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Home / Best Pillows of 2022 / Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Keith Cushner

Written by

Keith Cushner, Sleep Product Expert

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Methodology

We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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Following a recent round of tests, we've updated this page to include the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow as our best luxury pick and the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow as our softest pick. The Saatva Latex Pillow remains our best overall pillow for stomach sleepers.

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Roughly 7 percent of people sleep on their stomachs, making this position much less common than side or back sleeping. For this reason, pillows are usually constructed with side and back sleepers in mind. A pillow’s firmness and loft affect the angle of your head and neck, as well as your spinal alignment. Stomach sleeping can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain if the head and neck are elevated too much, so people who favor this position usually prefer thinner pillows compared to side and back sleepers.

Our sleep experts evaluated a wide range of pillows to determine the best options for stomach sleepers. We’ve chosen the pillows below based on feedback from our product testers who primarily sleep on their stomachs, as well as combination sleepers who sometimes use the stomach position. This ensures each top pick is an appealing option for stomach sleepers, whether because of a low profile, adjustable loft, or enhanced head and neck support.

The Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

You can learn more about our picks by reading the detailed product profiles below. We’ve awarded each pillow a unique accolade based on qualities or features that distinguish it from the competition. For more information about shopping for pillows that are comfortable for stomach sleeping, be sure to scroll further down and check out our buyer’s guide. We’ll cover pillow qualities that benefit stomach sleepers the most, different types of pillows and how much they cost, and what to look for in a pillow if you primarily or occasionally sleep in the stomach position.

Product Details

Best Overall

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow
Price: $165 - Queen $185 - King
Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
  • Stomach sleepers
Highlights:
  • Medium soft feel promotes spinal alignment
  • Made with premium Talalay latex
  • Gusseted design resists flattening and clumping
Saatva Latex Pillow

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The Saatva Latex 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 layer, and a shredded latex core. Sleepers can remove the core for a lower loft if desired.

The organic cotton cover has a sateen weave that wicks away moisture and promotes breathability. The outer layer is composed of a down alternative microdenier fill encased in 100% organic cotton, providing a lofty feel. A gusseted shape resists flattening. Inside the outer layer is a shredded latex core, which provides excellent pressure relief. Latex is naturally breathable and helps increase airflow throughout the pillow. Both the cotton cover and outer layer are machine washable.

The Saatva Latex Pillow is a luxury option and has a price-point to match, but the price is reflected in the durable cotton and latex construction. 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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“We found the Saatva Latex Pillow was best suited to stomach sleepers who barely need any padding for their head, but don’t like sleeping directly on the mattress. The pillow’s adjustable design made it a big hit with testers who use other positions too.”

Silk & Snow Pillow

Best Value

Silk & Snow Pillow

Silk & Snow Pillow
Price: $75 - Standard $85 - King
Fill: Shredded memory foam core with down alternative microfiber outer chamber
Firmnesss: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers with pillow loft preferences that vary from night to night
  • Those who tend to sleep hot
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Chambered design with supportive memory foam core and plush down alternative outer layer
  • Foam fill can be added or removed to adjust the loft
  • Cotton shell is breathable and machine-washable
Silk & Snow Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Silk & Snow pillows

While consistent stomach sleepers tend to prefer low-profile pillows, people who switch between their stomach and other sleep positions may need an adjustable surface for their head and neck. The Silk & Snow Pillow features a chambered design with a shredded memory foam core at an affordable price-point. Owners may add or remove as much foam as they like to achieve the best loft at any given time, making the pillow well-suited to any sleep position as well as combination sleepers.

The outer chamber is padded with down alternative fibers that mimic the soft feel of real down without triggering allergy symptoms or using animal-based materials. A breathable cotton sateen shell encases the entire pillow. Owners can wash and dry the shell in their household machines, but should only spot-clean the other components as needed. The pillow is available in standard and king sizes.

The Silk & Snow Pillow has a below-average price-point compared to other adjustable pillows with shredded foam fill. Shipping is also free for any customer in the contiguous U.S. or provincial Canada. Each order is backed by a 100-night sleep trial with a mandatory 30-night break-in period, as well as a manufacturer’s warranty that covers workmanship defects for up to 3 years.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The S&S Pillow’s adjustable design lets you bring the profile down to a level that’s thin and approachable if you prefer sleeping on your stomach. Microfiber padding gives the surface some nice softness.”

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Best Luxury

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
Price: $279 - Standard $329 - King
Fill: 100% long-strand mulberry silk
Firmness: Medium soft
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who prefer exceptionally soft pillows
  • High-end shoppers
Highlights:
  • Mulberry silk fill is soft, durable, and breathable
  • Shell composed of moisture-wicking viscose derived from bamboo
  • All orders backed by a 100-night return period
Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

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The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow offers a luxurious design for stomach sleepers who prefer exceptionally soft surfaces. The fill is composed of mulberry silk, which is naturally plush and durable. Silk also retains minimal body heat and the shell is made of moisture-wicking viscose from bamboo, making this pillow ideal for hot sleepers and people who reside in warm or humid climates.

Standard and king sizes are available, both with a low profile that should be comfortable for stomach sleeping. Shape recovery is another key strength of the pillow. The silk shouldn’t shift or clump, and each order is backed by a warranty that includes loss of shape as a covered defect. You may machine wash the pillow, though you should dry on a delicate cycle and avoid spinning. Alternatively, you can dry clean or spot clean the pillow. Cozy Earth recommends using a protector or case to keep the pillow hygienic without needing to launder it too often.

Cozy Earth offers free shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. In addition to the warranty – which covers the pillow for 10 years – you’ll receive a trial period with your purchase that spans 100 nights in length.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is both luxuriously soft and highly durable. Cooling fill and shell materials make this a solid choice for hot sleepers and those who tend to sweat in bed.”

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Best for Neck Pain

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
Price: $89 - Queen $99 - King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who frequently experience neck pain
  • Those who prefer a more responsive pillow
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Breathable organic cotton cover
  • Talalay latex gently cradles the head and neck to relieve pressure
  • Two size and loft options
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding pillows

Brooklyn Bedding’s Talalay Latex Pillow balances latex’s naturally responsive support and gentle contouring for the head and neck. Sleepers with persistent neck pain may want to consider this pick. Latex also retains less heat than other materials, making the pillow an excellent choice for hot sleepers as well.

A shell made from breathable organic cotton encases the pillow. Customers can choose between queen and king sizes and two lofts: 4 and 6 inches. Our testing team found the lower loft best suited stomach sleepers. Both options have a medium firm feel that relieves pressure without sinking too deeply. The cover is removable and machine-washable for easy care, but you should only spot clean the pillow insert.

Brooklyn Bedding ships free to customers living in the contiguous U.S. Customers can return pillows within 30 days after purchase. Talalay Latex Pillow purchases are backed by a 3-year warranty covering structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Our testing team found the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow’s balanced contouring and support made it an excellent choice for sleepers with neck pain. The pillow also trapped minimal heat, so our hot-sleeping testers thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Most Comfortable

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow
Price: $100 - Standard/Queen $115 - King
Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers who aren’t sure of their ideal firmness or loft
  • Stomach sleepers who struggle to find a perfect pillow
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Mix-and-match inserts each have a different firmness and feel
  • Down alternative and memory foam may be added or removed to fine-tune loft and feel
  • Cooling cover is made with viscose from bamboo
Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Luxome pillows

Comfortable pillows can be elusive for stomach sleepers, but the Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow has a unique design that allows even stomach sleepers to achieve a perfect loft and feel.

The pillow is designed with three separate inserts, each with its own feel and firmness. The soft insert contains a plush down alternative fill. The medium insert is filled with 75% shredded memory foam and 25% down alternative, for an optimal balance of contouring and support. The firm insert is filled with solid memory foam. The foam pieces come in a 1-inch and 2-inch profile, and you can choose to use one or both in your pillow.

With three inserts to pick from, you can select the insert or combination of inserts that feels most comfortable. Since stomach sleepers need low-loft pillows to keep the head from excessive elevation, the thinner and plusher inserts may feel most comfortable. That said, owners can experiment with inserts until they find the combination that feels most conducive to healthy sleep posture.

The pillow comes in a standard/queen or king size. The cover is composed of viscose derived from bamboo, which is known for its cooling properties. This is beneficial for people who tend to overheat. Luxome offers free shipping to addresses in the contiguous U.S. Customers receive a 30-night sleep trial with free return shipping.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Luxome LAYR is one of the most unique customizable pillows our team has ever tested. Thanks to the impressive range of firmness and loft options, the pillow was a good fit for anyone who tried it.”

Marlow Pillow

Best Adjustable Firmness

Marlow Pillow

Marlow Pillow
Price: $65 - Standard $85 - King
Fill: 80% memory foam, 20% polyester fiber
Firmness: Adjustable
Who it's best for:
  • Those with loft and firmness needs that vary from night to night
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers who appreciate the feel of memory foam
Highlights:
  • Adjustable firmness and loft
  • Cooling memory foam and polyester fiber fill
  • 365-day trial
Marlow Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Marlow pillows

Stomach sleepers generally need pillows with low profiles and may find that many pillows on the market are too thick for their needs. The Marlow Pillow is adjustable, so stomach sleepers across weight categories should find a comfortable option.

A cover made from breathable 100% cotton encases the Marlow, keeping the surface fairly cool. Memory foam and polyester fill contour closely to the head and neck, while a cooling infusion in the foam is meant to dissipate excess body heat.

A unique zipper enclosure on the pillow allows sleepers to adjust the firmness and loft. Unzipping the pillow results in a medium soft feel and thicker profile, and the zipped pillow has a medium firm feel and a thinner profile. Mesh fabric lines the zipper opening to promote airflow and regulate temperature. Marlow recommends only spot-cleaning the pillow and using a pillowcase to protect from larger messes.

Customers can choose from two size options — standard and king. Marlow offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. and a generous 365-day trial. The pillow comes with a 2-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Marlow Pillow has an adjustable firmness to fit most stomach sleepers’ needs. Our stomach sleeping testers across weight categories found the pillow comfortable.”

GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

Best Cooling

GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam
Price: $95
Fill: Aerated Gel Memory Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers who enjoy memory foam pillows
  • Those who experience pressure points in the neck
  • Stomach sleepers who prefer a firmer pillow
Highlights:
  • Solid memory foam construction provides contouring for the head and neck
  • Phase change material and perforated design help maintain temperature neutrality
  • Cover features a plush side
GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

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The GhostPillow – Memory Foam from GhostBed is solid memory foam model has a medium firm feel and includes several thoughtful details that combat heat retention, making it a worthy choice for hot sleepers looking for foam pillows with cooling features. The gel-infused memory foam has small perforations across its surface that allow heat to escape rather than remaining trapped within the core. A layer of phase change material keeps the pillow feeling cool to the touch. A thin layer of mesh protects the pillow’s core while still allowing air to circulate.

In addition to temperature control, this pillow excels at alleviating pressure points. It gently cushions your head and neck, giving you the close-contouring relief that memory foam is known for. Sleepers who experience back pain may need a pillow that relieves pressure and promotes proper spinal alignment. The pillow manages to accomplish both and is well suited to stomach sleepers who enjoy a pillow on the firmer side.

The cover features a proprietary Ghost Ice fabric that is designed to wick heat and moisture. One side of the cover is made from plush cotton, for those who prefer a soft surface. The cover is removable and can be washed in your home machine, though the pillow core should not be laundered.

GhostBed offers this pillow in one standard size and includes a 5-year warranty covering workmanship and structural defects. Free shipping is available to shoppers in the contiguous U.S. Those wishing to take advantage of the 101-night sleep trial must use the GhostPillow for at least 30 days before initiating a return.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“This version of the GhostPillow was a big hit with our stomach sleepers who like the cushioning of memory foam, but not the thick loft many memory foam pillows provide.”

Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow

Best Pressure Relief

Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow

Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow
Price: $99 - Queen $119 - King
Fill: Plant-based down alternative fibers
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Value seekers
  • Sleepers who have sharp pressure points
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Soft and breathable cotton cover
  • Plant-based down alternative fill cradles the head and neck to relieve pressure
  • 50-night sleep trial
Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Sweet Zzz pillows

Down pillows are touted for their softness, but they are not always the best choice for those with allergies or vegan shoppers. The Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow is an affordable option that uses plant-based down alternative fibers to create a plush feel similar to down without the potential allergens or animal products. This plush pillow closely contours to the head and neck, making it an excellent choice for sleepers with persistent pressure points. Hot sleepers should also appreciate that the plant-based fibers retain less heat than traditional down.

The pillow shell is made from soft cotton, which is naturally breathable to keep sleepers cool. A mid-range firmness creates a balanced feel that is both pressure-relieving and supportive for most sleepers. The pillow is fully machine washable, provided your household appliances are large enough to accommodate it. Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, and tumble dry on the lowest setting.

Customers can choose between queen and king size pillows. Sweet Zzz ships free to the contiguous U.S., and it offers a 50-night sleep-trial. Plant-Based Pillow purchases are backed by 1-year warranties.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow offers the pressure relief that is signature of down pillows without the use of any animal products. Our testers with persistent pressure-induced pain thoroughly enjoyed this pick.”

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

Softest

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow
Price: $79 - Standard/Queen
Who it's best for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Those who frequently experience neck or shoulder pain
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Proprietary TEMPUR memory foam is dense and durable
  • Breathable knit cover is removable and machine-washable
  • Moldable design makes the pillow travel-friendly
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Tempur-Pedic pillows

If you feel stiffness or soreness from sleeping on your stomach, the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow can help alleviate your discomfort. The core contains TEMPUR memory foam, a proprietary material that offers close, even contouring without excessive sinkage. The foam’s dense composition also ensures a longer-than-average lifespan for your pillow.

Measuring 5 inches thick, the pillow is a good choice for back and stomach sleepers who prefer extra loft while they sleep. Side sleepers should also find the TEMPUR-Cloud comfortable. A cover made of knit polyester encases the foam. This material is soft, breathable, and machine-washable. Thanks to the soft and moldable design, you can easily compress the pillow and bring it on the road when you travel.

An approachable price-point and free shipping within the contiguous U.S. make the pillow suitable for shoppers with limited budgets. Although Tempur-Pedic does not permit returns, your pillow is backed by a 5-year warranty against material and structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud contours closely to cradle the head and neck. The soft, adaptive feel of this pillow was popular among the back and stomach sleepers on our team.”

Why You Can Trust Us

At Sleep Foundation, we’ve tested more than 300 pillows to find the models that are best suited for stomach sleepers. To ensure our results are as helpful as possible, our testing team includes stomach sleepers and combination sleepers who sometimes sleep on their stomach.

How We Evaluated These Pillows

As part of our testing process, our team members lay their head on each pillow to evaluate firmness, contouring, and breathability. Since stomach sleepers typically require pillows with lower loft or smaller profiles to maintain healthy alignment between the head and neck, our testers paid close attention to how high each pillow elevated the head. Our picks above reflect the pillows that we deemed best suited for stomach sleepers.

Stomach Sleeping Explained


Though stomach sleeping is the least popular sleeping position and there are plenty of drawbacks to consider, some sleepers still find it to be a comfortable way to sleep. Often, this is because stomach sleeping can reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. This is the main benefit of stomach sleeping, as the airway is less likely to become blocked. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by throat muscles relaxing and restricting air. When sleeping face down, the muscles cannot relax into the back of the throat.

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.

How to Choose a Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

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.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

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.

  • Loft: 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: 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.
  • Firmness Level: 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.
  • Pressure Relief: 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.
  • Shape: 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.
  • Price: 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.
  • Quality Materials: The quality of materials used in a pillow determines its lifespan. On average, a pillow should provide consistent support for 3 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: 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.

What Pillow Materials are Best for Stomach Sleepers?

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
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
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
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.

Latex
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
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.

Down Alternative
Down alternative mimics the feel of down but is a preferable option for sleepers who are allergic to down or who prioritize bedding that isn’t sourced from animals. Down alternative pillows are made with cotton or polyester fill, and they have a fluffy feel. The strong contouring and plushness make this pillow a good option for stomach sleepers.

Polyfoam
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.

What Size Pillows Are Available?

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:

  • Standard, 20” x 26”: A standard size pillow is the most common, and most pillowcases accommodate this size. The length and width of a standard pillow are comfortable for many sleepers, especially petite or narrow-shouldered sleepers and those who stay in the same sleeping position throughout the night. That said, it may feel too narrow for some. Those who change sleeping positions frequently or have broader shoulders may benefit from a larger pillow.
  • Super Standard, 20” x 28”: A super standard pillow is not as common, but gives sleepers an extra 2 inches of room. This makes it more comfortable for sleepers who shift positions throughout the night. It may still feel narrow for some sleepers.
  • Queen, 20” x 30”: A queen pillow gives users more surface area to change positions and still feel supported throughout the night. This size is 4 inches longer than a standard pillow, making it an ideal pillow for combination sleepers and those with broader shoulders.
  • King, 20” x 36”: A king size pillow is one of the largest sizes available. The extra length gives sleepers plenty of room to move around as needed. It can also be used to support the upper body when sitting up in bed. Sleepers who toss and turn throughout the night and those who have broad shoulders will benefit from the additional surface area.
  • Body Pillow, 20” x 54”: Body pillows are long pillows designed to elevate other parts of the body. There are various sizes and shapes available. This type of pillow is often preferred by side sleepers and those who like to hold a pillow or prop up their legs or arms as they sleep. Stomach sleepers do not typically benefit from the use of a body pillow.

Other Tips for Stomach Sleepers

While pillow choice is important for stomach sleepers, the following tips can also help them stay comfortable throughout the night.

  • Choose the Right Mattress: The best mattress for stomach sleepers is one that offers firm support to help keep the spine aligned. Stomach sleepers press their hips and abdomens into the mattress. If the mattress is too soft, this can cause them to sink in excessively and put pressure on the spine.  Even and consistent support from the mattress helps prevent spinal misalignment and reduces aches and pains for stomach sleepers.
  • Use a Pillow Under the Pelvis: Since stomach sleepers run the risk of their lower bodies sinking deeply into the mattress, a pillow under the pelvis can help. This lifts the hips and abdomen and reduces pressure on the spine.
  • Sleep with Head Straight Rather Than Turned: Stomach sleepers who turn their heads to one side put stress on the neck and spine. Sleeping with the head straight down helps keep the spine aligned and reduces pressure on the neck and shoulders. Sleepers can prop their head up slightly with a pillow underneath their forehead. Stomach sleepers should also ensure they have selected a pillow made with breathable materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How common is stomach sleeping?

    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.

  • Is stomach sleeping bad?

    Stomach sleeping isn’t inherently bad. Many people prefer sleeping on their stomachs and don’t experience any discomfort as a result, but this position is associated with more aches and pains than side or back sleeping.

    People tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight in their chest and stomach compared to the rest of their body. When you sleep face-down, gravity causes this extra weight to sink into your mattress. If you sink too much, then your midsection will rest lower on the sleep surface than your neck, shoulders, and hips. This can interfere with your alignment and cause aches and pains to occur in these areas.

    If you prefer stomach sleeping, we recommend a mattress with a firmer feel and medium profile of 12 inches or less. These models provide more reinforcement for the midsection and can help keep your body on an even plane. Mattresses with zoned layers often feel firmer beneath your chest and stomach, so one of these models might be a good investment.

    We also recommend low-profile pillows for most stomach sleepers. Resting your head on a thick pillow while lying on your stomach can easily strain the neck and leave you feeling stiff or sore in the morning. In fact, some stomach sleepers prefer to forgo a pillow altogether and rest their head directly on their mattress.

  • What is the most important consideration when choosing a pillow for stomach sleepers?

    Pillow loft may be the most important factor for stomach sleepers to consider when choosing their best 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.

  • What type of pillow is best for stomach sleepers?

    The best pillow for any sleeper will provide adequate support without compromising spinal alignment or placing too much stress on the neck and shoulders. For stomach sleepers, low to medium loft pillows with 2-to-4-inch thickness are usually most comfortable. Some prefer not to use any pillow whatsoever. Thicker, high-loft pillows may prop up the head and neck too much when you lie on your stomach, interfering with your alignment and creating pressure points in the process.

    Since stomach sleeping isn’t nearly as common as side or back sleeping, very few pillows are designed specifically with stomach sleepers in mind. Pillows geared toward stomach sleepers tend to have low profiles.

    Stomach sleepers should also take the firmness level of their mattress into consideration. If your mattress feels relatively soft, then you’re more likely to sink into the top layers and may need a thicker pillow to feel comfortable. Those who sleep on firm mattresses won’t need as much loft from their pillow. That said, most stomach sleepers prefer low to medium loft pillows regardless of how soft or firm their mattress feels.

  • What is the worst pillow type for stomach sleepers?

    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.

  • Should you use a pillow if you sleep on your stomach?

    Side and back sleepers typically need thicker, loftier pillows to receive adequate head and neck support. This is not the case with stomach sleepers, many of whom feel most comfortable on lower-profile pillows. Some even prefer not to use a pillow at all. As long as the mattress is firm enough to support a stomach sleeper’s body without too much sinkage, forgoing a pillow should not cause many aches or pains.

    If you primarily sleep on your stomach, try sleeping with and without a pillow to see which option works better for you. However, it’s important to note that stomach sleeping is associated with more pain and pressure points than other positions, so you may experience some discomfort around the neck, shoulders, and lower back regardless of whether or not you use a pillow.

  • Where can I find a pillow for stomach sleepers?

    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.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Keith Cushner

Sleep Product Expert

Keith is a sleep product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing sleep products.