If you’re a side sleeper, pat yourself on the back. The way you’re sleeping isn’t just helping keep your spine in alignment and alleviating pressure on your back and airway, it’s actually scientifically proven to be the healthiest sleeping style. You’re less likely to snore than a back sleeper, and you’re not twisting your spine and neck like stomach sleepers tend to. But don’t celebrate too quickly; without the right pillow, you’re just leaving yourself open to the same injuries and problems that back and stomach sleepers do.
The Manual may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
To get that ideal side sleeping technique down pat, you need a pillow with a high loft, like memory foam. But if you’re not a memory foam fan, or if you’re looking for a pillow that’s made of natural materials, you should look no further than latex pillows. Latex pillows are springy and firm, so they elevate your head. As a side sleeper, your shoulders lift your head and neck far from the mattress, especially if you’re broad shouldered, so you should fill that gap with a high lofted pillow. Stomach sleepers and back sleepers, don’t hit that back button yet. Latex pillows, if you find the right one, can actually be a decent choice for you, too. After all, aren’t we all just looking for the tools that help us fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night?
Best Luxury Pillow:
King – $95
- Loft: 3.75 inches
- Ideal for back sleepers or those who sleep hot
Custom Comfort Mattress has created a natural Talalay latex pillow with a midrange loft. Back sleepers, cozy in – your partner won’t have to worry about you snoring because you’re sleeping on a pillow that’s too flat. This perforated, molded latex pillow is perfect for the sensitive sleeper. If shredded latex feels too lumpy or you just like the feel of an even, well-formed pillow, molded latex is the way to go. However, you don’t have to sacrifice the coolness that shredded latex offers, as Custom Comfort Mattress uses holes punched throughout the pillow to keep you from overheating at night.
Best Budget Pillow:
- Loft: 3.9 inches
- Ideal for side sleepers who prefer a softer pillow
This funky looking pillow, made from natural latex from Thailand, is great for side sleepers who need high loft but who still prefer to sink into their pillow a little bit. Latex is typically very firm, so this is a good choice if you have dreams of sleeping on a cloud but get waking headaches from pillows made from softer materials like down. This pillow is higher on one side, so it offers your neck extra support without making your head tilt skyward.
Best Adjustable Pillow:
Queen – $60
- Loft: 2.5 inches
- Ideal for sleepers who like to move to their back or stomach
Stomach and back sleepers, stop scrolling. If you love the springiness and support that latex offers, plus the fact that latex is a natural material, check out this shredded latex pillow by PureTree. While some sleepers might prefer molded latex because shredded latex might feel lumpy, this pillow offers something no 100% molded latex pillow can: it’s adjustable. The shell was designed to unzip, so if you’re a stomach sleeper in need of an ultra-flat pillow, or if you’re a hybrid sleeper who has no preference over back, side, or stomach, you can remove or add more shredded latex to this pillow at will.
Best Pillow for Hybrid Sleepers:
King – $86
- Ideal for sleepers who have no back, side, or stomach preference, but like the feel of molded latex
Another great choice for stomach and back sleepers, Pacific Coast has created a molded latex pillow that suits everyone. Stomach sleepers who want a latex choice but don’t like shredded latex: here’s your best bet. Because it’s hole punched, stomach sleepers need not worry about getting too hot at night, either; even if you’re lying face down on this molded latex pillow, you’ll feel air circulation and comfort.
Best Contoured Pillow:
Size Big Waves – $49
- Loft: 3.9-3.7 inches
- Ideal for back and side sleepers
Memory foam pillows are likely most commonly associated with contoured pillows, but if you like the long-lasting firmness of latex but the neck support contoured pillows offer, check out ALPHA LATEX’s model. Depending on how you orient this pillow, you’re getting a different experience: in one direction, this pillow provides a high loft to side sleepers; in the other direction, back sleepers can feel the support on their neck. Because of the elevated sides, however, this pillow isn’t great for stomach sleepers.
Pros and Cons of Latex Pillows
Latex pillows definitely aren’t for everyone. For the most part, they’re too high and firm for stomach sleepers, who typically want the cloud-like yet flat experience of down pillows. On the other hand, back sleepers need just enough support to prevent snoring but the softness so they’re not in a head-forward posture all night. Of course, there are exceptions like with any pillow material, but heavy, broad-shouldered and firmness-loving side sleepers can expect to feel comfortable sleeping on a latex pillow. Here are some of the things you should consider before buying one.
Pros of Latex Pillows
- Because of the great support they offer, latex pillows can reduce neck and back pain and stiffness. Goodbye, morning headaches.
- Latex is made with all-natural rubber – usually. Talalay latex is what you should look out for if high quality and natural latex is important to you.
- Because latex gives you the experience of sleeping “on” your pillow, rather than “in” it like down pillows, it sleeps cooler than down.
- Latex is naturally mildew-proof and dust-mite resistant.
- It’s naturally supportive and retains its shape well, so your head won’t form a valley in your pillow.
Cons of Latex Pillows
- Latex is super firm. This is a pro for side sleepers, but stomach sleepers probably want something softer that they can sink in to. However, stomach sleepers can still find a swath of great pillows designed just for them.
- Your latex pillow will probably smell a little (or a lot, depending on how it was made) fresh out of the box. The smell isn’t harmful, but it will probably be annoying to sleep on. Let it air out a few days before you take it to bed.
- Latex is an interesting and versatile material, but if you’re not used to it, you may need an adjustment period. Give it time if you hate it at first; once you adjust, you may just find yourself waking up pain-free for the first time.
- It’s common to be allergic to latex. If you notice a rash or your skin is irritated after testing out your new pillow, ditch the latex.
Are you overhauling your bedroom and looking to upgrade your sleep? The Manual has you covered. Check out mattresses recommended by health experts or, if you’re a side sleeper, the best mattresses for extra support.
- The Ultimate Pillow Guide: The 6 Best Pillows for All Sleepers
- Wake Up Rested With the Best Down Pillows of 2019
- How to Shave With a Straight Razor
- How to Choose the Best Organic Mattress for Greener Sleep
- What to Wear for Thanksgiving: The Best Men’s Outfit