Find a comfy back pillow to help you get a great night’s sleep, with the help of our results on the best pillow brands.
Are you a back sleeper by nature, but find that, when you wake up in the morning, you have neck pain or end up snoring through the night?
It’s something that a lot of back sleepers experience, but you don’t have to give up sleeping in your favorite position. Just having the right pillow can fix the issues many back sleepers face, allowing them to get a more restful nights sleep. Pillows that give you more support for the head and neck can help eliminate snoring and sore necks. Pillows that conform to the contours of the body also help back sleepers by easing those pressure points that tend to get sore.
This guide will go over the top 5 pillows for back sleepers, as well as show you what to look for in a good pillow – let’s start with the reviews.
Best Pillows for Back Sleepers Reviews of 2021
1. Best Buckwheat Pillow: ComfySleep
Why You’ll Like It: If you tend to change positions while sleeping quite a bit, this ComfySleep buckwheat pillow is your perfect match. It supports your head and neck regardless of what position you are in.
The ComfySleep buckwheat pillow is based on natural Japanese technology that has been used for centuries. What we like about this pillow is that it molds to the shape of your head and neck without compressing, to offer the most support. You can also adjust the thickness of the pillow to suit your needs.
The pillow has a zipper on one side that allows you to remove or add more buckwheat, of which the company sends an extra 11-pound bag with your order. The cover of the pillow is 100% cotton twill, hypoallergenic, and washable. Buckwheat also doesn’t create dust as the hulls break down over time, making this a good pillow for allergy sufferers. Because they use small buckwheat hulls, the pillow has good airflow to prevent the buildup of moisture and heat from the body.
The durability of the pillow means it can last for up to 10 years. We recommend the Classic Plus size measuring 14″ x 26″ x 4.5″ and weighing 6 lbs + 1 lb extra since it provides superior support of the head, neck and shoulders – our top pick for the best side and back sleeper pillow for neck pain.
Pros: comes in a range of sizes, made in the USA, firmness can be adjusted, it comes with extra hulls, is highly durable, hypoallergenic, and has no odor.
Cons: The pillow is a bit heavy, weighing around 6 pounds, and some buyers didn’t like that the pillow makes noise when moving around. However, most got used to this in a few days.
2. Best Latex Pillow for Back Sleepers: Malouf Z
Why You’ll Like It: If you want a good quality pillow that is affordable and loves the feel of natural latex, the Malouf Z latex pillow is a good match for you.
You can buy this pillow in 3 sizes, as firm or soft, and you can customize the loft, making it perfect for all types of sleepers. The pillow is made of Talalay latex which reduces the pressure placed on the head and neck, aligning the spine for a better night’s sleep. You get a cradling effect from the latex, which supports the head and neck very well to ease neck and back pain. It’s a very lightweight pillow, so you can take it with you wherever you go. The pillow is well ventilated and regulates body temperature so you don’t wake up sweating. It comes with a 100 percent natural cotton removable cover. It’s not a good option if you have a latex allergy though.
Pros: can be used by all types of sleepers, 5-year U.S. warranty, is soft while still giving ample support, comes in 3 sizes and thicknesses and can be adjusted, is lightweight, fully ventilated, and washable.
Cons: some buyers complained about the initial smell when first opening the package, however, this fades after the pillow has been aired. It’s not suitable for those with a latex allergy and the firmness can take time to adjust to.
Why You’ll Like It: If you are a back or side sleeper and need a pillow that is firm but mouldable and comfy, Puredown’s 2-pack goose down feather pillows are a good choice for you.
The pillow uses about 95% feathers and 5% down from the Serbian grey goose. The pillow cover is made from 100% cotton, removable and fully washable. It’s a thick pillow that gives you medium support while still giving a comfortable feel. The fabric is double layered to prevent feathers from poking out and the pillow is hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers. Box stitching is also used to make sure you don’t get a lot of shifting of the feathers that can cause gaps, lumps and uneven spots – while offering superior neck alignment and support to back sleepers. With its ability to mold to the shoulders, neck and head – this is the best back sleeper pillow for neck pain issues – giving you that natural support and comfort needed for a good night’s sleep.
Pros: you get a high-quality pillow (pack of 2) for a good price, the pillow cover is also of high quality and very breathable, feathers stay in the pillow where they belong, with no poking through, and the pillow is very soft while still being supportive.
Cons: some buyers felt that the pillow compressed too much for them and there was an odd odor when first using the pillow.
4. Best Memory Foam Pillow: Tranzzquil
Why You’ll Like It: If you’re a back sleeper who suffers from allergies, this hypoallergenic memory foam pillow from Tranzzquil is a good pick for you – it’s also one of our most affordable recommendations.
Ergonomic shredded memory foam is used to fill this pillow and it comes with a bamboo dust mite resistant, naturally anti-bacterial cover that regulates temperature, keeping you cool at night. It also combats pet dander and allergens for a better nights sleep. The loft of the pillow is fully adjustable, allowing you to add or remove filling to suit your needs. You get medium-firm support for the neck and back – yet the pillow is highly moldable. It comes in both queen and king-sized. The pillows are also machine washable and durable. Tranzzquil has been in the pillow making business for 20 years and thoroughly test their pillows and they offer you a 100-night sleep trial.
Pros: budget-friendly, the pillow and covering is hypoallergenic, dust mite, dander, and allergen resistant, uses CertiPUR-US certified shredded memory foam, is adjustable, and comes in 2 sizes.
Cons: Some buyers found the pillow to be too firm, and others said it got lumpy without maintenance.
5. Best Hotel-Quality Pillow: Pacific Coast
Why You’ll Like It: If you love feather pillows but have allergies, or want a supportive pillow that is soft yet still feels like you sleep on a cloud, Pacific Coast’s 2-pack double down pillows is perfect for you.
This pillow has what is known as a “pillow-in-a-pillow” design. You have an outer layer that is filled with feather down that gives comfort and warmth. Then you have the center of the pillow, which is an inner pillow that is Resilia filled to give that firmness you’re after. This keeps your head and neck from sinking into the pillow. The casing of the pillow is made from 230 thread count pure cotton using a barrier weave that keeps the down from escaping. The down and feathers are put through a rigorous washing procedure that is safe for the environment, to make sure it is hypoallergenic and free from allergens and dust. The pillows have a great loft and is medium firm and is our top pick for the best bed pillow for a snoring back sleeper.
Pros: generous filling, has an exterior surround of down to give added support and softness, comes in 3 densities and 3 sizes, is hypoallergenic and is a good price for the quality you get.
Cons: if not washed and tumble dried properly the down filling can accumulate mold and mildew. Some buyers found the pillow hard to fit into a standard pillowcase.
Buyer’s guide into the best pillow for back sleepers
Studies have shown that about 8% of people sleep on their backs. Sleeping on your back has some good points and some bad ones though. It’s a position that helps align your neck and spine, which results in less shoulder and neck pain overnight. However, it can also be conducive to snoring, which can wake you up at night.
This is why having the right pillow is essential if you’re a back sleeper and want to get the best night’s sleep. We’ll take a look at different types of pillows and what to look for when shopping for one.
What type of pillow is best for back sleeper?
Back sleepers need a pillow that supports the head and neck properly. The pillow should be able to elevate your head slightly so that it supports the natural alignment of your spine. A pillow that is medium to firm tends to give the best level of support to the neck, head, and shoulders of those who sleep on their backs.
What pillow materials are rated “best” for the Supine Sleeping Position?
For supine sleeping, there are a few pillows that will be beneficial to you. When choosing a pillow, the material that it is made from is an important thing to consider, with some fillings giving more support than others. For back sleepers, the fillings that offer the best support are:
You can get memory foam pillows with either shredded filling or in a solid block form. The reason memory foam is good for back sleepers is that it softens and shapes to the form of the head, neck, and shoulders, giving them the comfort and support needed. Shredded memory foam pillows tend to allow for adjusting the loft, or height of the pillow. It’s also a quiet pillow, in comparison to fillings like buckwheat husks, which means there is less of a chance of being disturbed while sleeping.
Latex is derived from the sap of rubber trees and is a natural substance. Pillows made from latex are firm and they conform to the shape of the head, acting like a cradle of support. You can’t adjust the loft of a latex pillow though, so it may not be right for everyone, putting a strain on the neck rather than supporting it. Latex pillows do have some really good cooling properties, however, and can regulate body temperature through the night to keep the pillow feeling cool.
Down pillows use feather down from geese or ducks. The down is that super soft fuzz found just under their outer feathers. Pillows made from down are very lightweight and soft, while still being able to give the right amount of head and neck support for back sleepers. You can adjust the loft of down pillows to suit your needs as well. Down pillows can be a bit on the expensive side.
Like down pillows, feather pillows are very lightweight and soft. They use the outer feathers from geese or ducks and provide good support for the head and neck. Some feather pillows will use a bit of down for added softness, but feather pillows are a cheaper option than full down pillows.[/su_service]
With buckwheat pillows, the filling is made of the removable hulls from buckwheat stalks. They work individually to give that firmness and support that back sleepers need. You can also adjust the loft of these pillows for added comfort and support. The filling allows for ample airflow through the pillow to help keep you feeling cool. Buckwheat pillows can be on the heavy side.[/su_service]
What other qualities should you look for?
Loft: Loft refers to the thickness or height of a pillow. This is an essential consideration when looking for a pillow for a back sleeper. Loft comes in 3 main sizes: low loft, which is a pillow under 3-inches in thickness, medium loft, which has a thickness between 3 and 5-inches, and high loft, which is a pillow that is over 5-inches in thickness.
For most back sleepers, medium to high loft pillows works best. They give ample elevation for the head and neck, while maintain the right alignment of the spine to reduce snoring. Using a lower loft pillow can result in stiffness and pain in the shoulders, neck, and along the spine.
There’s nothing worse than waking up to a hot sweaty pillow. When you buy a pillow, regardless of what position you sleep in, you want to make sure it has good airflow and the ability to keep you cool. The top pillows for back sleepers tend to have cooling technology built in right into the material keeping you cool throughout the night.
While soft pillows feel plush and soft, they aren’t going to help keep your spine aligned properly. A back sleeper needs a pillow that slightly elevates the head, so a medium to firm pillow is necessary. It may take you a few nights to get used to a firm pillow if you’ve been used to soft ones, however, over the long-term, it will alleviate any neck and back pain that you’ve been experiencing.
Another must have in pillows for back sleepers is consistent support. You want a pillow that, when you turn it over in the middle of the night, isn’t going to just collapse under your heads pressure. A pillow that can keep it’s shape while supporting the neck and head is what you are looking for.
Many of the top pillows for back sleepers will come with trial periods, guarantees, and warranties that help to protect you from any performance issues. Normally, these will give you a free replacement pillow if you find any defects developing, and it can range from 30-days to 1-year. Free trial periods are also good because they let you try the pillow out to make sure its right for you.
Price is another consideration, but you also have to bear in mind that a good supportive pillow will cost a bit more than a standard pillow. Pricing can depend on what filling the pillow is using as well as brand names.
The Right Mattress
While having the right pillow for your needs is a great thing, having a mattress that doesn’t support you will kind of defeat the purpose. If your suffering from back, leg, and neck pain when sleeping, and your mattress is saggy, it’s probably time to replace it with a mattress that is more supportive for a back sleeper.
A crash-course in sleeping on your back
Sleeping on your back can have benefits and disadvantages. There is also a right and a wrong way to sleep on your back, along with 3 different back sleeping positions that people use.
In this position, one or both of your knees are slightly bent and your arms are fully extended straight at your sides.
In this position, the arms are out, bent at the elbows with the hands resting at the level of your head. The legs are out straight but slightly spread at a comfortable angle.
In this position both your legs and arms are fully extended.
4 Pros for Sleeping in the Supine Position
Believe it or not, back sleeping is considered to be the healthiest position to sleep in. Yet, only 8% of people sleep in this position. There are a number of benefits to your health that you get when sleeping supine.
Optimal Spinal Alignment
Out of all of the sleeping positions, back sleeping is the one that aligns your spine the best. Back sleeping without using a pillow is actually the most optimal, but not a lot of people find this comfortable. This is why using a firm pillow that cradles the neck and head is best for those who sleep on their backs. It helps keep the spine aligned and the head at just the right elevation.
When your spine is aligned and the head is supported properly, sleeping on your back can help alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain. You are also not adding pressure to areas like the knees and hips like you do when sleeping on your side, which can often cause pain.
Minimizes Acid Reflux
If you’ve had acid reflux or heartburn, you know how it can keep you awake at night. Acid reflux causes stomach acid to rise up into the esophagus. When you sleep on your back you are elevating the head, which can help to alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux.
I’m not talking about wrinkling the sheets here! When you sleep on your side or stomach, you always have one side of your face on the pillow. This can actually cause premature wrinkling to occur, or at least have you waking up with pillowcase indents on your face. When you sleep on your back, your face isn’t touching the pillow, so there isn’t anything to cause wrinkles and preventing skin breakouts and acne too.
How Sleeping on Your Back Affects Can Negatively Affect Your Health
We have to look at the good with the bad here, and back sleeping can have a few disadvantages.
You have a higher chance of snoring when you sleep on your back. This is because the muscles used to breathe in the airway become relaxed. Also, if you suffer from OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), you are even more susceptible to snoring if you sleep on your back.
Neck Pain Risk
While back sleeping does help reduce pain and aching when using the right pillow, some back sleepers tend to bend their neck to the side, which knocks the spine out of alignment. This ends us causing pressure points and pain to develop.
How to sleep on your back correctly
There is actually a wrong and a right way to sleep on your back. The video above which explains how laying on the back affects each area of the body. Simple things like how you hold your arms when you sleep can make a real difference. Here’s a quick guide on the right way to sleep on your back.
Lay Down Flat
This goes without saying really. You want to lay flat on your back with your neck and head in a neutral position (not turned at the side or bent at the neck). You also want to try not to rotate your knees right or left. The idea is to keep the body straight so that the spine is straight. Some people find it comfortable to lift the arms up around the head, also known as the “starfish” position mentioned earlier because it’s more comfortable on the shoulder area.
The way you elevate your head is important when sleeping on your back. Too high or too low and you are bending the neck out of alignment with the spine. You want your head to be slightly raised, and this is where having the right pillow firmness comes in. Some people also find it more comfortable to place pillows under the arms for added support. Buckwheat pillows tend to be the choice of experts because they are flatter and you can rearrange them the way you need to.
Support under the knees
Some who aren’t used to sleeping on their backs may experience some pressure or discomfort in the lower back at first. You can alleviate this by placing a pillow under your knees. It’s also recommended that you do a bit of light stretching before you go to bed to help avoid any pressure. Most people spend most of their day sitting. This causes the hip flexors and hamstrings to tighten up, which can cause aches when laying down.
The Startfish position
This seems to be a favorite position for back sleepers. It’s incredibly comfortable and helps to relieve pain and pressure. The only downside is, if you share a bed your partner may not appreciate you taking up the whole bed.
Should pregnant women avoid sleeping on their backs?
The question has been raised whether or not pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their backs. Sleeping on your back can cause problems for pregnant women because it puts them at a greater risk for developing compressed veins, including those that run beneath the uterus.
This large vein, called the vena cava, runs from the right side of the column of the vertebra. Its job is to carry deoxygenated blood from the middle and lower areas of the body to the heart.
When this vein becomes compressed, it can cause the blood pressure to quickly drop. It also disrupts the flow of blood to the baby. Symptoms of a compressed vena cava are dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. This is why doctors suggest that pregnant women sleep on their sides (with the help of a husband or pregnancy pillow) and avoid sleeping on their backs, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Studies have been done that have shown a link between stillbirths and sleeping positions. The data showed that those who slept on their back in the last trimester of pregnancy where twice as likely to have a stillbirth than those who didn’t.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, sleeping on your back when pregnant can cause a range of issues, such as backaches, breathing problems, and low blood pressure.
Is sleeping on your back safe for those with sleep apnea?
If sleeping on your back makes you more likely to snore, what does this mean for those with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? According to the National Institute of Health’s sleep studies, it’s been shown that those with OSA tend to sleep better when laying on their side.
Here are some good bedtime tips that can help OSA sufferers at bedtime.
Sleep on your side – sleeping on your side makes it less likely that your tongue obstructs your airway as it would when sleeping on your back.
Use a tennis ball – one way to stop yourself from rolling onto your back when you are sleeping is to sew a tennis ball into the back of your pj’s. You can also take a hard pillow and wedge this behind your back.
Elevate – try elevating the head of your bed by about 4 to 6-inches. Or you can use special wedge pillows to elevate your upper half from the waist up.
Nasal passages – opening up your nasal passages before bed can be quite helpful. Try using a saline spray, neti pot, a nasal dilator, or breathing strips.
Tighten certain mouth muscles – there are some muscles that help to keep the mouth closed. You can try tightening these up by holding a pencil or pen between your teeth for around 10-minutes before you go to bed. An alternative is to chew gum.
Back sleeping has its good points and bad points. You need to decide whether it’s beneficial for you or not first. If you do choose to sleep on your back, it’s important to find a people that will properly support the alignment of your spine.
Out of the 5 pillows we reviewed, I like the Pacific Coast “pillow-in-a-pillow” design. It gave just the right firmness and softness for a good night’s sleep. But everyone is different and it’s important to test some out to see which works best for you.