Broadly, there are three main sleeping positions namely back, side and tummy/stomach positions. Some people may also combine all the aforementioned variations. Another classification of sleeping positions includes the yearner, the fetus, the soldier, the starfish, the log and the free fall position. Peruse our list of the best pillows for stomach sleepers in our section below.
General Thoughts on the Best Pillow for Stomach Sleepers
Sleep experts recommend side sleeping for more comfort and uninterrupted sleep. In fact, the side sleeping position is the most recommended for people with hip or back pain as well as pregnant women. Even though the stomach sleeping position can reduce snoring, it causes strain on the lower back and may cause neck pains. Stomach sleepers are more prone to tossing and turning during sleep as they try to get more comfortable. Stomach sleepers can try lying face down – rather than with the head turned to the side – with the forehead supported on a pillow to give room to breathe.
Alternatively, they can sleep without using a pillow so as to try to achieve a neutral position aligned with the rest of the body. However, using the right pillow can provide comfort and support while averting back or neck pains.
Stomach sleeping is usually recommended for women suffering from the effects of menopause as it eases symptoms like pains, anxiety and gastrointestinal disorders. Growing children and adults alike may also find the stomach sleeping position very relaxing. By sleeping on their stomach, people can slightly reduce gastrointestinal disorders like abdominal pains, cramping and gas. This calls for having the right pillow ideal for this sleeping position.
A pillow should fundamentally be able to support the head and neck in a neutral position properly aligned with rest of the spine. A soft thin, almost flat pillow can help relieve some of the pressure exerted on the muscles and joints. A stomach sleeper may also use a body pillow to support the stomach area. With a bad pillow stomach sleepers risk suffocation, back and neck pains, nerve damage and poor spine alignment. Thus a greater need to have a proper pillow suited to their sleeping position.
Top 5 Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
Here are the all around best pillows for stomach sleepers.
1. Exceptional Sheets Extra Soft Down Filled Pillow
This Extra Soft Down Pillow from Exceptional Sheets is perfectly suited for tummy/stomach sleepers. The pillow is made of 80% white duck down and 20% feather blend. It features a cambric-woven 100% cotton cover with a 230 thread count that ensures durability and softness. The high thread count ensures no poking and enhances ventilation.
The pillow has a 525 fill power which is comfortably provides soft support to stomach sleepers. The Extra Soft Down pillow cradles the head and neck by molding to their contours for neutral spine alignment. The down filling is naturally soft, fluffy and is packed less in this pillow to prevent cranking out the neck. The materials used have hypoallergenic qualities thus ensuring uninterrupted sleep. Available in standard, queen and travel sizes this down pillow is machine-washable and dryable.
2. DC Labs Ultra Slim Sleeper Memory Foam Pillow
Highly rated as the best low profile memory foam pillow, the Ultra Slim Sleeper pillow from Delta Comfort Labs has a height of only 2.5 inches. Its soft memory foam filling conforms to the shape of the neck and head. Memory foam is generally dust mite resistant, anti-microbial, hypoallergenic and bed bug resistant. The low profile design makes it the best option for stomach sleepers. It also features a half-pillow design to provide different levels of softness/firmness; the pillow is flat on one side and normal on the other.
3. Serta iComfort Scrunch Pillow
The Scrunch Pillow is made of gel-infused memory foam, Cool Action Gel Memory Foam, which is highly conforming to the head and neck’s natural curves. The foam is embedded with gel beads to reduce heat retention by allowing air circulation. Its cover contains 10% rayon and 90% polyester which make it durable and comfortable.
The gel-infused foam also makes it more breathable. Its slim, light design makes it very portable and ideal for outdoor activities like camping. Even though it is priced a little higher than other pillows in its range, its unique features ensure value for money. The Icomfort Scrunch Pillow from Serta is perfectly suited for stomach sleepers and is available in queen and king sizes.
4. DC Labs Slim Sleeper Natural Latex Foam Pillow
Made from resilient 100% natural latex, the Slim Sleeper pillow by DC Labs is only 2.75 inches tall makes it a good option for stomach sleepers. Latex is naturally long-lasting, anti-microbial, hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, anti-fungus and mildew resistant. The Slim Sleeper features a pin-hole design which allows for more breathability and air circulation.
The pillow comes with a machine-washable cotton outer cover and is available in various sizes. This low profile pillow is uniquely designed to provide a cool, comfortable sleeping environment while maintaining the much spinal alignment. It also comes with a 5-year warranty and a no-questions-asked return policy
5. Pancake Pillow Adjustable Layer Pillow
This Pancake Pillow Adjustable Layer Pillow from Pancake Pillow has a gusset support design with a 3-inch edge. It has an adjustable multi-layered construction comprising of six soft stackable inner-pillow layers. The adjustability feature makes this pillow a good choice for all sleeping positions. The inner-pillow layers are filled with ultra-soft, hypoallergenic down-alternative microfiber.
The microfibers provide luxurious softness while the gusset design ensures a firm support. The outer-shell is made of 100% cotton fabric with a 300 thread count. The pillow case is zippered on three sides for easy access and adjustment of the inner-pillow layers. The Pancake Pillow is particularly a good option when purchasing pillows for the whole family as it caters to all sleeping positions. Additionally, it can help in reducing snoring and has an appealing design. The Pancake Pillow is available in king and queen sizes
Key Benefits of a Good Pillow
The main goal of a pillow is to keep the head in neutral alignment which means that the head is siting squarely on the shoulders without too far forward or bending back too far. Stomach sleepers face risk getting a lot of spinal-related problems. Luckily, a thin pillow can alleviate most of the neck, shoulder and back pains that stomach sleepers go through.
A high-loft pillow pushes the head back too far, but a thin pillow maintains the neutral alignment. A soft pillow with a preferable height of 2.75inches ensures proper spinal alignment while still providing comfort to the head, neck and shoulders. Stomach sleepers can also place a flat pillow under the stomach to help in back pain relief.
Elderly people, pregnant mothers in their early pregnancy stages as well as children find the stomach sleeping position relaxing, soothing and enjoyable. The blindfolding-effect that stomach sleeping provides induces sleep very fast and makes it favorable when sleeping during the day. Therefore, a good pillow can go a long way in making stomach sleeping as beneficial as is possible.
A good pillow and mattress are key components to getting the right amount and quality of sleep. Consequently, good quality sleep results to numerous health benefits like improved immune system, weight control management and so on. Even though, the stomach sleeping position is not recommended with the right pillow stomach sleepers can also get to enjoy the health benefits that are drawn from comfortable, restful sleep.
Stomach sleepers usually move their head to the side for proper breathing, which twists the neck in an unnatural way. The best pillows for stomach sleepers usually have soft, hypoallergenic, breathable covers that conform to the curves of the neck and head giving room to breathe. Furthermore, a good quality pillow will have a ventilated-design for cool, comfortable sleep.
Choosing the Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
Stomach sleepers should go a slim, soft pillow to use under the head or can opt to put a flat pillow under the hips to ensure comfort and proper support. Some manufacturers are reputable for designing low-loft pillows ideally suited for stomach sleepers. With a budget in mind shoppers are guaranteed to get a wide array of some of the best pillows there is in the market. Online reviews and recommendations from friends or family can give the buyer a general guide on the best product for them. Testing each brand by either fluffing the pillow or lying down on it can also help determine the most comfortable and ideal one for the buyer.
A pillow with a risk-free guarantee is a good option for trial and error purposes as the buyer tries to evaluate the right pillow for him/her. Sleep experts recommend that pillows should be replaced every 12 to 18 months since there may contain dead skin cells, dust mites, fungus, mildew, mold or even make up. Some notable stomach sleeper pillow brands include Pancake Pillows, Serta, Coop Home Goods, Downlite Dr. Breus and Exceptional Sheets.
Types of Pillows
Most buckwheat, memory foam and latex pillows may not be fit for stomach sleepers because of their high firmness, loft and thickness. The memory foam material does not lose shape even after extensive use thus can be too rigid for stomach sleepers. Shredded memory foam pillows are highly conforming and can cradle the head thus can be a good option to this particular sleeping position.
Buckwheat hulls pillows with less fill can also ensure comfortable, pain-free sleep as the hulls distribute evenly to provide a more natural position. Latex pillows offer a firm, springy feel thus can be ideal for people who shift from one sleeping position to the other. However, latex pillows are very expensive as compared to other pillow types.
A thinner or flatter pillow is more than enough for the stomach sleeping position. Most water pillows, foam, down and feather pillows are perfectly suited for this sleeping position.
The soft feathers in feather pillows tend to flatten under the weight of the head. Down pillows are also softer and slimmer under pressure. Common combinations of 75% down and 25% feathers can provide the comfort and required support for stomach sleepers. Feather and down pillows are not only soft but are also easily shapeable/moldable to provide the best comfort and support for stomach sleepers. Foam pillows are easily moldable, soft and can get thin under head weight. Water pillows can be adjusted to offer the ideal loft for any sleeping position. By reducing the amount of water, this water pillows can achieve the required height and size for stomach sleepers.
Other factors to consider when shopping for the best pillows for stomach sleepers include the following:
- Filler material. The type of material used as filling in the pillow can greatly determine its softness/firmness. Some materials may cause allergic reactions for instance feathers and down. Therefore, for people with allergies they should go for pillows with hypoallergenic properties. Most pillows made with polyurethane, wool, cotton or polyester fiber are hypoallergenic. Latex and wool/cotton pillows are naturally mold and dust mite resistant. Natural fillings are breathable and also have the ability to absorb and dissipate excess moisture.
- Size. Pillows generally come in many different sizes with the common ones being queen, king and standard. While the size of the bed may influence which pillow size it is also important one’s body size. Stomach sleeping position requires a low-profile pillow that will not lift the head and neck too high. If a thick pillow is needed then it is prudent to use an extra pillow under the stomach so as to maintain a healthy balance.
- Heat retention. Heat retention in a pillow is mostly undesirable and can lead to uncomfortable or interrupted sleep. Memory foam pillows are known to retain body heat and can lead to sleeping hot. Consumers should go for pillows with filler materials well suited to heat dissipation or pillows with extra features to help in heat regulation.
- Cover Fabric. The head/neck comes into contact with the cover thus the fabric material should be factored in when buying a new pillow. Especially for stomach sleepers since the cover touches the neck, chest and bed. The best fabric material should be soft, natural smooth to touch. Naturally-derived materials will not cause skin irritations for instance viscose rayon from bamboo, 100% cotton and silk-made pillow covers. The thread count of the fabric should also be high to indicate that it can withstand the pressure of the filler material when one lies on the pillow.