A good pillow can make or break a good night's rest. From pillow size and shape to fill and breathability (especially for hot sleepers), there's so much to consider. The best pillows enhance your sleeping style to properly support our bodies, says Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist at Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine and author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How To Fix It.
"Proper spine alignment, comfort, and in some cases temperature control, all sum to help improve sleep quality," says Dr. Winter. "Choosing a pillow that is right for your body and sleeping position is essential."
For example, if you're a stomach sleeper, your back and neck muscles will need a little extra consideration. Opt for a thinner, pliable pillow that won't strain your neck (something that can happen with a firmer, denser pillow). Or, if you're a hot sleeper, choose a pillow with breathable materials, like the Buffy Cloud Pillow ($49), which is seriously so cooling thanks to its eucalyptus fabric.
"The right pillow contributes to the comforts of letting the body reach the most restorative stages of sleep," says Brager. "Not all pillows are the same and type of pillow is an individual preference. The bottom line is find the right pillow for you."
Brager recommends a pillow you can adjust, like Molecule's Infinity Pro Adjustable Pillow ($79), which let's you add or remove foam filler to your liking, or Sleep Number's True Temp Pillow ($112), which features three customizable layers to help find your perfect height while keeping you cool. "Find a pillow that doesn’t put your neck or torso in a compromising position," Brager says. "This will ensure you stay in the most restorative stages of sleep."
Other expert-approved brands? Dr. Winter says he likes so many, but it comes down to personal preference. "Tempur-Pedic has a great variety. BedGear has a great selection of pillows that are sized easily." he says. "People often like Purple pillows. It's a very individualized thing."
The best pillows for sleep if you toss and turn
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As Dr. Winter mentioned, picking out a pillow is a very personal. He likes Tempur-Pedic for their variety of options for all different kinds of sleepers. If you're looking for a solid all-around pillow, this one's a good bet. Made of 100 percent memory foam fill, it molds to your head, neck, and shoulders to support you all night. While other pillows can be costly, it's only $99, making it a great on a budget.
For those who like the feel of a feathery, fluffy down pillow, check out Casper's down pillow. It features Casper's unique five-chamber design, where its inner chambers provide head and neck support, while outer chambers give it that plush, puffy feel. The best part is, it's made of ethically-sourced down that's been certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), so you can sleep well at night.
Back and side sleepers, this one's for you. If you sleep on your back or one your side, BedGear's Cooling Cuddle Curve pillow is designed to cradle your neck and shoulders naturally throughout the night. Find your recommended pillow size and height here to ensure greater spine alignment.
4. Beautyrest 2-Pack 300-Thread Count Extra Firm Pillows
Another name-drop by Dr. Winters, Beautyrest is an affordable option with a wide selection of dreamy pillows to choose from. If you like a firmer pillow without a lot of give, this two-pack doesn't skimp on the support. They're overfilled with hypoallergenic polyester to maximize comfort without collapsing like a down pillow. Plus, a two-pack is only $50, so they're very budget-friendly.
5. Serta Down Back/Stomach Sleeper Pillow
If you sleep on your stomach, give your back a break with this down pillow. The natural plushness of it will help your spine find a natural alignment. Filled with natural down, it's pliable enough to move under your hips or belly if you want to add a little more support.
6. Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
If you struggle with sleeping hot, consider splurging on this ultra-cooling pillow by Tempur-Pedic. It has a layer of cooling gel on both sides of the pillow, so no more flipping to find the better side. It's also made of medium-feel memory foam, making it suitable for all kinds of sleepers.
7. Naturpedic Organic 2-in-1 Latex Pillow
Support tender, aching neck and shoulder muscles with this latex-filled pillow that never goes flat. It's made of eco-friendly materials, like organic cotton and sustainably sourced latex that's made from the sap of a rubber tree. At $99, it's another affordable option for those looking for high-quality pillows without the expensive price tag.
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