The 8 best silk pillowcases to prevent frizz and help your skin and hair retain moisture overnight

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Cotton is an extremely absorbent material that can dry out your hair and face while you sleep.
  • Because silk is a much less absorbent material, it’s a great alternative to a satin pillowcase.
  • We break down what to look for in a silk pillowcase and some great options to shop now.
Shhh Silk pillow best silk pillowcase

If you’re like most people, you have a cotton pillowcase. But you might not know that cotton is a highly absorbent material, which means your pillowcase might be draining your hair and skin of the moisture they need to stay healthy. That’s right – your pillowcase may be to blame for your dry strands.

“When your hair is rubbing against that cotton fiber, not only is it soaking up the moisture that is in your hair on your head, even. But it’s also causing friction,” which can lead to frizz, certified trichologist and natural hair YouTuber Afope Atoyebi says.

A silk pillowcase is especially helpful for keeping the moisture in your hair. While everyone can benefit from using a silk pillowcase, Atoyebi explains that people with high porosity, chemically processed, and curly and coily hair types benefit the most. All of these involve “a lot more openings, gaps, lifts in your cuticle layer that essentially make it harder for your hair to retain the water that gets put in it,” Atoyebi said.

How to pick the right silk pillowcase for your hair

Silk is graded in mommes which describe the weight of the silk. The higher the momme, the heavier and typically higher quality and more durable the silk. As with all luxury items, be wary of silk that’s priced too good to be true or silk mixed with other fabrics. Check the seller has a clear and transparent source and production to avoid the fake thing or not pure silk.

Here are the best silk pillowcases in 2021:

The best overall: Celestial Silk 25 momme pillowcase

Celestial Silk 25 momme pillowcase

25 Momme Silk Pillowcase (small)

Celestial Silk’s thick, 25-momme silk pillowcase feels super luxurious to the touch. This brand also offers variety, including 20 color options, plus zippered or enveloped closures, at one of the most affordable prices for silk pillowcases on this list. The average pillowcase on this list is made with 22 momme silk, but Celestial Silk uses 25 — and the OEKO-TEX verification tag proves it’s the real deal.

Grace Eleyae 16 Momme Silk Pillowcase pillowcase

Grace Eleyae 16 Momme Silk Pillowcase pillowcase

Black Silk Pillowcase (small)

Made with an envelope closure and 16 momme silk, this pillowcase is smooth, lightweight, and has three color options. The pillowcase fits very snugly on Target’s standard/queen size pillowcase unlike other options on this list, which had a few inches of extra room length-wise.. Grace Eleyae pillowcases come with a convenient silk pouch, making this pillowcase best for a frequent traveller.

Slip queen zippered pillowcase

Slip queen zippered pillowcase

Queen Zippered Pillowcase (small)

Slip uses 22 momme silk for their luxurious pillowcases, which come in beautiful, reusable boxes with a magnetic closure. The brand offers pillowcases in 13 different colors, multiple sizes, and multiple closure options.

Brooklinen standard silk pillowcase

Brooklinen standard silk pillowcase

Mulberry Silk Pillowcase (small)

Brooklinen’s soft, 22 momme silk pillowcase is available in five different colors and a standard or king size. Each has an envelope closure. This pillowcase comes in a slick, reusable box with a magnetic closure.

Jimoo Zippered Silk Pillowcase

Jimoo Zippered Silk Pillowcase

Natural Silk Pillowcase (small)

This is an Amazon-favorite in the silk pillowcase category. Made with a zippered closure, this 22 momme pillowcase gets the job done at a great price with plenty of size and color options.

Shhh Silk Queen Zippered Pillowcase

Shhh Silk Queen Zippered Pillowcase

Black Silk Pillowcase (small)

Australian-based Shhh Silk offers 22 momme silk pillowcases with zippered closures in queen and king sizes. Shhh Silk offers free shipping with every order plus a 100 day guarantee. Bonus: if you aren’t satisfied within your first 100 days, you can get your money back. Shhh Silk pillowcases also come with an OEKO-TEX verification tag.

My Mane 22 momme silk pillowcase

My Mane 22 momme silk pillowcase

MANE Silk Pillowcase (small)

This London-based, curly care company offers a luxurious, 22 momme pillowcase made with a zippered closure and available in blush and slate colors. This is an especially good option if you’re interested in the brand’s curly products or are based in the UK. Plus, their pillowcases are OEKO-TEX-verified.

Swurly Curly Queen Pillowcase

Swurly Curly Queen Pillowcase

Solid Queen Silk Pillowcase (small)

This Midwest-based, family business specializes in products for curly hair and offers 19 and 22 momme pillowcases. Made with envelope closures, these products are available in queen and king sizes.

An affordable alternative to silk pillowcases:

If you don’t have silk pillowcase money, there are some great, much more affordable alternatives in satin pillowcases. Satin is a method of weaving synthetic fibers that creates a fabric just like silk–but without the worms or high price. Usually, satin is vegan and cruelty-free. However, since satin is synthetic, it doesn’t have the same hypoallergenic benefits as silk.

Surprisingly, in terms of feel, satin can often feel a lot softer than silk. Here are some great, super soft satin alternatives.

  • Kitsch Satin Pillowcase: This satin pillowcase has incredible slip and has a quality thickness to it. Kitsch pillowcases come in about seven different colors and multiple sizes.
  • CurlMix Satin Pillowcase: CurlMix is all about clean beauty for curly hair. Their satin pillowcase is in line with their mission of providing vegan products that preserve and protect textured hair.
  • Bedsure Satin Pillowcase: One of Amazon’s best performing options, this highly-rated and affordable satin pillowcase is made with an envelope closure. There are 24 color options and multiple sizes available.
  • JSatin Solid Pillowcase: Target offers a great satin pillowcase option with six different colors and different sizes. This can be a convenient and effective option next time you’re at your local Target or shopping online.
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The 6 best body pillows we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Body pillows are designed to create extra support so you can sleep better throughout the night.
  • A body pillow can improve your sleep by providing more comfort and proper spinal alignment.
  • The Coop Home Goods Body Pillow is our top pick because its adjustable to suit a variety of needs.

For many of us, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be difficult. Sometimes it takes tossing and turning, wrestling with pillows, and conforming to uncomfortable postures. These constant sleep disturbances can be detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing. Body pillows can provide extra support and comfort to enhance your sleep. They’re typically popular among pregnant women and those recovering after surgery or injuries. But anyone can benefit from snuggling with a body pillow.

As a certified sleep science consultant, I know the importance of getting a good night’s rest. I managed a sleep laboratory for over two years and have conducted a vast amount of research on sleep. I’ve tested products for SleepScore labs and presented my work at the Eastern Psychological Association. And one of my all-time favorite sleep products is my body pillow.

I interviewed two experts – sleep consultant Zeke Medina, PharmD and physical therapist Karen Litzy, DPT – and tested nine body pillows for this guide. I slept with each for seven nights and evaluated them on comfort, breathability, and support. You can read more about our methodology and things to consider when purchasing a body pillow here.

Here are the best body pillows in 2021

The best body pillow overall

Best body pillow 2021 Coop

The Coop Home Goods Body Pillow is soft, supportive, and perfect for any body type.

Pros: Comfortable, snuggly, and supportive; adjustable; removable cover is machine washable; 100-day trial period

Cons: Strong “new memory foam” odor can be overpowering and take days to completely fade, bulky

I’m obsessed with the Coop Home Goods Body Pillow; it checks all the boxes for better sleep. Like our pick for best bed pillow (also from Coop), this body pillow is fully adjustable; you can add or remove the shredded memory foam to suit your sleep style and personal preferences. It’s also features a removable pillowcase for easy washing.

The Coop is bulky, but just the right height for me; not too low and not too elevated. It conformed so well to my body right out of the box, so I didn’t have to remove any foam. It’s extremely flexible, moldable, and supportive — great for any body type. 

It’s also the softest, most snuggly pillow I’ve tested. I love cuddling with it and have continued to use it for months after testing because it’s really helped with my shoulder pain. It hasn’t flattened out at all, and I sleep so much better with the support it provides. It stays cool throughout the night because it’s made with super-breathable polyester and bamboo-derived viscose rayon.

Although a mild chemical odor is normal with memory foam pillows, the Coop had a very strong smell out of the box. The company recommends running it through the dryer with a dryer sheet for an hour to reduce the smell, which I did. While this helped, the odor didn’t completely disappear until a week later, though I do think it’s worth the wait. You can rest assured that this pillow is safe, hypoallergenic, and CertiPUR-US certified.

Read our full review of the Coop Home Goods Body Pillow here.

The best body pillow for side sleepers

Best body pillow 2021 Snuggle Pedic

The Snuggle-Pedic is the most comfortable body pillow for side sleepers. It’s flexible and doesn’t go flat after months of use.

Pros: Free pillow customizations within 120-night trial period, contours exceptionally well to the body, provides great support between the knees for side sleepers, very comfortable and soft  

Cons: Might be too large and heavy for smaller individuals

My parents sent me the Snuggle-Pedic last Christmas and I’ve been sleeping better with it since. It shipped in a small and compact vacuum-sealed package and expands when you remove it from the packaging and toss it in the dryer for 20 minutes, which is what the company recommends. It had a mild new foam odor that dissipated within a couple of days.

I like this pillow for side sleepers because it’s firm and bulky, and side sleepers typically need more support in their pillows than back and stomach sleepers. However, out of the box it was a bit too lofty for my petite frame (I’m 5’2″ and 126 pounds). I contacted the company to customize my pillow and it came back perfect. While many side sleepers will find the loft just right, it’s nice to know you have the option of getting a more custom fit to your body.

After a few nights of sleeping with the Snuggle-Pedic, I noticed reduced hip and neck strain. I also like the bamboo, breathable cover that kept me cool throughout the night. My Snuggle-Pedic body pillow has not gone flat after months of use; it’s still fluffy, soft, and supportive. 

The Snuggle-Pedic body pillow truly impressed me. As a side sleeper, it can be difficult to find a restful position because the hips, shoulder, and knees are often under a lot of pressure. This pillow provided me with perfect support in all the right places.

The best cooling body pillow

Best body pillow 2021 Zoma

If you tend to sleep hot, the Zoma Sleep Body Pillow can keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night.

Pros: Regulates temperature exceptionally well, comfortable 

Cons: Washing and drying is time-consuming, shorter length might not be good for taller people, no trial period

The Zoma Sleep Body Pillow is made with high-quality materials that kept me cool and comfortable throughout the night. The cover is made from a blend of stretchy, lightweight polyester and spandex. It’s filled with shredded gel memory foam intended to keep hot sleepers at a comfortable temperature. It’s a very well-made, high-quality body pillow that provides great support and breathability. 

It’s somewhat firmer than the Coop pillow but still provides great support and comfort. The 6-inch loft is helpful for side sleepers like me who need support between the knees. After a couple of nights sleeping with the Zoma, I noticed a positive impact on my posture and spinal alignment.

The Zoma Sleep is two inches shorter than our top pick, so it’s not possible to rest my head on it and have full leg support at the same time. I’m relatively short, so I could definitely see this being a more noticeable issue for taller folks who want a pillow that supports the whole body. That said, the smaller size could be a boon for those who sleep with a partner and don’t want to hog the whole bed. The cover is also not removable, which makes washing and drying the pillow a lengthy process. 

Despite the two missing inches and complicated washing process, the Zoma does provide excellent body support and absorbs heat well. For pregnant women, this pillow is firm enough to rest a growing belly on to relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips.

The best body pillow for back pain

Best body pillow 2021 Tempur Pedic

The Tempur-Pedic Body Pillow might just be the solution to reduce tossing and turning throughout the night.

Pros: Exceptionally supportive and versatile, removable and machine washable cover, firmness is great for heavier individuals

Cons: Firmer and heavier than the usual body pillow, might not be a good choice for smaller bodies, no trial period

This body pillow, made from Tempur-Pedic material developed by NASA, is engineered with shapeable micro-cushions that respond and adapt exceptionally well to the body. It’s designed for pregnant women and side-sleepers, but people with injuries, muscle tension, and back pain can also benefit from the sturdy support it provides. 

The tension relief that I experienced after sleeping with the Tempur-Pedic was incredible. I love this pillow’s versatility; I have used it to prop up my legs, relieve pressure on my lower hips, and stabilize my back when I’m sitting up. No matter how I use it, the pillow always returns to its original shape.

The Tempur-Pedic is much firmer than the other pillows I tested. While this is a great feature for larger individuals and people looking for extra support, it might not be as comfortable for smaller folks or people who prefer a softer pillow. The foam is dense and heavy, so moving it around in the middle of the night could be tiring for people recovering from injuries, though the added heft means it doesn’t fall off or move around the bed as easily.

The best body pillow for pregnancy

Best body pillow for pregnancy 2021 Moonlight

The Moonlight Comfort-U Full Body Pillow provides exceptional support and comfort from all sides, which makes it great for pregnancy.

Pros: Great support through all stages of pregnancy, flexible for daytime and nighttime lounging

Cons: Larger than most, will occupy a significant amount of space in your bed, no trial period

The Moonlight Comfort-U Full Body Pillow is the best pillow for pregnancy because it provides 360 degree support and great comfort. It’s filled with hypoallergenic synthetic down and made with non-toxic materials that go through extensive testing to ensure the safety of the baby and mother. This pillow is specifically engineered to help women sleep better throughout pregnancy. 

During her pregnancy, Medina’s wife used a U-shaped body pillow like this one that wrapped around her body. “For early pregnancy, she would put one side of the pillow between her legs to avoid her knees from being sore,” he said. “In her later trimester when her belly was larger, she would use the body pillow to support her back.” 

This pillow can help expectant mothers find the best position to sleep comfortably — it supports the back and baby bump simultaneously and helps you avoid laying on your belly. This support can alleviate body aches that pregnant women often experience. Many also find it useful after pregnancy for nursing. 

I love that it can be used in a variety of ways throughout the night and even during the day. However, it occupies half of my Queen-sized bed, so consider the size of your bed before purchasing. Additionally, washing this pillow was no easy task because of its size and it can take a long time to dry.  

That said, I love to wrap myself around the Moonlight Comfort-U, even if I’m not pregnant or sleeping. Since working from home, it’s helped me with my posture as back support and it can be a game-changer for expectant mothers.

The best versatile body pillow

Best body pillow 2021 Leachco

The Leachco Snoogle‘s C-shape design makes it versatile to use throughout the day and night, and may be especially comfortable for expecting mothers.

Pros: Multiple ways to align and use this pillow

Cons: Larger and firm, cover is not very soft, no trial period, short warranty

The Leachco Snoogle is the most versatile body pillow I tested. This “C-shaped” body pillow was designed by a registered nurse to create extra support for expectant mothers and provide proper spinal alignment. It features a sham-style removable cover that is machine washable and dryer safe. 

I love how versatile the pillow is; it wraps around my body nicely, supporting my entire back and stabilizing my sleeping position throughout the night. The shape can be swirled into a lounge pillow, and I’ve used it to prop up my legs, cocoon me as I read comfortably in bed, and even as a replacement for my bed pillow. For expectant mothers, this pillow will support you all around. 

That said, there are a few things to consider about this body pillow because, as versatile as it is, it might not be for everyone. First, the texture of the cover is rough and resting my face on it was uncomfortable. I also found it very difficult to remove and replace the cover for washing. Second, it’s quite firm and might not be a good option for those looking for a softer pillow. Finally, it’s large size takes up quite a lot of room in my bed. 

Although I didn’t love the Leachco Snoogle‘s texture and firmness, I love to wrap myself around it while I read, work on my laptop, or watch TV. It’s very supportive, and there are many ways to configure it. If you want to upgrade, Leachco also makes a variety of softer covers for this pillow.

What else we tested

Best body pillow 2021 what else

What else we recommend and why:

  • Oubonun Body Pillow: The Oubonun features a hidden zipper to adjust its hypoallergenic polyester fiber fill. It’s softer than most but provides sufficient support and won’t take up much space in your bed. One side is quilted, which is a nice detail. It even includes a pillow case as a bonus. I recommend this body pillow if you’re on a budget; it’s good value for the money.

What we don’t recommend and why:

  • PharMeDoc Full Body Pillow: I was excited to test this one out since it’s received many great reviews. However, the quality, shape, and comfort was not what I expected. It’s flat, flimsy and there was virtually no support. It’s uneven and lumpy in some parts. I can’t recommend this pillow because it didn’t improve my sleep.
  • Ikea Axfryle Body Pillow: This was an impulse buy from Ikea, but it just sits in a closet now after I used it for only a couple of days. It’s flat and poor quality with very little stuffing. 

Our testing methodology

Best body pillow 2021 methodology

To find the best body pillows, I did hands-on testing with nine different models, relied on my background in sleep research, and interviewed sleep expert Zeke Medina, PharmD and physical therapist Karen Litzy, DPT. As a sleep researcher and certified sleep science consultant, it’s important for me to review items that truly improve quality sleep. I paid close attention to how well I slept with each pillow, including how comfortable, breathable, and supportive they were. Here’s how I evaluated each pillow:

Setup: First, I wanted to know whether the body pillows emitted any chemical odors as soon as I opened the package. If there was an odor, I evaluated how long it took for any smells to dissipate. I also noted if the pillows were adjustable and if they included a removable and washable cover. 

Specs and components: I recorded each body pillow’s length, weight, firmness, and quality of materials. I also noted if they were hypoallergenic and researched if the pillows’ fills were CertiPUR-US certified or made without toxic materials. 

Sleeping: I slept with each body pillow for seven consecutive nights, taking note of how well I was able to fall asleep, how well I stayed asleep, and how I felt in the morning. I evaluated how comfortable and soft the materials were, whether I slept cool or hot, and how much support and tension relief I felt throughout the night and in the morning. 

Return policy: I looked at the return policy and warranty of each pillow. This is important, in case individuals are unsure it’s the right fit. “No single pillow is the answer for everybody,” says Medina, so it’s best to try out body pillows to figure out what works for you.  

Long-term use: Since original testing, I’ve continued to regularly use our top picks and will report back about their durability over time.

FAQs

What are the benefits of sleeping with a body pillow?

The benefits you get from a body pillow will depend on your individual needs and preferences, but here are some common reasons to consider a body pillow:

They relieve muscle tension: A body pillow can help sleepers ease muscle tension and stress throughout the night. “You can throw your leg over it to take the stress off your shoulder, hip, and knees,” says Medina. “You can also place the pillow between your legs to alleviate the pressure between the knees.” 

Litzy also said that many people end up using their body pillow throughout the day to find comfort and tension relief. “They can help position people while they’re sleeping and even while awake,” she said. “Body pillows can sometimes be more comfortable because you can manipulate them a little bit easier as opposed to having two to three regular pillows.” 

They can ease recovery from surgery or injury: Similar to the benefits listed above, body pillows can be useful for correctly positioning and offloading joints after surgery, and for people struggling with pain and discomfort.

“If you’re getting over an injury or surgery, a body pillow can be a way to make you more comfortable,” said Litzy. That extra support helps avoid body aches in the morning by relieving muscle tension in the hip joints, neck, and back. “One thing that we know that helps with recovery is sleep,” she said. A body pillow can help you get that much-needed rest.

They can increase oxytocin levels: A body pillow can also encourage relaxation after a long day. We know that hugging releases oxytocin, a neuropeptide known as the “cuddle hormone.” This hormone reduces stress and induces a sense of safety. Cuddling with a teddy bear can make a child feel safe and relaxed. Similarly, a body pillow can help adults wind down at bedtime to sleep soundly throughout the night. 

They can make sleeping more comfortable when you’re pregnant: If you’re pregnant, a body pillow can help support the baby bump. “Having 20 to 40 extra pounds in your midsection can cause all types of issues,” said Medina. “A body pillow can be positioned in a way that can support the back to relieve pressure.” Litzy said pregnant people typically find body pillows helpful for supporting their legs and elevating their bodies. 

They can reduce snoring: Individuals who snore or have sleep apnea can benefit from sleeping with a body pillow. It can be used to elevate the head and neck to reduce snoring. Body pillows can also be a way to reduce moving too much during the night to find a comfortable breathing position.


How to choose a body pillow

There are dozens of options on the market when it comes to body pillows. Choosing the right one depends entirely on your individual needs and preferences. Consider the following factors as you search for the perfect one:  

Bed size: Think about how much space you have on your bed. Some body pillows, like our top pick by Coop, can be quite large and end up taking up a lot of space. If you share a bed with someone, you might want to go for a smaller, lightweight body pillow like the Zoma. 

Body size: The same applies to weight, if you’re smaller you might prefer a body pillow that you can adjust, like the Coop Home. If you’re a heavier individual, a firmer body pillow like the Tempur-Pedic will provide you with the support you need. 

Materials: Be mindful of the materials and filling that manufacturers use, since you’ll be spending a lot of nights with the pillow. You’ll want to make sure your body pillow is hypoallergenic and made without the use of harmful chemicals. You can confirm the latter by checking if the memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified. Most of the pillows on this guide have received this certification. 

Care instructions: Some body pillows like the Coop and Tempur-Pedic come with a removable cover that can be washed. Others like the Snuggle-Pedic and Zoma don’t, and washing them can be time consuming. Like any regular pillow, it’s recommended to use a case with your body pillow that you can wash often.

Customization: You want to make sure that you’re getting the proper support and correct spinal alignment. What works for one person might not work for another. Consider your own needs, as well as factors such as your weight, height, and sleeping position. Our top-rated pillow is fully adjustable to fit a variety of different body types and sleep styles. 

Cooling: Breathability is a big factor to consider. “You don’t want to become overheated on the body pillow,” Medina said. “When the body raises its temperature, it provokes a wake response.” More awakenings throughout the night will result in low-quality sleep. A good body pillow will give you the support, comfort, and breathability that can improve how you sleep. Body pillows like the Zoma and Snuggle-Pedic are made with breathable materials that can keep you cool throughout the night. 

Return policy and warranty: It’s also important to have the option to exchange or return a body pillow if it doesn’t fit your needs. So, it’s always good to check the trial period and return policy in case you’re not satisfied with your purchase.

Check out our other bedding guides

best pillows 4x3
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This memory foam pillow is a hit with everyone I know – it can be customized to support many sleeping positions

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Best pillow Coop

  • The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow can be customized and adjusted based on your preferences.
  • I slept on it for several weeks; it was comfortable and supportive, and I loved being able to adjust the fill.
  • I also enlisted a stomach and side sleeper to try the pillow, and one of them likes it so much they refuse to give it back.

Original Pillow (small)Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

As an insomniac who also suffers from neck and back pain, I’ve spent years looking for the perfect pillow to no avail. I’m not alone: in researching, interviewing experts, and testing more than a dozen pillows for our guide to the best pillows, I learned that a one-size-fits-all pillow is hard to come by because the loft and support we need vary based on our size and primary sleeping position. A pillow that works for a stomach sleeper, for example, will likely be uncomfortable for someone who prefers to sleep on their side. One pillow that meets every sleeper’s needs seemed like a pipe dream; until I tested the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow.

Review of Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

The Coop Original is a customizable pillow made from hypoallergenic, CertiPUR-US, and GreenGuard Gold-certified shredded memory foam. A side zipper lets you access the entire inner cavity of the pillow and remove fill to find your perfect loft and support. While the pillow comes overstuffed, sleepers who need even more support can add up to a pound of extra filling from a bag of additional fill that accompanies each pillow.

The pillow is quite lofty, but it comes compressed in a small 17 inch by 7-inch package. When you open the box, you’re greeted by an insert that explains how to get started customizing your pillow. The company suggested these general guidelines:

  • Side sleeper: try the pillow as is
  • Back sleeper: remove about 1/4 of the foam
  • Stomach sleeper: remove about 1/3 of the foam

Everyone’s body is a different shape and size though, so you can play around with the amount you add or remove.

Coop Pillow Insert

The insert also notes that you can contact the company for help adjusting, or if you need any extra fill beyond what’s in the pillow and the 1-pound bag of extra fill. Before I touched any of the filling, I followed the package instructions to let the pillow fluff up to normal size after its long journey under pressure. It only took about 10 minutes to expand, and I used my hands to help fluff and distribute the fill. Coop mentions that you can also put the pillow in the dryer for approximately 10 minutes as an alternative.

Once the pillow was fluffed, I gave it a try as is. I’m a combo sleeper, rotating between my side and my back throughout the night, but I spend the majority of my time on my back. The pillow was too lofty for me out of the box, so I followed the instructions to remove one-third of the foam. I was a bit nervous scooping handfuls of shredded foam out of my pillow and into a trash bag – it seemed like a lot to remove – and the process left a pretty big mess of wayward foam all over my mattress and floor. Fill adjusted and floor vacuumed, I settled in for my first few nights on the Coop pillow.

Coop Pillow Fill

While I did some tossing and turning during my first few days using and adjusting the pillow fill, I eventually settled in comfortably to my new perfect, custom loft. At this height, the pillow was an ideal size and shape for both comfort and support, and I slept soundly for several weeks without any neck or back strain. I loved how customizable it was: the fact that my husband and I – who have completely different sleep preferences and have been arguing over pillows for years – could buy the same pillow and get a comfortable custom feel was remarkable to me. After sending the pillow off for more testing from my side-sleeping neighbor and hearing her sing the praises of its custom loft (like many side sleepers, she preferred more fill), I was even more impressed with this pillow’s ability to work equally well for different sleeping preferences.

Ultimately, this customization made it the obvious choice as the best overall pillow in our buying guide; a title it’s held onto for many years and multiple iterations of that story.

Cons to consider

That said, there was something about the pillow that was just missing on personal comfort for me – I like a softer, down-like fill that envelops your head the way that hotel pillows do, and memory foam doesn’t do that no matter how much fill you add or remove. Like many memory foam pillows, it also felt a bit hot compared to other pillows I’ve tried, though it was never sweaty or stifling. While you can get a completely customizable height and fluff out of this pillow, it might not be the coziest choice if you’re just someone who doesn’t like memory foam.

Because I like a softer pillow, most nights I prefer to sleep with my Saatva Pillow, but I know plenty of people who swear by the Coop Pillow. Among them is my neighbor, who after many years of sleeping on stacks of pillows as flat as pancakes now refuses to return my Coop pillow.

In all, I’m confident that most people will be extremely happy with the Coop Original Pillow, which is why it’s our top overall pick for the best pillow.

Extra features

Aside from custom comfort, the pillow has a few thought features that I love.

First is the bamboo-derived rayon pillow liner that encases the foam and makes for easier cleaning; this is different than a pillowcase you’d normally put on. I’ve tried a couple of other adjustable fill pillows, including the Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow and none of them have this extra encasement. If you want to wash these pillows, you have to remove all of the fill before putting them in the wash. With the Coop pillow, the encasement acts as a barrier between your pillowcase and the inner pillow. If your pillow gets dirty, you simply remove and wash the encasement and pillowcase – much easier than wrestling with all the foam. You can buy a separate encasement for those other pillows, but I love that the Coop pillow just comes with one.

Next up is the 100-night trial period, which is one of the longest I’ve seen for pillows and another key reason the Coop pillow is the best overall pillow in our guide. Since pillow preference is so personal, a generous return policy is critical. Coop’s 100-night trial gives you plenty of time to sleep on the pillow, adjust, and decide if it’s right for you. If it’s not, the company will cover return shipping and issue you a full refund. Coop says they donate any gently used returned pillows to various local charities.

Finally, while I think a good pillow is worth investing in, it’s hard to find a quality pillow at as good a price as the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. At around $60 when not on sale, the Coop pillow is priced significantly lower than other shredded memory foam pillows like the Nest Easy Breather and pillows from other bedding brands like Saatva, Leesa, Boll & Branch, and Bear.

The bottom line

The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow is an exceptionally designed pillow that can provide a custom, supportive night’s rest for almost anyone, no matter how you sleep. Its customizable fill works equally well for stomach, back, and side sleepers, and it’s made from hypoallergenic materials for those who suffer from nighttime allergies. The pillow encasement makes for easy cleaning and upkeep, and it’s priced very competitively compared to other high-end pillows.

The only people who I don’t recommend this pillow for are those who really just hate the feel of memory foam; it’s no fault of the pillow, but there’s simply no way memory foam has the same feel as down or down-alternative. If you’re on the fence, I recommend trying the pillow; with the 100-night return window, it’s a risk-free purchase, though I’m confident most buyers will love the customization of the Coop pillow.

Original Pillow (button)

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The 7 best pillows in 2021 for side, back, and stomach sleepers

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • We tested 13 pillows (and counting) to find the most comfortable choices for every sleep position.
  • The Coop Home Goods Pillow is our top pick because it can be customized to the perfect fill for ultimate support and comfort.
  • If you’re looking to outfit the rest of your bed, check out our guides to the best mattress, best bed frame, and best sheets.

Our sleep habits can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Central to getting a great night’s sleep is having a solid setup, including a really comfortable, supportive pillow.

“A good pillow is absolutely a top priority,” said Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and post-doctoral fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “No matter your budget, I really encourage people to splurge and invest in these products because they will help. The bed is the foundation of our sleep and if these elements aren’t supportive and not cozy to your personal preference, you put yourself at risk for sleep difficulties.”

With that in mind, we tested 11 different pillows and considered many others. I’ve been writing unbiased, meticulously tested product reviews for more than seven years and have a personal stake in finding a good pillow: I’m a living embodiment of the princess and the pea and have purchased more pillows than I can count in pursuit of a good night’s sleep.

While I (a back sleeper) slept on every pillow recommended in this guide for at least three nights, individual preferences and anatomy vary greatly (see: how to find the perfect pillow), so I enlisted a stomach sleeper (my husband) and two side sleepers (my neighbors) to try each pillow for at least a night and considered feedback from other editors who have tried or reviewed pillows over the last few years. You can read all about other pillows we tested and our methodology here.

Here are the best pillows in 2021

The best overall

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The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow offers thoughtful features like adjustable fill, a washable pillow cover, and an unparalleled 100-night trial that make it the best choice for most people.

Pros: Completely customizable with removable fill, comes with additional fill if you prefer a firmer pillow, comes with a washable encasement, hypoallergenic, 5-year warranty, 100-night trial

Cons: On the firmer side and might not be the best choice if you don’t like memory foam, testers in previous reviews thought it arrived with a slightly funny smell

It’s rare to come across a product as thoughtfully designed as the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. Made from hypoallergenic shredded memory foam, the fill in the Coop pillow is adjustable so you can customize it to the perfect loft for your sleep preferences. Other thoughtful features like a washable cover, 5-year warranty, and 100-night trial make it our top recommendation. 

When you open the box, you’re greeted by a bright yellow insert that walks you through how to customize the pillow and suggestions on how much fill to add or remove (it’s more than you think) based on your preferred sleeping position. While the pillow arrives almost overfilled, it also comes with a half-pound bag of additional fill in case you need even more support. 

I followed the package recommendations to remove about a third of the fill for back sleepers. The result felt deeply personalized and it was very comfortable to sleep on with a great balance of support and fluff. 

One drawback? If you favor a softer, more down-like fill (like I do), you may find the Coop pillow is on the firmer side and tends to get a bit hot during the night. However, we think most people will love the customization of the Coop pillow, especially if you prefer the springy feel of memory foam.

Read our full review of Coop Home Goods’ The Original Pillow

The best pillow for side sleepers

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The Casper Original Pillow offers the loft and support that side sleepers need but with the soft and fluffy feel of a down alternative. 

Pros: Soft and fluffy, 2-inch gusset that provides support for side sleepers, removable inner pillow, machine washable, 100-night trial period

Cons: Loft is not very adjustable, not as supportive as memory foam

The goal of a good pillow is to bring your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. For side sleepers, this means bridging the gap between your ear and where your shoulder meets the mattress. But shoulder size and height can vary a lot from person to person, meaning one side sleeper might need a really lofty pillow while another needs just a little bit of lift. The Coop pillow is ideal for side sleepers because it offers a lot of customization to help fill that gap. But if you’re not a memory foam fan, your next best bet is the Casper Original Pillow

Made from down-alternative fill with a percale cotton shell, the Casper pillow feels a lot like the soft, plush pillows you’d find in hotel rooms. A 2-inch gusset (the strip of fabric between seams that gives the pillow a more boxy shape) keeps the pillow lofted for the supportive lift that side sleepers require, but the plush fill still gives the “sinking in” sensation when you lay your head down. One of the side sleepers who tried the pillow over several weeks also loved that the pillow stayed cool throughout the night and kept its shape despite its softer fill. 

You can adjust the fill a bit by removing the inner pillow, but all the side sleepers who tried it preferred the loft of the full pillow. If you want a balance of support and softness, we recommend giving the Casper Original Pillow a try; just keep in mind that it’s not as customizable or adjustable as other pillows.

Read our full review of the Casper Original Pillow

The best pillow for back sleepers

Best pillow Saatva

Luxuriously plush, the Saatva Pillow offers an ultra comfortable, hotel-like experience and is particularly well-suited to back sleepers.

Pros: Moderate height that’s ideal for back sleepers, plush like a hotel pillow, supportive latex core, 45-day trial period, comes with a pillow cover, cover and outer pillow are machine washable

Cons: Not very adjustable, too lofty for stomach sleepers

The Saatva Pillow is made from a supportive shredded latex core surrounded by a plush, down alternative layer and a satteen cotton liner. Its unique construction makes it different from any pillow I’ve ever felt before — it’s got the hefty weight and support of a memory foam pillow, but with the plush, cool feel of a down pillow. Throughout testing, I kept coming back to this pillow and it quickly became my go-to for nights I wasn’t actively testing anything new.

I’ve now been sleeping on this pillow for five months and it looks and feels as plush as it did on the day I got it. I love how my head sinks into this soft pillow, but it’s still supportive enough to keep its shape all night long and when I wake up, the pillow looks just as plush as when I fell asleep on it. I’m a very active sleeper who likes to move around a lot in bed and take my bedding with me, so I love that the pillow is equally plush and comfortable from all sides and angles. It’s still soft and supportive when I inevitably fold it, scoop it, or hug it throughout the night. Finally, it’s hypoallergenic, which is a must for allergy sufferers like myself. 

While the Saatva pillow is my perfect pillow, it’s not adjustable enough to be our top recommendation for most people. The only adjustability offered is the ability to remove the latex core, which also takes away the supportive part of the pillow. Multiple stomach sleepers who tried the pillow as part of our testing found it too lofty, even with the inner core removed. Some side sleepers might also find the pillow not quite lofty enough; we think it’s best for back sleepers and those who prefer a plusher, cooler feel than memory foam. 

The best pillow for stomach sleepers

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Soft, but not too thin, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow has the perfect loft for stomach sleepers who want just a bit of cushion.

Pros: Soft and pillowy, made from hypoallergenic down alternative, folds easily for added support when lying on your side or back, stays cool, 60-day return window

Cons: Needs to be fluffed regularly to retain its shape, doesn’t offer enough support for sleepers who spend the majority of the night on their back or side and therefore not the best choice for guest bedrooms, fill cannot be adjusted

Stomach sleepers generally require the least amount of pillow support, since your head and spine are already pretty close to alignment when lying on your stomach. Most stomach sleepers would benefit a soft pillow with just a bit of loft, and for that, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow is our top choice. 

This is the only pillow that received high marks for comfort from my husband, who is an avowed stomach sleeper and finds most pillows too lofty. The Parachute pillow elevates his head just enough to alleviate any neck strain, and the sateen cotton encasement keeps the pillow remarkably cool all night long; ideal for those, like him, who run hot. We purchased four of these pillows a little over a year ago, and they were our mainstay before I started testing and evaluating pillows for this guide. In a lot of ways, this pillow hits all the marks for me: it stays cool, is incredibly soft and comfortable, and is hypoallergenic. But while my husband happily drifts asleep with one of these pillows tucked under his head, I (a back sleeper) need to stack two or three to get the loft I need to fall asleep comfortably. 

While the fill is thin enough that the pillow easily folds over for some support if you occasionally flip to your side or back during the night, it doesn’t provide enough for those who spend the majority of the night in those positions. The pillow also won’t offer much lift if you’re looking to prop yourself up to read or watch TV while lounging in bed. Still, it’s a great personal pillow for any stomach sleeper who has found other pillows too lofty. 

The best pillow for neck pain

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The Leesa Hybrid Pillow‘s cooling gel side provides ice-like relief from neck pain, while the quilted side offers a more traditional pillow experience for nights when you don’t need as much support.

Pros: Cooling gel helps relieve neck pain, good for hot sleepers, two different sides to choose from for optimal support, removable inner pillow for adjusting loft, inner pillow can be used as a travel pillow

Cons: On the heavy side, takes some getting used to, may be too squat for some side sleepers

As someone who has struggled with back and neck troubles, I literally feel your pain if you’re currently dealing with a stiff or painful neck. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the first line of business is to make sure that your current pillow isn’t causing or exacerbating your neck strain. Your pillow should support your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine in your preferred sleeping position. If you’re deep in the throes of an existing neck sprain, you should check with your doctor before considering a new pillow. 

Experts told us that a memory foam pillow is the preferred choice for neck pain because the material offers cushion and support to keep your neck aligned, and doesn’t flatten or “sink” throughout the night like other more fluffy pillows. For this, we think our overall pick by Coop is a great choice since you can customize it to your perfect loft. But if your pain is making it hard to even get to sleep, I highly recommend you try out the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

The pillow’s has a gel-filled cooling side and a quilted cushioning side, with a removable mini-pillow in between for adjustability. The gel-side is where the Leesa pillow truly shines; it provides an instant chilling effect that I found deeply soothing for muscle pain and neck strain in a similar effect to holding a wrapped ice pack up to your neck. On nights when my back and neck have really hurt, the Leesa has provided some much needed relief to help me fall asleep. 

That said, this hybrid pillow has received mixed reviews from our testers over the years. With only two possible (and both relatively low) heights, it’s also less adjustable than other pillows we tested, and best suited for stomach and back sleepers who don’t need a lot of loft. It’s also fairly heavy, and its unique design may take a few nights to get used to.

Read our full review of the Leesa Hybrid Pillow

The best pillow on a budget

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At just under $20 per pillow, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows are an inexpensive option that still offers a comfortable, supportive night’s sleep.

Pros: Inexpensive, soft and stackable, sleeps relatively cool, machine washable, good for stomach and side sleepers, 30-day return window, hypoallergenic

Cons: Side sleepers will likely need two or more of these pillows, pillows are not adjustable

If you’re the type of person that can fall asleep just about anywhere or you’re primarily concerned about price, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow is the best bang for your buck. 

I was intrigued by the sheer number of positive Amazon reviews — there are more than 25,000 five-star reviews, and we all know that reviews aren’t always reliable. But when I tried them for myself, I understood why. These pillows are on the thinner side, but have a gentle, down-like plushness that sets them apart from other inexpensive pillows I’ve tried from Ikea and Target. While they’re definitely more squishy than supportive, they’re a good choice for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who likes to hug, fold, or stack their pillows at night. I’ve spent several months now sleeping with these pillows on and off, and they haven’t gone flat or gotten lumpy. They are a little less lofty and bouncy than when I first got them, but I actually like that, since it gives them a more lived-in feel. 

“Gel pillow” is a bit of a misnomer; there’s no liquid or cooling gel in these pillows like there is in some other cooling pillows. Instead, these pillows are filled with polyester gel fiber, which is similar to a down alternative in both feel and performance. The pillows stay relatively cool compared to denser materials like memory foam, but stop short of actively cooling you like the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

While these pillows aren’t adjustable, each pack comes with two pillows, so you can easily stack them to your desired comfort level. The company also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee — a rarity for Amazon-only pillow brands.

The best luxury pillow

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If you love memory foam and are looking for something a bit more luxurious than what’s out there, the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow offers a spa-like feel at a premium price. 

Pros: Luxurious feel, soft, spa-like feel, stays cool, doesn’t need to be fluffed, machine washable, 45-day trial period

Cons: Not very adjustable, firmer than down-alternative pillows

In my 30+ years of sleeping on pillows, I’ve come to the conclusion that memory foam is just too hot and dense for me. Then I slept on the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. The pillow is made from a combination of solid and shredded memory foam, and the result is a luxurious and supportive softness I haven’t experienced before in memory foam pillows. Its equal parts plush and supportive, and reminds me of a larger version of the pillows they use to support your head during a spa facial. 

The pillow particularly appealed to the memory foam lovers among our testers, who concurred that it stayed remarkably cool and soft. We also liked that it offered plenty of support for sitting up and reading. I love lounging on this pillow throughout the day, and whenever I lay my head down on it to sleep I feel like I’m a queen on the most luxurious hotel bed. If that’s the experience you’re looking for, this pillow may be right for you.

Loft-wise, the pillow has a moderate fill that is well-suited for side and back sleepers, but doesn’t offer much adjustability; you can remove the memory foam core, but that takes almost all the support out of the pillow. And at $145, this Saatva pillow (along with Saatva’s flagship pillow, which we recommend above for back sleepers) is the most expensive pillow we tried. While the company offers a 45-day trial period, it’s a big investment to make for a pillow that might not offer the right loft for you. 

Still, I have never once had to fluff the pillow; each morning when I wake up, it’s as perfectly plush and springy as when I went to sleep on it. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a spa-like experience, we highly recommend the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. 

What else we tested

Best pillow Tulo

We researched more than a dozen pillows and tested 11 that fit our criteria while writing this guide.  

What else we recommend and why:

  • Zoma Pillow ($75.00): I really enjoyed sleeping on this memory foam pillow, which comes encased in a gray, mesh-like fabric. Unlike other memory foam pillows I’ve tried, it wasn’t too hot or stiff and is a nice, moderate loft that works well for both side sleepers and back sleepers. Surprisingly, even my stomach-sleeping husband liked this pillow despite its moderate loft, since the pillow compresses pretty easily due to the softer memory foam and polyester filling blend. The gray pillow encasement comes off for easy cleaning and also hides stains well, so the pillow still looks brand new even after many nights sleeping on it. Unfortunately, the loft isn’t adjustable; I found the compression flattened out the pillow a bit during the night, and I woke up with my head sunken into the pillow. This didn’t cause me any neck pain and it was easy enough to fluff up the pillow again, but I prefer a pillow that doesn’t compress as much during the night. If you like a malleable, softer memory foam pillow, the Zoma pillow may be a good choice for you.
  • Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow ($99.00): Like our best overall pick by Coop, this pillow is stuffed with shredded foam that makes it easily adjustable to your sleeping preference—just remove fill as needed. However, it lacked many of the attributes that made our top pick a standout, like a pillow protector, a longer trial period, and additional foam right in the box for those who need even more loft. Comfort-wise, it was similar to other shredded foam pillows we tested: supportive, with some bounce, and runs a teeny bit hot. While it’s a top choice with other consumer review sites, we think the Nest pillow offers fewer features than similar pillows do at a lower price point. 
  • Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow ($130): This memory foam pillow has two sides: a “comfort” side and a “support” side, but I found little difference between either. Both sides are relatively firm, and while the “comfort” side may offer a teeny bit more softness, both were too stiff for my own preference or the preference of my testers. It was relatively cool compared to other memory foam pillows I’ve tried and may be a good option for those who like a pillow that lays flat and offers a lot of support.

What we don’t recommend and why:

  • Zen Chi Buckwheat Pillow ($34.95): We didn’t test this pillow for this iteration of this guide. It was previously our top pick for best buckwheat hull pillow but failed to meet our standards for inclusion because some Amazon reviews mention brand-new pillows arriving with wheat beetles on or inside the pillows or in the packaging — not exactly a quality that inspires a night of good dreams. While the pillow height and fill are adjustable, the company also doesn’t accept returns or exchanges of any opened merchandise, which makes this a risky purchase if you’re not sure you like the feel of buckwheat. 
  • Le’Vista Hotel Collection Pillow ($26.99 for two): Formerly our best budget pillow, this Amazon-only brand has an unclear return policy (many report being charged a return fee) and gets middling reviews on the site. We didn’t test it this time around because it didn’t meet our criteria for returns. Still, $10 per pillow is a great price, and it might be worth a try if you’re budget-oriented. Just keep in mind that customer service might be nonexistent and many reviewers claim the pillows flatten out quickly.  
  • Tulo Pillow ($71): A few of our side-sleeping editors recommended this moderate-height memory foam pillow, but we didn’t test it for this guide because it lacks many of the qualities of our top picks: it’s not adjustable or washable, and the company doesn’t offer a trial period or returns of open pillows.  
  • Royal Hotel Goose Down Pillow ($159.99 for two): This goose down pillow was featured and recommended in previous iterations of this guide, but we ultimately excluded it this time around because the company doesn’t appear to accept returns. If you have your heart set on a down pillow, check out our guide to the best down pillows.
  • Vaya Pillow ($60): I tried this pillow, but was perplexed that the pillow I received looks significantly different than what is on the website. I contacted the brand, which claimed that the pillow I received is a newer version, but after many months of waiting for a website update, I still only see the old pillows available. I thought this pillow was far too overfilled, even for side sleepers, and the inaccuracies of what we received versus what’s on the website are concerning. 

Testing methodology

There is no one-size-fits-all best pillow for everyone; individual anatomy, sleep habits, and preferences deeply impact how comfortable a pillow will be from person-to-person. For that reason, our rating criteria for this guide relied heavily on the following considerations:

Return policy and trial period: It’s impossible to know how comfortable a pillow is going to be for you until you sleep on it, despite how comprehensive our guide aims to be. “The most important thing is trying the pillows out to see what works for you,” said Robbins, which includes being able to touch, lay on, and sleep with a pillow before deciding if it’s right for you. For this guide, we only considered pillows that accept returns of used merchandise for a full refund with at least a 30-day trial window, which gives you ample time to decide if a pillow is right for you.

Adjustability: We prioritized pillows that are adjustable, with removable inserts or shredded fill for dialing in your perfect loft. This creates a more custom pillow that would better suit your needs.

Ease of use: We looked at how well each pillow fit a standard pillowcase, whether the pillow came with a case or protector, and whether all or parts of the pillow were washable for better hygiene and pillow longevity.

Comfort: I slept on all of the pillows for at least three (sometimes agonizing) nights. I also enlisted a side sleeper and a stomach sleeper to try the pillows over the course of a couple weeks. For future updates, we will develop a diverse sleep panel and have them test our top picks for additional feedback.

What we look forward to testing

  • Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow ($79.99): Made by the same company as our best overall pillow, the Eden Pillow features the same adjustable fill feature, but with softer, gel-infused foam. It could be a good option for those who are intrigued by an adjustable pillow, but like a cooler, softer feel. 
  • Sleep Number Comfortfit Pillow Ultimate ($89.99): This adjustable pillow has several smaller inner pillows that you can add or remove for your ideal loft. It’s made from down-alternative fill and could be a good adjustable option for those who don’t like the feel of memory foam. 
  • Boll & Branch Pillows ($150 to $195): Boll & Branch reportedly tried 100 different prototypes, and at least five of our editors have tried its down and down alternative pillows. We’ll be retesting and incorporating the feedback into this guide. 
  • Brooklinen Pillows ($59 to $99): Brooklinen makes three different pillows in both down and down-alternative fills. Executive editor Ellen Hoffman reviewed the plush and mid-plush down options, and favored the mid-plush, calling it “a little bit of everything in a good way.” We’re currently testing Brooklinen’s mid-plush down alternative option against our top picks for our next update this this guide.
  • Bear Pillow ($100): Breton Fischetti, VP of commerce, tried the Bear Pillow and said it improved his neck pain and helped him sleep better. Made from memory foam and “double ice fabric,” the pillow claims to stay cool all night long. We’ll be testing for a future update to this guide. 
  • Hullo Pillow ($99): The Hullo pillow is made from buckwheat hulls, a traditional fill used in Japan and many other Asian countries. Since we no longer have a buckwheat pillow we recommend, we’re looking forward to testing this popular model and reporting back on our findings.

How to pick the perfect pillow

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Robbins told us the single biggest consideration when picking a pillow is your preferred sleep position: side, back, or stomach. The goal of your pillow is to support your neck in a neutral position aligned with the rest of your spine, but that alignment shifts depending on the position you’re sleeping in. While we all move around during sleep — switching positions about 60 times throughout each night — most of us spend the majority of our sleeping time in one position. 

Not sure what your sleep position is? Consider what position you typically fall asleep or wake up in. Robbins also has a neat exercise she performs with her clients: imagine you’ve been up for 24 hours and are presented with a big, luxurious hotel bed; how would you lie down on it to go to sleep? The position you envision is most likely your preferred sleep position and plays a big role in what type of pillow will work best for you. 

Side sleepers: Around 65% of the US population are side sleepers, according to Robbins, and this position requires the most loft and support to bridge the wide gap between the side of your head and where your shoulder rests on the mattress. If you’re a side sleeper, choose a lofty pillow — ideally with an adjustable fill since there can be a lot of variability in the size of that shoulder gap from person to person. Robbins said hotels and sleep clinics usually outfit rooms with side sleepers in mind, so if you’re buying pillows for a guest bedroom, a side sleeper friendly pillow is usually a good bet. 

Back sleepers: Back sleepers are the Goldilocks of pillow hunters — they need a pillow that is not too soft and not too firm, and with just enough support to lift the back of the head to be in line with their shoulders. Back sleepers tend to benefit from a medium, cushion-y pillow made from down or down alternative, though an adjustable pillow with at least one-third of the fill removed may work as well. 

Stomach sleepers: In the minority are stomach sleepers, who need the least amount of support from their pillow. Typically a thin, very soft pillow works best for stomach sleepers — just enough fill to cushion their face from the flat surface of the mattress. 

FAQs

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How often should I replace my pillow?

Even the best pillows aren’t meant to last forever; for the best sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing a well-used pillow every couple of years. Our fluffy little pillows absorb a shocking amount of dead skin and body oils night after night, which is the perfect breeding ground for allergens like dust mites. 

You can tell if it’s time for a new pillow if your pillow is lumpy or flat no matter how much you fluff it. Robbins also told us that a healthy pillow springs back when you compress it; if you fold your pillow in half and it stays put, it’s probably time for a new pillow. (One caveat: it may not work with a very, very thin pillow.)

Which pillows are best for allergy sufferers?

Many pillows are made from hypoallergenic materials, but if you’re prone to allergies, Robbins recommends looking for a pillow with a synthetic filling. Pillows with animal fillings (such as down) may trigger allergies or exacerbate them over time, since dust mites really like fillings made from animal material.

No matter your pillow, the National Sleep Foundation and Robbins both recommend adding a pillow protector (an encasement that adds another level of protection from allergens, body oils, dust mites, and other pests) in addition to a pillowcase if your pillow doesn’t already come with one (many of our top picks do), fluffing your pillows daily, and washing your pillow every couple of months according to manufacturer directions. Taking care of your pillow not only extends its life and helps you sleep better, but can also ease allergies. 

Are pillows adjustable?

It depends on the pillow. Many are not. However, our top pick, the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow is completely adjustable, so you can find the loft that’s right for you. To adjust, you simply add or remove filling (the box comes with extra filling if you like a lot of loft) to reach your ideal comfort level.

What are the best pillows for hot sleepers?

If you tend to sleep hot (as I do), you may find pillows with down or down alternative filling — such as the Casper Original Pillow, Parachute Down Alternative Pillow, Saatva Pillow, or Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows — have better airflow than memory foam pillows. Some memory foam pillows have started advertising “gel foam” that purportedly keeps your cooler. However, we haven’t found that this type of foam produces a marked difference in comfort for hot sleepers. If you absolutely must have a foam pillow, the Leesa Hybrid Pillow is the coolest foam pillow we’ve found.

How much do pillows cost?

You can find pillows at a range of price points, anywhere from $10 to several hundred dollars. While it’s not always the case that you have to spend more to get a good pillow (our best budget pick costs just $20), considering how much of our lives we spend sleeping, Robbins recommends thinking of a pillow as an investment that will pay you back in better sleep. Our favorite pillow is completely customizable and costs about $60, though you can often find it on sale for as little as $40 during the holidays and other sales events.

Can I wash my pillow?

It depends on the pillow. We recommend following manufacturer instructions for how to best care for and clean your pillow. 

What is pillow loft?

Loft refers to the height of your pillow, which will determine how far off the mattress it will lift your head. In general, experts recommend a pillow that will keep your head and neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. How much loft that’s needed to accomplish this depends on your sleeping position (side sleepers need more loft to bridge their shoulder gap, while stomach sleepers need very little loft since their head is so close to the mattress) and individual anatomy. A pillow with an adjustable loft, like our top pick, helps you dial in the perfect loft for your body and sleeping style.

What pillow sizes are available?

Aside from decorative throw pillows and Euro pillows, most pillows for sleeping come in two sizes: Standard (or Queen) and King. We recommend a Standard/Queen size for Twin, Full, and Queen mattresses, and King pillows for King or California King mattresses. 

Check out more of our bedding guides

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