How High Should Your Pillow Be? Best Sleep Guide

If you wonder how high should your pillow be, it is around four to six inches. However, there are variations to this height, and this article will guide you to find what’s ideal for you. To give you a quick overview of what to expect, each sleeping position will benefit from a specific pillow height. 

Remember that you must familiarize yourself with how to sleep on a memory foam pillow? Some similar concepts will be discussed below, but you’re aiming to provide support on the head and neck in general. Your pillow loft or height matters because it affects your sleeping posture. 


How High Should A Pillow Be

Determining the right pillow height or loft will depend on your sleeping position. This way, you can guarantee that you’re in a good sleeping posture, regardless if you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. The comprehensive guide below should teach you the proper pillow height for every position, but if you must know a specific number, the ideal range is between 4 to 6 inches. 


How high should your pillow be for back sleeping

Sleeping on your back is perhaps the most common and recommended position since it’s the closest to the natural posture. For back sleepers, you want to use a pillow between 4 to 5 inches high. This loft is just enough to keep your head and neck level with the rest of the body to prevent neck pain. 


How high should your pillow be for side sleeping

What if you prefer sleeping on your side? Side sleeping is also a good position, especially for people with acid reflux, breathing issues, or even pregnant women who shouldn’t sleep on their back. If this is how you sleep, use a pillow with a loft between 5 to 7 inches. 

As you notice, the pillow for side sleeping is higher than the one you’ll use if you sleep on your back. This is because you want to fill the gap between the neck and shoulders to avoid deviations in the spine. Taller people should get the maximum 7-inch height to ensure that their spine is in a neutral position. 


How high should your pillow be for stomach sleeping

Health professionals do not recommend sleeping on your stomach because this position is the most unnatural one for the spine and neck. However, some people have conditions that prevent them from sleeping in other orientations. If this is your case, you want to use a pillow between 4 to 5 inches or even flatter. 

Why use flat pillows for stomach sleeping? Using a high pillow when you sleep on your stomach will put stress on your neck. Some would even flatten their pillow, or lose the head pillow and place it on the pelvis region instead. 


What about combination sleepers?

Those who are guilty of moving a lot at night are considered combination sleepers. You might sleep in a particular position but wake up to another orientation. The best pillow height for you should follow the recommendation for your dominant position. 

If you find yourself in a specific position more, then you must get the pillow height for that position. It would be best if you also considered getting pillows that wrap around the body. This way, the support stays put, regardless of your orientation. 


How To Find The Right Pillow Height For You?

Besides determining your sleeping position, you can also choose the ideal pillow height for you using towels. Stack four towels that are folded into squares each. Then, rest your head over them and remove a towel until your ears, shoulders, and hips are aligned. 

Once you achieve a neutral posture, you can measure the towel stacks. It would also help to just choose a pillow with adjustable height, so you can just remove or add stuffing. Your pillow must complement your body and sleeping position. 


What Is Pillow Loft?

Pillow loft can be interchangeable with pillow height because it is the pillow’s thickness. When shopping for pillows, you’ll notice manufacturers using labels about their product’s loft. A low loft pillow is usually 3 inches and lower, followed by mid loft around 5 inches, and the highest, which is high loft is higher than 5 inches. 

As discussed earlier, you want to choose a low loft if you sleep on your stomach. On the contrary, side sleepers will be comfortable at high loft pillows. And finally, back sleepers are best with mid loft pillows



If you’re shopping or making a new pillow, it should be the best fit for your body type and sleeping habits. Therefore, ask yourself this, how high should your pillow be? A range between 4 to 6 inches is a good height, but you must also know your sleeping position. 

In general, back sleepers can use medium height pillow, while those who sleep on their side should use high loft pillows. As for stomach sleepers, opt for a low or flat pillow to ensure that you don’t develop neck pain. If you’re unsure, simply lie on a stack of towels and measure their height to where your spine is neutral. 

Otherwise, opt for adjustable pillows where you can add or remove their stuffing. You can add a zipper on the pillow you’re making to achieve this.