Everyone has a pillow, but sometimes they need to be replaced, whether because of age or a slumber party gone wrong. A lot of us are sleeping on pillows that don’t support us right, and our sleep is suffering for it. Below we’ve collected our best info on how to find the perfect pillow.

Consider Your Favorite Sleeping Position

To start on your journey of how to find the perfect pillow the most important job your pillow has is to support your spine. Its goal is to hold your spine in the ideal neutral alignment. Essentially, we want to hold the spine how it's meant to be all night long. Pillows do this through the loft and your sleeping position.

Terminology- Loft, Not Attic

When we’re talking about pillow thickness and height, the term pillow makers use is “loft”. This catch-all term can be used interchangeably with height or thickness. Understanding the difference between high, low, and medium lofts is important because each sleeping position has a different recommended loft.

  • Low Loft- Pillows with a low loft are thinner or shorter. They’re generally three inches thick or less.
  • Mid Loft- Pillows with a mid or medium loft are medium thickness, generally between three to five inches thick.
  • High Loft- Pillows with high lofts are thick or taller. Anything over five inches thick is generally considered a high loft.

What’s Your Favorite Sleeping Position?

We know many people roll during the night and maybe don't stay in the same position throughout the night. So to find the perfect pillow for you, we're trying to find out how you spend most of the night. If you're unsure, there are a handful of things you can do to figure it out:

If you’re lucky enough to have a sleeping partner, ask them. They might have an idea of how you sleep the most because they have to work around it. If you’re lucky enough not to have a sleeping partner, consider how you wake up in the morning. When your alarm goes off, do you have to jump up from the pillow because your face is smashed into it?

You might be a stomach sleeper. Or do you find yourself switching the side you’re sleeping on because of the sun peeking through cracks in the blinds in the morning? You might be a side sleeper. Those of us with cats know if we’re back sleepers because our cats will use our faces as their mattress. Try to remember how you wake up in the morning to examine how you mostly sleep.

These recommendations aren't based on what you do all the time; they're based on what you do mostly. For example, if you get a pillow that's perfect for your mostly side sleeping and sleeps on your back one night, your pillow will still work perfectly for you.

The Perfect Pillow for Side Sleepers

If you spend most of the night on either of your sides, you need a lot of support. To keep your spine straight and in alignment, your pillow needs to sit up and take the load off your head, keeping it aloft. This is also important because it’ll distribute your weight better and keep your shoulder from getting hurt from bearing all the weight.

Side sleepers should get a pillow with the following:

  • High Loft- A taller pillow is best for side sleepers because it will keep their heads up high, closer to where their spine sits when they’re on their side.
  • Firm Support- An overly soft pillow will deflate over the night, becoming a low loft that doesn't keep your spine in alignment. These kinds of pillows keep your head in the right place all night long.
  • Firm But Fluffy- Just because you need a firm pillow doesn’t mean we want you sleeping on a brick. Fluffy materials like down or down alternatives that are shapeable and can be changed to accommodate your needs are the best pillow for side sleepers.


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The Perfect Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

Those who sleep on their bellies need much less support (especially if you like to stack your arms under your pillow as well). This is because your spine has a natural C curve at the top, and when you sleep on your belly, the mouth of the C is down. To keep from flattening this C out and thereby messing with the curve of your neck and hurting you, you should look for pillows that support a less-is-more approach.

Stomach sleepers should sleep on pillows with the following:

  • Low Loft- The thinner pillows with a lower loft will preserve that curve to your spine without craning your neck upward. Craning your neck out of its neutral alignment is always bad.
  • Soft Support- Support that’s too firm is going to crane your neck up, taking you out of that careful neutral alignment. You want to feel cushioned gently and not like your head is much higher than your chest.
  • Compressible- Look for a pillow that will flatten and squish down over time, taking on a lower loft over the night. Feathers, down, or down alternatives are great options for compressible pillows for stomach sleepers.

The Perfect Pillow for Back Sleepers

Medium, medium, medium. Back sleepers have chosen arguably the best sleeping position because it makes supporting your spine a lot easier. The pillows back sleepers should get their hands on are medium in almost every category, which puts them ahead of the pack for supporting the neutral alignment of the spine.

Back sleepers should get their hands (and heads) on a pillow with the following:

  • Medium Loft- Not too tall and not too short, this Goldilocks pillow won't crane your head up too tall, but it also won't feel like you're sleeping flat while relieving pressure on your neck and shoulders.
  • Medium Firmness- Again, Goldilocks. A pillow with medium firmness will keep its shape while still being like snoozing on a cloud.
  • Conform to Pressure- Memory foam pillows are great for back sleepers because they’ll conform to pressure. This will cradle your head in the perfect alignment while being super comfortable.

Also Read:

Best Pillow 2023: Eli and Elm

Consider the Filler Material

What your pillow is made of will make a difference. If you have allergies or sensitivities, it’s crucial to know what your pillow has inside it. The filler material will also make a difference in the loft and support.

Some fillers include:

  • Memory Foam- Gives great support while being hypoallergenic and easy to clean.
  • Down- Has great and adaptable support while being easy to care for and durable.
  • Synthetic Down- Offers more support than traditional down while being cooler and more sustainable.
  • Polyester Fill- Offers great softness while low maintenance and odor absorbing.
  • Latex- Reduces noise while lasting long and relieving pain and pressure.
  • Cotton- Offers a cruelty-free option while being non-toxic and odor-free.
  • Wool- Fights off bacteria while being hypoallergenic and is the perfect alternative to down pillows for those with allergies.

Consider Temperature

For those of us who sleep hot, getting a pillow that won’t superheat you while you sleep is essential. While you can get pillowcases that are designed to wick away moisture and heat, look for the best pillows with cooling gel with memory foam or breathable polyester to help keep you cool.

The Perfect Pillow is Close

You can sleep better by finding the right pillow for how you sleep, one with great filler and keeps you at the right temperature. Check out our website for more tips, tricks, and products to help how to find the perfect pillow and get the best sleep ever.