Best Bed Pillows

Types of Bed Pillows to Help You Achieve Quality Sleep

For a good night’s rest, the focus is often placed on the mattress and bedroom environment. Yet, your pillow is also an important consideration. Regardless of your sleep position (back, side, or stomach), the type, size, support and cushioning of a sleeping pillow contributes to your overall sleep experience.

Best Bed Pillows

Choosing the right pillow is a highly personal decision. The key is to determine which pillow type facilitates a good night's rest for you. Perhaps you've slept on quality, feathered hotel pillows with excellent support. Or, you prefer the feel of specific pillow material.

The following overview of different pillow options will help you choose the best pillow to help you sleep soundly and wake refreshed. 


Memory Foam Pillows
These are made from polyurethane and other chemical. With their increased density and viscosity, memory foam pillows enable a sleeper’s head and neck to contour to the pillow shape. At the same time, heat and pressure produced by the body cause the memory foam to change its shape. 


  • May help sleepers with back, shoulder, and neck problems
  • Good support for back and side sleepers
  • Most are non-allergenic
  • Reduces pressure and stress points
  • Comes in different thickness levels


  • Traps body heat in warm weather
  • May have a chemical odor
  • Some claims of toxicity or combustibility
  • May sinks and reduce support 

For more information on memory foam, click here: Learn About Memory Foam for Bedding.

Other Synthetic Foam Pillows 
These are made from different types of foam material, which are in chuck form or in pieces. 


  • Cheaper than memory foam pillows
  • Most are non-allergenic
  • Washable
  • May help alleviate neck and back pain


  • Not as durable as other kinds of bed pillows
  • May need a week to “break-in” and soften the pillow
  • When new, gives off a chemical odor

Latex Pillows
These are made from latex rubber that has been harvested from tropical rubber trees. Latex is a material known for its natural, medicinal qualities. 


  • 100% natural material
  • Resistant to mold and mildew 
  • Firm and cushioned sleep surface
  • Long-lasting for back and side sleepers
  • Non-toxic and biodegradable


  • Expensive

Down Pillows 
These are cushiony pillows made from the down feathers of water fowl.  Popular with stomach sleepers, down pillows are soft and keep the head and neck from turning.


  • Light weight
  • Breathability to reduce perspiration
  • Long lasting


  • High cost
  • Shaking and fluffing needed for maintenance

Down/Feather Mix Pillows 
These are similar to down pillows, though they offer drawbacks not found in down-filled styles.


  • Light weight
  • Durable


  • May produce odor due to chemically treated feathers
  • Shaking and fluffing needed for maintenance
  • May be uncomfortable due to feather quills
  • May make noise during the night because of quill rotation
  • May cause allergic reactions in some sleepers

Buckwheat Pillows
These are made from buckwheat hulls. Before the hulls are placed in pillowcases, they must be properly processed. To remove dust that may have accumulated from the growing fields, the hulls are carefully roasted. Once contained in the pillow, hulls help sleepers by contouring to their weight and shape.


  • Natural
  • Inexpensive
  • Long-lasting 
  • Circulating hulls create ideal sleeping temperature
  • Provide excellent support for neck, head, and back


  • Heavier than other pillow types
  • May contain allergens
  • Can be noisy to sleep on
  • Does not return to original form like a memory foam pillow


According to the different desires and needs of sleepers, bedding manufacturers produce a variety of specialty-type bed pillows, as well. These pillows provide support for various sleep positions. Here are three popular styles.

  1. Body Pillows: These are long as the body and contour to the sleeper’s shape.  They are  particularly useful to side sleepers and pregnant women.

  2. Wedge Pillows: Like an adjustable bed, wedge pillow styles provides extra support for different body areas, like the legs and back.  The pillows may reduce spine pressure, while relieving muscle tension. 

  3. Sleep Apnea Pillows:  Designed to reduce snoring and help with sleep apnea, these pillows are made to reduce nasal obstruction during sleep.  For more information about the dangers of sleep apena, click here: What is Sleep Apnea.


To find the right pillow, consider these three factors.

  1. Sleeping Position - Depending on whether you sleep on your side, stomach, or back, the way your head and body react to your pillow will change according to these body positions.

  2. Pillow Firmness - You will need a pillow with an appropriate level of firmness, ranging from soft to extra-firm, which fulfills your personal preference for comfort and support on your mattress.

  3. Pillow Fill or Composition - The fill of your pillow, whether it be natural or man-made, is also a key factor that is dependent on personal choice and needs.

Therefore, you may want to try out different types of bed pillows, until you find the one that best suits you.  

In addition, recognize the signs when it is time to replace an existing bed pillow. No matter how much you enjoy your current pillow, replace it when it begins to lose its fundamental shape or support. A test for this is to fold the pillow in half. If it does not spring back into shape after being folded, it's time for a new one.


  • Standard: 20” x 26” - Basic pillow shape that suits all sleeping positions
  • Queen: 20” x 30” - Offers support for head and neck and fits tightly in a standard pillowcase
  • King: 20” x 36” - Extra-long pillow allows for great head and neck support
  • European: 26” x 26” - Used mostly in decorative pillow shams and good for most sleep positions
  • Body: 20” x “54 - Contours the shape of the whole body and fits into its own pillowcase

Although price is always a consideration, keep in mind the importance of selecting a pillow that will make you comfortable and sleep well. The alignment of your neck and spine should be straight during sleep, so pillow selection is also a matter of health. For a good night’s sleep, make your pillow selection carefully. Your body will thank you.

Related Information - Bed Pillows

How to Care for Bed Pillows  
Goose Down Pillows 
Bamboo Pillows 
Buckwheat Pillows 
Snore Pillows 
Sleep Apnea Pillows 
Memory Foam Pillows

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