Best Pillows for Back Sleepers

Get the good night’s sleep you deserve with our recommendation for the best pillow for back sleepers.

By: Daniel Grogan

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If you’re a back sleeper, then you know how hard it can be to find the right pillow. You want something that cradles your head while also ensuring your neck is properly supported and that your airways are kept wide open (to prevent snoring). With so many factors to choose from, it might be frustrating trying to locate the best pillow for back sleepers. Luckily, we’re here to help. To improve your sleeping experience, see the best mattresses for back sleepers.

Below, we take a thorough look at the best back sleeper pillows in terms of cooling, neck support, pricing, and much more. We also include our own editor’s pick for a supportive pillow that checks all the boxes and offers one of the best back sleeping experiences possible. Keep reading to learn more, or for more general information, take a look at our best pillows guide.

 Disclosure: By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Nerd may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.

Best Pillows for Back Sleepers

Watch our Review

Tempur-Symphony

Editor’s Pick

The Tempur-Symphony accommodates a wide range of back sleepers and provides exceptional pressure relief. One side of the pillow is flat, which works well for stomach and side sleepers. Since we’re talking about back sleepers, we’ll be focusing on the arched side, which contours to your shape as the back of your head sinks into the memory foam. 

The 100% polyester pillow cover is removable and machine washable, making it very easy to keep your pillow fresh smelling and clean. The Tempur-Symphony comes with free shipping and a five-year warranty.

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Purple Pillow

Best Pillow for Back Sleepers with Neck Pain

If you’re a back sleeper who is tired of waking up with a sore or stiff neck each morning, then you’ll want the Purple Pillow, our choice for best pillow for neck pain. Made with unique polymer Purple Grid technology that features hundreds of open air channels, this pillow is extremely soft and supportive, gently cradling your head and neck without exerting extra pressure on these sensitive areas.

The Purple Pillow is made of CertiPUR-US and Clean Air GOLD hypoallergenic materials that won’t aggravate your skin or your sinuses, further adding to the level of comfort you get while you sleep. Finally, the included adjustable pillow boosters let you modify the pillow’s height to best accommodate your preferences. The smallest size starts at $109, which may be a bit steep, but you’ll be glad you invested the money in a pillow that will soothe and prevent neck pain as well as the Purple Pillow.

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Coop Home Goods Pillow

Best Budget Pillow for Side Sleepers

We believe that it’s worth spending money on proper mattresses, pillows, and other sleep necessities, but if you’re shopping on a tight budget, there are quality pillows that won’t break the bank. We recommend the budget-friendly Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. This adjustable pillow is medium-firm and features a healthy blend of microfiber and memory foam, creating a unique but accommodating sleep environment for your head and neck.

As a back sleeper, one of the things you need to prioritize is optimal spinal alignment, which you can achieve with this pillow, thanks to its ability to adjust to different lofts by removing some of the fluff. The queen size Coop Home Goods Original Pillow starts at $59.99, making it our choice for best budget pillow.

Layla-Kapok-Pillow

Layla Kapok

Best Cooling Pillow for Back Sleepers

Making sure you’re supported on your back is important, but so is making sure that you’re resting at a comfortable temperature. The Layla Kapok pillow does a good job with both thanks to its thoughtful construction. It has a copper-infused polyester cover that helps to draw heat away from you as you sleep, as well as an adjustable filling that regulates temperature by allowing air to pass through it. 

This fill of the Layla Kapok consists of shredded memory foam and kapok, which is a natural tree fiber that, along with the memory foam, can easily be removed or added from the pillow in order to shape it to your desired loft and angles. Once you find the perfect shape for you, you’ll be impressed with the pressure relief that the Layla Kapok provides to your neck area when you sleep on your back.

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Saatva Pillow

Best Pillow for Back and Side Sleeping

While you might primarily sleep on your back, you’ve likely found yourself sleeping on your side for one reason or another. Whether you’re spooning your partner or simply like to switch sleeping positions every now and again to keep things fresh, it helps to have a pillow that will support you no matter what. The Saatva Latex Pillow does just that! Made with a Talalay latex support core wrapped in a plush outer layer, this pillow has enough loft to provide comfort and support as you switch from your side, to your back, to your other side. 

The Saatva Latex Pillow has a bouncy feel that will make it easy to shift your position around, but enough pressure relief to allow your head to rest comfortably on the pillow once you land on your back or side. Your purchase comes with a 45-night sleep trial, so if you end up not liking it you can send it back.

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Helix Adjustable Pillow

Best Adjustable Pillow for Back Sleepers

For many back sleepers (or any sleeping position really), there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution in terms of the best pillow. That’s why you’ll want to turn to an adjustable pillow option, such as the Helix Adjustable Pillow.

This pillow features a removable support layer within its construction that lets you adjust your pillow height almost instantly, so that elevating or lowering your head and neck is easy. Back sleepers and people who tend to toss and turn will want to keep the support in at night, but sleepers who want a softer feel without neck tilting may want to remove it. Either way, this adjustable pillow will rise to almost any occasion.

What Makes a Pillow Good for Back Sleepers

There are many factors that attribute to the quality of a pillow. If you’re a back sleeper in the market for a new pillow, we advise you to take a look at the aspects below to help you make your decision.

Loft

In the world of pillow manufacturing, the pillow’s height is referred to as loft. As a back sleeper, you’re going to want a pillow that isn’t strictly high-loft or low-loft. You want a pillow that’s right in the middle so that it can keep your head and neck level with your spine. When going with an adjustable loft pillow, you can easily adjust the loft to achieve the right amount of height, but with other pillows, you need to consider the fact that you’re stuck with the same loft, so you better be sure it’s the right one.

Support

Support is crucial for a restful sleep, especially if you’re a back sleeper. Your mattress should offer the right amount of support to keep your spine nice and straight, but your pillow should supplement that by keeping your head and neck aligned as well. If you don’t take care to promote proper spinal alignment, you can wake up each morning with lower back pain, muscle and joint stiffness, and an array of other problems.

Materials

The materials used in your pillows can have an impact on your sleep experience. Below are some descriptions of what you might be able to expect with each pillow type.

Memory Foam

Memory foam pillows are excellent for people suffering from neck and back pain because they mold to the shape of your neck and head, cradling them and offering excellent support. However, compared to other materials, memory foam pillows can trap a lot of heat, leading to uncomfortable sleep experiences for hot sleepers or people in warmer climates. Also, memory foam pillows are made with various chemicals that might give off irritating odors for a short time. See our list of best memory foam pillows for more details.

Latex

Latex pillows are biodegradable, 100% natural, dust-mite resistant, and designed to last for a very long time. You may also like the fact that they can mold to the shape of your head or neck, providing a firm sleep surface for back sleepers. Finally, latex pillows are breathable and cool, allowing them to repel heat much better than memory foam. Unfortunately, the cost of manufacturing latex pillows isn’t cheap, so you can expect to spend a lot of money on this organic option.

Down

Down pillows, similar to feather pillows, are softer and fluffier, making them a prime choice for both back sleepers and some stomach sleepers who want extra loft in their pillow. On the negative side, down pillows can be expensive due to the materials they use, and they require lots of shaking and fluffing to maintain their shapes.

Synthetic Down

Synthetic down pillows, also sometimes known as down alternative pillows, are usually more affordable than traditional down pillows, they retain less heat than other options, and they are naturally hypoallergenic and vegan-friendly. On the other hand, they’re not known for lasting a very long time (typically one or two years), the down alternative material isn’t biodegradable or eco-friendly, and they are not as soft as traditional down pillows.

Other Considerations

Before you go shopping for a new pillow, you don’t want to solely look at the pillow’s materials, pricing, firmness, or other individual aspects. You also want to look at the distributor or manufacturer as a whole. Below we review some important particulars you should look at in a company before you buy their pillows.

Shipping & Returns

Shopping for a pillow online can be tricky since you can’t physically see or feel the pillow. You’re relying on detailed descriptions and images. While most retailers do a good job of accurately portraying the pillow, it’s always good to have a little extra security in your purchase. Many pillow sellers will offer free shipping on orders to help you save money on your purchase, which can be great if you’re buying more expensive options. Also, you’ll want to buy from a seller who offers a trial period. Some pillows don’t feel right at first because they have a break-in period. Look for sleep trial periods, typically 30, 60, or 90 days, where you can test out the pillow and return it within a certain window for a total refund.

Care & Maintenance

No matter what pillow option you go with, it’s crucial that you take care of it if you want it to last a long time. A pillow, like your mattress, is an investment, and it needs to be maintained. Look over your pillow and the associated pillowcase to find out the best ways to wash them. Also look to see if the removable pillow cover is machine washable, and whether the pillow can be dry cleaned. Always double-check care and maintenance instructions on your pillows so that you don’t end up accidentally destroying them during a routine cleaning. Read our article on how to wash pillows for more info.

Pillow Warranties

Like with any big purchase, you want to ensure you have a warranty to protect it. Many pillow sellers offer an included warranty with their products that cover a wide range of flaws with the product. The most common warranty features cover physical flaws that cause the pillow to split or crack despite proper usage and handling, and deterioration of the pillow that may cause the product to not return to its original shape and size. Warranties typically do not cover damages inflicted by improper usage or handling of the pillow by the user.

Summary

You deserve a good night’s rest, and one of the best ways to achieve that is by investing in the perfect pillow that suits your sleep position. Whether you need a pillow that will keep you cool, a pillow that’s super supportive, a pillow that’s adjustable, or all of the above, we believe our recommendations can help you out.

As you shop for new, high-quality pillows, remember to think about your sleep experience. What is your biggest issue when sleeping on your back? What could possibly rectify it? When you answer these questions, it will be much easier to find the right type of pillow for you.