How High Should Your Pillow Be When Sleeping?

Your pillow size should be between four and six inches high to properly support your head and neck when lying in bed. Most standard pillows are manufactured at this height to make sure you feel comfortable and supported while you sleep.

What happens if your pillow is too high?

If your pillow is too high, your neck will be bent at an unnatural angle during sleep, which can cause back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as headaches. A high pillow can also affect your sleep quality, making you more tired in the day, which will have an impact on your mood.

How can I tell if my pillow is too high?

The simplest way to tell if your pillow is too high is by checking where your chin is when lying on your back in bed. Does your chin point upwards because your head is tilted back very far? If so, your pillow might be too high and could cause discomfort.
At the correct height, your chin should rest in a neutral position in line with the rest of your body. Your head shouldn’t be slanted at an unnatural angle.

How to choose the right pillow height for your sleeping position

Back and side sleepers

If you sleep on your back or on your side, the standard pillow height between four and six inches should be the most comfortable and supportive choice. This recommended height should mean that your head isn’t tilted back too far, minimising a sore neck and back.

Front sleepers

Front sleeping isn’t recommended, because this position misaligns your spine, placing unwanted strain on your back. If you only can get to sleep while lying on you’re front, consider sleeping on a thinner pillow which is two to three inches in height. This will help to protect your spine by keeping your body in a neutral, flat position.

Is it better to sleep on one or two pillows?

The number of pillows you need depends on your sleeping position and personal preference. You’ll usually find one to be comfortable enough, however, you can use a second pillow for additional support. For example, if you sleep on your side, you could also use a knee pillow to prevent your spine from moving out of place, which should help with back pain.
Find more tips on how to sleep on your pillow and where your shoulders should be in our simple advice guides.

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