Sleep, sleep, sleep — we spend one third of our lives in a state of sleep, so we know that sleep is important. That said, a good night's sleep can be hard to come by if you're dealing with too much stress, over-caffeinating too late in the day, or staring at a blue screen before going to sleep. But, if your sleep environment isn't comfortable, you're already putting yourself at a disadvantage. That's why prioritizing your sleeping comfort should be a key step in establishing a healthy sleep bedtime routine. And, while much has been made over choosing the right mattress for your sleep habits, finding the perfect pillow is just as important for comfortable sleeping as a mattress.
Of course, you need to consider a wide range of factors when you're pillow-shopping: What sleep position do you prefer — back, stomach, or are you a side sleeper? Or, are you one of those mythical combination sleepers? Do you run hot or cold while sleeping? Are you allergic to goose down or feathers? Everyone's individual sleeping preferences will differ slightly, but there's more than likely a pillow that meets your expectations for what a comfortable pillow should be, whether that's a foam pillow, gel pillow, water pillow, latex pillows, support pillow, body pillow, contour pillow, or simply a pillow for neck pain. Many, there are so many types of pillows! It's just a matter of wading through all of your bed pillow options, which seem to expand every day. That good night's sleep could be right around the corner.
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We've rounded up some of the best bed pillows available online at the moment, featuring their more technical specs and input from enthusiastic internet reviewers, plus our recommendations for whose needs they'll likely suit best.
Best pillow for keeping cool
Cosy House Bamboo Pillow
Cosy House Collection
With two layers of supportive foam and an antibacterial, cooling bamboo case, Cosy House's shredded foam pillows are made to relieve some of the greatest sleeping woes, namely overheating and uncomfortable pressure points. The relatively firm construction helps the pillow maintain its shape while sleeping, but the shredded memory foam pillow fill in its bottommost layer is removable, which allows users to customize its density. "This is one heavy pillow and I kept removing the filling until getting it just right," one reviewer wrote, adding that, when filled to capacity, the pillow may be a little too big and firm for some users' sleeping position comfort.
For others, it was the foam pillow's breathable and cooling properties that sold them: "The most comfortable pillow I have ever had. Keeps me cool, I sleep so soundly," one wrote. "I didn't sweat as much as I usually do so I would say the cooling/moisture wicking worked," another noted. The machine washable bamboo cover naturally resists allergens and dust mites. You can add two bamboo pillow cases to your foam pillow order for an additional $24.
Best pillow for firmness and shape
Coop Home Goods 'The Original'
Coop Home Goods
Another best pillow with adjustable density, Coop's "Original" pillow is completely customizable and reshapable. Its fill is entirely made up of a shredded blend of microfiber and memory foam pillow, meaning users can empty and refill the whole body of the pillow, allowing them to fluff it and mash it to fit their exact sleeping needs. Although Coop states that this comfortable pillow is probably best suited for side sleepers or those who like a firmer (firmer than just foam) pillow, reviewers vouch for its versatility. "I usually sleep on my side but I sometimes sleep on my back. The pillow is great either way," one wrote.
Another pointed out that there might be a learning curve with the pillow's adjustability: "It took a few weeks to get used to the pillow and get it the right height, but I love it! It's improved my neck health." Luckily, with a 100-day return policy, you have time to tweak the fill level to your liking. This pillow also comes with a washable bamboo cover that you can use as a regular pillow case. If you're interested but still on the fence, Coop offers a quiz for customers to find the best pillow for their preferences.
The ultimate memory foam pillow experience
This is yet another pillow with adjustable filling, but only in its outer layer — the "inner" pillow is a sturdy memory foam pillow that maintains its shape and structure. Its exterior is made of quilted foam that you can spot-clean and air-dry. In addition to its "two pillows in one" design and supportive gusset, Nectar's pillow's main selling point is its memory foam pillow fill. This comfortable memory foam pillow conforms to the user's neck, shoulders and head to provide support without caving in, striking a balance that not every memory foam pillow can claim.
CNET's Sharon Profis tested the memory foam pillow for 10 days and, after removing just a handful of filling, found it to be a comfortable option for her side sleeper position. The memory foam pillow, she noted, retains its structure and height, maintaining neck support throughout the night. Only time will tell if the foam remains uncompressed (we'll be back with an update).
Best pillow for neck support
Original Casper Pillow
Casper's comfortable pillow boasts "adaptive support" for your neck, meaning it's both cushy and springy, able to "adapt" to various customers' neck preferences making them good pillows for neck support to help you get a great night's sleep. Where the exterior is soft, its firm inner core and gusseted construction helps maintain its structure. The product of 60 test-runs on various fills, this sleeper pillow is sort of the platonic ideal in terms of density: not too firm and not too fluffy. And reviewers happily attest to its Goldilocks-esque appeal. "You can feel the quality in the weight of it and as soon as I laid down I was in love. Support and comfort that seems to wrap you up in its arms," one wrote.
Another reviewer wondered, "how one pillow can rule them all," possibly in a nod toward the fact that Casper designed this pillow with the understanding that all people shift in their sleep, whether they identify as a side sleeper or back sleeper. In other words, this comfortable pillow is in the running for overall crowd-pleaser — one downside may be the fact that you have to buy pillow cases such as cotton cover cases separately.
Good for getting rid of that crick in your neck
The Purple Pillow
Instead of a foam pillow, microfiber shavings, or even down, this comfortable pillow's fill is a one-piece polymer grid, which goes on to affect pretty much every aspect of the sleep experience, especially for your neck. This pillow keeps users' heads cool and helps prevent neck pain for a good night's sleep thanks to said sturdy, weight-distributing grid, which is designed to "cradle" the user's head, neck and shoulders, sparing them from painful pressure points. With all that in mind, this pillow is definitely on the firmer (and heavier) side, but judging by the reviews, the density is well worth it. (That said, if you like a pillow that you can fluff and mold to an exact shape, this probably isn't the pillow for you or your neck.)
"I was surprised how heavy it is but who cares. As soon as my head hit the pillow I knew this was for me. First time in a long time my neck was not in pain," one reviewer wrote, echoing another relieved user who wrote: "You know that feeling when you climb into your bed and you back relaxes? This does the same thing for my neck." If there was one consistent gripe about the Purple pillow, it's that it could be slightly thicker. And, although this pillow comes with a zip cover, Purple recommends purchasing separate pillow cases for it, as well.
Good for someone who wants a super soft pillow that won't make them sneeze
Parachute Down Alternative Pillow
Available in comfortable soft, medium and firm densities, this pillow is filled with superfine microfiber that emulates the best qualities of a regular down pillow — just without the allergies. For added allergy protection, you can purchase Parachute's washable, cotton pillow protector. Fluffy, soft and pleasantly warm (due to its down-like filling), this pillow has been praised by side-, stomach- and back-sleepers alike for its lightweight feel and down-like "squishiness." Like a down-filled pillow, Parachute's pillow can be fluffed into a comfortable shape for each sleeping position.
"Soft and comfortable," one reviewer wrote. "I cannot believe it's not down." One even compared it to sleeping on a cloud (which certainly paints a picture of how soft it is), while another said it quickly and easily fluffs back up after a night's sleep. If you've been considering making the switch from feathers to synthetic fills, Parachute's soft down alternative may convert you.
Good for someone who likes sleeping on a pile of bed pillows
Snowe Down Alternative Pillow
Snowe's down alternative offering is also hypoallergenic and ultra-plush, is available in three density options and comes with a washable sateen cover. According to this enthusiastic reviewer, the fill is beyond convincing in how it replicates the feel of regular down: "The alternative down used in these pillows is like magic. Maximum compression but they always puff back up. Auto-fluffing pillows!"
Snowe's site helpfully notes that a stomach sleeper will be more comfortable for the softer version, while a side sleeper will be more comfortable with something firmer for a good night's rest. And if you're unsure which density to select, go firmer rather than softer. Where many reviewers appreciated the height and density of these bed pillows, others noted that they may be on the thinner side: "Great texture, but could be a little more fully stuffed/firmer. Would prefer to use one, but find myself using two."
Good for someone who, when they say they like a 'firm' pillow, they really mean it
Brooklinen Mid-Plush Down Alternative Pillow
Not only is this pillow vegan, allergen-free and available in a variety of sizes and densities, it also has the longest trial period (365 days) of any product on this list. So, if you take a while to adjust to a change or just believe that a pillow must be "broken in" to know its true strengths, you have plenty of time to make your final decision. And, if you aren't a firm pillow fanatic, that extra-long trial period may come in handy.
According to some, there's a chance that this pillow may be a little too firm: "I went back and forth between plush and the next firmer style. The plush is more than firm enough. If your [sic] on the fence, you might want to take that into consideration." Others said that their pillows softened up after a few weeks of use, while self-described side-sleepers said they took to the pillow's firmness right away. You can purchase a pack of two corresponding pillow cases separately, for $44.
Best for someone who wants a cushy night's sleep without breaking the bank
Sold on Amazon in packs of two with a machine washable cover, DreamNorth's soft pillows are easily the most cost-effective choice on this list. That said, their breathability, down-free fluffiness and supportive gel pillow fiber fill could keep them from feeling "cheap." Described as "ultra-soft," these pillows are probably not the right choice if you're looking for something particularly firm, but their softness almost makes their ability to retain their shape more impressive.
"They came vacuum sealed and squished flat but as soon as you take it out of the package they fluff up like marshmallows and stay that way. I've only noticed some slight, very slight flattening in the 4 months I've had them," one reviewer wrote. Others noted the pillows' fluffiness but added that they didn't have to sacrifice any amount of neck support for how soft they were, either: "I highly recommend these pillows if you are [prone] to waking up with neck aches or headaches, because the pillow conforms nicely to give you the support you need while being soft enough to make you comfortable."
Good pillow for someone who believes high-quality down is worth every penny
The Luxe Pillow
It's right there in the name. This $129 pillow filled with high-quality, sustainably sourced goose down and waterfowl feathers is undoubtedly luxurious. Where the goose down offers fluff, the waterfowl feathers provide support — and both materials are hypoallergenic and Responsible Down Standard-certified. This combination means the pillows are made with any sleeping position in mind, which some customers have put to the test. "I love this pillow," one reviewer wrote. "It helps me sleep in any position, on my back, stomach or side."
Providing that you like a down pillow and the squishiness that tends to accompany that variety of fill (much like what many higher-end hotels outfit their beds with), this pillow could very well worth the price (the fact that it comes with a washable cotton damask case helps somewhat). Or, as one reviewer put it: "Honestly, if you are debating on paying for an expensive pillow, just answer this question: which is more expensive, a chiropractor, masseuse, and a quarterly doctor visit for a monthly prescription medication to treat tension headaches, or this pillow?"
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Originally published in December.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.