Feel Supported With the Best Pillows for Back Sleepers

The Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow will give you the comfort you need

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If you’re a back sleeper, you may need to do a little more research to find your perfect pillow. A supportive pillow that maintains spinal alignment is best for back sleepers, according to Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT, a clinical sleep educator and president and co-founder of Valley Sleep Center. 

Reviewed & Approved

We chose the Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow as the best overall pick because it's supportive yet comfortable: it's made up of small foam pieces so you can adjust to your liking. The Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow is a budget friendly pick that also helps prevent back and neck strain.

When looking for a pillow, aim for a pillow “that will hold your neck and head in place instead of one that will have your head sinking down to the mattress,” Leadley says. Brian A. Cole, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Englewood Spine Associates, adds that a contoured pillow “should allow a neutral position of the spine when you are lying on your side or on your back.”

We looked at pillow heights and thicknesses, as well as the pillow materials for those who prefer down and those who like memory foam. We evaluated contour and shape options to address different kinds of sleeping positions for back sleepers. We also took coverings into account: whether they were removable for washing, hypoallergenic, and if the material would retain heat or stay cool.

These are the best pillows for back sleepers on the market today.

Best Overall: Coop Home Goods The Original Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow

4.8
Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

Courtesy of Coop Home Goods

Pros
  • Adjustable

  • Includes extra fill

  • 100-night sleep trial

Cons
  • Strong memory foam smell

  • May be too firm for some

Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping, The Strategist, and The Spruce all picked the Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow..

What do buyers say? 88% of 51,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

We chose the Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft pillow as our top pick because it's made of cross-cut memory foam, so it will perfectly contour 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.

Price at time of publication: $72

Cover Material: Polyester, Bamboo-derived viscose-rayon | Stuffing Material: Memory foam | Sizes Available: Queen, king | Machine-washable: Yes

Best Budget: Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow

 Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Comes in a set of two pillows

  • Breathable

  • Can be easily shaped for support

Cons
  • Pillow may be too soft for some

  • Not machine-washable

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.

Price at time of publication: $31

Cover Material: Poly cotton | Stuffing Material: Polyester | Sizes Available: Queen, king | Machine-washable: No

Best for Neck Pain: MARNUR Cervical Pillow Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow

MARNUR Cervical Pillow Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Also good for side sleepers

  • Ergonomic

  • Machine-washable case

Cons
  • May take some time to adjust to the pillow

  • May be too firm for some

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 pillowcase that’s made of spandex and polyester, so in addition to being super soft, it’s easy to remove and washable.

Price at time of publication: $30

Cover Material: Rayon/polyester | Stuffing Material: Memory foam | Sizes Available: Queen | Machine-washable: Yes

Most Restrictive: YourFacePillow Memory Foam Beauty Pillow

YourFacePillow Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Alleviates pressure on face

  • Also good for side sleepers

  • Cooling memory foam

Cons
  • Not ideal for those who move around when they sleep

  • May lose firmness after a few uses

Not only does this pillow have a flat bottom and edges that contour perfectly to your neck, but it also 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.

Price at time of publication: $100

Cover Material: Bamboo/spandex | Stuffing Material: Memory foam | Sizes Available: Standard, large (21x12x6) | Machine-washable: Yes (outer case)

Best for Multiple Positions: Sweetnight Shredded Memory Foam Cooling Gel Pillow

Sweetnight Shredded Gel Memory Foam

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Cooling memory foam

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Supportive but soft

Cons
  • Strong memory foam smell

  • May not be ideal for stomach sleepers

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.

Cover Material: Bamboo-derived rayon, polyester | Stuffing Material: Gel-infused shredded memory foam | Sizes Available: Standard, queen, king | Machine-washable: Yes (outer cover)

Best Breathable: Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow

 Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Cooling gel-infused memory foam

  • Dual inner and outer cover

  • Available in different heights

Cons
  • Not ideal for stomach sleepers

  • May be too firm for some

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.

Price at time of publication: $40

Cover Material: Polyester, bamboo-derived rayon | Stuffing Material: Memory foam | Sizes Available: Standard and King in three heights (Hyper Slim, Ultra Slim, Super Slim) | Machine-washable: Yes (outer cover)

Best for Back Pain: Nature's Guest Standard Size Cervical Pillow

Nature’s Guest Cervical Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Adjustable

  • Also good for side sleepers

  • Gusseted edge design for stability

Cons
  • Not recommended for those looking for a soft pillow

  • Limited size options

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.

Price at time of publication: $50

Cover Material: Cotton, silk trim | Stuffing Material: Microfiber polyester | Sizes Available: Standard | Machine-washable: Yes (outer cover)

Best Down-Filled: Parachute Down Pillow

4.8
Parachute Down Pillow

Parachute

Pros
  • Luxurious

  • Supportive and durable

  • Available in three densities (soft, medium, firm)

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not for those allergic to feather fill

Parachute is known for its luxurious, comfortable bedding and sheets but their Down Pillow is also a great pick for back sleepers. It boasts a 750 fill power that offers support and durability while providing the soft and airy quality that makes for a comfortable bedtime routine.

The Parachute Down Pillow comes in three densities—soft, medium, and firm—so you can choose that support that fits you best, although the medium is recommended for back sleepers. The pillow is plush and soft against the head but keeps the neck in the necessary neutral alignment.

Price at time of publication: $129 for soft

Cover Material: Sateen cotton | Stuffing Material: European white down | Sizes Available: Standard, king | Machine-washable: Yes

Final Verdict

For an all-around great pick that supports the spine while sleeping on your back, Coop Home Goods Premium Pillow is a great option for getting a good night's rest. If you want a cooling pillow, 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.

How We Selected

To find the best pillows for back sleepers, we spoke with sleep experts and specialists, researched and reviewed pillow height and options for ordering different thicknesses, as well as the pillow materials for those who prefer down and those who like memory foam. 

We evaluated contour and shape options to address different kinds of sleeping positions for back sleepers. We also took coverings into account: whether they were removable for washing, hypoallergenic, and if the material would retain heat or stay cool. Based on all these factors, we put together this list of best pillows for back sleepers.

What to Look for in Pillows for Back Sleepers

Height

You'll want to find 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. “Any pillow which maintains the normal curvature of the spine from the neck below is going to be ideal,” says Abhinav Singh, MD, MPH, FAASM, and expert at SleepFoundation.org.  “As head sizes and body types vary, the height choice of the pillow will also be variable.”

Material

When shopping for a pillow for a back sleeper, opt for a pillow that holds its support throughout the night — something that is too soft will lose its shape and its support over time, according to Kevin Lees, DC, a chiropractor and the manager of auditing and quality at The Joint Chiropractic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Memory foam or natural latex are good options that usually hold up for a long time,” says Dr. Lees. “Natural latex is better for those who have chemical sensitivities. For those that feel memory foam or latex is too hot, a cotton filler is a good alternative as it breathes very easily. Cotton does tend to clump over time though, so the durability may not last as long.”

Covering

If you are sensitive to heat, it may also be important to consider the material of the pillow covering and make sure it is cooling and comfortable. To prevent overheating, look for a covering that is made of rayon or bamboo so that it circulates heat. “Another point of consideration could be a pillow that does not let the temperature rise, and allows for breathability, keeping the neck and back and scalp cool,” says Dr. Singh.

Shape

Some types of pillows, such as cervical pillows, are specifically shaped to guide your head and neck into the right angles during sleep. “Cervical pillows help keep the spine in its natural curve through the night,” says Dr. Lees. “They often have a raised area on the edge that supports the neck and allows the head to fall back in a neutral position.” Keep in mind, however, that using a new type of pillow may cause initial soreness until a person gets used to the change. This shouldn’t last more than a couple of days, according to Dr. Lees.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of pillow is best for a black sleeper?

    “A supportive pillow that maintains spinal alignment is best for back sleepers,” says clinical sleep educator Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT, co-founder of the Valley Sleep Center. “Look for a pillow that will hold your neck and head in place instead of one that will have your head sinking down to the mattress.” Whether you choose memory foam or down is up to you, but down will compress more from the weight of your head.

  • What height pillow is best for back sleepers?

    A mid-height pillow is best for back sleepers to keep the spine in alignment. “Pillows that average four inches are best for back sleepers, especially since they are most prone to snoring and sleep apnea,” says Leadley. “Pillows in this height range help clear the airway and ease breathing throughout the night.” Look for a pillow that doesn't elevate your neck and head so that they are out of alignment.

  • How firm should a pillow be for a back sleeper?

    A medium-firm pillow is best for most back sleepers so that it keeps your head in the proper position. “A pillow should be about medium to medium-firm for back sleepers,” says Leadley. “Medium pillows allow for more flexibility for anyone who moves a lot in their sleep, but medium-firm pillows handle pressure better with resistance.”

Why Trust Verywell Health

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.

Additional reporting to this story by Stephanie Valera

Stephanie Valera has written and edited articles for Mashable, Everyday Health, Weather.com, HuffPost, and CBSNewYork.com, among other publications. She was previously editorial director at the environmental organization NRDC, content director at Ziff Davis, and deputy editor at The Weather Channel Digital, where she covered breaking weather news and reported, wrote, and edited features on climate, environment, health, travel, and lifestyle. She has also held editorial positions at CBS, NBC, and BBC America.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. 12 Best Pillows of 2022, Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home-products/pillow-reviews/a19289/best-pillows/

  2. The 9 Very Best Memory-Foam Pillows. The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-memory-foam-pillows.html

  3. The Best Pillows for Side Sleepers to Rest Easy. The Spruce. https://www.thespruce.com/best-pillows-for-side-sleepers-4775022