Whether you're a back, side, or stomach sleeper, here's how to choose the perfect pillow for you. 

By Nancy Rones and Amanda Lauren
August 20, 2018

If you're not waking up refreshed and you're unsure why, the problem could be that you’re sleeping on the wrong pillow. “There isn’t one pillow that fits us all,” says Rebecca Robbins, PhD, a sleep researcher at NYU School of Medicine and Beautyrest sleep expert. Back, slide, stomach, and combination sleepers all have different support needs. When you’re lying on the mattress, your head and neck should be level with your spine. Test out different arrangements to see if you need more than one pillow for proper cushioning and support. If your pillow is more than two years old or has lost its buoyancy, it’s time to toss it. Besides a lousy night’s sleep, the wrong pillow can lead to headaches and neck pain.

To get the best night’s sleep possible, you need to customize for your sleep style. Here are your options.

Pillows for Side Sleepers

Side sleepers need a large, firm pillow that can support the space between the ear and shoulder areas. The Luxe Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow was designed to do this with medium to firm support. Made of a hypoallergenic combination of recycled polyester and cooling Tencel fibers, it is also great for people who tend to get hot in their sleep.

To buy: $85; westelm.com

Pillows for Back Sleepers

Back sleepers best benefit from a memory foam or gel pillow because it molds to the curves of the neck. The PharMeDoc Contour Memory Foam Pillow with Cooling Gel combines both of these materials in an ideal shape to support the neck muscles so they relax. This can help reduce both the back and neck pain that many back sleepers can potentially wake up to.  

To buy: $40; bedbathandbeyond.com

Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Sleeping on your stomach isn’t ideal because it can lead to lower back and neck pain. But if you always find yourself waking up in that position, using a body pillow such as this hypoallergenic one by Alywn Home will give you the support you need. It’s filled with traditional fiber for that classic cloud-like feeling.

To buy: $30; wayfair.com

Combination Sleepers

Not all of us sleep in one static position, especially, if you share your bed with pets or a partner. Slumbr’s Vela Down + Feather Pillow is filled with hypoallergenic, responsibly sourced down. It’s flexible enough for stomach sleepers, yet supportive enough for side sleepers.

To buy: $85; amazon.com

Still not sleeping well? Here's how to make sure you're on the right mattress.