BEST PILLOWS FOR BACK,
STOMACH AND SIDE SLEEPERS
Keeping your head, neck, and spine aligned helps you stay asleep and wake up feeling rested - and without aches and pains. The right pillow will give you both comfort and support to keep your spine aligned as well as fit your personal style. We have selected our best pillows below for back, side and stomach sleepers based on our product expertise and customer feedback.
Find your sleeping style
Side sleeper, back sleeper, stomach sleeper: your sleep posture is as much a part of you as your personality. And while your style of snoozing may change over time, it may not be something you feel you have control over. What's comfortable is comfortable, right?
Actually, most of us turn throughout the night due to discomfort. Some of us even take the covers with us to the consternation of our sleeping partners. While we don’t usually stick to one position, we do tend to have a dominant position. Your dominant position is often the one you are in when you wake up.
To adapt to multiple sleeping positions, some people prefer to switch pillows from time to time. Two pillows can be rotated from week to week, day to day or even within a night, whenever it feels right. Another strategy for the side and back sleeper is to stack two softer pillows for side sleeping and then use just one of them for back sleeping.
How to determine the level of support you need
Discomfort from an improper pillow is most often felt in the neck and shoulders from the spine not being aligned or pressure points created by a pillow that is too tall or too short.
Conversely, a pillow that provides balanced support will help you to sleep throughout the night and won’t cause neck or shoulder pain that you carry into the next day.
Most people think the total height of a pillow will determine how much support it will give them but there is more to the story. Pillows are made with both support and comfort features and these features are combined in many ways to address the many different preferences people have. Each person can choose their perfect combination of comfort and support to suit their sleeping style.
Comfort: Fluffy down clusters provide the comfort part of the equation, allowing the sleeper to sink in to the pillow.
Support: Feathers are used for support in a natural-fill pillow, providing a base layer to support the sleepers head for proper spinal alignment which in turn reduces pressure points in the head and neck.
Side sleepers: the best pillow for you has a firm support
Especially if you're sleeping on a firm mattress, firm pillows provide the support a side sleeper needs. They often come with a gusset to help the pillow conform to your shoulder. Stackers may like two softer pillows, such as the Hotel Symmetry, for the right height. Side sleepers will generally need more feather fill for adequate support. The illustration below shows us how to determine which pillow will best fill the space between the head and shoulder to keep your spine aligned and pressure distributed evenly.
Back sleepers: your best pillow has a medium or soft conforming support
To keep the neck in good alignment, the best pillows for back sleeping are those with support that allows the head to lay flat but not be propped up at an angle. Some back sleepers need a little support while others need almost no support.
A medium support pillow is a good choice for those with larger frames, particularly one that may side sleep as well. Some people just prefer a firm pillow and sleep on their back, that’s okay too.
If you are a back sleeper and prefer your head to be close to the mattress, a softer, conforming pillow will mold to your body's form and give you some cushioning on top of the mattress. A soft pillow is also a good choice for people with thicker necks since they will have less space to fill.
Stomach sleepers: if you’ve got to sleep on your stomach, the best pillow is soft
Even though stomach sleeping isn’t recommended by doctors due to the strain it can cause on the neck and back, usually sleepers are resorting to this position because they cannot get comfortable otherwise.
Soft support down pillows are the ideal pillows for stomach sleeping. Sleeping on your stomach increases pressure on the neck and spine which are being twisted and bent backwards the whole night. Only soft support pillows allow your head to sink down comfortably and minimize strain on your back while sleeping.
By figuring out what your body needs to be supported properly and finding the pillows that fit your specific situation, you will help to keep your spine in alignment while you sleep. It might require testing a few options to get your ideal setup but your neck and back will thank you for the effort. It’s a great investment in your health to sleep better.