Best Pillows for Back Sleepers

Back sleeping is one of the best positions for your neck and back, so long as you have the right sleep system. Many people know it’s important to get a…

Last Updated On December 4th, 2021
Best Pillows for Back Sleepers

Back sleeping is one of the best positions for your neck and back, so long as you have the right sleep system. Many people know it’s important to get a good mattress but overlook good pillows. Your pillow is vital to keeping you comfortable and supported.

Just like mattresses, certain pillows work best for back sleeping. Using a good pillow helps you breathe better, soothes neck pain, and prevents acid reflux.

Want To Save
On Better Sleep?

See our latest sales!

Get $300 OFF Mattresses

We’ve compiled a list of the best pillows for back sleepers. They range from malleable foam pillows to firm contour pillows.

Best Amerisleep Pillows for Back Sleepers

Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary

Best Pillow for Back Sleepers Overall Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow
Best Adjustable Pillow for Back Sleepers Amerisleep Flex Pillow
Best Firm Pillow for Back Sleepers Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow

The Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow is our top recommendation for back sleepers, with a plush yet supportive fill that stays cool at night.

Pillow Highlights
  • Breathable fabric cover promotes cool, soft feel
  • Lightweight, responsive memory foam fill
  • Added cooling channels promote airflow
Recommended For
  • Back sleepers, along with side and combo sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • People with neck pain

The Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow is a reliable pillow for back sleepers. This 6-inch pillow is lightweight and soft yet still durable and supportive. Customers love it for being supportive without feeling too firm or soft.

All Amerisleep pillows have a breathable knit cover. It draws away body heat and moisture so you don’t get hot, and is easy to care for. You simply unzip the cover, toss it on a cold cycle, and let it air dry flat.

We make the Comfort Classic Pillow with our proprietary Bio-Pur®. Bio-Pur® is a plant-based memory foam built durable, springy, and cool.

The pillow is also hypoallergenic and CertiPUR-US® certified. This means the foam doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals and won’t smell.

Amerisleep pillows come with free shipping and a 10-year warranty.

Quick Summary:

  • Bio-Pur® plant-based memory foam is cooling and durable
  • Moisture-wicking fabric cover is easy to care for
  • CertiPUR-US® certified pillow won’t irritate sleepers
Save with Free Shipping on the Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow with our discount code
Shop Now

Our Amerisleep Flex Pillow can be flattened or fluffed up to suit a back sleeper’s pillow height preferences. The shredded fill also helps air move through it, making it excellent for hot sleepers.

Pillow Highlights
  • MicroFlex cushion fill for a 6-inch thick pillow
  • Fill adapts swiftly to changes in positions
  • Heat wicked away by air moving between cushions
Recommended For
  • Back and combo sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Budget shoppers

The Amerisleep Flex Pillow is a customizable pillow you can mold into any shape. It’s a good option for back sleepers looking for extra neck support and cushioning. The Flex Pillow is also great if you like switching positions throughout the night.

The Flex Pillow is 6 inches thick in its original form, but you can flatten or thicken it as you prefer.

Inside the Flex Pillow are hundreds of MicroFlex cushions, ripped-up pieces of eco-foam. These eco-friendly cushions snap back into shape and don’t need much fluffing. Air can escape between the MicroFlex cushions, ensuring you don’t get hot at night.

Quick Summary:

  • Cooling pillow with an adjustable loft
  • Eco-friendly MicroFlex Cushions adapt to any shape
  • Snaps back into shape without endless fluffing
Save with Free Shipping on the Amerisleep Flex Pillow with our discount code
Shop Now

Back sleepers can choose between soft and firm feels with our Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow. Shoppers can also choose a low or mid-loft pillow.

Pillow Highlights
  • Reversible firmnesses for different preferences
  • Airy, responsive memory foam fill
  • Soft, breathable pillow cover fabric
Recommended For
  • Back sleepers who want firm or soft pillows
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who want a versatile pillow for guests

Back sleepers who want a firmer pillow should take a look at the Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow. It’s our most unique pillow at Amerisleep since it’s both a dual-sided pillow and contour pillow. One side of the pillow is soft and the other is firm, and both sides feature tapered edges for better neck support.

The Dual Comfort Pillow comes in two lofts: low or mid. The low-loft option is 5 inches thick and good for back and combination sleepers. The mid-loft is 6 inches thick and good for back and side sleepers. So as a back sleeper, you can choose between either loft.

Both sides of the Dual Comfort Pillow contain Bio-Pur® memory foam. We built air channels throughout the foam to cycle hot air out and keep you cool.

Quick Summary:

  • Dual-sided pillow has both a firm and soft side
  • Available in low- (5-inch) or mid-loft (6-inch)
  • Bio-Pur® foam contains cooling channels to prevent overheating
Save with Free Shipping on the Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow with our discount code
Shop Now

Pillow Fills for Back Sleepers

When shopping for a pillow, you’ll come across all types of pillow fills, or what your pillow is made from. A pillow’s fill affects its feel, price, and durability.

Memory Foam

Memory foam pillows contour closely to your neck and head to provide incomparable comfort and pain relief. They’re durable, sturdy, and great for aligning your head and neck.

You can find both solid and shredded memory foam pillows. Solid pillows are firm and supportive while shredded pillows are malleable and soft.

The problem with memory foam pillows is they can trap heat and off-gas. Avoid this by getting memory foam infused with gel or graphite and looking for third-party certifications such as CertiPUR-US® or GREENGUARD Gold. The infusions help the memory foam stay cool, while the certifications mean the foam won’t contain harsh, smelly chemicals.

Latex

Latex is a natural foam known for its durability, springiness, and breathability. It’s similar to memory foam because it conforms under your head and neck to relieve pressure. However, latex is more responsive compared to memory foam so your head won’t just sink into your pillow.

The main types of latex you’ll find in pillows are Talalay and Dunlop. Talalay is soft, springy, and highly pressure-relieving. On the other hand, Dunlop latex is firm, durable, and supportive. Both types of latex pillows come in shredded and solid forms, just like memory foam.

Down

Down is a luxury pillow fill made from goose or duck feathers. Down pillows are soft, lightweight, and breathable, though they do require regular fluffing to keep them lofty.

The issue with down pillows is that they aren’t supportive despite being so costly. Down pillows may feel nice and high-end, but they don’t provide pressure relief and cushioning the same way a latex or memory foam pillow does. So, if you’re dealing with any sort of neck or head pain, you may prefer a more supportive pillow made from foam.

Down Alternative

Down alternative is a synthetic fill that mimics genuine down and feather pillows. Down alternative is made from polyester fibers and is hypoallergenic, making it a decent choice for plant-based shoppers or people with allergies.

Another benefit to down alternative pillows is they’re cheap, readily available, and machine washable. However, being cheap and accessible comes with its downsides. Down alternative pillows are prone to growing lumpy and flat, trapping heat, and being unsupportive. While you save money on your initial purchase, you’ll need to replace down alternative pillows sooner than other fills.

How to Choose a Pillow for Back Sleeping

Beyond comparing pillow fills, consider your pillow’s loft and firmness to make the most out of back sleeping.

Loft

Pillow loft is another word for pillow thickness. While your pillow’s loft may seem unimportant, it makes a major impact on your spinal alignment and comfort. When you sleep on your back, use a mid-loft pillow, or a pillow between 4 to 6 inches thick.

Firmness

Next to deciding on a pillow loft, be sure to find the right pillow firmness for you. Pillow firmness is how much give your pillow has beneath your head and directly impacts your comfort at night. For back sleepers, we recommend a medium or firm pillow.

Benefits of Back Sleeping

Back sleeping is often viewed as one of the best sleeping positions and for a good reason. The posture mimics what you have when you stand straight, maintaining a healthy spine alignment.

It isn’t always easy to start back sleeping, but it’s gentle on your spine, good for your skin, and can relieve heartburn and acid reflux.

Promotes Healthy Spinal Alignment

Sleeping on your back is one of the healthiest positions because it promotes a neutral spine. Good posture at night prevents pain and discomfort, helps you sleep better, improves blood circulation, and is overall important for your health. With that, healthy spinal alignment is important for the central nervous system, digestive system, and mood.

Soothes Neck and Back Pain

A big reason people start back sleeping is to relieve chronic neck pain and back pain. Since back sleeping is great for aligning your spine, it results in less muscle pain and stiffness. Compared to side and stomach sleeping, there’s less strain on your neck and lumbar spine when sleeping on your back.

Reduces Acid Reflux and Heartburn Symptoms

Sleeping on your back may help with acid reflux and heartburn at night. We recommend using a cervical pillow or wedge pillow when back sleeping because they lift your upper body and keep your stomach acid at bay.

If you regularly deal with acid reflux and heartburn, avoid eating Verified Source Harvard Health Blog run by Harvard Medical School offering in-depth guides to better health and articles on medical breakthroughs. View source fatty, salty, or spicy foods in the evenings. These are common trigger foods for acid reflux and make your symptoms more apparent.

Minimizes Wrinkles and Acne

When sleeping on your side or stomach, some—if not all—of your face is pressed into your pillow. When back sleeping, your face usually doesn’t touch your pillow. By keeping your face off of your pillow, you reduce your risk of developing creases and wrinkles from the pressure placed on your face.

Similarly, pillows and pillowcases collect dirt, dust, and other bacteria, even if you wash them regularly. Resting your face on your pillow can cause acne breakouts, but sleeping on your back protects your skin.

best-pillows-for-back-sleepers

FAQs

Should back sleepers use a pillow?

Yes! It’s crucial to use a pillow when back sleeping to foster healthy spinal alignment. Going pillowless means your head and neck won’t be supported, which leads to pain, headaches and migraines, difficulty sleeping, and poor blood circulation. Stomach sleepers are the only group who can comfortably sleep without a pillow.

Always be sure to use a pillow suited for back sleeping because the wrong pillow can cause similar problems to going pillow-free.

How high should a pillow be for back sleepers?

When back sleeping, use a pillow between 4 to 6 inches thick to keep your head and neck aligned with your spine. Too thin or thick of a pillow will throw your spine out of alignment. Improper spinal alignment leads to pain, headaches, stiffness, poor blood circulation, and more issues.

Should your shoulders be on the pillow when back sleeping?

No, you should not place your shoulders on your pillow when back sleeping. Standard pillows are designed to support your head and neck, aligning them with the rest of your body. If you place your shoulders onto your pillow, your head and neck are left unsupported, leading to stiffness and pain.

What type of pillow is best for back sleepers?

Some great types of pillows for back sleepers are cervical (contour) pillows, wedge pillows, and standard rectangular pillows. Choosing between these pillows comes down to preferences or if you want to resolve a specific issue.

Cervical pillows have arches built to better align the head and neck with the spine. They’re a great option if you want a pillow for neck pain or simply want a bit of extra support.

Wedge pillows are shaped like triangles and support your upper body the same way an adjustable bed would. Unlike other types of pillows, you rest your shoulders and back on the pillow. Wedge pillows are designed to relieve lower back pain, improve snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, and minimize acid reflux and heartburn.

What’s the difference between a side sleeper pillow and a back sleeper pillow?

The main difference between pillows for side sleepers and back sleepers is firmness and loft. Side sleepers almost always need firm, high loft pillows thicker than 6 inches. Conversely, back sleepers usually need mid loft pillows between 4 to 6 inches thick with a medium feel. Some back sleepers may want a firmer pillow, but this isn’t the norm.

A lot of pillows on the market suit both side and back sleepers, but other pillows are specially made for either side or back sleepers.

Conclusion

Your pillow can make the difference between sleeping peacefully or tossing and turning all night. As a back sleeper, look for mid-loft pillows with a medium or firm for the best support. Take your time and invest in your sleep by getting a high-quality pillow suited for back sleeping.


About the author

Mitchell Tollsen is a graduate student and a freelance writer who’s contributed to the Early Bird blog for three years. Mitchell’s always been fascinated by the science of sleep and the restorative processes our bodies undergo when at rest. The self-titled “Sleep Expert” is always looking for ways to improve his shut-eye, and throughout the years has implemented numerous lifestyle changes and tried dozens of sleep-promoting gadgets to determine the best ways to truly get better rest.

View all posts

You’ll enjoy these posts

Based on your reading history, we think you’ll enjoy these posts…

Discover the ultimate sleep system

Choose your mattress

Shop top-rated mattresses with proven sleep-boosting materials.

Get a pillow

We have the perfect pillow to pair with your mattress.

Browse Pillows

Pick out bedding

Bring out the best in your mattress with our soft and breathable bedding.

Browse Bedding