Home / Blog July 04, 2023

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How Many Pillows Should You Sleep With to Get Deeper Sleep

You should sleep with enough pillows under your head to support the natural curve of your neck. Back sleepers often see success with one pillow, side sleepers may prefer two, and stomach sleepers might prefer none at all. Adding a body pillow or bolster pillow can also help support the lower back



When choosing how many pillows to sleep with, the goal is to maintain the spine’s natural curve.

There are many factors like body and pillow size, but side sleepers usually need more head pillows than back sleepers. Stomach sleepers need the least.

Body pillows and bolster pillows can also help with back and joint pain. 

Did you know?
There’s evidence of pillows being around since ancient times, with the Egyptians and ancient Mesopotamians both using stone pillows. Estimates date these pillows to about 7,000 BCE.

Having troubles getting cozy in bed? Looking to crank up the comfort level and wondering how many pillows you should sleep with?

With every person having different individual needs and favorite sleeping positions, there’s no one-pillow-fits-all solution to bedroom layouts.

Some will see the most success with two pillows, some with zero, and some can’t get a wink without snuggling up to three or even four pillows. It’s all a matter of fine-tuning based on your aches, pains, and favorite sleeping position.

How to Determine the ‘Right’ Number of Pillows

Unfortunately, there is no universal correct answer to how many pillows you should sleep with. But there are a few things that can give you clues as to what the best personal solution for you is.

First, are you having neck pain when you wake up in the morning? If so, there’s a good chance that your pillows are pushing your cervical spine out of alignment. Your head shouldn’t be pushed too far forward and it shouldn’t be resting too far back either.

How about lower back and joint pain? If you’re experiencing chronic pain from herniated discs or sciatica, support pillows like body pillows or bolsters can help. They work by keeping your lumbar spine in place and more evenly distributing your weight, rather than having it fall on smaller areas like your hips and shoulders.

Another way to work out your personal pillow needs is by basing it on your preferred sleeping position.


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Different Head Pillow Setups

If you’re wondering how many pillows you should sleep with, there’s a good chance your head is the target of that question. And at that end of the bed, you’re usually adjusting for neck health.

It depends on the pillow type and size, but the most common number of pillows is zero, one, and two. Each option works a little differently to support the curve of your neck in the various sleeping positions.

Different Head Pillow Setups

Is It OK To Sleep On 2 Pillows?

Back sleepers beware – stacking pillows can push the head forward, placing the neck in an unnatural position. This is even truer for stomach sleepers, but in the opposite direction.

However, if you like to sleep on your sides, two pillows may be better for your neck in the long run. The extra height can keep your head in line with the rest of your spine, preventing your head from drooping down toward the shoulder.

Is It Good To Sleep With 1 Pillow?

While two pillows can be hard on the neck when sleeping on your back, one is often just right. However, it can be a bit shallow for side sleepers, so if you tend to spend a lot of time in that position, you may want to try doubling the pillow up.

Going Pillow-less

The last of the most popular head pillow options is going pillow-less. For side sleepers this is a definite no-no, and back sleepers usually don’t have much better luck. Stomach sleepers, however, may find that this leaves the neck in the best position possible, though stomach sleeping in general isn't great for spine health.

How Many Pillows Should I Have On My Bed?

The average American sleeps with about two pillows, according to a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation, but don’t let that sway you. The best way to figure out how many pillows you should have on your bed is by paying attention to your body.

Do you often wake up with neck pain after a night of sleeping on your back with two pillows under your head? Maybe you should try one instead.

Is one pillow not enough to support you in side position? Try two.

Then there are support pillows that can help with lower back and joint pain. Popping these into your pillow lineup can crank the number of pillows up even more.

How Many Pillows Should I Have On My Bed - lady cuddling with body pillow

Using Body Pillows

There are many ways to use a body pillow, but the most common one involves hugging it. Just slide the lower end between your legs and hug the upper end between your shoulder and side sleeping suddenly becomes a little cozier.

Our Cuddler is more than big enough to support your hip and shoulder joints and its Melofoam interior makes it flexible enough to work in other positions, too.

Using Bolster Pillows

If you’re struggling with lower back pain and are looking for something a little more compact, you might want to consider a bolster pillow like our Cuddling. It’s big enough to slide under your knees, keeping your lumbar spine in a natural position. It can also be a great lounge pillow to slide behind your back as you read in bed.


Got more questions about how many pillows you should sleep with? Here are some of the common ones and their answers.

How Many Pillows Should I Sleep With If I Have A Bad Neck?

If you have a bad neck, you should try sleeping with fewer pillows when on your back and more when you’re on your side. One pillow is usually enough to keep the natural curve of the neck in line, however if the pillow is too thick it pushes the head forward, causing strain.

If you’re a side sleeper, two pillows is usually a good option as the added height helps to keep the head from drooping down and pulling the neck with it.

How Many Pillows Should I Sleep With When I Sleep On The Belly?

When sleeping on your belly, you should avoid head pillows altogether. Unless they’re very thin, head pillows can push the head back, adding strain to the vertebrae in the neck.

But while head pillows may not be the best idea, a thin pillow under the stomach can help to keep the lumbar spine in the right position. The Mayo Clinic recommends using this tool when sleeping on the stomach to prevent future lower back problems. 


The number of pillows you should sleep with depends mostly on your preferred sleeping position, but lower back problems like herniated discs can also affect that choice. If you’re problem-free, try fewer pillows when sleeping on your back and more when on your sides.

If you’re struggling with discomfort throughout the night, support pillows like our Cuddler or Cuddling could help ease the pain. In the end, it’s all about keeping the spine happy. Do that, and you’ll have a better shot at waking up with a smile on your face, too.