How To Match Your Pillow to Your Sleep Style

How To Match Your Pillow to Your Sleep Style
At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

Everyone’s sleep style is different, you’ve got the people who like to sleep on their tummy, the side sleepers, those who sleep on their back (HOW?!) and every angle in between. Sadly aren’t a lot of amazing sleep positions that are good for your posture, so it’s important that you find the right pillow to avoid waking up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck.

These days, pillows are also made of a range of fibres and materials so it’s also important to find one that’s comfortable for you. Then you’ve got other things to consider, like allergies, restlessness and temperature.

First, let’s look at the main pillow types on the market and how your current or upcoming purchase is suited to your needs.

Pillow Types

Feather and down

If you prefer a feather and down pillow, you’ll need to be prepared to spend a bit more cash. These pillows are usually made from a combination of the two materials, and the more down in them, the more expensive they become. They’re super soft and they can be moulded and fluffed into a comfortable shape for any sleeper. However, they also have the potential to be allergenic so if you suffer from allergies be wary of that before purchasing.


A good-quality (and more expensive) polyester pillow will provide comfort and support, but as they tend to form lumps quickly you’ll need to replace them more frequently. If you prefer a flat pillow (ahem, tummy sleepers, but more on that below), polyester can be easily flattened into a low, comfortable shape, so it might be your best bet.


Foam pillows are great for those who suffer from allergies or asthma because they’re hypoallergenic. A memory foam pillow, which is basically the more expensive sibling that will cater to more of your needs, is a great option as it moulds to your body shape and relieves pressure (however, if you’re a restless sleeper, it might not the best choice). Foam pillows usually last anywhere from 5-10 years.

Alternatively, try a cotton and wool combo for night sweats. Both fibres are soft and breathable, and they usually last between 3-5 years.

So, what’s your sleeping style?

You love a bit of tummy time…

A soft, flat pillow is recommended for stomach sleepers as it gives support without lifting your head and neck too far. 

The best soft, flat pillows: 

You’re a side sleeper…

A firm-to-extra-firm side sleeper pillow is recommended if you sleep on your side as it ensures your spine and neck is supported properly and at a consistent height. (Read: No cramped neck.) 

The best firm to extra firm pillows: 

You sleep flat on your back…

A medium-to-firm pillow is recommended for those of you who sleep on your back as it ensures your head and neck as supported properly while you sleep and doesn’t sag backwards.

The best medium to firm pillows: 

You’re all over the shop… (hi, me)

If you find yourself falling asleep in one position and waking up in another, you’re probably more of a combination sleeper and need a soft to medium pillow that offers both firmer parts and softer parts.  

The best combination pillows: 

Log in to comment on this story!