If you’re a side sleeper, you’ve probably tossed and turned searching for the perfect balance between supporting your head and putting pressure on your arm. However, today we’ll take a closer look at a newer solution that could be just right for you — a pillow with an arm hole.
And if you still think that a pillow is just a pillow, you may want to think again. Thanks to advances in design and construction technology, specialized pillows are becoming more and more common. From the best cervical pillows to support your neck, to lumbar-supporting pillows that are great for back pain, to a pillow with an arm hole, it may be time to find something perfect for you.
Are you serious about your sleep? If so, you’re definitely not alone. From sleep-tracking rings to high-tech mattresses, smart sleep is a hot topic for anyone looking to improve their health. But if you’re interested in a more comfortable, restful night’s sleep, one place you may have overlooked is right under your head — your pillow. We’ve reviewed plenty of the internet’s best traditional and advanced pillows in our comprehensive buying guides. Let’s dive in here.
Why Buy a Pillow With an Arm Hole?
If you’re one of the 60% of people who prefer to sleep on their side, according to the National Library of Medicine, you’ve probably woken up in pain at least a few times. The side sleeping posture can result in kinked necks and reduced circulation in your slept-on shoulder and arm. If you’ve woken up to a numb or tingling sensation down your arm, a pillow with an arm hole might be just what you need.
These arm hole pillows are just what their name suggests — a pillow with a hole, pocket or channel designed for your arm to pass through. This allows for a natural sleeping posture that supports your head and neck, while reducing pressure on your shoulder, arm, wrist and hand while you sleep.
An incline pillow with an arm hole, or a quality inflatable wedge pillow, can be an asset when recovering from shoulder surgery. These pillows can reduce pressure on your joints when dealing with shoulder pain as well.
Benefits of a Side Sleeper Pillow with Arm Hole
Side sleepers already benefit from one of the healthiest sleeping positions. Side sleeping can help support a healthy spine and digestion, while reducing your risk of snoring, sleep apnea and even heartburn. Adding a supportive pillow to put an arm through can help maximize these benefits, without tossing, turning or discomfort.
Back Pain Relief
Sleeping on your back or stomach can place increased pressure on your spine while you sleep. This can lead to lower back pain upon waking, which can be worse in those with already-chronic back pain. Sleeping on a wedge pillow with arm holes, or another pillow to put your arm through, can help these sleepers find relief.
Reduced Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Sleeping on your back can also lead to increased snoring and difficulty breathing while asleep. When laying on your back, your tongue can fall back toward your throat, obstructing your airway and creating that loud snoring sound. And if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor has likely advised you to sleep on your side whenever possible. When on your side, your airway stays open allowing for deeper, more restful sleep.
Gut Health & Heartburn Relief
Acid reflux or heartburn is a painful leaking of stomach acid back up into the esophagus. This burning sensation can make sleeping almost impossible. Other gut issues, like constipation and bloating can also be improved by sleeping on your side. An incline pillow with an arm hole can help reduce these symptoms by elevating the throat above the stomach, reducing the flow of acid. We’ve even found some of the internet’s best wedge pillows in this collection.
Side sleeping is recommended for pregnant women, and an arm hole pillow can make it just a little more comfortable to do so. Sleeping on the left side can support healthy blood flow between the mother and the fetus, while reducing pressure for both. One of our top mom-recommended body pillows can also help make sleeping during pregnancy more comfortable. We always suggest consulting with your doctor before changing your sleeping posture, or using new products you have questions about.
What to Look For in an Arm Hole Pillow
When you’re shopping for a pillow with an arm hole, you’ll likely come across more than a few options. While many different models can provide a great experience, there are a few general things you should look for when making your purchase.
An Arm Pocket or Tunnel That Fits Your Arm
A pillow you can’t comfortably put your arm through is a recipe for discomfort. Individuals with larger arms may want to double-check measurements to ensure a good fit.
A Shape That Provides Shoulder & Neck Support
Cradling your neck while relieving pressure on your shoulder should be job #1 for your arm hole pillow. A contoured shape that does both is a good general guideline to follow. Side sleepers may also want to check out the uniquely-shaped Pillow Cube, which we have already reviewed in-depth.
Flexibility for Left & Right-Side Sleeping
Does your arm hole pillow allow for different sleeping positions? Even if you generally sleep on one side or the other, the flexibility to change from your left side to your right is a very useful feature.
Correct Size, Ergonomics & Incline
Consider your bed size and your body size when shopping for a side sleeper pillow. Some models come in different sizes or are adjustable. A pillow that’s too large for your frame could cause neck strain, or disturb the sleep of your partner. A properly-sized pillow will help you maintain a comfortable sleeping position night after night.
Quality Pillow Materials
What kind of pillow do you prefer to sleep on? Some like the softness of down or down alternative fills. Memory foam pillows can be a great option for side sleeper arm hole pillows. Memory foam offers dense support, while allowing for rebound and ventilation that helps you avoid overheating through the night. Bamboo covers can help support even more breathability, and they are usually easy to care for, being machine washable.
Our Top Picks for the Best Pillows with Arm Holes
As your guide to the best pillows on the internet, we feel great about recommending products that we love. These are some of our favorite wedge pillows, incline pillows and other side sleeper pillows with arm holes that could be right for you.
MedCline products are medical-grade quality, and are an approved medical expense from HSA funds. Even without a shoulder injury or issue, this is one seriously comfortable pillow for side sleepers. With a removable cover for easy cleaning, you also get a full-length body pillow to cuddle up to at night. The MedCline provides gradual elevation of six inches, allowing your body to settle into its most comfortable sleeping position naturally.
The unique “winged” shape of this memory foam pillow by Elviros adapts to a wide range of sleeping positions. Filled with 100% Certi-PUR-certified memory foam, this pillow provides a lot of cushioning and versatility. Reviewers like how flexible the Elviros is, and how it naturally contours to support the head, neck and shoulder.
If you prefer a feather pillow over memory foam, this would be a great option for you. This pillow features a unique design with two different tunnels you can put your arm through. These channels run both parallel to the pillow and at a 90° angle, so you can shift your arm’s position while still reducing the pressure on your arm.
This unique U-shaped pillow can support a lot of different sleeping positions. You can even use it to support your lumbar region while sitting at a desk or chair. The brand also suggests it is a good option for cuddling with your partner, as it can help protect your arm from falling “asleep” while laying next to each other. The removable cover is machine washable as well, which is a nice feature for easy care.
Pillow Insider Bottom Line
An arm hole pillow could be a welcome relief for side sleepers. If you’re recovering from a shoulder injury or surgery, it can also help provide relief to those troubled joints. Whichever shape you choose, from an incline pillow with an arm hole, to something arched or beyond, be sure you evaluate these pillows like any other. Make sure the materials and feel are something you feel comfortable with.