For a long time, it was thought that sleeping on your back was “best”, which is frustrating if like me, you’re much more comfortable sleeping on your side.
However, it seems that there are more benefits to side sleeping than previously thought – from improved gut health to reduced snoring.
If you’re a side sleeper like me, you need to ensure that your pillow provides you with the right amount of support to ensure that you don’t wake with neck, shoulder, or back pain.
I couldn’t find much UK-based information on the best pillows for side sleepers, so I’m sharing my original shortlist and answered some commonly asked questions, too.
Best Pillow For Side Sleepers in the UK
Ecosafeter Memory Foam Side-Sleeper Pillow
(Check Amazon’s Price)
This contour memory foam pillow by Ecosafeter is the one I chose in the end, so if you don’t want to read this whole article – I’d recommend this as the best overall.
The pillow is designed according to the advice of sleep experts and is suitable for side or back sleepers.
The wave design supports your head, neck, and shoulders as you sleep and aligns your spine to reduce aching joints that are associated with sleeping on your side (or in my case, neck pain too).
The pillow is medium-firm, which is great as it’s recommended that side sleepers have one medium-firm pillow to support your body, but still be soft enough to be comfortable to sleep on.
As this pillow can make it more comfortable to sleep on your side, this means that it can also reduce snoring!
It also has a breathable inner cover which is dustproof, antibacterial, and anti-mite and can be washed in the washing machine to extend the life of the memory foam – although do not wash the pillow itself as this can cause damage.
It took me about 2 weeks to get used to it. One other reviewer who had recurrent neck pain said that after sleeping on this pillow for around a month, their issues are beginning to disappear and they sleep much more comfortably. I do too.
- Aligns the spine to ease joint pain associated with side sleeping
- Washable inner cover
- Designed according to the advice from sleep experts
- When first opened, the pillow can have a strong memory foam smell that can be unpleasant. Let the pillow air for 48-72 hours before use to avoid this!
- Smaller than a standard pillow so will be too small for your usual pillowcases – plus it looks a bit weird, but it’s worth it.
Best Firm Pillow For Side Sleepers in the UK
Snuggledown Firm Side Sleeper Pillow
(Check Amazon’s Price)
This pillow by Snuggledown is specifically made for side sleepers in mind with firm support – if you want a firm, rather than a medium pillow, this is one to consider.
The pillow has a deep side that keeps the fullness to the edge and fills the gap between your neck and shoulders.
Being supported here will align your spine correctly and ease pressure on your shoulder and neck joints, meaning that you’ll no longer wake up in pain from sleeping on your side and can go about your day well-rested and pain-free.
The Snuggledown pillow is hypoallergenic as it contains no feathers, down or dander so it’s suitable for those with sensitivities or those looking for a vegan pillow with no animal products.
It’s machine washable and made of breathable cotton that helps to regulate temperature and keep you cool during the night, meaning you’ll have a really comfortable night’s sleep.
Many people said that they wish that they had found this pillow years ago as any aches or pains that they suffered from previously have practically gone after sleeping on this.
- Made for side sleepers
- Firm support
- Design ensures that your neck and shoulders are correctly supported throughout the night
- Breathable cotton helps to regulate temperature throughout the night
- Machine washable at 40°C
- Fits standard size pillowcase
- If you are used to sleeping on a soft pillow, you may find these too firm for you
- Can lose its shape after a while
Best UK Pillow for Neck Pain While Side Sleeping
Sweetnight 2 Pack of Pillows for Side Sleepers
(Check Amazon’s Price)
This pack of 2 pillows by Sweetnight can really help you sleep better if you suffer from shoulder or neck pain from sleeping on your side.
I have them as backups when my neck pain flares up from sitting at a screen most of the day, or when I have to travel and can’t stuff my memory foam pillow in a case!
Unlike standard support pillows that have a ‘one size fits all shape’, these contain a hollow fibre filling that provides firm support, but it also has a hidden zipper that allows you to add or remove filling to create the perfect amount of support for your body shape.
The pillows allow for the correct spine alignment to reduce pressure on your joints which means you can fall into a deeper sleep, stop tossing and turning and wake up pain-free!
Personally, when I get back pain – lying flat on a bed is not a pleasant experience. The only thing that eases the pain is placing a pillow underneath it as I try to go to sleep, and these pillows are great for that as I can mold them to give me the best relief.
The pillows themselves are hypoallergenic and machine washable as the covers are made from cotton – which also makes them soft to the touch and breathable to keep you cool during the night.
If you look at the reviews, most of them are from happy side sleepers!
- Mouldable to support your specific body shape and reduce shoulder and neck pain
- Hidden zipper
- Machine washable
- Soft and breathable
- Pack of 2
- Fit standard size pillowcase
- No smell!
- Can sink in the middle, but this can be avoided by puffing up the pillows regularly
Best Anti-Snore Pillow for UK Side Sleepers
Famookan Memory Foam Pillow
(Check Amazon’s Price)
This memory foam pillow by Famooklan has a unique design, created by health professionals. It has dips in the centre of the pillow and sides to completely support your spine and head as you sleep.
If you’re a snorer, then you know that sleeping on your back can increase the chances of this.
As this pillow provides the right amount of support for side sleeping, you’re more likely to sleep on your side and stay there for the duration of the night, keeping your airways open – which should lessen snoring.
If you wake your partner often, this pillow may give both of you a better night’s sleep. It’s certainly worth a try if it’s a problem.
The memory foam design is breathable, so your head stays cool during the night and it has a removable, machine-washable case that means you can keep it fresh too.
If you’re pregnant, it’s recommended to sleep on your side for both your’s and your baby’s health – placing a pillow such as this one between your legs can also help you sleep more comfortably and reduce any pain in your hips that may come from pressure.
One guy in the reviews said that he tried this pillow after his wife complained about his snoring. After sleeping on this pillow, his wife has noticed that he doesn’t snore as loudly anymore…
- Memory foam pillow
- Designed with dips to support your head and neck
- Reduces snoring
- Machine washable cover
- Reduces joint pain
- Standard pillow size
- May take some getting used to
How To Choose A Pillow For Side Sleepers
Side sleepers need extra support for their head, neck, and shoulders as sleeping on your side can cause the corresponding shoulder to collapse and move up to your neck, causing pain in all areas when you wake.
Since I spent a lot of time picking a new pillow, I thought I’d write up what to look for when getting a side sleeper pillow on the UK market:
- The pillow should be roughly as thick as the distance between your ear and your shoulder to provide support.
- A firm pillow is needed to keep your neck and spine aligned during the night, but you don’t want one that’s too firm if you’re not used to them as it’s likely you won’t be comfortable enough to fall asleep.
- A pillow with plenty of loft (height), generally 4 inches or more, is better for side sleepers – again to keep your spine aligned.
- A solid, memory foam pillow can support your head if you tend to stay in the same position all night, whereas if you switch sides or move around a lot, you’re better off with a more mouldable pillow.
Of course, each person is different and a comfortable sleep is specific to you, but following these tips are certain to ensure you sleep well and wake up pain-free.
Are Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillows Good For Side Sleeping?
In general, orthopedic memory foam pillows are a great option for side sleepers as they provide plenty of loft and firmness and great support for your joints.
One Japanese study concluded that orthopedic memory foam pillows were better than standard pillows in providing comfort (source: Tohoku Journal).
Even if you don’t currently suffer from aching joints, using a memory foam pillow can lessen the risk of you experiencing this in the future due to the support that it gives you.
Memory foam has also made a name for itself because of its superior comfort levels as it moulds to your body, and bounces back up to its original shape if you move so it won’t lose its firmness as quickly as feather pillows.
Memory foam pillows also respond well to temperature and are fairly breathable, so if you’re a hot sleeper then these can keep you cooler.
However, memory foam pillows come at a specific height that may not be suitable for everyone, although this can vary between each manufacturer.
It’s best to check the height of the pillow before you buy, and ensure that it will keep your neck in line with your spine.
There are plenty of pillow options on the market for side sleepers, so I hope this guide has given you the information you need to choose the right pillow for you and embark on a journey to a restful night’s sleep.