Are you a side sleeper? Or you know a side sleeper? And you want to improve the sleep quality because recently your or your friend’s back has been hurting?

I am a side sleeper myself and I have been there, arms feeling awkward, neck bent over. Oh man, my shoulder blades sored for days and my neck hurt.

Luckily you can correct all those pains with the help of the below products!

What's the best set-up for a side sleeper?

Contouring support mattress and pillow

In any sleeping position, either on your side, on your back, or on your stomach, your spine needs to naturally align. If your spin is curved too much for an extended period of time, you will get back pain. This is also the reason why sleeping on the stomach is not recommended because your spine in the neck will always be bent in such position.

 

the mattress should provide contouring support to keep your spine naturally curved in all positions

This means your mattress should provide contouring support, which is why most people often pick memory foam or pocket coil mattresses. It is because these mattresses maintain their shapes over time and don’t sag easily like cheaper foam mattresses.

 Besides, your pillow should also fill the gap between your mattress and neck without tilting your head when  you sleep on your side.

 

pillow for your sleeping position sleeping on your side lower back pain relief

Additional pillows

To sleep comfortably on your side, slightly bend your knees and place a pillow between them. 

For added support, a small pillow or rolled-up towel between the waist and mattress will also help. 

Adding the pillow between the knees will help align the pelvis, spine, and hips. 

Although there are specialty pillows on the market that are made strictly to do this job, many people find they get a lot of comfort and relief with a regular pillow

Keep in mind to never sleep on the same side, as this can lead to muscle imbalance and even scoliosis.

 

To avoid back pain when sleeping on your side, use a higher pillow under your head to keep your neck and spine aligned. Use a small pillow under your waist to keep the spine's natural curve, and place a pillow between your knees for more back support.

If you want to know more about sleeping positions and back pain, you can read my article “Lower Back Pain and How Your Sleep May Be Affecting You

Without further ado, let’s jump to the products that help a side sleeper sleeps heavenly!

1. A contouring support mattress

There are so many brands out there that sell contouring support mattresses. They can be either the special Purple mattress (they have such funny ads!), memory foam from Endy and Casper or a cheaper alternative – pocketed coil.

If you can afford the bigger and better mattresses, go ahead and find one from those big brand names. It does make a huge difference.

If you want a cheaper alternative, I happily recommend the DHP 8-Inch Independently Encased Coil Futon Mattress

You can read my detailed review of this product in the article “Top 8 best futon mattresses in 2021 (for a bad back)“. And you will see, this DHP futon mattress is on top of my list.

 

dhp best futon mattress for back pain

This DHP futon mattress is great that it gives contouring support and no motion transfer – so you and your partner can sleep happily on the same bed. What’s greater is that the quality of this mattress has been proven by more than 3,000 people on Amazon!

Please note, the product is only the mattress and does not come with the futon frame.

 

If you need a more compact bed for your space, how about considering this Milliard Diplomat folding bed?

I wrote an article reviewing all those best folding beds too!

2. A body pillow

Body pillows are game changers!

If your shoulder blades hurt like mine because you can’t rest your upper arm comfortably while sleeping on your side, this is the solution. It provides the support needed and keep your posture great. It’s because what I found is that after sleeping on the side without support for your upper arm for a long period of time makes your posture look hunched over.

Besides all the great sleeping benefits, hugging a body pillow may make you feel cozy and safe!

Body pillows are really easy to buy. But may I recommend this best selling one on Amazon with more than 12,000 ratings – the Body Pillow by Snuggle-Pedic.

Best selling body pillow on Amazon

 

According to the manufacturer, this pillow is machine washable and will not go flat thanks to the memory foam structure. It’s made in USA and developed by a chiropractor – 1 plus point for our local-shopping supporters.

More astonishingly, the brand has a 90-day no hassle refund policy & free exchanges.

 

Okay, I know this pillow is washable, but you can minimize the hassle of stuffing such a big pillow in the washing machine. To do that, you can just buy a cover for the pillow case.

It’s really easy to find on Amazon, but my favorite is this satin silky body pillow cover. This material helps keep your sleep pleasantly cool in the hot summer.

3. A memory foam contouring pillow

A lot of people have tried and liked memory foam contouring pillows. The reason is because it gives the flexibility of sleeping on the side and sleeping on the back with just one pillow.

memory foam pillow for side sleeper

 

However, I need to tell you that it can be a hit or miss. I ordered a memory foam contouring pillow for myself. Although sleeping on the side was good, sleeping on the back hurts my neck because the pillow was too high for me. A possible explanation is that I have a small build and am very light weight (90lbs), the standard pillow height for people may be too high for me.

However, you can always order one from Amazon and return it if it doesn’t work for you (just like what I did).

 

If you are not looking to buy a gift, you can also try using 2 flat pillows. If you sleep on the back, 1 pillow may be good enough. If you turn to sleep on the side, put another pillow on top to build a higher stack. This does the trick for me!

4. Pillow cases

Your budget is a bit tight this holiday season? Then you can be as creative as you want with pillow cases for a side sleeper.

Why pillow cases? It’s because side sleepers have their faces touch the pillow case a lot through out the night. This requires us to change the pillow case often. Otherwise, we can get acne problems!

 

I recommend these DreamHome microfiber pillow cases on Amazon. More than 7,000 people love it. And it’s available in so many colors!

Conclusion

I wish all the best to my fellow side sleepers! And if you are looking to buy a gift for a side sleeper, you’re such a great and caring soul that notices how your loved ones’ sleeping position.

Remember the most important thing in sleeping positions is that your spine should be naturally aligned whether you sleep on your side or your back. If your back or neck hurts the next day, you should re-evaluate your sleeping position.