How to choose the best pillows based on your sleep position

How to pick the right pillow for you

The perfect pillow is one that you find comfortable and helps keep your neck and spine aligned and in a neutral position throughout the night. A pillow's "loft" refers to its height as it lays flat on the bed.

While shopping for pillow, you will typically find three different heights:

  1. Low – less than 3” (soft to medium)
  2. Medium - 3” - 5” (medium)
  3. High – more than 5” (firm)

When shopping for a pillow, your preferred sleeping position should determine which height you should select.

Side sleeper 

Pillow selection - A medium to high pillow that gives your head support, & a firm pillow since the filling must stay in place in order to keep your head from falling.

Placing an extra pillow between your knees or hugging a body pillow will help keep your hips and pelvis aligned with your lower back.

Side sleeping is the most common sleep position and is also generally considered the healthiest: good spinal alignment, opens up airways & improves circulation in the sleeper’s breathing passages.

Best position for - Sleepers with certain medical conditions (e.g. sleep apnea and chronic snorers).

Worst position for - Acid reflux (sleeping on your right side can make worsen symptoms esp. Pregnant women, so it’s best to sleep on the left), shoulder injuries.

Back sleeper

Pillow selection - Choose flatter pillows, with medium firmness & an extra loft in the bottom 1/3 – it will help keep neck in a neutral position.

Placing an extra pillow behind knees or a lumbar roll (if that’s more comfortable) will provide additional support for your lower back.

Sleeping on your back is considered the healthiest way to sleep—it supports your spine and associated soft tissues more so than any other position.

Best position for - If you are concerned about wrinkles (considered a way to help keep your skin looking more youthful due to how gravity works upon your body at night), suffer from chronic pain in your neck, shoulders or lower back (sleeping on your back puts less strain on those areas).

Worst position for - Acid reflux (unless you have a wedge pillow); if you have breathing problems, sleep apnea sufferers or chronic snorers.

Stomach sleeper

Pillow selection - Stomach sleepers should use a pillow that is as soft and flat as possible—or no pillow at all. In this position, it is often best to place another flat pillow under the abdomen or pelvis to help the lower back keep its natural alignment.

It is recommended that you avoid sleeping on your stomach—it creates an unnatural bend in your neck—sleep on your back or side instead

Worst position for - neck pain (turning the neck to the side compresses the joints), lower back pain (can put a lot of pressure on your lower back), if you have acne or if you are worried about wrinkles