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Ask a group of people how many pillows each of them sleeps with, and you will likely receive several different replies. We all love to be comfortable, and let’s face it, there are few things in life that are more comfortable than a soft pillow.

But, are you using too many pillows? Some people think that you can never have too many pillows, but this isn’t necessarily true. Read on to learn more about what happens when you sleep with more than one pillow.

How Many Pillows do You Really Need?

Every person is different when it comes to how many pillows they need to sleep with. Obviously, it is not a good idea to have too many pillows piled up beneath your head. This is just going to lead to neck and shoulder pain, and headaches. But, there are other parts of the body that need support, and using pillows is the best way to give them that support.

There is no tried and true system when it comes to the number of pillows you should use at night while you are sleeping. Everyone is different, and everyone has their areas where they need extra support. Here are some typical recommendations as to how many pillows one should use:

  • One pillow, just for the head
  • Two pillows, one to hug and one for the head
  • Two pillows, one for the head and the other to elevate the feet
  • Three pillows, one for the head, one to elevate the feet, and one for beneath the knees (or between if you sleep on your side)

Obviously, these are just suggestions. You will know yourself just how many pillows you need to feel comfortable and properly supported.

Sleeping with Multiple Pillows:

It is okay to sleep with more than one pillow, as long as you aren’t putting multiple pillows under your head. You need one good quality, supportive pillow (contour pillows are wonderful for total head and neck support). Pillows should be placed in a way that you can lie down correctly, because poor sleep posture can really affect your health in general, causing such problems as snoring, breathing issues while sleeping, and sleep apnea.

If you are using pillows to hug and for leg support, they should be used in the following manner:

  • Hug Pillow – Usually used while laying on your side, with your arms wrapped around the pillow.
  • Foot Pillow – Placed directly under the feet. Make sure that your heels aren’t pressing against the pillow, but somewhat elevated.
  • Knee Pillow – Placed directly under the knees if you are sleeping on your back. Side sleepers should place the pillow between their knees. Contour pillows are ideal for side sleepers.

Getting the Most Out of Sleeping with Pillows:

Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to use pillows. You will get a better night’s sleep if you follow these tips.

  • Make sure your body is in a midline position. This means that your head and neck should be as straight as possible. Use a good quality pillow that is neither too thick or too flat, so you have the right amount of neck support.
  • Do not stack pillows under your head. If you need more support, get a bigger pillow. A double pillow setup can slide around, and you will end up uncomfortable. Two pillows can also cause you to wake up with a pretty stiff neck.
  • If you are a side sleeper, support your legs by placing a pillow between your knees. This not only provides you with support, but it is great for those of us who have bony knees that rub together when we sleep.

Choosing the Right Pillow for You:

Now we come to how to find just the right pillow for you. Everyone is different, and not everyone likes using the same type of pillow. The average adult human head weighs a little over 10 pounds, so you do need to make sure that you find a pillow that offers plenty of support.

Let’s talk about pillow support for a minute. A good pillow will provide you with just the right amount of support, in all of the right places. It should ensure that your head lines up as perfectly as possible with your spine,  if you sleep on your back. A medium to firm pillow will give you just the right amount of both cushioning and support. A softer pillow is better if you tend to sleep on your stomach because it helps to reduce neck strain.

You also need to look at the various types of pillows available. Some are made with foam or synthetic fibers. These are best for those who have allergies to some natural products, such as feathers. Other pillow types include:

  • Orthopedic pillows designed to reduce pain and stiffness in the neck and back
  • Pillows designed specifically to reduce or even eliminate snoring (don’t waste your money, as these tend to not be overly affective)

Pillows and Babies:

It is never a good idea to place a pillow in bed with a baby. While you might think that they can’t possibly be comfortable without one, believe it or not, they are, and they are also a lot safer. Babies, especially infants, don’t have a lot of control over their bodies. If they roll over in their sleep, they could end up face down in a pillow, and unable to turn themselves around. This can lead to suffocation. It is best to not introduce children to pillow use until they are at least three years old.


When you come right down to it, the most important factor to consider is a comfort. A pillow, or a combination of pillows, can have all the support in the world, but if you don’t find it comfortable, it isn’t going to be any good for you to use. You may find that you have to try out a few different types and combinations of pillows until you find one that is perfect for you.