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Pillows come in different shapes, sizes, and firmness levels, with various filling materials.

A quick look at 8 of the best pillows

When choosing a pillow, it can help to consider a person’s preferred sleeping position, any allergies, and any pain they experience during sleep.

This article explores the types of pillows, lists some options, and provides general tips for improving sleep quality.

Medical News Today chooses pillows 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 that are 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 products that are available in a range of firmness options to suit most people’s sleeping styles.
  • 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.

Below are some suitable pillows that a person may find comfortable.

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.

Best for neck and shoulder support: Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow

TempurPedic
  • Price: from $119
  • Firmness: extra firm
  • Fill: open-cell foam
  • Hypoallergenic: yes
  • Pros: offers ergonomic contouring and is available in three sizes
  • Cons: the company does not accept returns

The Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow features an ergonomic design that contours to the body. The manufacturer says it supports and helps align the neck and shoulders.

The pillow comprises hypoallergenic materials, including slow spring-back, open-cell foam. According to the brand, this offers better comfort, adapts to movement, and helps dissipate heat.

The pillow is suitable for back or side sleepers. It has an extra-firm feel with proprietary TEMPUR materials.

Buyers can choose from three sizes that differ in height between 3.5 inches (in) and 4.75 in.

Best for vegans: Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow

Brooklinen
  • Price: from $45
  • Firmness: plush
  • Fill: shaved microfiber
  • Hypoallergenic: yes
  • Pros: suitable for vegans and has sustainably sourced fill
  • Cons: some reviewers state it loses its shape and support quickly

The Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow consists of hypoallergenic shaved microfibers to mimic the feel of feather down. It may suit people with allergies and those following a vegan lifestyle.

The company says that the plush version of this pillow is for individuals who sleep on their stomachs. It should also keep the neck and spine in alignment during sleep.

The pillow contains an eco-friendly fill that the brand makes from recyclable plastic bottles. Its shell has a sateen weave with double stitching.

Best for side sleepers: Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla
  • Price: from $109
  • Firmness: plush
  • Fill: kapok fibers and open-cell memory foam
  • Hypoallergenic: no information available
  • Pros: offers an adjustable height
  • Cons: may not be suitable for back and front sleepers

The Layla Kapok Pillow may suit people who sleep on their side. The supportive plush filling consists of natural kapok fibers and open-cell memory foam. This helps the pillow conform to the shape of a person’s head and neck.

People can also adjust the amount of filling by unzipping the pillow and removing or adding material.

The covering contains copper fibers that help draw away heat from the body during sleep.

Best for different firmness levels: Parachute Down Pillow

Parachute
  • Price: from $129
  • Firmness: soft, medium, and firm
  • Fill: European down and feathers
  • Hypoallergenic: no information available
  • Pros: offers a range of firmnesses suitable for all sleeping positions
  • Cons: not suitable for those with down or feather allergies

The Parachute Down Pillow consists of European down and feather fibers. It also comes in three levels of preferred support.

The brand recommends “soft” for stomach sleepers, “medium” for back sleepers, and “firm” for side sleepers.

Best for adjustable fill: Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow

Coop
  • Price: from around $72
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Fill: shredded memory foam
  • Hypoallergenic: yes
  • Pros: offers an adjustable height to suit most sleeping positions
  • Cons: some reviewers state it has a strong odor

Coop Home Goods says that this medium-firm pillow should suit all sleeping positions. A person can fill it as much or as little as needed.

The filling consists of hypoallergenic shredded memory foam. The cover comprises of polyester and bamboo-derived rayon with CertiPUR-US and UL GREENGUARD Gold certification, meaning its construction has no harmful chemicals.

Best for a latex pillow: Avocado Green Pillow

Avocado Green Pillow against a blue background.
  • Price: from $109
  • Firmness: medium-plush
  • Fill: latex and kapok fiber
  • Hypoallergenic: yes
  • Pros: offers an adjustable fill and is suitable for vegans
  • Cons: not suitable for people with a latex allergy

This pillow has a cotton cover with latex and hypoallergenic kapok fillings. It has Global Organic Textile Standard and Global Organic Latex Standard certifications.

The Green Pillow has an adjustable fill, and the company sends people a bag of extra material to change the pillow’s height.

Additionally, this pillow is machine washable and is available in standard, queen, and king sizes.

Best for a bamboo pillow: Cosy House Collection Luxury Pillow

Cosy House Collection Luxury Pillow against a blue background.
  • Price: from $143.95
  • Firmness: soft, medium, and firm
  • Fill: shredded memory foam and bamboo viscose
  • Hypoallergenic: yes
  • Pros: suitable for all sleeping positions
  • Cons: the pillow is not machine washable

This hypoallergenic pillow contains three layers: a bottom layer of high-density shredded memory foam, a middle layer of transition foam, and a top layer of bamboo viscose.

People can adjust the fill of this pillow. The company suggests a low fill for stomach sleepers, a medium fill for back sleepers, and a firm fill for side sleepers. Adjusting the fill also changes the firmness of the pillow.

Additionally, the company states this pillow is moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating.

Best for a silk pillow: Silk Bedding Direct Luxury Silk-filled Pillows

Two Silk Bedding Direct Luxury Silk-filled Pillows against a blue background.
  • Price: around $290
  • Firmness: plush
  • Fill: 22-momme mulberry silk
  • Hypoallergenic: yes
  • Pros: the company states these pillows may reduce sleep lines
  • Cons: most expensive option on this list

This pair of pillows contain natural 22-momme mulberry silk inside with a 300 thread-count sateen cotton cover. The company states this product holds an OEKO-TE Standard 100 certification.

The company states that the natural silk may help reduce sleep lines and is suitable for people with asthma, eczema, and allergies.

The following table provides a comparison of the pillows in this article.

FirmnessFillHypoallergenicPrice
Tempur-Pedicextra firmopen-cell foamyesfrom $119
Brooklinenplushshaved microfiberyesfrom $45
Laylaplush• kapok fibers
• open-cell memory foam
no information availablefrom $109
Parachute• soft
• medium
• firm
European down and feathersno information availablefrom $129
Coop Home Goodsmedium-firmshredded memory foamyesfrom around $72
Avocadomedium-plush• latex
• kapok fibers
yesfrom $109
Cosy House Collection• soft
• medium
• firm
• memory foam
• bamboo viscose
yesfrom $143.95
Silk Bedding Directplush22-momme mulberry silkyesaround $290

In general, a good pillow provides comfort and relief for pressure points while supporting the head and neck. In contrast, an unsuitable pillow loses its shape quickly and does not provide comfort or support throughout a person’s sleep.

When shopping for a pillow, people may wish to consider the following:

  • Sleep position: Side sleepers may benefit from a box pillow with elevated edges to support the neck, while back sleepers may prefer one featuring tapered edges to reduce head elevation.
  • Neck support: Anyone who experiences neck pain should look for a pillow that provides extra neck support.
  • Snoring: A pillow that elevates the head more may help reduce snoring.
  • Cooling technology: An individual who regularly overheats during sleep may prefer a pillow consisting of natural fibers, such as wool or cotton, or one that contains cooling materials, such as copper fibers.
  • Allergies: People with allergies should look for pillows with hypoallergenic certifications.

Pillows can contain various materials, and what works for one person may not for another. A pillow may comprise the below materials.

Microfiber

Microfiber pillows contain fine strands of synthetic material such as polyester or nylon. These may be a more affordable option and are easy to take care of at home, but they may need replacing every few years.

Microfiber pillows come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. However, they are not the most breathable type and may not be suitable for people who get too warm during sleep.

Feather down

Down is a filling consisting of feathers. Down pillows are durable, but they flatten over time, and a person needs to re-fluff or reshape them regularly.

While down pillows may repel dust mites, they also require professional cleaning, which can be expensive.

Additionally, down pillows do not suit individuals following vegan lifestyles, and they may not be right for people with allergies.

Memory foam

This synthetic foam aims to conform to the shape of the body. Memory foam pillows may benefit people with neck pain or discomfort at pressure points.

However, memory foam can retain heat, so it may not suit individuals who become too hot during sleep.

Wool and cotton

Pillows comprising wool or cotton may regulate heat. However, they may be an attractive environment for dust mites.

Additionally, wool and cotton lose shape more quickly than other types, so that they may need regular reshaping.

Latex

Latex foam consists of rubber tree sap and is one of the more expensive pillow materials. The feel of this material is similar to memory foam, but latex foam is less likely to retain heat when a person sleeps.

Latex foam is also durable and holds its shape for a long time.

People may wish to consider the pillow size they prefer to purchase. The following table provides the measurements a person can expect when buying different pillow sizes.

Measurement (in)
Standard20 x 26
Queen20 x 30
King20 x 36

Some companies may offer pillows with slightly different measurements. Therefore, individuals should check the size of their pillows before purchasing any pillowcases.

The NSF offers the following recommendations for better sleep:

  • Follow a regular schedule by going to sleep and waking up at consistent times each day.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine, which may involve:
    • listening to music
    • reading a book
    • taking a bath
  • Keep the bedroom cool — a person’s body temperature naturally decreases to encourage sleep, so a bedroom temperature of 60–67°F (15.5–19.4°C) is ideal.
  • Keep noise to a minimum.
  • Keep the bedroom as dark as possible.
  • Avoid eating 2–3 hours before bed.
  • Use supportive, comfortable mattresses and pillows.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Cut down on stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.

Below are some frequently asked questions about pillows.

Is a firm pillow better than a softer pillow?

A person should purchase a pillow with the firmness they find most beneficial. Some people may prefer the extra support to the neck and shoulders that a firmer pillow offers, while others may find a softer pillow leads to better sleep.

However, pillows lose their shape and firmness after extended use. With this in mind, individuals should purchase a new pillow if their current one no longer gives them the support they need.

Should a pillow be a certain height?

Like a pillow’s firmness, pillow height is a matter of personal preference. However, back and front sleepers may wish to buy a flatter pillow to reduce neck and shoulder strain from elevating the head. In contrast, side sleepers might prefer higher pillows that align the head with the rest of the body.

Can pillows stop snoring?

The NSF states that a raised or thicker pillow may ease snoring. When people sleep on their backs, the airways narrow due to gravity. Therefore, a higher pillow position could help keep the airways open during sleep.

Learn more about snoring home remedies.

However, some people may have sleep apnea, where a person’s breathing pauses during sleep. If an individual believes they have this condition, they should speak with a doctor to discuss treatment options.

Is it better to sleep with one pillow or two?

Sleeping with two pillows may disrupt spinal alignment, leading to an increase in neck pain due to the loft of the two pillows.

If a person finds that their existing pillow has too low of a loft to feel supportive, they may wish to purchase a thicker pillow.

The best type of pillow for a person depends on a range of factors, such as sleeping position, snoring, pain, and any allergies.

Finding a pillow that provides optimal support may improve sleep quality, resulting in better overall health and well-being.