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Best Pillows for Back Sleepers & Side Sleepers

Best Pillows for Back Sleepers & Side Sleepers

Who doesn’t love a comfortable pillow? Without one, getting a good night of restful sleep seems pretty much impossible. If you don’t have the right pillow for your sleeping style, it can feel pretty much impossible to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. 

But that begs the question: what kind of pillow should I get for my sleeping style? Everybody sleeps a bit differently, so each person is going to have a better experience with a different type of pillow than the next person. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about pillows. By the end, you’ll be able to pick out the best pillow for your sleeping needs so you can get a better night of sleep every single night. 

What Are the Different Types of Pillows?

This might surprise you, but there are a ton of different types of pillows out there. Pillow manufacturers don’t just fill a sack with cotton and ship it off to you. They specially craft pillows with certain functions in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the pillow styles out there. 

For the most part, pillows are going to fall into one of three categories: soft, medium, or firm. The following list isn’t comprehensive, but it talks about some of the most popular pillow types out there.

Memory Foam Pillows

One of the more popular types of pillows today is the coveted memory foam pillow. These pillows are nice and firm but soft and welcoming at the same time. They form perfectly to whatever shape your head and neck are. 

There are tons of variations on fan-favorite memory foam pillows. These standard pillows are filled with shredded memory foam. Additionally, there are even gel-infused memory foam pillows that help regulate temperature. Gel memory foam pillows are ideal for anyone who identifies asa hot sleeper, especially when paired with a cooling pillow cover.

One of the significant downsides to even the best memory foam pillows is that they aren’t machine washable most of the time, but for many people, the pros far outweigh the cons.

Latex Foam Pillows

Latex pillows are similar to memory foam, but they’re made of another material: latex. They have the same supportive molding effect that memory foam pillows do, but there are some added benefits of the material. 

They’re antimicrobial, and they help to reduce odors, which is incredibly useful. The only downside is that people with latex allergies can’t use them. Instead, they tend to go for a hypoallergenic memory foam option with a washable cover.

Feather Pillows 

Feather pillows are soft, comfortable, and plush. The particular feathers used in feather pillows are quite small and curled up to hold their shape when your head hits the pillow. The feathers are strong, and they spring back into shape once you get up. This means that these are soft but supportive and adjustable pillows at the same time.

Down Pillows

Down pillows are some of the most luxurious pillows out there. Normal feather pillows are made with feathers that come from the wings and back of the bird, and they still have the quill in them. 

Down pillows are made with the soft under feathers of the bird, and they don’t have any quills on them. Because of the feather type, down pillows are some of the softest pillows out there. They’re super fluffy and cozy, and they feel like laying your head on a cloud. Nothing cradles your head quite like a down pillow.

Buckwheat Pillows

They aren’t the most popular pillow type out there, but buckwheat pillows definitely have their place in the pillow world. They’re a natural, plant-based option that is filled with the husks of buckwheat seeds. The result is a sturdy, firm pillow that provides fantastic support.

Buckwheat is also a natural cooling pillow, making it a well-loved pick for hot sleepers.

Body Pillows

Few things are better than curling up next to a body pillow and holding it close, especially in the middle of a king-size mattress. It improves the coziness factor of your bed tenfold. Body pillows can be made from any material and can be any level of firmness. It’s really the shape and length that make them what they are. 

Microbead Pillows

Finally, we have microbead pillows. These pillows are firm and offer all the support you could ask for. They’re made up of thousands of tiny beads made from a material called unexpanded polystyrene. 

The most common type of microbead pillow is a travel neck pillow, but you can also find microbead bed pillows for your nightly sleep.

The Different Sleep Positions

Now that we’ve talked about the pillows out there, let’s get into the different sleeping positions. There are three main types of sleepers that all have specific pillow needs.

Side Sleepers

First off, we have the side sleepers. This is the most popular sleeping position out there, with over 60% of adults sleeping on their side most of the time. There are a lot of benefits to sleeping on your side. 

For starters, it helps to keep your airways open, so it can be ideal if you’re trying to avoid snoring or have sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side is also believed to potentially support a healthy back and neck. 

If you sleep on your side, you need to worry about supporting key points of your body. You can’t have too much pressure on your hips and shoulders, and you’re going to want to make sure your head is held up well.

Back Sleepers

Sleeping on the back is the next most popular sleeping position, with about a third of people sleeping on their back most of the time. Back sleepers enjoy a lot of comfort when it comes to their back and neck, assuming they sleep symmetrically and have a good pillow. 

Also, because their face doesn’t touch a pillow, it is believed that back sleepers get fewer wrinkles than stomach or side sleepers. 

The key with back sleepers is to get a pillow that will support the natural curvature of your neck. This will help you to relax and reduce the strain on your neck and back muscles.

Stomach Sleepers

Less than ten percent of people sleep on their stomachs, making it the least popular position. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended because it can lead to pain in the neck and back, but if you do it right, you can reduce the risk of pain. 

Stomach sleepers need to alleviate the pressure on their back by keeping their torso flat throughout the night. 

Which Pillow Is Best for Each Style?

Everybody has unique needs and preferences. So the best pillow is the one that you like the most and that best supports your sleeping position. And in reality, most people are combination sleepers.

This means that they sleep in a combination of positions, so it’s often best to have a couple of pillows on hand for each position you use or one pillow that can support multiple positions. After a trial period with each pillow, you can determine which one works best for each of your sleeping positions.

For Side Sleepers

Again, side sleepers need a high-quality, thick, firm pillow that will give them ample neck support. Sleeping on your side leaves a natural gap between your head and the bed. If you don’t support your head right with a high loft pillow, you’ll likely wake up with a nasty crick in your neck because of improper spinal alignment. 

So if you’re side sleeping, you’ll want a contouring pillow that is thick and firm. Memory foam or latex pillows make for wonderful choices. They’ll give you the pressure relief you want, the support you need to reduce the risk of neck pain, and the durability to last you a long time.

It’s also a good idea to get a breathable pillow to keep your head cool at night. 

For Back Sleepers

If you’re a back sleeper, the perfect pillow is probably a medium-firm supportive pillow. Again, getting a pillow that can easily conform to the natural curvature of your neck and upper spine is wise. 

Your sleeping position will likely help you with back pain, but make sure that you pick the firmness option that best fits your unique neck to make extra sure that your back is well-supported.

Memory foam pillows work great for back sleepers, but you may also prefer a down or down-alternative pillow. Feather pillows are also a top-notch choice for back sleepers due to the incredibly comfy pillow fill and their natural support and springiness.

For Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers need to be very particular about their pillows. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of pain is by sleeping with no pillow at all, allowing your whole body to lay flat against the mattress, but that might not be comfortable for many people. 

If that’s you, you may want to put one pillow underneath your head and another standard-size pillow underneath your pelvis. This will help your body lay flat and take some pressure off of your lower back. 

Pillows for Your Unique Needs

Everybody has a preference when it comes to pillows. People all have unique body types and sleep in their favored positions. There are hot sleepers, and there are cold sleepers. Some people love a foam fill, and others hate it. The list goes on and on. 

But now you know the best type of pillow for your unique sleeping position. If you need a new pillow or any new bedding. from pillowcases to the best mattresses out there, check out eLuxury for an incredible selection, as well as deals and coupons on special occasions.


Pillow Types | Better Sleep Council 

Sleeping positions that reduce back pain | Mayo Clinic

What Your Sleeping Position Says About You | Sleep Foundation

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