13 Different Types of Pillows You Should Know About

13 Different Types of Pillows You Should Know About

You could have the best mattress ever and still not enjoy good sleep quality if your pillows are old and unsupportive. Don’t be one of those people.

People often forget about pillows when they are buying a new bed. They just grab the first thing they see on store shelves and figure those pillows are good enough. They’re usually wrong.

You deserve a good night’s sleep, and buying good pillows is a necessary step to help you get there. This list includes the best types of pillows you can buy to rest your head on at night and how SONU can take your night of sleep one step further.

Why Is Having Good Pillows Important?

Sleeping on the wrong type of pillows isn’t just uncomfortable; it can have negative consequences on your health. How firm your pillow is and how you sleep on it are two factors that could help or harm you when you sleep.

Sleep Deprivation

If your pillow is uncomfortable, you probably won’t be able to sleep at night. And when you miss out on sleep, your body can’t function as it normally would while snoozing. Critical processes, like tissue repair, take place while we are asleep. If you miss out on quality sleep at night, your overall well being could be taking a hit.

Lack of sleep affects your cognition, mood, and even your appetite. People who are sleep deprived are in danger of developing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, losing their memory, increasing their risk for strokes, and experiencing hallucinations. Sleep deprivation also weakens your immune system and can make you physically weak.


An unsupportive pillow can lead to headaches, neck pain, and tension in the neck. Pillows that are too soft often lead to neck pain, while a pillow that is too hard may cause headaches.

Think about it. Your head and neck rest on your pillow for several hours each night. The best pillow to prevent pain will help create proper neck and spine alignment.

SONU’s Support Pillows work to support your head and neck so that you can wake up refreshed rather than in pain. The SONU Sleep System comes with either two or four Support Pillows, depending on the mattress size of your choosing, and each pillow contains individual layers that are malleable for your ultimate comfort.


The wrong pillow can cause chronic inflammation. If your head and neck are not properly supported and inflammation occurs, it can lead to other conditions like diabetes and heart disease, likely increasing any pain you may already experience.

Sleep Apnea

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you must have the right kind of pillow. Having your head supported while you sleep will help keep your airways open so you can breathe properly.

This is especially important if you are a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) user. CPAP machines work by pushing air through a tube connected to a mask that you wear while you sleep. This device keeps your airways open, but if your head is not in the right position, the device will not be effective.

Having the right pillow and position is also helpful for people with the following conditions:

  • Heartburn
  • Sinusitis
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo

What Types of Pillows Should I Check Out?

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of having the right supportive pillow let’s get into the types of pillows you should know about.

1. Down

Down is collected from goose and duck underbellies. It is an extremely soft material, which does not provide as much support as other types of pillows. Because down isn’t very supportive, manufacturers often combine it with another material.

Down pillows need to be fluffed regularly to maintain their shape. When purchasing these pillows, consider fill power.

Fill power refers to the amount of fluffiness a pillow has. The best down pillows should have a fill power of 600 or higher. Down alternative pillows are another option if you have allergies or sensitivities to traditional down fill.

2. Feathers

Feather pillows use the feathers from geese and ducks. Contrary to popular belief, these pillows aren’t as soft as you’d think, and the feather pillow fill sometimes pokes through the pillow case.

Manufacturers often mix down with the feathers to create a softer pillow. Just like down pillows, you need to fluff feather pillows all the time.

3. Microbead

If you’ve ever purchased a neck pillow from an airport for neck support, you likely purchased a microbead pillow. Microbeads are made of expandable polystyrene, which is sometimes confused with styrofoam. They are covered in a flame-retardant material.

Microbead pillows are breathable and feel cool to the touch. However, these cooling pillows are easily torn, scattering the microbeads all over. The beads take a long time to break down, making them a potential environmental hazard.

4. Buckwheat

Buckwheat pillows are made with buckwheat hulls. The hulls are biodegradable. The buckwheat pillows are known for their durability and firm support. Many people choose these pillows when they are looking for an environmentally friendly product.

5. Memory Foam

Like the mattress, memory foam pillows and shredded memory foam pillows cradle your head and neck when you sleep by conforming to their shapes. The good thing about memory foam pillows is that the cushioning adjusts whenever you move — there’s no need to fluff them like other pillows.

Thus, these pillows may be great for combination sleepers. The pillows never lose their shape–they are moldable and return to their original shape the moment you get up off them.

6. Serene Foam

When you purchase a mattress from SONU Sleep, it includes four high-quality serene foam Support Pillows. Serene foam is a resilient polyurethane foam that includes microscopic air capsules. These capsules increase airflow and breathability. Like memory foam, serene foam provides shock absorption and molds to the shape of your head and neck.

7. Latex

Latex is a material made from rubber tree sap. To make a latex pillow, either small, individual pieces of latex are pieced together or a single layer of latex is used. Latex has more bounce than the other pillows on this list. It compresses under the weight of your head and bounces back into its original shape when you get up.

8. Polyester

Polyester pillows are the most frequently purchased pillows because you can find them anywhere. They are inexpensive, soft, and durable. After a few years of use, these pillows will typically become flat, and you will need to replace them.

9. Water-Filled

Water-filled pillows consist of a polyester or cotton cover that has a water-filled bag inside of it. The firmness depends on the amount of water you put in it. A low amount of water will give you a soft, flat pillow, while filling the bag will give you a high, firm pillow. If you end up buying these pillows, watch out for leaks.

What Are Some Other Types of Pillows?

This next group of pillows provides relief for specific conditions such as neck pain, back pain, and sleep apnea.

10. Wedge

These triangular pillows are typically made of two materials like polyester and foam. People use them to elevate their legs, prop them up in bed, or provide support for their bellies if they are pregnant. Using wedge pillows provides relief for conditions like varicose veins, heartburn, acid reflux, circulation, and sleep apnea.

11. Lumbar

People with back pain sometimes use lumbar pillows. These pillows are usually rectangular, and they are placed under the curve of the lower back. They can also be used in desk chairs if you experience pain while working at your desk all day. If you strain or sprain your lower back, your doctor will probably tell you to sleep with a lumbar pillow until you recover.

12. Sleep Apnea

Unlike the other pillows that go under your head or body, sleep apnea pillows prop up the tubes to your CPAP machine. Elevating the tubes prevents them from pinching together and cutting off your air supply, and it also helps keep them organized and still while you are sleeping.

13. Body

A lot of pregnant women use body pillows to relieve their discomfort while sleeping. Anyone with hip or lower back pain can benefit from sleeping with these long, rectangular pillows that are around 54” in length. Some people just like to cuddle with body pillows while they sleep.

How Do I Choose the Right Pillow?

When you shop for pillows, don’t just grab the first thing you see. There are more than enough pillows available to meet your personal preferences, helping you get the sleep of your dreams.

When considering different types of pillows, use the following criteria to figure out what you really want.

Sleeping Position

Do you sleep on your side, back, stomach, or some variation of the three? Each position requires different pillow firmness levels and heights to enable you to sleep pain-free.

For example, a side sleeper needs a pillow with medium firmness that will hold their head and neck up and help maintain an aligned spine. Memory foam or serene foam pillows, which mold to your head shape, are great for this position.

Back sleepers need pillows that are slightly flatter. If you sleep on your back, your pillow shouldn’t be too high or too low so that your head is in a neutral position. Again, spine alignment is important here.

Stomach sleepers need flatter pillows to avoid pushing their necks too high, straining the neck muscles.

If you are someone who changes sleeping positions throughout the night, choose a pillow that suits the position you initially lie in.

Sleeping Temperature

Are you someone that sleeps better when your bed and room are cool? Or do you prefer to sleep hot?

If you like to sleep cool, you need a pillow that is made of breathable material. Serene foam, polyester, and microbead pillows tend to feel cooler.

For hot sleepers, memory foam is an ideal choice; the material is known for trapping heat.

Mattress Firmness

How firm is your mattress? Surprisingly, this does matter when you’re selecting new pillows. Thin, soft pillows go best with soft mattresses. Pillows that are not too soft or too full go best with medium firm mattresses, and full pillows go best with firm mattresses.

Why does this matter? The level of firmness between the mattress and pillows needs to be level to create a smaller gap between your head and the mattress.


Allergies are rough. Buying some new pillows and then realizing you are allergic to them is a pain.

Dust mites are a common allergen attracted to materials like polyester. If you have a dust mite allergy, you want to consider something that doesn’t attract them and is easy to clean. Latex, gel, and foam pillows are great for this.

Sometimes, you might be allergic to the pillow material. You could be allergic to buckwheat or down. Some people are allergic to synthetic latex.

There are no official standards for hypoallergenic products, so be skeptical if you see a pillow labeled “hypoallergenic.” If you don’t know if you’re allergic to the material in pillows, purchase pillow protectors to put an additional barrier between you and your pillows.


Adjustable pillows are fairly new. You can buy pillows now that allow you to customize the amount of filling in them to be as firm or high as you need.

The SONU mattress comes with Support Pillows that are adjustable, so your neck is supported at the optimal height..

The SONU Top Pillow Deluxe is designed to be placed on top of the Support Pillows of the SONU Sleep System, and is available for purchase if you are in search of a new pillow. This pillow is malleable and cooling while also offering support and flexibility.

The heavy, premium fill of the Top Pillow Deluxe promotes airflow and breathability, while the smooth, cooling cover helps ensure optimal comfort.


Most people don’t realize just how many types of pillows there are, so they purchase something that maintains its support for very long. Luckily, you don’t have to be one of them. There are so many types of pillows available for you to choose from.

SONU’s Support Pillows quickly mold to your shape within the Comfort Channel of the SONU Sleep System, and can be adjusted as you see fit. These pillows consistently provide excellent support and comfort for your head, neck and shoulders. You won’t want to sleep on anything else after you try them.

If you’re ready for new pillows, consider trying the SONU Sleep experience.


Is your pillow hurting your health? | Harvard Health

Sleep Deprivation | Cedars-Sinai

Best Goose Down Pillow of 2022 | Sleep Foundation

Expanded Polystyrene Beads Coated with Intumescent Flame Retardant Material to Achieve Fire Safety Standards | NCBI

Pillow Types | Better Sleep Council

Best Pillow Buying Guide | Consumer Reports

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Trusted Reviews From Side Sleepers Nationwide
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Thank YOU! Best mattress out there.
After being a gymnast for 15 years, I haven't felt this much relief from the pain in my shoulders and my hips while sleeping!! Thank you!
Steph C.
Highly recommended!
Creates the perfect space for your arm if you're a side sleeper. Changed the way I sleep forever.
Justin S.
So I actually own one of these. It's AMAZING. Yes it will take you a few weeks to get "used" to it... But that said, you will be AMAZED at how great your shoulders feel in the morning. Just unreal. Like sleep a full 8 hours without waking up type of sleep.
Jason R.
Buffalo, NY
I have very bad neck and back issues and this mattress is a dream! If you are a side sleeper you will love it and even if you like to sleep on you back you will love it! Very comfortable and totally worth the money!
Grace L.
i have suffered from shoulder pain while sleeping for several years, i had just about given up... then i saw this bed and decided one last try. i can't begin to explain what it feels like to sleep through an entire night... for the first time in 20 years the first weekend i had it. I'm so impressed with this bed... because what they are making is making a difference in people's lives.
Crystal G.
Lives up to the hype
This comfort channel they made is next level. I never imagined that I would be able to put my arm in the mattress. Takes all the pressure off my shoulder, which I so so need. YES
Kim J.
Highly recommended!
I’m a side sleeper and I used to wake up with a dead feeling arm from lying on it all night. Finally a mattress with a pocket for my arm. I tried all the pillows and even very expensive mattresses in the past, but nothing cured my circulation problems until I got the sonu sleep mattress. I love it!
Nic D.
Chicago, IL
...Sonu mattresses are in a league all by themselves. This is the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I have no more shoulder pain and numbness. I can now sleep through the night and not wake up in pain. If anyone is even thinking about getting a Sonu sleep system don’t think anymore. Pull that trigger. I 100% gaurentee you will not be disappointed.
Christopher B.
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