5 Best Pillows for Back Sleepers to Ease Pain – 2018 Reviews

By Greg
Best Pillows for Back Sleepers


Ah, the great sleeping debate...which position is best? Many people roll around and change positions during sleep. A small minority prefer to spend the long night on their back, and this article is for them!

While side and back sleepers need drastically different pillows, back sleepers can have the best of both worlds. They only need a pillow with medium firmness to help support the head, and so have the widest range of pillows to choose from. Having said that, there are a few products that stand out above the rest!

From cervical pillows for neck pain to anti-wrinkle pillows that lock your head in place for the night, we have you covered! The best pillows for back pain and back sleepers can all be found below. Here is a quick list of our top picks:

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Why Pick this?

Back Sleeper Score

Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow

Best all-around pillow

Nature's Guest Cervical Support Pillow

3 separate customizable sections for any position!

YourFace Anti-Wrinkle Pillow

Great neck support, keeps face clean and wrinkle free

CustomSleeping Cervical Pillow

Insertable "neck roll" for great spine support

Conforma Ventilated Memory Foam Pillow

Solid memory foam molds to head, very affordable

Why Sleep on Your Back?

Only about eight percent of people sleep on their back, but this position is great for those with back pain. Your spine is kept in a neutral position which is optimal for spine health. It also reduces your chances of getting acid reflux because your chest and head are slightly elevated when sleeping on your back.

If you are a back sleeper, there may be some drawbacks! People who sleep on their back have a higher tendency to snore and have an elevated risk of sleep apnea. If you do suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, you may want to consider switching to side sleeping.

However, even with sleeping on your back, you still won't be able to sleep well with a substandard pillow. There are various aspects to consider when choosing the right pillow when you are a back sleeper. The right pillow helps with neck pain, shoulder pain, back sleepers with sleep apnea, and more. Since sleep apnea occurs when the back of the throat muscles relaxes too much, having the right pillow will help align your body accordingly to eliminate sleep apnea symptoms.

Pillow Buying Guide

Since back sleepers can choose a wide variety of pillows, the choice often comes down to what kind of pillow you want. Different materials offer different benefits. Here is a quick breakdown.

Memory Foam

Memory foam does more than just contour to your body. Depending on the firmness, they provide great support for the neck and spine. Many memory foam pillows are ventilated or shredded for extra airflow and cooling. Some of them also have infused gel to draw heat away from you.

Cooling Gel

As previously mentioned, the gel is sometimes infused into memory foam so that heat will come from your head and be dispersed through the pillow.

Buckwheat

Filled with buckwheat husks, air will flow freely in this type of pillow. Some complain that these pillows make noises, they conform nicely to the head.

Bamboo Pillows

The Bamboo casing and cover provide cooling through its superior breathability. They are also hypoallergenic and organic.

Latex

Perfect for those suffering from neck pain, back pain, or allergies, and it molds to the neck and head, thus offering a surface that's cushiony yet firm. It's also organic and mildew resistant. 

Durability & Make

Pillows should last a minimum of two years. It should continue to deliver a high level of comfort and support over time. So, you should check out the workmanship and materials of the pillow to ensure quality.

If a pillow starts giving out too soon, your head will more than likely start sinking in the pillow and thus won't get the support needed. Latex and memory foam tend to be more durable than others.

Other Required Criteria

There are other requirements to ensuring you have the right type of pillow for you. Please take note, so you'll feel more refreshed. For one, the pillow should be hypoallergenic, especially if you prone to allergies. It must be dust-mite resistant which is beneficial for all sleeping positions.

Another thing is that the pillows shouldn't go flat. Your head and neck will be unsupported at the sides while sleeping on a flat pillow, leading to potential neck strain and discomfort.

Also, contour pillows are good for cervical support. This video talks about the benefits of contour pillows and how to best use them for each sleep position.

These types of pillow provide extra support to the neck, preventing the chin from going down towards the chest. That way, there is no pressure on the airway and no airway obstruction. There is also less snoring. 

Another wonderful option/requirement is wedge pillows. These types of pillows have a shape like a right triangle which can elevate the neck and head. This is very beneficial for those who snore and/or who have acid reflux. Your significant other will definitely love this if you are a snorer. For more cushioning to the neck, a second pillow that is smaller is placed at the top of the wedge.

The next key issue when choosing the right pillow is the mattress compatibility. The mattress and pillow must work accordingly to maintain the lower back curvature. So, if you have a very soft mattress, for instance, you will need a pillow with a lower loft (the height of the pillow) to accommodate the spinal alignment.

And lastly, the thickness of the pillow must be taken into consideration as well. The ideal pillow must be thick enough to make the gap between the mattress and the back filled up. This will ensure that the spine is aligned correctly.

Proper Maintenance

To ensure the pillow remains comfortable for years to come, it's imperative to perform regular maintenance. You must follow the instructions on how you take care of your pillow. Memory foam and gel usually require hand washing and air drying, instead of using a washing machine.

Back Sleeper Pillow Reviews

Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

With this pillow cover, it is breathable, hypoallergenic, and cool-feeling. It is micro-vented which allows you to be cool throughout the night. The cover is also removable due to its zipper.

Another wonderful aspect of this pillow is that it has an adjustable fit. You can adjust the pillow to your thickness and comfort levels. With its conforming, orthopedic shape, this pillow is very supportive of the neck. It is also fully machine washable.

The manufacturer of this brand is so confident about this pillow that they have a 20-year warranty. They even have a 120-night sleep trial. This pillow contains foam that is Certipur-US Certified and Eco-friendly Bio-green. It has no ozone depleters, lead, mercury, PBDE flame retardants, other heavy metals, phthalates, and no formaldehyde.

Pros:

  • Great for people with back and neck injuries/issues.
  • It's easily accessible and easy to open
  • There's no need to reposition it

Considerations:

  • It may have a tendency of going flat.

Nature's Guest Cervical Support Pillow

With this pillow comes many benefits as well. For one, it has a contoured design that's doctor recommended. Both orthopedic and chiropractic doctors recommend this pillow. Secondly, it's fully adjustable which is very important because what works for one back sleeper doesn't necessarily work for another back sleeper. You can choose the desired firmness of the pillow for a more restful sleep.

Also, the make of this pillow assists in reducing back and neck pain, thus improving cervical health. While you are sleeping, this pillow maintains proper neck, head, and spinal alignment.

It's also hypoallergenic and made of premium quality. With its groundbreaking microfiber and premium cotton fabric cover, you'll have comfortable and cool support as well as relief from back, shoulder, and neck pain.

Pros:

  • It's very supportive for those suffering from neck, back, and shoulder pain.
  • Easily Adjustable
  • 3 different sections for different firmness

Considerations:

  • May have an initial smell

YourFace Anti-Wrinkle Pillow

There are several reasons why this pillow has high rankings among customers. For one, this pillow has a hypoallergenic inner cover, and the outer cover is made of a bamboo that is washable and removable. It is also made out of CertifPUR Certified foam that is free of phthalates, formaldehyde, heavy metals, lead, mercury, TCEP flame retardants, TDCPP, and PBDEs.

With these aspects, your face and skin will breathe naturally and be free of any harmful contact. This pillow works as a great solution for acne treatment, anti-wrinkle, and anti-aging skin care. With the bamboo cover, your face will have support; therefore, you don't have to worry about your face becoming smashed onto the pillow which would cause wrinkles.

Pros:

  • Contours and cradles your head
  • Keeps your face wrinkle free!
  • No scent

Considerations:

  • can't switch sleeping positions easily
  • takes a week or two to get used to

Customsleeping Cervical Pillow

Another amazing orthopedic pillow, this pillow by Customsleeping is made out of 100% cotton. It assists in eliminating back pain, neck pain, and headaches. It also improves blood circulation, reduces snoring, and provides support for a restful sleep at night.

This pillow is recommended by chiropractors. In addition to relieving pain, neutral spine alignment is promoted. This pillow is totally adjustable to fit your shape. You can wake up feeling totally refreshed and rested.

In regards to it being hypoallergenic, it's resistant to dust mites. It also comes with a Tencel Custom fit Pillowcase. You will enjoy dry and cool sleeping all throughout the night. It is also 100% machine washable, and it has a 5-year guarantee.

Pros:

  • Neck roll included for extra support
  • Long lasting and easy to maintain
  • Supportive yet soft

Considerations:

  • May have multiple versions on amazon, check which one you order
  • initial smell

Classic Brands Conforma Ventilated Memory Foam Pillow

With this pillow's ventilated, memory foam, airflow goes throughout the pillow causing a cool and regulated temperature. So, you will be comfortable sleeping. Its ventilated memory foam has cooling properties, causing the dissipation of heat through air flowing. It is porous. Also, the design of its superior plush velour cover works to optimize the memory foam's contouring properties.

This pillow is responsive to the pressure and temperature in which mold to your shape. Thus, you will obtain perfect support for the shoulders, neck, and head. The head is supported at the proper height. Your head stays tilted in a proper position to ensure proper support. Made with quality assurance, this pillow also includes a 3-year warranty.

Another great aspect of this pillow is that it is hypoallergenic and naturally antimicrobial. It is resistant to dust mites, bacteria, mold, and allergens.

When it comes to maintaining this pillow, it is easy to clean. It consists of a removable, zip-off cover that is machine washable.

Pros:

  • It's thick and firm, thus supportive.
  • Long lasting, 3 year warranty
  • Soft cover, machine washable

Considerations:

  • May be too firm for some

Conclusion

The creme of the crop is the Snuggle Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam. All of these pillows share most of the same benefits. However, this pillow has everything you need. It is adjustable, stays cool, and supports your neck. It is also the most “traditional” pillow, so if you do end up switching positions throughout the night, it can adjust with you. Some of the other selections require you to stay on your back the whole night.

Any of these pillows are a great choice to help improve your sleeping posture. Let us know in the comments which one you picked to add to your personal sleep arsenal!