The 9 Best Pillows of 2021

The answer to better sleep might lie under your head

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Getting good sleep is one of the most important things you can do to take care of your health. As research shows, the quality of your sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep you get throughout the night. Studies also show that interrupted sleep does not allow the brain to recharge all of the networks needed for the proper regulation of functions like metabolism, healthy cell reproduction, and even the ability to regulate emotions.

Sleep is just as important to your health as your diet and exercise routines. However, there are several things that can keep you from obtaining quality sleep, such as anxiety, chronic pain, too much screen time, and poor diet. 

Additionally, being comfortable is directly related to good sleep as it enables the body to relax, calms anxiety, and helps you fall asleep faster. That's why a good pillow that fits your sleeping style is one of the most important purchases you can make for a good night's sleep.

Here are the best pillows on the market.

Our Top Picks
Ideal for all sleeping positions, this pick has a down-like feel with a convoluted, removable memory foam core.
This compact, hypo-allergenic pillow is made to fit in your luggage and feel extra comfortable with its faux-down filling.
Designed for back and side sleepers, it offers contoured neck, back, and shoulder support for pain-free, restful sleep.
Perfectly contoured to fit your body’s natural sleeping curve, it's ready for snuggling as it provides head-to-toe support.
Made from shredded memory foam, it is encased in an extra soft bamboo layering to prevent overheating as you snooze.
Lined with layers of cooling gel on both sides, the memory foam interior adapts itself to your individual shape.
Ideal for stomach sleepers, this option is made with extra soft down and is underfilled to allow for extra softness and movement.
At a medium level of firmness, it offers comfort and support while keeping your allergies at a minimum during sleep.
This pillow features an extra thick layer of cooling gel on one side and firm support on the other for adjustable comfort.

Best Overall: Malouf Convoluted Dough Memory Foam Pillow

Malouf Convoluted Dough Memory Foam Bed Pillow
Pros
  • Removable foam core

  • Fits all sleeping positions

  • High-quality materials

Cons
  • More expensive

  • Not machine washable

  • May need “break in” period

Finding a pillow that fits your individual comfort preference is rare, but the Malouf memory foam pillow gives you the option to adjust the pillow to fit your sleeping style. Filled with convoluted memory foam, the down-like core can be added or removed depending on how much support you need.

Since the memory foam provides optimal head and neck support, the pillow is a good choice for back or side sleepers. To keep the pillow in ideal condition, the brand recommends spot cleaning only—not washing it in a machine.

Best Portable: Indulgence Cotton Down Alternative Travel Pillow

Indulgence Cotton Down Alternative Travel Pillow
Pros
  • Fits perfectly in luggage

  • High-quality materials

  • Hypoallergenic

Cons
  • Not temperature controlled

  • Too larrge for some pillowcases

  • May be heavy if backpacking

One of the greatest challenges when traveling is being able to maintain a feeling of comfort in a variety of environments. Plus, traveling on the road or in a plane means that limited space is a factor—requiring a compact solution to sound sleep.

This hypoallergenic pillow is designed to fit in your luggage and made with a comfortable faux-down filling. It's also machine washable for easy cleaning.

Best for Neck Pain: GoHome Adjustable Contour Cervical Down Alternative Medium Support Pillow

Adjustable Contour Cervical Down Alternative Medium Support Pillow
Pros
  • Made to align neck and back

  • High-quality materials

  • Good for most sleeping positions

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not temperature controlled

  • May be too thin for some

Poor sleeping positions can trigger and intensify neck pain—whether chronic or occasional. Thanks to the contoured neck, back, and shoulder support, this pillow is designed to give back and side sleepers restful sleep.

The side zipper allows you to add or remove the filling, and it's crafted to hold up to 100 washes in the washing machine.

Best Body Pillow: Leachco Snoogle Chic Jersey Total Body Pillow

Leachco Snoogle Chic Jersey Total Body Pillow
Pros
  • Total body support

  • Firm filling

  • Excellent shape for comfort

Cons
  • Not machine washable

  • Very bulky when stored

  • Too firm for stomach sleepers

Contoured to fit your body's natural sleeping curve, the Snoogle provides head-to-toe support. The bendable design and firm composition are great for pregnant women or those who benefit from knee and hip support.

Thanks to neck support and foot elevation, the Snoogle is also a good option for back sleepers. For easy cleaning, the jersey cotton cover is removable and machine washable.

Best Memory Foam: Miracle Bamboo Deluxe Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Miracle Bamboo Deluxe Shredded Memory Foam Bed Pillow
Pros
  • Adjustable

  • Temperature Controlled

  • Good for all sleeping positions

Cons
  • Expensive

  • May need “break it” period

  • Spot clean only

Made with shredded memory foam and encased in a soft fabric, the Miracle Bamboo Pillow is designed to keep you cool while you sleep. The Viscose fabric is crafted from bamboo fibers which makes it hypoallergenic and odor-resistant.

Though it's not machine washable, it's a good, supportive option for back, side, and stomach sleepers.

Best Tempurpedic: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Memory Foam Pillow

Queen White Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Memory Foam Medium Support Pillow
Pros
  • Temperature controlled

  • High-quality materials

  • Good for neck and back support

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not hypoallergenic

  • May be too soft for some

The Tempurpedic brand is famous for its combination of comfort and temperature control. Lined with layers of cooling gel on both sides, the memory foam interior adapts itself to your individual shape.

This pillow offers a medium level of firmness which is good for all sleeping positions. It also has a removable, machine-washable cover.

Best Stomach Sleeper: White Noise Howth Stomach Sleeper Extra Soft Jumbo Pillow

Howth Stomach Sleeper Extra Soft Feather Jumbo Pillow
Pros
  • Very soft

  • Machine washable

  • Perfect for stomach sleepers

Cons
  • Too soft for some

  • Not good for back and side sleepers

  • Some may dislike down filling

Most pillows are filled to reach a medium level of firmness, making it tough for stomach sleepers to find a good pillow. The White Noise Howth pillow is designed to eliminate the cramped, awkward, and stiff neck that some stomach sleepers experience.

It's made with soft down feathers and underfilled to allow for a straighter alignment of the neck and spine. Plus, it's hypoallergenic, breathable, and machine-washable.

Best Hypoallergenic: Alwyn Home Bynum Down Alternative Medium Support Pillow

King White Bynum Down Alternative Medium Support Pillow (Set of 2)
Pros
  • Hypoallergenic and anti-microbial

  • Machine washable

  • Affordable (for pair)

Cons
  • May be too soft for some

  • Does not come with a cover

  • Not temperature controlled

The 100 percent polyester microfiber composition makes the Alwyn Home pillow hypoallergenic and anti-microbial. The medium level of firmness marries comfort and support, keeping your neck, head, and shoulders aligned.

The polyester is easy to care for and the cover is removable and machine washable.

Best Cooling: Therapedic Cooling Gel & Memory Foam Pillow

Therapedic® Cooling Gel & Memory Foam Bed Pillow
Pros
  • Extra thick cooling gel

  • Firm support

  • Soft Jersey knit covering

Cons
  • Too thick for some stomach sleepers

  • Pillow is not machine washable

  • Not hypoallergenic

If you're a hot sleeper, you know that nothing interrupts a good night's sleep like waking up hot and sweaty. This pillow features an ultra-thick layer of cooling gel on one side to keep night sweats at bay.

The other side of the pillow is made with high-density memory foam for added support. The removable, knitted jacquard cover can be thrown in the wash, but the pillow itself is spot clean only.

Final Verdict

The Malouf Convoluted Dough Memory Foam Pillow (view at Bed Bath & Beyond) is ideal for all types of sleepers and offers options for customizing your preferred level of support.

What to Look for in a Pillow 


Firmness

An extra firm pillow will hold its form while a soft pillow will flatten and easily conform. Firm pillows are good for those in need of more support, while soft pillows are ideal for those seeking adjustable comfort.

Sleep Position

Your sleeping position can help determine what type of pillow you need. Stomach sleepers may experience a greater challenge finding a comfortable pillow, but they tend to do better with soft pillows that flatten and conform easily. Back sleepers usually prefer medium support, while side sleepers prefer firm pillows that allow for optimal neck alignment.

Temperature

If you're a hot sleeper or you experience night sweats, you might want to look into a temperature-controlled pillow. Changing pillows depending on the season could also be a good option—a cooling pillow may make sense in the summer months but not in the winter months.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best way to wash a pillow?

    Unless your pillow specifies that it's "spot-clean only," you can likely wash it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. For long-lasting support, they should only be washed every 6 months.

    The detergent you use should be free of dyes and perfumes to prevent allergic reactions. And if you have a down pillow, you should wash it with a small amount of powder detergent as the liquid can stick to the feathers—leaving residue that may cause clumping.

    Pillowcases should be washed weekly.

  • Can you put pillows in the dryer?

    Most pillows can be dried in a dryer. They dry best at medium-level heat, however, you'll want to make sure they're dried thoroughly as excess moisture can lead to mildew.

    To prevent clumping, toss in a couple of tennis balls to bounce along in the dryer with the pillows. Down-filled pillows should be dried on a no heat setting along with a tennis ball to prevent clumping.

Why Trust Verywell Mind? 

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 15 years’ experience working with clients who struggle with mental and emotional health, Mary K. Tatum understands the importance of finding quality resources and techniques that work for each person. Not everyone will have the same kind of healing journey, therefore, having lots of options to choose from is vitally important in creating a lifestyle that combats mental illness and promotes health and wellbeing.  

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2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Ohlmann KK, O’Sullivan MI, Berryman P, Lukes E. The costs of short sleepAAOHN Journal. 2009;57(9):381-387.