The 7 Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers in 2021

Prevent neck strain and get a better night's sleep

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Stomach Sleeper
Our Top Picks
Its multipurpose design has created one side that is soft and another that is firm, but both work to keep your neck straight.
The pocket uses a special, elastic cloth that is both safe and comfortable, protecting your belly from whatever surface lay below.
Whether it’s your knees, stomach, back, or hips, the comfortable support this coop pillow provides helps relieve pressure points.
With a rounded top and flat bottom, this pillow is supposed to help keep your spine in better alignment.
This provides a fluffy surface to rest your head, free from pesticides and other chemicals.
Its unusual, ergonomic shape allows for optimal comfort, contouring to your neck and shoulders to provide needed support at night.
Designed with strategically placed cutouts and contours, this pillow better aligns your head, neck, shoulders, and back.

While sleeping on your stomach can be comfortable for some, many experts think that sleeping on your stomach does more harm than good. Sleeping on your stomach can reduce snoring and diminish sleep apnea, but it can also strain muscles and lead to misalignments in the bones of the cervical spine, says Lindsay Banks, D.C., CEO and founder of Healthy Motives 365. “Laying in the prone position while sleeping requires the head to be turned to one side and extended backwards for prolonged periods of time,” she explains. “As a result, this can put tension on the nerves leading to numbness, tingling, and pain.”

Symptoms of sleeping on your stomach can include a stiff neck and sharp pain when turning or tilting your head to the side because this sleeping position usually forces your head to be turned to one side for long periods of time. This is why specialized pillows—in addition to trying to change your sleeping position—are recommended for stomach sleepers to alleviate the strain it puts on your body. Dr. Banks says they can provide support while not overextending the neck and help keep the spine in a neutral position. “Ensuring that the spine is aligned through use of a specialized pillow can prevent future problems like neck pain, headaches, and numbness/tingling that can travel into the arms due to overextension of the neck,” she says. 

According to Dr. Banks, here are some factors to consider when shopping for a specialized pillow:

  • Choose a soft to medium pillow with some give so the head is not tilted in an uncomfortable position all night. 
  • The height of the pillow is key, select a thinner pillow that still provides adequate support to keep the spine aligned. 
  • Select a material that will contour to the natural shape of the neck like memory foam or down. 

We researched dozens of pillows and evaluated them based on their reviews, shipping speed, cooling capabilities, price, firmness level, and return policies. Each of the retailers chosen in this article were determined to be the best of these factors.

Here are the best pillows for stomach sleepers on the market today.

Best Overall: AmeriSleep Dual Comfort Pillow

Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow
Pros
  • Dual comfort options

  • Cooling channels

  • 100-day return policy

Cons
  • Minimal size options

Amerisleep lets you choose your comfort pillow. Stomach sleepers usually need a thinner pillow to experience a more comfortable sleep, which is why Amerisleep has created two versions of its popular Dual Comfort Pillow: low loft and mid loft. 

This is called a Dual Comfort Pillow for a reason. Its multipurpose design has one side that is soft and another that is firm, but both work (in different ways) to keep your neck straight. With a simple flip of the pillow, you can choose what type of comfort you’re in the mood for. Made with the brand’s special Bio-Pur material, this pillow is more breathable than traditional memory foam. Along with its cooling channels, you don’t have to worry about overheating. But, if for some reason this pillow doesn’t agree with your body, you have up to 100 nights to return it.

Material: Amerisleep’s Bio-Pur® material | Feel: Both soft and firm

What the Experts Say

 “Try to keep your spine in the most relaxed and non-exaggerated posture possible. If you’re having trouble finding that spot, that's where someone like a physical therapist can come in.” — Dr. Ben Fung, a physical therapist and spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association.

Best for Pregnancy: Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy Pillow by Cozy Bump
Pros
  • Transportable

  • Allows stomach sleeping

  • Adjustable to belly size

Cons
  • Large size

  • Uncomfortable material

Sleeping with a pregnant belly is anything but comfortable. Cozy Bump’s pregnancy pillow has a hole in its center big enough to fit pregnant bellies of any size. The pocket is made of a special, elastic cloth that is both safe and comfortable, protecting your belly from whatever surface lay below. This specially designed hole allows pregnant women to sleep on their stomachs without adding unwanted pressure and the air within the pillow can be easily adjusted to accommodate a growing stomach. And, if you’re looking to carry that extra comfort with you wherever you go, you can just deflate the pillow and put it in its plastic storage box for easy transport. 

Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity, which can cause extra back pain, but this pillow is designed to help relieve that by supporting the hips and better aligning the spine. For any stomach sleeper, Dr. Banks recommends “placing a pillow under the hips to prevent excess stress on the lower back while sleeping on the stomach. This will help prevent the lower body from sinking into the mattress which will help to reduce pressure on the low back and prevent pain from occurring.”

Material: Plastic | Feel: Firm

Best Body Pillow: Coop Home Goods Body Pillow

COOP Home Goods Body Pillow
Pros
  • Customizable

  • 100-day return policy

  • Relieves pressure points

Cons
  • Pillow can initially smell

  • Difficult to wash

Shredded foam pillows are a great option for stomach sleepers. However, many tend to come overstuffed, so it’s important to remove plenty (half or more) of the stuffing before use if the pillows original height makes you uncomfortable.

This body pillow is customizable: you can adjust it to perfectly fit the contours of your body, positioning it in such a way that your problem areas receive the most attention. Whether it’s your knees, stomach, back, or hips, the comfortable support this coop pillow provides helps relieve your pressure points. You can easily adjust the pillow beneath your body to make it more pleasant for stomach sleeping. If you don't feel like the pillow is contouring your body in the way you want it to, you can return it within 100 days. 

Material: Memory foam | Feel: Firm

What the Experts Say

“Sleeping doesn’t have to be this ideal posture that you see on an infographic. You want to be in a relaxed state rather than a perfect posture alignment.” — Dr. Fung

Best Memory Foam: Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow

 Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow
Pros
  • Cooling technology

  • Can target back pain

  • Supportive design

Cons
  • Some say it's too firm

  • Pillow can initially smell

At just three inches high, this ultra slim gel memory foam pillow is thinner than some of the other options on the market. It’s perfectly designed for stomach sleepers, as well as back and side sleepers looking for support without excessive loft. With a rounded top and flat bottom, this pillow keeps your spine in better alignment. By doing so, it has the potential to also alleviate snoring and improve shoulder, back, and neck pain. If your body tends to run warm during the night, the pillow’s infused gel particle technology has you covered: it absorbs and transfers heat away from the sleeping surface. Along with ventilation holes to increase circulation, you’ll be able to make it through the night without breaking a sweat. 

Material: Polyester, rayon, memory foam | Feel: Firm

Best for Neck Pain: Layla Sleep Kapok Pillow

Layla Pullow
Pros
  • Targets neck pain

  • Customizable

  • Natural filling

Cons
  • Difficult to wash

  • Heavy

One way to help relieve neck pain during the night is by using a supportive pillow. That’s where the Layla Kapok pillow comes in: this soft, airy pillow contains 100% natural fill made from the fibers found in the seed pods of Kapok trees. This provides a fluffy surface to rest your head, free from pesticides and other chemicals. There’s an easy access zipper that allows you to remove some of the fill and adjust the height of the pillow to suit your personal needs, so stomach sleepers can removed as much as they need for optimal comfort. Once it’s been adjusted, the pillow can nicely cradle your head and keep your neck aligned in a neutral position, making for a pain-free sleep.

Material: Memory foam | Feel: Soft

Best for CPAP: Comfort Finds Butterfly Neck Pillow

Comfort Finds Butterfly Neck Pillow
Pros
  • Easy to wash

  • Contours to body

Cons
  • Some reviewers say it's too firm

Finding the right pillow for stomach sleepers is hard enough. But finding the right pillow for a stomach sleeper that also wears a CPAP machine—now that’s really hard. Luckily, the Sleep Comfort Butterfly Pillow is designed for CPAP wearers to sleep in any desired position. Its unusual, ergonomic shape allows for optimal comfort, contouring to your neck and shoulders to provide needed support during the night. It also helps relieve pressure from problem areas, especially around the face area as you wear your mask. This will reduce any air leaks, mask removal, facial pressure, and bruising.

Material: Memory foam | Feel: Firm

Best for Travel: EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow
Pros
  • Contour design

  • Easy to transport

  • Hypoallergenic case

Cons
  • Strong smell

  • Can be too thick

The EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow is a very huggable pillow, the kind that makes you want to wrap your arms around it as you sleep. Designed with strategically placed cutouts and contours, this pillow allows for better support and alignment of your head, neck, shoulders, and back. These features help provide optimal support for your head and relieve neck pain. Made with high-quality memory foam, this pillow provides the perfect combination of softness and firmness. Along with its breathable pillow case, you don’t have to worry about overheating or breathing in too much pillow fabric during the night. It’s also on the smaller side for pillows, which is optimal for taking it with you on the go.

Material: Memory foam | Feel: Firm

Final Verdict

Both the AmeriSleep Dual Comfort Pillow (view at Amerisleep) and Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow For Stomach Sleepers (view at Amazon) pay extra attention to your neck area, which is what you need as a stomach sleeper. Both are the ideal thinness for maximum comfort, but manage to provide ample support so that your spine is in better alignment.

What to Look for in a Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

Height

As a stomach sleeper, you don’t want your head too far off the mattress because it puts more strain on your neck, which can then have an added negative effect on your back. “You want to try sleeping – regardless if you are a stomach sleeper, side sleeper, back sleeper, pillow or no pillow sleeper – you want to sleep in a position of comfort and in a position where your spinal joints aren’t exaggerated,” says Dr. Ben Fung, a physical therapist and spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association. “Thickness and firmness will only allow the pillow to collapse so much,” he adds. “That type of experience tends to make the sleeper feel like their chin or their face is being pushed up towards the sky.” While a fluffier or taller pillow could have visual appeal, it is important to look for a pillow that doesn’t sit too high off the bed and won’t hyperextend your neck while you sleep. 

Soft to Medium Firmness

A soft to medium pillow in firmness allows the pillow to contour to the shape of your neck, making for a more supportive and comfortable sleeping experience. “Waking up with aches or pains can mean you slept in an uncomfortable position that put unnecessary strain on your neck or back, and you can try adjusting your sleeping position or pillows,” says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. So consider adjusting firmness if you find yourself waking up with an unnecessary strain. 

But while levels of firmness are recommended, it largely depends on the individual for what might work best for them. “If you are finding difficulty getting good sleep hygiene and you do feel it’s positional, or muscular, or posture related, really good time to get a quick evaluation like with a physical therapist,” Dr. Fung says. “We’re pretty well-equipped to deal with some of these things so we can analyze it across the spectrum of your sleep.”

Breathable Material

Material is necessary for adequate support, says Dr. Banks: “Those that may suffer from allergies or those that tend to sweat at night might want to choose a pillow made of more breathable materials.” Keep an eye out for the materials used when purchasing. Memory foam is one material to look out for, as its material often makes for a warmer experience for the user. “High-quality memory foam pillows are often made today with ventilation built into the pillow — but make no mistake, this remains a heat-retaining material,” Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist. Purchasing the right covers for your pillows can also improve the breathability of the material, so consider not only what your pillow is made of but also the fabric you use to cover the surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What types of pillows can cause neck pain for stomach sleepers?

    There are no specific types of pillows that will automatically cause neck pain for a stomach sleeper, according to Dr. Fung. “It’s really not so much what type of pillows can cause neck pain but why a person naturally finds being a prone line or three-quarter prone line stomach sleeper as their position of comfort,” he says. He recommends focusing on the “fitness” of the pillow over the type “because an extra thick pillow can put your neck into an uncomfortable, extended position, a cervical extension,” he says. “But it is really about preference.” As a general rule, using a pillow that is too thick or firm will often cause discomfort for the user. “People tend to choose pillows that are a little too puffy or too thick or with too much padding,” Dr. Fung says. “Then the breaking in process turns into a several week long thing and you lose quality sleep because this thing is pushing against you rather than letting your weight be accepted by the sleeping surface as a whole.”

  • Are memory foam pillows good for stomach sleepers?

    Memory foam has grown in popularity in recent years for its ability to form to the user while offering firm support on the head, neck and other areas of the body when used. It largely depends on the person on if memory foam will be a good option for them. “For some folks who are chronically a stomach sleeper, the memory foam can actually be helpful because it doesn’t lose its shape overtime,” Dr. Fung says. “It is usually firm enough to keep the head well positioned while also soft enough to alleviate the pressure.” This has its benefits because memory foam is capable of addressing pressure points along the neck that some other pillows are not capable of doing. But sometimes the foam can be too firm. “Memory foam does not have as much flexibility as other materials,” Dr. Breus says. “It also retains heat, which can lead to discomfort and sweating.” Ultimately it comes down to personal preference on if memory foam will be right for you.

What the Experts Say

“Sleeping positions are important, as studies have shown that 50-60 percent of individuals with insomnia may have chronic back or neck pain – making it even harder to fall or stay asleep.” — Dr. Raj Dasgupta

Why Trust Verywell Health?

Having been raised by two medical professionals, Amari Pollard understands the importance of health literacy. As a seasoned health writer, she is committed to producing well-researched and well-sourced product reviews to help people make informed medical decisions.

Additional reporting by Danielle Zoellner

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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