The Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

If you’re waking up with aches and pains, the position you sleep could be to blame.

One of the least common sleep styles, stomach sleeping is also the worst for spinal alignment and overall health. When you sleep on your stomach, your weight tends to concentrate in the center of your body. This can contort your spine out of its natural alignment and place enormous strain on your back and neck.

And it doesn’t stop with spinal pain. Because the spinal cord is an integral part of your central nervous system, stress on your spine can translate to aches, pains, numbness, and tingling in other parts of your body. This discomfort can compromise the quality of your sleep at night and continue to pester during your waking hours of the day.

Sleeping on your stomach also forces you to sleep with your neck twisted to one side for many hours, which can lead to pain and cervical neck injuries. By squishing your face against your pillow, stomach sleeping can also cause premature wrinkling.

Along with a proper mattress, the right pillow can help diminish the negative consequences associated with stomach sleeping. As a stomach sleeper, your primary challenge is to find a pillow that is able to provide sufficient support without forcing your neck to crane upwards.  

For help finding the right pillow, refer to our guide to top picks and pillow considerations for stomach sleepers below.

Our Top Picks

Manufacturer Model Material Loft Price
Nest Bedding Easy Breather Shredded Memory Foam Adjustable $99
Tomorrow Sleep Cooling Memory Foam Pillow Memory Foam 5" $99
PlushBeds Wool Pillow Wool Adjustable $89
Coop Home Goods Eden Shredded Gel Memory Foam and Down & Feathers Adjustable $70
Malouf Z TripleLayer Down Pillow Down & Feathers 7" and 7.2" $135

Nest Bedding Easy Breather

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable loft and firmness
  • Highly breathable and cooling
  • Above-average contouring
  • Three sizes available
  • Free shipping within continental U.S. with 100-night sleep trial

Nest Bedding Logo Image

Nest Easy Breather Pillow Image

Behind its cool, tencel-blended cover, the Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow is filled with eight inches of shredded memory foam.  To adjust the pillow’s loft and firmness, you can unzip the cover to add or remove the filling. Its shredded memory foam construction means the Easy Breather is able to conform closely to your head and neck while promoting cool sleeping. In addition to being contouring, the pillow offers good moldability and shape retention.

Its adjustability and moldability make the pillow a suitable choice for all sleep positions. As a stomach sleeper, you may find that removing several inches from the Nest Bedding Easy Breather will give the pillow the appropriate loft to keep your neck in comfortable alignment. Note that the pillow may come with an initial off-gassing odor that should dissipate within a few days.

Tomorrow Sleep Cooling Memory Foam Pillow

Why we like it:

  • Closely conforming and cooling
  • Above-average durability and shape retention
  • Made from safe, non-toxic, hypoallergenic CertiPUR-certified memory foam
  • Free domestic shipping with 100-night sleep trial

Tomorrow Sleep Logo Image

Tomorrow Sleep Memory Foam Pillow Image

Standing five inches tall, the Tomorrow Cooling Memory Foam Pillow has a mid-level loft that makes it particularly well suited for stomach sleeping. The pillow is made of three layers of ultra-dense, durable polyurethane foam, designed to conform closely to the head and neck.

The pillow features a layer of phase changing material that helps regulate your body temperature. Its aerated design promotes cooler sleeping by distributing heat from one side of the pillow to the other. The pillow’s cover is a cool, clean blend of polyester, nylon, and polyethylene.

The Tomorrow Cooling Memory Foam Pillow can work for all sleep styles, including stomach, side, and back sleeping. As a memory foam pillow, the Tomorrow Cooling does emit an off-gassing smell that should disappear within a day or two after opening.

PlushBeds Wool Pillow

Why we like it:

  • Naturally moisture-wicking and conforming
  • Adjustable loft and firmness
  • Three sizes available
  • Free shipping within contiguous U.S.

 

PlushBeds Logo Image

Committed to sustainability and cruelty-free practices, PlushBeds crafted a luxury pillow filled with humanely sourced wool. The unique, virgin wool filling is naturally moisture-wicking, conforming, breathable, and resistant to mold and dust mites. The PlushBeds Wool Pillow features a 400 thread-count cotton cover, which can be unzipped to adjust the pillow’s original five-inch loft and firmness.

Adjustable and conforming, the PlushBeds Wool Pillow can accommodate all three primary sleep positions. And because the pillow is made with all natural materials, the PlushBeds Wool comes with virtually no off-gassing odors.

Coop Home Goods Eden

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable loft and firmness
  • Above-average moldability and cooling
  • Hypoallergenic, machine-washable cover
  • Three sizes available
  • Free domestic shipping with 100-night sleep trial

Coop Home Goods Logo Image

Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow

Engineered for exceptional contouring, Coop Home Goods Eden is stuffed with shredded gel infused memory foam and combed microfibers. The filling is both removable and highly moldable, letting you adjust its six-inch original height and firmness in addition to modifying its shape. The breathable, shreddable filling, combined with the bamboo-derived cover, promote a cooler sleep experience than traditional memory foam pillows.

Because the Coop Home Goods Eden can be adjusted for loft and firmness and molded for shape, the pillow is an excellent choice for sleepers of all positions. Note that the pillow may come with a strong, initial off-gassing odor.

Malouf Z TripleLayer Down Pillow

Why we like it:

  • Features firm, feather core for additional support
  • Stuffed with responsibly sourced down
  • Two sizes available
  • $5 donated to support survivors of child sex trafficking for every pillow sold
  • Free shipping within continental U.S.

Malouf Logo ImageMalouf Z TripleLayer Down Pillow Image

Down pillows tend to be particularly compatible with stomach sleeping, and the Malouf Z TripleLayer Down Pillow lives up to this standard. The pillow is crafted from a soft blend of responsibly sourced down and feathers. In the center of the pillow lies a firmer, feather-based core designed to offer the sleeper additional support. The pillow is wrapped in a crisp, breathable cotton cover, which works with the down-feather filling to promote airflow and keep you cool. The Malouf Z TripleLayer Down comes in a choice of two lofts: 7 inches (queen) or 7.2 inches (king).

Thanks to its unique core, the pillow is able to offer adequate support to stomach, back, and side sleepers alike. Because of its all-natural construction, the Malouf Z TripleLayer Down features virtually no off-gassing odor.

Pillow Considerations for Stomach Sleepers

Associated with a variety of health problems, stomach sleeping is a tricky position to pillow shop for. The right pillow can minimize neck and spinal strain, while the wrong pillow can contort the neck into an unnatural position and intensify discomfort.

For many stomach sleepers, the ideal pillow will be thin enough to keep the spine aligned but not so thin that it can’t support the head and neck. However, needs may vary widely depending on your weight, head size, mattress firmness, and personal preferences.

When looking for a pillow as a stomach sleeper, here are some fundamentals to keep in mind:

Loft

As a stomach sleeper, loft should be your primary consideration when choosing a pillow. The right stomach sleeping pillow will be thin enough to keep your head from twisting upwards. For your average stomach sleeper, a low- or medium-loft pillow (between two and five inches) is best. However, you may need a higher loft pillow if you have a large head or broad shoulders.

To determine whether a pillow is the correct loft, try lying down in your natural sleep position with your pillow. Have someone take a photo or observe your position to assess whether your spine is properly aligned. When a spine is in healthy alignment, it should appear as a neutral, horizontal line.

Pillows with adjustable loft are often a good choice for stomach sleepers. Adjustable pillows let you experiment with different heights to determine which is best for your unique thickness needs and preferences.

Firmness and Support

Look for a pillow that is contouring enough to conform to your head and neck, but supportive enough to keep your head from engaging with your mattress. As with loft, the proper level of firmness for your pillow may depend on your weight, head size, shape, and personal preferences. An adjustable pillow might come in handy when choosing pillow firmness, as these types of pillows allow you to experiment with different firmnesses as well as lofts.

Multiple Pillows

As a front sleeper, you may want to consider purchasing an additional pillow to position beneath your pelvis. A thin, flat pillow beneath your hips can help take pressure off your spine and help align your back.

Size and Shape

In addition to shapes and sizes, pillows may feature different kinds of surfaces. Most stomach sleepers do best with even-surface pillows, though size and shape may vary depending on weight and preferences. If you are trying to train yourself to stop sleeping on your stomach, consider purchasing a body pillow to help facilitate a transition into partial stomach sleeping.

Material

If you tend to sleep face down, you may benefit benefit from a pillow with a breathable cover and filling. We’ve explored how some of the most common pillow materials and their compatibility with stomach sleeping below.

  • DownCrafted from the plumage of ducks or geese, down pillows are soft and breathable. Because down can be removed, these types of pillows come with the added benefit of being adjustable. Thin, supportive, breathable, and adjustable, down pillows are typically an excellent fit for stomach sleepers.
  • Feather PillowsFeather pillows are made with the outer feathers of ducks and geese, which tend to be firmer than down. Like down pillows, feather pillows come with an adjustable loft and are very breathable, making them a suitable choice for stomach sleeping in many cases.
  • Latex Latex pillows are made from either natural or synthetic rubber, a responsive, supportive material. This type of pillow is typically conforming, cool, and durable. However, latex pillows are non-adjustable, and often are too thick for stomach sleepers.
  • Memory Foam - Made from a dense polyurethane material, memory foam pillows are highly conforming. Memory foam pillows tend to be supportive, contouring, and thin, making them a worthy option for stomach sleeping.
  • Shredded Memory Foam While conventional memory foam pillows consist of one, solid block of foam, shredded memory foam pillows consist of hundreds of tiny pieces of foam. This gives them a few advantages over conventional memory foam pillows: shredded memory foam is breathable, cooler, and can be adjusted for loft and firmness.
  • Buckwheat Buckwheat pillows are made from the dense, firm husks of buckwheat kernels. These pillows come with an adjustable loft, but may be too firm for many stomach sleepers.
  • Polyester Stuffed with shredded or interlocking fabric, polyester pillows offer good shape retention. Other than that, these types of pillows don’t come with many benefits; polyester pillows tend to have a short lifespan and are usually too thick for stomach sleeping.