Last updated: August 7, 2021

Welcome to our large side sleeper pillow test 2021. Here we present all the side sleeper pillows that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best side sleeper pillow for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a side sleeper pillow.




Summary

  • With the help of a side sleeper pillow, the spine can be relieved because a straight posture is adopted by hugging it, thus preventing the rotation of the lumbar vertebra.
  • Breathing can improve when we lie on our side. Especially on the left side, as not only is acid reflux from the oesophagus helped, preventing stomach upsets such as heartburn, but there are also fewer breathing pauses.
  • Many women use a side sleeper pillow during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

The Best Side Sleeper Pillow: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a side sleeper pillow

What is a side sleeper pillow and what does it do?

While we sleep, we process what we have experienced, cells are repaired and new ones are created. Each of us has a preferred lying position, which changes frequently during the night. Around 60% of people prefer to sleep on their side.

The most common reason for this is that many people form a hollow back in the supine position, which has a painful effect on the back. A side-sleeper pillow can help you sleep comfortably, quietly and with less strain on your back.

After just one night, you can observe an alleviation of tension and pain, as the body can assume an ideal lying position.

Many people clutch their duvet with their legs to maintain a comfortable sleeping position. A side sleeper pillow is much more effective.

Side sleeper pillows belong to the category of pillows, but are on average 140 to 200 centimetres long and have a diameter of 25 to 40 centimetres. They are positioned both to the right and to the left of the sleeper, so that the pillow can be embraced with the arms and legs, thus achieving a support function for the entire body.

Advantages
  • serves as support for the natural side position
  • relieves the upper body and spine
  • prevents snoring
  • various synthetic and natural fillings
  • helpful support during pregnancy
Disadvantages
  • more expensive than normal pillows
  • sleeping position somewhat unusual in the beginning
  • takes up a lot of space in bed

The best way to get a good night's sleep is to use a side-sleeper pillow, as it is designed to keep your spine in a neutral and healthy position and relieve pressure on your cervical spine.

Why should I use a side sleeper pillow?

While lying on your back, you may develop a hollow back because your back is not fully supported, which can cause pain in your lower back. Furthermore, lying on the back causes a shallow stream and makes breathing more difficult. For this reason, the side sleeping position is often used.

Did you know that left-sleepers not only have better digestion, but also fewer heart problems?

Since the aorta is bent to the left, the blood can be pumped through the body better in this position.

Few side sleepers put their legs directly on top of each other, because otherwise pressure pain could develop in the ankle and knee area. Therefore, we unconsciously pull one leg towards the stomach, which, however, leads to a stretching of the spine and pelvis.

If you sleep on your side and wake up in the morning with pain, you should get a side-sleeper pillow. (Photo source: 123rf.com / 45039233)

The result is that the spine is no longer orthopaedically straight, which often leads to pain in the lumbar region and problems with a pinched sciatic nerve. Side sleepers also often experience tension in the neck and shoulder muscles, which often leads to headaches.

The reason for this is that the underlying shoulder is rotated and bent in order to be able to rest the head comfortably on the pillow. The spine is relieved with the use of a side sleeper pillow.

The side sleeper can hug the pillow and thus assume an upright posture, which means that the lumbar vertebrae are no longer twisted and the head is no longer overstretched. Furthermore, side sleeper pillows can also be wrapped around the legs and thus support the knees and ankles. Side sleeper pillow:

  • offer an orthopaedically correct sleeping position
  • ensure hugging with hands and legs
  • protect the chest and back and prevent overstretching of the neck muscles
  • prevent headaches and backache
  • counteract twisting of the spine and support the pelvis
  • are well tolerated by the skin and therefore suitable for allergy sufferers
  • facilitate breathing and prevent snoring

However, if you have chronic back problems, you should consult a doctor to find out which side sleeper pillow is right for you.

What types of side sleeper pillows are there?

The most important difference between the different types of pillows is the shape. This is because a side sleeper pillow is longer than your normal pillow. The lengths are between 1.2 metres and 2 metres and the diameter varies between 25 and 40 centimetres. The following side sleeper pillow models are available:

  • straight models
  • 7-shaped
  • Neck protection pillow
  • u-shaped

Straight models

As the name suggests, this pillow is straight and between 140 and 200 centimetres long. With this length, the typical side sleeper pillow supports almost the entire length of the body and thus offers optimal relief for the knees, hips and neck.

Advantages
  • straight shape
  • versatile
  • relieves neck and pelvis
Disadvantages
  • no orthopaedic shape
  • less suitable as a nursing pillow

7-shaped model

The side sleeper pillow, which is shaped like a seven, is ideal for stabilising the side position because of its curved neck. The head can nestle against the curved neck, arms and legs can be wrapped around the pillow. Due to its special shape, this pillow is the longest model at 200 centimetres.

Advantages
  • stabilises the side position
  • narrow in shape
  • protects the head
Disadvantages
  • as a pillow substitute takes some getting used to at first

Neck support pillow

These pillows may look like a classic pillow, but they are orthopaedically shaped and can be used for a wide variety of sleeping positions. It can be used as a head pillow, knee support, neck support, back pillow. However, it is best used as a headrest. However, if you prefer to sleep a little softer, a neck support pillow is not suitable for this.

Advantages
  • Orthopaedically shaped
  • versatile
  • stable
Disadvantages
  • Very hard
  • less suitable for allergy sufferers

U-shaped models

This side sleeper pillow does not look very similar to the classic one at first glance and is particularly suitable as a relief during pregnancy or as a breastfeeding pillow. Due to its shape, this model is also suitable as a neck support and you can also wrap your legs and arms around it in the side position.

Advantages
  • Ideal for pregnancy
  • can be used as a nursing pillow
  • very good neck support
Disadvantages
  • Less suitable as a classic sleeping pillow

How much does a side sleeper pillow cost?

How much a side sleeper pillow costs depends on the quality as well as the respective brand. The best price-performance ratio is between 30 and 90 euros. This proves that you don't necessarily have to buy the most expensive side sleeper pillow to get adequate performance.

However, it is important to note that certain factors apply equally to both cheaper and more expensive models:

  • For some, the cover is included and should be the right size.
  • The filling is a decisive factor in how well or poorly a side sleeper lies. If a side sleeper pillow can be bought very cheaply, the filling could therefore be of a lower quality.
  • The pillow should normally tolerate a gentle wash cycle of 40 degrees.
  • The side sleeper pillow should be kind to the skin.

Decision: What types of side sleeper pillows are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, we distinguish between these types of side sleeper pillows:

  • Buckwheat pillow
  • Water pillow
  • Memory foam
  • Gel pillow
  • Latex pillow

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. We want to help you find the best side sleeper pillow for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of buckwheat pillows?

The buckwheat filling prevents small lumps in the pillow. In addition, the grains move around inside and thus hardly store any heat. You can often fill the pillow yourself, which allows you to determine the degree of hardness yourself.

Advantages
  • Degree of hardness can be determined yourself
  • high lying comfort
  • good air circulation
Disadvantages
  • can leak

What are the advantages and disadvantages of water pillows?

Water, like buckwheat, moulds to the contours of your body and immediately springs back to its original shape. Here, too, you can determine the degree of hardness yourself.

Advantages
  • degree of hardness can be determined yourself
  • well suited for repeated turning
  • adapts well to the shape of the head
Disadvantages
  • quickly becomes uncomfortably warm in summer
  • can leak

What are the advantages and disadvantages of memory foam?

Memory foam is a type of foam that adapts very well to the shape of your head and neck. Due to the individual granules inside, this side sleeper pillow has good air circulation, so that the pillow stays pleasantly cool in summer.

Advantages
  • adjusts well
  • springs back to its original shape quickly
  • good air circulation
Disadvantages
  • crackles when turned over

What are the advantages and disadvantages of gel cushions?

The gel pillow is not only easy to care for, but also supports your head very well at night. However, the gel can form lumps in very inexpensive side-sleeper pillows, which limits your comfort while sleeping.

Advantages
  • easy to care for
  • supports very well
  • does not cause allergies
Disadvantages
  • lump formation possible

What are the advantages and disadvantages of latex pillows?

A latex neck pillow supports the spine all the way to your head. We recommend this pillow especially to those with a slipped disc. Latex is a comparatively firm material, which is why it is not suitable for people who change position several times during the night.

Advantages
  • supports very well
  • suitable for people with back problems
Disadvantages
  • not suitable for restless sleep

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate side sleeper pillows

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate side sleeper pillows. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective model. In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Length of the side sleeper pillow
  • Filling material
  • Weight
  • Cover
  • Suitable for allergy sufferers
  • Washable
  • Further functions

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a model based on the criteria or not.

Length of the side sleeper pillow

The size must be adapted to your body. Side sleeper pillows are usually 20 to 40 centimetres wide and 1.20 to 2 metres long. If you suffer from back problems, a pillow should reach up to your waist - about 140 centimetres.

For pregnant women, a long two-metre pillow is advantageous, as it not only supports the belly, but can also be used later for breastfeeding. For men who tend to snore at night, a shorter side-sleeper pillow - about 40 centimetres - that only supports the head is sufficient.

Filling material

Which filling material you choose depends on your preferences. However, before you decide on a variant, you should already have thought about whether you would prefer your head to lie on a hard or soft surface.

Pillow filling Features
Polyester Is soft and pliable, suitable for allergy sufferers and you can wash some of them up to 95 degrees in the washing machine. Unfortunately, they often do not provide sufficient support and slip easily due to their low weight.
Styrofoam Is suitable for allergy sufferers and washable. However, it tends to become statically charged and harmful styrofoam residues may remain after processing.
Viscose foam This pillow has a so-called precise point elasticity, which means that the pillow only yields at the point where you put pressure on it. This pillow is also suitable for allergy sufferers.
Cotton This material is harmless to health. However, you must air and fluff the pillow regularly. It also contracts with moisture and can lose its shape.
Down This filling is also suitable for allergy sufferers. However, as with cotton, regular airing and shaking is also necessary, as otherwise it can clump together in high humidity.
Kapoka fibres This filling is ecologically safe and suitable for allergy sufferers, as it also has natural mite protection. However, the filling is not washable and must therefore be changed after some time.
Spelt husk This filling material ensures a good supportive effect and is ecologically safe. Like kapoka fibres, it has natural mite protection and is therefore suitable for allergy sufferers. However, it is not washable and must be changed after some time. It also rustles slightly when you move.
Millet shells This pillow filling adapts easily and particularly well to your desired lying position. Like kapoka fibres and spelt husks, it has natural mite protection and is suitable for allergy sufferers, and it does not rustle when you move. Here too, the filling material is not washable and must be changed after a certain period of time.

There are side sleeper pillows that keep their shape and don't give in so quickly, or models that deform themselves as soon as you put weight on them. However, it is important that the filling material is breathable so that it can easily absorb and release moisture.

Weight

Pillows usually weigh between 1.1 and 1.6 kilograms. For children, a side sleeper pillow with a low weight should be used. Buckwheat fillings or memory foam are suitable for this. Gel pillows, on the other hand, are only suitable for adults, as they are very heavy and therefore neither transportable nor suitable for children.

Cover

You should always make sure that the cover is removable and can be washed in the washing machine. This is best done at 60 or ideally even 95 degrees. Polyester and cotton are particularly suitable for this.

Suitable for allergy sufferers

If you suffer from allergies, you should make sure that the side sleeper pillow you choose is also suitable for you, as not every pillow model meets this requirement. The material used for the pillow cover and filling must be breathable and able to absorb moisture particularly well.

We recommend a gel pillow with a special cover that prevents allergens such as pollen or dust from adhering to it.

Washable

To ensure that your side sleeper pillow can offer you a healthy and restful sleep in the long term, you should also pay attention to hygiene and cleaning when buying it. The pillowcase must be easy to clean on a hot and, if possible, boil-wash cycle in order to kill not only dust mites but also existing bacteria.

This point is especially important for allergy sufferers. Ideally, the pillow filling should also be washable and retain its shape after cleaning. Pillows where the inner filling can be washed as well as replaced are particularly recommended.

Did you know that right-sleepers suffer more often from stomach problems?

This is because stomach acid can easily flow into the oesophagus, which leads to heartburn and digestive problems.

Other functions

In the cold season, a side sleeper pillow with a built-in heater can provide a very pleasant and cosy feeling. Such a pillow has a heating system that can be adjusted in stages and switches off again after about one and a half hours.

In addition, a protection against overheating and an automatic switch-off are integrated, which offers you the necessary safety during sleep. In summer, you can simply remove the mains cable and use the side sleeper pillow without heating. The cover can be machine washed at 60 degrees.

Facts worth knowing about side sleeper pillows

Are side sleeper pillows also available for pregnant women and children?

Expectant mothers also appreciate the comfort that a side sleeper pillow offers. During pregnancy, such a pillow offers the possibility to take up a protective as well as comfortable sleeping position with a growing belly, thus preventing a twisting of the spine and a muscle strain.

While the side sleeper pillows for pregnant women must support the entire abdominal area as well as the back, children need a very low pillow. We would recommend a buckwheat pillow because the height can be determined individually.

Does a side sleeper pillow help against snoring?

Snoring often occurs in the supine position when your head is resting on a flat pillow. This is nothing more than temporary pauses in breathing, but in the long run it is extremely dangerous for your health and can even lead to a heart attack. A side sleeping pillow in roll form automatically forces you into the side position, which has a positive effect on your sleeping situation.

What are the differences between a supine, prone and side position?

While in the prone position your neck muscles are over-stretched and in the supine position a hollow back can be formed and unwanted snoring can occur, the side position offers the only possibility to protect your back during sleep.

Sleeping position Advantages Disadvantages Comment
Supine position The supine position protects the neck and spine and prevents heartburn. The position also promotes deep sleep The supine position promotes snoring The pillow should not be too high when sleeping in the supine position, but should keep the head in a straight position.
Prone position Usually prevents snoring However, the prone position is a very unhealthy position for the neck and neck muscles, which can lead to tension. In addition, you cannot breathe freely if you sleep in the prone position, you should try to get out of the habit of this sleeping position.
Side position Sleeping in the side position is healthy as long as your spine remains straight so that it is relieved. Also, you snore minimally and also get heartburn While sleeping, you might curl up and fall back into an unhealthy sleeping position. It also promotes wrinkling of the face Even when lying on your side, your spine should remain in a neutral position and the pillow should not be too high or too low.

Picture source: 123rf.com / puhhha

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