Best Pillows For Back Sleepers

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Experts agree that sleeping on your back is the healthiest sleep position for most people, as compared to side and stomach sleeping. Still, only 8% of the adult American population sleeps on their backs at night.

The health benefits of sleeping on your back center mostly on the ability for the head, neck, and spine to find a neutral alignment and achieve sufficient pressure relief in this position. These are keys to a comfortable night’s sleep and will result in a lack of stress, stiffness, or pain when waking up in the morning.

Choosing a pillow to complement back sleeping and support proper neck alignment not only ensures sleepers will stay comfortable, but it’ll also help individuals avoid sleep disturbances such as snoring (and avoid wrinkles, too!).

We’ve tested tons of options to find the best pillows and now we’re sharing our list of the best pillows for back sleepers, and we included some factors sleepers should look for when searching for the next pillow. Sweet dreams!

The Best Pillows For Back Sleepers

Check out our top picks:

Below we’ve provided all the details on each of the pillows in our list and included links to the full pillow reviews to help sleepers narrow down their choices even further.

Editor’s Pick

Faux Down GhostPillow

Microfiber gel cluster filling makes the GhostPillow Faux Down pillow the perfect feel for back sleepers. The 7″ height means heads will sink into the more traditional, fluffier feel of the pillow but won’t come close to hitting the bottom. 

Those who love – or at least prefer – the feel of a down pillow will love the hypoallergenic feature of this pillow. Plus, those who turn over in the night and end up on their stomach or the side will enjoy the soft feel of the velour-like cover, with no worries about wrinkles.

Right now the pillow comes in just one size and costs around $85 at full price.

Pillow Details:

  • As of this review, only one size is available and the dimensions are 20″ x 30″ x 7″
  • The outer cover is made of velour, which is 80% cotton and 20% polyester and the lining is 100% cotton
  • The Faux Down pillow fill is 100% microfiber gel clusters and has a feel of polyester fiber or down alternative
  • The pillow offers a soft, plush and wrinkle-free feel with a medium firmness
  • The entire pillow is naturally hypoallergenic and fully washable
  • GhostBed offers 101-night sleep trial and 5-year warranty
  • $85 full price, one size only

We’ve got a full review of the Faux Down pillow plus more.

40% Off
GhostPillow Faux Down
GhostPillow Faux Down
GhostPillow Faux Down

The GhostPillow Faux Down is a great option for back sleepers and has a wrinkle-free cover as well. Click the button to save 40% on the pillow. 

Best Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Latex

Brooklyn Bedding’s Talalay Latex pillow is solid but lightweight, offering a great level of support and pressure relief without the slow “sinking in” feeling that memory foam provides.

This particular latex pillow comes in two height profiles, 4″ and 6″ – back sleepers will be able to choose either, and it all depends on body type. Those with broader shoulders or larger body types may want to go with the 6″. Likewise, more petite individuals should aim for the 4″ option.

The outer cover is not only moisture-wicking but antimicrobial as well; a Queen is about $89 at full price.

Pillow Details:

  • Comes in King and Queen sizes
  • The low loft is 4” tall and the high loft is 5” tall
  • Solid piece of ventilated, hypoallergenic Talalay latex foam
  • Blended Talalay Latex layer that is 70% synthetic and 30% natural
  • Medium firmness level
  • Made in the USA
  • Hyper-responsive latex foam is bouncy but supportive
  • The cover is 50% cotton and 50% polyester
  • Moisture-wicking, antimicrobial cover
  • 30-day return policy/trial period
  • Care: Wash on a gentle setting and lay flat to dry
  • Full Price: $89 for Queen and $99 for King

Read the full and complete review of this pillow.

Brooklyn Bedding Deals
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding's Talalay Latex Pillow is a supportive and pressure relieving blended latex foam pillow. It has a ventilated core and removable soft knit cover. It comes in two loft options, making it a good choice for any sleep position.

Best Adjustable Pillow For Back Sleepers

Coop Home Goods Eden

Sometimes I talk about a “best of both worlds” feel in a pillow – I’m referring to a pillow’s filling that’s often a mix of a type of supportive foam and then a smoothing, softer material like a polyester microfiber or Kapok fiber.

One of the best examples of this type of pillow is the Coop Home Goods Eden pillow. Similar to the original version, it comes filled with chunks of foam for great support – however, these are uniform pieces of cross-cut gel memory foam (as opposed to big chunks of memory foam in the Original). Plus, there’s this great quantity of polyester microfibers, which grab ahold of the foam pieces and smooth everything out, so no one can feel a single lump.

Back sleepers have the ability to add or remove as much of the filling as they prefer, plus the cover is an incredibly soft mix of polyester and viscose-rayon derived from bamboo, so if an individual moves to his or her side or stomach, true comfort will be waiting!

The pillow comes in three sizes and the Standard costs around $70.

Pillow Details:

  • The idea behind this pillow is that it’s made for those who want the support of memory foam and the comfort of down in one pillow
  • The Eden is adjustable – one can add/remove the filling
  • It is filled with a lush blend of gel-infused memory foam and microfiber
  • The cover is 60% polyester and 40% viscose-rayon derived from Bamboo (soft and breathable)
  • Machine-washable and dryer friendly (both the cover and inner filling are removable)
  • $80 for Queen ($70 for Standard and $90 for King)

Check out my full review of the Coop Home Goods Eden pillow.

Coop Home Goods Deals
Coop Home Goods Eden
Coop Home Goods Eden
Coop Home Goods Eden

The Coop Home Goods Eden is an adjustable pillow that should be a great fit for back sleepers. Click the button to get the best deal on the Eden. 

Best Soft Pillow For Back Sleepers

Saatva Latex

When it comes to finding a pillow for back sleeping, medium-firm pillows are usually the best. That being said, if you want a soft pillow for back sleeping, the Saatva Latex pillow should be a great fit. 

As the name suggests, the Saatva is a latex pillow that contains a core of shredded Talalay latex. Surrounding that, there is some soft microfiber. This microfiber gives the pillow some nice plushness, while the Talalay ensures that you get the proper neck and head support while back sleeping. 

Being a latex pillow, the Saatva is also a great fit for hot sleepers. It features a breathable cover and the Talalay latex and microfiber won’t trap heat the way a memory foam pillow might. 

Pillow Details:

  • The pillow dimensions are 18″ x 28″ for a Queen and 18″ x 34″ for a King
  • The Saatva pillow contains eco-friendly materials
  • Features a Shredded Talalay latex core surrounded by soft microfiber
  • The inner pillow is removable 
  • Saatva offers 45-day free returns and 1-year limited warranty
  • Full price: Queen – $155 King – $175

Learn more in our Saatva pillow review

Saatva Deals
Saatva Pillow
Saatva Pillow
Saatva Pillow

The Saatva Pillow has an organic cotton cover that is removable. Underneath is an outer pillow made up of hypoallergenic microfibers. You can unzip that pillow and reach a pouch filled with shredded Talalay latex pieces. 

Best Memory Foam Pillow For Back Sleepers

Casper Memory Foam

If you’re a back sleeper looking for a great memory foam pillow, the Casper is going to be a great choice. It features three layers of foam that offer the perfect balance of comfort and support that back sleepers should be looking for. Lying down on the Casper Memory Foam pillow, you should feel your head sink in just the right amount.

How exactly does the Casper Memory Foam pillow work? Well, the center layer provides the necessary support for back sleepers. The outer layers of plusher foam offer nice contouring around the head and neck. 

While it is a memory foam pillow, the Casper should also be a good fit for hot sleepers. Its proprietary AirScape foam is designed to promote airflow through the pillow. Back sleepers who like a memory foam feel but don’t want to sleep hot should check out the Casper Memory Foam pillow. 

Pillow Details:

  • Available in two sizes: Standard and King
  • Comes in two lofts – Mid Loft and Low Loft
  • The cover is a knit blend and is very breathable 
  • Includes three foam layers in its construction
  • You can remove the cover for easy washing
  • Pricing is Standard: $89 King: $119

Read our full Casper Foam Pillow Review 

10% Off
Casper Foam Pillow
Casper Foam Pillow
Casper Foam Pillow

Casper's Foam Pillow has a polyester/spandex knit cover and a 3-layer foam core that's made with plush outer layers and a firmer center layer. Click the button below to save 10% on your purchase!

Best Cooling Pillow For Back Sleepers

Layla Kapok

Sleeping position is always good to consider when shopping for a pillow. At the same time, you should think about your sleep temperature. If you are a hot sleeper, the Layla Kapok pillow could be a great choice. 

The Layla pillow contains shredded pieces of memory foam and Kapok fibers from rainforest trees! Where does the cooling come in? Well, that’s going to be found in the pillow’s cover. It boasts CuTEC yarn which contains copper fibers. This material is known for drawing heat away from the body and helping keep you cool. 

Of course, the Layla is on this list, so it’s a great fit for back sleepers! The shredded memory foam provides the support, while the Kapok fibers provide the necessary plushness. The pillow has a great balance of comfort and support for when you’re lying on your back. 

Pillow Details:

  • Dimensions: 18″ x 26″ x 4″ (Standard) and 18″ x 32″ x 4″ (King)
  • Filling Kapok fibers and shredded memory foam pieces
  • Cover: Knit blend woven with copper fibers to promote cooling.
  • Pillow is Hypoallergenic
  • Layla offers a 5-year prorated warranty and a 120-night trial

Read our full Layla pillow review.

BOGO Half Off
Layla Pillow
Layla Pillow
Layla Pillow

The Layla Pillow features a zipper on the side that lets you access the Kapok fiber and shredded memory foam mixed filling. It has a soft knit cover that includes copper-infused yarn and a pattern that matches the mattress cover. 

Best Value Pillow For Side Sleepers

Purple Plush

If you’re looking for a new mattress, you’ve probably heard of the popular brand, Purple. Did you know they also offer pillows? One of their best pillows is also one of the best value pillows for back sleepers. We’re speaking, of course, about the Purple Plush pillow. 

The Purple Plush pillow contains something called Smart Fluff. It is basically poly-fiber puff balls that help to give the Purple Plush its “plush” moniker. On the sides the pillow also features zippers. Unzipping them will make the pillow feel softer. Zipping them makes the pillow feel more like medium-firm. This gives you ways to adjust the pillow for that perfect comfort and support for back sleeping.

And, as we mentioned, the Purple Plush is a great value. It’s currently priced under $50 for their Standard size. That’s quite a deal!

Pillow Details:

  • Two sizes: Standard and King
  • The cover boasts a moisture-wicking treatment to help with cooling
  • The filling is what Purple calls “Smart Fluff,” or poly-fiber puff balls
  • Zippers on side allow you to adjust the firmness
  • Purple offers a 100-night trial and 1- year warranty
  • Can be washed and dried at home

Read the complete Purple Plush pillow review

Purple Deals
Purple Plush Pillow
Purple Plush Pillow
Purple Plush Pillow

The Purple Plush Pillow is a simple but innovatively designed pillow that features a Lyocell and Nylon blended cover and is filled with "Smart Fluff" which is interlocking polyester fibers.

Best Pillow For Athletes

Bear

Bear is known for offering mattresses for athletes. It’s no surprise then that the Bear pillow is also great for athletes and active people. A cooling cover and mesh panels work to ensure that you get deep, restful sleep. 

Bear’s pillow also has many great features for back sleepers. Inside, the solid piece of ventilated foam is called LOFT-X foam and is a hybrid of memory foam and latex. That means you get a really nice level of support (around a 5″ height profile), but your head doesn’t slowly sink in; it remains supported by the bouncier latex foam.

Also, the outside cover is soft and breathable. With its Double Ice Fabric, it’s cool to the touch, and the mesh side panels promote airflow.

Pillow Details:

  • Made with Double Ice Fabric: a special removable fabric that stays cool to the touch throughout the night
  • The core is made with Loft-X Foam: a hybrid piece of foam that combines memory foam and latex foam to offer contour to your spine and neck (100% polyurethane)
  • Dual mesh side panels for continuous airflow throughout your sleep
  • Removable cover is machine washable and dryer friendly
  • Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial protection
  • Free shipping & 2-year warranty
  • Queen ($95) and King ($115) sizes available

Read the full Bear Pillow review

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Bear Pillow
Bear Pillow
Bear Pillow

The Bear Pillow is a great option for hot sleepers. Click the button to save 25% on your purchase. 

Best Luxury Pillow

TEMPUR-Down Precise Support

TEMPUR-Pedic’s TEMPUR-Down Precise Support pillow is a slam dunk for back sleepers who relish that luxurious feel of down. The pillow is a 100% cotton, 500 thread count cover with a stylish gusset – inside the cover is white duck down. This classic, fluffy feel will be the first thing a sleeper experiences when he or she lies down to sleep.

It wouldn’t be a TEMPUR-Pedic pillow without some sort of TEMPUR material in the fill, which is the brand’s signature proprietary foam. In the case of the TEMPUR-Down Precise Support, chunks of the TEMPUR material are found in a separate lined casing in the center of the pillow. This allows for back sleepers to get the soft feel of down with the support of some lovely foam.

The pillow comes in two sizes, Queen and King and the Queen is $149 at full price – please keep in mind TEMPUR-Pedic does not allow trials or returns.

Pillow Details:

  • Dimensions (Queen): 25.25″ x 17″ x 7.88″
  • Cover: Premium 500 thread count 100% cotton and filled with authentic, premium down filling 51% white duck down
  • Core: The core is made with medium TEMPUR-Material (shredded)
  • The cover is removable and washable
  • Comes in Queen and King sizes
  • Full price: $149

Learn more about this TEMPUR-Pedic pillow and others in our ultimate list. 

TEMPUR-Pedic Deals
TEMPUR-Down Precise Support Pillow
TEMPUR-Down Precise Support Pillow
TEMPUR-Down Precise Support Pillow

The TEMPUR-Down Precise Support provides a more traditional and luxurious down feel in combination with a supportive shredded foam core made of proprietary TEMPUR material. Click the button for the best deal.

Best Pillow For Neck Pain

SpineAlign

Back sleepers truly benefit from the unique shape of a contour pillow and the experience is only elevated when the pillow is designed by a sports chiropractor. Dr. Loth’s SpineAlign is just that pillow – the center chamber of the pillow is made just for back sleepers, with a beautiful curve at the ends to support the natural cervical curvature of an individual’s neck.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the logo on the pillow, as that side is designed for taller sleepers, and more petite sleepers will prefer the opposite side. The pillow also has little zippers for each chamber of the pillow, so individuals can access the filling, which happens to be a supportive mix of foam chunks and polyester fibers.

The pillow seems to go in and out of being sold out but, when it’s available, expect to pay around $149 for it (comes in one size). 

Pillow Details:

  • Shape: Contour pillow
  • Two outer chambers for side sleeping and a middle chamber for back sleeping
  • Customizable to fit a sleeper’s correct posture in both the back and side sleeping positions
  • Cover: Soft Tencel blended fabric with strips of mesh built in the sides (37% Lyocell – also called Tencel, 61% Polyester, and 2% spandex)
  • Filling: blend of shredded internal fill (foam and fiber) accessible through zippers on the back
  • Has “one size fits most” design
  • Fits in a Queen size pillowcase
  • Approximately 23” x 17” x 6”
  • 90-night free trial
  • Do not wash the pillow; spot-clean only
  • Made in the USA with imported materials

Check out my full review of the SpineAlign pillow.

SpineAlign Deals
SpineAlign Pillow
SpineAlign Pillow
SpineAlign Pillow

The SpineAlign pillow is a contour pillow offering a combination of support and plushness with its adjustable core filled with foam and fibers. Click the button for the best deals on this pillow!

Marten’s Take

When we get asked for a personal pillow recommendation, one suggestion our team makes is to take body weight and body type into consideration when choosing the right pillow. These personal attributes are important when it comes to narrowing down the right height and the right support level in a pillow – petite back sleepers need a different support level than heavier back sleepers.  For reference, I’m 5′ 7″ and about average body type and my review can be insightful, but it’s always better to add another opinion into the mix. I asked Marten, who is 6’7” and weighs 250 lbs, to offer his take on which of these five pillows would be best for heavier back sleepers.

 best pillows for back sleepers 2020 - marten's take

Hi guys, Marten here – these are my favorite pillows from Katie’s list:

Faux Down GhostPillow: This pillow offers that fluffier down alternative feel that I love in the pillow and when I lie on my back, it offers just the right amount of support for me.

Coop Home Goods Eden: I’m a big fan of the Coop Home Goods feel because I’m still getting that fluffy feel that I like but with a little bit of that slower, sinking feeling of memory foam. I feel a lot of good support on the back of my head and my neck with this pillow.

SpineAlign: As Katie mentioned, there are two sides to choose from depending on how much neck support someone needs. I chose the more lofted side, the one intended for taller sleepers. The middle chamber provided great support for me with this pillow.

What Back Sleepers Should Look For In A Pillow

As we mentioned before, people want to find a pillow that helps the head, neck, and spine all stay in a neutral position. This will prevent unnecessary stress on the joints and leave people waking up refreshed and comfortable. In order to find that perfect pillow, there are a few factors you should keep in mind.

Materials

There are many great pillow options for back sleepers from a variety of material types.

  • Latex pillows offer great pressure relief and long-term support. Plus, latex quickly responds to your movements so you can sleep comfortably.
  • Memory foam pillows offer great contouring to match the natural curvature of your neck and spine. They are also very durable and offer long-lasting support.
  • Down pillows are soft and cooling, though they tend to become flat more quickly and may not offer long-lasting support.
  • Cotton pillows are also softer and may lose support more quickly.
  • Gel-infused pillows can help keep you cool at night.

Loft

Your neck has a normal curvature that should be supported by the pillow. If the pillow has too much loft, the neck will straighten out, and if the pillow is too low, the curve will be intensified. Either of these positions will leave a person with soreness and stiffness.

best pillows for back sleepers - poor neck alignment from flat pillowbest pillows for back sleepers - proper neutral alignmentbest pillows for back sleepers - firmer pillow may cause neck pain

Related: Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Firmness

Back sleepers should avoid pillows that are extra soft or extra firm. In order to get the proper amount of support needed to keep the spine in alignment, back sleepers will want a medium to medium-firm pillow.

Keep in mind that certain materials affect the density and firmness of the pillow. Latex and memory foam pillows are more dense and offer a different feel from down and feather pillows.

What Else Can Back Sleepers Do?

Back sleepers who are looking for a great night’s sleep may want to consider more than just the pillow resting under their head. Here are a few more tips to help back sleepers get great sleep.

  • Sleep on a supportive mattress – Back sleepers will be most comfortable on a medium-firm mattress that offers great support, especially in the lumbar region of the spine.
  • Add a mattress topper to a too-firm mattress – If your mattress is too firm and you aren’t ready for a new one, try adding a memory foam or latex mattress topper to add a layer of comfort. If your mattress is too-soft, some high-density toppers may help make your sleep surface slightly more firm.
  • Add another pillow to the bed – Sleeping with a pillow underneath your knees can help back sleepers support the natural curvature of the spine. This is especially true for back sleepers who experience low back pain.
  • Stretch before bed – Doing some light stretches before bed to release muscle tension can help you avoid pressure and pain in the lower back while you sleep.

Summary

When it comes to choosing the healthiest sleep position, back sleepers take first prize. The best way these sleepers can continue their healthy streak is by selecting a pillow that supports the natural curve of the neck and spine and helps keep everything in neutral alignment.

Individuals can rest easy knowing that a dream pillow is out there waiting to be selected! Again, here is our list of top picks:

Pillow Best For
GhostPillow Faux Down Editor’s Pick
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Best Latex Pillow
Coop Home Goods Eden Best Adjustable Pillow For Back Sleepers
Saatva Latex Best Soft Pillow For Back Sleepers
Casper Memory Foam Best Memory Foam Pillow For Back Sleepers
Layla Best Cooling Pillow For Back Sleepers
Purple Plush Best Value Pillow
Bear Best Pillow For Athletes
TEMPUR Down Precise Support Best Luxury Pillow
SpineAlign Best Pillow For Neck Pain

There is no single “universally best” pillow for back sleepers but there are plenty of choices available in the market. From classic down, foam, and even more unique – and often more natural sustainable materials – such as Kapok fibers. Back sleepers are the Goldilocks of pillow shoppers, they are advised to look for a pillow whose loft and firmness aren’t too high or too firm, as this can push the neck up and make it harder to breathe.

Those who are unsure what to look for might be looking into pillows that offer trial periods (plenty do). This way people can sleep on several pillows for a few nights and see which one leaves them feeling the best in the morning.

FAQs

What kind of pillow is best for back sleepers?

The best pillow for back sleepers is one that will support the natural head, neck and spinal alignment of the body. Please keep in mind that this is not the same thing as an exact straight line. Our bodies have a natural curve to them – this is noticeable when sleepers place their hands behind their heads and move them down toward the shoulders – the curvature is prominent in this point.

The best pillow for back sleepers is one that supports this natural curve. One that is too firm will push the head forward, generating neck strain and discomfort. Likewise, a pillow that’s too soft or flat will cause the head to fall too far back, exaggerating the curve of the neck and increasing the likelihood of neck pain as well.

Are memory foam pillows good for back sleepers?

Memory foam pillows can be a great option for back sleepers; the natural contouring and pressure-relieving properties that memory foam provides can help support the neck and the head and keep it in the right alignment, all without falling flat or changing shape overnight. The key is to find the right support level and height for a person’s body type – not all memory foams are created the same in terms of feel or support.

Should back sleepers even use a pillow?

Yes, in most cases back sleepers should use a pillow. How tall or supportive the pillow should be will be determined by body shape and size and also how firm or soft one’s mattress is. The firmer the mattress, the more one’s body will sleep on top of the bed, as opposed to sinking into the bed. This correlates to how supportive one’s pillow should be – the firmer the mattress, the taller and the more supportive the pillow will need to be. Likewise, the softer the pillow the more someone will sink into the mattress and a flatter pillow will be sufficient.

Gravatar for Katie Golde

Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news. She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.