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Every sleeping style has different needs, and it means a lot to your body what pillow you choose. The best pillow for back sleepers should support the head, neck, and shoulders to avoid neck pain and prevent your head from rolling to one side or the other while you sleep.
When choosing the products for this review, we kept a few key features in mind. First, we looked at the material of the pillow itself. A pillow’s firmness generally depends on what filling material is used, which makes it even more essential to pick the right one. Everyone knows about memory foam, but there are some other high-quality materials available, too. These pillows come in a variety of shapes. Some are pretty flat while others have different indentations and supports for your head and neck. Finally, we considered the cover. A soft, breathable cover that you can remove and toss in the washing machine is ideal.
To research these products, we spent hours digging through the manufacturer’s websites and looking at the opinions of sleep experts as well as the people who sleep using these pillows every night. The first thing you’ll see is a table where we compared all of our picks, side by side. After that, there are in-depth reviews of each product, followed by a detailed buying guide so you can figure out which of these products is the best pillow for back sleepers in your family.
The YourFacePillow Back & Side Sleeping Pillow is our Editor’s Choice for a lot of reasons but mostly because this pillow was designed to help prevent multiple skin problems. The unique shape was made for back sleepers. It supports the sides of your heads so the delicate skin on your face doesn’t rub into your pillow throughout the night. It’s possible that this could help stop breakouts and the formation of wrinkles.
The CertiPUR-US foam is free from flame retardants, lead, mercury, phthalates, and formaldehyde. It has a hypoallergenic inner cover, and the outer bamboo cover can be removed and tossed in the washing machine.
This foam pillow takes some getting used to. If you’re a back sleeper and find it a little difficult to get comfortable, they recommend sleeping on your side for a night or two then slowly trying to make your way onto your back. Some users commented that side sleeping with this pillow is not very comfortable, but if you’re a natural back sleeper, it shouldn’t take as long to get used to.
People who use this pillow claim it has helped them with everything from preventing wrinkles to reducing pain from TMJ. This pillow is made by a family-owned business, and buyers seemed very happy with the level of customer service.
Our budget pick is the Bluewave Bedding Pillow, a low-profile option that’s only about 2.5 inches thick. This pillow has a unique shape. It almost looks like you took a regular memory foam pillow and cut it in half. The thin profile is the right choice for back sleepers (though belly sleepers might like it, too).
This pillow is made of CertiPUR-US memory foam that’s soft but dense enough to provide head and neck support. It’s guaranteed free from harmful chemicals and is low odor and hypoallergenic. Cooling gel particles and a lavender scent give you a super-relaxing sleep experience. Note that the smell only lasts a few weeks.
A nice thing about this pillow is it comes with a removable, machine-washable cover that’s made of 300-count cotton thread. There’s also an inner mesh layer that provides extra protection to the thin memory foam.
When you first get the Bluewave Bedding Pillow, you might be surprised at how flat it is. Don’t panic – this is totally normal. To help it retain its regular shape, place it in the dryer on high for 45 minutes to an hour. Then, let it sit on a firm surface for 24 hours. If you think this pillow is too hard or too thin, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund. While there weren’t a lot of complaints about this pillow, some people were surprised by how thin it was.
The Coop Home Goods Premium Pillow has a unique design that allows you to customize it to your body shape, size, and sleeping position, putting back sleepers in control of their comfort. This pillow is made of a mix of microfiber and memory foam that provides medium-firm support. To make changes, simply add or remove the memory foam fill until you get just the right amount of support. Each pillow comes complete with a ½ pound bag of extra fill.
The case is a blend of polyester and bamboo-derived rayon which is soft and breathable. It’s also machine-washable, hypoallergenic, and resistant to dust mites so you can breathe easy. The foam is CertiPUR-US, and Greenguard Gold certified and contains no toxic chemicals. Plus, they’re made in the USA, vegan, and cruelty-free.
The best thing about this pillow is they give you 100 nights to try it at home. If you’re not happy, return it for a full refund, no questions asked. If you do decide to keep it, it’s covered by a 5-year warranty.
This pillow loses its fluff over time, but all you have to do is toss it in the dryer for about 10 minutes, and it comes back to life. Some people commented that they had to do this pretty regularly, which was a little inconvenient.
What are its best features?
Extra fill included
CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified
Vegan and cruelty-free
100-night in-home trial
What could be improved?
Needs to be fluffed in the dryer every few weeks to maintain loft
Next is the Mkicesky Sleeping Pillow, a low-rebound contour pillow that was designed to help your shoulder and neck muscles to relax while keeping your spine in alignment. This is a great pillow for back sleepers with neck and shoulder pain as it cradles the head and cushions pressure points to give you a comfortable night’s sleep.
The CertiPUR foam provides the cervical support that back sleepers need to avoid neck pain. Because it provides such natural and customized support, this pillow can even help you breathe better at night and reduce snoring.
Another cool thing about this one is each side is a different height, so you have a choice over which one works best for you. This makes it the best pillow for both back and side sleepers, too. If you always sleep on your back, you might find that one way is more comfortable than the other. Or, you may choose to the low side when on your back and the high side if you turn on your side.
This pillow comes with a soft and breathable hypoallergenic pillowcase that can be removed and tossed in the washing machine. The pillow itself was designed to keep you cool, too, with breathable foam for better air circulation.
One downside to this pillow is it was designed for people between 5’7” and 6’3”. Some petite people who gave it a try commented that it actually caused more neck pain.
The Coisum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow is a great choice for back sleepers who wake up with neck and shoulder pain. The high-density memory foam supports your head and neck and helps keep your spine in alignment.
This pillow is made of high-quality medium-firm memory foam that’s free from heavy metals ozone depleters, flame retardants, and other harsh chemicals. It has a slow rebound, so it holds onto its shape for about 3 to 5 seconds but quickly conforms to your pressure points as you move. It was also designed with different height on each side so you can choose the one that fits you best.
The included pillowcase is made of soft, smooth polyester that’s breathable and helps prevent the pillow from getting too hot overnight. It’s removable and machine washable, though they recommend you wash it by hand, so it lasts as long as possible.
One nice thing about this pillow is it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied, return it within 30 days for a full refund. Some users commented that it was a little too firm for them and they couldn’t get used to it and that neither the low or high side of the pillow worked for them, though this was not a common complaint.
The Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Pillow is great for any back sleeper but is a particularly good choice for pregnant women. At some point during pregnancy, it becomes impossible to sleep on your back. With this pillow, you have the support you need to sleep on your side, and you can seamlessly return to sleeping on your back after the baby is born.
That’s not to say that this pillow isn’t a good fit for any back sleeper – it is. Because it’s fully customizable, you can add and remove pillow fill until you get it just the way you like it. The shredded memory foam moves and contours to your head and neck to properly align the spine, neck, and shoulders. CertiPUR-US foam is tested by independent labs and has no ozone depleters, flame retardants, heavy metals, lead, mercury, phthalates, or formaldehyde.
This pillow comes with a machine-washable bamboo cover that’s designed to keep the surface cool. It’s also hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, ideal for people with breathing sensitivities.
Some users commented that this pillow goes flat pretty quickly. You can pop it in the dryer to fluff it back up, but this can get tedious when you have to do it weekly or even more frequently. Some people also commented that the pillow had a strong smell which is not uncommon with memory foam. Typically, it dissipates after a few days.
If you’re a back sleeper who likes a firm pillow, check out the Wonwo Memory Foam Pillow. This one is made from high-density dynamic foam that keeps its shape and provides strong support and maximum comfort. The ergonomic design contours to the natural curves of your head, neck, and shoulders to keep the spine aligned and relieve unnecessary pressure so you can wake up pain-free. Each side is a different height, too, so you can choose the one that best suits your size and sleeping position.
The CertiPUR-US foam contains no toxic chemicals, flame retardants, or heavy metals, so it’s safe for your family. It’s covered in a polyester knitted fabric pillowcase that’s soft, breathable, and machine washable. That’s not all. It also comes with a really nice carrying bag that makes it easy to travel with while keeping the pillow clean. This is a pretty nice feature for such an affordable pillow.
Some people felt this pillow was a little too flat and no matter which side they tried; they just couldn’t find their happy spot. Other users commented that the smell was particularly strong. All memory foam has a slight smell, but a lot of people felt this one was particularly strong.
One of the things that affect sleep the most is your pillow. Different types of sleepers have different needs. For back sleepers, finding something that supports the head, neck, and shoulders is essential to avoiding neck, shoulder, and back pain and helping to keep the spine in alignment as you sleep. Let’s take a look at the features you should know about before you shop.
Features to consider while choosing a pillow for back sleep
When it comes to choosing the right pillow for a back sleeper, it’s all about support and comfort. Here are the main things to keep in mind.
There are a few different materials to consider. We’ll start with memory foam since that’s the one that most people are already familiar with. Memory foam pillows, like the Bluewave Bedding Pillow, are usually pretty firm. Your head and neck slowly sink into them when you lay down, allowing the material to conform to the contours of your body. This is a great way to get personalized support, but there are a few other options, too.
The Coop Home Goods Premium Pillow uses viscoelastic polyurethane and polyester fill. Viscoelastic polyurethane is the fancy term for memory foam. In this case, it’s shredded into small pieces and mixed with polyfill that you’d find in regular pillows. These two materials work together to maintain shape and provide support that’s firm but a little softer than pure memory foam.
Another material you’ll see is polyether which is kind of like polyester, but it has a higher rebound and doesn’t hold on to as much heat, two qualities of a good pillow. It’s a different form of memory foam used in some pillow, like the Coisum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow, to provide dense support.
If you’re looking for the best firm pillow for back sleepers, you’re in the right place.
Back sleepers need medium-firm to firm pillows, so their heads and necks don’t sink into the bed overnight. This is precisely why neck and back pain can occur.
Covers are made from a variety of materials, but there are two main things to keep in mind when choosing which one is the best. First, you have to be able to remove the cover to wash it. Pillows can get really dirty from the oil and grease from your hair and skin building up over time, so ability to wash the cover easily is important. All of the products we chose have removable covers.
The other thing to consider is comfort or, more specifically, how well the cover breaths. Memory foam, in particular, is known for holding onto heat, so you need to use the right cover. Some pillows have more lush covers, like the velour cover on the YourFacePillow Back & Side Sleeping Pillow. Others, like the Mkicesky Sleeping Pillow, use a simple poly/rayon blend.
Shape and Dimensions
Surprisingly, there are a few options when it comes to pillow shape. Some of our picks look like standard pillows, like the Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Pillow. With this shape, you get a little more freedom to adjust the pillow to your liking. You can fold and position them until you find the sweet spot.
The benefit to pillows with a standard shape is that, generally, they can be used by any type of sleeper. They may be too firm for a belly sleeping, but if you’re a combination sleeper who moves from your back to your side throughout the night, you should be able to get comfortable with the same pillow.
That said, there are others, like the Wonwo Memory Foam Pillow, are designed with more structure. There are usually curves to accommodate your neck and head to make sure everything is aligned correctly. This shape is a good choice if you need a lot more support in your sleep. You can’t change the shape at all except to fluff the filling when it’s time.
Structured pillows aren’t very comfortable if you use them to sleep on your side. They’re made to accommodate the head and neck at a certain angle, and it’s not always possible to get comfy in any other positions though, to be fair, that is not always the case.
Prices for these pillows vary a little, from about $35 to $70. Honestly, how much a pillow costs does not seem to have much effect on how well it’s rated. Pillow preference is such a personal choice. When you find one that works, you stick with it, whether it’s the budget pick or one at the higher end of the price range.
Yes, back sleepers should use a pillow and all you have to do to understand why is take a look at the shape of your spine, particularly around your shoulders and neck. Without a pillow to support those curves, the back of your head would rest flat on the mattress, pushing your chin forward and putting strain on the shoulders and neck. It could harm your breathing and lead to some soreness in the morning.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the neck and head supported. The contoured pillows don’t really give you much choice as to where you put them because your neck and head only fit into the pillow a certain way. For other pillows, try tucking the pillow under your head, so it hits the top of the shoulders. And remember, give the material a few seconds to adjust. Foam pillows feel very hard at first and maybe even a little uncomfortable but, be patient, they will adjust.
Our Editor’s Pick is the YourFacePillow Back & Side Sleeping Pillow. It’s the best pillow for back sleepers who like a little more support. Users swear that they’ve seen improvement in wrinkles on their faces and necks with this pillow and were really pleased with the family-owned company’s customer service.
The Bluewave Bedding Pillow is our budget pick, but it also just happens to be one of the best pillows we found. If you like a firm, low-profile pillow, it’s a great choice. The memory foam and cooling gel keep you comfortable and supported, and you can return it within 30 days for a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Finally, we recommend the Coop Home Goods Premium Pillow. It comes with extra fill so you can make it as soft or as firm as you want to make certain you get the support you need. You can even try it at home for 100 nights and return it for a full refund if you’re not satisfied.