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

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If you sleep best lying on your side, you’re probably familiar with a very common side effect (no pun intended) of this position: Waking up with a sore neck and stiff 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 favorite pillows perfect for side-sleeping, so you can wake up well-rested and pain-free.

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

What are the best pillows for side-sleepers?

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.

Related: Best Pillows on Amazon

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. Luckily, the best pillows for side-sleepers are designed to relieve pressure from the head, neck, spine, and shoulder regions, so you can rest worry-free. For added support with alignment, it 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.

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!

13 Best Pillows for Side-Sleepers

Power Of Nature Memory Foam Neck Support Pillow

Best cervical side-sleeper pillow
best pillows for side sleepers
39% off!

Buy from Walmart, $28

Why we like it:

  • Slow-rebound memory foam fits the contours of your head and neck
  • Comes with a hypoallergenic, machine-washable pillow case
  • Breathable outer cover

This memory foam neck pillow was designed to offer neck and head support to side sleepers by eliminating the gap that would typically exist between the neck and the pillow. Its orthopedic contour provides ultimate pressure-relief and promotes good sleep posture. While supporting the cervical curve of your neck, the memory foam offers enough cushion to melt away your neck, shoulder, and spine pain, and the breathable outer cover will keep things from getting too stuffy. Bonus: it comes with a hypoallergenic, machine-washable pillowcase!

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow

Best cooling pillow for side-sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow
Brooklyn Bedding
Get 25% off!

Buy from Brooklyn Bedding, $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-washable, 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).

Happy customer: “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
Save 30% with coupon!

Buy from Amazon, $54.99 for standard size — Save 30% with Amazon coupon!

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 affordable bet when it comes to the best pillows for side-sleepers. 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 it’s also machine-washable, hypoallergenic, and made in the US?

Happy customer: “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!”

Queen Rose Pregnancy Pillow

Best side-sleeper pillow for pregnancy
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
14% off

Buy from Amazon, $45

Why we like it:

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

You don’t need to be pregnant to use a pregnancy pillow! They’re great for side-sleepers, as well. Sure, 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. But this pillow is comfy whether you’re pregnant or not! If you’re a side sleeper and want some extra support for your whole body, the Queen Rose is a great choice.

Happy customer: “Wonderful pillow! Even if you’re not pregnant, this pillow will amaze you! It fluffs up really nice once you get it out of the package. It’s soft and retains it shape. I sleep like a baby each night. If you’re a pillow hugger at night, you’ll love this pillow. Very very comfy!”

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Best orthopedic pillow for side-sleepers with neck pain
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain
Save 15% with coupon!

Buy from Amazon, $41.99 for queen size — Save 15% with Amazon coupon!

Why we like it:

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

This ergonomically contoured 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.

Happy customer: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 occasionally lay on my back and it’s comfortable all around. I went back and forth for months about whether or not to give this pillow a try and [I’m] 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.

Zoey Memory Foam Bed Pillows

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

Buy from Amazon, $79.99 for queen size

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.

Happy customer: “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 [a] 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.”

MedCline Bed Wedge

Best wedge pillow for side-sleepers
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy from 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).

Happy customer:I am not one to typically write reviews on Amazon but I simply couldn’t resist [with] 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 none [are] better then this!

Lunderg C-PAP Pillow for Side-Sleepers

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

Buy from Amazon, $64.90

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 pillowcases — this pillow comes with two, one made with standard premium fabric and one that cools.

Happy customer: “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!”

HOMCA Cervical Memory Foam Pillow

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

Buy from Amazon, $44.99

Why we like it:

  • Premium memory foam
  • Helps relieve shoulder and spine pressure
  • Cooling and breathable

The high-density, premium rebound memory foam on this HOMCA pillow provides medium firmness and just enough give to sink into. The deep contour is especially convenient for side-sleepers, as it helps relieve pressure from the 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.

Happy customer: “I really love this pillow. I have spent months with serious neck and shoulder pain, which caused headaches, restlessness, and more. I spent months and too much money trying out all sorts of pillows, including expensive brand-name ones before giving this one a shot. I was skeptical at first, but now I’m so glad I got it. My pains and headaches are pretty much nonexistent now, and I feel like the pillow deserves all the credit.”

The Wedge Utility Pillow

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

Buy from Amazon, $39.95

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.

Happy customer:Unbelievable pillow that is multi-purpose. I own two and use them every day! Great for [the] work from home lifestyle!

UTTU Sandwich Pillow

Best pillow for side-sleepers with sleep apnea
best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain

Buy from Walmart, $45 for queen size

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 king-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.

Happy customer: “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 [of] 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.”

TEMPUR-Neck™ Pillow

Best pillow for side-sleepers with headaches
Two for the price of one!

Buy from Tempur-Pedic, $65

Why we like it:

  • Designed to provide proper alignment
  • Multiple sizes to fit your needs
  • TEMPUR-Material™ adapts to your shape

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 Tempur-Pedic, can do wonders to help cure what ails you. Made with a 100% polyester knit hypoallergenic cover, this soft and supportive pillow is machine washable and comes in a range of sizes so you can choose the perfect level of support.

Happy customer: “The neck pillow is a must have. Without it I was having neck pain during the day. Once I started using the Tempurpedic neck pillow that issue is nonexistent”

Balance Cuddle Curve Performance Pillow

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

Buy from Bedgear, $120

Why we like it:

  • Moisture-wicking and breathable
  • Elevating support
  • Washable cover

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. 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.

Happy customer: “’I’m a side/stomach sleeper and it’s the perfect fit inside my neck and behind my neck!”

Shop more of the best pillows for side-sleepers on Amazon!

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