The best pillows for every type of sleeper: memory foam, temperature regulation, feather and down, and more
Whether you’re a side, back, or front sleeper, we spoke to sleep experts to compile our list of the best pillows for every sleeping position.
It’s no secret the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, which is why it’s important to choose the best duvets, the best bed sheets, and of course, the best pillows to suit your individual needs.
There’s a lot to consider when shopping for new pillows. With everything from ultra-thin pillows designed specifically for front sleepers to thicker firm memory foam designs for those who sleep on their side, the style you choose will have a considerable impact on the quality of your sleep.
To help you find the best pillows to suit your needs, The Recommended spoke to pillow retailers and sleep experts to compile our list of the best pillows for every type of sleeper. We’ve also included some useful tips explaining the differences between each style of pillow and what to look for to best suit each sleeping style in a little more detail, all of which you can find at the bottom of this article.
The best pillows at a glance:
- Best pillow for side sleepers: Silentnight Deluxe Ultrabounce Pillows 4 Pack
- Best pillow for back sleepers: Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow
- Best pillow for neck pain: Silentnight Impress Memory Foam Soft Pillow
- Best pillow for back pain: Silentnight Firm Support Pillow Pack of 2
- Best pillow for front sleepers: Slumberdown Cosy Nights Pillows
- Best pillow for hot sleepers: Simba Hybrid Pillow with Temperature Regulating Technology
- Best pillow for pregnancy: Silentnight Body Support Pillow with Pillowcase
- Best down pillow: Snuggledown Scandinavian Classic Duck Feather & Down Pillows
- Best woollen pillow: Woolroom Chatsworth Natural Supportive British Wool Pillow
- Best memory foam pillow: Panda Luxury Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
- Best latex pillow: Inofia Latex Memory Foam Pillow
Best pillow for side sleepers: Silentnight Deluxe Ultrabounce Pillows 4 Pack
For head and neck support
Filled with bouncy fibres (hence the name Ultrabounce), these pillows from Silentnight are firm and thick, meaning they’re well-suited to side sleepers who benefit from head and neck support.
This pillow is machine washable at 40 degrees and is hypoallergenic, which is useful if you’re sensitive to allergens. If you’re a side sleeper, but not a fan of firm pillows, our expert Martin says to opt for something softer that still supports your neck and prevents it from drooping down excessively.
Best pillow for back sleepers: Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel Memory Foam Pillow
For keeping your neck and spine aligned
This 3-inch memory foam pillow from Bluewave Bedding ticks all of our expert’s boxes for a pillow best suited to back sleepers.
If you’re a back sleeper, the ultra-slim design of this pillow should help keep your neck aligned with your spine and prevent your head from rising too much, according to our expert Martin. This pillow has a medium firmness, which is said to also help support your neck and back, and it also features infused gel particle technology for temperature regulation.
Best pillow for neck pain: Silentnight Impress Memory Foam Soft Pillow
For removing pressure on joints
Recommended by one of our experts for people with back pain, the Silentnight Impress Memory Foam Soft Pillow is said to mould to the shape of your body, giving you support and removing pressure on joints.
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This is a soft pillow that features firm and reactive memory foam, providing an ideal mix between comfort and support for those with neck pain. It is also hypoallergenic, which is great for people sensitive to allergens and comes with machine-washable covers.
Best pillow for back pain: Silentnight Firm Support Pillow Pack of 2
Firm design for back support
This firm pillow from Silentnight is designed to support your head and neck while you sleep, which our experts say is suitable for people who experience lower back pain.
This pillow also features a fibre core in the centre, which Silentnight says provides a plump and supportive feel. It is also machine washable and hypoallergenic.
Best pillow for front sleepers: Slumberdown Cosy Nights Pillows
Thin and soft
Specifically designed for front sleepers, this pillow from Slumberdown is soft and thin, which is said to help to align your head and body when you sleep on your front.
This pillow is also machine washable and tumble-dryer friendly for convenient cleaning. It is also made without the use of materials likely to cause allergies. It is also available in medium and firm options, which are better suited to back and side sleepers.
Best pillow for hot sleepers: Simba Hybrid Pillow with Temperature Regulating Technology
Temperature-regulating pillows such as this one from Simba are great for people who tend to overheat at night or experience hot flushes.
The Sumba Hybrid Pillow with Temperature Regulating Technology features a ‘stratos fabric’ designed to keep you cool by reacting to the changes in your body temperature, while its soft fibres are also said to encourage airflow. This pillow also has a mesh border and is made using anti-allergenic materials, which is said to help to prevent the build-up of allergens such as dust.
Best pillow for pregnancy: Silentnight Body Support Pillow with Pillowcase
For tucking under your stomach
Recommended by one of our experts as a suitable pillow for people who are pregnant, the Silentnight Body Support Pillow with Pillowcase is designed to support your stomach and abdomen.
This pregnancy pillow is said to gently support your bump and hug your body for relief from aches and pains. It can be used in a range of sleeping positions thanks to its oversized shape, as well as when you’re sitting up in bed or when nursing.
Best feathered pillow: Snuggledown Scandinavian Classic Duck Feather & Down Pillows
For a soft and light feel
With a light and soft feel, these medium support, duck feather and down-filled pillows from Snuggledown are designed for back and side sleepers.
This pillow is said to support your head when sleeping on your back or side by slightly raising it to align with your spine. It consists of 85% duck feather and 15% duck down, which is encased in a cotton fabric with a 230 thread count.
Best woollen pillow: Woolroom Chatsworth Natural Supportive British Wool Pillow
Helps to prevent overheating
If you’re a fan of thick and tough pillows, this woollen pillow from Woolroom is a great option. It is also adjustable as you can remove or add filling to create a pillow shape and fitness suited to your needs.
This woollen pillow is naturally hypoallergenic and comes certified by Allergy UK. It is also designed to resist dust mites, bacteria, fungus and other allergens from collecting. Its unbleached cotton outer and wool filling are also said to help draw moisture away from the surface of your body when you overheat, helping to prevent night sweats.
Best memory foam pillow: Panda Luxury Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
Great for pain relief
Designed to contour around your body and relieve pressure, memory foam pillows such as this one from Panda are ideal for those who require neck and spine support when they sleep.
This memory foam bamboo pillow from Panda consists of a triple-layer memory foam with a firm core for back and neck support. It also features a temperature-regulating technology designed to keep your body cool and comes with a 30-night trial if you decide it’s not right for you.
Best latex pillow: Inofia Latex Memory Foam Pillow
Latex pillows such as this one from Inofia are ideal for people who are sensitive to allergens as it is resistant to mould and dust mites.
This latex pillow has a firm and rigid design, which is said to help to support your head and neck as you sleep. Its memory foam core is designed to promote ventilation and breathability, as well as keep its shape over time.
What are the best pillows?
When shopping for new pillows, all three of our experts recommend making a decision based on what your main sleeping position is. From there, you can then identify what level of support is best for you.
As Martin Seeley, CEO of Mattress Next Day, puts it: “Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-pillow-suits-all solution and picking the right one will be determined by your sleeping position. If you don’t take this into consideration, you can get unwanted aches and pains the following morning.”
Lucinda Newbound, a senior ergonomics advisor at Back in Action, says, “the position you sleep in and whether you suffer from back pain and neck pains will impact the type of pillow you need and the support required. Your pillow should encourage the natural ‘s’ shape of your spine and relieve any tensions with your neck and head as these can cause discomfort.”
It’s also worth considering your bedtime habits and whether or not you have any allergies. As Robert Lancaster-Gaye of Tiellel explains, “fillings such as microfibre or feather pillows in anti-allergy casings may be better if you suffer from house dust mites”. If you’re a bedtime reader, "you may want an extra firm pillow or to invest in oversized super-king size pillows, or extra large pillows to prop you up and support your back and neck".
What are the best pillows for side sleepers?
If you’re a side sleeper, all three of our experts recommend opting for a pillow designed to keep your head and neck supported.
Lucinda says that “supportive, contoured pillows” that will “support your head without putting added pressure on your neck or spine” is best.
Martin agrees, adding that you should “make sure the pillow you choose is slightly on the firmer side and is thicker to fill the gap between your shoulder and ear”. He adds that if you’re a side sleeper but not a great fan of firm pillows, then opt for something softer, but to “make sure your neck doesn’t droop down excessively”.
Robert adds that if you’re a side sleeper and experience back pain, then “placing a pillow between your knees while you sleep can prevent pain”.
What are the best pillows for back sleepers?
Back sleepers should choose a thin pillow “to help the neck stay aligned with the spine”, says Martin. “The pillow should be on the softer side to prevent the head from rising too high, However, you also have the option to go for something firmer if you’re looking to get a different material, such as memory foam.”
What are the best pillows for front sleepers?
If you’re a front sleeper, “look to invest in a thinner, softer pillow, similar to back sleepers”, says Martin. He adds that front sleepers sometimes shouldn’t have any pillows at all. “Front sleepers are most prone to back problems and can ache all over if their head is raised too high during the night.”
What are the best pillows for neck pain?
If you suffer from neck pain, Lucina says it is “vital” to opt for a supportive pillow. “We recommend choosing a foam or memory foam contoured cushion which moulds to your neck and head. But beware of cheap memory foam, they can offer poor support and deteriorate quickly.”
Martin agrees, adding: “Memory foam moulds to the shape of your body, giving you exceptional support and removing any excess pressure on your joints.”
To ensure you choose the right pillow for your individual needs, Robert recommends that “you buy one [pillow], sleep on it, then buy the rest for the bed once you’re happy”.
If you want to read more product guides, check out our Household page, where you’ll find more home recommendations, including the best bed sheets, the best alarm clocks, the best hooded blankets and the best weighted blankets.
Luke Chamberlain is a Staff Writer for The Recommended, and interviews some of the world’s most knowledgeable product experts to help readers make smarter decision about the products they buy online.