It’s an age-old question. How many pillows do I need?
Here’s the funny thing, though: it’s actually a trick question. Most people really only need one pillow.
Pillows play an important role in helping you get a good night’s sleep. To enjoy restful sleep, you need to keep your spine in alignment from your pelvis to your neck. Your mattress and pillow work together, along with your sleep position, to achieve this. If your spine becomes misaligned during sleep, you’ll wake up with aches and pains the next morning. Plus, the sleep you do have will be restful, as well.
While most people only need one pillow, it needs to be the “right” pillow. Below we’ll review what that looks like, and offer a few exceptions to the one pillow rule.
The right pillow should support your sleeping position, keeping your spine aligned while you sleep.
A pillow cannot be too high or too low. It has to be just the right height. Otherwise, it forces your neck out of alignment with the rest of your spine.
In the bedding industry, the pillow’s height is called pillow loft. Pillow lofts generally fall into one of three categories: low loft (3 inches or less), medium loft (3 to 5 inches high), and high loft (5 inches or more). Different lofts are recommended for different sleep positions. Your body type can also influence which loft you prefer. People with larger heads and/or wide shoulders tend to prefer higher lofts for their added comfort, while people with smaller heads and/or narrow shoulders sleep just fine with lower lofts.
Find your sleep position below to discover the one true pillow you need. We’ve suggested the appropriate loft for each, too:
Did you find you need a new pillow for your preferred sleeping position? Take your pick from the best-reviewed pillows.
Sometimes, one pillow isn’t enough. There are circumstances where people may feel better supported by multiple pillows. Here they are:
A quick note on multiple pillows: Some people like to layer multiple thinner pillows to achieve the effect of one thicker pillow. They figure, it’s the same height, so it’s probably the equivalent support. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong. Head pillows are not designed to be layered on top of each other. Fillers can shift during sleep, or the entire pillow can tip off to the side. For best results, stick to one, good pillow.
Want to learn more about how pillows affect your sleep? Check out the articles below.