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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.
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.
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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.
Best for Back Pain
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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.
Best for Neck Pain
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
Best Pressure Relief
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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