Clicky

Best Pillows for Side Sleepers in Australia

This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission.Learn More

Read 29 minLast updated on

According to a 2019 survey conducted by Ecosa, side sleeping is considered the most comfortable position among Australians: 55% of all respondents prefer it (1).

You might certainly doubt that, however, if you’re constantly waking up with the stiff neck.

But guess what? Maybe your pillow is the culprit.

So be sure to check this review of the best pillows for side sleepers in Australia and upgrade your current one so that you can enjoy the comfiest sleep.

A Quick Preview

Emma Foam Pillow
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice

Emma Foam Pillow
Check Current Price
Read more about this pillow
Peacelily Latex Pillow
Runner Up

Peacelily Latex Pillow
Check Current Price
Read more about this pillow
The Koala Pillow
Best for Cooling

The Koala Pillow
Check Current Price
Read more about this pillow
Emma Cloud Hybrid Pillow
Best Pillow for Headaches

Emma Cloud Hybrid Pillow
Check Current Price
Read more about this pillow

Our List of the Best Pillows for Side Sleepers in Australia (May 2024)

Best Overall - Editor’s Choice — Emma Foam Pillow

Emma Foam Pillow

Click the button below to check price Check Current Price Read our detailed review
Get 40% OFF

Highlights

  • multi-layered construction to deliver optimal support levels;
  • adjustable loft to work for a wide range of sleepers and body types;
  • breathable open-cell foam to create a temperature-neutral sleeping environment;
  • removable and machine-washable cover for fuss-free maintenance;
  • includes a 100-night trial, ideal for hesitant shoppers.

The Emma Foam Pillow is my choice of the best pillows for side sleepers, and this is primarily due to its multi-layered construction that lets you choose your best loft, therefore, providing optimal support levels. This model surprised me with its “just right” feel. The pillow is well-balanced and offers just enough support and cradling. It makes the head feel weightless when sleeping on the Emma, which is why I think it's the best for side sleepers in Australia among the other top models.

And it gets better: the layers are removable (or swappable, whatever you wish). This means every sleeper can achieve their perfect comfort level. After all, each layer of the Emma pillow has a different feel. So, sleepers can test different configurations and adjust not only the height of the pillow but also the way it feels. For instance, I experimented with various setups and found the right one by placing the Airgocell layer on top (as I enjoyed its deeper hug).

Emma Foam Pillow's layers
Emma Foam Pillow's layers

Based on Our Review

I tested the Emma pillow and found it to be a thoughtfully constructed pillow designed to offer optimal comfort to the sleeper. I also like that it supports the neck and head to keep the spine aligned for tension-relieving rest.

Firmness of the Emma Foam Pillow
Emma Foam Pillow's cover

Runner Up — Peacelily Latex Pillow

Peacelily Latex Pillow (Firm)

Click the button below to check price Check Current Price Shop Now on Peacelily.com.au

Highlights

  • 12.5-cm loft for proper head and neck support;
  • sleeps cool due to the open-cell structure of the latex and additional perforation;
  • natural cotton cover wicks away moisture and keeps your sleep cool;
  • completely odourless pillow for very sensitive sleepers;
  • made with organic and renewable materials without any harmful chemicals.

Another item I would love to share with you is the Peacelily Latex Pillow. When you sleep on your side, your face and body come into direct contact with the pillow. And if it doesn’t remove your body heat properly, you may wake up all sweaty and groggy, which isn’t the definition of rest at all. Our Runner Up for the best pillows for side sleepers in Australia, the Peacelily Latex Pillow, will spare you from hot sleeping while maintaining the proper support of your head and neck.

The Peacelily is made of a 12.5-cm Dunlop latex slab. This material is perfect for side sleepers in two ways: first, its density can sufficiently support your neck alignment. Second, it has a pretty good pressure-relieving effect and can relax your stiff shoulder. 

Plus, the latex is naturally cool material because it has an open-cell structure that allows your body heat to escape. And the Peacelily pillow is even more breathable because it has small holes across the surface that enhance the aeration.

Also, the pillow is encased in a natural cotton cover. This material performs great at absorbing moisture and is soft to the touch. 

So, if you’re a side sleeper and need a long-lasting pillow that doesn’t pack any hidden chemicals inside — the Peacelily will be your way to go!

Based on Our Review

My tests showed that the Peacelily latex pillow exhibits outstanding support for the neck, especially when I slept on my side. In addition, the bounce kept my head afloat, minimizing the chances of hot sleep resulting from plushness.

Best for Cooling - The Koala Pillow

Koala Pillow

Click the button below to check price Check Current Price Read our detailed review

Highlights

  • The gel-infused memory foam reduces the concentration of heat from the surface, promoting cool and healthy sleep.
  • This pillow has different firmness levels on both sides, providing a malleable loft for side sleepers.
  • The presence of firm edges helps to keep the sleeper's neck from sagging lower than the optimal line.

My best cooling option for the best pillows for side sleepers is the Koala Pillow. While testing, I liked that I could switch the surface when I needed a softer or firmer side. It allowed me to choose where I wanted the pillow to support my head. I also liked that, despite the conformity it exhibits, I enjoyed temperature-neutral sleep and the pillow itself maintained a cool temperature. 

Side sleeping on the Koala Pillow
Side sleeping on the Koala Pillow

As side sleepers need a good profile to keep the neck and body aligned for good posture, the firm edges on both pillow surfaces ensured that my neck did not sag more than the optimal level. The Koala pillow is a good option to explore for its cooling and alternative firmness.

Based on Our Review

My review showed that the Koala pillow easily adapts its temperature to create a temperature-neutral surface for the sleeper. In addition, the presence of pores in its design promotes breathability for the sleeper.

Koala Pillow's cover
Firmness of the Koala Pillow

Best Pillow for Headaches - Emma Cloud Hybrid Pillow

Emma Cloud Hybrid Pillow

Click the button below to check price Check Current PriceShop Now on Emma-sleep.com.au

Highlights

  • Unique UltraDry cover that offers a cool feel and optimal breathability.
  • Adjustable pillow height so sleepers can adjust the pillow’s feel to their preference.
  • Memory foam construction that cradles tense body parts for excellent pressure relief.

The Emma Cloud Hybrid Pillow features a unique build with two  pillows which you can remove and adjust to suit your sleeping preferences. These adjustable pillows make it easier to cushion specific spots to provide a unique feel few pillows offer. This means that the Emma Cloud Hybrid Pillow is a good option for people suffering from headaches or migraines. I liked how this pillow cushioned my head and I didn’t feel any discomfort during my tests.

Another feature I found helpful was the breathable cover, made with UltraDry fabric. This cover made me sleep cool and I didn’t notice any off-putting odors like on other pillows I reviewed. In my opinion, this pillow’s plush foam and cool cover make this pillow a good option for people who want quick relief from headaches.

Based on Our Review

I liked how cool this pillow felt during my review. I liked that my head sank slightly, offering a cradling and comforting feel.

How Does Side Sleeping Affect Pillow Choice?

Every sleeping style has its own requirements for the perfect pillow but side sleeping probably has the most.

See, that’s because the lateral position isn’t the best for our spinal health. First, your head is pretty heavy, and if the pillow fails to support it, you may strain your neck (2). Second, when you sleep on your side, you put your body weight on the shoulder and this can result in stiffness as well.

So, what features should a good pillow for side sleepers have to successfully address these problems?

Here they are:

  • Loft. For side sleepers, the pillow should fill in the space between the ear and the bed (3), which is basically equal to your shoulder width. So, you can measure the distance from the base of the neck to your shoulder joint (spoiler: it will be around 12-13 cm, which is pretty average pillow loft). Or, go for the pillow with an adjustable loft, especially if you shift through back and side sleeping: in this case, the pillow should be compatible with both positions, so it’s recommended that you adjust it manually.
  • Firmness. Side sleepers might need a firmer pillow that can maintain its shape without sinking too deep under the head. Typically, solid memory foam, latex, or overstuffed shredded foam pillows make a good pick for that. A regular fiberfill model might do the trick as well, but only if it’s generously stuffed and can guarantee sturdy support. That being said, shoppers need to remember that most fiberfill pillows tend to lose their loft with time. This means sleepers will have to buy a new pillow sooner than with other types.

Not only do you need firm pillows as a side sleeper, but they also aid breathability because they make less contact with the face.

  • Cover. When you sleep on the side, the pillow touches your face. Also, it collects oils from the skin and hair and gathers tiny skin cells and dust that can turn into an allergic bomb when combined. The best way to prevent this is to opt for models with washable cover: they prevent dust buildup and let you enjoy the freshness for longer.

Also Read: Best Pillows for Back Sleepers in Australia

What Are the Best Pillows for Side Sleepers in Australia Made Of?

When looking for the best pillow for side sleepers in Australia, one can’t help but wonder:

What is the best pillow type I can use to feel the most comfortable during sleep?

The thing is, none of the pillow types is perfect. However, some may work for you better than others. So, let’s take a closer look at what pillows for side sleepers are made of to find the best solution for you:

  • Memory foam (solid). What makes memory foam a good option for side sleepers is its ability to conform to the curves of one’s body. Therefore, a foam pillow can deliver the needed support (if it’s firm enough) while gently cradling your neck and reducing tension.  This is why memory foam models are often considered the best pillows for side sleepers with neck and shoulder pain in Australia. Foam can redistribute the pressure evenly, which often helps with pain alleviation.  However, it’s important to remember that most solid memory foam pillows sleep warmer than usual unless they are infused with cooling components.
  • Memory foam (shredded). Shredded foam pillows are more breathable, so they might sleep cooler than solid memory foam. Many of them also allow for height adjustability to satisfy more users. At the same time, shredded memory foam pillows can be just as cradling and supportive. That being said, keep in mind that pieces of foam may form lumps with time (which would vary depending on the pillow quality).
  • Latex. Latex is a great choice for side sleepers because this material can deliver resilient support without neglecting pressure alleviation. Just like foam, latex is able to mold to the curves of one’s neck and head. However, it won’t hug you that much. Additionally, latex pillows sleep cool naturally, which makes them an ideal solution for hot sleepers and those who experience hot flashes during the night. On the other hand, such pillows belong to a rather expensive category. 
  • Poly-fiber. Poly-fiber pillows are meant to imitate the airy feel of natural down. That’s why most of them aren’t that firm. Therefore, side sleepers typically feel the most comfortable on slightly overstuffed poly-fiber pillows. In this case, they can enjoy resilient support. These pillows are usually super affordable and can be an excellent solution for budget shoppers. Nevertheless, poly-fiber pillows are less durable than other types and can flatten or form lumps. In this case, it might be a good idea to get an adjustable, zippered pillow. Once it loses its loft, you can simply add more filling and extend its life.
  • Buckwheat. The reason why buckwheat pillows work for side sleepers is that they can offer firm, sturdy support. Plus, many of them come in a medium-high loft, which should work for the majority of side sleepers. Furthermore, buckwheat pillows sleep cool. However, I have to warn you: buckwheat shells can be pretty noisy. When sleeping on such a pillow, you will hear rattling noises when moving or adjusting the pillow. And while the sound isn’t that loud, it can disturb some individuals, especially light sleepers.

Now, I did not include the popular down pillows deliberately. The thing is, they are typically extra squishy, soft, and airy. Chances are, this won’t be enough to deliver enough support when sleeping on one side (unless you use a couple of down pillows, but it’s not that comfortable and can be very expensive).

Other Things to Consider

These features can make your side sleeping experience more comfortable, so be sure to include them in your list when choosing a decent pillow for side sleepers.

Neck and Shoulder Issues

If you don’t have neck or shoulder pain, a properly chosen pillow will prevent you from getting these issues anytime soon. But if you have some problems, you should take them into consideration. For example, if you have osteoarthritis, you may need a more moldable pillow with a fiberfill layer. Those with shoulder pain can benefit from a higher and firmer pillow that will remove the load from the shoulder belt.

Be sure to consult your healthcare specialist to determine which pillow type will suit your needs.

Thermoregulation

Cool sleep is more restorative sleep, that’s a fact

So, a good pillow — especially for a side sleeper, who rubs their face on it — should be able to remove all the body heat and excess moisture to keep your sleep cool and dry.

Natural latex and latex shreds, as well as open-cell and gel-infused foams, work really great for that. Also, you can look for the pillow with a removable get insert. You can place this insert in a fridge and then put it back into your pillow and enjoy a breezy sleep.

I look for solid pillows with air spaces in their design for optimal thermoregulation. This way, I’m less prone to sleep hot, even in warmer weather.

Comfort adjustments or sleep trial

There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” in the world of pillows. Therefore, to be on the safe side (or if you don’t know what you need exactly), you may want to pick a model that offers loft adjustments. Such pillows usually have a zippered cover that allows users to add or remove some amount of the filling. Such a design would let you tailor your new pillow to your needs and according to your body peculiarities.

Another vital aspect is the in-home sleep trial. It would allow you to test a pillow and return it for a full refund in case it doesn’t work for you. Again, it’s an awesome problem-solving “tool” for uncertain and hesitant shoppers.

When searching for a pillow, I tend towards pillows with customizable options like loft height, adjustability, or alternating firmness. I do this if I don’t want to go through the rigor of returning the pillow.

Weight and Mattress Firmness

Each of these aspects can determine how much sinkage the sleeper will experience. And sinkage can affect the loft of the pillow

If the sleeper sinks deeper into the mattress, they will need a slightly thinner pillow. Why? Because when sinking deeper, there’s less space between the head and the surface of the mattress. Naturally, the pillow doesn’t have to be too tall to fill in all that space.

Now, heavier side sleepers typically experience more sinkage, which means they might require a thinner pillow. The same rule applies to owners of soft mattresses. 

F.A.Q.

What is the best pillow type for side sleepers?

A proper pillow for sleeping on one’s side has to be tall and should deliver firmer support. When sleeping on the side, your pillow has to prevent your head from tilting. Therefore, it has to be lofty enough to fill in all that space between your head and the surface of your mattress.

How thick should a pillow be for sleeping on your side?

It would depend on your height and body type, but on average, pillows for side sleepers range from around 7 to 15 cm.

Is memory foam good for side sleepers?

Generally, yes, if it’s firm enough. Memory foam is a highly adaptive material that can nicely cradle the head and contour the neck when you’re lying on one side. However, it should be tall and firm enough, not soft and squishy.

Wrapping Up

Choosing a good pillow for a side sleeper isn’t rocket science.
Be sure to choose a higher loft, so you can maintain healthy spinal alignment while sleeping, go for natural and breathable materials, and don’t forget about the washable cover.

You can also skip this and try the Emma Foam Pillow, our overall best pillow for side sleepers. This pillow is just fantastic with its adjustable loft, which lets you find your best comfort level. The pillow also has a very breathable open-cell foam that helps create a temperature-neutral sleeping environment, so it is excellent for side sleepers who tend to get hot a lot. Overall, the Emma Foam Pillow is a perfect choice for people who love customizable products.

So, does that sound like a perfect pillow for you? Or have you chosen another one among the four? Let us know in the comments! And what about you? Which model among the four has got your heart? Write your answer in the comments!

References

  1. Emilia Mazza (2019, September 26). Australian Research Reveals the Best and the Worst Sleeping Positions. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7505569/Australian-research-reveals-best-worst-sleeping-positions-mental-physical-health.html
  2. Harvard Medical School (March 2018). Is Your Pillow Hurting Your Health? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/is-your-pillow-hurting-your-health
  3. DePaul University (n.d.).Sleeping Posture. Retrieved from https://offices.depaul.edu/environmental-health-and-safety/ergonomics/back-safety/Pages/sleeping-posture.aspx

Our research

45

Pillows Considered

150

Hours of Research

2

Sleep Experts Consulted

Subscribe to get updates and new deals!

Zero spam. Unsubscribe at any time

8 comments

  1. What’s the typical lifespan of these pillows?

    1. The typical lifespan of pillows can vary depending on the quality of the materials and how well they are maintained. Generally, good quality pillows can last anywhere from 1 to 2 years, but some higher-end pillows can last longer. To maximize their lifespan, it’s important to regularly fluff and rotate them, use pillow protectors, and follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

  2. This article is a lifesaver! I’ve been struggling with neck pain as a side sleeper. Can’t thank you enough for the guidance. Do you update these recommendations regularly?

    1. I’m thrilled to hear that you found the article helpful in addressing your neck pain issues as a side sleeper. Your kind words are greatly appreciated.

      Yes, I regularly update the articles and continually test new pillows to ensure that our readers have access to the most up-to-date and effective solutions. My goal is to provide the best guidance for improving sleep quality and overall comfort.

  3. Can you provide more details on the recommended loft for side sleepers? Is it a one-size-fits-all, or does it vary? Stephanie

    1. For side sleepers, the recommended pillow loft is typically around 12-13 cm, which corresponds to the space between your ear and the bed and is roughly equal to your shoulder width. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the ideal loft can vary based on individual preferences. If you shift between back and side sleeping, an adjustable loft pillow can be an excellent choice, allowing you to manually adjust it to suit both positions.

  4. Which pillow should I choose with my husband to avoid allergies? We have read a lot of about the Koala and Peacelily pillows.

    1. I would recommend you to choose the Peacelily pillow. Latex pillows are often recommended for their hypoallergenic properties. I hope you and your husband find the Peacelily pillow comfortable and effective for your needs.

Leave a comment