An important, yet maybe less considered aspect of pillow shopping is choosing the loft that is best for your sleep style. The loft of a pillow is its thickness when it lays flat on your bed. The thicker it is, the higher its loft.
The importance of pillow loft goes hand-in-hand with the way you sleep. Back and stomach sleepers need a low-loft pillow — something around 3-4 inches. Having a thinner pillow allows them to sleep with proper spinal alignment, since their heads and necks won’t be pushed up uncomfortably by the height of a high-loft pillow. If you want a low-loft pillow, look for something with down filling, or find a thin, soft memory foam pillow.
Side sleepers need something thicker and generally firmer. There’s a larger space between the head and your mattress, thanks to the height of their shoulders. A 5- or 6-inch pillow is a good choice for side sleepers because it fills up that empty space. Plus, the extra firmness ensures that their heads won’t sink too far into the pillow. These two qualities work together so that side sleepers can rest their heads on a level plane to keep their necks and spines aligned.
Sleeping on a pillow with a proper loft is key to experiencing more restful and restorative sleep. With the right pillow, you’ll wake up with less pain and a happier outlook.