No matter how exhausted you might be after a long day, if you don’t have the best pillow for your sleep style, you probably won’t be getting the sweet shut-eye you crave. The best pillows are far from one size fits all, as we all have our own unique requirements and individual sleeping styles, and the wrong one could see your sleep becoming worse over time. "Anything that will make you more comfortable will improve the likelihood of getting a good night's sleep," Dr. Lawrence Epstein, a sleep expert at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told Harvard Health Publishing.
To avoid this and start sleeping as soundly as you deserve, we’ve researched the best pillows on the market for stomach, side, back, and even combination sleepers to help you find a fit that's right for you.
How to Choose a Pillow
The best pillow should work to support your sleep posture. Firm pillows which fully support the neck may work wonders for side sleepers, for instance, but do little to help stomach sleepers, who need a softer pillow to avoid pushing on the neck. Similarly, the best pillow for a stomach sleeper can exacerbate shoulder or back pain in side or back sleepers.
There are so many things that can get in the way of a full night of peaceful, undeterred rest, including, but not limited to, back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, sciatica, neck pain, allergies, and acid reflux, and each issue may require a different pillow choice. Below, we've come up with a handy general guide for what kind of pillow you'll need based on the way you sleep.
- Best Pillows for Side Sleepers: This sleeping position makes up 70 percent of the population, according to a Consumer Reporters survey. Those that tend to snooze on their sides should look for a firm, thick pillow that's roughly 4 inches deep for maximum comfort, as suggested by a 2015 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
- Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers: By contrast, front-facing sleepers will want to opt for a soft, squishy pillow that will help maintain their neck's natural curve.
- Best Pillows for Back Sleepers: Like Goldilocks, back sleepers need a pillow that's not too flat, so your neck's not going too far back, and not too soft, but just right. “You want a pillow that’s a little firmer so the head’s not going back too far,” orthopedic surgeon Rocco Monto, MD, an orthopedic surgeon told Health in January 2019.
- Best Pillows for Combination Sleepers: Since you'll likely be changing positions throughout the night, you'll need a highly adaptable pillow, or one with both firm and soft sections, to suit your varying needs as you move about.
Once you've identified the right shape and level of support for your particular needs, other factors, such as allergy-free fill, size, fabric, and more, can be taken into consideration.
We can happily confirm that finding one of the best pillows that are made for your particular needs can make a massive difference, leaving you waking up feeling more refreshed than ever before. Keep scrolling for FIRST's picks for the best pillow for your sleep style.
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