Home / Best Pillows of 2021 / Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Written by

Lauren Fountain


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

Layla Memory Foam Pillow

Best Overall

Layla Memory Foam Pillow

Layla Memory Foam Pillow
Price: $75 - Queen $89 - King
Fill: 70% shredded memory foam, 30% polyester fiber
Firmness: Medium Firm
Who it's best for:
  • People who want a pillow with adjustable loft
  • Hot sleepers
  • Value seekers
  • Supportive medium-firm feel
  • Adjustable loft lets stomach sleepers customize the pillow’s feel
  • Premium performance at a competitive price
Layla Memory Foam Pillow

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

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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“Adjustable pillows are a great investment for primary stomach sleepers. We thought the Layla was a standout for its plush yet breathable fill, as well as the approachable pricing.”

GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

Best for Back Pain

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
  • Solid memory foam construction
  • Phase change material and perforated design help maintain temperature neutrality
  • Cover features a plush side
GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

SF Readers get 25% off pillows at GhostBed

Sleepers who experience back pain may need a pillow that relieves pressure and promotes proper spinal alignment. The GhostPillow – Memory Foam from GhostBed manages to accomplish both and is well-suited to stomach sleepers who enjoy a pillow on the firmer side.

This 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. 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.”

Saatva Latex Pillow

Best Luxury

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow
Price: $155 - Queen $175 - King
Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • Allergy sufferers
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
  • Stomach sleepers who tend to sleep hot
  • Medium soft feel promotes spinal alignment
  • Made with premium Talalay latex
  • Gusseted design resists flattening and clumping
Saatva Latex Pillow

Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off!

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.

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.”

Casper Original Pillow

Best for Neck Pain

Casper Original Pillow

Casper Original Pillow
Price: $65 - Standard $85 - King
Who it's best for:
  • Stomach sleepers and others who prefer thinner pillows
  • People with down allergies
  • Value seekers
  • Two loft options, including low-profile option for stomach sleeping
  • Cushioned with plush down alternative fibers
  • Fully machine-washable
Casper Original Pillow

Save 10% off your cart with code SF10

While few pillows are specifically designed for stomach sleepers, models with multiple loft options that include low-profile models may be suitable for people who favor this position. Take the Casper Original Pillow, which is available in 5-inch and 6-inch options. While side and back sleepers will likely prefer the latter, stomach sleepers should find the 5-inch option more comfortable. An approachable price-point also makes the pillow a great find for shoppers on a budget.

The fill consists of down alternative clusters intended to mimic the plushness of real down, but without trapping as much heat or triggering allergy symptoms. The synthetic fill may be a good match for shoppers who would rather not purchase products with animal-based components. The cover is composed of cotton with polyester lining.

The entire pillow can be washed and dried in household machines for quick and convenient care. Standard and king sizes are available for both lofts. Additionally, all versions of the pillow are designed with gussets to prevent the fill from clumping or shifting, so you shouldn’t need to fluff it too often.

Casper provides free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. The company allows you to test out the pillow for up to 30 nights, and those who decide to keep it will receive a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“A medium profile and moldable design make the Casper Pillow a great option for stomach sleepers. Excessive elevation of the head and neck shouldn’t be an issue because the fill is so plush.”

Brooklinen Down Pillow

Most Comfortable

Brooklinen Down Pillow

Brooklinen Down Pillow
Price: $99 - Standard $119 - King
Fill: Pure Canadian white down or a down/feather blend
Firmness: Plush
Who it's best for:
  • People who aren’t sure what their ideal pillow firmness is
  • Value seekers
  • Shoppers looking for a pillow with a long trial period
  • Three firmness levels to accommodate different sleep positions
  • Soft cotton sateen shell with durable double-stitched edges
  • Generous sleep trial lets you test out the pillow for up to one year
Brooklinen Down Pillow

SF readers get the best price at Brooklinen

Some stomach sleepers enjoy resting their head and neck on a plush pillow, while others prefer a firmer surface. The Brooklinen Down Pillow is a great option for anyone who doesn’t know their ideal pillow firmness level because it’s available in three different designs, each with a distinct feel. Side, back, and combination sleepers should also be able to find a comfortable option that suits their personal preferences.

The softest version of the pillow is filled with pure down clusters for a plush feel and cloud-like cradling. A medium “mid-plush” option features a feather core cushioned with down in the outer chamber. Feathers are more supportive than down, so your head and neck shouldn’t sink too much into the mid-plush pillow. The third option also combines down and feathers with a higher ratio of the latter, giving the pillow a firm feel.

All versions of the pillow include a shell made of silky-smooth cotton sateen. The edges of the shell are reinforced with double-stitching to prevent rips and tears that can lead to the fill escaping. While people with down allergies may want to avoid the pillow, each one receives an antimicrobial treatment to help stave off harmful bacteria. The pillow should only be dry-cleaned or spot-cleaned, and never machine-washed.

The softest version of the pillow costs more than its two counterparts, but all three are very reasonably priced compared to competing down pillows. Brooklinen’s 365-night sleep trial is also one of the lengthiest in the bedding industry. The Brooklinen Down Pillow is made in Canada.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“This pillow from Brooklinen shows why down fill is so popular with stomach sleepers. Your head and neck sink into the pillow, but not in a way that compromises alignment.”

Silk & Snow Pillow

Best Adjustable

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
  • 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. 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.”

Cariloha Flex Pillow

Best Cooling

Cariloha Flex Pillow

Cariloha Flex Pillow
Price: $99 - Standard $109 - King
Fill: 100% shredded memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who want to invest in an adjustable pillow
  • Those who feel pressure points in the neck and shoulders
  • Adjustable design lets you customize the loft
  • Fill and cover materials designed to resist overheating and sleep cool
  • Plush quilted cover
Cariloha Flex Pillow

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

Memory foam tends to absorb and trap heat, so pillows that use this material have a reputation for sleeping uncomfortably warm. The Cariloha Flex Pillow reduces heat retention quite well thanks to its composition. The core contains shredded memory foam infused with charcoal, which has natural cooling properties, while the cover is made from a breathable, moisture-wicking blend of polyester and rayon derived from bamboo. The pillow’s above-average temperature control should appeal to people who prefer memory foam for its pressure-relieving qualities but dislike the bothersome heat buildup.

The shredded fill can be added or removed to your liking, allowing you to customize the pillow based on your loft preferences. Most stomach sleepers prefer a low profile. Standard and king sizes are available. The cover can be removed and machine-washed, making it easy to clean.

Cariloha offers free ground shipping to the contiguous U.S. for all orders of $100 or more, which includes king size Flex Pillows. Delivery rates for the standard size are also quite reasonable. Customers may test out the pillow for up to 30 nights before deciding whether to keep it or return it.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“The adjustable, removable fill is definitely an asset for stomach sleepers, but the Flex Pillow’s cooling cover is a welcome addition that should reduce overheating and control moisture.”

Zoma Pillow

Best Value

Zoma Pillow

Zoma Pillow
Price: $75 - Queen $95 - King
Fill: MicroCushions shredded foam and fiber blend
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers who prefer pillows that contour closely
  • Value seekers
  • Close-conforming feel
  • Above-average pressure relief
  • Minimal heat retention
Zoma Pillow

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

The Zoma 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 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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“The Zoma’s MicroCushions have a feel that distinguishes this pillow from other models with shredded foam fill. Plenty of cushioning and pressure relief, but enough support and responsiveness to prevent uncomfortable sinkage.”

Belly Sleeper Pillow

Best Pressure Relief

Belly Sleeper Pillow

Belly Sleeper Pillow
Price: $
Fill: Solid gel memory foam
Firmness: Firm
Who it's best for:
  • Stomach sleepers
  • Those who enjoy the adaptive feel of memory foam
  • People who prefer thin pillows
  • Slim profile ensures adequate cushioning for stomach sleepers without compromising alignment
  • Solid memory foam conforms evenly to reduce pressure in sensitive areas
  • 30-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Belly Sleeper Pillow

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

While ergonomic pillows usually cater to side and back sleepers, the Belly Sleeper Pillow targets those who prefer stomach sleepers. Most people who favor the stomach position often feel uncomfortable on lofty pillows because they elevate the head and neck too much, leading to added aches and pains in the shoulders and lower back. At the same time, many of these sleepers need some sort of surface for resting their head.

The Belly Sleeper Pillow is crafted from a single piece of memory foam. A firm feel prevents deep sinkage and the pillow’s thin profile provides some cushioning for the head while keeping the neck, shoulders, spine, and hips on an even plane. The memory foam is infused with cooling gel to draw heat away from your body while you sleep. The cover, made from a blend of polyester and rayon derived from bamboo, is also quite breathable.

Most customers qualify for free expedited shipping, and will receive their package within a couple days of placing their order. The Belly Pillow is backed by a 30-night sleep trial that includes free shipping and full refunds on all returns. A lifetime warranty is also included.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“A lot of pillows work for stomach sleepers, but the Belly Sleeper feels like a pillow specifically designed for this position. A great option for those who’ve had bad luck with other solid foam pillows.”

Why You Should 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.

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 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: 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 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.

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 two 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 four 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.

Pillows for Stomach Sleepers FAQ

  • 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 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.

  • 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 firm feels and 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.

About Our Editorial Team

Lauren Fountain

Certified Sleep Coach

Lauren is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with extensive experience researching and testing a wide variety of sleep products.

About Our Editorial Team

Lauren Fountain

Certified Sleep Coach

Lauren is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with extensive experience researching and testing a wide variety of sleep products.