According to sleep experts, the “pillow makes the bed”. This means the quality and comfort of your sleep depends mostly on the pillow rather than the mattress.
You can find the ideal mattress that offers great comfort and support — but, if you choose a pillow unsuitable for your sleeping position — you’ll eventually suffer from neck pain, back pain, and stiffness. This is because the pillow and your sleep style play a major role in maintaining spinal alignment, even more so than a mattress.
For example, side sleepers should opt for thick high-loft pillows that can cover the distance between your mattress and neck or your neck will arch downwards at night and you’ll suffer from a stiff neck. Meanwhile, if you favor the stomach sleep style, you need the thinnest pillow possible or your neck will be propped up awkwardly, leading to neck pain.
In this article, however, we’ll focus mostly on pillows for stomach sleepers and back sleepers. We’ve combed the bedding market and these are the qualities of the best back and stomach pillow in 2020.
How to Find Supportive and Comfortable Pillows for Stomach Sleepers?
Generally speaking, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach because it’s terrible for spinal alignment. Alas, you can’t control your sleeping position at night and some people naturally slip into the stomach sleeping pillow position.
General wisdom also states that stomach sleepers should avoid pillows altogether. That’s great advice because pillows are generally fluffy and lofty so they prop your neck up in an awkward angle that’s detrimental to breathing and spinal alignment. But some people just can’t sleep without pillows!
So, if you’re a stomach sleeper who needs a pillow, you the following qualities will help you find supportive and comfortable stomach pillows:
- Thin pillows that have a loft height of less than 3 inches because they will maintain your neck in a neutral position without letting it prop up.
- Latex foam pillows are suitable for stomach sleepers because they’re firm and they won’t sink at night.
- Memory foam pillows are also suitable for stomach sleepers because they conform to the shape of your face and neck, offering comfort.
- Cooling pillows are also ideal for stomach sleepers because your face will be pressed against the pillow all night so you need a surface that remains cool and has plenty of ventilation.
Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper is the best pillow for stomach sleepers on the market because it’s a 2.5” memory foam pillow, which makes it one of the thinnest memory foam pillows available. It also has an ergonomically curved top and it comes with a breathable 100% cotton cover that offers optimal air circulation.
Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow is another great option. It’s a gel-infused memory foam pillow with a loft height of only 2.5 inches. It’s infused with CarbonBlue carbon graphite particles that absorb heat to regulate the pillow’s overall temperature and keep you cool at night.
How to Find Supportive and Comfortable Pillows for Back Sleepers?
Approximately 10% of all sleepers are back sleepers — this is sad considering back sleep style is ideal for spinal alignment. This is the ideal position for those who suffer from neck pain or breathing issues because it helps keep your neck neutral and opens up your airways.
Furthermore, back sleepers can sleep on the widest range of pillows without considerable discomfort. But back sleepers need to be careful about the pillow as well. If you use a pillow with an extremely high loft, your neck will prop up, thus breaking spinal alignment and blocking your airways. Alternatively, if you sleep on an extremely flat pillow, your neck will crane downwards, which can lead to a stiff neck.
The following are some of the most important qualities to consider when looking for supportive and comfortable pillows for back sleepers:
- Ergonomic pillows with soft rounded edges that follow the curve of your neck.
- Memory foam material because it conforms to the shape of your neck and shoulders, offering great spinal support.
- Medium-firm pillows that are comfortable yet don’t sink at night.
- Contoured pillows with an in-built gusset for the neck.
Elite Rest Contour Sleeper and ViscoSoft Cooling Pillow are two of the best pillows for back sleepers. Both of them are contour memory foam pillows — as such, they have an in-built gusset that serves as the neck roll. You can lay your neck on the higher contour and let your head relax in the lower contour.
Elite Rest Contour Sleeper also comes with a 100% breathable cotton cover that facilitates air circulation. And ViscoSoft Cooling Pillow is infused with wave-flow cooling gel that reacts to your body temperature and ensures you remain cool at night.
You can also opt for Coop Home Goods, which is one of the best adjustable memory foam pillows on the market. This pillow is made of shredded memory foam so you can add or remove the filling to adjust the loft height according to your sleep style, preference, and neck size.
There is no single pillow that suits every individual and all different sleep styles out there. Side sleepers have completely different pillow requirements for back sleepers and stomach sleepers. You must find supportive and comfortable pillows suitable for your sleeping position or you may end up with neck pain or stiff neck. The best pillows for stomach sleepers are thin pillows or flat pillows that can keep your neck in a neutral position. If you sleep on your stomach, you may opt for Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper — it’s one of the best pillows for stomach sleepers because it’s a memory foam ergonomic pillow with a loft height of only 2.5 inches. If you’re a back sleeper, you should opt for medium-firm and medium-loft pillows — ideally with a contoured design — to maintain spinal alignment. Elite Rest Contour Sleeper is the best pillow for back sleepers because it’s a contour memory foam pillow with a built-in gusset for neck support.