The 7 Best Pillows for Back Sleepers of 2021

Get ready for a good night’s sleep

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First Look

Best Overall: Coop Home Goods Premium Pillow at Amazon

"This pillow is customizable, hypoallergenic, and dust mite-resistant."

Best Budget: Utopia Bedding Gusseted Quilted Pillow at Amazon

"Breathable and comfortable against skin, this pillow works for a wide range of people."

Best for Neck Pain: MARNUR Cervical Pillow Memory Foam at Amazon

"It features a center cavity for head, cervical contour for neck and spine, and a wedge extension to ease your back."

Most Restrictive: YourFacePillow Pillow at Amazon

"It has two head supports that will keep your head in place so that you don’t toss and turn throughout the night."

Best for Multiple Positions: SweetNight Pillows at Amazon

"This is made with hypoallergenic memory foam and has an adjustable loft for optimized neck comfort throughout the night."

Best Breathable: Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow at Amazon

"The 'temperature-regulating cooling gel' helps prevent the pillow from absorbing your natural body."

Best for Back Pain: Nature’s Guest Cervical Support Pillow at naturesguest.com

"With its unique design of depressions, it's said to meet chiropractor and orthopedic recommendations."

If you’re a back sleeper, you may need to do a little more research to find your perfect pillow. Whether you like a firm pillow or something that’s more malleable, it’s important to find something that fits you and your specific needs. The wrong pillows can lead to a bad nights sleep which can result in increased back pain, not to mention lead to a loss of sleep. The good news is that sleeping on your back is great for establishing good body alignment, which can lead to less strain on your joints and muscles.

Brian A. Cole, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon at Englewood Spine Associates, explains that preventing neck strain and back pain involves more than just a quick change in pillows. For general back pain, Dr. Cole recommends an exercise routine, and says that cooling to heating pad options can be helpful. That said, when it comes to pillows for back sleepers, he has some advice. 

“If sleeping at night is difficult because of discomfort, I usually recommend a contoured pillow,” says Dr. Cole. “The shape of the pillow should allow a neutral position of the spine when you are lying on your side or on your back.”

Obviously, since you’re searching for the perfect pillow for your individual alignment, the type of pillow that you choose is very specific to you. “Unfortunately, it may come down to trial and error to find the one that fits best for your body type,” says Dr. Cole. 

We’ve rounded up some of the most highly-reviewed pillows for back sleepers so you can find the best fit for you.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Coop Home Goods Premium Pillow

Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow

 Courtesy of Amazon

This pillow is made of cross-cut memory foam, so it will perfectly contour to your neck in order to create the perfect alignment. The best part is that the memory foam is cut into little pieces, and the pillow comes with extra in case you want to add more and increase firmness. 

It also has a washable cover that’s made of a type of rayon that's derived from bamboo. The cover is hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, so you’re sure to avoid any allergens. The pillow is available in queen and king sizes, so you can find a size that fits your bed as well.

Best Budget: Utopia Bedding Gusseted Quilted Pillow

 Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

For those that aren’t sold on a memory foam pillow, but still want something that’s supportive and alignment-friendly, this is the option for you. The Utopia Bedding Gusseted Quilted Pillow has 950-grams of comfortable poly fiber filling that makes it super breathable. Its plush level of firmness allows the pillow to cradle your head and neck for the perfect amount of support. Each pillow has a microfiber shell that resists water so that it can maintain its shape and supportive qualities.

Best for Neck Pain: MARNUR Cervical Pillow Memory Foam

MARNUR Cervical Pillow Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

This pillow is a champion for those experiencing any sort of neck pain or discomfort. It’s made of memory foam that has been molded into a butterfly shape that’s designed to maintain the cervical contour of the neck. The central part of the pillow perfectly cradles the neck, while the accompanying wedge extensions help support the thoracic spine.

This pillow also has armrests that allow you to support your hands during sleep. It comes with a detachable pillow case that’s made of spandex and polyester, so in addition to being super soft, it’s easy to remove and washable.

Most Restrictive: YourFacePillow Pillow

YourFacePillow Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Not only does this pillow have a flat bottom and edges that contour perfectly to your neck, it has two memory foam edges that will hold your head in place so that you don’t toss and turn throughout the night. Since you’re not turning on your side, you don’t have to worry about any wrinkles or potential acne concerns that come from pressure on your face as you sleep on your side.

Best for Multiple Positions: SweetNight Pillows

Sweetnight Shredded Gel Memory Foam

Courtesy of Amazon

This pillow is made of shredded cooling gel memory foam so that you can add in or take out pieces to get your perfect height and firmness. Once you’ve found the correct amount of memory foam shreds, the pillow will perfectly contour to your neck and shoulders. 

The covering of the pillow is easily removable and washable. It’s also made of rayon that’s super breathable so that you’re never overheating. No matter how you toss and turn during the night, this pillow will keep you supported.

Best Breathable: Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow

 Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Never worry about your pillow slipping around again because Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow has a flat bottom and a contoured side so that you are truly supported in your perfect alignment all night long. It’s also the perfect option for those that love a memory foam pillow, but can’t stand the heat that they typically trap as it has an infused gel particle technology that works to move heat away from the surface of the pillow. The cover of the pillow is made of a washable bamboo-polyester blend that is also super cooling, and even works to wick away moisture.

Best for Back Pain: Nature’s Guest Cervical Support Pillow

Nature’s Guest Cervical Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

The layout of this pillow is truly unique. The center features different sides for large and small necks, while the sides are ideal for those that switch into sleeping on their sides in the middle of the night. This indentation at the center also works to keep your spine safe from any movement. 

They have a microfiber support filling that can be adjusted to your liking by taking it in or adding in more via a zipper on the side of the pillow. It is designed with neck and cervical support in mind, and keeps the head, neck and spine aligned throughout the night. It’s also great for people who like a firmer pillow.

Final Verdict

Take your individual concerns into considerations before investing. If you want something cooling, make sure it's a pick where the outer fabric is washable and that any memory foam is breathable, like the Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow. You should also make sure that the pillow contours specifically to your neck by making sure your spine is fully aligned when you’re laying on it. For an all-around great pick that supports the spine while sleeping on your back, Coop Home Goods Premium Pillow is another option for getting a good night's rest.

What to Look for in Pillows for Back Sleepers

Height

Make sure you search for a pillow that either has an adjustable filling, or that can be ordered in a variety of thicknesses. For some, a thicker pillow may be more natural for spine alignment, while others might need a flatter option. You can tell if the pillow is a good fit for you by noticing any unnatural strain that may occur while lying on your back.

Material

If you’re searching for memory foam, make sure you choose an option that is breathable. If you’re more accustomed to a down pillow, it might be best to opt for one that allows you to take the filling out in order to adjust its height. Take any allergies into account before purchasing a pillow and ensure that the material isn't one that you know will irritate your skin.

Covering

Especially if you are sensitive to heat or need to watch out for allergens, opt for a pillow that comes with a removable covering that you can toss in the wash. To prevent overheating, look for a covering that is made of rayon or bamboo so that it circulates heat.

“If sleeping at night is difficult because of discomfort, I usually recommend a contoured pillow. The shape of the pillow should allow a neutral position of the spine when you are lying on your side or on your back.”—Brian A. Cole, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon at Englewood Spine Associates

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An experienced health writer, Brittany Loggins understands how important it is to have a comprehensive understanding of the products she's recommending. All of the products found in her pieces have either been tested by her first hand, or have been recommended by trusted medical professionals.

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  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. Is your pillow hurting your health?. Updated February 15, 2021.