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Are you a back sleeper struggling to find the perfect pillow? You’re not alone. Selecting the right pillow size is critical for achieving proper spinal alignment and avoiding pain and discomfort. But how do you know which size pillow is right for you? In this article, we’ll consult a real pillow expert with decades of experience to help guide you through the process that can make finding the perfect pillow for back sleepers easy.

Medical Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making changes to your sleep routine or selecting a pillow to ensure that it meets your individual needs.

Why Choosing the Right Pillow Size Matters

Back sleepers have unique needs when it comes to selecting the right pillow size. If your pillow is too small, it can cause your neck to be unsupported, leading to neck and shoulder pain. Conversely, if your pillow is too large, it can push your head too far forward, disrupting spinal alignment and causing stiffness. That’s why it’s important to choose the correct size pillow to ensure a comfortable and restful sleep.

What Size Pillow is Best for Back Sleepers?

According to Dr. Michael Breus, a sleep expert and clinical psychologist, back sleepers should look for a medium-sized pillow that’s not too firm or too soft. “The ideal pillow size for back sleepers is typically between 3 to 5 inches thick, with a length of 20 to 26 inches,” says Dr. Breus. This size will provide enough support for your neck without pushing your head too far forward.

When choosing a pillow for back sleepers, look for one that’s not too firm or too soft, with a thickness of 3 to 5 inches and a length of 20 to 26 inches.

Dr. Michael Breus
Sleep Expert/ Clinical Psychologist


Things to Consider when Choosing a Pillow for Back Sleepers

In addition to size, there are a few things to consider when selecting a pillow for back sleepers:

  1. Fill Material: Different fill materials provide varying levels of firmness, breathability, and durability. Memory foam and latex pillows are popular choices for back sleepers because they contour to the shape of the neck and head, providing optimal support. However, down and feather pillows can also be a great option as they are soft and comfortable.
  2. Pillow Height: The height of the pillow is critical for back sleepers to avoid neck pain. The pillow should be thick enough to fill the gap between the neck and head without causing the head to tilt forward or backward.
  3. Pillow Shape: The shape of the pillow can also play a role in providing adequate support for back sleepers. A contoured pillow can help keep the head and neck in a neutral position, promoting proper spinal alignment.

Sleep Hygiene

While choosing the right pillow size is important, maintaining good sleep hygiene is also essential for back sleepers. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and keeping electronics out of the bedroom can all contribute to a better night’s sleep.

Sleep Tips for Back Sleepers

In addition to selecting the right pillow size, there are other steps back sleepers can take to improve their sleep quality. Here are some tips to try:

  1. Elevate your head: Elevating your head slightly with a wedge pillow or adjustable bed frame can reduce snoring and improve breathing, leading to a better night’s sleep.
  2. Stretch before bed: Gentle stretching before bed can help loosen up tight muscles and reduce tension, promoting relaxation and better sleep.
  3. Practice relaxation techniques: Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation are all effective ways to calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep.

Back sleepers tips to help you improve your sleep quality-


Choosing the right pillow size is crucial for back sleepers to avoid discomfort and pain during the night and throughout the day. By considering fill material, pillow height, and pillow shape, back sleepers can find the perfect pillow to ensure a comfortable and restful night’s sleep. And remember, always consult a pillow expert or healthcare professional for personalized advice to ensure that your pillow meets your individual needs.

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