Side sleeper pillow

While your mattress is vital to getting a good night’s sleep, your pillow also plays an important part in spinal health, sleep quality and overall comfort. If you are one of the many Australians who sleeps on their side, you may be wondering  whether you’re using the right pillow. In this article, we discuss what makes a good side sleeper pillow and why you need one.

Why do I need a side sleeper pillow?

A common complaint amongst side sleepers is neck pain. Without a supportive side sleeper pillow, you are likely to put excess strain on your neck that causes stiffness and pain.

According to the Sleep Foundation, roughly 70% of people with neck pain experience poor sleep quality. It is possible that your pillow is contributing to sleep problems you may be experiencing.

We know that disturbed sleep can impact your overall health and wellbeing, which is why you should check to ensure your pillow is offering you the right support.

Pillow for neck pain side sleeper

neck pain from sleeping on your side

At Sealy, we talk about the importance of spinal alignment and how an orthopaedic mattress provides support. This concept is equally relevant when it comes to pillows. 

Your head, neck and shoulders should be aligned with the rest of your body. Misalignment causes your muscles to strain, resulting in tension and stiffness. To combat this, avoid sleeping in an unnatural posture where your head is tilted too high or dips too low. 

Pillow for neck pain side sleeper

The best pillow for side sleepers

The best pillow for side sleepers is one that keeps your head in a neutral resting position. For side sleepers, this often means that you will need a pillow that has more height than a back sleeper.

This does not necessarily mean stacking your pillows for more height. Too many pillows can be unstable as you sleep throughout the night, and they may elevate your head and neck too far, causing further discomfort.

Contour pillows for side sleepers

If you are searching for a pillow, we suggest that you look for one with a contoured shape. For example, Sealy Contour Pillows offer a rounded ridge for neck support.

This is an ideal shape for side sleepers because the contour sits in the natural curve of your neck, propping your head and maintaining neutral alignment.

Shopping for a side sleeper pillow

Sealy contour pillow

If you’re looking for pillows for side sleepers, there are several things to look out for beyond the overall shape.

  • Loft — the key is to check that your neck and shoulders form a straight line with your back. You ought to choose a side sleeper pillow that is neither too flat nor too high. This is dependent on your stature, such as the width of your shoulders and natural posture.

  • Firmness — many pillows offer soft, medium and firm options. As it is with mattresses, this choice is highly personal. The best guide is your overall sense of comfort that does not sacrifice the alignment of your neck and shoulders. For this reason, medium to firm options are often best for side sleepers.

  • Materials — you may also need to consider what your pillow is made of. They often differ in terms of fabric, filling and cooling properties. If your pillow is filled with feathers or down, your head is likely to ‘sink’ throughout the night. The Sealy Memory Rest features memory foam for added support, while the Sealy Optimal Comfort has gel-infused foam and a Tencel cover to disperse moisture and assist with temperature.