Australia’s Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

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If you’re the kind of person who needs sleep (and we have a feeling there’s a lot of you), the odds are that you’re a side sleeper. The position is by far the most common all over the world—from our home in Australia all the way to the lush land of Iceland—and most bedding products therefore cater to the needs of side sleepers. Of course, investing in a supportive side-sleeping mattress is all well and good, but if you don’t put some thought into picking up a pillow to match, you may find yourself bearing a painful, misaligned spine anyway. A side sleeper’s pillow needs to be just the right thickness and firmness to keep your head straight and supported. It’s easy to go too thick or thin; too firm or soft, and override many of the benefits a high-quality mattress would provide.

We understand that pillow shopping can be tough, though. There are dozens upon dozens of options out there just begging to be bought. Which one’s right for you? We’ve put in the work to make your search a little easier. Our team has put together a list of Australia’s best pillows for side sleepers. Keep reading for a look at the full lineup and an overview of what makes our team tick with them.

Before we got started, however, perhaps we should take a quick tour through the pillow market. There are several factors which make a pillow ideal for side sleepers, and we’ve compiled the major ones into this handy buyer’s guide. Check it out!

Pillow Buyer’s Guide for Side Sleepers

1) Thickness

For folks who slumber soundly on their side, it’s crucial that their head and neck remain straight throughout the night. Tilting too far towards the ceiling or floor is a sign of either a too-thick or too-thin pillow. Generally, a loft (height) of four inches is a good figure to aim for to ensure that the head and neck are properly aligned with the spine. Obviously, this figure is just a guideline: everyone is different, and therefore some side sleepers will benefit from a thicker pillow and others will need one that’s thinner.

2) Firmness

The feel of a pillow is just as important as its thickness in terms of keeping the head comfortable and properly positioned throughout the night. If it’s too soft, the head may sink, negating any benefits of a pillow’s thickness and causing the head to tilt anyway. Conversely, if it’s too firm, it may cause pressure to build up in the head and neck, leading to pain even if the head is perfectly straight. Most sources recommend either a medium-firm or firm pillow for side sleepers.

3) Filling Materials

Since the dawn of humanity, or at least the dawn of bedroom furniture, people have been stuffing their pillows with all manner of materials in the pursuit of comfort. Nowadays, you won’t find the likes of hay or straw in any good commercially-available Australian pillow, but there are certainly a range of materials you will find: memory foam, latex, wool, microfibre, feathers and more.

Each filling type comes with its own pros and cons. Feather and down, for example, is longer-lasting than many cheaper filling types; however, it tends to ‘sink’ throughout the night and needs to be plumped up, making it a less-than ideal choice for side sleepers. Memory foam, on the other hand, is firmer and retains its shape throughout the night, making it great for side sleepers. Its downside, though, is that it typically retains heat more than most other materials—not exactly ideal for the fierce Australian summers.

Buyer’s Guide Summary

In conclusion, the ideal pillow (in theory) for side sleepers is around four inches thick, of a firm/medium firmness and is filled with a material which holds its shape well. Your personal body type, requirements and preferences will, naturally, sway this theoretical ideal in a number of directions. You’ll have to try out a pillow for yourself to know for sure whether it’s the right choice for you. That’s why most modern bedding companies offer risk-free trials with their products.

Are you clued-up and ready to take on the pillow market? After all, Australia isn’t short of top-quality pillows, and we’ve found some good ones to prove it! Take a look and see what we’ve discovered…

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Australia’s Top Rated Pillows for Side Sleepers

1. Emma Foam Pillow – Editor’s Pick

Out of every pillow available to buy in Australia, our editor has singled out the Emma Foam Pillow as their absolute favourite for side sleepers. Why? Well because it puts you in control of your sleep destiny. Costing $150, it comes stuffed with three distinct removable and swappable foam layers, which mean that you can customise the height as well as the feel of the pillow to suit your preferences and requirements.

As a side sleeper, you may want to place the firm HRX Supreme Cold Foam on the dominant position for the support it provides, perhaps with the soft, breathable Airgocell foam beneath it to add a little comfort and help keep you cool. As for the contouring visco-elastic memory foam, it’s up to you whether you throw it into the mix at all! You may find that just two of the three layers gives the pillow an ideal loft. Alternatively, you may opt for a completely different arrangement of layers. That’s the beauty of the Emma Foam Pillow: it’s entirely up to you!

All of the pillow’s foam layers are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, meaning that they’ve been tested and approved as 100% safe around humans. Plus, Emma offers free Australia-wide delivery and a 100-night trial, so there’s nothing stopping you from trying this one out for size absolutely risk free.

Final Verdict: Customisability is the operative word with this pillow. Its height and feel are completely in your control, which is ideal for side sleepers who need to ensure that, for their neck and spine’s sake, the height of their pillow is just right.

2. Ecosa Pillow – Best for Side Sleepers with Shoulder/Neck Pain

Ecosa is a staple of the Australian bed-in-a-box market, offering unique, reliably high-quality products at very reasonable prices. Its memory foam pillow is no different, providing sleepers with adjustable height pads to ensure their head and neck are perfectly aligned with their spine. This adjustability, in conjunction with the contouring properties of memory foam, makes it an outstanding choice for supporting side sleepers suffering from pre-existing shoulder and neck pain issues.

As mentioned in the Buyer’s Guide, heat-retention is one of the major drawbacks of memory foam. Even Aussies who don’t sleep particularly hot may find that they wake up drenched in sweat atop a memory foam mattress and pillow. The Ecosa Pillow, despite being formed of memory foam, counteracts these heat-retention effects thanks to its breathable cover and 3D foam, which help prevent heat from building up within the pillow. Furthermore, the foam is infused with activated charcoal, a naturally antibacterial substance which helps reduce odour buildup. Of course, despite these technologies, the pillow will still need washing, which is why its removable and machine-washable cover will come in handy!

Available for $150, this pillow is delivered Australia-wide for free and comes with a 100-night risk-free trial, so you can see if it works for you before you commit to having it in your life. In terms of warranty, you’ll be covered for 100 days against manufacturer defects upon its arrival at your doorstep.

Final Verdict: This $150 medium-firm pillow stands apart from its competitors by combining the contouring support of memory foam with a unique adjustable height feature. It’s a great choice for any side sleeper, but those with existing neck or shoulder pain issues will most definitely want to check this one out.

* It’s worth noting that the above information does not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it’s best to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. 

3. Noa Down Alternative Pillow – Best Budget

For some buyers, the asking price of this article’s numerous $100+ pillows might simply be too much to shell out. We understand. If you’re a side sleeper craving a high-quality pillow, we want you to know that there are more wallet-friendly options out there. Take the Noa Down Alternative Pillow for example. Asking just $49, Noa doesn’t demand much investment from its customers, and yet it offers a considerable amount in return.

This microfibre pillow is reportedly produced by the oldest family-run textile mill in Portugal, who have made it to the high OEKO-TEX Standard 100 specifications, making it guaranteed to be safe and of a high quality. It’s also available in three different firmness varieties: Soft, Medium and Firm. They all cost the same amount; the only difference between them is the amount of microfibre filling stuffed within its 100% cotton sateen shell. “Soft” has 675 g/sm of filling, “Medium” has 750 g/sm and “Firm” boasts 810 g/sm. As a side sleeper, we advise that you first consider the “Firm” option: its higher loft and more substantial support will be more likely to elevate your head to the right position and keep it there all night long.

While Noa does offer free delivery to anywhere in Australia, it doesn’t provide customers with warranty support or a trial period. You can return the product within 30 days of purchase, but only if it has not been opened or used at all. It’s something, but not quite the trial you may be hoping for. Still, for $49, Noa had to make some sacrifices somewhere, and it looks like the company’s post-purchase support didn’t make the cut.

Final Verdict: For the modest $49 price tag, the Noa Down Alternative Pillow is a decent little contender in this pillow race. Its microfibre filling will serve its purpose adequately, although without the longevity of other higher quality fillings. More concerning is the lack of significant post-purchase support, but for the price, we’re willing to go easy on the omission of any sort of warranty or risk-free trial.

4. MiniJumbuk Standard Medium Profile Breathe Pillow – Best Cooling

Side sleepers are common all over the world, and in the often blazing climate of Australia, folks who sleep hot are common too. That’s why we’re pleased to see companies like MiniJumbuk investing in pillows which seem custom-made for side sleepers who run on the warmer side. This cool and breathable pillow—ranging from $109.99 to $129.99 depending on the thickness chosen—is filled with a 60% wool and 40% polyester blend, covered in a 60% wool and 40% quilted cotton casing. These materials will keep air flowing freely throughout the night, helping to keep you from getting too hot and waking up puffy-eyed, grumpy and drenched in sweat—we’ve all been there; it ain’t nice.

The company recommends the “medium profile” pillow, costing $119.99, for side sleepers with an average body frame. If you’re of a larger build, however, you may want to consider the slightly pricier “high profile” variety.

With a 60 night risk-free trial available to all customers, you should have more than enough time to decide whether this pillow is for you before you take the plunge. Unfortunately there’s no free shipping with this product: you’ll be looking at a $9.95 delivery rate, which, while not a dealbreaker for most, is a little annoying.

Final Verdict: Wool, cotton and polyester come together in this pillow to make a airy, breathable sleeping experience which is ideal for relieving pressure on the face and preventing the puffy-eyed appearance which comes from an overly hot night’s sleep. Side sleepers will want to opt for the “medium” or “high” profile options with this pillow if they want to get the appropriate amount of loft. If they can get the height right, we’re sure the overheating side sleepers of Australia will be blown away with this pillow!

5. Peacelily Latex Pillow (Firm) – Best Latex

100% natural dunlop latex foam makes up the filling of this top-quality pillow from Peacelily. This “firm” variety, costing $129, provides an element of support—perfect for side sleepers—while maintaining the bouncy, pressure-relieving qualities and hypoallergenic properties which make latex the wonder material it is. In addition to keeping your head, neck and shoulders supported on a nightly basis, latex is also a long-lasting material, which means that the pillow will serve you well for a long time to come—far longer than other cheaper materials like synthetic microfibre.

Speaking of filling, this pillow’s latex is Eco-INSTITUT and Oeko-Tex Class 1 certified. Made to the highest standards of safety; it’s completely non-toxic and releases no off-gas whatsoever. The organic cotton in use here is also Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified, meaning that it’s harvested through environmentally-friendly and sustainable methods. This is a pillow you can certainly feel good about investing in, and it has the credentials to prove it.

Free shipping, a 100-night risk-free trial and a full year of warranty coverage help make this all-natural product even more appealing, as if it needed help. We joke, but this kind of post-purchase support is always welcome, and for many customers it’s the thing that can make or break a purchase,

Final Verdict: This all-natural dunlop latex pillow ticks a lot of boxes: organic, environmentally-friendly, durable, comfortable and (with this “firm” variety) supportive too. For a side sleeper who wants to do right by the environment while securing themselves a restful night’s sleep and pain-free morning, it’s hard to do better than Peacelily.

6. Downtime Luxury High Loft Surround Memory Foam Pillow – Best Memory Foam

The memory foam core and down-like filling of the Downtime Luxury Memory Foam Pillow give it a distinct and incredibly comfortable feel that brings out the best qualities of memory foam. At $109.99 for the medium/high profile variety, which we recommend for giving side sleepers adequate loft, this pillow has a lot to offer.

While the plush, down-like surrounding keeps your head and shoulders feeling cushioned, it doesn’t come at the expense of support (which is crucial for side sleepers). The memory foam core ensures that behind the cushioning is a firm element of support to keep your head, neck and spine aligned.

Just like the MiniJumbuk pillow, this product is also subject to a $9.95 delivery fee, although it does also come with the same 60-day money-back guarantee, so it’s not all bad.

Final Verdict: The Downtime Luxury Surround Memory Foam Pillow is a memory foam enthusiast’s dream, combining the support and contouring effects of memory foam with the plush comfort of that down-like surround. It may cause too much heat to build up for some sleepers, due to the inherent qualities of memory foam, but considering that this is just a pillow—not a mattress—we don’t feel that it’s a huge limiting factor.

7. Koala Memory Foam Pillow – Best for Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers are tough to cater for when it comes to pillows and mattresses. How do you account for someone who tosses, turns and flips position at a moment’s notice? Well, with a pillow that does the same! The Koala Memory Foam Pillow can be flipped to provide two different firmness levels, soft and firm. This makes it a great pick for front, back and side sleepers (or people who spend time dabbling between the three).

Interestingly, the outer edge of this pillow, on both sides, is firmer than the inside. This has the unique effect of keeping your neck supported without putting undue pressure on your head. This is certainly an innovation on Koala’s part, and it goes a long way to making the pillow’s $150 price tag seem like a veritable bargain. When you factor in the gel-infused, ventilated foam, designed to mitigate the heat-retention qualities of memory foam, this pillow ends up feeling like an absolute steal for the price.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Koala’s outstanding post-purchase support. Not only is this pillow available with free four-hour shipping to major Australian metropolitan areas, it also comes with a 120-night risk-free trial and is covered by a five-year warranty. This is all fantastic stuff, and it’s a huge reason that we’re always so quick to champion Koala’s products.

Final Verdict: This top-notch memory foam pillow is stuffed with innovations and unique features, from its double-sided design all the way to its firm outer rim. Of course, it’s also just a plain old high-quality pillow to boot, one that comes covered in a sustainably-sourced, moisture-wicking TENCEL Lyocell cover. We’re impressed with Koala’s efforts to make a pillow for every kind of sleeper, and we’re inclined to think that they’ve triumphed!

8. Therapillo Cooling Gel Top Premium Memory Foam High Profile Pillow – Best for a Larger Body Frame

Side sleepers with larger frames must be careful when shopping for a pillow. It can be tough to find one with a high enough profile to match the owner’s broad shoulders and prevent the head from resting at an odd angle. That’s why we’ll always recommend a product like the Therapillo Premium Memory Foam Pillow. Composed of a gel-infused memory foam, this pillow’s filling is perfectly suited for contouring around the owner’s head, neck and shoulders, supporting them and keeping them cool in the process. It also provides enough sturdiness and loft to keep the head straight without sinking during the night.

This high profile extraordinaire, which costs $199.95, offers everything a larger-framed side sleeper could need from a pillow, and it comes from a company which has earned the approval of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) too. When this pillow promises to keep your spine well and truly aligned, it has the credentials to back it up!

All of that, in addition to the removable and machine-washable velour cover, makes this an appealing mattress indeed, one that any larger-framed side sleeper would do well to check out.

In terms of post-purchase support, the Therapillo Memory Foam Pillow is a mixed bag. While it offers a 10-year warranty, there is no trial period and delivery will set you back a further $9.95. Considering that the $199.95 price tag already makes this the priciest option in this article that might turn some folks off.

Final Verdict: Premium materials, firm support and an exceptionally high profile make this an excellent choice of pillow for side sleepers with larger frames. The contouring properties of memory foam will relieve the pressure on the sleeper’s head while the gel beads nestled within will keep them nice and cool. This pillow is a cohesive package; each component is designed with bulkier side sleepers in mind. Despite the price, it’s hard to deny the quality of the product on offer here.

Conclusion

It’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of pillows begging for your attention. This is just a sampling of the excellent pillows available for side sleepers in Australia, and there are dozens upon dozens more where these came from.

If you’re looking to venture out and strike pillow-gold for yourself, you’d do well to bear in mind the advice in the earlier Buyer’s Guide. If you have any more questions or queries, feel free to get in touch! Our team will be happy to give you advice or point you to another article which may help you out.

Happy hunting!

Emma Foam Pillow

Emma Foam Pillow

Our Top Pick

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