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How Many Pillows to Sleep With?

How Many Pillows to Sleep With?

The number of pillows you should sleep with largely depends on the loft and firmness of the pillows and your sleeping position. You may have to alter the never if you have a sports injury or obstructive sleep apnea.

Let’s take a closer look at the number of pillows you need to sleep with in order to get a relaxing sleep without putting too much strain on your neck muscles.

Pillow Requirement on the Basis of Sleeping Position

Choose the right pillow

On the basis of your sleeping position, you need to sleep with a single pillow. That single pillow must have the right loft and firmness in order to obviate the need for an additional pillow.

Here’s the loft and firmness requirement on the basis of different sleep positions”

  • Back sleepers
        • Loft: 4-6 inches
        • Firmness: medium firm
  • Side sleepers
        • Loft: 5-7 inches
        • Firmness: firm
  • Stomach sleepers
        • Loft: less than 3 inches
        • Firmness: soft

    If your pillow is too low, then you should go with an additional pillow in order to get to the right loft.

    However, it may be difficult to go through different pillow materials and get the one that has the right loft and firmness for your body type.

    In such a case, you can go for an adjustable bamboo pillow, which comes with shreds or pieces of the fill instead of a solid block of fill.

    memory foam pillow

    Adjustable pillows enable you to adjust their loft and height. By setting the pillow to the right preferences, you can:

    • Align your neck properly with rest of the spine
    • Ensure that your neck is well supported

    Minimum pressure on your neck ensures that you don’t develop neck pain in the long run.

    Learn more about Sleepsia’s Shredded Memory Foam Pillows.

    Additional Pillow to Reduce Lower Back Pain

    Pillow to Reduce Lower Back Pain

    While you’re already using a pillow to support your neck, you can use another to reduce pressure from your lower back.

    Each sleeping position puts some amount of pressure on the lower back, some more than others.

    Here’s how:

    • Back sleepers: those with an anterior pelvic tilt often experience greater pressure on their lower back.
    • Side sleepers: the upper leg slides down and rotates the spine, creating additional pressure on the lower back.
    • Stomach sleepers: the spine is flexed, leading to serious strain on both muscles and discs.

    To reduce the pressure on the lower back, you can follow these recommendations:

    • Back sleepers: place a pillow below the legs to bring lower back into a neutral position.
    • Side sleepers: place a pillow between the knees to prevent the upper leg from sliding down.
    • Stomach sleepers: place a pillow below the lower abdomen to reduce strain from the lower back.

    Note: apart from using an additional pillow, get the right mattress to reduce pressure from your lower back.

    Pillow for Sleep Apnea or GERD

    Pillow for Sleep Apnea

    If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or GERD, then you may have to elevate your upper body. Here’s why according to the two cases:

    • Obstructive sleep apnea: to prevent the tongue from sliding in and blocking the airway
    • GERD: to prevent the stomach acid from travelling upwards

    In both these cases, it is better to use a wedge pillow than to use multiple pillows.


    As you can see, the number of pillows required varies according to your sleep position and medical condition. You can use the tips provided in this post to use the right number of pillows and place them in the right places in order to enjoy great sleep night after night.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. What pillow fill should I use as a combination sleeper?
    Ans.  As a combination sleeper, you should use an adjustable pillow with a foam fill: latex or memory foam. As to how many pillows you can use, it’s one or two depending on your comfort level. If you get the right pillow, you can use a single pillow instead of multiple ones.
    Q. Is there a specific pillow for people using the CPAP machine?
    Ans.  Yes, there is. The CPAP pillow offers space in the middle so that you can sleep with a mask on. These pillows are often comfortable as they come with a foam fill. If you wear a CPAP mask when sleeping then use a single CPAP pillow.

    Q. How many wedge pillows should I use?
    Ans.  You should use a single wedge pillow to lift your entire body. Wedge pillows come with different levels of elevation, so select the one that suits your preferences.

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