No More Waking Up Stiff and Sore: We Found the Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
Our tested fave is slim and hypoallergenic.
Published May 20, 2022 8:30 PM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.“ That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Stomach sleepers, rejoice! Even if, much to the chagrin of your chiropractor, you’re most comfortable snoozing the night away on your belly, there are pillows on the market that’ll keep your entire body supported while doing so. No more waking up sore. No more tingling arms. No more straining your neck with pillows that are too high, too soft, or too supportive.
How can we be so sure? Because we went on a hunt for the best pillows for stomach sleepers—and we found them. While they vary in material and firmness, there’s one common theme among good-for-stomach-sleepers pillows: low loft. “A thinner pillow is ideal to allow for some cushion for the head and neck to stay in a more neutral position,” says Mike Scaduto, sports medicine physical therapist and cofounder of the Shoulder Sleeper.
After many nights of testing, we’ve narrowed down our picks to the nine low-loft pillows that supported our stomach sleeping the most. Whether you prefer feathery down or a hypoallergenic alternative, a hefty option or a cloudlike one, or something different altogether, there’s a pillow for you, below.
- Best down: Brooklinen Down Pillow
- Best down alternative: Sleep Number PlushComfort Pillow
- Best option with additional fill: Avocado Green Pillow
- Best value: Under the Canopy Down Alternative Pillow
- Best memory foam: Casper Hybrid Pillow
- Best adjustable firmness: The Marlow Pillow
- Best for overheaters: Coop The Eden Pillow
- Best innovative material: Coyuchi Organic Shredded Latex Pillow
- Best for pregnancy: PharMeDoc Organic Pregnancy Pillow
Best Down: Brooklinen Down Pillow
Sizes: Standard and king | Fill material: Down clusters and feathers | Support level best for stomach sleepers: Plush
What we like:
- Supersoft yet supportive
- Comes in 3 plushness levels
- Sustainably sourced down
- May feel too thin if you’re used to substantial support
Why we chose it: A cozy, feathery pillow with just-tall-enough loft.
Down lovers, this fan-favorite Brooklinen pillow is the match for you. It’s equally soft and supportive, and our tester found it had a cloudlike feel that gently cradled their neck. It’s available in three support levels. But stomach sleepers: Go for the plush. Its low loft is filled with down clusters and will keep your neck and back aligned so you won’t wake up with any cricks.
Best Down Alternative: Sleep Number PlushComfort Pillow
Sizes: Standard and king | Fill material: Down alternative | Support level best for stomach sleepers: Classic, or Ultimate with 1 or 2 inserts
What we like:
- The Ultimate option includes removable inserts for a personalized loft
- 1-year limited warranty
- Skip over the curved shape option—that’s best for back and side sleepers
Why we chose it: A hypoallergenic option that comes with removable inserts.
This Sleep Number pillow is so silky soft, our tester was nearly tricked into thinking it was down, and we wouldn’t blame you if you thought the same. But it’s not—it’s a hypoallergenic down alternative. Stomach sleepers: Opt for the Classic shape for gentle support, or the Ultimate for a more personalized pillow experience. It includes three removable inserts so you can experiment with the loft that’s just right for you, though our tester found that one or two inserts is best.
Best Option With Additional Fill: Avocado Green Pillow
Sizes: Standard, queen, and king | Fill material: Organic latex and organic kapok | Support level best for stomach sleepers: N/A
What we like:
- Comes with a bag of extra fill
- Both the fill and cover are made from 100 percent organic materials
- Includes a 1-year warranty
- If it’s not the pillow for you, return it within the 100-day window
Why we chose it: A pillow that allows you to plump it up or pare it back.
Clearly, this Avocado pillow made our list for the best pillows for stomach sleepers. The truth is, though, it could top any and all “best pillows” lists, no matter what position you sleep in. That’s because, thanks to the bonus bag of fill that comes with each purchase, you can customize the height of it down to the exact ounce. Simply unzip it, then remove or add fill. (However, need we remind you, stomach sleepers should keep to a low-profile pillow.) Our tester particularly loved how hefty this pillow felt; it stayed perfectly in place night after night. The fact that this option is 100 percent organic? The cherry on top.
Best Value: Under the Canopy Down Alternative Pillow
Sizes: Standard and king | Fill material: Down alternative | Support level best for stomach sleepers: Medium plush
What we like:
- Suitable for all sleeping styles
- The most budget-friendly on this list
- Made responsibly from recycled materials
- May be too soft for some
Why we chose it: This option is soft, fluffy, and affordable.
To feel like you’re resting your head on a barely there cloud, nab a pair of these Under the Canopy pillows. (Not because you’ll need to sleep with two pillows, but because of its modest price point.) It’s available in two weights, medium and firm, though stomach sleepers should opt for the soft and squishy medium plush. According to our tester, this pillow would be particularly good for traveling—say, for camping or for kiddo sleepovers—since it’s so lightweight. Best of all, it’s free of all the icky stuff, like toxins and chemicals, and made responsibly with recycled polyester.
Best Memory Foam: Casper Hybrid Pillow
Sizes: Standard and king | Fill material: Polyester fiber and memory foam | Support level best for stomach sleepers: Low loft
What we like:
- Never loses its shape
- Its low loft aptly cradles your neck
- 1-year limited warranty
- For a set, buying a double pack will save you a few dollars
Why we chose it: Like sleeping on a marshmallow that will never deflate.
No clumping, no flattening, no waking up with a sore neck. This Casper pillow’s innovative three-layer design uses a foam-and-fiber combination that ensures it will keep its shape night after night. (Which, after months of nightly use, our tester confirms.) By now you’re well aware that the best pillows for stomach sleepers come in a low-loft option, which this one does. It’s also available in a mid-loft version for the side and back sleepers in your life. Your neck will thank you.
Best Adjustable Firmness: The Marlow Pillow
Sizes: Standard and king | Fill material: 80% memory foam and 20% polyester fiber | Support level best for stomach sleepers: Fully zipped
What we like:
- Ultra-easy, mess-free adjustability
- Made from cooling-infused memory foam
- 1-year free return policy and 2-year warranty
- The softest, unzipped setting creates a higher loft that’s not ideal for a stomach sleeper
Why we chose it: A pillow for everyone, no matter where you land on the soft or firm spectrum.
The Marlow pillow makes adjusting its firmness almost too easy. Instead of a messy extra bag of fill, which can get lost in the deep, dark corners of your linen closet, simply use the hidden zipper to adjust its density to your liking. Unzipped is the softest version, since it allows more air into the fill, and zipped is the firmest, as the fill is more compressed. You may also prefer to land somewhere in the middle, though. The ventilated zipper gussets, as well as the gel-infused chopped memory foam, allows continuous airflow throughout the night, so it’s both cooling and supportive. (Our tester can attest to this.)
Best for Overheaters: Coop The Eden Pillow
Sizes: Queen and king | Fill material: Gel-infused memory foam and microfiber | Support level best for stomach sleepers: Add or remove fill, if needed
What we like:
- Gel-infused memory foam provides a cooling effect
- Includes an extra half pound of fill
- Cover is machine washable
- If you’re buying a pair, get the two pack to save some dollars
Why we chose it: Sweaty stomach sleepers, we’ve found your new favorite pillow.
Coop’s Eden pillow is all the best -ables: breathable, adjustable, and washable. Sink your sleepy head into its softness at whatever height you like best, since every pillow includes an extra half pound of fill. That fill, a gel-infused memory foam and microfiber combo, is its star feature, since it’s both super-supportive for stomach sleepers and provides temperature regulation for those who run hot in the night. For once, our tester did not wake up with sweaty curls.
Best Innovative Material: Coyuchi Organic Shredded Latex Pillow
Sizes: Standard, queen, and king | Fill material: Organic latex | Support level best for stomach sleepers: Add or remove fill, if needed
What we like:
- Its inventive latex fill forever retains its shape
- The flexible material molds to your head
- Unzip to remove or rearrange fill
- If switching from a down pillow, expect an adjustment period of a few nights to get used to how different the support of latex feels
- The most expensive option on this list
Why we chose it: A bouncy, buoyant pillow that molds to your head.
When other pillows go flat (looking at you, poly-filled) or need routine fluffing (ahem, down), this pillow from Coyuchi will keep its shape forever. That’s thanks to its resilient, malleable latex fill. If you haven’t slept on a latex pillow before—we hadn’t either—don’t be put off by its seemingly clumpy feel. It’s meant to be scrunched and molded to your ideal sleeping shape. Give yourself a brief adjustment time—just a few nights will do—and we’re betting you’ll convert to a latex pillow lover.
Best for Pregnancy: PharMeDoc Organic Pregnancy Pillow
Sizes: Solid body | Fill material: Recycled polyester | Support level best for stomach sleepers: N/A
What we like:
- Organic cotton cover is chemical-free
- Machine washable slipcover
- Not too tough on the wallet
- Available in a detachable or solid body option
Why we chose it: An option for mamas-to-be who aren’t able to sleep on their stomachs so they’ll feel comfortable and supported.
Sleeping while pregnant is hard enough. Sleeping while pregnant when you yearn to be on your stomach is all the harder. For those few months when you have to sleep on your side (doctor’s and baby’s orders), swap in an affordable pregnancy pillow instead. It’ll feel super-supportive for your neck, head, and, of course, growing belly. The U-shape hugging your stomach will imitate the secure feeling that your preferred sleeping position provides, at least until you can get back on your belly in T-minus a few months.
How We Chose These Products
Choosing the best-for-you pillow is like perfecting a recipe. You need equal parts of the right firmness, loft, and material. Stomach sleepers need to pay particular attention to those three ingredients, though, since too much, too little, or too not quite right of any of them can cause strain on the neck and spine. Keeping those factors in mind, we tested and then selected the best pillows for stomach sleepers, no matter what ratio of those components allow you to have sweet dreams.
Our Shopping Checklist
Pillows generally come in two sizes, standard and king, and occasionally you’ll find a queen-size option, too. If you have a king-size bed, the choice is obvious—you’ll need a longer pillow to fill out the width of your bed. For the rest of us, standard or queen will suffice.
A comfortable pillow fill to one stomach sleeper might be a bad night’s sleep to another. That may involve some experimenting to determine what’s coziest for you. (Don’t worry, these pillows’ return policies are extremely easygoing.) If you tend to get sneezy, stay away from down and go for a hypoallergenic option, which most on this list are. To get the exact comfort to your liking, however, shop for an adjustable pillow—one you can unzip to remove or add inserts or fill.
Height—or lack of it—is key for a stomach sleeper to wake up rested and not sore. (Loft refers to the height of a pillow while lying flat.) Thick pillows may place excess stress on the neck, so go for one on the slim side.
Care and Maintenance
Before clicking “add to cart,” read through the care instructions carefully. We don’t need to remind you that pillows collect lots of microscopic dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria (yuck). While pillowcases are the first defense, a washable pillow cover is second. And if the pillow itself can be machine washed (like several on our list), all the better.
Q: After sleeping on my stomach, I often wake up with tingling in my arms. Why is that?
An unfortunate downside of stomach sleeping is that it can lead to an increased risk of paresthesia (numbing and tingling) in the arms, says Scaduto. That’s because sleeping with your arms above your head increases compression of the nerves of your neck and arms. That position can also irritate your shoulders and exacerbate existing shoulder pain. The best way to reduce the number of times you wake up with this awful feeling? Sleeping on a supportive pillow made to align your neck and spine.
Q. I know sleeping on my stomach isn’t the best for my alignment. But I’ve slept like this forever—how do I train myself to sleep on my back or side?
Stomach sleepers can train themselves to fall asleep in a different position, says Scaduto. Just don’t expect it to happen overnight; it could take a few months to form the new habit. “Stomach sleepers are typically looking for a feeling of support, so using additional pillows in the side-sleeping position to support the shoulder, neck, and lower back can be helpful in making them more comfortable,” he adds.
The Last Word
A supportive, low-loft pillow is key for creating a comfortable night’s snooze for a stomach sleeper. The thinner, the better. The option for adjustable fill, however, is the sweet spot.