The Absolute Best Pillow For A Side Sleeper

Last Updated on March 30, 2023

If you sleep on your side, then you probably struggle to find the perfect pillow. Right?

You want a soft pillow that is comfortable, but you also want a pillow that won’t flatten out. It’s a delicate balance. If you go soft for comfort, then your neck hurts.

If a pillow is dense enough to offer support, then it’s usually not comfortable.

It’s a balancing act that requires a little more precision than your average pillow is capable of.

So, the perfect pillow involves a good-quality pillow and a little bit of a hotel hack. Have you ever noticed how you sleep like a baby when you stay at a hotel?

It’s not just that they use a superior quality pillow. There’s a little bit of a magic trick involved – one that you can do at home.

Let’s show you…


The Best Pillow For A Side Sleeper

For “the absolute best pillow for a side sleeper”, we’re going to use a medium-density pillow.

Medium? Isn’t that for back sleepers? Aren’t side sleepers supposed to use a firm pillow? Yes…and yes. Except we’re going to use the medium pillow, and then add a little hotel magic to craft a firm pillow.

Not just a regular firm pillow. But a firm pillow that is both soft and supportive. It will cradle your head like a cocoon but offer the stability and integrity to support your neck all night.

It won’t flatten out, and yet it won’t be stiff. So…you can sleep like you would at a hotel!

First, the pillow…


The Pillow

We’re going to start off with Downlite’s Chamber pillow.



Well, it’s not just a big bag full of feathers. It’s actually 3 pillows in 1. There are two outer chambers, that contain goose down. Then there is one inner chamber that contains a feather & down blend.

The goose down on the outside provides softness, while the feather core provides stability. It doesn’t smush down as easily, so the pillow stays upright, instead of compressing down.

In fact, you’ve probably already slept on a Chamber pillow without knowing it. A lot of hotels use the Downlite Chamber pillow. There’s a long list, like The Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, The Bellagio in Vegas, Westin, and many more.

Did you sleep like a baby at one of those hotels? Then you were sleeping on a Chamber pillow! Except they use a little trick…


The Hotel Pillow Trick

Hotels like the ones above use a little hotel trick to make their pillows a little more “plump”.

A side sleeper needs a tall pillow. One that can bridge the gap between the side of their head, and the surface of the mattress (more on this later). The problem with traditional pillows is that they peak in the middle, and then flatten out towards the sides.

So unless you’re squarely in the middle, and stay there throughout the night, it just doesn’t work. And that’s assuming that your pillow is firm enough and tall enough.

Ideally, we need more of a box shape. That’s where the hotel trick works so magically. Here’s the recipe…

Take the pillow, and stuff it into a zippered pillow protector that is one size smaller. Make sure that it’s zippered!


So for example, if your pillow is a King size, you would use a Queen-sized protector. Or, if you have a Queen-sized pillow, you would use a Standard or Jumbo-sized protector.

Here are the basic instructions:

  1. Hold your pillow from the corners, and give it a shake
  2. Once the filling settles down, fold the excess fabric onto itself
  3. Stuff the pillow into the protector
  4. Align the corners inside
  5. Zip it shut, and give it a good fluff

And that’s it. This is the trick that hotels use to make their pillows extra comfy! The reason why this works is two-fold.

First, it compresses the filling, and the pillow plumps up. And second, the unique chambered design of a Chamber pillow ensures that the filling inside doesn’t flatten out. 

The pillow won’t deflate, even after a full night of sleep. 


Won’t This Trick Work With A Regular Pillow?

Yes, it will, but not as well.

Regular pillows are just a big bag full of whatever – goose down, polyester, etc. And stuffing it into a smaller protector will plump it up. But it will eventually deflate.

The outer chamber of a Chamber pillow absorbs the weight of your head. And the inner chamber stays intact – providing support throughout the night.


Why Does This Combination Work So Well?

The fact that the pillow gets compressed is really just half of the puzzle. The numbers tell the other half of the story.

The average side sleeper needs a pillow that is about 8″ tall when compressed. How do you figure out your perfect pillow height? Easy – take a tape measure, and measure the distance from the side of your head to the end of your shoulder.

For most people, it’s somewhere between 7″ to 9″.

What is the significance of this measurement? Well, to avoid neck pain in the morning, your neck and spine need to be aligned. In other words, your neck and head need to stay straight.

When your head tilts either up, or down – that is what causes neck pain. So a pillow that is either too tall or too short, is no good. We want your head to stay straight, like this…


Back to the numbers.

So the average side sleeper needs a pillow that provides 8″ of support. Most pillows are in the 4″ to 6″ range. A Chamber pillow, when stuffed into a smaller-sized protector has a height of 8″.



Just Try It!

Give this a try, and you’ll never use a pillow in the traditional way ever again!

There’s a reason why thousands of hotels across the world use the Downlite Chamber pillow. And there’s also a reason why so many hotels use the pillow protector trick. It just works!

Next time you’re at a hotel, take the pillow out of the outer pillowcase. Chances are, the pillow will be stuffed into a smaller-sized pillow protector. 

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