The Best Pillows for Back Sleepers, According to People Who Are Finally Catching Zzz’s
Why are you still sleeping on that lumpy pancake of a headrest you’ve been using since Napster was a thing? If you tend to sleep on your back, you need the Liam Neeson of pillows: That is to say, one with a very particular skill set. It shouldn’t be too plush or it will thrust your head too far forward, giving you a crick in the neck. The gold standard, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is a thin one with a slightly thicker lower third. (Experts call that having extra “loft” at the bottom, FYI.)
That design can be hard to come by. And it’s not so useful if you tend to toss and turn, spending some parts of the night on your side and stomach, so we’ve rounded up a few of the best pillows for back sleepers, according to the criteria above and the sleep-obsessed reviewers who’ve raved about them.
But Wait—What Are the Benefits of Using a Pillow Specifically Designed for Back Sleepers?
We get it: You can buy a pillow for $6—why waste time researching and paying more? But finding the right pillow for your sleep style helps keep your head and neck in alignment, so you can get a more restful sleep, says Dr. Michael J. Breus (who studies sleep so extensively he’s known as the “Sleep Doctor”). You could wake up feeling more refreshed, with fewer aches and pains. Considering you spend one third of your life sleeping, a quality pillow is well worth the investment.
The Winners at a Glance:
- Best Memory Foam Pillow: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
- Best Down Pillow: The Seasons Collection Down Back Sleeper Pillow
- Best Ultra-Slim Pillow: Bluewave Bedding Super Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow
- Best Value Buy: Sealy Essentials Contour Bed Pillow
- Best for Hot Sleepers: The Purple Harmony Pillow
- Best for People Who Sleep *Mostly* on Their Back: White Noise Dual Cooling Bed Pillow
Once you’ve chosen your fit, you may want to buy two—or relegate your old one to a new purpose—because the pros at the National Sleep Foundation recommend that back sleepers use two pillows: one for their head and one to place under your knees, relieving pressure on your back. Good to know, right? Now, onto our recommendations!
1. Best Memory Foam Pillow: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
More than 15,000 people have strong feelings about this head rest, which isn’t your typical block o’ foam—it’s filled with shredded memory foam, so it will mold to your head and neck, but it won’t stiffen into an outline of your skull. Plus, it has an adjustable loft, so you can boost the thickness near your neck and achieve that neutral-alignment nirvana we were blathering on about earlier.
2. Best Down Pillow: The Seasons Collection Down Back Sleeper Pillow
If you’re a diehard down pillow fanatic, but you find they’re often too fluffy for the way you sleep, don’t lose hope—The Seasons Collection specifically created a model with you in mind. It has medium support, which is typically recommended for people who drift off to sleep while staring at the ceiling, a 500-thread-count cover and comes with a ten-year warranty. People rave about its softness and how it doesn’t flatten out quickly, like many down-filled pillows do.
3. Best Thin Pillow: Bluewave Bedding Super Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow
At 3 ¼ inches tall, Bluewave Bedding’s Super Slim pillow cushions your head without cradling your chin to your chest as you rest. It’s especially comfy for people with smaller frames, who don’t need as much of a boost. Stomach sleepers and those who sleep with an arm under their pillow rave about this design, too, with roughly 74 percent of its 952 reviewers ranking it a whopping five stars.
4. Best Value Buy: Sealy Essentials Contour Bed Pillow
You’d never think to go pillow shopping at Best Buy, but if you’re looking for a deal…apparently, it’s the place to go. This Sealy Essentials pillow has extra loft at the top and bottom, so you can give it a 180-degree turn halfway through the night and still leave your neck perfectly supported. It’s made of memory foam, so it’ll contour to your noggin, and at $20, it won’t break the bank. Win-win.
5. Best for Hot Sleepers: The Purple Harmony Pillow
Take the cover off, revealing the grape-colored, rubbery helix-grid pillow underneath, and you’ll seriously question whether this is even a pillow at all. It is, but it’s unlike any other. That Flubber-like base gives you firm-yet-cushy support that never requires fluffing or karate-chopping to maintain its shape. And the grid gives the pillow solid air flow, so that—combined with the moisture-wicking cover—will keep you from waking up sweaty. Back sleepers should opt for the lower, 6 1/2 -inch model.
6. Best for People Who Sleep *Mostly* on Their Back: White Noise Dual Cooling Bed Pillow
Yes, it’s a cooling pillow, but where this head support really shines is in its unique design: A chiropractor created it with differently filled zones, so your head, shoulders and neck are aligned as you rest. (You’ll notice the center of the pillow’s less plush, unlike most pillows, so it cradles your head.) However, if you sleep on your side, you can rest your head on the left or right side of the pillow and still feel perfectly aligned. Aaaah.