Sleep

11 Best Pillows for Side-Sleepers to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain

Tags:

If you’re a side-sleeper, you know that it can come with the unpleasant side effect of waking up with a stiff neck and other resulting aches and pains. Luckily, this can often be resolved simply by investing in one of the best pillows for side-sleepers.

After finding the best pillows for stomach sleepers, we realized that side-sleeping is the most common sleep position. A poll showed that 74 percent of Americans snooze on their sides, with stomach sleepers and back sleepers coming in close behind. As comfortable as side-sleeping can be, however, it can also cause issues in the neck and shoulder departments.

Is side sleeping bad for your health?

Side-sleeping has its pros and cons. On the plus side, there are many health benefits to reposing in this position. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it can help those suffering from sleep apnea, acid reflux, heartburn, GERD. Due to the positioning of certain organs, like the stomach, however, the latter statements are only true when sleeping on your left side.

On the other hand, given that sleeping on your side may require resting on one arm, this position can also result in numbness and neck pain — particularly if you also pull your chin down into a fetal position.

This position also means placing a good amount of your weight on one of your shoulders, which can lead to additional aching and straining over time.

As such, it’s very important to be conscious of the alignment of your head, neck, and spine, as well as the overall straightness of your legs and back when you sleep on your side. For added support with alignment, fit can help to place a body pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure on your hips and lower back.

What type of pillow is best for a side sleeper?

If you’re a side sleeper looking to relieve neck and shoulder pain, you should be looking for a specially contoured design that allows for pressure relief.

Another key feature? The fill of your pillow. Memory foam is best at evenly distributing your weight, but can be heavy and hot. Look for a pillow with breathable memory foam, or even better, one that contains shredded memory foam that can be removed. Removable filling means you can adjust the height and thickness of your pillow. The more you customize your pillow to your body, the better for pain relief.

See more of our best product recommendations.

We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.

What is the best pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain?

  1. The Overall Best Pillow For Side Sleepers with Neck & Shoulder Pain: Scrumptious Side Sleeper — Amazon
  2. Best Cooling Pillow for Side Sleepers: Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow — Amazon
  3. Best Wedge Pillow for Side Sleepers: MedCline Bed Wedge — Amazon
  4. Best Pillow for Headaches: Sable Down Alternative Pillow — Amazon
  5. Best Pillow for Sleep Apnea: UTTU Sandwich Pillow — Amazon
  6. Best Side Sleeper Pillow for Pregnancy: Queen Rose Pregnancy Pillow — Amazon
  7. Best Orthopedic Pillow for Neck Pain for Side Sleepers: EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow — Amazon
  8. Best C-Pap Pillow for Side Sleepers: Lunderg CPAP Pillow for Side Sleepers — Amazon
  9. Best Side-Sleeper Pillow for Shoulder and Spine Pain: Looffy Contour Pillow for Sleeping — Amazon
  10. Best Adjustable Side-Sleeper Pillow: Zoey Memory Foam Bed Pillows for Sleeping — Amazon
  11. Best Cervical Side Sleeper Pillow: Milemont Memory Foam Cervical Pillow — Amazon

Now grab a sleep mask and your favorite mattress topper and get ready to drift off in comfort, because we’ve rounded up the best-rated pillows for side sleepers with neck and shoulder pain. Keep scrolling to shop our picks!

Scrumptious Side Sleeper

The Overall Best Pillow For Side Sleepers with Neck & Shoulder Pain
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy at Amazon, $99.95

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable height
  • Supports head , neck and shoulders in multiple positions
  • 60-day risk-free trial

If you find that you sleep in a hybrid position — not quite on your stomach, but not quite on your side — this crescent-shaped pillow may be your new secret weapon against fatigue. Dubbed the Scrumptious Side Sleeper, this headrest features a unique curve, which supports your neck differently than a traditional pillow by getting up under your shoulders. It essentially acts as an extension of the body, properly aligning your neck to stop aches and pains in their tracks. It’s also made with Certipur-US certified cooling gel foam, so you’ll stay plenty cool at night, too.

Promising review: “This is the BEST pillow I’ve ever laid my head on. After years of purchasing every pillow that promised a good night’s sleep, I finally found THE ONE. Supports my head at the perfect height and takes the weight off the shoulders. I woke up hugging it and it was still the perfect fit for my head on one end and my arm/shoulder was supported on the length of it. Super comfy and no shoulder pain at all! Now my husband wants one too. Well worth the price…”

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

Best Cooling Pillow For Side Sleepers
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy at Amazon, $49.99

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable, breathable cover and liner
  • Shredded pressure-relieving memory foam 
  • Fully machine washable

Looking for a pillow to help keep you cool and comfortable as you side-sleep? Snuggle-Pedic’s ultra-luxury cooling pillow is a great bet. Made from a luscious bamboo blend, this memory foam design features a “Kool-Flow” micro-vented cover designed to help circulate air and lower your temp as you slumber. With shredded memory foam filling, this pillow will also contour to the shape of your spine, giving you orthopedic support for proper alignment throughout the night. Did we mention its also machine washable, hypoallergenic, and made in the US?

Promising review: “I’ve had this pillow for more then 6 months now and it is honestly the best pillow I have ever had in my life. It’s great because you can adjust the foam inside (by taking it out) and making it your own to fit what you need. I sleep on my side mostly and have always had trouble finding a pillow to be tall enough so my neck wouldn’t hurt and they always failed me. This pillow is the only one that has relieved me from my neck problems and whenever it gets slightly flat, I just stick it in the dryer (like they say to!) and it fluffs right up! Highly recommend to everyone!”

MedCline Bed Wedge

Best wedge Pillow for Side Sleepers
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy at Amazon, $279.99

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable, breathable cover and liner
  • Shredded pressure-relieving memory foam 
  • Fully machine washable

One of the biggest issues side-sleepers face is arm pain that can come from placing their arms beneath pillows, creating issues such as numbness, soreness, and aches. MedCline’s bed wedge is a full-length memory foam body pillow with a convenient arm pocket that works to relieve pressure from your arm and shoulder. What’s more, this pillow’s incline is not only for comfort, but helps with other health issues — especially digestive ones. Clinically shown to aid in proper overnight digestion, this is one of the best pillows for side sleepers with acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD looking to get their beauty zzzs. (Love a good wedge? Check out our roundup of the best wedge pillows.)

Promising review:I am not one to typically write reviews on Amazon but I simply couldn’t resist on this one! What a product. I have literally stopped snoring and notice a significant increase in energy throughout my day! I have bought many things to help with my snoring, sleep apnea, and shoulder pain, however [are] none better then this!

Sable Down Alternative Pillows

Best Pillow for Headaches
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy at Amazon, $34.99 (was $36.99)

Why we like it:

  • Down-alternative stuffing adjusts to your posture and sleeping position
  • Fully machine washable
  • Registered With The FDA As A Class 1 Medical Device

Since side-sleeping can cause neck and shoulder pain, it’s common for side sleepers to have frequent bouts of headaches. Proper neck support from a good pillow, like this one from Sable, can do wonders to help cure what ails you. Made from 100 percent hypoallergenic cotton, this soft and supportable goose down-alternative pillow features removable stuffing, so you can choose the perfect fill level support for you.

Promising review: “This is the best pillow I’ve ever had in my bed. I stay at hotels a lot and got used to their high quality pillows, and wanted one for at home. The pillow itself is nice quality, the fabric and general feel has a high end feel to it. The cushioning is perfect. It’s got great support, easily manipulated if I feel the need, and honestly leaves me with 0 neck and shoulder pain, which was an issue previously. I literally tossed a loving look at this pillow the first day I woke up with it. If you have neck pain, trouble finding a pillow that isn’t hard or sloppy feeling, I recommend trying this.”

UTTU Sandwich Pillow

Best Pillow for Sleep Apnea
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy at Amazon, $44.99 (was $55.99)

Why we like it:

  • Washable bamboo cover
  • Made with dynamic foam that never becomes hard
  • Cooling pillow

For those suffering from sleep apnea, getting a good night’s rest can be a real challenge. But it doesn’t have to be that way, thanks to this ergonomic cervical neck pillow from UTTU. Designed to cradle the neck with proper alignment — a practice the American Sleep Apnea Association calls “positional therapy” — this pillow ensures airways stay open (a chief issue with regard to sleep apnea) to help those living with the condition safely sleep through the night.

Promising review: “I am honestly amazed with this pillow. I’m 6’3 and work in construction so I’m a bigger guy. I usually wake up at least twice a week with neck tightness that develops into a headache around morning break time. Then I spend the rest of the day pulling on my neck, massaging it, and trying to crack it. After one day using this pillow, I woke up shocked because my neck felt amazing. And it’s been a week now and not one day have I had neck pain or needed to massage or crack my neck. If you are having trouble side sleeping get this pillow.”

Queen Rose Pregnancy Pillow

Best Side Sleeper Pillow for Pregnancy
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy at Amazon, $39.99 (was $42.99)

Why we like it:

  • Total body support
  • Designed for side sleeping
  • Fully machine washable

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the best sleep position during pregnancy is on your side. Not only is it more comfortable for the mother’s inevitable aches and pains, it’s also healthier for the baby. The ASA also notes that side-sleeping, particularly left side-sleeping, can help boost the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and the baby.

Promising review: “This is my second pregnancy and second pregnancy pillow. I never want to let go! It’s soooo comfy and I ordered the 65 inch so it’s extra long and gives me room to wrap it around me perfectly. I laid in it to test it out and now I don’t want to get up. I highly recommend this pillow to every pregnant woman out there!”

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Best orthopedic Pillow for Neck Pain for Side Sleepers
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy at Amazon, $39.99 (was $41.99)

Why we like it:

  • Breathable memory foam
  • Therapeutic ergonomic shape
  • Hypoallergenic pillowcase is machine washable

The ergonomic contour of this memory foam pillow isn’t just ideal for side sleepers, it can also help relieve neck and shoulder pain for back and stomach sleepers as well. Unlike other memory foam pillows that get hot due to lack of airflow, the EPABO pillow is made with breathable memory foam that provides much needed cooling for hot sleepers.

Promising review:I am so glad that I finally decided to give this pillow a try. I have been dealing with chronic neck pain and head pain for about 18 months and finally purchased this one about two weeks ago. It’s the first time in months I have been able to tolerate using a pillow. I took the extra foam strip out in the middle as I needed a little less pressure and more contour for my neck and head to rest comfortably. I am mostly a side sleeper, but do occasional lay on my back and its comfortable all around. I went back and forth for months about whether or not to give this pillow a try and so glad I did. I highly recommend this pillow for someone who has difficulty getting comfortable because of neck or head pains when trying to sleep or just relax.

Lunderg CPAP Pillow for Side Sleepers

Best c-pap Pillow for for Side Sleepers
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy at Amazon, $259.95 (was $69.99)

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable thickness
  • Comes with two pillow cases
  • Contours provide pressure relief from masks

Sleeping with a CPAP mask — or any mask – can be challenging. This specially contoured pillow addresses all your concerns, allowing for total memory foam comfort without interfering with your mask. Easily adjust the height of your pillow to fit your needs by simply unzipping the pillow case and removing or adding the pillow base. Speaking of pillowcase — this pillow comes with two, one made with standard premium fabric and one that cools.

Promising review: “I have been waking up in the middle of the night with my old standard contour pillow. It was really frustrating having my mask ride up on my face and air leaks waking me up all night. I got this pillow yesterday and I never moved or woke up at all last night. I am a side sleeper and I still used a pillow underneath for height and it is nice and firm. I feel so refreshed this morning! I didn’t think a CPAP pillow would make such a difference, but it did! I called all my CPAP friends this morning and told them to get it!”

Looffy Contour Pillow for Sleeping

Best Side Sleeper Pillow for shoulder and spine pain
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy at Amazon, $39.99

Why we like it:

  • 3D memory foam
  • Relieves shoulder and spine pressure
  • Cooling and breathable

The high-density, slow rebound memory foam on the Loofy pillow provides medium firmness and just enough give to sink into. The deep contour is made especially for side sleepers to relieve pressure on shoulders and spine. And if you’re an antsy sleeper, this pillow will prevent you from needing to re-adjust your pillow for comfort throughout the night.

Promising review:I like this pillow because it supports my neck as well as my head, it memorized my head and neck shape so I feel rested well in the morning, did not feel tense on my shoulder or neck like my older pillow. It is an excellent product, I highly recommend!

Zoey Memory Foam Bed Pillows for Sleeping

Best adjustable Side Sleeper Pillow
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy at Amazon, $79.99

Why we like it:

  • Fully adjustable
  • Removable shredded memory foam fill
  • 100% toxin-free

The shredded memory foam fill inside the Zoey side sleeper, you’re in complete control of the firmness and height of your pillow. The contour relieves pressure on your joints and aligns your body properly for optimal sleep positioning. The Zoey is Certified OEKO Tex and CertiPur-US, meaning it’s 100 percent toxin-free and doesn’t contain a harsh chemical smell.

Promising review: “Love it. I was going to wait to leave a review but I am so impressed with this pillow I had to jump on and share my experience. It is the ultimate side sleeper pillow without doubt. I have tried so many pillows before this one but wow, finally have one that really is doing the job! Great for sleeping on my back too, doesn’t hurt my shoulders and my neck pain is gone after 3 nights of sleep. Really gives your shoulders space on the bed and I can’t describe how comfortable and luxurious this feels. If you aren’t sleeping very well, then get one. Best investment I’ve made In myself for a long time.”

Milemont Memory Foam Cervical Pillow

Best cervical Side Sleeper Pillow
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy at Amazon, $38.99

Why we like it:

  • CertiPUR-US certified premium memory foam
  • Evenly distributes weight
  • Designed for side sleeping
  • More than 4,000 5-star reviews on Amazon

This top-rated side sleeper pillow is an Amazon favorite for a reason. Its orthopedic contour provides the ultimate pressure-relief and promotes good sleep posture. While supporting the cervical curve of your neck, the memory foam allows enough cushion to melt away your neck, shoulder, and spine pain. Best of all, it comes in two sizes, so you can choose the best width and height for your body.

Promising review: “I’ve been a terrible sleeper my entire life but lately I’ve been experiencing a pinched nerve in my neck. I’ve been sleeping on this pillow for 10 days and it has been amazing so far! My neck feels better and I’m getting much better sleep in general. The pillow is super soft and the curves have made sleeping much more comfortable!”

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.