The Best Pillows for 5 Common Sleep Issues (and Napping in Noisy Places)

Hey, sleepyhead: Take a pause from your web search of CBD gummies, magnesium supplements, Valerian tea and Ambien side effects and think of your sad old pillow. There's a whole body of sleep science devoted to choosing the right pillow, plus there are recent design and tech updates you need to know about—including a face pillow that blocks light and sound, perfect for anyone who shares a bedroom with Netflix binge-watcher. Read on for five common concerns and their fluffy, head-cradling solutions.

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best pillow sleep crown back sleeper
The Grommet

Bummed Out By Noise? Try A Face Pillow

Too much light and overall commotion to really relax? Try a Sleep Crown, a crescent-shaped pillow that’s filled with fluffy faux down and made to cover your eyes and ears. Designed by a restorative yoga teacher in Austin, Texas, the pillow made us think of how happy we feel during savasana at the end of an especially taxing class. Similarly to trendy weighted blankets, a Sleep Crown suffused us with a sense of security and allowed us to really “let go” way faster than we usually do when settling in to sleep. And while we initially thought it would be too heavy and hot, the filling turned out to be lightweight enough that we didn’t notice any discomfort—and besides, when we woke up, we found we were hugging it.

best pillow bedgear

Wake Up With A Sore Neck? Try A Firmer, Taller Pillow

If you’re tossing and turning in the night or waking up with a stiff neck or other aches and pains, you might not be using the right pillow. Seventy-four percent of us sleep on our side, while 16 percent are stomach sleepers and 10 percent are back sleepers, according to a study sponsored by Costa Mesa, California-based Anna’s Linens. Since you want your spine to stay in alignment, this means your head shouldn’t be burrowed down into a flat pillow but resting smoothly in line with your mid-shoulder. We like Bedgear’s interactive pillow finder, which takes into account biometrics such as your sleep positioning when recommending a pillow.

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Pillow Bar

Have Specific Needs? Try A Custom Pillow

The Pillow Bar in Dallas caters to people who are willing to spend big on their pillows. Each one is hand-stuffed and stitched, created to fit the sleep style, height, shoulder size and gender of the user and delivered with a customized monogram. Sure, a king-size, down-filled back-sleeper pillow with a special nook to properly position your head can run you hundreds of dollars, but it’s an investment in your wellness, after all. (Plus, the pillow thoughtfully comes with a zippered pillow protector and a removable lavender sachet.)

best pillow coolgel
The Company Store

Run Hot When You Sleep? Try This Pillow Material

Pillow engineering has seen many tech advancements. According to Laurel Single at The Company Store, foam, cooling and shaped pillows are among the innovations of the past decade. The Ultra-Cooling Pillow, for example, has a cool-to-the-touch cover that’s filled with gel polyester fibers. It’s a medium-support pillow that’s great to keep on hand for the warm summer months or for overheated rooms in winter.

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Tetra Images/Getty Images

Down Or Bust? Try An Rds Pillow

It’s going to be harder to get to sleep, no matter how fluffy or supportive your pillow is, if you’re thinking about the way that down can be harvested from live birds that are force-fed. So choose a pillow with materials that have an RDS (Responsible Down Sourcing) certification. That means the geese aren’t mistreated and each stage in the supply process is monitored by a third party. That way, your European down pillow from The Company Store will carry you to sleep with no bad vibes.

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...