefer to snuggle with your pillow, then your best bet is a shredded memory foam pillow like the Simba Hybrid pillow.

A shredded foam pillow may offer slightly decreased support (depending on how much filling you keep), but you’ll still get the feel of a traditional pillow and not the firm support typical memory foam pillows.

SIMBA PILLOW: -35% / MATTRESS£ 70.85

Memory foam pillows versus traditional pillows
Memory foam pillows often feel very different to traditional pillows.

Memory foam pillows are also hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites and allergens. 🤧

This makes them an excellent choice for people prone to allergies.

On the downside, memory foam tends to retain more heat, so it’s not a good a choice for hot sleepers. 🥵

You may be able to find some great gel-infused memory foam cooling pillows that can help counteract this problem.

Pros and cons of memory foam pillows

If this interests you, we recommend heading to our guide on the best cooling pillows.

Latex pillows offer a similar feel to memory foam pillows but with enhanced airflow and breathability. Unfortunately, pure latex pillows are very rare and exceedingly expensive.

Feather and down pillows for side sleepers

Premium down and feather pillows can be very comfortable. 🦆

But, they tend to flatten out over time and are likely to offer decreasing support during the night.

This means that they’re not necessarily the best choice for side sleepers.

If you’re a fan of down pillows, though, and like the enhanced breathability and mouldability, you should opt for a luxury pillow with lots of stuffing. ❄️

Pros and cons of feather and down pillows

This will better support you.

Keep in mind, though, that you may need to fluff up your pillow frequently to keep its shape.

The Littens Luxury Ultimate Collection 100% Pure Hungarian Goose Down Pillows (sold in a set of two) offer excellent value for money.

BUY GOOSE DOWN PILLOWS£ 149

Hollowfibre and microfibre pillows for side sleepers

These are synthetic anti-allergy pillows with a polyester base, and are often recommended as down-alternative pillows.

But, we’d err on the side of caution with hollow fibre and microfibre pillows.

Pros and cons of memory foam pillows

While these are affordable, lightweight options generally available in a wide range of lofts and firmness levels, they don’t usually last as long.

Many polyester pillows will need to be replaced after as little as two years.

Support with these types of pillows also decreases rapidly.

Pros and cons of hollow fibre and microfibre pillows

So even though you may sleep well at first, you could start experiencing neck and shoulder pains after a few months. 😔

If your budget only allows for one of these, then we’d stick to microfibre, which is slightly better quality.

Alternatively, you could opt for a premium microfibre or hollowfibre pillow with more stuffing.

The Kally Sleep adjustable pillow is surprisingly good value for money!

BUY KALLY PILLOW£ 39.99

A good trick to determining pillow quality is to look at the warranty period. The longer the warranty, the better the pillow and the longer it should last.

How to make side sleeping more comfortable

We wouldn't be sleeping on the side if it weren't comfortable.

But, there are ways to make side sleeping even more comfortable - and better for your body!

Here are a few key tips. 🔑

Use the right mattress

It's important to remember that even the best pillow can't get rid of aches and pains if your mattress is shoddy.

You need a mattress that provides enough cushioning for the hips and shoulders.

This will enhance spinal alignment, reduce pressure points, and allow you to snooze pain-free.

emma original spinal alignment
A softer mattress like the Emma Original will perfectly align your spine.

Many side sleepers prefer soft or medium-firm mattresses.

Choosing the right mattress is so important that we'll look at it in more detail further down. 👇

Keep a pillow between your knees

Side sleepers sometimes struggle with pelvic rotation.

This is a painful condition resulting from the displacement of the back muscles and the lumbar spine.

It occurs frequently when the upper body is turned in the opposite direction of the lower body - something that’s quite likely in the side sleeping position!

The best treatment (and avoidance) plan is to place a pillow between the knees while sleeping.🧎‍♂️

Pillow between the knees

This greatly reduces pressure in the lower hips and back and improves spinal alignment.

For this, we’d recommend a fluffier pillow like a shredded memory foam pillow, down pillow, or even a microfibre or polyester pillow. ☁️

Since this pillow's prime purpose is comfort and not support, you don't need to invest in a quality option.

Even a budget pillow will suffice.

You could also try something like the Kally Body Pillow for full-body comfort and support.

BUY KALLY BODY PILLOW£ 49.99

Invest in a mattress topper

Unless you have a soft mattress or one with a pillow top, your mattress may be too firm for the side sleeping position.

But, this doesn't mean you need to buy a new mattress. 🛌

A mattress topper is an extra layer of material placed on top of your mattress.

Mattress toppers add both cushioning and comfort.

Memory foam mattress topper
Mattress toppers can significantly increase comfort.

For side sleepers, a good memory foam topper like the Panda mattress topper can aid pressure relief and allow for better spinal alignment. 🐼

Best mattresses for side sleepers

We’ve mentioned that the mattress you choose is vital to your comfort as a side sleeper.

Even the best pillow can’t help you if your mattress is causing tension.

Like with pillows, you need to focus on optimal spinal alignment. 🦴

Side sleeper optimal spinal alignment
The perfect mattress will allow for optimal spinal alignment.

Your mattress needs to be soft enough to allow your hips and shoulders to sink in and firm enough to keep the rest of your body firmly supported.

This balance will result in optimal spinal alignment, which decreases pressure points and prevents a build-up of tension.

And that allows you to wake up pain-free (with the right pillow, of course). 🥳

We go into a ton of detail on this in our guide on the best mattresses for side sleepers.

But to not leave you hanging, we’ve also recommended a few of our favourite mattresses for side sleepers below.

Our favourite mattresses for side sleepers:

What is the best pillow for side sleepers?

The best pillow for side sleepers will meet these criteria:

  • High enough to fill the space between your neck and the mattress.
  • Supportive enough to keep your neck and spine aligned.
  • Comfortable enough, so you feel good sleeping.

As long as you’re opting for a quality pillow with enough height and firmness, you’ll be good to go. 🙌

We also really like customisable pillows, which will suit a greater variety of builds.

Below is a recap of some of our favourite pillows for side sleepers. 👇

Don’t forget to read our full pillow reviews for more info if needed.

Our favourite pillows for side sleepers:

Frequently asked questions:

  • How firm should a side sleeper’s pillow be?


    Side sleepers generally do best on medium-firm pillows or slightly firmer pillows.

    With soft pillows, your head will sink in too much.

    This decreases support and causes tension. 😣

    If the pillow is too firm, your neck may feel strained, causing tension.

    Ideally, you’d need the perfect match between firmness, support, and pillow loft.

  • What’s the best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain?


    Side sleepers with neck pain will do well on a body pillow, u-shaped pillow, or v-shaped pillows that can support your head, neck, and shoulders at the same time.

  • What are the benefits to side sleeping?


    While we often recommend back sleeping as the optimal position that causes the least amount of pain and tension, side sleeping has some benefits. 

    These include:

    • Side sleeping minimises snoring as it keeps the airways open.
    • Side sleeping reduces acid reflux and sleep apnoea.
    • Sleeping on your left side can improve digestion.
    • Side sleeping is the most comfortable for pregnant women.
    • With the right mattress, side sleeping allows for optimal spinal alignment.

    The only sleep position we’d advise against is sleeping on your stomach.

    Even if it’s comfortable, stomach sleepers frequently struggle with severe neck and back pain.

    Unfortunately, no pillow or mattress exists that can help relieve that pain. 

  • Should you wash your pillow?


    Well, that largely depends on the pillow you have. 

    Some materials, like memory foam, are not washable.

    Others, like the MyPillow, are fully machine-washable and can be popped into the wash whenever needed. 🧼

    To protect your pillow, we recommend choosing a good pillowcase - like a luxurious cotton cover or a silky-soft bamboo cover - and a pillow protector.

Nicky

My mum calls me "bear" because I like to sleep so much. I never knew that, one day, that would be a very useful skill. Can you tell that I've found my calling? 

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