Sleep.FM is supported by our awesome readers. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.
It can be hard to enjoy your day or get much done when your neck is sore, your shoulders are achy, or your lower back is killing you.
You could have the perfect mattress and still not get a great night’s rest if your pillow doesn’t fit your sleeping style just right. So, we’ve rounded up our top 10 models specifically for back sleepers of 2020 because you deserve sleep that’s peaceful, rejuvenating, and satisfying.
Find out the best pillow for back sleepers of 2020 today, and hop right in right with our top 10 picks at a glance out of over 5,000 models on the market.
Top Picks At A Glance (For Those In A Rush!)
1. Puffy Pillow (Editor’s Choice)
This customizable pillow features a lifetime warranty and a 101-night sleep trial, ensuring it’s spot as our Editor’s Choice.
A unique foam model that also features Kapok fibers and an antibacterial covering. Our best value pick!
Our best cheap (but good!) contoured model with a removable inner layer to help you achieve the ideal height.
A mixed foam option that’s fully customizable and adjustable.
A reversible foam model with contoured supports for back sleepers.
A great middle point between traditional models and contoured options, that’s best for those who switch sleeping positions regularly.
A curved model that’s specifically designed for back sleepers. This foamy dream may help you transition to back sleeping.
A straightforward shredded memory foam model that’s soft enough to cuddle.
This set is a great value choice that’s entirely machine washable. It’s also made of luxurious Egyptian cotton.
A foam contour option that provides just enough neck and head support.
Back Sleeper Pillow Reviews
Ready to take a deep dive into our top 10 picks you can buy this year for those who sleep toes up?
Read through our back sleeper pillow reviews, with pros and cons of each model until you find the perfect one for you!
1. Puffy Pillow – Editor’s Choice
The Puffy Pillow is chock-full of CertiPUR-US Certified memory foam filling. This dense, supportive filling is contained within an internal sleeve, which is itself protected by a luxuriously soft bamboo rayon fabric. In addition to being completely hypoallergenic, this cover is also cool to the touch and fantastically breathable.
Back sleepers can enjoy this Puffy model’s total adjustability as it allows users to create the ideal amount of support by adding or removing some filling. The lifetime warranty, 101-night sleep trial, and free shipping are also significant factors to consider.
When choosing a pillow for back sleepers, we couldn’t find anything that truly compared to the Puffy Pillow. Its outstanding head, neck, and customer support grants a little peace of mind that could help you rest more soundly at night.
- Shipping is free (for most states in the US)
- Features a breathable, hypoallergenic bamboo rayon cover that’s easy to clean.
- Includes a 101-night sleep trial to help guarantee your satisfaction
- It comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty
- It’s CertiPUR-US Certified.
- It only comes in two sizes.
2. Layla Kapok Pillow – Top Value Pick
Copper is a powerful and incredibly useful metal. It has natural antibacterial properties that could help keep surfaces clean and germ-free. The Layla Kapok Pillow features a copper-infused covering that promotes cool, hygienic sleep.
It’s also firm enough to support back sleepers and customizable enough to satisfy side sleepers. And while this Layla model does contain a good amount of dense foam, it also contains Kapok fibers, a unique touch.
- Adjustable firmness and softness with removable filling options.
- Contains a unique Kapok fiber filling.
- Features a cover that’s infused with copper, giving it antibacterial properties.
- Better suited to those who shift into a side-sleeping position throughout the night.
- It’s premium-level copper casing commands a more premium price (but it’s worth it!)
3. UTTU Sandwich Pillow – Top Cheap But Good Pick
The UTTU Sandwich Pillow gets its name from its unique design feature: An insertable/removable middle padding that can adjust this model’s total height. This can be a boon for petite sleepers that struggle with more standard options.
It provides an adjustable amount of support for back sleepers that many may find favorable, especially considering the stationary qualities of other contoured pillows. This UTTU Sandwich model allows back sleepers to customize their pillow’s height and firmness, and it’s budget-friendly too.
- It contains a removable layer that allows users to adjust the model’s height.
- Foam filling remains flexible in cold weather.
- Provides extra support to help realign your spine
- This model is completely gluten-free and non-toxic.
- May lose its shape more quickly than comparable cervical pillows.
This pillow is fantastically soft and brimming with filling. The foam blend consists of a stationary internal panel that is thick and firm. The outer pockets are adjustable and can be packed full of loose, ventilated foam.
When you consider the reasonable warranty and trial options that come with this pillow, the reasons to not give it a try become scarce.
- Plump on either side, ensuring both pillow longevity and comfort.
- Includes a free 50-night home trial and free returns.
- Every pillow comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Foam filling consists of two different types of memory foam
- Not machine washable.
This cervical pillow has a solid foam interior that is perforated with holes to allow for the best airflow. It is contoured, but unlike other models with insertable pads for adjustability, this pillow has reversible sides that allow sleepers to enjoy different pillow heights.
- The foam material is ventilated for quick cooling.
- Reversible design allows users to choose between high and low support.
- Comes with a fully removable hypoallergenic polyester pillowcase.
- Does not contain methane chloride, unlike other types of foam pillows.
- May be slightly too thin for some users.
Those looking for a middle ground between traditional comfort and contoured support may want to consider the Idle Sleep pillow. While it does feature a solid foam filling, it’s a slightly improved gel-infused foam that can help reduce heat and keep sleepers cool.
The naturally antibacterial bamboo cover is also surprisingly soft to the touch. And with targeted, gentle support zones throughout the body of this pillow, back sleepers could enjoy improved neck and shoulder support.
- A hybrid of traditional and contoured design.
- Consists of several different support zones that target common stress areas.
- Features a velour bamboo cover that is naturally antibacterial.
- Has a gel-infused, perforated foam filling to help reduce heat.
- This pillow may not be within budget for some.
- May not fit all users comfortably.
One of the greatest drawbacks of memory foam pillows is the smell. Many types of memory foam produce a rubbery scent in a process known as “off-gassing.” This pillow doesn’t do that, even though it is made of foam.
Instead, it provides sleepers with improved shoulder support with wide shoulder panels. The Mokaloo Cervical Pillow may also help hot sleepers stay cool with its ventilated mesh covering.
- Includes a ventilated mesh pillow cover for cooler sleeping.
- Doesn’t produce a strong off-gassing smell.
- Features a unique design that promotes consistent black sleeping.
- Sleepers can enjoy this pillow’s shoulder support panels.
- If you don’t have neck pain, you might prefer other options on this list.
Side sleepers that are transitioning to a back position may require a softer pillow than lifelong back sleepers. The Layla Memory Foam Pillow contains a blend of foam and polyfill, making it one of the most cuddly-worthy options.
This pillow has a decent amount of give that allows users to sink slightly. Its foam components best cradle back sleepers and side sleepers because of it’s extra firmness.
- One of the softest options for back sleepers.
- Filling consists of foam and polyfill, allowing for firm support and comfy body molding.
- Improved filling ventilation reduces heat build-up.
- Luxurious design and sizing.
Polyfill components can be dangerous for pets and small children if ingested.
If you’re looking to furnish your guest room or simply add some of the best supportive pillows to your bed, this dual pack of pillows may be a worthwhile option. Though they’re not as complex or modernized as comparable options, they’re entirely machine washable, fantastically affordable, and covered in rich Egyptian cotton. They’re also firm enough to cradle sleepers of all styles and positions.
- The best overall value option.
- The entire pillow is machine washable, making cleaning simple.
- Traditional shape and features make this pillow a reasonable option for those who adopt multiple sleeping positions throughout the night.
- Features a soft-to-the-touch Egyptian cotton pillow covering.
The polyfill material used in this model clumps a bit more than other models on this list.
Our #10-rated model for back sleepers is a budget-friendly option that’s slightly contoured for improved back sleeper support. It’s naturally mite repellent and hypoallergenic, though it may emit a slight off-gassing scent.
However, this pillow is free of dangerous toxins and chemicals, and it’s a reasonable option for back sleepers on a tight budget.
- One of the most affordable foam pillows on the market.
- Entirely free of formaldehyde and heavy metals.
- Features gentle curves for mild neck and head cradling
- It is made of naturally mite-repellent materials.
- It’s not quite as comfortable as the previously reviewed models.
- It’s price is a tad high given it’s performance.
What You NEED to Consider Before Buying a Back Sleeper Pillow (Top 3 Things)
1. Traditional vs. Contour
Before you decide on a back sleeper pillow, you should take a moment to consider whether you’d like a traditional pillow or a contoured pillow. Both options have particular advantages and disadvantages, so it’s wise to weigh your priorities before making a final decision.
For example, contoured pillows can provide a little extra cradling to your upper spine, neck, and head. Unlike traditional pillows, they remain stable and firm even after hours of use. If you’ve noticed that your pillows tend to develop large dips or dents in the middle, you may benefit from choosing contoured pillows.
Traditional pillows are often made of cotton stuffing, feathers, or some form of down. This allows them to bunch, flex, and flatten – which can end up being more comfortable as your pillow forms exactly to your head and neck shape. Shredded foam pillows also tend to adopt the general shape and structure of a sleeper’s head and shoulders. This can be beneficial for those who adopt multiple sleeping positions throughout the night.
Ultimately, when deciding between traditional and contour pillows, it comes down to your personal preference of what you find more comfortable.
As we briefly touched on above, pillows can be made from a wide variety of materials. They could be filled with anything from gel-infused foam to duck feathers. And their cloth covering could be 100% unbleached organic cotton or a synthetic blend of stretchy, breathable synthetic fibers.
Still, some fillings and cover materials are more common than others. In general, you can expect to choose the following fillings:
- Polyester Microbeads
- Shredded Cotton
- Shredded Foam
- Layered Foam
- Shredded Raw Wool
Latex and foam tend to lend themselves well to pillows for back sleepers. Latex, in particular, retains its shape after extended periods and is highly resilient. (1) Microbeads can become a nuisance and environmental contaminant, but pillows made with them tend to be plush and form-fitting, which adds to their popularity. However, microbeads don’t offer much resistance for those looking for a firmer model.
The other listed materials may move around inside the body of the fabric casing, resulting in decreased neck, head, and shoulder support. Still, the final decision concerning filling depends on your preferences, priorities, and budget. As for materials, there are dozens from which to choose.
Still, the pillow’s fabric is less essential than its filling, especially if you plan on using pillow protectors and pillowcases.
Material choice is more important in the bedding debate: comforter vs blanket.
Finally, your budget will help you decide which pillow is best for you. Traditional pillows tend to cost slightly less than contoured models. And in terms of filling, foam, latex, and natural feathers or down tend to be more expensive than polyfill microbead or shredded options.
Pillows with gel-infused foam or electronic components (think smart pillows) also tend to be a little less affordable than conventional options. Fortunately, there’s a pillow for every budget and every sleep style.
“The Secrets” To Back Sleeping
Throughout the day, your spine endures a lot of movement and pressure. Gravity is constantly pulling our bodies downward, resulting in slight spinal compression. This is especially true of those who find themselves seated for the majority of the day.
When we sleep, we give our bodies an opportunity to rest, relax, and best realign itself. When you sleep on your back, you allow your spine to fully stretch and extend. The back sleeping position is one of the best for relieving neck pain, and it can also help relieve tension from the shoulders. (2)
Some of the most common advantages associated with sleeping on your back include:
- Fewer tension headaches
- Reduced digestive issues
- Reduced heartburn
- Reduced neck, shoulder, and spinal pain
Sleeping on your back may even help you reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and acne. (3) But while back sleepers could enjoy the above benefits, it does have a couple of potential disadvantages.
The greatest potential downside to sleeping on your back is the risk of worsening pre-existing sleep apnea. A sleeping person’s tongue could roll into their throat, obstructing normal breathing. For this reason, those with sleep apnea are often encouraged to sleep on their side.
Individuals with chronic or acute lower back pain may also suffer from adopting a back sleeping position. Too much pressure on the spine after an injury could worsen symptoms of pain and discomfort. Still, it’s important to note that individuals with sleep apnea could still adopt a back sleeping style, so long as their head is properly elevated. (4)
Another potential disadvantage is comfort. Sleeping on your back might not be your cup of tea. If you can’t seem to fall asleep, or you toss and turn all night, you may want to keep sleeping on your side or stomach. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to get high-quality rest.
People Also Ask
How high should a pillow be for back sleepers?
Unless you have sleep apnea, your pillow height should be one that helps your head and neck feel comfortable. If you’re using a contoured pillow, you don’t have to adjust your pillow at all. If you’re using a traditional pillow, you may need to stack pillows, or use thinner pillows like our #1 best pillow for stomach sleepers, to achieve your desired height.
If you have sleep apnea, it’s vital to use with a pillow that keeps your upper body as elevated as possible. This can help avoid obstruction of the airflow passages.
Should back sleepers use a pillow?
Yes, back sleepers should use a pillow. Allowing the head to rest fully against the mattress can cause neck and shoulder strain. It’s common for back sleepers to wake up with sore necks or achy heads after sleeping without a pillow.
However, you could sleep on a hard surface to ensure proper spinal alignment, but who wants to do that?
Instead, simply use a comfy pillow, combo that with a highly-reviewed weighted blanket, and test your results. You’ll likely find this is a deadly combo, as long as you know why weighted blankets are so expensive, in the first place.
What are the most popular brands for back sleeper pillows?
There are several popular brands for back sleeper pillows. Examples include Puffy, Layla, Nectar, and UTTU. As these companies continue to expand and grow, it’s likely that they’ll produce a wider range of products of back sleepers.
Our Final Verdict
Now that you’ve learned about all the best pillows for back sleepers of 2020 here at Sleep.FM, you have a better idea of what type will work best for you. If you’re struggling to narrow down the options, though, our top recommendation is the highly-rated Puffy Pillow.
With every comfort feature you want and a lifetime warranty, you can’t go wrong with the Puffy Pillow. Of course, with our list of the top ten choices, there is something for everyone who craves a better night’s rest.