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While most people sleep on their backs or side, an estimated 7 percent of people sleep on their stomachs. Though this sleeping position is not common, it does have certain benefits. Some sleepers find they are less likely to snore when sleeping face down. Stomach sleeping may reduce the likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea, as it can help keep the airway clearer than back sleeping.
Since stomach sleeping is less prevalent, many pillows are constructed with side and back sleeping in mind. The firmness and loft of a pillow can determine the angle of the head and neck, and whether or not the spine is kept in alignment. One of the drawbacks to stomach sleeping is that it can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain if the head and neck are not properly supported. As a result, it is especially important for stomach sleepers to find a pillow that keeps the head and neck at a comfortable angle.
Other factors to consider when shopping for a pillow include breathability, pressure relief, and moldability. We’ll review our top picks for the best pillow for stomach sleepers, including details on their construction, performance, and why we recommend them. We’ll also take a closer look at the potential benefits of stomach sleeping and tips on how to improve sleep quality.
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With three firmness options to choose from, the Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow provides comfort and support for a variety of preferences and sleeping positions. The plush option is recommended for stomach sleepers, as the soft feel ensures the head and neck are not propped up at an uncomfortable angle. The pillow is also available in mid-plush and firm.
The Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow has a 100% cotton sateen shell. Cotton shells are beneficial for stomach sleepers who sleep face down, as cotton is breathable and moisture-wicking.
The 100% shaved microfiber poly fill has a similar feel to down, but is suitable for vegan shoppers and those on a limited budget. The density of the microfiber fill depends on the firmness level chosen. Double-stitched edges help the pillow keep its shape. The supportive feel of the Brooklinen pillow helps reduce neck pain and tension for stomach sleepers.
The Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow can be spot cleaned or dry cleaned as needed. The pillow is made in the United States. It is available in two sizes: standard and king. Brooklinen offers a 365-day return policy, so purchasers have a full year to try out the pillow and decide if it is the best fit for them.
The company also provides a quality guarantee. In the event of a quality issue, purchasers can file a claim with the company.
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Not all stomach sleepers prefer firm pillows – some gravitate toward a softer, more cushioned feel for the head and neck. These sleepers are good candidates for the Vaya Pillow, which is structured with shredded polyfoam that feels quite plush and adaptive. Most stomach sleepers will sink comfortably into the pillow, which reduces aches, pains, and pressure points that often occur with this sleep position.
The cover is made of breathable, moisture-wicking microfiber material and the shredded foam promotes good air circulation, so the pillow sleeps quite cool and won’t bottle heat like other foam models. The cover can be removed and washed in your household machines whenever it needs to be cleaned. Queen and king sizes are available.
Compared to other shredded foam pillows, this one has a below-average price-point. Vaya Sleep also offers free ground delivery to all customers in the contiguous U.S. You’ll also receive a 100-night sleep trial with your purchase, as well as a 10-year warranty should you decide to keep the pillow.
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The Saatva Pillow helps promote spinal alignment for stomach sleepers, with a medium soft feel and options to customize the loft of the pillow. It has a unique three-layer construction, which includes a cotton cover, an outer pillow, and a shredded latex core. Purchasers can use both pillows together, or remove the core for a lower loft.
The organic cotton cover has a sateen weave that wicks away moisture and promotes breathability. The outer pillow has a lofty feel with a 100% organic cotton encasing and a down-alternative microdenier fill. This pillow has a gusseted shape to resist flattening. The natural construction of the Saatva Pillow reduces the likelihood of odors and allergens. Both the cotton cover and outer pillow are machine washable.
Inside the outer pillow is a shredded latex core for pressure relief. The latex core increases airflow throughout the pillow and helps regulate temperature.
The Saatva Pillow is a luxury option and has a price point to match. The cotton and latex construction is durable and supportive. The pillow is available in queen and king sizes. Saatva offers a 45-day return policy. The company asks that purchasers wash items before returning them.
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The Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow has a customizable loft to provide proper support for stomach sleepers. Additionally, the breathable construction ensures stomach sleepers are comfortable when facing down.
The cover of the Eden Pillow is composed of a polyester and bamboo-derived viscose rayon. A polyester liner keeps the fill in place. The stretchiness of the cover and liner ensures sleepers can shape the pillow as needed and experience the conforming feel of the memory foam fill. The gusset shape adds structure to the pillow and provides even support.
The pillow has a medium soft feel. Its cross-cut memory foam and microfiber fill can be added or removed to change the pillow loft. The memory foam is gel-infused to help draw heat away from the body and regulate temperature. Each pillow comes with a half-pound bag of additional fill.
The cover and inner pillow are both machine washable, but Coop Home Goods recommends washing the inner pillow just once a year to maintain its integrity. The pillow is hypoallergenic.
Shoppers can choose between standard, queen, or king size. The Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow includes a 100-night sleep trial. Coop Home Goods offers a 5-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects.
Best for Athletes
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As its name suggests, the Zoma Sports Pillow is crafted with athletes and other physically active people in mind. The interior contains MicroCushions, a proprietary blend of shredded polyfoam and fiber fill. The MicroCushions give the surface a medium feel and allow the pillow to conform closely around the head and neck. While the pillow has a 6-inch loft and is considered fairly thick, the fill compresses easily to make the surface more comfortable for stomach sleeping.
The removable cover is composed of stretch polyester mesh. This material is highly breathable, helping the pillow to sleep fairly cool. Both the cover and the MicroCushions core can be washed and dried in any household machine, though you won’t need to clean the latter very often – every six months or so is recommended. Queen and king sizes are available.
Given the Zoma Sports Pillow’s premium materials and innovative design, its price-point is very reasonable. Zoma also provides ground delivery free of charge anywhere in the lower 48 states. You’ll receive a sleep trial with your purchase that allows you to test out the pillow for 100 nights, as well as a 10-year warranty that protects against structural defects.
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The Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow is available in a low loft that helps keep the spine aligned. The breathable construction is ideal for stomach sleepers.
The organic cotton cover of the pillow is soft and antimicrobial. It wicks away moisture, providing comfort for those who sleep face down. The cover can be machine washed as needed to help reduce bacteria and odors.
The Talalay latex interior is responsive, so it conforms to the head and neck to relieve pressure and help keep the spine aligned. Talalay latex is breathable and lightweight, so there is plenty of airflow throughout the pillow to help dissipate heat. Additionally, the core of the pillow is ventilated for temperature regulation. The latex core can be spot cleaned as needed.
The Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow has ample bounce, so stomach sleepers who shift positions throughout the night should be able to do so comfortably while still feeling supported. The medium firm rating prevents sinking in excessively.
The pillow is also available in a high loft, which may be better for back and side sleepers. Shoppers can choose between a queen or king size. Brooklyn Bedding offers a 30-night sleep trial for the latex pillow.
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For stomach sleepers who are unsure about their optimal loft and support levels, an adjustable pillow can be a great investment – though these models can be somewhat expensive. The Layla Memory Foam Pillow is the best of both worlds: a pillow with customizable loft that won’t break the bank. The fill consists of shredded memory foam and down alternative fibers that can be added or removed at any time to adjust the thickness and overall feel.
The Layla Memory Foam Pillow is also well suited to hot sleepers. The shredded fill won’t absorb too much heat and air circulates freely throughout the interior, and the cover is also fairly breathable. Those who enjoy snuggling with a pillow will also enjoy this model, as it is quite moldable and cuddly.
The pillow’s fill is housed in an inner liner that can be separated from the cover for machine washing. Layla recommends washing the cover only, as laundering the fill can require several drying cycles, but drying the pillow can also help recover its shape after continuous use. Queen and king sizes are available.
The Layla Memory Foam Pillow is reasonably priced and Layla offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is also backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty.
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While many foam pillows struggle to resist heat buildup and keep you cool, the Bear Pillow excels at temperature regulation thanks to its thoughtful design. The core consists of solid LOFT-X polyfoam, a proprietary material that contours to the head and neck without the tight “hugging” sensation associated with memory foam. Another important component is the cover, which is made from Ice Fabric and feels cool to the touch. Mesh accents at the corners also keep air moving throughout the interior.
The pillow’s medium feel ensures a comfortable balance of conforming and support, and a profile of 5 to 5.5 inches makes it comfortable for stomach sleepers who need a bit of extra loft to feel comfortable. The entire pillow is both hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, and the cover can be removed and washed in any household machine whenever you need to clean it. Standard and king sizes are available.
The Bear Pillow’s strong performance and approachable price-point make it a good option for shoppers with limited budgets. Shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S., and residents of Alaska and Hawaii pay only $25 for delivery. The sleep trial for this pillow spans 100 nights, and those who keep it will also qualify for a 2-year warranty.
That said, stomach sleepers often put undue pressure on the neck and shoulders. Additionally, the hips and abdomen are more likely to press deeply into the mattress. This sleeping position can press the spine out of alignment. As a result, stomach sleeping is often discouraged by sleep experts.
Understanding the drawbacks of stomach sleeping is the first step to promoting better sleep posture. Ergonomic support is important for stomach sleepers. A firm, supportive mattress and a low loft pillow can help ensure the spine is kept in alignment. A pillow underneath the hips can also help. Additionally, stomach sleepers may want to avoid turning their head to one side.
We’ll break down each of these considerations further here, and explain how choosing the right pillow can help stomach sleepers find comfort and support.
There are multiple factors for stomach sleepers to consider to ensure spinal alignment and full-body support. Understanding the following key factors is an essential part of shopping for a pillow. These include pillow loft, size, shape, and moldability, all of which affect the angle of the head and neck.
Every sleeper has unique needs and preferences, but there are common issues that stomach sleepers face. Some pillow materials are better than others, and additional measures may need to be considered.
When shopping for a pillow, it can be easy to be distracted by deals, discounts, and marketing claims about how a pillow works. Focusing on the nuts and bolts of a pillow, along with your personal needs, will go a long way toward making sure your purchase is a worthwhile one. The following factors are the top things that shoppers should look for when purchasing a pillow. These determine how comfortable and supportive the pillow will be, as well as how it performs in other areas.
The loft of a pillow refers to its height. This is an important consideration for stomach sleepers, as it determines the amount of support the pillow provides. Pillows can have a low, medium, or high loft. Loft can often be adjusted by removing or adding fill. A low loft pillow, or one with a height below 3 inches, is generally preferred by stomach sleepers. A medium loft (3 to 5 inches) can also offer support for stomach sleepers, but this will depend on other factors like head size and personal preferences. The loft of the pillow should support the head and neck, keeping them at a comfortable angle. A pillow that is too high or too low can put stress on the neck and shoulders.
Support determines if the spine is kept in alignment. Several factors impact the amount of support a pillow offers, including its loft, firmness, and size. The head, neck, and shoulders need to be properly supported. This helps prevent aches and pains for stomach sleepers by reducing tension in the neck and shoulders.
Pillows range from soft to firm. In addition to sleeping position, body weight and personal preferences play a role in determining the best firmness level. Stomach sleepers may benefit from a soft to medium firm pillow, as long as the pillow keeps the head and neck at a comfortable angle. The materials used impact pillow firmness. Down, down alternative, and memory foam pillows are typically soft, while buckwheat and latex pillows tend to be firmer.
A pillow that cradles the head and neck can help relieve pressure. Since pressure on the neck and spine causes discomfort for stomach sleepers, a pillow that alleviates pressure in these areas is beneficial. Ergonomic support keeps the head, neck, and spine aligned. Some materials, like latex and memory foam, relieve pressure exceptionally well by contouring to the shape of the head and neck.
Pillows tend to have a rectangular or square shape, but the materials and construction determine how well the pillow retains its shape. Materials like down and down alternative compress easily and can lose shape throughout the night, resulting in the need to fluff the pillow for comfort and support. Latex is more likely to retain its shape throughout the night, providing consistent support for stomach sleepers. Memory foam compresses easily for a customized feel, but returns to its original shape when pressure is removed.
The price of a pillow depends on the materials and construction used. Pillows have a wide range of price points, with budget pillows costing $10 to $20 and luxury options costing $150 or more. The wide price range makes it important for shoppers to set a budget beforehand. Shoppers should keep in mind that high-quality materials may cost more upfront, but will need to be replaced less often.
The quality of materials used in a pillow determines its lifespan. On average, a pillow should provide consistent support for three years. Lower quality pillows will need to be replaced more often, as they are more likely to lose shape and cease to provide adequate support. Down and latex pillows often have long lifespans, while polyester and low-density polyfoam may degrade more quickly.
Moldability refers to how easy it is for sleepers to shape the pillow as needed. This ensures a customized shape for comfort and support. Stomach sleepers may need to reshape their pillows throughout the night to make sure the head and neck are properly supported, and a moldable pillow can be beneficial.
While pillows can be made with a variety of materials, we have found that down-alternative, memory foam, and latex pillows are best for stomach sleepers. Other available pillow types include buckwheat, down, feather, and polyfoam. Each pillow type has pros and cons for stomach sleepers, which we’ll break down further here.
Memory foam is viscoelastic foam that responds to heat and pressure, allowing it to conform closely to the shape of the head and neck. For stomach sleepers, a memory foam pillow can relieve tension and help promote spinal alignment. Some memory foam pillows have a solid memory foam core, while others use shredded memory foam for an adjustable loft. There is a potential for off-gassing, so stomach sleepers who are sensitive to odors may want to consider other options.
Buckwheat pillows are filled with the hulls of buckwheat seeds. The hulls have an open shape that promotes airflow and helps regulate temperature. When used as a pillow fill, buckwheat is malleable. It conforms to the shape of the head and neck to provide support and relieve pressure. The loft of these pillows can be adjusted by adding or removing hulls, but some stomach sleepers may still find buckwheat pillows to be too firm. The hulls also make a rustling noise when the pillow is moved.
Feather pillows are filled with the outer feathers of ducks or geese. The feathers compress easily and conform to the shape of the head. Feather pillows are soft and lightweight, which can be beneficial for stomach sleepers. That said, the insulating nature of feathers can cause heat retention. Feather pillows do not retain their shape as well, and often need to be fluffed. The loft of a feather pillow can be adjusted by adding or removing feathers.
Natural latex is harvested from rubber trees. Latex is breathable, durable, and highly supportive for stomach sleepers. Latex pillows moderately contour to the shape of the head, neck, and shoulders to relieve pressure. Some stomach sleepers may find latex pillows to be too thick, dense, or heavy.
Down is the soft under-feathers of ducks or geese. Down fill is softer than feathers. The malleable fill allows stomach sleepers to shape the pillow as needed. The loft can also be adjusted in some down pillows by adding or removing fill. The cradling effect of down supports the head and neck. Down pillows are typically soft enough for stomach sleepers, but as they compress easily they will need to be fluffed to keep their shape.
Polyfoam, or polyurethane foam, is often an affordable pillow fill. Polyfoam can offer pressure relief and moderate contouring, but it is not as breathable as other materials. Low-density foam is typically less durable and can sag over time.
The size of a pillow determines the amount of surface area for a sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders. This impacts the amount of support the pillow provides. There are five common pillow sizes available:
While pillow choice is important for stomach sleepers, the following tips can also help them stay comfortable throughout the night.
Stomach sleeping is the least common sleeping position, as an estimated 7 percent of sleepers choose it. Stomach sleeping is often discouraged by medical professionals due to the potential drawbacks, such as back and neck pain. That said, some sleepers still find it to be the most comfortable sleeping position for them.
Pillow loft may be the most important factor for stomach sleepers to consider when choosing a pillow. The loft of the pillow determines the angle of the head and neck. Additionally, it impacts how much support the pillow provides.
In addition to pillow loft, shoppers should consider the size, fill, and firmness of the pillow. Each shopper will have unique needs and preferences that need to be kept in mind.
Every pillow type has potential benefits and drawbacks, but stomach sleepers should avoid a pillow with a high loft or sleep incline. This is the worst pillow type for stomach sleepers as it props the head up and puts too much pressure on the neck and spine. Stomach sleepers should also avoid pillows that lack support or are excessively firm. It is also important that the pillow is made with breathable materials.
Shoppers can find pillows for stomach sleepers online and in stores. Many mattress companies include pillows in their product lines, often made using the same proprietary materials as their mattresses. It is easy to compare models online, and plenty of companies offer sleep trials for shoppers to try out the pillows in the comfort of their homes. Those who want to see and feel the pillow prior to purchasing may want to consider going to a brick-and-mortar location.
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