While your bed may be the most comfortable place in your home, it’s not an ideal spot to work from 9-5. Sure, it's great for relaxing, but without something to support your back when you sit up, you can end up with some pretty bad discomfort and muscle tension. That said, getting a pillow that gives you proper back support in bed can be a total game changer, especially if you like to work from a comfy place 24/7. (Although we do recommend getting an office chair specifically made to combat back pain if this is an issue you have—and if you work from your laptop for long periods of time.)
- Joel Giffin, PT, DPT, CHT, physical therapist and owner of Flex Physical & Occupational Therapy
What to look for in a bed pillow
It really helps to find something that has enough lumbar support so that your lower back feels propped up (aka, anything that supports the natural curve of your back and fills that small, indented space between the lower half of your spine and seat). Having this kind of cushioning helps to promote good posture and keeps unnecessary stress off of your back when you sit up for long periods of time.
Ultimately, you want to feel as if you're sitting in a decent chair, says Dr. Joel Giffin, PT, DPT, CHT and founder of Flex Physical Therapy. "And then there should be some [support] on the upper back so you don't lean back too far, and some [support] at the neck/head to prevent you from fully having to support your head." FYI, the extra neck support is particularly important to help keep your head from jutting forward and creating extra strain on your neck muscles if you like to look down to see your laptop or phone.
"As your head comes forward even just an inch it puts a lot more pressure on your neck," Dr. Joel notes.
In a perfect world, your back should be 90-degrees to your hip with pillows behind you. Or if you like to slightly recline, your hips should be at a 45-degree angle with your back straight. If you like to switch up your sitting positions, pillows with memory foam are often more flexible and can easily contour to your body.
For those who are not sure what pillows are worth adding to your cart, take a look at our top picks below.
Best pillows for sitting up in bed
It can often be hard to maintain good posture while sitting in bed, but thanks to the Casper Backrest Pillow, that doesn’t have to be the case. That’s mainly because of its ergonomic design that makes sitting for a long period of time in bed a breeze. It’s specifically cut like a teardrop so that you can use it as a lumbar support for your lower back and to keep your spine and back muscles from working overtime.
-Promotes better posture
-Perfect for lounging
While there are hundreds of these “husband” pillows floating around the internet, this one from Linenspa has thousands of Amazon shopper reviews (over 7,000 5-star ratings, to be more specific), thanks to its firmness and ability to maintain shape over time. Although the pillow does come with memory foam packing inside, it’s still firm enough to give your back adequate support. Not to mention, it comes in two sizes, including standard and extra large to accommodate different heights.
“This pillow is super comfy,” one reviewer wrote. “It provides plenty of support while remaining pliable, so whenever I need to adjust, it conforms to my new position. It also returns to its original shape quickly. It’s still early on but I’m really impressed with this pillow.”
-Available with neck support
For those who need to stay sitting upright in bed due to recent surgery or because you want to enjoy a good book to go to sleep, the Lunix LX6 Bed Wedge Pillow Set is designed to help make life easier. This is mainly because of its super functional design. For example, you can detach the head rest and use it as a lumbar support for your lower back or as a separate arm rest. Also, the inside packing is made with soft memory foam which is uniquely designed to adapt to your body’s shape and height.
-Adjustable, long bolster pillow for neck, back and arm support
-Washable bamboo cover
-Travel bag for easy storage
If you’re the type of person who loves to read and work from your laptop in bed, consider this Yogibo Support pillow to help keep you from straining your back muscles. It’s one of the few pillows that contours to your body and that can be used as more than a back rest. For example, you can turn the pillow backwards and use it as a lap desk or lay if flat and use it as a standard lounge pillow for a 10-minute power nap. And just like many bean bags, this pillow is also filled with EPS beads that make it easy for you to kick back and set up a comfy seat just about anywhere. Plus, if it’s good enough for Drew Barrymore, it’s food enough for me.
-Available in multiple colors
-Perfect for recliners
-Easy removable cover
-Provides support while sitting on the floor
-Can be used as a lap desk
-Very little neck support
Originally $90, now $80
When sitting up in bed for a long period of time, it’s not just your lower back that could use some extra support. Depending on how you prop yourself up, you could also be putting unnecessary strain on your neck. But with this Zoemo reading pillow, you don’t have to worry about that. It gives your backside and neck total support thanks to the “soft but firm” cushioning and detachable neck roll pillow. But what really makes this bed pillow noteworthy is its cotton filling. Unlike some pillows that use shredded memory foam, this one has cotton packing that helps keep its firmness and shape over time.
-Detachable neck support
-Ultra-soft cover fabric
-Great for recliners
-The velvet cover retains heat
If you don’t have a headboard and are tired of stacking up a mountain of pillows to support your back, this Wowmax bolster pillow may be calling your name. Not only is the pillow great for keeping you totally upright in bed, but also, its triangular shape is designed to help minimize back pain. For example, the pillow naturally aligns with the curvature of your back so that you can maintain an optimal sitting position without putting a lot of stress of your back muscles.
-Available in multiple sizes
-Works as a headboard
-Side storage space
-Not many downsides except for color swatches, as noted by multiple reviewers on amazon
For those who like to kick back in bed, this pillow may be your bread and butter. The slope helps reduce tension on your neck while providing firm support for your lower back. The foam packing is also super durable and is designed to maintain its shape over time.
-Great for neck and back pain
-Can be used as leg cushion or sleep pillow
Originally $76, now $67
If you want a bed rest pillow that can do it all, look no further. Due to its small shape and unique curved design, the Roner pillow works as a pretty decent leg rest, laptop stand, and back cushion to have your sofa. But the best part is that the foam inside naturally contours to the shape of your spine so that your back gets support as you lay against your bed frame. As a bonus, there’s even two small pockets on the sides to store away your cell phone or other small trinkets.
-Great lumbar support
-Extra storage space
-Hard to wash
Originally $110, now $70
Not only is it great for resting your back in bed, but it also can serve as a pillow for gaming, watching television and even breastfeeding. And while the insert is made of memory foam, it’s super sturdy and has the right amount of fluff inside to keep your back upright.
-Detachable bolster pillow
-Removable and washable cover
-Small break-in period
This pillow is pretty stacked in terms of features. In addition to having arm rests, it also has a neck rest to keep your head upright. The bolster pillow provides more lumbar support and better firmness for your lower back muscles. Though the packing is all memory foam, the pillow really molds to your body shape and adds an extra level of stability.
-Adjustable bolster pillow
-Short arm rests
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