How Many Pillows Should You Sleep With At Night?

Everyone has their sleep preferences at night, including how many pillows that they want on their bed. 

Yet, when we imagine a ‘typical’ bed, it’s always made with 2 pillows a side as if that’s the right way to sleep, which isn’t true for everyone. So, how many pillows should you sleep with at night? 1, 2, or heaven forbid, 3? 

In this guide, we’re going to take the guesswork out of pillows by telling you exactly how many pillows you should sleep on at night and the best type of pillow that you need for your sleep position. 

What are you waiting for? Let’s get stuck in. 

How many pillows should you sleep with?

In nearly all cases, you should be sleeping on only one pillow at night. However, this isn’t the full truth, so don’t just take this number and run with it. 

The amount of pillows you need at night depends on a number of factors, including: 

  • How you sleep;
  • How much support you need;
  • The type of pillows you’re using.

Your pillow is there to support and raise your head slightly so your neck and spine are aligned, keeping your airway open. In most cases, a single, specifically designed pillow can achieve this. 

To find the right match, let’s explore the way that you sleep at night. 

How many pillows do side sleepers need?

If you’re a side sleeper, you will want a single foam pillow to rest your head on at night. 

Single-piece foam pillows are designed to cushion the head and neck, while also providing more support to your spinal alignment. 

If you’re experiencing neck pain or stiffness from sleep, you might want to consider using firmer, memory foam pillows for better support. However, be careful that the pillow isn’t too firm as this can lead to more neck pain. 

If you’re looking to get the right pillow for sleeping on your side, we’ve reviewed the best pillows for side sleepers available for you to find your match. 

Our number one pick? The Ecosafeter Contour memory foam pillow. 

With a unique curved shape, this pillow is designed to perfectly fit the shape of your cervical spine while sleeping on your side. This means that your neck and back are in a more natural position while you sleep, helping with your posture, and further easing any neck pain that you may have. 

You can read more about the Ecosafeter Contour memory foam pillow, or our other top picks for side sleepers here. 

If you’re a side sleeper, you may also want to consider a second pillow to use in between your knees. 

Knee pillows are designed to help ease pressure on your hips, alleviating symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, and maintaining your cervical spine alignment while sleeping on your side. 

If you’ve recently gone through any surgery on your knees, hips or shoulders, these pillows can also help your recovery by keeping you in the right alignment at night. 

If you’re looking for a knee pillow, we recommend checking out the Doctor Developed Knee Pillow. 

How many pillows do back sleepers need?

If you’re a back sleeper, your spine and body will naturally be in an aligned and neutral position throughout the night. The last thing you want to do is disturb that by raising your head too high. 

Having more than one pillow as a back sleeper can compress your neck, making you more likely to snore and suffer from aches and pains in your neck or shoulders. 

For back sleepers, it’s recommended to sleep with one, thin pillow. Some people might even prefer to sleep with no pillow at all! 

If you’re used to the comfort of sleeping with two pillows and can’t quite get rid of one yet, you might want to consider swapping to a slightly thicker and more durable memory foam pillow. 

How many pillows do front sleepers need? 

As front sleeping isn't the best option for your spine, the least you can do is trying to get rid of the pillow entirely.

Sleeping on your front isn’t great for your posture. Most of the time, it will put your spine and body into awkward positions as you face one side or another during the night. You might even wake up with pins and needles or dead arms in the night depending on whereabouts you place them while you sleep. 

If you are suffering from aches and pains, you might want to consider sleeping in a different position. 

But if that can’t be helped and this is where you’re the most comfortable, you might want to consider getting rid of the pillow entirely to try and help align your spine more naturally. If that can’t be helped, choose a very thin and soft pillow. 

What is the best way to sleep at night? 

So what is the healthiest way to sleep at night? On your front, back or side? 

Arguably, the answer to this could be on your back, as this position gives your head, neck and spine a chance to rest while in a neutral position. You’ve not bent over awkwardly, which will help elevate any muscle aches or pains you might be experiencing.

However, sleeping on your back has its downsides. The biggest is that it increases your chance of snoring and makes sleep conditions such as sleep apnea worse, as gravity will cause your muscles to push down on your airwaves. 

Sleeping on your side instead of your back is worse for your posture and could cause muscle aches and pains. However, it does offer decreased levels of acid reflux from keeping you awake, a lower chance of snoring and sleep apnea relief from more open airways.

Side sleeping is also the most popular way of sleeping. In fact, rather interestingly, in the UK

  • 69% of the population sleep on their side;
  • 13% of the population sleep on their back;
  • 5% of the population sleep on their front.

If you’re pregnant, sleeping in the fetal position improves circulation and prevents your uterus from pressing against your liver. Plus, there’s just something rather nice about mother and child sleeping in the same position before they’re born.

And finally… sleeping on your stomach is arguably the worst sleeping position to be in as it’s harder to keep your spine neutral as people often face one side or another. This increases your chances of developing neck and back pain than if you keep your head facing the mattress.

In addition, laying on your stomach also adds extra pressure to your joints and muscles. If you’ve ever woken up with numbness or tingling, this is the reason why.

Anti snore pillows for soundless sleep 

More than 30 million people in the UK are snorers, which is just under half of the entire country’s population. So if you’re one of them, there’s no shame about that. 

It’s the other half of that population we feel sorry for. 

The best anti snore pillows on the market right now 

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Snoring is a natural and relatively mild sleep disorder that happens when something blocks the flow of air through your nose and mouth when you’re asleep. There are different types of snoring – and it has a number of causes, including age, weight and genetics. 

One factor that can influence snoring is your pillows, because of how they position your body at night. If your pillow is too hard, or if you’re sleeping on too many, they could put your body ina position that compresses or tilts your head, constricting your windpipes and causing you to snore more. 

However, according to research by the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association, anti-snore pillows cut down snoring by half. And even better news, we’ve ranked and reviewed the best anti-snoring pillows on the market so you can find quality pillows for a soundless night. 

Our number one pick? The Cozy BoSpin memory foam pillow. 

Made with a wave design to cradle your head while you’re asleep, this pillow provides great support for your neck, head and shoulders – no matter what position you like to sleep in.

In addition, the is one of the best anti snore pillows for making sure that your spine is correctly aligned. This will help open up your airways and reduce snoring as well as helping elevate any aches and pains you might have. 

It also comes with a lifetime money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to try and test it for yourself. 

Read more about the Cozy BoSpin memory foam pillow here. 

Make your pillows and mattress work together 

Having the right pillows for your sleep is just one part of the puzzle. But it’s no good to have your head well rested and in comfort land if you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s doing damage to the rest of your body. 

If you’re using the wrong mattress, you’ll find it harder to sleep and have a more disturbed, uncomfortable rest at night. What’s more, you’re much more suspectable to aches and pains form a poor mattress. 

Having a great pillow might not produce any result if your mattress is the problem. Make sure you have a great combo!

In addition, old mattresses are much more likely to have bed bug infestations, as well as higher levels of staphylococcus, enterococcus, norovirus, and even MRSA, which can cause serious, antibiotic-resistant infections. 

There’s a reason you’re told to replace mattresses every 8 years. Not sure if yours needs replacing? Read our guide on how often you should get a new mattress. 

Just like pillows, there are different types of mattresses for you to pick from. Finding the right one depends on how you sleep, your weight and what you find comfortable. For example, if you’re a side sleeper, you might be more comfortable on a medium-firm mattress. 

With a rating of 9.7, the ErgoFlex memory foam mattress might be the best choice for side sleepers on the market. Find out why our team rank it so highly in our review here. 

If you suffer from aches and pains, you may want to consider an orthopaedic mattress, which is an extra firm mattress that’s been designed to help ease muscle and joint pain while you sleep. 

Not sure what mattress you need? Discover our mattress reviews and top picks here. 

Top-Rated Online Mattresses:

Mattress BrandTypeFirmnessOur RatingReviewOfficial Site
Ergoflex ReviewMemory FoamMedium-Firm
Read ReviewVisit Website
Nectar Mattress ReviewMemory FoamMedium-Firm
Read ReviewVisit Website
Simba Mattress ReviewHybridMedium-Firm
Read ReviewVisit Website

Make sure you’re comfortable 

When it comes to getting the best night’s sleep, your comfort is an incredibly important factor. 

This guide shows you how many, and the type, of pillows you should be sleeping with based on your position and needs. But if you can’t get comfortable, then you might consider using other solutions to keep you sleeping at night. 

If you’re making the switch, remember that it takes time to get used to change and see results. Try sleeping on your new pillows for a few weeks to give yourself time to adapt and see the benefits. 

Looking for more sleep advice? get more helpful tips and tricks to try in our guide on how to improve your sleep here.

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