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Stomach sleeping is the least common sleep position. According to many medical experts, it is also the unhealthiest option because it leaves sleepers vulnerable to high levels of pain and pressure in their neck and shoulders. However, many adults prefer sleeping on their stomachs over other positions. These sleepers must carefully select their bedding materials in order to ensure sleep quality and duration.
Choosing a pillow can be tricky for stomach sleepers because most models are primarily designed for side and/or back sleepers. Pillow loft, or thickness, is an important consideration; excessively thin or excessively thick pillows will affect how well the neck aligns with the spine. The pillow’s fill and cover material are other variables to take into account, as sleeping face-down often requires softer, more breathable surfaces.
This guide will explore the unique pillow considerations for stomach sleepers. Below you will find our top five picks for stomach sleeping pillows sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
We chose the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow as our Editor’s Pick for stomach sleepers because, in terms of quality, cost, and comfort, it has the greatest potential to appeal a large cross section of stomach sleepers. It’s made using high-quality ingredients, such as the sap of the Hevea breasiliensis tree and sustainably sourced Talalay latex.
The pillow has a moisture-wicking, antimicrobial cover; it’s not only highly breathable but it provides a hygienic and dry sleep environment. The airflow through this pillow is several times better than other latex foams, making it perfect for hot sleepers. The Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow is CertiPUR-US® Certified, meaning it’s free of toxins and meets industry health standards.
Brooklyn Bedding’s pillow is hyper-responsive, offering a tremendous amount of head and neck support. At the same time, it promotes proper spinal alignment, no matter what position you find yourself sleeping in.
Customers who want the feel of premium comfort without having to spend a lot of money should strongly consider buying the Plushbeds Down Blend Pillow. Plushbeds’ plush, breathable pillow is a down and feather blend surrounded by a thick 250 count cotton layer. The generous cotton layer protects sleepers from feeling sharp quills. Additionally, this cotton layer reduces allergens and dust mites.
Overall, the Plushbeds Down Pillow provides a good amount of loft and offers generous head and neck support to sleepers.
PlushBeds stands by the quality of its products, which have several certifications. Product certifications include CertiPUR-US, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification
The Saatva Pillow is for anyone who’s ever stayed at a luxurious hotel and fell in love with their high-quality pillows. The pillow is a combination of 100 percent organic cotton, micro-denier fiber, and shredded 100 percent American Talalay latex . It’s encased in a highly breathable sateen cover that wicks away moisture and was designed to promote maximum airflow, letting you sleep cool and dry. The Saatva Pillow is responsibly constructed, made using all-natural, renewable materials.
The Saatva Pillow’s removable inner core is comprised of highly-responsive latex, providing head and neck support. In addition, this core is naturally hypoallergenic, dust-mite resistant, and mildew-proof. The outer pillow is washable; just use the zipper to remove the pillow’s core before cleaning it.
Parachute’s Down Pillow has just the right amount of loft to keep your neck in a comfortable, neutral position. You don’t have to worry about neck pain and stiffness due to sleeping with your neck in a non-supported position for several hours. Additionally, Parachute’s European white down filling is repurposed in a sustainable and ethical manner. For maximum comfort, stomach sleepers should choose the “soft” option.
The pillow filling is encased in a 100 percent sateen weave cotton shell and reinforced with a double-stitched piping seam. Parachute’s Down Pillow provides a luxurious, supportive feel for your head, while still feeling airy and light.
It’s best to dry clean the Parachute Down Pillow, but you can machine wash it on cool using a “delicate” cycle setting. Parachute recommends its laundry detergent when machine washing its pillows. Tumble dry low with Wool Dryer Balls. Promptly remove these pillows from the dryer.
When you settle down to sleep, you don’t want to spend half the evening flipping your pillow over to escape the heat. The Tuft & Needle Pillow sleeps cool as it features the same cooling foam used in its mattresses. This “Adaptive” foam features a heat wicking graphite material and cooling gel. Together, they make any side of the pillow crisply refreshing so that pillow flipping becomes a thing of the past.
This plush pillow was designed to fit any standard pillowcase. The cotton cover is washable, just allow it to air dry. Do not wash the actual pillow. Free shipping is available only within the 48 contiguous states. Tuft & Needle only ships to US residents.
Stomach sleeping (or front sleeping) is a challenging position for most people, and most doctors do not recommend it. Sleeping on the stomach often causes neck strain from craning one’s neck to one side, and spinal strain due to uneven weight distribution.
Pillow selection can make a world of difference for stomach sleepers. Pillows that are overly thick can cause them to turn their head or bend their neck to one side, which may cause aches and pains to develop. However, pillows that are too thin may not provide enough support, which can also lead to discomfort.
This guide will explore pillow options for stomach sleepers. We’ll look at the mechanics of sleeping on one’s stomach, important considerations for pillow shoppers, and our picks for the best pillows for stomach sleepers.
Stomach sleeping is the least common sleep position. An estimated 6% to 7% of adults regularly sleep on their stomachs. Most utilize the ‘freefall’ position (as illustrated), with both hands resting below the head while one leg is slightly bent at the knee and the other is fully extended.
Generally speaking, physicians discourage the stomach sleeping position. However, there are two notable advantages to sleeping on one’s stomach:
Physicians often discourage stomach sleeping because of potential health risks and major comfort issues. A few disadvantages for stomach sleepers include:
It’s important to note that changing a sleep position can be a difficult task — and the longer someone sleeps in a certain position, the harder it will be to adjust their routine.
While stomach sleeping is not recommended, it may the position that you find most comfortable.
To minimize some of the aches and pains associated with this position, try sleeping with a thin pillow beneath your stomach. This will alleviate some of the pressure associated with uneven weight distribution and help the spine maintain its natural curvature.
Selecting the best possible pillow is important for stomach sleepers, as comfort is a common issue. You must be mindful of providing the right amount of neck and back support, and you want to make sure your pillow won’t inhibit proper breathing. Below you’ll find a series of common considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right pillow.
You might be surprised, but pillow size is actually one of the most important considerations for selecting a pillow. Too small and the pillow won’t provide the best possible head and neck support, while the right-sized pillow can prevent the urge to toss and turn through the night.
Pillows for stomach sleepers generally come in six standard sizes.
Standard (20W” x 26L”): The most common pillow size, as well as the most compact and — in most cases — the least expensive. Standard pillows may not be ideal for people who toss and turn, as they are often too narrow and may cause the sleeper’s head to slip off the sides.
Super Standard (20W” x 28L”): The Super Standard is considered a wider alternative to the Standard, making it suitable for some people who toss and turn, but others may still find it too narrow. Super Standards are also somewhat uncommon.
Queen (20W” x 30L”): The Queen is four inches wider than a Standard, and will be suitable for most sleepers who toss and turn.
King (20W” x 36L”): The King is a full 10 inches wider than the Standard. This means it will not only accommodate those who toss and turn, but may also serve as a comfy headrest or backrest for people who like to read or watch television in bed.
Euro (dimensions vary): Unlike the other standard sizes, which are rectangular, Euro pillows are square-shaped. They come in a wide range of dimensions; common options include 20W” x 20L” and 26W” x 26L”. Most sleepers in the U.S. do not use them as primary sleeping pillows, but they (like Kings) make good headrests and backrests.
Body (48-54W” x 20L”): Body pillows are the longest size and are fairly popular with sleepers who like to snuggle with a pillow while they sleep. However, most stomach sleepers prefer not to straddle a pillow during the night.
Additionally, a specialty ‘Small’ size is often available for cervical memory foam pillows, which are elevated beneath the neck and recessed below the head. However, these will not be suitable for the vast majority of stomach sleepers, who generally need thin, even-surface pillows.
Loft is arguably the most important consideration for stomach sleepers. There are three general categories for pillow loft:
Low-loft: Pillows that measure less than three inches (3?) thick.
Medium-loft: Pillows that measure three to five inches (3? to 5?) thick.
High-loft: Pillows that measure more than five inches (5?) thick.
For most stomach sleepers, choosing loft can be a compromise. The majority of high-loft pillows — as well as many medium-loft pillows — will be excessively thick. As we’ve discussed above, this can lead to strain in the neck and spine. However, some low-loft pillows may be too thin to adequately support the sleeper’s head. Generally, stomach sleepers feel most comfortable on low- and medium-loft pillows measuring two to five inches (2? to 5?). However, this is entirely subjective and sleeping position is only one of the factors to consider when choosing the right loft. Other variables include the sleeper’s body weight, head size, and shoulder width, as well as their mattress firmness. The table below uses these criteria to break down each loft category.
|Loft Category||Thickness||Optimal Weight||Optimal Head Size||Optimal Shoulder Width||Optimal Mattress Firmness|
|Low||Less than 3"||More than 230 lbs.||Small||Narrow||Soft to Medium Soft|
|Medium||3" to 5"||130 to 230 lbs.||Average||Average||Medium|
|High||More than 5"||Less than 130 lbs.||Large||Broad||Medium Firm to Firm|
Adjustable-loft pillows are a suitable option for stomach sleepers with varying thickness preferences. These pillows allow owners to remove or add fill in order to decrease or increase the loft.
Pillows may be made from a wide assortment of fill materials, and each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. Stomach sleepers tend to prefer pillows that conform to their head and provide sufficient support while not feeling too thick or firm. However, other factors to consider include temperature, cost, and odor/allergy potential. The next table takes a closer look at the construction, pros, cons, and stomach sleeper suitability of the seven most common pillow materials.
|Pillow Material||Filling Description||Pros||Cons||Stomach Sleeper Rating|
|Buckwheat||Roughly five to 10 lbs. of removable buckwheat hulls (outer shells)||Adjustable loft Close conforming Good support Sleeps cool||High price-point Too firm for some Noise potential Heavy||Fair - Buckwheat pillows offer adjustable loft, but they may be excessively firm for stomach sleepers|
|Down||Removable duck or goose down, which are the soft inner plumage found beneath the outer feathers||Adjustable loft Very soft and lightweight Sleeps cool Short break-in Long lifespan||High price-point Poor shape retention Fluffing needed Allergy and odor potential||Very Good - Down pillows can be adjusted for loft, and are often thin -- yet supportive -- enough for stomach sleepers|
|Down Alternative||Polyester puffballs that mimic the softness and weight or authentic down||Adjustable loft Low price-point Very soft and lightweight Short break-in No allergy risk||Short lifespan Poor shape retention Fluffing needed Short lifespan||Fair - Down alternative pillows tend to lose shape easily, which can cause discomfort|
|Feather||Outer feathers of ducks or geese (may also include some down for extra softness)||Adjustable loft Close conforming Very soft and lightweight Long lifespan||High cost Quills can poke Fluffing needed May sleep hot Odor potential||Good - Feather pillows may be too soft, but stomach sleepers can adjust the loft according to their preferencesc|
|Latex||Solid latex, which is a natural substance extracted from the sap of rubber trees||Close conforming Good support Close conforming Long lifespan Sleep cool No noise||Non-adjustable loft High cost Too dense and heavy for some Odor potential||Fair - Latex pillows conform and cradle the head, but most models are too thick (high-loft) for stomach sleepers|
|Memory Foam||Shredded or solid memory foam, or viscoelastic polyfoam, which softens when warm and retains shape when cool||Adjustable loft (shredded) Close conforming No noise||High cost Short lifespan Odor potential||Very Good Most memory foam pillows are suitable for stomach sleepers because they are supportive and relatively thin|
|Polyester||Shredded or interlocking polyester fibers; polyester is a synthetic fabric||Low cost Good shape retention (interlocking) No allergy risk No odor potential||Short lifespan Poor shape retention (shredded) Noise potential||Poor - Interlocking polyester pillows are usually too thick for stomach sleepers, while shredded polyester pillows lose shape too easily|
|Polyfoam||A foam created by adding water to polyurethane plastics.||Typically inexpensive Durable Bouncy Springy Highly resilient Light in weight||Can be low-quality and degrade quickly Little airflow||Fair to Good - High-quality polyfoam pillows can provide firm comfort, but lower quality pillows lack comfort and support|
Moldability refers to how easily a pillow can be scrunched or reshaped to accommodate different head and neck positions. This is important for stomach sleepers, particularly those who have a hard time getting comfortable and need to move their pillow around during the night.
Finally, let’s explore cost expectations for different pillow types. The table below lists average price ranges for each of the seven pillow materials described above — but costs often vary by brand and model.
|Buckwheat||$50 to $75|
|Down||$70 to $100|
|Down Alt.||$20 to $30|
|Feather||$25 to $50|
|Latex||$40 to $60|
|Memory Foam||$50 to $60|
|Polyester||$10 to $15|
|Polyfoam||$40 to $100|