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Back sleepers need a pillow that supports the neck and keeps their head in a comfortable position. The best pillows for back sleepers keep users cool, support the head and neck, and use safe materials.
This article looks at some of the best pillows for back sleepers, discusses the effects of different sleep positions, and answers some frequently asked questions about pillows for back sleepers.
- Best for adjustable fill: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow | Skip to review
- Best for different firmness feels: Parachute Home Down Pillow | Skip to review
Best for back sleepers with neck pain
- Best for adaptable support: Mediflow Water Pillow | Skip to review
- Best for head, neck, and shoulder support: TEMPUR-Pedic Neck Pillow | Skip to review
- Best contouring pillow: Epabo Contour Memory Foam Pillow | Skip to review
Best for back sleepers who snore
- Best for a wedge pillow: Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Wedge | Skip to review
- Best for neck strain: Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow | Skip to review
- Best for allergies: Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow | Skip to review
Best for combination sleepers
- Best for combination sleepers: Saatva Latex Pillow | Skip to review
- Best for a cooler sleep: Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Pillow | Skip to review
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Below is a range of pillows suitable for back sleepers.
Best for adjustable fill: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
- Price: between $72–92
- Sizes: 30 x 20 inches (queen), 36 x 20 (king)
With this pillow, the user can adjust its height by adding or removing the memory foam fill to suit their support and comfort needs.
The company describes this pillow as medium-firm, and its outer cover uses viscose rayon and polyester.
The manufacturer states that the pillow is machine washable, vegan, and cruelty-free.
It also writes that this pillow holds CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certifications. This means that the pillow does not contain harmful chemicals.
- adjustable filling
- suitable for all sleep positions
- vegan and cruelty-free
- holds two safety certifications
- some users found the filling lumpy
- reports of a decrease in support after a few months of use
- expensive for a single pillow
- people may need room to store unused filling
Best for different firmness feels: Parachute Home Down Pillow
- Price: between $129–209
- Size: 26 x 20 inches (standard), 36 x 20 in (king)
Parachute writes this European white down pillow has a supportive and airy structure. Although the pillow is available in soft, medium, and hard firmness, the company suggests back sleepers may prefer a medium pillow. Prices vary depending on the firmness a person chooses.
The pillow features a sateen cotton shell. As this is a feather pillow, some back sleepers with allergies to down may not find it suitable.
According to the manufacturer’s website, this down pillow holds the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification.
A person can machine wash this pillow using mild liquid detergent, or else they can take it to a dry cleaning company.
Parachute offers free shipping, a 3-year warranty, and a 60-day return guarantee.
- available in a range of firmnesses
- holds RDS certification
- down can be a breathable filling
- lengthy warranty
- unsuitable for those with down allergies
- may be more difficult to clean than other pillows
Chiropractors sometimes recommend sleep ergonomics to help people with chronic neck pain. Pillows that support the head, neck, and shoulders may help reduce pain.
Below is a range of pillows that may suit people with neck pain.
Best for adaptable support: Mediflow Water Pillow
- Price: around $70
- Size: 28 x 20 x 4.5 inches (in)
This water-based pillow conforms to the shape of the head and neck. The pillow moves with the sleeper, reducing the need to adjust the pillow throughout sleep.
It features a hypoallergenic cotton shell, an insulated water pouch, and a polyester fiber layer on top.
The user can adjust the pillow’s firmness by adding or reducing the water surrounding the fiber fill.
Mediflow recommends handwashing this water pillow.
A 30-day trial and a 3-year warranty are available with each order.
- a person can adjust the fill
- the company claims independent studies have found this product effective
- includes 30-day trial
- lengthy warranty for a pillow
- there is a risk of leaking
- the water pouch makes the pillow heavy
- some users found the pillow too noisy
Best for head, neck, and shoulder support: TEMPUR-Pedic Neck Pillow
- Price: between $119–159
- Size: 20 x 12.5 x 3.5 in (small), 20 x 12.5 x 4 in (medium), 20 in x 12.5 x 4.75 in (large)
This extra firm memory foam pillow has a 100% polyester hypoallergenic knit cover made of extra firm Tempur material. TEMPUR writes it is machine-washable and suitable for back and side sleepers.
The pillow aims to contour to and follow the spine’s natural curve, supporting back and side sleepers’ heads, necks, and shoulders.
According to TEMPUR-Pedic, its foam meets CertiPUR-US standards.
Individuals who order this pillow can benefit from free shipping and a 5-year warranty. However, returns are not available on pillows.
- designed to support the head, neck, and shoulders
- lengthy warranty
- available in three sizes
- includes a removable and washable cover
- the extra firm foam may not suit everyone
- memory foam can retain heat
- all sizes cost over $100
Best contouring pillow: Epabo Contour Memory Foam Pillow
- Price: around $39–43.99
- Size: 21 x 12 x 3.9 in (standard 1), 22 x 14 x 4.2 in (standard 2), 24 x 15 x 4.6 in (queen 1), 24 x 15 x 4.8 in (queen 2)
According to the company, this pillow may relieve all types of sleepers with neck pain. It contours to align the head, neck, shoulders, and back.
The company claims this pillow’s filling has more memory foam than similar products. Plus, people can adjust this pillow to suit their height preference by removing the bottom piece of memory foam.
Depending on the size people choose, the pillow is available in soft and firm.
The pillowcase is machine-washable, but Epabo recommends removing the memory foam before cleaning.
A 30-day trial is available.
- adjustable loft
- washable cover
- users found it improved neck pain
- more affordable than other brands
- some users report it is not supportive enough
- some found it too firm and the loft too high
- memory foam can retain heat
- no clear information about the warranty policy
Older research has shown that changing the head position during sleep with a pillow may reduce snoring in some people.
Below is a range of pillows that may suit back sleepers who snore.
Best wedge pillow: Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Wedge
- Price: about $34
- Size: 17 x 7 x 7 in
The wedge pillow allows back sleepers who snore to continue sleeping on their backs. The design keeps the neck and spine aligned, which may keep the nasal passages open so that any mucus can drain away from the throat.
This wedge pillow has a 30-degree angle that keeps the user’s torso elevated and spine supported. Additionally, a person can place the pillow under their knees, which may make back sleeping more comfortable.
The manufacturer states that the pillow is lightweight and breathable, feels firm, and the high quality foam will not flatten over time.
People can machine wash and tumble dry the pillowcase.
Returns are available within 30 days of purchase. The pillow also comes with a lifetime warranty.
- wedge shape keeps the head elevated and reportedly opens the airways
- lifetime warranty
- memory foam can be supportive for the head and neck
- can also be used under the knees
- some users found the shape uncomfortable
- will not fit standard pillowcases
- will take up more room in the bed than a standard pillow
Best for neck strain: Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow
- Price: around $96–116
- Size: 30 x 20 in (queen), 36 x 20 in (king)
Made of a soft blend of cross-cut, gel-infused memory foam and microfiber, Coop Home Goods states this adjustable pillow can accommodate a range of individual preferences.
A person can control the height of this pillow by adding or removing some fill. Achieving the ideal loft and density can reduce a person’s risk of waking up with neck pain.
Adjusting the pillow height may help reduce snoring as well. The company states it is suitable for back and stomach sleepers, so people who turn in the night may prefer this pillow.
Coop Home Goods writes this machine-washable pillow is soft plush and has a down-like feel, and its certifications include CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold.
It comes with a 100-day return policy and a 5-year warranty.
- adjustable loft
- some users report less neck and shoulder pain when waking up
- lengthy return window
- some users state the pillow flattens quickly
- memory foam can retain heat
Best for allergies: Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow
- Price: between $129–149
- Size: queen, king
Brooklyn Bedding states that its memory foam pillow reacts immediately to pressure and provides head, neck, and shoulder support. It comes in two sizes and two lofts.
Its copper-graphite-infused foam aims to provide breathability and reportedly has antimicrobial properties. This may make it suitable for people with allergies.
The company writes the circular knit cover draws heat away from the head and neck, which is an added benefit for people who sleep hot or live in warmer climates.
Brooklyn Bedding states its foam is CertiPUR-US certified, and users can machine wash the cover.
Brooklyn Bedding offers free shipping, a 120-night trial, and a 10-year warranty.
- may suit people with allergies
- cooling properties may help people who sleep hot
- lengthy sleep trial and warranty
- it comes in two lofts
- some users found this pillow too soft
- company does not provide information on exact sizes
People who sleep on their backs and turn onto their sides during sleep are combination sleepers. Combination sleepers may prefer firm pillows to support the back, shoulder, and neck during movement.
Below is a range of pillows that may be suitable for combination sleepers.
Best for combination sleepers: Saatva Latex Pillow
- Price: between $165–185
- Size: 28 x 18 in (queen), 34 x 18 in (king)
The Saatva pillow has a lofty and plush organic cotton-filled interior. Saatva writes that the core of the pillow, made of shredded Talalay latex, provides head and neck support.
It states the responsive latex core provides support for combination sleepers.
It comes with a soft and breathable organic cotton sateen cover. Although this pillow uses latex, Saatva writes it is suitable for people with latex allergies because it does not contain latex proteins.
It also says this pillow is resistant to dust mites and mildew and is hypoallergenic.
People can machine wash the case and pillow, although users must remove the latex core beforehand.
The company claims it uses Fairtrade-certified cotton, meaning workers supplying materials get fair pay.
This pillow comes with a 45-day return window and a 1-year limited warranty.
- resistant to dust mites and mildew
- reportedly safe for people with latex allergies
- aims to relieve pressure
- very expensive
- shorter warranty than other options
- people with latex allergies should use this pillow with caution
Best for a cooler sleep: Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Pillow
- Price: around $56–85
- Size: standard, queen, king
A person can customize this pillow by adding or removing foam.
Snuggle-Pedic writes that the breathable bamboo cover and the interlocking foam pieces inside increase airflow and help people remain cool while they sleep.
Additionally, the company claims this product holds CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certifications.
It uses machine-washable bamboo fabric.
The wide range of sizes available include:
- Standard adjustable gel memory foam: 26 x 20 x 0.01 in
- Standard adjustable shredded memory foam: 26 x 20 x 5 in
- Standard non-adjustable shredded memory foam: 10.23 x 7.87 in
- Queen adjustable gel memory foam: 30 x 20 x 0.01 in
- Queen adjustable shredded memory foam: unavailable
- Queen non-adjustable shredded memory: 11.81 x 7.97 in
- King adjustable gel memory foam: 36 x 20 x 0.01 in
- King adjustable shredded memory foam: unavailable
- King non-adjustable shredded memory foam: 14.17 x 7.87 in
Customers can also benefit from a 120-night trial and a 20-year warranty when ordering this pillow.
- adjustable design
- extremely long warranty
- breathable and washable cover
- comes in a range of fills and sizes
- larger sizes are less affordable
- some users comment it needs reshaping regularly
- others found it loses loft quickly
The table below compares each pillow in this article for fill material, firmness, price, and more.
|Fill material||Adjustable loft||Certifications||Sleep trial or returns||Warranty||Price|
|Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft||memory foam||yes||• CertiPUR-US|
• GREENGUARD Gold
|100-night trial||5 years||$72–92|
|Parachute||European down||no||RDS||60-day returns||3 years||$129–209|
|yes||none||30-day trial||3 years||around $70|
|TEMPUR-Pedic||memory foam||no||CertiPUR-US||no returns||5 years||$119–159|
|Epabo||memory foam||yes||none||30-day returns||none||around $39–43.99|
|Xtreme Comforts||memory foam||no||none||30-day returns||lifetime||around $34|
|Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam||memory foam||yes||• CertiPUR-US|
• GREENGUARD Gold
|100-day returns||5 years||around $96–116|
|Brooklyn Bedding||memory foam||no||CertiPUR-US||120-night trial||10 years||around $129–149|
|Saatva||latex||no||Fairtrade||45-day returns||1 year||$165–185|
|Snuggle-Pedic||memory foam||yes||GREENGUARD Gold||120-night trial||20 years||around $56–85|
Medical News Today’s methodology
MNT chooses mattresses, sheets, pillows, and other bedding that meet the following criteria:
- Certifications: MNT will choose products that have CertiPUR-US or other certifications. This means that the products are low in pollutants and free from heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.
- Size: MNT chooses products available in various sizes.
- Materials and fill: MNT selects products made from different materials and fills, such as memory foam and latex, to suit a range of sleep and lifestyles.
- Budget: MNT features products to suit a wide range of budgets.
- Firmness: MNT selects mattresses that are available in a range of firmness options to suit most people’s sleeping styles.
- Sleep trials: MNT chooses companies that offer a sleep trial.
- Shipping: Where possible, MNT will include shipping information, such as where the company delivers and whether shipping is free.
- Warranties and return policies: MNT will include products with warranties and clear returns policies.
People typically sleep on their side, front, back, or a combination of the three. An older
The researchers note that sleeping on the back may lead to poorer quality sleep. Additionally, people with sleep apnea may experience worsening symptoms in this position.
The National Sleep Foundation also states that sleeping on the back can lead to snoring. When people lie on their backs, their airways constrict due to gravity.
Sleeping in an inclined position, such as raising the head on a pillow, may reduce snoring.
Some factors to consider when purchasing a pillow include:
- Price: Various factors may influence a pillow’s price, including the fill, the size, and the shape. People should consider their budget before purchasing a pillow.
- Support and firmness: Pillows may offer different firmness feels. Companies may recommend a certain firmness for different sleeping positions. It is also important to research the areas a pillow supports to ensure it will be comfortable.
- Loft: Pillows come in different heights or lofts. Pillows with a higher loft may reduce snoring. However, higher lofts may also increase neck pain if the head is raised too high above the spine.
- Shape: Pillows may come in different shapes. For example, wedge pillows are thinner at the bottom and thicker at the top, resulting in a gentle head incline. Wedge pillows may be harder to find pillowcases for.
- Warranty and returns: Some manufacturers do not accept returns for hygiene reasons since pillows are for personal use. However, others offer lengthy sleep trials or return windows. People should always check that they can return a pillow in case they do not find it comfortable.
Additionally, a pillow is not a replacement for medical treatment. Anyone experiencing neck pain, chronic snoring, or other issues affecting their sleep should speak with a doctor.
There are several different pillow types to purchase. The following pillow types may be suitable for certain sleeping conditions:
- Wedge pillows: Wedge pillows angle the head up during sleep, providing more support for those who sleep on their backs. Using a wedge pillow may also help reduce snoring. Learn more about the best wedge pillows.
- Cervical pillows: These are often rounder in shape and may help ease neck and shoulder pain. Learn more about cervical pillows. Learn more about the best cervical pillows.
- Sleep apnea pillows: These may suit those with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. The pillows have a cutout to accommodate CPAP tubes and help elevate the head. Learn about the best pillows for sleep apnea.
A person may also consider materials when purchasing a new pillow.
The table below describes some of the materials a person may consider, along with their pros and cons.
|Down||offers more warmth than other pillows|
|more expensive than some other materials|
not suitable for those allergic to ducks and geese
less expensive than some other materials
|not as warm as down pillows|
may not provide as much support as other materials
|Wool||may lead to a cooler sleep|
provides a plush feel
|not suitable for vegans|
usually requires dry-cleaning
|Memory foam||contours to the head and neck|
may help reduce neck and shoulder pain
|some pillows may have ‘off-gassing’|
some types of memory foam may require reshaping
|Latex||may lead to a cooler sleep|
offers similar support to memory foam
|not suitable for those that have a latex allergy|
some types of latex may require reshaping
|Buckwheat||conforms to the head and neck|
|may be noisy when the hulls rub together|
buckwheat hulls may spill if a person tears the pillow shell
|Water||offers an adjustable fill|
suitable for use with most allergies
|not as soft or as conforming as other materials|
risk of leaks
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about pillows for back sleepers.
Do back sleepers need a pillow?
Back sleepers who do not use a pillow may experience neck pain due to a lack of neck and shoulder support. A thinner pillow that supports spinal alignment may be more comfortable than sleeping without a pillow.
Learn more about sleeping without a pillow.
What is the right height pillow for a back sleeper?
There is no right height pillow for a back sleeper. However, most back sleepers may prefer a thinner pillow that does not raise the head too far. If a person sleeps with a higher loft pillow, their neck may be out of alignment with their spine, leading to neck pain.
Learn how to sleep on your back.
Can those who are pregnant sleep on their backs?
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) states that people who are 28 weeks pregnant and sleep on their back double the risk of stillbirth.
However, the NHS also says people should not worry if they wake up on their backs. People tend to stay in the position they fall asleep in most of the time they are sleeping. That said, people who are pregnant should move onto their side if they wake up on their back.
Many companies sell pillows for back sleepers, including Tempur-Pedic, Saatva, Xtreme Comforts, and Brooklyn Bedding, among others.
Each pillow will vary in price and suit various budgets.
However, a person should consider different factors before purchasing, such as the firmness, shape, and filling material of their chosen pillow.
Some products also have certifications indicating that they are free of toxic chemicals.