You should sleep on only one pillow. The right pillow should help your body maintain the ideal sleeping position throughout the night, keeping your head, neck and spine in neutral alignment. If you wake up with neck or back pain, then your pillow is probably not offering you the right support and it could be time to treat yourself to a new one!
Bad sleep posture can lead to all sorts of health issues, including neck and back pain, headaches and fatigue. Your general health and mattress condition or type can affect your sleep posture, but the right pillow can help keep your neck in proper alignment throughout the night.
How high should your head be on a pillow?
Your pillow should be approximately 10 - 12 cm or 4 - 6 inches off the mattress to provide the right support for the neck and head according to a study in a 2015 issue of Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
If your pillow is too high or too low, it will angle your neck away from your natural neutral spine alignment, potentially leading to soreness and stiffness.
What is the best sleep position?
You should sleep on your side or your back for a good night’s sleep. Sleeping on your stomach can give you neck or back ache.
For side sleepers, your pillow should be higher under your neck than your head to keep your spine straight when you sleep. Side sleepers may find it more comfortable to sleep with a pillow between their legs. This can stop the top leg from pulling your spine out of alignment and relieve stress on your lower back and hips.
Similarly, back sleepers can find it beneficial to sleep with a pillow under their knees. Stomach sleepers might find a full body pillow helps them to sleep better.
Find out more in our How to choose a pillow guide