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Choosing a Pillow: Side Sleeper

Choosing a Pillow: Side Sleeper Edition

Our tips for side sleepers looking for their perfect pillow fit.

When you curl up in bed at night, the position you sleep in and the pillow you sleep on usually directly correlates to your sleep quality. We’ve all been there when it comes to tossing and turning, kicking off the covers and finding it hard to get to sleep. However, figuring out how you sleep and what pillow pairs best with your sleep style is key to having an excellent night’s sleep every night.

With our Choosing a Pillow: Side Sleeper Edition guide, you’ll say goodbye to interrupted dreams and hello to a nest you can’t wait to crawl into each night. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about finding the best pillow for side sleeping, from identifying your specific side sleeping style and sleeping well to the best pillow for side sleeping and our tips for choosing the right one. 

Identifying your side sleeping style

So, you probably know if you’re a side sleeper. If you wake up with crazy bed head on one side of your hair, tend to see pillow imprints on one side of your face or wake up on your side with all of your blankets gathered around you, you’re in the side sleeping camp. But, just because you’re a side sleeper doesn’t mean you just sleep directly on the side of your body. You probably have a typical side sleeping style, too:

  • Fetal position sleeper: Fetal position sleepers usually sleep on their sides with their legs bent at the knees and tucked up by the chest, just like a baby. Fetal position sleepers might wake up with sore shoulders, and they might just be feeling extra chilly at night!
  • Pillow in between the knees sleeper: A lot of side sleepers tuck a pillow in between their knees to sleep at night, which can give some extra support to the hips and help with lower back pain or sciatica.
  • The still sleeper: Some side sleepers literally just sleep on their sides, without much movement or stretching out. This is a key sign that you’re sleeping super well, since staying still usually means you slept without issue.
  • The sprawled out sleeper: The side sleeper who tends to sprawl out across the bed is definitely a common way to sleep, though sometimes the sleeper might need some extra support so they don’t wake up with a sore back or shoulders.
  • The headrest sleeper: If you’re a side sleeper who tends to sleep with your forearm or hands underneath your head like a headrest, you might need a pillow that’s a little bit firmer. 

Our tips for sleeping well on your side

As long as you’re properly supported and comfortable when you’re sleeping, side sleeping is a perfectly normal way to sleep. But, without proper support from the right pillow and a good mattress, side sleeping can put unwanted pressure on your back and your shoulders. Here are our tips for sleeping well on your side:

  • Look for a fluffy pillow that makes up for the space between your head, shoulder, and neck while still being firm enough to support your neck.
  • Don’t be afraid to use all the pillows you need. Many side sleepers like to sleep with an extra pillow behind their back or in between their knees.
  • Do your best not to wrench up your shoulder or arm underneath your pillow if you can help it since this will leave you with aching shoulders (plus, it’s a sign that your pillow isn’t the right fit).
  • When you lay down in bed at night, position yourself in a way that keeps your spine as neutral as possible. While you might move around while you sleep, this can start to train your body to sleep the right way.

Key tips for choosing the best pillow for side sleeping

The best pillow for side sleeping is fluffy enough to support the extra space between your head, neck and shoulders while being firm enough to support your head. When your pillow isn’t quite right as a side sleeper, you’ll tend to add your own support via your forearm or your shoulder while you’re sleeping—which can cause painful wake-ups and poorer quality sleep.

Without choosing the best pillow for side sleeping, your neck, spine and head won’t stay in alignment while you sleep, which is no good. Look for a pillow that keeps you nice and elevated off of your mattress (3-4 inches is a great rule of thumb), and one that has a nice firmness to it. The best pillow for side sleeping will keep your neck and shoulders happy and take you off to dreamland every night.

What’s the best pillow for side sleeping?

At Skylark+Owl, we offer our luxurious pillows in two levels of firmness so that you can sleep how you’d like. When choosing the best pillow for your side sleeping style, our Refined Pillow in a soft fill is a great choice. With filling that mimics down without the allergies and gusset design for additional loft, you’ll be perfectly elevated and cozy in your nest.

Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

Refined Pillow


Everyone sleeps differently, so make sure that everyone in your home is sleeping well with a Skylark+Owl pillow that keeps them comfortable. Whether your loved ones are back sleepers, side sleepers or stomach sleepers, we have every pillow you’ll need.

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