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A pillow can make or break a good night’s sleep. Without the right support while you snooze, you’re at risk of myriad aches and pains in your head, neck, shoulders, and back. But the right pillow will depend on your preferred sleeping position.

If you’re a side sleeper, you may need a thicker, firmer pillow to ensure proper alignment while you sleep. But if you’re a back sleeper, you’ll likely do well with a medium-loft pillow to keep your neck and shoulders from tilting up or down.

And if you find yourself moving from one sleeping position to another in the night, you’ll need a pillow that accommodates both. Luckily, these pillows are up for the job.

In researching our recommendations, we specifically looked for pillows that offer the right level of support for back and side sleepers. Here’s what else we considered:

  • material and construction quality
  • firmness
  • height
  • trials and warranties
  • ease of cleaning
  • customer reviews

Pricing guide

Pillows are often available in standard, queen, and king sizes, with a range of fill options. The pillows on our list are priced for a standard size pillow unless otherwise noted.

  • $ = under $90
  • $$ = $90–$130
  • $$$ = over $130

Best latex pillow for side sleepers with neck pain

Saatva Latex Pillow

  • Price: $$$ (queen)
  • Fill: shredded latex core, microdenier fiber
  • Firmness: medium soft
  • Pros: hypoallergenic, plush feel with responsive support
  • Cons: may not be firm enough for all sleepers

Plush and weighty, The Saatva Pillow is made of a down-like microdenier fiber and a shredded Talalay latex core. The combination means responsive spine and neck support to eliminate pain and pressure.

Reviewers mention the pillow is soft and cushy but delivers the right level of support for a comfortable night’s sleep.

Saatva offers a 45-day trial, with free shipping and returns, and its pillows come in queen and king sizes only.

Shop for the Saatva Latex Pillow online.

Best pillow for back sleepers with neck pain

The Purple Harmony Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Fill: Purple Grid, latex
  • Firmness: medium
  • Pros: hypoallergenic, nontoxic, cooling
  • Cons: core isn’t machine washable

With its combination of Purple Grid Hex technology and a Talalay latex core, this pillow instantly adapts to your head and shoulders to eliminate pressure and pain. It comes in two sizes and a choice of three heights to accommodate back and side sleepers.

Thousands of reviewers give it a 5-star rating, and the Harmony comes with a 1-year warranty and has a 100-night trial window.

While the pillow cover can be tossed in the washing machine, the core is spot clean only.

Shop for The Purple Harmony Pillow online.

Best memory foam pillow for side sleepers

Nectar Resident Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill: foam
  • Firmness: adjustable
  • Pros: adjustable support
  • Cons: only available in one size

This supportive, conforming, pressure-relieving pillow is made with a two-in-one, adjustable design. The outer shell comes overstuffed for loft and comfort, and you can remove some of the fill to find the right feel. The inner shell is made with two types of foam for support and durability.

Because of its adjustability, the Resident pillow works equally well for back and side sleepers.

There are 300 reviews, with an overall rating of 4.8 stars. People praise the soft support and customized feel.

Shop for the Nectar Resident Pillow online.

Best memory foam pillow for back sleepers

Casper Foam Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill: foam
  • Firmness: medium
  • Pros: cooling, low loft
  • Cons: heavy

Three layers of low and high density foam in Casper’s low-loft foam pillow are both supportive and cooling, with a signature “huggable” feel. The foam is designed to align the head and neck for proper support and spinal alignment, and its low height is ideal for snoozing on your back.

Customers noted they’re sleeping better on the Casper pillow because it balances softness and supportive.

Try it at home for 30 days. Casper offers free shipping and returns.

Shop for the Casper Foam Pillow online.

Best cooling pillow for side sleepers

Leesa Hybrid Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Fill: microfiber, ventilated gel layer
  • Firmness: adjustable
  • Pros: cooling, removable insert
  • Cons: may not be cooling enough for very hot sleepers

The Leesa Hybrid Pillow is made with a cooling, ventilated gel layer and polyester microfiber to keep you cool all night. It’s both adjustable and reversible for double-sided comfort. A removable insert between the quilted outer layer and cooling gel layer lets you customize support, so you sleep comfortably on your side and back.

Leesa offers a 30-day trial and a 3-year limited warranty.

Shop for the Leesa Hybrid Pillow online.

Best down alternative pillow for side sleepers

Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow Set

  • Price: $$
  • Fill: polyester
  • Firmness: medium soft
  • Pros: sold in sets of two, hypoallergenic
  • Cons: can’t be purchased individually

Sensitive to down, but still prefer its light support over the weightiness of foam? Tuft & Needle’s down alternative pillow is a hypoallergenic synthetic that works well for both side and back sleepers. These pillows are sold in sets of two and can be machine washed.

The company offers a 2-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.

Shop for the Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow Set online.

Best adjustable pillow for back sleepers

Avocado Green Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill: latex, kapok
  • Firmness: adjustable
  • Pros: organic, adjustable
  • Cons: heavy

This adjustable pillow from Avocado is filled with Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) organic certified latex and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) organic certified kapok fiber inside an organic jersey cotton liner. The whole thing is covered with a machine-washable organic quilted cotton cover.

The pillow comes with an extra bag of fill, so you can customize its volume to accommodate your preferred sleeping position and extend its lifespan.

Avocado offers a 100-night trial, free shipping, and a 1-year warranty.

Shop for the Avocado Green Pillow online.

Best overall pillow for back sleepers

Parachute Down Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Fill: European white down
  • Firmness: medium
  • Pros: machine washable, choice of densities
  • Cons: no trial period

The Parachute Down Pillow is made with European down for luxurious support.

With three densities — including soft, medium, and firm — you can pick the right pillow for your preferred sleeping style. For back sleepers, the medium-density pillow offers softness with a moderate amount of fluff to keep your spine properly aligned.

Hundreds of self-proclaimed back and side sleepers praise the pillow’s comfort and support in both positions.

This pillow comes with a 3-year warranty but no trial period. It can be dry cleaned or machine washed.

Shop for the Parachute Down Pillow online.

Best overall pillow for side sleepers

Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Fill: European white down
  • Firmness: medium
  • Pros: pressure relieving
  • Cons: may be too soft for some sleepers

Parachute made our list again with a pillow specifically designed for side sleepers. It’s another medium-density option, which means it’ll still be comfortable if you move from your side to your back.

The pillow is designed with a 3.5-inch gusset (the panel that gives the pillow height) to relieve pressure on the neck and shoulders, while European down makes it soft and luxurious.

Reviewers credit the pillow with eliminating neck pain from both back and side sleeping positions. It comes with a 3-year warranty and can be dry cleaned or machine washed. Again, there’s no option for a trial.

Shop for the Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow online.

Best down alternative pillow for back sleepers

Boll and Branch Down Alternative Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill: synthetic down alternative
  • Firmness: medium
  • Pros: hypoallergenic, choice of densities
  • Cons: may be too soft for some sleepers

Made with a premium synthetic fiber that mimics the lightweight loft of down, this pillow is available in two sizes and three densities. The medium-density option is supportive for both back and side sleepers. Reviewers praise the pillow’s blend of support and squishable comfort.

Boll and Branch offers a 30-night, risk-free trial, with free shipping and free returns.

Shop for the Boll and Branch Down Alternative Pillow online.

Best cooling pillow for back sleepers

Coop Home Goods Eden

  • Price: $$ (queen)
  • Fill: memory foam, microfiber
  • Firmness: adjustable
  • Pros: cooling, hypoallergenic, adjustable
  • Cons: heavy

With its blend of cross-cut, gel-infused memory foam and microfiber, the Eden is a breathable, cooling, hypoallergenic option for back and side sleepers. It’s available in queen and king sizes.

The case is derived from sustainable bamboo, while a wide gusset adds airflow and structure. And because it’s adjustable, you can find the right level of support for your preferred sleeping positions. Every pillow comes with a half-pound bag of filler and has a 5-year warranty.

It’s very well-reviewed, with over 2,000 customers raving about softness and support.

Shop for the Coop Home Goods Eden online.

Best adjustable pillow for side sleepers

Brooklinen Marlow Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill: memory foam, polyester fiber
  • Firmness: adjustable
  • Pros: cooling, adjustable, allergy friendly
  • Cons: may be too firm for some sleepers

The Brooklinen Marlow Pillow has a tidy take on adjustability. Instead of loose fill, it has a zipper that lets you control the firmness of the memory foam and polyester fiber filling. It’s a soft, supportive combination that’s both cooling and allergy friendly.

The pillow is available in two sizes and has a 365-day return policy.

Customer reviews are largely positive, with people finding the adjustability to be really convenient.

Shop for the Brooklinen Marlow Pillow online.

Best customized pillow for back and side sleepers

Pluto Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill: foam, hypoallergenic fibers
  • Firmness: customized
  • Pros: custom pillow based on your sleep profile
  • Cons: people may have trouble specifying their preferences

According to the company, Pluto is the first custom sleep pillow brand. They create custom pillows based on a customer’s sleep profile, which includes details like your height and weight, how you sleep, and your personal preferences. This data is then run through a proprietary algorithm to create the right pillow for every customer.

Back and side sleepers can create a pillow that meets their unique needs. While every pillow is unique, they all feature a hybrid design with a foam core and a variety of hypoallergenic fibers. Plus, each pillow has a 110 night trial, with free shipping and returns.

There are over 1,700 reviews, with an overall rating of 4.8 stars. Customers love the personalized aspect of a pillow that was made especially for them.

Shop for the Pluto Pillow online.

Best kapok pillow for back and side sleepers

Layla Kapok Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill: kapok, memory foam
  • Firmness: adjustable
  • Pros: soft and air cooling, adjustable
  • Cons: some reviewers find it tricky to adjust the filling properly

Kapok (pronounced “kay-pock”) fibers come from the seeds of the Kapok tree and offer a light, airy feeling in this pillow. A blend of responsibly harvested Kapok fibers and shredded memory foam create a plush feel that helps support your head comfortably whether you sleep on your back or your side.

A polyester and viscose blend cover adds breathability for cooler sleep. Plus, the Layla Kapok Pillow is adjustable, so you can find the right height for your preferred sleeping position.

Layla offers a 120-night refund guarantee and free shipping.

Shop for the Layla Kapok Pillow online.

Best eucalyptus pillow for side and back sleepers

Sijo Eucalyptus Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill: Tencel Lyocell, recycled polyester
  • Firmness: soft
  • Pros: hypoallergenic, breathable, cool
  • Cons: only one option for firmness

The Sijo Eucalyptus Pillow is made with cooling Tencel Lyocell fiber, which is naturally cool, soft, and moisture-wicking. With a recycled polyester core, this pillow is ultra soft and breathable — no more flipping to the cool side!

Reviewers say the pillows are incredibly soft without sacrificing support. Sijo offers free shipping and returns plus a 30-day trial.

Shop for the Sijo Eucalyptus Pillow online.

Still searching for the right sleep products?

Let us help. Shop our top picks for pillows by condition or sleeping position to get the sound sleep you deserve.

Product namePrice FillFirmnessBest for
Saatva Latex Pillow$$$shredded latex core, microdenier fibermedium softside and back sleepers with allergies
The Purple Harmony Pillow$$$Purple Grid, latexmediumside and back sleepers with neck pain
Nectar Resident Pillow$foamadjustableside sleepers who like the support of memory foam
Casper Foam Pillow$foammediumback sleepers who like the support of memory foam
Leesa Hybrid Pillow$$$microfiber, ventilated gel layeradjustableside sleepers who sleep hot
Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow Set$$polyestermedium softside sleepers in need of a down alternative
Avocado Green Pillow$$latex, kapokadjustableback and side sleepers prioritizing organic materials
Parachute Down Pillow$$$European white downadjustableback and side sleepers looking for a high quality down pillow
Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow$$$European white downmediumside sleepers looking to resolve neck pain
Boll and Branch Down Alternative Pillow$synthetic down alternativemediumback sleepers in need of a down alternative
Coop Home Goods Eden$$memory foam, microfiberadjustableback and side sleepers who sleep hot
Brooklinen Marlow Pillow$memory foam, polyester fiberadjustableback and side sleepers looking for an adjustable option
Pluto Pillow$$foam, hypoallergenic fiberscustomizedback and side sleepers looking for a customized option
Layla Kapok Pillow$$memory foam, kapokadjustableback and side sleepers looking for a soft, airy feel with adequate support
Sijo Eucalyptus Pillow$Tencel Lyocell, recycled polyestersoftback and side sleepers with allergies

As you research options for the best pillows for back and side sleepers, here’s what to consider.

Loft

Loft is a description of a pillow’s height and is directly related to the type of fill. Back and side sleepers should look for medium to high loft to ensure they have enough cushioning. If you sleep on your side, a 2015 study suggests that a pillow height of 10 centimeters, or around 4 in., may be the comfiest for you.

Keep in mind that fill material plays a role in loft. If you tend to move between back and side sleeping, a pillow with adjustable loft can be a good option.

Firmness

This is largely a personal preference, but back and side sleepers should look for medium firmness to ensure the right amount of contouring and support.

Shape

Some kinds of pillow fill naturally compress, and you’ll need to fluff them routinely to maintain their shape. If you’re not interested in that kind of maintenance, pillows made with solid foam or latex are a good option.

Materials

Look for high quality materials in the pillow’s cover and type of fill. While you’ll end up paying more for better materials, it’s often a sign of more durability and longevity.

Customer reviews

While a company’s pillow description will likely sound great, take time to browse reviews for a sense of what customers have to say about a particular pillow’s performance.

Pillows come in a surprising range of sizes, but the most common are standard and king. A standard pillow measures 20 inches (in.) by 26 in., while a king is 20 in. by 36 in. Other pillow sizes include queen, travel, and child pillows.

While many people choose pillows for aesthetics in the bedroom, they have an important job. A standard-sized pillow that offers the right density tends to be sufficient for most people, regardless of sleeping position.

If you’re a combination sleeper, moving from your back to side during the night, a king pillow can offer more room to accommodate you. Just remember to pick a pillow with the right firmness and support if you’ll actually be using it to sleep and not just as a decoration.

A pillow is just one part of the equation when it comes to sleeping soundly.

The right mattress will go a long way in maintaining a comfortable sleep environment if you switch from your back to your side during the night. And if you’re not in the market for a new mattress, a mattress topper can be a good alternative.

Additionally, consider adding a small pillow behind your knees while you’re on your back, and between your knees when on your side. This will help maintain the natural curvature of your spine and keep your hip joints from collapsing.

Remember to keep your arms and hands below your face and neck when on your side and try to avoid ducking your chin.

What level of pillow firmness is best for side sleepers?

Side sleepers need adequate support to ensure their spine stays neutral throughout the night. A medium to medium-firm fill is a good option because it helps give proper support. A pillow that’s too soft will likely allow your head to sink while you sleep and misalign your spine.

What is different about a side sleeper pillow?

Side sleeper pillows may have a wider gusset than standard pillows. That means they’re taller, have more loft, and are often firmer than pillows intended for back or stomach sleepers. This ensures adequate support for the head and neck so the spine stays aligned.

Which type of pillow is best for back sleepers?

Alignment is key no matter how you sleep. People who sleep on their backs will benefit from a pillow with low to medium loft. That height will ensure the spine stays neutral and keep the head from sinking.

People who tend to sleep on their back or side, or a combination of both sleeping positions, need a pillow that can offer proper support to the neck and shoulders. While comfort is a personal preference, start by looking for a medium-density pillow.

If you’re shopping online, it’s good to opt for a pillow with an in-home trial so you can find what works well for you.


Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.