Pillow Fight: How to Determine the Best Pillow for Your Sleeping Style


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If you’re having trouble sleeping these days, you’re not alone. Stats from the CDC show that a third of adult Americans don’t get enough sleep (which the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society defines as at least seven hours a night). And while the tossing and turning in bed may keep you up at night, the lack of sleep could also affect your mental alertness, stress levels and your body’s ability to fight off infections.

Savvy companies have come up with a number of ways to help you sleep better, from weighted blankets to cannabis. But the easiest place to start if you’re looking to sleep better, is by upgrading your pillow.

Pillows have seen some major progress in the past decade. While old pillows would become a pancake in a few weeks, the best new pillows feature advanced supportive fillings that use memory foam and anti-clumping technology.

Meanwhile, pillow covers have also been updated for a softer feel and with the ability to stay cool through the night. These updates can have a big impact on how you feel during the day, by helping neck issues and allowing you to get more effective sleep — even if you can’t get in the recommended seven hours.

Pillow Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Pillow For You

Shopping for the best pillow is more intensive than you might expect. Here are the ones we chose based on comfort, sleep style, and durability, according to sleep experts and customer reviews.

“Stomach sleepers are more prone to neck and back pain because stomach sleeping leaves your spine in the least optimal position at night,” says Dr. Alison Kole, Founding-Medical Director of the Oak Health Sleep program.

At just 2.5 inches tall, the Lofe Gel Infused Pillow is an extra-thin memory foam pillow beloved by tummy sleepers. The manufacturer notes the ergonomic design, intended to minimize head and neck rotation, as well as the two washable bamboo covers that come included. Some stomach sleepers agree that they find themselves tossing and turning less often during the night when sleeping on this pillow, and appreciate the width, which is close in size to a queen pillow.

“If you absolutely must sleep on your stomach, consider sleeping on a firmer mattress and focus on a thin pillow,” continues Dr. Kole. “Also consider adding gentle morning stretches to help realign your spine after a night of stomach sleeping.”

Amazon shoppers love the Fern and Willow Pillows that work best for hot sleepers. They’ve got a breathable, airy design including a gel-infused microfiber filling designed to keep you feeling cool all night long.

Each pillow is also allergen-free, machine washable, and features a zipper allowing you to adjust the filling. This means you can either fluff up or lay it flat for more support and comfort.

“Any pillow that allows your spine to maintain alignment will help to relieve back pain,” says Dr. Kole. “Consider an adjustable pillow so that height can be adjusted accordingly.”

“The goal of a pillow is to keep your nose in line with your sternum, middle of your chest, so for a side sleeper, you would want a pillow with high enough loft to raise the head so there is no flexing of any neck muscles,” says Dr. Michael Breus (PhD, FAASM), Founder of The Sleep Doctor.

With more than 32,500 five-star reviews, this pillow set by Viewstar is among the most popular pillows for side sleepers on Amazon. But what makes them so beloved? In addition to the affordable price tag, users called out how plush, yet supportive they are, with one user writing that theirs are just as soft weeks after use.

Because it’s infused with premium down alternative clusters, the pillow can cradle your neck without allowing it to sink too much during the night, which keeps your spine aligned in the desired, neutral, alignment.

“Personally I prefer pillows that have a zipper and come with extra stuffing, so I can personalize it for myself or my patients. Fill can be an issue so I usually just go with something that is non-allergen,” Dr. Breus continues.

According to Dr. Kole, “Any pillow that allows your spine to maintain alignment will help to relieve back pain. Consider an adjustable pillow so that height can be adjusted.”

Pillow Fight has quickly become one of the most popular adjustable pillow brands on the market. Its classic GoodPillow more than lives up to the hype. It’s soft, yet supportive, making it an ideal choice for a variety of different sleepers. The exterior is cool to the touch thanks to the micro-gel fiber that fill its chamber, while the interior is filled with premium fiber for additional support.

Bonus: You can remove this to fit your personal preference. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with many citing that it was a good all-around option with optimal balance of softness, thickness, and support.

“Gel foam and memory foam pillows, particularly those design for cervical spine support,” explains Dr. Kole. “Tend to provide the head and neck support necessary to minimize both neck and back pain by helping to keep the spine in alignment during the night.”

Neck pain may be universal, but how we sleep is not. The Zamat Modern Body Adjustable Pillow is an orthopedic cervical pillow is adjustable, which means that you can find the perfect sleeping position to mitigate your neck pain. It comes with a removable insert that lets you change the height of the pillow.

Its “butterfly” design, meantime, gives you a place to rest your arms, while the contours support your neck while you sleep. Plus, its central cavity supports your head and keeps it aligned with your spine. We also love this pillow for its comfortable, breathable memory foam.

We all know that getting comfortable on a plane, train, or car involves continuous adjustment. While you can’t make the seat you’re in any comfier or roomier, you can get yourself a pillow that can be flexible with you. The BCozzy Chin Supporting Travel Pillow is a chin-supporting travel pillow has three different ergonomic positions that let you adjust until you find what’s comfortable for you. Plus, its chin support takes tension off of your neck and keeps you from experiencing pain when your nap is over.

“The key is having neck support for those uncomfortable airplane seats, and add in a sleep mask when traveling,” says Dr. Kole. “An absolute must to maximize your chances of resting during plane travel.”

7. Bluewave Bedding Super Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow

“Benefits are that gel pillows tend to provide a cooler pillow, for those who prefer this, and then to return to their original shape quickly,” says Dr. Kole.

The Bluewave Bedding Super Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow has a super-low lift at only 3.25 inches, but that’s the whole point. For stomach sleepers, those who sleep in odd positions or those wake up with neck pain, low might be the way to go. Though it’s short, the inside filling is still supportive, packed with dense gel-infused memory foam with ventilation holes for better airflow. Its soft outer cover is removable and washable too, and it’s constructed with bamboo and polyester to keep it cooler than traditional cotton.

“Memory foam tends to mold to the sleeper’s position,” says Dr. Kole. “Traditional memory foam pillows may trap heat for those who prefer a warm and cozy sensation whereas open-cell memory foam allows for increased airflow and less heat absorption.”

The Elviros Cervical Memory Foam Pillow does it all: Whether you’re a side, back or stomach sleeper, this cervical pillow will cradle your neck and head while you sleep at night. Made entirely out of memory foam, this pillow’s ergonomic design ensures that your head, neck, shoulders and back will remain aligned. There’s even a slope that will keep your head from rolling out of a stabilized position should you move during the night, as well as cutouts on the side that gives your top arm a resting place so you don’t hunch your shoulder.

Overall, this pillow has a proven track record of reducing stress and discomfort throughout your body, especially the neck and shoulders. It also prevents snoring, by supporting the natural curvature of your body, which in turn supports your air passages.

The Ebung Leg Elevation Pillow memory foam pillow can provide support in a lot of different ways, whether you use it as an elevation pillow, or as a wedge or back pillow. It’s outfitted with cooling gel, which allows for added comfort as well as keeping the body at the right temperature to get a good night’s sleep.

Dig into any of the 13,000 five star reviews and you’ll see there’s a lot to love about this elevation pillow; many commenters cited this as providing relief to a litany of issues, including swelling, sciatic pain, and arthritis. In fact, one user wrote that after suffering from swelling and pain from a cyst in their right kneecap that would later burst, they ordered this pillow for support, citing its size, plushness, and cooling abilities.

Of all the things to love about the Royal Therapy Queen Memory Foam Pillow (and there are a few) perhaps the best feature is that it is adjustable, meaning it can suit a variety of frames and sleeping positions. You can choose the best fit between the two slopes, which are of different sizes, and remove the memory foam middle layer to further adjust the size. The memory foam contours are designed to provide even, uniform support for the neck and head, with firmer resistance under the heaviest parts of the head and softer support under the lighter and more sensitive neck.

After taking a look at the nearly 16,000 five star ratings, it’s easy to see why people can’t get enough of the Snuggle-Pedic Full Body Pillow. In fact, one reviewer wrote that this pillow is so comfortable, it felt “there were two separate pillows packed under one cover.” Made from soft memory foam, this pillow promises to conform to your body no matter what kind of a sleeper you are, aligning your hips, legs, knees and back. The Kool-Flow bamboo cover also keeps you sweat-free while you rest.

This pillow is a great choice for pregnant sleepers as well; the added weight will soothe any aches and pains plaguing the body, while providing ample support where it’s needed most.

The Ozyalo Luxury Bath Pillow, an Amazon’s Choice item, provides neck support and padding when you’re trying to relax in a nice hot bath at the end of a long day. It’s comfortable and fast drying, thanks to breathable air-mesh materials for better airflow. On its rear, you’ll find six extra-large suction cups to keep the bath pillow in place, while it’s cushy front side is detachable for easy clean up in a washing machine.

“Bath pillows come in a variety of shapes and sizes,” describes Dr. Kole. “It needs to stay in place securely, you want support but do not want to get so comfortable you are at risk for falling asleep in the tub, safety first, and it is imperative that you clean these pillows regularly, as mold growth can be an issue. No one needs to have their face close to a pillow that exposes them to inhalation of mold. There are lung diseases like hypersensitivity pneumonitis that can develop.”

Pillow Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Pillow For You

Shopping for pillow is more intensive than you might expect. Here are some of the factors you’ll want to consider when shopping for the best pillow for you.

Most high-quality pillows use either shredded memory foam, solid memory foam, or a mix of shredded memory foam and polyester fiber. Solid memory foam is the orthopedic choice for fixing real neck issues, but they might be less comfortable for the average sleeper. And while down is still a popular choice, some new pillows also use a modernized down filling (or vegan alternative) that’s just as soft and supportive.

How We Picked the Best Pillows for Sleep

There’s a lot that goes into choosing the best pillow, and we picked pillows based on comfort, sleep style, and durability.

We chose pillows with filling that keeps you supported, and covers should keep your face cool and happy. Many of the best pillows feature a fabric that’s breathable for a cool-side-of-the-pillow feel all night. Also, most of the covers on this list are machine washable and hypoallergenic.

Proper pillow height is also key for maintaining spine alignment. We chose a variety of higher pillows if you typically sleep on your side, and low pillows if you sleep on your stomach (back sleepers should have something in the middle).

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