The 20 Best Pillows for Every Type of Sleeper
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All it takes is one tiny change to finally wake up refreshed, energized, and pain-free.
Ah, sleep—our favorite activity and a subject we all love to talk about. But most of us probably aren’t sleeping as restfully as we could be and sometimes wake up with mysterious aches and pains. While there could be many things affecting your sleep quality, like the temperature in your bedroom and whether you have the right mattress, the most common issue is what you’re resting your head on. That’s why it’s so essential to find the best pillow for your sleep position and other needs. This one simple change can help you get more rest and even improve your overall health.
It’s essential to pick a pillow that supports your sleep position to keep your spine and neck aligned and prevent your neck from arching upward or sinking too deeply. “Sleeping on the wrong pillow for your specific sleep needs can lead to pressure points, a stiff neck, and interrupted sleep. It can also worsen symptoms of pain, snoring, sleep apnea, and other medical conditions,” says Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, a spinal and orthopedic surgeon. “If a pillow tilts your head upward, it is probably too high, and this can cause muscle strain throughout the cervical spine and into the shoulders. Pillows that are too low end up constricting the airways and causing discomfort.”
So, how can you make sure you’re on the best pillow possible? If you sleep well consistently and wake up feeling rested, you’ve found the right one for you, says sleep expert Tara Youngblood. While you may experience some trial and error along the way, this list will point you in the right direction and help you find the pillow of your dreams, whether you’re looking for the best pillow for side sleepers, a cooling pillow, an organic option, or whatever else. When you’ve chosen the right one for you, check out the best mattresses for back pain, as well as top-rated sheets and throw blankets for the best night of sleep every night.
Wamsutta Extra-Firm Density Side Sleeper Pillow
“Sleeping on your side can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring,” says Logan Foley, the managing director at SleepFoundation.org. “It also can help improve digestion, acid reflux, and heartburn.” This Wamsutta extra firm, polyester-filled model is made especially for those who rest on their shoulder and side all night. Your head won’t sink into it immediately; instead, it stays firm and has a comforting spring to it. The two-inch gusset provides additional support and keeps the shape of the pillow intact. Reviewers say it helps decrease pain and increase sleep, and, of course, that’s what we’re all looking for! Plus, at just $14.99, the price won’t give you nightmares. P.S.—check out this review of the Pillow Cube, a pillow made specifically for side sleepers.
All of our experts suggest a mid-loft pillow for those who face the ceiling at night. “Pillows for back sleepers should maintain natural spine alignment, so your neck and shoulders don’t tilt,” explains Dr. Okubadejo. This popular pillow has a cozy and soft touch, but it’s the traditional TEMPUR-Pedic slow, deep sink that makes it great for back sleepers. Similar to pillows made with memory foam, it compresses down, offering adaptable and moldable support. If you have trouble settling at night, you may also want to look into buying a weighted blanket.
Nectar Lush Pillow
If you’re a flip-flop sleeper, starting on your side and ending on your back, or vice versa, you need a pillow that will support both positions and prevent unwanted back pain. Composed of high-density memory foam, this pillow helps with pressure relief and molds around your head and neck to give you that cloud-like feeling. It also has cooling properties, so while your body might flip throughout the night, you won’t need to flip your pillow. Also, make sure you know about the best outdoor pillows as well.
Parachute Home Down Pillow
“When sleeping on your stomach, you must look for a thinner pillow that will not disrupt the curvature of the spine and will minimize any strain in the neck,” says Dr. Okubadejo. Since your neck is tilted in this prone position and your face is turned if the pillow is too thick, it can cause tension. But the softness of this Parachute Home pillow will help promote a neutral alignment. Down and feather-filled, this machine-washable option will keep stomach sleepers comfortable throughout the night. FYI, here’s how to wash pillows the right way.
The Nest Easy Breather Pillow
“Hands down these are the best pillows I have EVER slept on,” writes one reviewer. That statement alone makes this Nest pillow worth checking out. For those who can’t imagine putting their head on anything described as stiff, this is where your search should end. The particularly neat thing about these pillows is that you can customize them to your liking by taking out stuffing; this will help you find the perfect level of softness and the perfect height to properly align your neck and spine. Plus, eco-friendly Tencel is comfortable and cool against your face. Just keep in mind that this pillow can’t be washed, so make sure to pick up a pillow protector to use with it.
PlushBeds Solid Natural Latex Pillow
Latex has become a popular stuffing for a pillow because it conforms to the body and is also cooling. For those whose body temperatures go up at night or who battle night sweats, this PlushBeds pillow has excellent ventilation and airflow. The natural latex is springy, eliminating pressure points so your head can melt into the softness. It also helps with chronic pain, according to reviewers. No more counting sheep with this pillow—you’ll be in dreamland in no time.
Waking up with a stiff neck or one that needs to be cracked doesn’t have to be the norm. This model has a contour cut of memory foam made to support your neck in any position. It also has holes to increase airflow to keep you cool till sunrise. Multiple commenters rave that their neck pain diminished and say they ended up buying more of these pillows for their home. By the way, here’s how often you should replace your bedroom items—including your pillow.
Casper Original Pillow
While one pillow style doesn’t fit all, this model can solve many issues for many different types of sleepers. Designed with a soft outside and firm inside, this Casper original will make you feel like you floated up in the sky and landed on a cloud. Plus, the polyester microfiber stuffing of this machine-washable miracle won’t clump, so it provides consistent and constant support.
Layla Kapok Pillow
If the term kapok is new to you, join the club. While this style is recommended by two of our experts, Foley and Dr. Okuadejo, it’s not something that’s widely known—but it should be! Kapok is a silky fiber that creates semi-firm stuffing, and in this Layla pillow, the mix of kapok fibers and memory foam creates a moldable style that conforms to your body. The innovative copper fibers in its soft cover also help to keep it cooler and cleaner. Bonus: It has a stylish and modern look that might make you want to go sans pillowcase.
Naturepedic Organic Cotton/PLA Pillow
It makes sense to want the item you rest your head on and breathe into all night long to be organic. This highly rated eco-friendly, 300-thread-count option from Naturpedic is filled with a non-toxic, sustainable fiber that’s made from 100 percent renewable resources. Perhaps the best part? Since there are no harmful chemicals involved, there is no odd smell, even when you first use it. Rest your head comfortably on that fact. For more good-for-you options that are also good for the environment, check out these non-toxic mattresses.
Weekender Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow
“Regular memory foam pillows may also work well for back sleepers, especially if they don’t tend to shift a lot throughout the night,” shares Dr. Okubadejo. The insides of this Weekender pillow aren’t just composed of regular, old memory foam—it’s gel-infused, ventilated memory foam. You’ll notice immediately how your pressure points will be relieved and supported, like a cozy hug. The gel and vents also promote a cool feel and breathability, defusing any heat from your head. Fun fact: Memory foam is one of the everyday items you had no idea were created by NASA.
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow
This pillow’s cool gel surface draws heat away while ventilation increases airflow to keep the surface fresh while you sleep. Another neat feature? Copper graphite, which raises the breathability and antimicrobial benefits. And let’s not forget the memory foam, which reacts to your head and gently supports your head, neck, and shoulders all night long. But the best part is that it comes in both a low and high profile, and the site will recommend the right one for you, whether you’re a side, stomach, or back sleeper. One reviewer shares that you can even feel the coolness of this pillow through a flannel pillowcase, so there’s no need to worry about your choice of pillowcase affecting its cooling qualities. Speaking of flannel—don’t forget to stock up on the best flannel sheets that’ll make your bed cozy and warm.
Beckham Hotel Collection Luxury Plush Gel Pillow
While this is our pick for allergy suffers, it could also be our top-rated pick. With more than 80,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it gets the top pillow spot on the site. It’s made from 100 percent organic cotton and no harmful chemicals, and it’s stuffed with a gel-filled fiber that suits all sleeping positions. Breathability and a cooling touch solidify this as a great all-around pillow. Just imagine—you’ll wake up in less pain and not sneezing, ready to tackle the day…and not complaining about your back.
Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow Set
If you’re in the market for a non-down pillow, possibly because you’re looking for something hypoallergenic or cruelty-free, this polyester alternative is an excellent choice for side and back sleepers. Lightweight and airy for those who don’t want to sleep on stiff foam and prefer the softness of down, this pillow is the ideal marriage of soft and firm. As one reviewer shares, “It forms gently to my head without completely collapsing to provide the neck support I need.” Other reviewers note that this Tuft & Needle pillow holds its shape up even after washing.
PharMeDoc Pregnancy Pillow
Babies can majorly affect your sleep patterns, even before they are born. It’s hard to get comfortable with a growing belly, and that belly also makes tossing and turning difficult. Many pregnant women find a U-shaped pillow a wonderful option since it supports their front and back, as well as their legs and knees. Soft cotton material covers the outside of this PharMeDoc pregnancy pillow, while the polyfill on the inside provides support and comfort. One arm is detachable, still leaving a J shape to support your body. With all the pains and strains pregnancy can put on your body, simply choosing the right pillow can relieve a few symptoms.
Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
An adjustable pillow might sound weird, but this isn’t like an adjustable bed or chair. In this case, it means that there is the option to remove or add the stuffing as needed, leaving you to find the perfect balance of support and comfort. The filling of this Coop Home Goods option is a blend of bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester that creates a soft, breathable, hypoallergenic material. It’s CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified to ensure safety and quality, chemical-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. One reviewer, who calls herself a light sleeper and used to regularly struggle at night, reports that she now sleeps like a brick because of this pillow.
Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow Premium Quality Bed Pillows (2-pack)
This two-pack is under $30 (yes, you read that right), and it has more than 37,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. The plush fiberfill is super fluffy and comfortable, and overall, this is an excellent pillow for all types of sleepers. Reviewers rave that they’re “beyond impressed” because these pillows are “wonderfully comfortable” and hold up well after washing. Plus, although you will most likely cover yours with a pillowcase, the black stripe on the sides also makes a stylish statement.
Night Night Pillow
Imagine waking up not looking like a hot mess. That’s what the Night Pillow will do for you in two very distinct ways. First, its light memory foam works to support every sleep style. Second, its custom-fit black mulberry silk pillowcase increases the production of your body’s natural sleep hormone, melatonin, and helps you achieve a deeper sleep. Plus, it does what other silk pillowcases do in terms of improving both your hair and your skin. One five-star reviewer shares: “I wake up far less during the night, too! The silk is lovely on my sensitive skin and curls.”
Saatva Latex Pillow
Get that fancy hotel-bed feeling in your own home nightly. This shredded latex stuffed pillow is plush and responsive, supporting the neck and head, and the outside case is an organic cotton sateen, which is soft and breathable. Gusseted sides with contrast edges maintain the shape and give it a stylish spin. At $155 per pillow, it’s pricey, but considering the amount of time we spend in bed, it’s worth the splurge if you can swing it.
IKSTAR Memory Foam Pillow
We’re guessing you’ve never seen a pillow like this before, but once you try it, you may never go back to traditional pillows again. The details of this innovative orthopedic pillow are incredibly well thought out: The hollowed-out center creates a cushy place for the back of your head, while slow rebounding material contours your head and supports an optimized spinal alignment. A cutout along the bottom edge that fits your shoulders also relieves neck tension. One reviewer says that it didn’t just eliminate the neck and back pain but also helped with gastric reflux. Next, learn even more ways to make your bed cozier.
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- Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, a spinal and orthopedic surgeon
- Tara Youngblood, sleep expert
- Logan Foley, the managing editor at SleepFoundation.org