The 11 Best Pillows for Every Type of Sleeper
All it takes is one tiny change to finally wake up refreshed, energized, and pain-free.
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The best pillows
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.
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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.
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.
From $95, leesa.ca.
(Related: Can a Weighted Blanket with Cooling Tech Help Me Sleep (and Not Over-Heat)?)
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.
From $85, casper.com.
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.
From US $109, laylasleep.com.
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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.
From $99, lbal.ca.
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.
(Related: How to Find the Best Sleep Aid for You)
Image: Tuft and Needle
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.
(Related: What Your Sleep Problems May Be Telling You)
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.
Next, this is what your sleep problems might be telling you.