Get the right-sized and type of pillow for your sleeping position and bed size. We set out all the different types of sleeping pillows by size (pillow size chart), type as well as unique features that you might prefer for your sleeping habits. This is the ultimate sleeping pillow guide.
Pillows weren’t always made for comfort. In fact, the earliest types of pillows such as those used by the Chinese and by the people in Ancient Mesopotamia during 7000 B.C. were made of wood and stone, respectively. It was the Greeks and Romans who invented the soft pillows using straw, reeds and other stuffing.
The 1900s saw the mass production of pillows so everyone can have a good night’s sleep. Modern pillows range from travel size to king size and are stuffed with feathers, latex, foam or air.
Table of Contents
- Standard Pillow Sizes Chart
- Sleeping Pillow Popularity Chart
- Types of Sleeping Pillows
Standard Pillow Sizes Chart
Sleeping Pillow Popularity Chart
Types of Sleeping Pillows
Memory Foam Pillows
A number of foams are added to memory foam pillows, each of which offers specific advantages. Memory foam pillows are favored by many sleepers because they enhance the sleep quality of the user. They also provide better support and mold to the sleeper’s shape, thereby providing much more comfort than a traditional pillow.
Memory foam has evolved in the following types:
Cooling gel memory foam reduces the retention of heat. Therefore, the pillows are often used with moisture-wicking pillow covers or cool pillow cases.
Natural foam for memory foam is used for hypoallergenic pillow products. Therefore, this foam features a larger percentage of natural ingredients. As a result, the pillow offers an eco-friendly solution that is sturdy and firmer. In turn, this pillow is often cooler than a traditionally- made memory foam pillow.
Shredded memory foam pillows feature shredded clusters of memory foam for the fill. This type of filling makes the pillow more moldable and adaptable to the sleeper’s comfort needs. As a result, a shredded memory foam pillow can easily be conformed to your desired position while sleeping. The breathability is also better when compared to solid memory foam fill.
Multi-foam memory foam pillows use, as the name suggests, various types of foam to emphasize the beneficial aspects of the pillow’s design. These aspects primarily focus on conformity and cooling. At the same time, the negative aspects such as sinking or warming are reduced.
When making a choice for memory foam pillows, you will base your selection on the cooling elements of the product and its comfort and firmness. You also want to establish how the pillow conforms to your desired position while sleeping.
Pillows of this type are sold in a wide range of prices from $10 to around $150, depending on a pillow’s foam, brand, type, and configuration.
A latex foam pillow is made from either synthetic or natural latex. Natural latex originates from a rubber tree and is produced from a sticky, white fluid. Synthetic latex replicates natural latex and is made of various chemicals. Most latex manufacturers combine a blend of synthetic and natural latex into their pillows’ fill.
With respect to softness, latex pillows are indeed soft, softer than their memory foam counterparts. They also feature pressure point support and possess more breathability than traditional memory foam pillows. Some latex pillow users state that the additional pressure point support adds to the firmness of the pillow’s design. Others state that latex pillows are heavier than pillows made with memory foam filling.
Down pillows are comprised of an undercoating that is fluffy and situated beneath a goose’s feather. Therefore, this filler is light and exceptionally soft. In turn, the sleeper is rewarded with a pillow that is breathable and comfortable. However, despite these desirable features, down pillows require a good deal of fluffing to maintain their shape.
They are also difficult to maintain and clean. The down in the pillows tends to clump when exposed to additional moisture. Allergy sufferers may also be allergic to the down used for fill the pillow. The pillows are offered in a vast range of prices from $10 to as much as $200, depending on the brand and quality.
Down-alternative pillows replicate the look of a down pillow but instead are made of synthetic materials such as polyester. People with allergies like these pillows as well as people who want to choose various firmness options. Some users of the pillows comment that these pillows do not possess the same amount of comfort of an original down pillow.
Feather pillows, the same as down pillows, obtain their fill from geese. They are similar to down pillows as they are comfortable and breathable. They also are priced in about the same range of $10 to $200. However, in some cases, the feathers are known to emit an unpleasant smell.
In addition, the quills of the feathers may poke or irritate sleepers. Because feather pillows have a tendency to flatten, they require recurrent molding or fluffing. Just a s their down counterparts, feather pillows can be difficult to maintain and clean and tend to clump when exposed to moisture.
When you hear the term “polyfill,” it references pillows that contain polyester for the pillow’s fill. Users who have allergies often prefer these pillows because they are hypoallergenic. Polyfill also goes by the name of microfiber or down-alternative fill at times.
This pillow is easy to wash and maintain and is also priced affordably. While a pillow filled with polyester can stand equally with cotton in terms of softness, it still cannot quite meet the support, breathability, and comfort that represents a memory foam pillow’s design.
As the name suggests, innerspring pillows feature a core steel spring that is covered with a memory foam layer. In some cases, the pillows’ steel spring core may be enveloped by polyester. Regardless of what is used for a covering, these pillows or pillow-top mattresses are considered ergonomically comfortable. The pillows often feature ergonomically-endorsed support for the neck and head, thereby making the pillow a good choice for anyone who has neck pain.
The spring core of the pillows permits an airflow that cools the sleeper throughout the night. The configuration of the pillow highly responds to any type of sleep position as well. However, these types of features come attached to a higher price as innerspring pillows may range from around $120 to $160 in price. On average, pillow-top innerspring mattresses can be purchased for just over $500.
Pillows that are a standard size are approximately 20” x 26”. You can comfortably place standard sized pillows two across on a full sized bed. The standard sized pillow is easier to fluff and arrange as you wish. If you want to make a neater bed, you should find a pillow that does not sink – one of the premium standard sizes made from a material, such as memory foam or latex. Using this pillow is helpful if you want to use a pillow that is easily accessible for use. You can buy two pillows for each side of the bed for added back support, if you so wish, while you are reading.
Pillows that accommodate toddlers are usually sized 13” x 18”. This type of pillow is made for a small child and ensures his overall level of comfort, as they are easier to handle for small hands. Use this pillow in a toddler’s bed or while travelling. It will provide him or her with ongoing comfort. This sized pillow is idea, as well, for toddlers who need a pillow for nap time at their daycare center.
Body pillows are normally 54” in length. Therefore, they are more than twice as long as a standard-sized pillow. The pillows can be curved to conform to the body. This is one pillow that is often well-receive by women in each stage of pregnancy. That is because the pillow conforms well to the ongoing changes in the body during this part of a woman’s life. Body pillows will not slip very easily on the bed. Therefore, they are a stable and comfortable pillow to use.
A queen pillow is normally sized 20” x 30”. It will fit snugly in a pillowcase of a standard size. Choosing a standard-size pillowcase will increase a queen pillow’s firmness. Usually, you can place two queen-sized pillows at the head of a queen-sized bed. You might think of buying two pillows for each side of the bed and placing two of the pillows in standard sized pillow cases while placing the other two pillows in queen sized pillow cases. That way, you and your partner can enjoy a pillow that provides firmer support and one that is softer. The pillow in the standard size pillowcase can be used as a back rest while you are reading.
King pillows are sized at 20” x 36”. Because they are extra long, they offer additional body support for joint or muscle pains. They are also recommended for use by pregnant women. King pillow, like body pillows, offer the maximum in comfort and accommodate the sleeping needs of both women and men. You can comfortably place two king-sized pillows at the head of a king-sized bed. Like the queen pillows, you might try covering one of the king-sized pillows in a smaller queen-sized pillow case for extra support. The other softer king-sized pillows could be placed in a regular king-sized pillow case.
Travel pillows are usually sized 12” x 16” and nicely fit into travel-sized pillowcases. This size pillow is ideal for traveling by car or plane or for daycare nap times. The pillow are of microbeads and therefore are sized for providing protection against neck strain or tiredness while travelling on the highways and byways. They can also be used for relaxing on a long plane ride. Some people like this convenient size, as it is a mobile-friendly pillow and travel companion.
Memory Foam and Shredded Memory Foam
This material is made with polyurethane foams with added chemicals. The foam reacts to body pressure and heat and molds well to the head and neck. It also retains its original shape once the sleeper is not using the material. Memory foam was originally designed to protect astronauts during their travels in space. The material is a good choice for allergy sufferers as it is hypoallergenic. While shredded memory foam offers a firm amount of support, as does regular memory foam, it is much more adjustable, moldable, and breathable. Therefore, a pillow designed with the foam can create just the right loft for peaceful sleeping comfort. The same as regular memory foam, shredded memory foam is hypoallergenic.
Goose Down and Goose Feathers
Goose down is the soft undercoating located beneath a goose’s feathers. The material is not only lightweight and soft but it can be used to adjust to various sleeping positions. Goose feathers are used in sleeping pillows and, just the same as goose down, are soft and lightweight. However, the quills on the feather can be somewhat distracting as they can poke a sleeper inadvertently. Goose feathers in pillows can also be a problem for allergy sufferers.
Polyester and Poly-cluster
Polyester is the most common fill used in pillows. It is both soft and cuddly. However, it does not provide a good deal of support during sleep. Because the fill provides an economical and machine-washable pillow, it is the ideal material to choose for teens or children. This material often causes a pillow to flatten. Therefore, most adults tend to steer away from the material because of the lack of firmness it provides. Poly-cluster fills are made with polyester clusters that have been coated with silicone.
Natural latex is produced from a rubber tree and is an antimicrobial product. Producing a soft yet firm support, this material does not produce a sinking sensation as memory foam tends to do. Most users describe a latex pillow as being bouncy. The material keeps the user cool and is a long-lasting pillow fill. This material creates a heavier pillow and tends to emit an odor when the pillow is first used. You cannot machine wash pillows that are made with latex.
When buckwheat hulls are added to a pillow, the pillow takes on the look and feel of a beanbag. The material that is used for this type of pillow is designed to accommodate just about any sleeping position. You can smooth or fluff the material according to your individual preferences. Because the hulls do not retain heat, the pillow will not rise up around the face as do pillows filled with materials such as down. The hulls do tend to break over time, which causes the pillow to lose some of its support.
One of the great ways to improve your posture and receive a good night’s sleep is to sleep on a pillow that is made of a conformable material. This can be done when memory foam is used in the design. All memory foam pillow provide additional cushioning and support for anyone who prefers to sleep on his or her back. This type of upgrade in a pillow makes it possible for you to rest your head on the surface and not worry about the pillow squishing up toward your face. Instead, memory foam makes it possible to take advantage of a pillow’s design so your head can rest comfortably and will not sink in the middle of the pillow, as can happen with pillows made of cheaper synthetic materials. If you sleep on your side, this can be especially beneficial, with respect to relaxation. The pillow conforms to the sleeping position you wish to take.
Specifically, pillows are designed for the following sleeping positions:
—Stomach sleeping. A soft, flat pillow is recommended for people who sleep on their stomachs. Therefore, pillows that feature down or synthetic fills work out best for this purpose.
–Side sleeping. Side sleepers require a pillow that cradles and contours the neck. Pillows that offer the best support for side sleepers include pillows made with natural fills or memory foam fills. Body pillows are sized and configured for side sleepers as well. Poly-cluster pillows are recommended for side sleepers too.
–Back sleeping. You should try to avoid sleeping on your back if you have problems with snoring or with sleep apnea. The tongue tends to fall back in the throat when you are lying supine, which increases the chance that you might snore. If snoring is not a current problem, sleeping on the back is considered healthy as it keeps the spine’s position neutral and protects the facial skin from wrinkling. If you like to sleep on your back, a medium-firm pillow that is filled with latex, buckwheat hulls, synthetic materials, or down is a good choice.
One of the great features that makes many of today’s pillows must-have bedroom accessories is the cooling features the pillow provides. For example, pillow fills are made to provide enough air ventilation so the sleeper is not bothered by the discomfort often associated with the retention of heat. Instead, pillow products that are made of memory foam, buckwheat hulls, water, or latex make it possible for a sleeper to relax his or head on a pillow that allows for additional ventilation., thereby making a premium pillow one that will offer a cooler and better night’s sleep.
In fact, according to sleep researchers, cooling while sleeping is healthful and needed for a person’s overall well-being. Scientists have discovered that a cooling pillow helps provide relief from sleeplessness or insomnia as well as boosts one’s mood and metabolism. When a person feels cooler, he or she also feels more calm and peaceful. A cooling item, such as a pillow, can also prevent cancer. When you get enough sleep, you also produce more melatonin. When melatonin levels are increased, the risk for cancer is reduced. If you want to perspire less during sleep, you should use a cooling pillow, such as a down-filled pillow or one that features memory foam. You can also receive the same results from a water pillow.
People like to feel secure when they are sleeping. When you pillow is soft and comfortable–even softly firm–you feel more loved and cradled. The right type of pillow will not shift to and fro while you sleep, thereby lending more stability as well. This is especially true of a long body pillow, as this pillow, in particular, cradles the sleeper while he or she sleeps. That is the reason pregnant women like using this pillow – it adapts to the changes of their body during pregnancy. This type of adaptability is important for anyone who must watch his or her diet and overall health. Whether you are a healthy person or someone suffering from a condition, such as heart disease, you can benefit greatly from this cradling effect.
Additional Neck Support
When pillows are correctly made, they also provide needed support for the neck. This support is helpful for preventing migraine headaches or pain in the joints of the shoulder or neck. Pillows that offer neck support are made of materials that cushion the neck, yet provide a comfortable level of support. They may be shaped for this purpose and be designed with a pillow fill that offers this type of aid.
When you neck is well supported, you will suffer less from the effects of stress or physical discomfort. The best pillows to choose for this added support include contour pillows–designed for people who sleep on the back or sides–and pillows that are made with memory foam or latex designs. Wedge pillows, that are shaped triangularly, support the neck as well as other areas of the body, such as the back. You can obtain the ideal neck support pillow by visiting this site:
Memory foam pillows are often recommended for sleepers who suffer from pain in the neck, shoulder, or back. Because the pillows are conformable, they support the pressure points of the body well. You can also receive the same results when you use pillows made from a buckwheat fill. Water pillows can also be adjusted for firmness or height to provide neck or shoulder support. Innerspring pillows are yet other pillow design that supports the health of the neck.
Because latex pillows do not sink in the middle as do some other types of pillows, they are ideal to use for anyone who is suffering from upper body aches and pains. Therefore, they are ideal for anyone who is concerned about any discomfort in the neck or shoulder area.
Better Support for the Back
If you pillow is soft and firm, you will also experience better back support. This is especially important for anyone who sleeps on his or her back. One of the pillows used for this purpose is a lumbar pillow. A long body pillow can also be a back supporter for a woman who is expecting. Memory foam pillows and pillows that are made of latex provide a good means of support as well.
When the fill of the pillow provides firmness and comfort and addresses pressure points, you will feel the difference in your back. The design of the pillow is also important, such as the design of a lumbar pillow, which is made to be used in the lower back area. Water pillows can also be adjusted for height and firmness – very helpful if you want to make sure that you reduce the stress placed on your back.
Preventing Problems with Snoring
The fill for contour pillows is normally comprised of memory foam, buckwheat, or water. The pillow supports the neck and head so the air passages remain open during sleeping. Therefore, this is the ideal pillow to choose if you have problems with snoring. You can also benefit from a pillow that is used with a CPAP machine.
Therefore, if you are sleeping with a CPAP machine, you will want to review the offerings in sleep apnea pillows. CPAP is short for continuous positive airway pressure therapy and supports equipment that helps a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The machine makes it easier for a sleeper to breathe during the night. The sleep apnea pillow that is used is made of a polyester fill or a foam material. The pillow should be selected based on the height and feel of the pillow when used in conjunction with a CPAP machine.
The newest addition to the pillow marketplace, smart pillows are made with performance fabrics and a high-quality pillow fill that are linked to a built-in sleep monitoring technology. The pillow user optimizes the use of the pillow by way of a sleep app. One example of a smart pillow design is a pillow that features streaming audio, built-in speakers, and sleep tracking during the night.
All these features are possible with the inclusion of built-in sensors. An anti-snoring technology also reduces any problems with snoring. The pillow, for example, monitors a sleeper as he or she sleeps and gently nudges him or her to change position if he or she begins snoring. These pillows, as you might guess, are not inexpensive. A low-end price for a smart pillow is about $300.
The right type of pillow also makes it possible for a sleeper to sleep with more allergy relief. However, not all pillows can make this claim. Pillows, such as goose down or goose feather pillows can set people to sneezing and their eyes to watering. On the other hand, you do not have to worry about these types of difficulties when your pillow is made of memory foam, latex, or a synthetic material. Instead, you can relax in virtual comfort without worry that you will be seized with a sneezing fit. A pillow that offers a relaxing night sleep also should feature a hypoallergenic design. If you are one of the thousands of people that suffer from allergies, you need to make sure you pillow fits the criteria for being hypoallergenic. Pillows made with a poly-cluster fill prevent allergies too.
Sleepers who want to enjoy additional softness and comfort while they sleep will like the fluffy softness of down- and feather-filled pillows. While these pillows will not conform to your sleeping position like memory foam, and must be constantly be fluffed or thinned for use, they are definitely soft and comforting. If you are someone who wants a pillows that is softer rather than firmer, a goose down pillow or goose feather pillow was designed for you. However, keep in mind that these pillows should not be the first choice if you suffer from allergies. In that case, you may be happier with a pillow made with natural or synthetic latex or a blend of the two. These pillows have a bouncy effect when you are using them on your bed. You might consider a polyester pillow for softness too. While this pillow does not offer much support, it definitely is a soft pillow to use. Polyester pillows are often recommended for children and teens because they are economical.