Updated July 13, 2020Once you’ve brought your new mattress home, you want to pair it with the perfect pillow set. The right pillows can create an inviting look and feel, but they can also improve the quality of your sleep. The pillow size that is right for you will depend on your sleep position and mattress size. This article outlines the most common pillow sizes, shapes, and materials to help you find the ideal pair for your bed. Plus, we explain how to select the best pillow loft for your sleep position.Pillow SizesThe following sizing chart outlines the dimensions of the five standard pillow sizes in the United States. We have also added the average price range for each.Pillow SizeMeasurementsAverage PriceStandard20 inches by 26 inches$25 to $100Queen20 inches by 30 inches$30 to $150King20 inches by 36 inches$40 to $200Body Pillow20 inches by 54 inches$30 to $250Standard Size PillowStandard pillows are the most popular size—measuring 20 inches by 26 inches. These pillows are suitable for side, back, and stomach sleepers. However, those who frequently toss and turn during the night may find these pillows too small. Combination sleepers tend to roll off these pillows—leaving the neck unsupported and causing morning aches and pains.Some brands offer a slightly larger standard size pillow, called a super standard. These pillows measure 20 inches by 28 inches, so they are 2 inches longer than a standard pillow.One standard pillow fits comfortably on a twin or twin XL mattress. If you have a double bed or queen bed, two standard pillows can be used. However, a king or a California king bed will need at least three standard pillows.Standard pillowcases measure 20 to 21 inches by 30 to 32 inches. Both standard and super standard pillows will fit comfortably into a standard size pillowcase.Queen Size PillowQueen size pillows measure 20 inches by 30 inches, so they are 4 inches longer than a standard pillow. These pillows are designed specifically for a longer bed, such as a queen. Unlike standards and even super standards, queens are ideal for combination sleepers who change positions throughout the night.Two standard size pillows on a queen size bed will leave a significant gap in the middle that sleepers could roll into. However, two queens will fit perfectly on a queen or a full size mattress. One queen size pillow can also be used on a twin or twin XL bed.Most queen pillows will fit comfortably in a standard size pillowcase. This versatility is helpful since most bedding companies don’t offer a queen size pillowcase. If your queen pillow is unusually thick, it may be best to opt for a king size pillowcase instead.King Size PillowA standard king size pillow measures 20 inches by 36 inches—6 inches longer than a queen size pillow. The extra length makes these pillows suitable for active sleepers. Plus, king size pillows can also be used as a shorter body pillow or as a low back support pillow when sitting up in bed.Two king size pillows will fit comfortably across a king or California king size bed without leaving any open space between the pillows. You can also place two king pillows on a queen mattress to eliminate the gap in between the two pillows.King size pillows will not fit into a standard pillowcase. Instead, these pillows will need a king pillowcase that measures 20 to 21 inches by 36 to 41 inches for a proper fit.Body PillowBody pillows have the same width as the three pillows described above, but these pillows measure 54 inches in length. These extra-long pillows can be used as a full-body pillow that rests beneath the head, curves around the body, and rests between the knees. Body pillows are helpful for side sleepers because they can alleviate the pressure on the hips by keeping the top knee lifted. With the hips even and supported, the spine will rest in a neutral position, which can prevent waking up to stiff, sore muscles.For pregnant women, a body pillow can help support the weight of a growing belly and reduce pressure on the spine, back, and hips. These pillows can also offer a slight lift to the head, which can alleviate symptoms of acid reflux and improve blood flow. Side sleeping is considered to be the safest position for pregnant women, and a body pillow will make it even more comfortable.Some sleepers also use body pillows as a bolster to the lower back while sitting up in bed or beneath the knees. The extra length of a body pillow requires a pillowcase specifically designed for this type of pillow.How Many Pillows Does Your Bed Need?The right number of pillows for your mattress will depend on the size of your bed. In most cases, if you have a queen size bed, two queen size pillows will fit comfortably. Below, we highlight the number and size of pillows you will need for each standard mattress size.Of course, this number can vary depending on your personal preference, but this is a good starting point and will ensure that there are no large gaps that could leave your head and neck unsupported during sleep.MattressMattress WidthNumber and Size of Pillows NeededTwin and Twin XL38 inches1 standard or super standard size pillowFull (Double)54 inches2 standard, super standard, or queen size pillowsQueen60 inches2 queen or king size pillowsKing76 inches2 king or 3 standard king size pillowsCalifornia king72 inches2 king or 3 standard king size pillowsSpecialty Pillow SizesSpecialty pillows are also available in different sizes and shapes to accommodate various sleep needs. Orthopedic and wedge pillows can help with certain sleep disorders, while travel pillows can help you get a good night’s sleep on-the-go.OrthopedicOrthopedic pillows are designed to keep the spine aligned with the head and neck to alleviate pressure and help the back muscles relax. Depending on the source of your discomfort, your doctor can help you determine the right size and shape for your orthopedic pillow.TravelIt can be difficult to get comfortable in a plane or car, especially if you don’t have a pillow with you. Travel pillows measuring 12 inches by 16 inches and can easily fit inside your carry-on bag or attach to your suitcase. These pillows typically have a circular shape that fits around the back of the neck, so you rest your head comfortably no matter where you are.Wedge PillowA wedge pillow has a triangular shape that is tapered on an incline. These pillows can be used to keep the head at a 30 o to 45-degree angle. This angle can alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea and reduce snoring. Plus, it can improve sinus congestion and acid reflux.Pillow MaterialsThe type of pillow will determine the comfort level and lift it provides. The following are the four most common pillow materials.Memory FoamMemory foam is a highly responsive material that quickly molds to the body for pressure-free support. The contouring memory foam offers make these pillows a popular choice for back and neck pain relief. Memory foam offers a balance of firmness and compression to create the perfect pillow height for your needs.Memory foam pillows can be either shredded or one single block of foam. With a shredded memory foam pillow, foam pieces can be added or removed to adjust the height of the pillow. But, if the foam is not disrupted evenly throughout the pillow cover, these pillows can become lumpy. For more even support, a solid memory foam pillow is the best option.High-quality memory foam pillows cost between $50 and $60. They are also available in the four standard pillow sizes. Because this foam is ideal for relieving pain and pressure, many orthopedic pillows are made of memory foam.DownDown makes for incredibly fluffy and soft pillows. This pillow filling is a combination of duck or goose feathers and down (the soft underside of the animal’s feathers). Down is naturally breathable and helps regulate body heat to keep you cool in the summer and warm and cozy in the winter. The amount of filling used will determine the firmness and height of a down pillow.If you are considering a down pillow, be sure to purchase one that is at least 75 percent down. This percentage will ensure proper temperature control. The higher the rate of down in the pillow, the higher the cost will be, so be sure to keep this in mind when shopping. Most down pillows range in price from $100 to $300.Down AlternativeFor those who are allergic to the down, an alternative down pillow is a hypoallergenic and affordable alternative. These pillows feature a combination of fabrics, such as polyester and cotton, to mimic the feel of down. Although the softest of the down is easier to emulate, down alternative pillows may not have the same breathability as real down. Also, down alternative pillows tend to lose their shape over time.Down alternative pillows are affordable and range in price from $10 to $30 depending on size.Sleeping Position and Pillow LoftA pillow’s loft refers to its height, and your sleep position can help determine the height that is right for you. The most important thing is that the head and neck rest in alignment with the spine so muscles can fully relax.Side SleepingWhen resting on your side, there will be a gap between the head and the surface of the mattress. Side sleepers need a medium to high loft pillow to fill this gap and adequately support the head. The correct pillow height will keep the head in line with the spine, so the neck is not forced up or down. If the pillow is too high, it will push the neck upward, putting pressure on the spine. If the loft is too low, the neck will be supported—leaving you with stiff, sore neck muscles.Back SleepingBack sleepers need to keep the head and neck aligned with the spine to avoid tension and pressure buildup in the back and neck. A medium loft pillow will prevent the head from being forced upward or from sagging with no support. This loft will keep the spine neutral and reduce any strain on the neck.Stomach SleepingStomach sleeping exaggerates the natural curve of the spine, putting pressure on the neck and back. Therefore, stomach sleepers need a low loft pillow to help lessen the curve and reduce tension. Stomach sleepers may also benefit from placing a smaller pillow under their hips—this will lift the hips slightly and bring the lower half of the spine in alignment with the head and neck.Combination SleepingA medium loft pillow is ideal for combination sleepers because it will keep the head and neck supported no matter which position you rest in. Combination sleepers also benefit from a longer pillow. A queen or king pillow will ensure that you don’t roll off the pillow and sleep unsupported.Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the best size pillow to sleep on?The right pillow size for you will depend on the size of your bed and your sleep position. If you are a combination sleeper and tend to toss and turn during the night, it is best to opt for a longer pillow. The extra length of a queen or king pillow will keep your head and beck supported as you change positions.How much bigger should a pillowcase be than the pillow?In most cases, it is easy to determine the correct pillowcase by looking at the pillow’s size. A standard pillow will need a standard size pillowcase. However, if you are unsure of the size, you can find the correct dimension by measuring the length and width of the pillow.Once you know the dimensions of your pillow, you can select a pillowcase size that works for you. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a pillowcase that is a ½ to 1 inch longer than the pillow and 2 ½ to 4 inches wider than the pillow.What’s the difference between pillowcases and pillow shams?Pillowcases are made of the same material as bed sheets. Most sheet sets come with two pillowcases in the same color and fabric as the sheets. While pillowcases are designed for sleeping, pillow shams serve a more decorative purpose.Pillow shams are typically made of a heavy, coarser material that matches the bedspread or duvet cover. Depending on the fabric, pillow shams may not be comfortable for sleeping. Pillow shams also have a slit that runs across the middle of the back of the pillow and often closes with an overlapping piece of fabric.Will a queen pillow fit in a standard pillowcase?Standard pillowcases measure 20 to 21 inches by 30 by 32 inches. Since a queen size pillow measures 20 inches by 30 inches, these pillows can typically fit comfortably in a standard size pillowcase. However, the pillow may be a tight fit if it’s unusually thick. In this case, it may be helpful to opt for a king size pillowcase since queen pillowcases are not readily available.What size is a Euro pillow?Euro pillows measure 26 inches by 26 inches. These pillows have a large square shape and are typically used for decoration to add dimension to a bed. However, some sleepers prefer to use Euro pillows as a support pillow for the back.ConclusionThe right pillow size and loft can help create an inviting sleep space, but, more importantly, it can improve the quality of your sleep. When selecting the right length, keep in mind your mattress size. The right length will ensure that you don’t lose support during the night. When choosing the correct loft, consider your preferred sleep position. The correct loft will keep the spine in a safe, neutral position.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.