The Best Pillows For Back Sleepers

Sleeping on your back is one of the better positions to hit the hay on, but back sleepers tend to need a bit more support when it comes to their pillow. Just like with side or stomach sleepers, the best pillows for back sleepers will keep the spine aligned in as neutral of a position as possible. While other positions require flatter support, a back sleeper may find that something with more loft creates the ideal level of comfort.

Too soft, or too flat, and you could be in a world of hurt in the morning. No one wants to start their day with a pain in their neck or back, so choosing the right pillow to pair with your mattress is an important part of your sleep setup.

Size Matters It’s true what they say—the size of your pillow plays a key role in making sure that you’re getting everything you need while you sleep. Your perfect pillow will fill in the space between your head and the mattress without letting your head drop backwards, or push your neck too far forwards. This is considered a neutral spine position and is considered by doctors to be the healthiest way to sleep.

Side sleepers, the most common sleeping position, often need a bit of a thicker pillow, which is why manufacturers tend to design with higher loft in mind. Finding the perfect pillow may mean looking into special pillows that are crafted specifically for back sleepers.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts All pillows are not created equally. Different materials have vastly different benefits for sleepers, and knowing what you’re looking for can make your shopping trip a lot easier.

While many materials offer great support at first, some tend to have a sinking effect which can lead to improper alignment over time—memory foam, for example, starts out strong but can deflate after nightly use and leave you hanging one way or another. It’s a good idea to frequently check in with yourself when you wake up—are you feeling stiff? Are you noticing upper or lower back pain? Your pillow may be letting you down overnight and causing the pain.

Some pillows are made of adjustable materials, so you can remove a layer or some fill to create the perfect height for your individual body. Others are made of more responsive foams that don’t sink, instead they cradle. There are some pillows that are molded to keep your head from moving side to side at night, helping to prevent signs of aging and acne since your face is kept perfectly in place. You can also get materials that are infused with cooling gel or beads to help those hot sleepers keep nice and cool all night long. The options are expansive, but the right fit is out there waiting to be found!

Ultimately, the best pillow for back sleepers is one that keeps you aligned, keeps you cool, and lasts. Make sure you’re checking out the warranty and return policies before you commit to a pillow, just in case it doesn’t work out. You may need to give a new pillow a week or two to of use before deciding, but if you ever wake up with neck pain immediately after switching, you should contact your contact and consider a different type of pillow.


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Shelly Weaver-Cather
Shelly Weaver-Cather

Shelly Weaver is part of the Content Team at Tuft & Needle, leading the writing and editing of our blog. Not quite a Phoenix native, (They take that sort of thing super seriously.) Shelly has spent most of her life in the Phoenix Metro area and has no plans of leaving anytime soon. She made the unexpected jump out of wedding photography and onto T&N’s team in 2016, and found a passion for the people that keep the lights on. She still finds herself shooting in her free time, though these days there are less bridal portraits and more masterpieces of her first child, Duke, a lab-pit mix with an unparalleled love for both T&N mattress hogging and couch destroying.

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