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Finding the Right Pillow
A great pillow can make a world of difference for your sleep. An important part of sleep hygiene, your pillow cushions your head and neck, which is essential for both comfort and support. A pillow that maintains a proper neck angle can ward off neck pain and encourage overall spinal alignment.
Given the immense selection of pillow types and sizes, though, many shoppers are unsure of how to find their perfect pillow. We’ve covered all the bases for you with top pillow picks based on sleeping position, pillow type, and specific preferences and needs.
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Pain and Needs
Pillow choice is very important to people who live with neck, shoulder, or back pain. The right pillow can help alleviate tension and stiffness in these areas, while the wrong pillow can cause more discomfort and pressure. All pillows flatten over time, so if you’ve been using the same pillow for years, you may experience added aches and pains.
Pillows for Neck Pain
People with neck pain typically prefer pillows that contour evenly to the head and neck while providing adequate support and maintaining a full shape. For those with severe pain, a contoured ergonomic pillow that cradles the head and supports the neck may be the best option.
Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow
Fill: 75% Latex and 25% Polyester Fiber
Firmness: Medium, adjustable
Pillows for Shoulder Pain
A supportive pillow that cushions the head and neck can make a huge difference for people with persistent shoulder pain. Some pillows sold today are specifically designed for people with torn rotator cuffs, osteoarthritis, and other conditions that cause shoulder discomfort.
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pro Pillow
Fill: TEMPUR Memory Foam TEMPUR Micro-Cushions
Firmness: Soft, Medium Soft, Medium
Silk & Snow Pillow
Fill: Shredded memory foam core with down alternative microfiber outer chamber
Pillows for Back Pain
Many people develop aches and pains in their back because their shoulders and hips are not aligned with their spines while they sleep. A pillow for back pain should support these areas to ensure even alignment. Side sleepers can also improve their alignment by lying with a second pillow between their legs.
Pillows for Snoring
Most people snore at least once in a while, but for many this is a chronic condition. The issue is particularly common for back sleepers because this condition can restrict airflow through the breathing passages if the head is not elevated. The best pillows for snoring provide the loft and support needed to keep your head upright throughout the night.
Pillows fall into different categories based on the materials that make up their fill. From memory foam and latex to feathers and buckwheat hulls, each type of fill offers certain advantages and drawbacks. Factors to consider when choosing a pillow material include durability, temperature control, pressure relief, and ease of cleaning and care. Cost will also be a factor, as average prices differ considerably between different pillow types.
Memory Foam Pillows
A memory foam pillow is ideal for anyone who enjoys close contouring around the head and neck. Pillows with solid foam cores often excel at pain and pressure relief. You can also opt for a shredded memory foam pillow, many of which offer adjustable loft.
Saatva Memory Foam Pillow
Fill: Shredded Gel Memory Foam
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
Fill: TEMPUR memory foam with TEMPUR-Breeze Gel coating
Firmness: Medium (5)
Down pillows are cushioned with the soft inner plumage of geese or ducks, and may also contain feathers from the same birds as supplemental fill. These pillows are best suited to people who prefer a plush, cloud-like surface for their head.
Brooklinen Down Pillow
Fill: Canadian white down with feather core
Firmness: Plush, Mid-Plush, Firm
Boll & Branch Down Pillow
Fill: Down, down-feather core
Firmness: Soft, Medium Firm, Firm
Pacific Coast Hotel Double Touch of Down Pillow
Fill: Hyperclean down and Resilia feathers
A cooling pillow is constructed with cover and core materials that promote air circulation and don’t trap body heat. These materials include breathable fabrics such as cotton, Tencel, or rayon from bamboo, as well as latex, ventilated foam, or down alternative fibers on the interior.
Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
Fill: 100% long-strand mulberry silk
Firmness: Medium soft
Your sleeping position is central to how your body is aligned during the night, making it an important consideration when selecting a pillow. The loft, or height, of a pillow and its firmness directly affect whether it can meet the needs of your body.
Though many pillows can be used effectively in more than one sleeping position, we’ve identified what distinguishes the top performers for side, back, and stomach sleepers. If you are a combination sleeper who changes positions frequently, look for a pillow that best suits the position that you spend the most time in.
When lying on your side, your shoulder generates a sizable space between your head and the mattress. This can put pressure on your neck if your pillow is too short. For that reason, most side sleepers, and especially those with broad shoulders, do best with a pillow with medium or high loft. Adjustable-loft pillows are popular with side sleepers, who also benefit from pillows with plenty of fill and at least medium firmness.
Layla Kapok Pillow
Fill: Shredded memory foam and kapok tree fiber blend
Firmness: Medium Soft
Brooklinen Down Pillow – Plush
Fill: Pure Canadian white down or a down/feather blend
Back sleepers should look for a pillow that can lift their head into a comfortable and supportive angle. In most cases, that’s a medium-loft pillow with at least medium firmness so that it doesn’t compress too much under their head.
Stomach sleeping is the least common position, and it can create unique needs for maintaining proper alignment. Stomach sleepers get the best results with a low-loft pillow; taller pillows can push their head too far upward and put pressure on their neck. A pillow that is thin and either soft or medium firm suits most stomach sleepers.
Pillows for Support
Not all pillows are designed to go under your head and neck. Depending on your sleeping position, body pain, comfort preferences, or other needs you may find it helpful to use a different type of pillow to support yourself.
Knee pillows can improve spinal alignment and alleviate pressure for side sleepers. Back sleepers can also place these pillows beneath their legs for added support. Most knee pillows are constructed from dense memory foam that doesn’t compress too easily, allowing the material to maintain a full shape.
A wedge pillow is shaped with a slight incline to support the head and shoulders. These pillows are particularly beneficial for heavy snorers and people with acid reflux. Some back sleepers also prefer to rest their legs on wedge pillows, which can help alleviate aches and pains in the lumbar region and hips.
Body pillows are ideal for side sleepers who enjoy snuggling with a pillow while they sleep. Pregnant women can also use them to help improve spinal alignment. Additionally, a body pillow can help alleviate discomfort for people with back pain and provide extra cushioning for stomach sleepers.
Travel pillows allow you to sleep comfortably on airplanes, trains, and other types of public transportation. They can also be useful for people staying in motels, youth hostels, and other overnight lodgings where bedding quality is questionable. Most travel pillows are light and compact enough to fit in any luggage.
|Avocado||Avocado Green Pillow||GOLS-certified shredded latex and GOTS-certified kapok fibers||Medium||Read Our Review||$89|
|Bear||Bear Pillow||Single, aerated piece of ‘LOFT-X’ polyfoam||Medium||Read Our Review||$125|
|Casper||Casper Original Pillow||Crimped Polyester Microfiber Fill||Medium Soft||Read Our Review||$65|
|Coop Home Goods||Coop Home Goods Original||Shredded Memory Foam and Microfibers||Medium Firm||Read Our Review||$60|
|Copper Fit||Angel Sleeper Pillow||Solid memory foam||Medium||Read Our Review||$40|
|Layla||Layla Kapok Pillow||Shredded memory foam and kapok tree fiber blend||Medium Soft||Read Our Review||$109|
|Miracle Bamboo||Miracle Bamboo Pillow||95% Shredded Memory Foam 5% Polyester Microfibers||Medium Firm||Read Our Review||$30|
|Purple||Purple Harmony Pillow (Standard)||Hyper Elastic Polymer Talalay Latex||Medium-Soft||Read Our Review||$159|
|Purple||Purple Pillow||3″ Hyper-Elastic Polymer 1” removable polyfoam booster .5” removable polyfoam booster||Soft – Middle Firm – Edges||Read Our Review||$109|
|Saatva||Saatva Latex Pillow||Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative||Medium Soft||Read Our Review||$165|
|SleepDream||SleepDream||Zoned memory foam||Medium Firm||Read Our Review||$110|
|Sleepgram||Sleepgram Pillow||Polyester Microfiber||Adjustable||Read Our Review||$50|
|Sutera||Sutera Pillow||Solid gel memory foam||Medium Firm||Read Our Review||$55|
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