Sleeping on your stomach isn’t the most popular option. Because of that, finding the best pillow for stomach sleepers is not that easy. Still, stomach sleepers out there need to know how to find the perfect pillow for them. Sleeping on your tummy and getting a good night’s sleep without any soreness in the morning is not as effortless as one could imagine.
As a stomach sleeper, you have definitely heard that sleeping in this position isn’t good for you and you should switch to sleeping on your side or back. While that’s most likely true, we sleep the way we sleep because that’s comfortable or natural for us so why not make the most out of it? In this guide, we’ll go through the most important information you need to possess about stomach-sleeping and a few pillows that other tummy-sleepers found comfortable.
Image used under Creative Commons from Chris March
Table of Contents
- Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
- What You Need to Know About Stomach Sleeping
- Can You Stop Yourself From Sleeping on Your Stomach?
- Helpful Tips for Better Sleep
- Who Needs a Stomach Sleeper Pillow?
Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
Obviously, it’s almost impossible to manufacture a pillow that’s perfect for every stomach sleeper on Earth. The pillows described below are the best ones available on the market but it doesn’t guarantee that those are the perfect pillows for you.
Everyone is different and in regards to pillows there’s no such thing as the perfect pillow for stomach sleepers. Hopefully, the descriptions below will help you with making an informed decision and choosing a pillow that’s best for your unique needs.
- 2.5 inches thick
- despite being really thin still provides support
- quite expensive
- stays cool during the night
- adjustable height
- bit pricey
- dense memory foam
- 3 inches thick
- quite firm
- feathers instead of memory foam
- soft and squeezable
- you can adjust the amount of filling to get the thickness you need
- things can get messy when you’re adjusting the amount of filling
Ultra Slim Sleeper Memory Foam Pillow
If you’re looking for an extra thin pillow ideal for stomach and back sleepers, Ultra Slim Sleeper pillow is definitely worth checking out. It’s a hypoallergenic and anti-microbial memory foam pillow. As all memory foam pillows do, it needs a day or two of airing out to get rid of the smell.
When it comes to size, it’s a pretty small pillow, not a full-sized one. As mentioned, it’s a really thin pillow – only 2.5 inches thick. While being almost flat, this pillow still offers support, so it’s not one of those flat pillows that don’t offer any support and therefore doesn’t help with getting a good night’s sleep.
The thing many people balk at is the price of Ultra Slim Sleeper. Yes, it’s an expensive pillow, but if that’s going to be the pillow that helps you sleep better and wake up refreshed, it’s definitely worth investing the money.Let’s hear what buyers on Amazon said about this pillow:
Absolutely love this pillow! I am a stomach sleeper and have been looking for a slim pillow for a long time. I did not want to spend all this money on a pillow I wasn’t sure I would like but finally decided to bite the bullet. I’m glad I did as I sleep better and wake up without back pain.
If you’re a stomach sleeper who appreciates a flat pillow, I cannot recommend this product enough. I can’t fall asleep unless I’m on my stomach, and it’s been difficult to find the right pillow for this sleeping position. Most pillows are either too fluffy or full, which kinks my neck awkwardly upward. Pillows can also be too flat with not enough support. At 2.5 inches thick with supportive yet cushy memory foam, this pillow is the happy medium.
I am a stomach sleeper, and this pillow works so well for me. It balked a bit at the price, but, to me, it was worth every penny.
Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Cover
As you obviously can tell it’s a shredded memory foam pillow which comes with all of its pros – you can adjust it’s height easily and it molds to fit your head and neck. It’s a hypoallergenic pillow that stays cool during the night thanks to the memory foam being shredded (which allows more air circulation).
Please note that the pillow inflates when unwrapped (it comes vacuum sealed) and smells bad for a couple of days as pretty much all memory foam pillows do. To make the smell go away quicker consider washing it before using. In case you didn’t sleep on a memory foam pillow ever it might take a night or two to get used to it.Here are a few quotes pulled from Amazon that might help you with deciding if it’s a pillow for you.
This pillow is the best pillow I have ever had. I’m a side sleeper and a stomach sleeper so the side sleeper pillows are too thick to use for stomach sleeping and the stomach sleeping pillows are to flat for side sleeping.
Love our pillows! Good night’s sleep every night! We even bought a second set of pillows for our other home too, so we didn’t have to haul them back and forth 🙂 I’m a back & side sleeper — my husband sleeps on our stomach. So, we always have a problem finding the right feel — and this pillow adjusts to both our styles.
I have always slept on a very thin pillow as I toss from stomach to back, but find myself sleeping most of the night on my back after using these. They are forgiving enough that stomach sleeping is still comfortable as well.
Obviously, there are people who sleep on their tummies and aren’t that happy about this pillow.
I bought this pillow because I love memory foam and it was advertised for all sleepers including stomach. It is not for stomach sleepers. The pillow is a medium firm and very puffy. I’ve woken up with neck and shoulder pain a lot since buying this pillow, even when I slept on my side (though I do roll in towards my stomach even when sleeping on my side).
The Pancake Pillow
The Pancake Pillow is definitely a unique one. It’s a layer pillow that allows you to easily adjust its height. There are 6 6 stackable inner pillow layers inside it and changing pillow’s height is as easy as adding or subtracting a layer (or more). Inner pillow layers (inserts) are filled with microfiber. They compress down noticeably after applying pressure so before using the pillow for the first time take a few minutes to figure out the number of inserts you would use for the night.
Add as many inserts as you think would be good for you and lay your head on the pillow for a few minutes. If after compressing down your head isn’t at the height comfortable for you adjust the number of inserts.The main concern for many people is the price of the pillow. It’s not an inexpensive pillow, quite on the contrary. But if you weren’t lucky enough to find a good pillow to sleep on your stomach by know, it’s definitely worth considering.
Let’s read what Amazon customers wrote about this pillow:
I’m mostly a stomach sleeper so wanted something THIN but still supportive and plush-feeling, and this is the first pillow I’ve had in a long time that has accomplished that. I only use 2 of the pancakes so I have 4 in reserve in case these start to wear out. So far though they seem very durable and well-made. The pillow is a little expensive but I’d say it’s worth it. In my case, I got 3 pillows’ worth.
My husband searched everywhere to replace his old, well loved, flattened pillow. He is a stomach sleeper and most new pillows are too full/big/high. This was pricey, but he LOVES it! He only uses two inserts, so really, for him, he got 3 new pillows since he will save the other inserts until they are needed.
I’ve been searching for a pillow for years. Finally I found the one. I’m a stomach sleeper and I only use ONE layer of the pancake pillow
I’m very satisfied I would recommend to all my friends n family
Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Classic Pillow
Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Classic is a memory foam pillow and one of the thinner ones available on the market which obviously makes it a great candidate for a pillow for stomach sleepers. It’s a quite dense pillow (3-pound density) and the memory foam provides good support. As a memory foam pillow, it molds to your head and neck.
Few customers found this pillow quite firm comparing to other memory foam pillows. Please note that if you tend to sleep on your tummy and side (changing positions during the night, etc.) this might not be the best choice for you as quite a few side sleepers found this pillow to be too thin (which is a good thing for stomach sleepers, obviously).Let’s take a look at what Amazon buyers have to say about this pillow.
While this pillow is described as being good for all sleeping positions, I bought mine at a department store where they had different pillows (from the same manufacturer) and each was categorized in terms of the type of sleeping position, and this one was specifically indicated as being optimal for side/stomach sleepers, as it’s thinner than other options specifically so it’s comfortable if you are laying partially or completely on your stomach.
I have always had a problem with pillows because I’m a stomach sleeper and pillows have always been too thick. This one is perfect. It’s not too thick, molds to your head (whichever way you turn throughout the night), and does not get too hot like some memory foam pillows.
I am a stomach sleeper and have had a hard time finding a pillow that I would be happy with. When I first received the package, it did not wreak of any chemical smell. I was able to test it out right away. My first impression was that it was too firm. I almost threw it in the box and sent it back. Glad I didn’t ! My first night sleeping with it was one of the best nights of sleep in a long time.
Please note that not everyone was as excited about this pillow as buyers quoted above.
Slim Sleeper Memory Foam
Slim Sleeper is very similar to Ultra Slim Sleeper described above. The most noticeable difference is that this one is a bit thicker – it’s 3 inches thick (in contrast to Ultra Slim being 2.5 inches thick). The characteristic that seems to be the most important difference is that this pillow is on the firmer side. If you prefer firm pillows that don’t give in, chances are you will really like this one. But if firm pillows aren’t your thing, this is not a pillow for you.Here’s what buyers wrote about this pillow:
I have never been more excited about a pillow in my life. I have a bad neck, and I am a stomach sleeper..and this is the exact pillow I have been looking for..FOR YEARS!!! Its the perfect thinness for stomach sleepers. No more neck aches!
Got the pillow 4 days ago and my first impression was not all that great. Compared to my down pillow it was quite heave and by no means soft but it was here so how bad could it be might as well try it. Going to sleep the first night I was convinced it wasn’t going to work because it was quite firm “hard” in fact. I don’t think I even turned over all night because I was in the same position I went to sleep in. NO sore ear, and NO sore neck. I guess firm is ok when it’s foam. I have 4 nights of comfort now and am very happy with the purchase.
Extra Soft Down Pillow by ExceptionalSheets
It’s a hypoallergenic down pillow designed for stomach sleepers. It’s both very soft and thin, so if you sleep on your side from time to time and aren’t comfortable with very thin pillows this one might not be for you. Otherwise, if you’re a typical stomach sleeper the pillow being very thin is definitely a great thing for you. If you prefer feathers-filled pillows over memory foam ones this is definitely worth taking a look at.
As you can see in the reviews on Amazon people love its softness and thickness (or rather a lack of it). Most of the negative reviews seem to be written by people sleeping primarily on their side and that pillow isn’t for most of them (as mentioned earlier). All in all, it’s a soft down pillow and does a great job for many tummy sleepers.Let’s take a look at a few Amazon reviews. Obviously please remember that not everyone loves this pillow as much as the quoted reviewers.
I highly recommend this pillow for any stomach sleepers or anyone who genuinely enjoys very soft pillows.
If you are a stomach sleeper look no further. This is perfect blend of squishiness and fluffiness… just enough to punch down into your special shape but not be flat. Fluffs back up in an instant.
Pillows are a tricky on line purchase, esp if you are very fussy, which I am. As a stomach sleeper I need very soft (squeezable), but with a nice loft for the head to rest on. I have had bad luck w/down pillows being toooo firm, and it takes months to break them in. These pillows were/are just perfect for me.
Cool & Natural Form-Fit Pillow
Cool & Natural is a pillow with buckwheat hull and shredded foam filling and quilted cotton shell. What’s great about this pillow is that you can adjust the number of buckwheat hulls in it effectively adjusting the pillow to your needs. If it’s too thick, you remove some of the fillings and test the pillow out again. It ships pre-filled and over-stuffed with instruction on how much filling the pillow should have for each sleeping style.
Obviously, that’s just an estimate and you’re the one to do some testing to figure out what amount is the best for you. Please note that this pillow isn’t a soft one so if you prefer pillows on the softer side this one might not be ideal. Other than that, the only complaint from many customers is the mess factor as those hulls can fly everywhere if you’re not careful.
Its also great for stomach sleepers, which is how I sleep the majority of the time and it is incredibly comfortable, since using this pillow I have been getting the best sleep in years.
What You Need to Know About Stomach Sleeping
Possible Downsides of Sleeping on Your Stomach
Sleeping on your belly in many cases will cause you to sleep at an unnatural angle – your head will be pushed upwards by the pillow and your spine will be flattened. Obviously, when sleeping on your stomach, you turn your head to one of the sides. Those factors might cause neck strains, soreness, numbness and joint pain in the morning. Not good. That’s why many people recommend switching to another position. As mentioned earlier, if you tried switching positions and that didn’t work, keep sleeping on your belly but make sure you get the most of it.
When sleeping on your belly, the pillow makes your head rest in a non-optimal angle. How to fix that? The first idea that comes to mind is sleeping without a pillow. Many stomach sleepers have tried it and quite a few found it much better than sleeping with a pillow. Since it doesn’t cost anything, it’s worth trying to go pillow-less for a few days. If it helps and you feel better in the morning, that’s great. You don’t need to find the perfect pillow for you since you don’t need a pillow at all! If, on the other hand, you find sleeping without a pillow difficult (years of sleeping with one made using a pillow natural), it’s time a look for a pillow that will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Image used under Creative Commons from Jason Trbovich
How to Choose a Pillow
Thin, almost flat pillows are recommended for stomach sleepers for reasons outlined above. As we learn on WebMD, an additional pillow under your stomach might be beneficial for spinal alignment (especially if you have a flat belly) as it reduces the stress on lower back.
When it comes to the pillow material, memory foam pillows seem to take over the pillow market as the most comfortable for pretty much every sleeping position. That’s because they adjust their shape to your body to provide your neck and head with the support they need. The issue here is that sometimes those pillows are a bit too thin (or thick) and there’s not much you can do about it.
Fortunately, an enhanced version of memory foam pillows came to the market not that long ago – shredded memory foam pillows. Since the foam inside the pillow’s cover is shredded, one can thin the pillow out or fluff it up depending on personal preferences. Besides memory foam, buckwheat and water pillows are also very popular choices, and for a reason.
Choosing the Right Pillow Material
There could be hundreds of pillow brands on the market and the search for a specific pillow can be downright overwhelming especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. The fact is, there are different types of pillow and depending on your personal preference, each one has its own pros and cons:
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows are made from a Visco-elastic material, a type of dense polyurethane that conforms to your unique shape. Depending on the chemicals used as well as the overall density of the pillow, some memory foam pillows are firm while others are softer.
Do note that memory foam reacts to body heat, allowing the material to mold quickly. However, this material is also prone to heat spots, which can be uncomfortable for some people. Memory foam pillows are not the best pillow for stomach sleepers because most are thick and expensive. If heat spots are a problem, a great alternative for thicker memory foam pillows are pillows stuffed with shredded memory foam. The shredded material allows air to move freely but it does not eliminate heat spots completely.
Latex is a type of resin derived from the rubber tree. Pillows made from latex are less firm than memory foam pillows but they are durable, supportive and is resistant from mold growth and dust mites. The material is perfect for stomach sleepers because of its ideal “give” and thickness. That said, pillows made from latex might be too firm for some users.
Foam pillows are perfect for stomach sleepers because the material is soft, it alleviates pressure from the upper and lower body and offers ample support. Foam is a fairly cheap material so foam pillows are very affordable too. That said, foam loses its shape over time and it’s not the best choice if you’re searching for long-term comfort.
Down pillows are made from feathers or bird plumage. This material offers warm comfort especially if you live in colder regions but it’s not the best if you are looking for firmer support. In addition, down pillows are prone to heat spots, they are thicker and are not animal-friendly.
Polyester is a popular material for pillows because it offers soft support and enhanced airflow. Pillows made from polyester are great for stomach sleepers because of the softer support.
Perfect for relieving pressure, gel pillows are made from gel infused polyurethane or silicone. The substance helps regulate body temperature, keeping the pillow cool and comfy all night long. However, this material is expensive and it’s not the best for stomach sleepers.
Can You Stop Yourself From Sleeping on Your Stomach?
Sleeping on the stomach flattens the natural curve of the spine. This can lead to neck pain and muscle strain. Of course, it’s hard to quit a habit especially if you’ve been a stomach sleeper all your life. That said, it’s quite possible to train yourself to avoid this sleeping position if it’s starting to take a toll on your sleep. Below are tips how:
Use an Orthopedic Pillow
The easiest way to prevent sleeping on your stomach is to use an ergonomically designed pillow. These pillows are meant to help you maintain a back or side sleeping position. They reduce the likelihood of switching positions throughout the night.
Use an Anchor
Tie a ribbon around your wrist then tie the ribbon to a bedpost or a nightstand. The theory is that the ribbon will prevent you from rolling over as you change position during sleep.
Use a Full Body Pillow
A full body pillow is a large, cylindrical pillow, it is not meant to correct sleeping positions. But it be can used to prevent a person from transitioning into sleeping on his or her stomach. Essentially, you just position the body pillow in such a way that it keeps you from rolling over during sleep. Also, the added support and pressure of a body pillow should help you stay comfortable sleeping on your sides, instead of on the stomach.
Helpful Tips for Better Sleep
Avoid Thick Pillows
Using thick pillows puts the neck area at an awkward angle, causing neck pain for stomach sleepers. If you’re a stomach sleeper, we highly suggest opting for a thin pillow, one that’s designed to provide neck support. It’s not uncommon for some stomach sleepers to go pillow less at night too.
Use a Small Pillow
Because sleeping on the stomach flattens the natural curve of the spine, you can use a smaller pillow to support the pelvic area and ease the strain. Just wedge that pillow under the pelvis so the spine remains in a neutral position during sleep.
Doing bits of light stretching in the morning reduces minor aches and pains. Pilates, yoga and aerobic exercises are perfect for stomach sleepers.
Who Needs a Stomach Sleeper Pillow?
About 16% of Americans are stomach sleepers, most of them are children. If your child habitually sleeps on his stomach, try gently rolling him over to his sides while he sleeps. But if the child continuous to sleep on his stomach, you’ll have to do more than that. You need an orthopedic pillow to keep the neck and spine supported while your child sleeps.
Adults could also benefit from a stomach sleeper pillow. These pillows cradle the stomach, relieving strain and pressure. These ergonomically designed pillows may reduce snoring too.
Pregnancy can be difficult for women who sleep on their stomach. A growing belly puts a lot of strain on the back so sleeping is uncomfortable for pregnant women. Expecting mothers will love the support and comfort that a stomach sleeper pillow provides, even those who do not sleep on their stomachs! A stomach sleeper pillow eases muscle pain while cradling the belly so that a pregnant woman can lie at a comfortable angle. This pillow also prevents users from rolling onto their stomach during the night.