Sleep Experts Say This Pillow Position Will Guarantee a Restful Night

Our sleep experts weigh in on the optimal position to place your pillow so you sleep better

A bed against a wooden headboard
(Image credit: Design: SLIC Design)

Getting a good night's sleep doesn't have to be mission impossible, even if it can sometimes feel that way.

There are countless factors at play when it comes to ensuring a restful night, from the quality of your bedding to limiting screen time, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

But you don't have to embark on a complete bedroom makeover to help you sleep better. We've consulted our sleep experts to find the easy tricks you can implement today, starting with your pillow position.

For back sleepers

Dr. Michael Breus, Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine has spent years teaching the world about the science behind sleeping well. And as his nickname of The Sleep Doctor indicates, he's a good person to listen to. His opinion? 'The best pillow position depends on your sleep position,' explains Dr Breus.

Taking note of the position you normally find yourself falling asleep in can help you adjust your pillow position to optimise your sleep. 'Back sleepers usually prefer a medium-loft pillow that supports the head and neck but allows them to sink in a bit,' recommends Dr Michael.

For stomach sleepers

If you find yourself waking up flat on your front, with your face imprinted on the pillow, you may be a stomach sleeper.

'Stomach sleepers do best with low-loft pillows that provide support but don't tweak the neck at an odd angle' says Dr Michael Breus.

Those who frequently fall asleep on their stomachs may find that they suffer from neck and back pain more often than normal. Switching to a low-loft pillow may help to prevent these aches and pains by promoting a more healthy spinal alignment.

For snorers

If you are constantly being shushed while you snooze, or have shocked yourself awake by your own snores, switching up your pillow position can make some major changes to your sleeping snuffles.

'To support the body, sleeping on one's back may be best, but this may provoke snoring and sleep apnea among predisposed individuals,' explains sleep expert Dr Brandon Peters.

'The head should be in a neutral position to avoid narrowing of the throat during sleep. It can be helpful to elevate the head and upper body by 20 to 30 degrees to improve breathing. This may also ease acid reflux symptoms.'

For side sleepers

Side sleeping is widely considered one of the best positions to sleep in, especially for pregnant women.

'If you're a side sleeper, look for a higher loft pillow that will fill the gap between your shoulder and head when lying on your side' suggests The Sleep Doctor.

Dr Michael continues: 'If you suffer from back pain, try sleeping on your side with an extra pillow between your knees. It really relieves pressure.'

It's important to remember that your sleep is highly personal and the advice that works for some may not be applicable to you.

As clinical psychologist Dr Kristen Casey says: There is no "best" pillow position to sleep in, only the one that feels the best for you. Finding a comfortable position and pillow position is very unique, and depends on a variety of factors.'

Maya Glantz
Trainee writer

Maya is a freelance writer and Magazine Journalism master's student at City, University of London. Her undergraduate degree in History of Art at the University of Bristol helped form her interest in interior design and architecture. Maya is a lover of curved arches, green kitchens, and all things mid-century modern and can often be found scouring the web for vintage finds.