Posts like this one are part of our full sleep pillow guide.
The height of your pillow is probably the last thing on your mind just before you go to sleep. You just want to curl up with a teddy bear and get some shut-eye.
The height of your pillow has a big impact on how comfortably you sleep and if you wake up with back and shoulder discomfort.
What’s the ideal height for a pillow? Your pillow should be at a height that allows your neck to be in a neutral position as you sleep. Since different sleeping postures necessitate different heights to ensure a properly aligned neck, the height you choose will be dependent on your preferences.
For example, what’s the ideal sleeping height for a variety of positions? We’ll find out.
What is Pillow Height (aka Pillow Loft)?
Knowing how pillow sizes and shapes are defined might be an important first step in finding a cushion that’s suited for your body’s needs.
If you’ve already started looking for pillows, whether online or off, you’ve probably come across the term “pillow loft.” So, what is it exactly?
The term loft is used to describe the thickness of a pillow. 2 Pillows come in a variety of heights, so when searching for one, think of them as interchangeable.
Pillows are most commonly referred to as one of the following:
- Pillows with modest loft have a thickness of no more than three inches.
- Three to five-inch thick is considered mid loft for pillows.
- Pillows with a high loft measure at least five inches thick.
Every type of pillow can be found in high quality. It all comes down to personal preference and the posture you sleep in.
Because we at Casper are all about helping you get the best night’s sleep possible, each of our pillows is available in a variety of lofts. With the Original Casper Pillow, you can choose from a low or a medium-loft version, depending on your personal preference.
Let’s see how high, low, and mid-loft pillows stack up now that we know how pillow height is defined.
Should Your Pillow Be High or Low?
We’re aware of this. The only question on your mind is, “How high should my pillow be?” Trust us, if we could give you one pillow kind that would work for everyone, we would.
The truth is that everything depends.
Sleeping on a pillow that was overly flat can be an experience you’ve had in the past. Perhaps you’ve tried sleeping on a mattress that was so high that it seemed to be trying to get out of your grasp. Is it even possible to imagine someone would ever sleep on this pillow? Isn’t it funny that someone else would see it as a dream sleep companion?
To maintain proper spinal alignment, it is critical to find the ideal pillow height for each person. If you sleep with the wrong pillow height, it will not only disrupt your sleep, but it could also lead to spinal misalignment. Cricking your neck, having apnea, or suffering a cervical spine damage are all possible outcomes. The other side of the coin is that good alignment can assist decrease neck, shoulder, and back pain.
Maintaining a neutral spine is key to getting to sleep fast, sleeping soundly, and waking up refreshed. To put it another way, no matter what your sleeping posture or body shape, you don’t want a high loft or a thin cushion that causes your head to droop down. 2
Your sleep environment has a significant impact on how well your head and spine are aligned.
#1 Sleep Position
In a perfect world, your spine and head would always be in perfect alignment. When your ear is level with your shoulder, you’ve found the ideal pillow height.
When you have a companion by your side, it’s easy to know for sure. As you lie on your side to evaluate your new cushion, have them have a look at your back and neck.
Each sleeping position has its own set of difficulties:
- Back sleepers may find that a low pillow causes their heads to droop toward their spines, while a sleep position that is too high causes them to be lifted at a little angle.
- Like back sleepers, side sleepers have to contend with the same issues. You may also feel the strain on your shoulders if you hold a position of authority.
- Those who sleep on their stomachs are at risk of raising their heads upward throughout the night. The neck and spine are put under unnecessary strain as a result of this.
In order to choose the best pillow, you need to know your sleeping posture. However, choosing the right height for your sleeping posture depends on your own body and sleeping arrangement.
#2 Body Type
We’ve already established that your body type plays a part in determining the ideal pillow height for your needs. However, how does it play a role in the whole equation?
Body type is less of an issue when it comes to pillow height than sleep position, so keep that in mind while trying to figure out what height is best for you. A few things to keep in mind, however:
- If you’re a side sleeper, your ideal pillow height will be influenced by your shoulder height. You’ll need a higher pillow if you have wide shoulders, because your spine will be further away from the bed.
- Pillows with a lower loft are better for heavier sleepers since they sink into the mattress more.
#3 Mattress Firmness
When you sleep, your body takes over your mattress. It all depends on how firm your mattress is.
You sink down deeper on a softer mattress. Having a mattress that’s lower than your spine means that you won’t need a pillow that’s as high as before.
#4 Pillow Firmness
Pillows come in a variety of firmness levels, just like mattresses.
A down pillow is preferred by some while a foam cushion is preferred by others when it comes to slumbering peacefully. Choosing between a firm or soft pillow might have an impact on the amount of loft you require.
Rather than compressing under the weight of your head, a low-loft foam pillow will stay firm and maintain its shape and height better under the weight of a low-loft down or alternative cushion.
As a result, evaluating your future pillow in situ is critical to ensuring that it is compatible with your current sleeping arrangements.
What is the Correct Height for a Pillow?
To recap: There is no universal answer to the question of pillow height.
If you’re looking for love, where should you begin your search?
Based on your preferred sleeping position, you may get a good idea of what kind of pillow you need.
- It’s best for those who sleep on their side to use a medium-density pillow between 5 and 7 inches high. Mid- or high-loft pillows are included in this category. Side sleepers need the highest pillows to keep their spines in a neutral position. It’s important to keep in mind that you can use a lower pillow if the material is more dense.
- Back sleepers should use a pillow that is four to five inches tall if they sleep on their backs. Pillows with a medium level of loft can help you sleep with your head up high and your spine straight.
- People who like to sleep on their stomachs may wish to use pillows that are four to five inches high to reduce the risk of back pain. Mid- or high-loft pillows are included in this category.
- People who alternate between different positions as they sleep are known as “combination sleepers.” In spite of this, most people have a preferred sleeping posture, which influences their preferred pillow height (with one of the above categories).
We recommend a Hybrid Pillow if you don’t know what you’re looking for or if you sleep in a variety of positions. Most people’s preferences should lie somewhere around the middle of this one.
Tips For Choosing Your Ideal Pillow Height
With your dedication to us, you’ve almost earned a PhD in pillows.
You’re almost to the point where you’re ready to start shopping. To begin, here are a few final pointers for when you’re pondering your alternatives or drift off into a deep sleep during your trial:
- Consider your other requirements when making your selection of material. As an example, if you sleep hot, a cooling memory foam pillow could be a good fit. If you suffer from allergies, a synthetic foam or polyfill cushion may be a better option for you. Consider a polyfill pillow if you’re on a tight budget and still want to enjoy a good night’s sleep. Choosing the correct pillow depends on your body type and your lifestyle.
- Choose the height that you believe will keep your spine in the correct position once you’ve decided on the material (taking the firmness of your mattress and pillow into account).
- You should be able to conform your cushion to your body’s contours. Most importantly, your pillow should be one that you enjoy using. Always go with your gut. You’ll know if a cushion isn’t right for you by the way you feel.
Do not despair if the two of you aren’t exactly meant to be together. Adjust the height of your bed in order to get a good night’s sleep and keep your health in check.
Make Sure Your Pillow Measures Up With Casper
Getting a good night’s sleep is important to us here at Casper. A good night’s rest depends on the height of your pillow, too.
Consider yourself Goldilocks as there are so many variables to take into account. Why would you want to do that? What’s up? Plenty of information is out there to help you make the correct choice.
Choosing a Pillow Height Based on Your Sleeping Position
Side Sleeping Position
This is one of the most typical postures for napping and one of the most pleasant.
When you sleep on your side, your shoulders create a space between your head and the mattress. Therefore, side sleepers need a thick pillow that can fill the gap between their neck and shoulders. The ideal pillow height for adults is between 5 and 7 inches. This is a good height for maintaining a straight spine while not being excessively thick to cause neck discomfort.
Additionally, side sleepers will need a firmer pillow in order to get a better night’s sleep. As you can see, pillows are prone to collapsing under their own weight because of this.
To avoid unnecessary strains, the head and neck may be forced to stoop downward, resulting in neck and back pain.
To compensate for a lack of loft and support, most individuals fold or stack multiple pillows together.. To remedy this, all you need to do is acquire a firm cushion of the right height for side sleepers.
Don’t forget to acquire a new set of bed pillows whenever you discover that the old ones have flattened to the point that they’re no longer comfortable.
Back Sleeping Position
Side sleepers, in particular, may experience stiffness and pain in the morning if they elevate their heads too high at night. Pillows for back sleepers should not push the head too far forward; for adults, a 4 to 5 inch pillow works best.
Sleep specialists often advocate sleeping on your back because it promotes a superior sleeping posture in which the neck, back, and head are held in a neutral position as you sleep.
When you sleep on your back, your spine forms a “S” shape, which is not a good position for your health. Proper back support is necessary to prevent spine injury.
The spine can suffer irreversible injury if it is not properly supported by a cushion. This problem is readily remedied by utilizing a pillow that is both soft and firm. Without putting your spine in risk, this gives support for your head.
It is best for back sleepers to have a pillow under their knees in order to alleviate any back pains.
Stomach Sleeping Position
Sleeping on your stomach may not be the healthiest position to be in. The truth is that it is, but there are many people who continue to engage in it. Despite the fact that this position can help prevent sleep apnea and reduce snoring, it’s possible that it’s the source of your discomfort and agony.
It is difficult to keep your spine in its normal posture when most of your weight is distributed in the middle of your body. Your back and neck will immediately be strained as a result.
If you want to sleep in this position, you’ll need a light, thin pillow to keep you comfortable. 4 inches or less is a good starting point for a pillow. Even without a cushion, many people prefer to sleep on their stomachs to avoid disrupting natural spinal curves.
An airtight pillow is essential for stomach sleepers since their exhaled breath is directed directly into their pillow while they rest their heads on it during the night. Using this method helps keep the pillow fresher longer.
A thin, soft pillow placed under your stomach may suffice for those who prefer the extra comfort of many pillows on their bed. As a result, the spine will maintain its proper alignment.
The Ideal Pillow Height for Combination Sleepers
It’s important to remember that some people may sleep in any position and switch back and forth between the side, back, and stomach positions as they sleep. If you find yourself tossing a pillow every time you move positions in bed, only to retrieve it when you return to your original position, you may fall into this group.
For these sleepers, figuring out the ideal cushion height might be tricky, and it all relies on personal preference. This holds true for those who sleep in a variety of positions.
The height of your pillow should be determined by the position you sleep in most frequently. In order to get a pillow set that works well for all sleep positions, follow these guidelines:
1. Adjustable Pillow
Sleeping in a variety of postures necessitates the use of the proper pillow. A headrest that can be changed to meet the sleeping user’s unique shape and curves is ideal because you can’t buy pillows for all sleeping positions. Ideally, it should conform to the user’s body and ease any pressure points, allowing them to sleep in any posture.
Sleeping on a hot pillow will keep you awake all night, but that’s not necessary. Finding a breathable pillow is especially important if you sleep on your belly because it will allow you to rest peacefully without worrying about overheating. Even if you live in a hot climate, you should be able to chill and dry your cushion using a breathable pillow.
There is nothing worse than falling asleep on the wrong pillow. Sleeping on a rock is what a firm pillow feels like, while a flat pillow is downright unpleasant. Comfortable pillows guarantee a pleasant night’s sleep, where you won’t toss and turn all night before finally falling asleep.
4. Maintains natural alignment of the spine
Pillows are designed to provide the correct spinal support for the human body. As a result, a decent pillow should raise your upper body, so raising your spine.
You should be able to sleep with your spine in a neutral position, no matter how you sleep. Finding the ideal pillow will not only help you get a good night’s sleep but will also ensure that you wake up pain-free the next day.
How to Confirm the Right Pillow Height
However, while we’ve provided you with a general concept of the ideal cushion height, you’re ultimately responsible for finding the perfect place within those limits. Before you buy a new pillow, make sure it’s the right height for your needs by following these tips.
The majority of pillow manufacturers provide a risk-free trial period. Make the most of this deal and try out a variety of pillow heights before deciding on one by ordering a few, using them for a period of time, then returning the ones that don’t feel right.
Making use of this method will ensure that you purchase the proper pillow for your sleeping posture.
2. Use Towels
Make your own cushion height measurement with this simple DIY approach. Laying on a stack of towels that have been folded into a square is a great way to get a good night’s sleep!
You can remove one towel at a time until you find a comfortable height. Use this measurement as a suggestion when purchasing a new pillow.
3. Read Product Reviews
A satisfied or dissatisfied customer will always post a good evaluation of the product.
Make a point of reading both the positive and negative feedback left on the pillow’s product page, so you’ll know exactly what buyers loved and disliked about it. When people complain that a cushion isn’t ventilated, you’re more likely to steer clear of it.
It is our aim that this guidance will help you better grasp the importance of pillow height in relation to your preferred sleeping position. Your search for the ideal one will be a breeze with our tool.
Your neck may suffer for a few days after you begin to use a new pillow since your body is still adjusting to the new contours. However, after a few days, you can expect to experience exceptional comfort.