Updated January 22, 2021Back sleeping is one of the healthiest ways to sleep, although it’s not very popular. Sleeping on your back is helpful for neutrally aligning your spine, distributing your body weight, and preventing pressure build-up.However, the pillow you use when back sleeping can drastically affect your comfort and sleep quality. A supportive pillow can also reduce the risk of issues such as snoring or sleep apnea, common problems for back sleepers.Our guide lays out some of the best pillows for back sleepers and some buying tips to help you choose the right pillow.Best Pillows for Back Sleepers OverviewPillowHighlightPriceAmerisleep Dual ComfortUnique dual-sided pillow with two firmness options: soft and firm$130Zoma PillowPillow designed to boost muscle recovery and promote deep sleep$75Vaya PillowA high-quality, comfortable pillow offered at a low price$60Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam PillowMemory foam pillow with an extra half-pound of fill for maximized customization$70Purple PillowPillow comes with adjustable boosters to customize loft$109Hullo Buckwheat PillowBreathable, adjustable, and biodegradable$109Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Wedge Pillow30-degree angle improves pain and breathing$451. Amerisleep Dual Comfort PillowThe Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow has a unique two-sided design with different firmnesses: soft and firm. Not only that, but it comes in two different lofts: low (5 inches) and mid (6 inches). We typically recommend the mid loft option for back sleepers to ensure their neck is neutral with their spine.The firm side is sturdy and extra-supportive for your head and neck, while the soft side contours closely to your head and has a hug-like feel. Both sides of the pillow are made from Amerisleep’s Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam. Bio-Pur® lasts longer than traditional memory foam and is less likely to trap your body heat.The cover is made of breathable fabric and the pillow itself contains air channels to promote airflow throughout and prevent hot sleeping.Amerisleep pillows are made in the USA and CertiPUR-US® certified, meaning the foams are free of potentially harmful chemicals. They also come with a 10-year warranty and ship to your home for free.2. Zoma PillowZoma designed the Zoma Pillow to promote muscle recovery and enhance physical performance. With the MicroCushions™ and the pillow’s breathable mesh cover, the pillow also ensures you don’t overheat at night and sleep without disruptions.With the Zoma Pillow, you don’t have to worry about your pillow going flat and needing constant fluffing. The Zoma Pillow contains MicroCushions™, a shredded memory foam you can customize to your pillow’s shape and loft.The Zoma Pillow is CertiPUR-US® certified, made in the USA, and has a 10-year warranty. Zoma also offers free shipping for all of their products.3. Vaya PillowVaya keeps it simple and affordable, yet high-quality for their products and the Vaya Pillow is no different. It’s made from Vaya’s proprietary Vaya Comfort Foam and has a breathable cover designed to prevent overheating.The Vaya Comfort Foam cradles your head and neck to ensure you’re comfortable and well-supported. For neck pain sufferers, the Vaya Comfort Foam helps relieve tension in pressure to help you sleep undisturbed. Also, the Vaya Comfort Foam bounces back quickly and is durable, meaning it won’t go flat or need to be constantly fluffed.Despite being inexpensive, the Vaya Pillow is still made in the USA, CertiPUR-US® certified and backed by a 10-year warranty.4. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam PillowThe Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow contains a blend of shredded, gel-infused memory foam and polyester microfibers to smooth the foam out and ensure the pillow won’t feel lumpy. This pillow offers the support of memory foam with the comfort and fluffiness of a down.The pillow cover is made from a polyester and bamboo-rayon blend to be both breathable and plush to the touch. Even better, the pillow cover has a low-profile zipper so you can add or remove filling as needed. Coop Home Goods sends your pillow with an extra half-pound of filling, too. Both the pillow and cover are machine-washable and safe to place in the dryer.The Eden Memory Foam pillow is made in the USA and hypoallergenic. It also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 5-year warranty.5. Purple PillowThe Purple Pillow is a cooling and durable pillow with an ergonomic design.Like other Purple products, the Purple Pillow is made from Purple Grid™, a grid-like foam designed to cradle your head and neck. The pillow also features Absolute Airflow™, open-air channels to prevent you or your pillow from getting too hot at night.The pillow is 3 inches on its own, but it comes with adjustable boosters—1-inch and half-inch foam layers you can use to adjust your pillow’s loft. Simply unzip the breathable pillow cover and add or remove the boosters. The pillow comes with one booster, but you can buy extra if you wish.The Purple Pillow is hypoallergenic, CertiPUR-US® certified, Clean Air GOLD-certified, and made in the USA. Purple offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty for the Purple Pillow, along with free shipping.6. Hullo Buckwheat PillowThe Hullo Buckwheat Pillow contains thousands of buckwheat hulls to support and cradle your head and neck. The Hullo Buckwheat pillow is customizable—you can add or remove the hulls to adjust the pillow’s loft and firmness.Buckwheat hulls don’t trap heat and promote airflow to keep you cool throughout the night. Since buckwheat hull pillows are made from the shells of buckwheat, they are both vegan and biodegradable.The buckwheats in the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow are grown and milled in the USA. Hullo offers free shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee in case you aren’t happy with the pillow.7. Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Wedge PillowThe Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Wedge Pillow has a 30-degree angle, elevating your upper body. A wedge pillow is an affordable alternative to an adjustable bed base, which also changes the angles you sleep at.Sleeping at an angle reduces the pressure on your lower back and spine and promotes healthy spinal alignment. For those who struggle to breathe at night, elevated sleeping opens your airways.Not only can you use the Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Wedge Pillow under your head and shoulders, but you can also use it under your knees to minimize edema (swelling), varicose veins, and increase blood circulation to your feet.Xtreme Comforts backs their Memory Foam Bed Wedge Pillow with a lifetime warranty.Best Pillow Materials for Back SleepersBack sleepers should look for a sturdy pillow fill to ensure their head doesn’t curve too far backward and trigger neck pain. Some popular pillow types include memory foam, latex, poly-foam, down, cotton, or polyester. The lifespan of a pillow can vary, so it is important to select one made with a durable material that won’t break down quickly.Memory FoamMemory foam is known for maintaining its shape and relieving pressure well. It hugs your curves, distributes your body weight, and is excellent for pain relief. Plus, memory foam pillows are washable and have a long lifespan.Memory foam pillows come in two variations: block and shredded. The two pillows contain the same materials but are designed differently.Block memory foam: Block memory foam is one large piece of foam inside of a pillow. It’s durable and sturdy, but not adjustable in the same way shredded memory foam is. It’s also a little hotter than shredded foam due to the lack of air channels.Shredded memory foam: Shredded memory foam is small, ripped pieces of foam inside of a pillow. It easily molds to your head and can be adjusted into different shapes or lofts. It’s softer than block memory foam and also more breathable because air can flow between the pieces of foam.LatexLatex is a durable and hypoallergenic foam produced from the sap of rubber trees. Both latex and memory foam cradle your body, but latex isn’t as close-conforming as memory foam. Also, latex has a faster response time than memory foam.Poly-FoamPoly-foam is a synthetic foam available at a variety of price points and quality levels. It’s found in lots of mattresses and pillows and is often used as the base of memory foam mattresses or blended with memory foam or latex.Plain poly-foam is typically inexpensive. Conversely, poly-foam infused with materials such as copper, gel, or graphite is pricier, but also longer-lasting than traditional poly-foam.DownDown pillows are luxurious, soft, and breathable, but aren’t always the most supportive when compared to foam pillows. They require frequent fluffing to keep them from going flat, but even then, they aren’t very lofty.Regardless, down feathers can get quite expensive since they’re a limited natural resource and difficult to obtain. Adult geese produce the best down, meaning it takes several years before the down can be harvested.CottonOrganic, long-staple cotton pillows are breathable and durable. Cotton pillows with a higher thread count are often softer and longer-lasting than those with lower thread counts.Although cotton is a cool fill choice, it’s not supportive and can lose its shape quickly. If anything, cotton makes for a better pillow cover than a pillow fill.PolyesterPolyester—also known as down alternative or microfiber—is a synthetic fill similar to cotton or down. While polyester pillows are cheap and readily available, they can grow lumpy quickly, meaning they have to be replaced more often than other pillows. Also, they tend to trap heat and moisture, so they aren’t always comfortable.Tips for Choosing a Pillow for Back SleepingThe goal when shopping for a pillow is to choose one that keeps your body neutrally aligned. Proper spinal alignment prevents pressure points, pain, and helps you sleep comfortably. As a back sleeper, look into your pillow’s firmness, loft, and shape.FirmnessPillow firmness affects the amount of cradling your head and neck receive and also prevents your head from curving backward. A medium or medium-firm pillow works well for back sleepers to provide them with enough cradling and still have enough support to keep the body aligned.Loft and SizeYour pillow’s loft refers to how high it is. As a back sleeper, your pillow should be just high enough to maintain your head and neck’s natural curve and align them with the rest of your body in a horizontal line. Your pillow shouldn’t be so tall as to cause your chin to curl in towards your chest, nor so low your head is falling backward.A mid (4 to 5 inches) or high loft (5 to 7 inches) pillow works best for side sleepers. Choosing between mid or high can vary on factors such as head size, body weight, and shoulder-width.In addition to loft, you will want to select a pillow size that correlates with your mattress size. For example, if you have a king size mattress, it is best to go with king size pillows to ensure you remain supported throughout the night.ShapePillows come in lots of shapes outside of the standard rectangle—though rectangular pillows can still be supportive and comfortable. For back sleepers, some unique pillow shapes we recommend include contour pillows, bolster pillows and wedge pillows.Contour PillowsContour pillows have ergonomic shapes designed to support your neck and cradle your head. There are several different shapes of contour pillows, but the most common shape features a crater to hold your head and two arches to support your neck.Bolster PillowsBolster pillows (also known as roll pillows) are small cylindrical pillows you place beneath your neck. They’re popularly used as decoration, but you can find bolster pillows specifically designed for back sleeping and to relieve neck pain.Wedge PillowsWedge pillows are triangular pillows designed for you to sleep at an angle. A wedge pillow elevates your torso, in turn reducing lower back pain, improving blood circulation, and helping you breathe better.The Benefits of Back SleepingAs we mentioned earlier, back sleeping one of the best sleep positions because it prevents pain and won’t aggravate health conditions. Although, some sleepers might find it uncomfortable or unnatural. However, the benefits of back sleeping might make it worthwhile to switch sleep positions.Promotes Neutral Spine and Pressure ReliefSleeping on your back is one of the best ways to align your head, neck, and spine. While you can achieve a neutral spine when side or stomach sleeping, back sleepers can do so the easiest. Also, back sleepers hardly struggle with neck or shoulder pain.A neutral spine ensures your body weight is well-distributed and prevents pressure build-up. It also improves your blood circulation and boosts muscle recovery.Minimizes Acid RefluxSo long as you’re using a supportive pillow that elevates your head slightly above your stomach, back sleeping can help prevent acid reflux and heartburn. The proper pillow prevents stomach acid from traveling up to your throat and causing pain, helping you back sleep soundly.At the same time, using too thin of a pillow or no pillow at all while back sleeping leaves your body flat and won’t prevent acid reflux.Reduces Risk of Wrinkles and AcneSide and stomach sleepers whose faces are often pressed into their pillows are at risk of developing acne and premature wrinkles.Back sleepers don’t have their face pressed against their pillow, so they are at less risk of developing acne or wrinkles from their pillowcase. With this in mind, back sleeping won’t eliminate the possibility of getting acne or wrinkles entirely.FAQsHow many pillows are too many?Nobody’s stopping you from decorating your bed with as many pillows as possible. However, during sleep, you only ever need one pillow under your head at a time to keep your head aligned with your spine. Using multiple pillows can twist your neck at an unnatural angle and cause stiffness and pain.Is it okay to back sleep without a pillow?If you’re a back sleeper, you should always use a pillow under your head to keep your spine and neck neutral. Without a pillow, you might experience neck stiffness, neck pain, or headaches and migraines.The only situation where you might not use a pillow is if you sleep on your stomach because your head and neck are naturally much closer to the mattress.Should I sleep with a pillow under my lower back?No, you shouldn’t place a pillow under your lower back when back sleeping. Placing a pillow under your lower back raises your hips and potentially takes your spine out of alignment.If you’re concerned about lower back pain, try placing a pillow under your knees when back sleeping. This removes the pressure on your lower back while keeping your spine aligned. Also, use a medium to medium-firm mattress to cradle your lower back and support your spine.Should my shoulders be on my pillow when back sleeping?No, your pillow is there to support your neck and head, not your shoulder. Instead, your mattress is what supports your shoulders. If you put your shoulders on your pillow, suddenly your neck and head won’t be supported, and can’t reach the pillow without curving backward.Can I train myself to sleep on my back?It’s possible to teach yourself to become a back sleeper with a bit of work, and it takes roughly 21 days to form a habit. Here are some tips to start back sleeping:Use a medium or medium-firm mattress suited for back sleepingSpread out your arms and legs to improve circulationElevate your upper body using a wedge pillow to reduce pressure and maintain your positionPlace a small pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees to minimize lower back painCreate a pillow barrier on both sides of your body to prevent rolling overIt may feel a bit awkward when you initially start sleeping on your back, but this is normal. However, if back sleeping is uncomfortable to the point where you cannot sleep, it’s okay to stop and try again another night. You might also try side sleeping, which is another healthy sleeping position.ConclusionAlthough so many of us spend so much time scrupulously searching for a mattress, pillows rarely get the same attention. The right pillow will keep your head and neck supported and help you relax and fall asleep quickly. Back sleepers should choose a mid or high loft pillow with a medium firmness to properly support your neck and relieve pressure.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.