14 Different Types of Pillows for Every Sleeping Position

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Every Sleeping Position

Table of Contents

    • 14 Different Types of Pillows for Every Sleeping Position

        • 1. Down Pillow

            • Goose vs. Duck Down

            • All Down vs. Mixed Down

        • 2. Down Alternative Pillow (Synthetic Down)

        • 3. Feather Pillow

        • 4. Cotton Pillow

        • 5. Latex Pillow

        • 6. Memory Foam Pillow

            • Traditional Single Block

            • Hypoallergenic

            • Wedge-shaped

            • Cooling

        • 7. Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

        • 8. Bamboo Pillow

        • 9. Gel Pillow

        • 10. Polyester Pillow

        • 11. Buckwheat Pillow

        • 12. Microbead Pillow

        • 13. Orthopedic Pillow

        • 14. Body Pillow

        • The Right Pillow For You

No matter how you like to hit the hay, understanding the different pillow types that are right for your preferred sleeping position can help ensure you don’t wake up with a stiff neck. 

For example, side sleepers should look for softer pillows with a higher loft to ensure their necks aren’t strained at night. Meanwhile, stomach sleepers should look for medium—to medium-firm pillows with a lower loft to ensure their necks are propped up at a comfortable angle. Back sleepers must find that sweet spot where the support is firm without pushing their necks too far forward.

Keep reading to learn about different types of pillows and which one is best for your preferred sleep position.

chart explaining ideal pillow firmness by sleeping types of pillows

 1. Down Pillow

Down pillows are made from soft fibers close to the skin of a goose, duck, or swan. Since these pillows are sometimes blended with feathers, look at the down-to-feather ratio when purchasing a down pillow. 

It’s also essential to find an ethically sourced down Pillow. Since down is taken from animals, it’s necessary to ensure down pillows are certified by the Responsible Down Standard, which guides the ethical treatment of ducks and geese. 


    • Moldable, good head and neck support

    • Durable, can last several years

    • Light pillow weight

    • Soft and cushiony

    • Insulating


  • It can retain body heat, so it can be easy to overheat
  • Potential allergic reactions
  • Requires fluffing to maintain loft
  • It can be not easy to clean
  • We need to find ethically sourced down

Is this Pillow best for: Side, back, and stomach sleepers? The down pillow material is one of the best pillows for stomach sleepers due to its cushion and pillow softness.

Down pillows range from soft to firm, making them superb for all sleepers. There’s also a variety to choose from, including:


    • Goose down

    • Duck down

    • All down

    • Mixed down

    • Synthetic down

If you’re seeking the luxury sleep that a down pillow affords, you’ll start by identifying which type is right for you.

Goose vs. Duck Down

Typically, down pillows will be filled exclusively with either goose or duck down. In general, these two materials have a lot in common. Both are super comfy and have excellent thermal retention, but may require fluffing occasionally. In addition, both materials tend to be:


    • Natural, soft, and lightweight

    • Long-lasting

    • Great at thermal retention

One factor to note when deciding between the two is that goose-down pillows can be considerably more expensive than duck-down pillows. A duck-down Pillow could be the sweet spot if you want comfort without the luxurious price tag.

All Down vs. Mixed Down

When shopping for a down pillow, consider whether it’s all-down or a mixture of down and feathers. While both can offer benefits, the best option depends on the type of sleeper you are. 

If you tend to become cold quickly while sleeping and prefer a soft, plush pillow, consider all-down pillows for their ability to retain heat. A little breathability can go a long way toward your sleep comfort, and a mixed feather-and-down pillow offers this advantage. Feathers are lighter than down and can thus provide more airflow throughout the night. This combination of breathability and softness can be the perfect medium for sweet dreams.

shop down types of pillows

2. Down Alternative Pillow (Synthetic Down)

Down alternative pillows are synthetic versions of the classic down pillows. Most are filled with polyester, which mimics the feeling of down. Polyester makes down alternative pillows hypoallergenic and much more affordable. If you’re looking for a soft down feel without wanting to use actual feathers, a down alternative pillow is a great option. 


    • Affordable

    • Easy to clean

    • Hypoallergenic

    • No ethical sourcing issues


    • Can develop lumps

    • Not moldable

    • Weaker insulation than true down

This pillow is best for back and side sleepers. Stomach sleepers can also use down alternative pillows, but the soft and fluffy nature of these pillows makes them one of the best for them. 

shop down alternative types of pillows


3. Feather Pillow

Feather pillows are made of a traditional filling that provides support without losing shape. They’re an excellent option if you’re looking for a comfortable, supportive option. However, it’s important to note that many feather pillows are also filled with a small amount of down, so people allergic to down should be sure to look at the makeup of a feather pillow before purchasing. 


    • Affordable

    • Light pillow weight

    • Holds shape

    • Moldable


    • It needs fluffing to maintain the loft

    • Difficult to clean

    • Retains body heat

Who is this Pillow best for? It is for back and side sleepers. Feather pillows are similar to real down in that they are soft and fluffy, but the higher loft makes it one of the best for side and back sleepers.


4. Cotton Pillow

Cotton pillows have declined in popularity for newer synthetic materials like memory foam. However, cotton pillows are a classic pillow material with specific advantages, particularly for people allergic to artificial materials. Additionally, since cotton pillows are simple to clean, washing your cotton pillow regularly is easy. 


    • Hypoallergenic

    • Light, breathable fabric

    • Odorless


    • It needs regular cleaning for dust mites and mold

    • It doesn’t contour to the head

    • Can become lumpy

Is this Pillow best for Side, back, and stomach sleepers? Cotton pillows are very versatile and work for almost all sleepers, but it’s important to note that this material won’t mold to the shape of your head like memory foam or feather pillows. 


5. Latex Pillow

Latex pillows are gaining popularity because they provide excellent head and neck support while maintaining a soft and cozy feel. They are sold in solid and shredded material. However, watch out for latex-blend pillows commonly blended with polyurethane foam, which can be toxic. 


    • Durability

    • Moldable

    • Breathable and cooling

    • Biodegradable


    • Odor

    • High cost

    • Potential for allergic reactions

This Pillow is best for Side and back sleepers. Because of its higher-than-average loft, it is not recommended for stomach sleepers. 


6. Memory Foam Pillow

Instructions  Of Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam pillows are becoming extremely popular because they contour your body and can fit all sleeping positions well. This allows your head and neck to mold the memory foam pillow into the most comfortable position. 


    • Pain relief support

    • No clumping

    • Contours to your body


    • We need to find foam density that doesn’t inhibit breathability

    • Some memory foams retain body heat

This Pillow is best for Side, back, and stomach sleepers. However, memory foam pillows may be too firm for some side sleepers. 

With so many options to choose from, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of memory foam pillows:

    • Traditional single block 

    • Hypoallergenic

    • Wedge-shaped

    • Cooling

Traditional Single Block

This single block of memory foam is shaped like a traditional pillow. It easily adapts to the natural shape of your head and neck. This classic memory foam pillow provides personalized support, reduces pain, and improves sleep quality.

There are other iterations of a single-block memory foam pillow, too. Some have perforated foam for better airflow; others are available in low or medium lofts to help you choose the ideal height for your preferred sleeping position. 


Most memory foam pillows are anti-allergy due to their synthetic nature and the manufacturing process they undergo. Still, specific hypoallergenic varieties are much more resistant to mold, bacteria, and dust mites. Whether you suffer from allergies or sensitive skin, this may be your option if you’re sensitive to certain materials.


This triangular-shaped Pillow offers an ergonomic design perfect for people with specific health issues or who require a slightly elevated sleeping position. Wedge pillows can provide plenty of health benefits, especially for the following.

    • Acid reflux

    • Snoring

    • Sleep apnea

    • Respiratory issues

    • Neck and back pain

In addition, wedge-shaped memory foam pillows are multipurpose: they can also help ensure proper posture when sitting in a chair or add some extra elevation beneath your knees.


Cooling memory foam pillows can be an excellent option for those looking for a supportive and plush pillow but wanting to keep things cool. But when it comes to knowing which one to choose, you’ll need to choose from a few different cooling technology types. Two of the most popular options are gel-infused pillows and pillows with multiple layers of perforated foam. 

Gel-infused memory foam pillows are an excellent option for sleepers looking for a pillow that feels cool to the touch without constant flipping, as the gel inserts can help to dissipate heat. That said, a perforated foam pillow is the way to go if you’re looking for a more excellent pillow with increased airflow. Multiple layers of perforated foam throughout the Pillow allow continuous air circulation throughout the night.

USA Memory Foam Pillows comfort

7. Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Shredded memory foam pillows are a rising alternative to traditional memory foam pillows. Since the pillow filling can be added or removed depending on the individual’s preference, shredded memory foam is a good fit for nearly every sleeping preference. 


    • Doesn’t clump 

    • Moldable

    • Customizable support

    • Easy to clean


    • Chemical off-gassing

    • May arrive overstuffed

    • It can wear out over time

This Pillow is best for back and side sleepers. Some stomach sleepers may like shredded memory foam, but others report finding this Pillow uncomfortable due to the firm material. 


8. Bamboo Pillow

Bamboo pillows have become a trend in the sleep industry, likely because of their antimicrobial properties and moisture-absorbing abilities. Most bamboo pillows have a shredded foam interior and a bamboo viscose shell, meaning they offer the benefits of a shredded memory foam pillow with the cooling properties of bamboo. 


    • Antimicrobial

    • Hypoallergenic

    • Cooling and moisture-wicking


    • Chemical off-gassing

    • Heavy pillow weight

    • Difficult to clean

Who is this Pillow best for Back sleepers? Since bamboo pillows are made of dense shredded memory foam, stomach, and Side sleepers may find these pillows too firm. 


9. Gel Pillow

Gel pillows are touted for keeping people cool at night. Many gel pillows are made of gel combined with another material, like foam or latex, to give the cooling benefits of gel with the softness of another material. The gel material is firm and holds its shape well but can be molded to fit the contours of the sleeper, similar to memory foam. 


    • Hypoallergenic

    • Cooling

    • Easy to care for


    • Too firm for some sleepers

    • Expensive

This Pillow is best for Stomach and back sleepers. Side sleepers may find gel pillows too firm to find a comfortable sleeping position. 


10. Polyester Pillow

Polyester fiberfill pillows, sometimes called poly-fill, are a popular budget-conscious pillow choice. However, due to the cheaper material that poly-fill pillows are made with, they tend to absorb heat and become lumpy reasonably quickly.  



    • Affordable

    • Lightweight

    • Hypoallergenic



    • Can develop lumps

    • Not breathable

    • Not long-lasting

Who this Pillow is best for: Back, stomach, and side sleepers. Since poly-fill can be produced with varying firmness levels, it works for all sleeping positions. 


11. Buckwheat Pillow

Buckwheat pillows have been popular in Asia for a while and are just starting to make their way to North America. These pillows are filled with buckwheat shells, which are firm yet still breathable. However, it’s important to note that the buckwheat shells can be noisy if you move around in your sleep.


    • Malleable

    • Breathable and cooling

    • Long-lasting


    • It makes noise when moving around

    • Heavy pillow weight

    • Too firm for some sleepers

This Pillow is best for back and stomach sleepers. Side sleepers may find buckwheat pillows too firm.


12. Microbead Pillow

Microbead pillows feel similar to buckwheat but are made with a synthetic material called uniform polymer particles. As an artificial alternative, microbead offers many advantages, like breathability and conforming to your head shape, but they may also lose their shape faster than actual buckwheat pillows. 


    • Breathable

    • Malleable

    • Firm and supportive



    • Chemical off-gassing

    • Not long-lasting

    • Retain heat

Who is this Pillow best for? Some stomach sleepers may also like microbead pillows, but the high level of firmness is ideal for back sleepers. 


13. Orthopedic Pillow

Orthopedic pillows are designed to correct body positioning in bed or while lying on any other surface. Their design conforms to orthopedic guidelines to ensure the proper placement and support of one or more specific body parts, providing the sleeper with safe and healthy rest. They are also crafted to alleviate particular types of strain or to soothe certain kinds of injuries. 


    • Improves body alignment 

    • Reduces pain associated with poor sleeping positions

    • Can aid in recovering from neck, back, or shoulder injuries 

    • Variety of shapes and sizes to suit different needs



    • It may take time to get used to

    • Can be expensive 

    • It might not be suitable for everyone’s personal comfort preference

This Pillow is best for Back, Side, and stomach sleepers with specific needs. Orthopaedic pillows are often recommended for individuals who experience neck, back, or shoulder pain during sleep or those recovering from injuries. 


14. Body Pillow

Body pillows are unique due to their oversized length. They support the entire body, especially for side sleepers and pregnant women. Depending on the firmness and support you prefer, a body pillow can be filled with various materials, like down, memory foam, or microbeads.


    • Full body support

    • Promotes proper spinal alignment

    • Great for side sleepers and pregnant women

    • Many filling options to cater to individual preferences

    • It provides emotional comfort akin to a hug


    • Takes up more bed space

    • It can be challenging to find pillowcases due to their size

    • It may be too bulky or firm for some users

    • Not all are machine washable

This Pillow is best for Side sleepers and pregnant women. Body pillows can provide the needed support for the neck, back, hips, and knees, helping to align the spine and relieve pressure points. They are an excellent option for people who enjoy hugging a pillow while they sleep.


The Right Pillow For You

Understanding different pillow shapes and fills can mean distinguishing between a restful snooze and a frustrating night spent counting sheep. Whether you’re looking for hypoallergenic bedding or something designed to ease back pain, you can find different pillows that fit your needs. That way, you’ll never feel the need to sleep without a pillow again.

Ready for some sweet dreams? Pile on the comfort with a soft and supportive USA pillow today.

Down Pillow

An airy, all-natural downfill for plushy comfort.

Foam Pillow

Three layers of supportive foam contour to the shape of your neck for proper alignment.

Original Pillow

A down-alternative pillow that’s supportive with a touch of fluffy.

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