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August 06, 2020 5 min read

When trying to get a good night's sleep, it sometimes feels like a million things come between you and those high-quality Zs. Noisy neighbors, beautiful but boisterous bird songs, feeling too hot or too cold — you get the picture. But one of the biggest disruptors of sleep is physical discomfort.

If you've tossed and turned your way into becoming a side sleeper, your next step toward better sleep may involve a pillow with an arm hole. Side-sleeper pillows with arm holes are engineered to help you find the optimal resting position. These pillowsprevent shoulder pain while sleeping.They also keep your arms from falling asleep at night, among other essential benefits.

In this post, we'll discuss how side-sleeper pillows with arm holes can improve your sleep, how to choose the best pillow for shoulder pain, and more. Use the links below to jump to the section that best answers your query, or read through for a comprehensive overview.

What is a Pillow With Arm Hole?

Pillows with arm holes are just what they sound like — a pillow with an arm pocket that allows your arm to rest comfortably and naturally beneath you while you sleep. But why the carved-out arm section? 

By creating a space for your arm to rest, the pillow takes the pressure off your shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand. This helps ease physical discomforts like numbness and shoulder pain, which are typically associated with side-sleeping.

Is Sleeping on Your Arm Good for You?

Finding your ideal sleep posture1 can feel like a life-long Goldilocks challenge. Back-sleepers tend to experience intensified snoring. Stomach-sleepers generally deal with less snoring but exert more pressure on their limbs and muscles, resulting in aches, pains, and tingling. But side-sleeping can be just right. This sleeping position offers plenty of benefits that can outweigh the drawbacks. And, if you invest in a side-sleeper pillow with an arm hole, it can reduce some of these pain points.

infograph of sleeping positions

Benefits of side-sleeping

According to the National Sleep Foundation1, there are several benefits that side-sleeping can offer:
  • Sleeping on your left side at an incline can help easeacid reflux symptoms.
  • Because your spine is elongated on your side, you may experience decreased neck and back pain.
  • Side-sleeping keeps your airways open, curtails snoring, and can help address sleep apnea symptoms.

But without the proper setup, sleeping on your side can put too much pressure on your upper body and ultimately result in uncomfortable aches and pains. That’s where a side-sleeping pillow with an arm hole comes into play. By taking the pressure off your arm and positioning you at a naturally supportive incline, these ergonomically designed pillows achieve optimal comfort for side-sleepers.

woman waking up refreshed

Buyer’s Guide: Best Pillows With Arm Holes

We spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping2so finding the perfect pillow for your sleeping posture is a worthwhile investment! With hundreds of specialized pillows to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right one for you. We’ve created a buyer’s guide and compiled some of our most frequently asked questions to help our side-sleepers find the best arm-hole pillow for their needs.

sleeping time infographic

What to look for in a side-sleeper pillow

As you search for your ideal arm hole pillow, keep these product features high on your wish list:
  • Arm pocket or side panel for arm support
  • Contoured construction that provides neck and shoulder support
  • Symmetrical horseshoe-shaped pillow design that offers flexibility for sleeping on your left or right side
  • Thicker pillow density that creates space between your head and arm
  • Adjustable height for customizable comfort

Along with these features, consider the following aspects to find the pillow best suited for your sleeping posture, body and bed size, lifestyle, and general preferences:

  • Size: To find the best arm-hole pillow for your preferences, consider your body and bed size. The last thing you'd want to disrupt your sleep is a pillow that's too small or too big for comfort. Giving you options, the MedCline shoulder relief pillow comes in two sizes and takes up half of a queen-sized bed. 
  • Ergonomic design: Your pillow should offer up just the right amount of support for your head — too much or too little can strain your neck and cause other uncomfortable problems. Our side-sleeping pillow, for example, elevates your body at a 10-degree angle to take the pressure off your shoulder and the arm under your pillow.
  • Materials: On top of pillow size and ergonomics, you'll also need to consider the materials used — memory foam tends to be a great option because it's ventilating and rebounds when pressure is applied. Made with medical-grade materials, our shoulder relief pillow is designed with four types of strategically placed Certi-Pur foam for customizable support.
  • User experience: Finding the best side-sleeper pillow that lets you sleep with your arm under the pillow is an important investment. As such, evaluating your options for ease of use is always a good idea. For more flexibility, our side-sleeping pillows have patented pockets and a symmetrical design that allows for both left and right-side sleeping.
At MedCline, our simple yet effective wedge pillow with arm hole designs offers unparalleled shoulder relief while keeping pressure off your side. For more information, head to ourMedCline FAQs or reach out to our team ofSleep Specialists today.

    buying a side sleeping pillow guide infographic

    Pillows With Arm Holes — FAQs

    To further refine your search, check out these side-sleeper pillow FAQs

    What kind of pillow should a side-sleeper use?

    Because side-sleepers put so much pressure on their side — specifically their shoulders, arms, and wrists — they often experience aches, pain, and numbness in these areas. By taking the pressure of body weight out of the equation, pillows with arm holes create the best environment for side sleepers. The wedge construction also keeps your head, neck, and chest supported while you reap the benefits of the side-sleeping posture.

    What pillow is best for shoulder pain?

    A wedge pillow with an arm hole is best for those with shoulder pain. By eliminating pressure from your shoulders, you’ll feel supported where you need to, without irritation or pressure on your existing pain points.

    What is the ideal firmness for a pillow with an arm hole?

    The ideal pillow should offer plenty of support and comfort for your whole body. Memory foam pillows typically provide optimal firmness because they mold to the individual’s body while maintaining their ergonomic shape, creating lasting cloud-like comfort.

    Are all pillows with arm holes designed for side-sleepers?

    No, there are some pillows with arm holes for stomach-sleepers. Ensure the pillow you’re looking at is suitable for multi-use or engineered for your preferred sleeping posture.

    How do you clean and maintain a pillow with arm holes?

    To properly care for your pillow with an arm hole, it’s a good idea to reshape the structure back to its original form each morning. This step will help preserve its shape and loft, ensuring lasting comfort. Also, keep your pillow dry and safe from elements that might impact its form. Remove stains with a diluted mixture of baking soda, water, and a few drops of vinegar. Note: Our Shoulder Relief system includes removable, washable cases. Extras can be purchased as an accessory.

    medcline relief systems

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    “Which Sleep Position is the Best for Your Body?,” National Sleep Foundation,, 1 Jul. 2020

    Michael J Aminoff, François Boller, Dick F Swaab, “We Spend About One-Third of Our Life Either Sleeping or Attempting to Do So,” National Library of Medicine,, 1 Jul. 2020