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

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If you’re a side-sleeper, you know that your favorite position for drifting off can have the unpleasant side effect of waking up with a stiff neck and shoulders. Luckily, investing in one of the best pillows for side-sleepers can help alleviate this discomfort — or even nip it in the bud altogether! We’ve rounded up a list of our favorites, so you can wake up rested and pain-free.

Keep scrolling to shop our picks, or read on for more info about side-sleeping, and why some pillows are better than others for certain sleep positions.

How common is side-sleeping?

Research shows that a whopping 74 percent of Americans prefer to slumber on their sides, making it the most common sleep position in the country. (Stomach-sleepers come in close behind — which is why we rounded up a selection of the best pillows for stomach-sleepers, as well.)

As comfortable as side-sleeping can be, however, it can also cause issues in the neck and shoulder departments. That’s why having one of the best pillows for side-sleepers is a necessity, if you’re among the vast majority of people who sleep on their sides.

Is side sleeping bad for your health?

Side-sleeping has its pros and cons. On the plus side, there are many health benefits to getting your zzzs in this position. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it can help those suffering from sleep apnea, acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD. However, due to the position of certain organs (like your stomach), these benefits only apply if you sleep on your left side.

On the downside, since sleeping on your side may require resting on one arm (usually tucked under your head), 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 aches and pains 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, in order to alleviate pressure on your hips and lower back.

What type of pillow is best for side-sleepers?

The best pillows for side-sleepers feature specially contoured designs that help relieve pressure on your neck and shoulders, allowing you to sleep comfortably and wake up pain-free.

Another key feature? The fill of your pillow. Memory foam is best at evenly distributing your weight, but it can also 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 to adjust the height and thickness of your pillow. The more you customize your pillow to your body, the more comfortable it will be, both for sleeping and when you’re awake.

We’ve found a selection of the best pillows for side-sleepers, in varying price points and styles, so you’re sure to find one that works for you. Keep scrolling to find your new favorite pillow!

See more of our best product recommendations.

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What are the best pillows for side-sleepers?

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 pillows for side-sleepers with neck and shoulder pain. Keep scrolling to shop our picks!

Scrumptious Side Sleeper

Best overall pillow for side-sleepers with neck and shoulder pain
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy on 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…”

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow

Best cooling pillow for side-sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow
Brooklyn Bedding

Buy on Brooklyn Bedding (From $129)

Why we like it:

  • Cool gel surface infusion draws heat away from your head and neck
  • Made from naturally antimicrobial materials
  • Comes with a machine-wash, tumble dry cover

Are you a hot sleeper? If you often wake up with a sweaty pillowcase, or find yourself flipping the pillow to the “cool side” throughout the night, you’ll love this cooling memory foam pillow from Brooklyn Bedding. Pin core ventilation and a cool gel surface infusion helps pull heat away from your head, and copper-graphite makes the pillow breathable and naturally antimicrobial. This pillow is resistant to allergens, mold, bacteria, and dust mites, and comes with a cover you can toss in the washer and dryer. Unlike some memory foam pillows that are uncomfortably firm to the point of feeling like a block of cement, this pillow is soft and squishy, while still providing plenty of support for your neck and back. Choose from queen or king size, low profile or high profile (although if you sleep on your side, you’ll almost certainly want a high profile pillow).

Promising review: “We purchased this pillow because we wanted a soft yet supportive cooling pillow, and this one does not disappoint. Even in a flannel pillowcase, the pillow remains cool and helps regulate our sleep since we sleep hot. Really comfortable pillow.”

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

Best affordable cooling pillow for side-sleepers
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy on Amazon ($49.99)

Why we like it:

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

Looking for a more budget-friendly pillow to help keep you cool and comfortable as you snooze? 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 six 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 on Amazon ($269.99)

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!

The Wedge Utility Pillow

Best affordable wedge pillow for side-sleepers
The Wedge Utility Pillow
Amazon

Buy on Amazon ($34.95)

Why we like it:

  • Small and portable
  •  Can be used in a variety of ways
  • Faux suede cover can be removed and washed

This little wedge-shaped pillow might look a little different from the rest of the pillows on your bed, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing the magic of a wedge pillow. Besides being a great way to prop up your head when you’re sleeping on your side (just use it as a base under your regular pillow to provide neck support), you can tuck it under your knees to elevate your legs, use it behind your back to support your lumbar region when sitting in an office chair, or even use it to prop up your laptop when you’re working from the sofa (or your bed!). Slide it between your couch cushions and voilà, it’s an armrest! It’s also great for yoga or meditation, and for more intimate moments.

Promising review:Unbelievable pillow that is multi-purpose. I own two and use them every day! Great for work from home lifestyle!

Sable Down Alternative Pillows

Best pillow for side-sleepers with headaches
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy on Amazon ($34.99)

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 side-sleepers with sleep apnea
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy on Amazon ($49.97)

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 thisking-sized 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.”

Lunderg C-PAP Pillow for Side-Sleepers

Best C-PAP pillow for side-sleepers
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy on Amazon ($59.95)

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!”

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Best orthopedic pillow for side-sleepers with neck pain
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy on Amazon ($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 one of the best pillows 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.

Looffy Contour Pillow for Sleeping

Best pillow for side-sleepers with shoulder and spine pain
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy on 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!

Power Of Nature Memory Foam Contour Pillow

Best cervical side-sleeper pillow
Memory Foam Pillow
Amazon

Buy on Amazon ($34.99)

Why we like it:

  • Slow-rebound memory foam fits the contours of your head and neck
  • Comes with a hypoallergenic, machine-washable pillow case
  • More than 7,000 5-star ratings 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 used to get pinched nerves in my neck while I slept and I haven’t had one since we’ve bought these a few months ago. They are supportive, don’t sag, and comfortable. I’m so glad we purchased these pillows and would recommend to anyone to provide pain relief and a good night’s sleep.

Zoey Memory Foam Bed Pillows

Best adjustable side-sleeper pillow
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy on 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 lets you be 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.”

Queen Rose Pregnancy Pillow

Best side-sleeper pillow for pregnancy
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Amazon

Buy on Amazon ($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. However, this pillow is comfy whether you’re pregnant or not! If you want some extra support for your whole body, the Queen Rose is a great choice.

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!”

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