Here's How Many Pillows You Should Be Sleeping With

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Sleeping with just one pillow? There's certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact, many people only require one pillow for a good night's rest. But can an extra pillow give you an even ‌better‌ night's sleep? That's what the Sleep Foundation's recent study unpacks.

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Before getting into how many pillows are ideal for you, it's important that you have the right type of pillow under your head in the first place.

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  • Side sleepers often do best with a high-loft pillow (more than 5 inches thick) to properly accommodate the space between the neck and shoulders. Memory foam pillows are often a great option.
  • Back sleepers should go for a midloft pillow (between 3 and 5 inches thick). Orthopedic pillows with a curved indent can be a good choice.
  • Stomach sleepers tend to prefer a low-loft pillow (less than 3 inches thick) or may want to forgo a pillow altogether.

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Now, back to the one pillow versus two pillow debate. Here are circumstances where you can benefit from sleeping with two pillows instead of just one (or zero):

  1. You may want to sleep with a second pillow between the knees if you sleep on your side for "comfort and better sleep posture." This is especially helpful for people with back pain since the method helps to relieve pressure. You can use a regular pillow or an ergonomic one that's specifically made for this purpose.
  2. You may want to sleep with a second pillow under the knees if you sleep on your side and experience lower back pain. "This is especially helpful when there is a gap between the small of the back and the mattress surface [because] by placing a pillow under the knees, it elevates the knees slightly, encouraging the lumbar region to sink deeper into the mattress and thus straightening the spine."
  3. You may want to sleep with a body pillow if you are pregnant or if you sleep on your side and experience pressure between the knees. "U-shaped and C-shaped body pillows are often used during pregnancy, while rectangular designs can benefit side sleepers who like to cradle a pillow against their body."
  4. You may want to sleep with a wedge pillow if you are pregnant and are looking for "targeted support to areas like the midsection, back, or knees." This can be useful on its own or in conjunction with a body pillow.

So there you have it: how to know if you should sleep with zero, one, two, or even three pillows. Happy slumbering!

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