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7 Best Pillows for Combination Sleepers in 2021

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 27 minLast updated on August 11, 2021

Let me tell you something:

While there are people that can sleep solely on their back or side, most of the global population switches a couple of positions during the night.

If you’ve noticed yourself falling asleep in one position and waking up in another, congratulations — you’re a combination sleeper! Just like me.

And I want to help you increase your comfort by offering 7 best pillows for combination sleepers that I picked up after thorough research and testing.

So, read on and try to find the model that will level up your sleeping experience!

A Quick Preview

Saatva Latex Pillow
Best overall - Editor’s choice

Saatva Latex Pillow
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Dual Comfort Pillow by Amerisleep
Best Dual Firmness Pillow

Dual Comfort Pillow by Amerisleep
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Luxury Cooling Pillow by Brooklyn Bedding
Best Cooling Pillow

Luxury Cooling Pillow by Brooklyn Bedding
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GhostPillow
Best for Breathable Pressure Relief

GhostPillow Memory Foam by GhostBed
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WinkBed Pillow
Best Adjustable Pillow

WinkBed Pillow
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Zoma Pillow
Best for Moldable Support

Zoma Pillow
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Molecule All-season Pillow
Best Cheap Pick

Molecule All-season Pillow
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Our Reviews of 7 Best Pillows for Mixed Sleepers

Best overall - Editor’s choice — Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow

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Highlights

  • Two layers of materials for comfort and support;
  • The natural latex core is responsive to all sleeping positions;
  • Combines organic cotton with downlike microdenier fiber for excellent breathability.

Saatva has delivered one of the best sleeping accessories in their latex pillow, worthy of topping our list of best pillows for combination sleepers. The central pillow core is made of natural latex, which delivers the support and responsiveness of this pillow. 

As combination sleepers are mostly active sleepers, this pillow would respond to your head and neck contour as you change sleeping positions. On top of the responsive core is the pillow layer made from organic cotton and filled with microdenier fiber. Both materials have a soft feel and are well breathable to give a comfy feel in any position.

What I most enjoy about this pillow is its outer feel. It feels like a direct molding around my head and neck, especially when sleeping on the side. In addition, the zippered pillow cover is made with gusseted sides, which keeps the pillow in shape.

Best Dual Firmness Pillow — Dual Comfort Pillow by Amerisleep

Dual Comfort Pillow by Amerisleep

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Highlights

  • two firmness options in one pillow to accommodate different sleeping styles;
  • air channels for increased breathability and cooler sleep;
  • proprietary Bio-Pur foam for responsive support and to combat the quicksand sensation.

The Dual Comfort Pillow by Amerisleep comes with a whole lot of features that could make countless combo sleepers happy. First of all, this model offers dual firmness. This means you can flip the pillow and enjoy either the soft or the firmer side according to your preferred sleep position. For instance, I used the soft side when sleeping on my back and the firm side for side sleeping. And that’s the coolest thing about the Dual Comfort Pillow - it allows for experiments to find your perfect comfort level.

Now, it’s also worth mentioning that this model uses proprietary Bio-Pur foam. While it’s adaptive like memory foam, Bio-Pur filling is more responsive and does not have that restricting feel. As a result, switching positions when using this pillow should be effortless.

Best Cooling Pillow — Luxury Cooling Pillow by Brooklyn Bedding

Luxury Cooling Pillow by Brooklyn Bedding

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Highlights

  • Cooling technology uses gel infused foam on the surface and an open-cell memory foam pin core;
  • Added copper-graphite layer makes this super cooling;
  • Available in low and high profiles.

If you’re a mixed sleeper who sleeps hot at night, a cooling pillow is what you need. Brooklyn Bedding’s Luxury cooling pillow is the best option to provide the support you need while changing sleeping positions and keep you cool.

This pillow has a different cooling technology that uses a dual system to draw away heat from the head and neck region. The pillow core is made of memory foam, which contours to the neck and shoulder alignment and allows good aeration. 

Then, the pillow layer outside the core is made from gel-infused memory foam overlaid with copper-graphite material. This material consists of two of the best materials that absorb moisture and keep a cool temperature. With this pillow, you can kiss sweaty nights goodbye.

The pillow cover of this luxury cooling pillow is also breathable. With a silky smooth texture and plush feel on the skin. I also love that the materials used for this pillow have antimicrobial features, which helps to keep mold and mites at bay.

Best for Breathable Pressure Relief — GhostPillow Memory Foam by GhostBed

GhostPillow

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Highlights

  • zippered cover for easy cleaning;
  • air channels across the perimeter to ensure cooler sleep;
  • adaptive foam filling to achieve the right balance between support and cradling.

There are many reasons why the GhostPillow deserves to be among the best pillows for combo sleepers. The main one is this model’s breathable design. Thanks to the small air channels and the phase-change foam, the GhostPillow can aid thermoregulation and would work for those combo sleepers who tend to overheat during the night.

Another cool thing about this pillow is its adaptive feel. Because the GhostPillow uses molding memory foam, it can easily adjust to any sleeping style. Therefore, if you are a combination sleeper, it will take the GhostPillow seconds to adapt to each new sleep position and mold to the curves of your neck and head. This means fast pressure relief and proper support no matter how you choose to sleep.

Best Adjustable Pillow — WinkBed Pillow

WinkBed Pillow

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Highlights

  • washable cover for easy cleaning;
  • gel-infused memory foam cubes for cool pressure relief and breathability;
  • zippered cover, allows users to adjust the thickness.

The WinkBed Adjust-a-Cube pillow is a perfect option for those sleepers who want decent support and pressure relief without sacrificing cool sleep. Because the filling of this pillow uses gel-infused memory foam that is “shredded” into cubes, it draws the heat away from the body and allows for unobstructed air circulation. The result? You get both cooler sleep and high comfort levels.

Now, the cover is made of textured polyester that has a circular-knit design. It is soft, smooth, and very pleasant to the touch, which means it won’t annoy you during sleep. Another cool thing about the cover is that it can easily be removed. It is machine washable, which will make cleaning much easier for you.

Additionally, the cover is zippered. This means you can open up your pillow and either add or remove the memory foam cubes, adjusting the loft according to your comfort preferences.

And here’s the kicker: no matter how many cubes there are, you will not feel them. Why? Because the WinkBed pillow has an inner memory foam liner under the cover, which offers additional comfort and eliminates the potential tiny lumps of foam cubes you may feel.

All things considered, the Adjust-a-Cube pillow by WinkBeds is a great find. It has a smart construction and offers both customization and high comfort levels to sleepers.

Best for Moldable Support — Zoma Pillow

Zoma Pillow

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Highlights

  • adaptive MicroCushions filling to suit more types of sleepers;
  • mesh cover fabric for extra breathability;
  • added fiber filling to balance out the cradling foam.

Another model worth your attention is the Zoma pillow. Using proprietary filling, it is highly adaptive and can be adjusted to pretty much any sleeping style, which makes the Zoma one of the best pillows for combo sleepers. The filling is composed of shredded memory foam and light polyester fibers. You can simply move it inside the cover to achieve the needed shape and loft to meet your particular sleep preferences. For instance, I could easily flatten the Zoma out to use it when sleeping on my back. And when I wanted to lie on one side, I fluffed the filling to create more loft. Simple, right?

Next, you might also appreciate the breathable design of the Zoma pillow. After all, no one wants to wake up all sweaty, right? Well, that’s not going to happen, as this model uses shredded foam that allows for unobstructed air circulation. Thanks to improved airflow, it’s easier to maintain a temperature-neutral environment all through the night. As a result, I didn’t sleep hot even after forgetting to adjust my thermostat to a cooler setting before sleep.

Best Cheap Pick — Molecule All-season Pillow

Molecule All-season Pillow

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Highlights

  • Zipper designed to control firmness;
  • Tencel fiber material gives a comforting soft feel;
  • Fiber wicks away moisture and has a cooling effect.

That the Molecule™ All-season Pillow is the least priced product on this list doesn’t make it any less compelling for combination sleepers. The pillow design contours well to the neck and shoulder, which helps the body align properly when sleeping. Especially when sleeping on the side.

The primary material used in making this pillow is the Tencel Lyocell Fiber made from wood sources. This proprietary fiber material has impressive thermoregulating abilities as it absorbs moisture from the environment. That’s a guarantee that you’d sleep cool using this pillow.

The Tencel fiber also has a skin-friendly soft feel which gives the pillow its fluffy characteristics. But for sleepers who prefer a firmer option, the pillow cover has a zipper that you can use to adjust the firmness. That’s one cool touch that I particularly love about this pillow.

Why Do Mixed Sleepers Need a Specific Pillow?

Okay, let’s clarify something first:

Even though most of the population are mixed sleepers, the majority of the pillows on the market are designed to support only one particular sleeping position.

Because that’s just how the market works, you know.

So, the pillow for a solid side sleeper may be too high for a supine sleeper and totally unsuitable for a stomach sleeper. And vice versa.

That’s why we, mixed sleepers, need a golden middle: a pillow that can contour our head, neck, and shoulders in any position we choose, without feeling too flat or too bulky. That’s the only way we can sleep comfortably and restore our energy instead of tossing and turning for hours.

Despite the fact that there are three main sleeping positions, most people prefer side and back sleeping to stomach sleeping. According to a 1027 cohort study (1), people spent 54.1% of overall time in bed lying on the side, and 37.5% sleeping on the back. Stomach sleeping was popular only among 7.3% of the cohort. That’s why if you’re a mixed sleeper, in most cases, you might need a pillow that is compatible with side and back sleeping.

Best and Worst Types of Pillows for Combination Sleepers

Best and Worst Types of Pillows for Combination Sleepers

Pillow shape and content plays a crucial role not only for proper neck support but also for maintaining optimal temperature in bed (2).

If you want to find a suitable pillow for a combination sleeper, you should first define the type. 

Depending on your preferred sleeping positions, some types of pillows will suit you more than others (3). 

So, let’s break down each of them and see how well it goes with mixed sleeping.

  • Shredded foams.

    Shredded foam is the most commonly used material in pillows and often provides good support and comfort for combination sleepers. Shredded foam sleeps neutral, is incredibly cradling, and can support your neck alignment in any sleeping position, whether on your back, side, or stomach. 

    The best material for shredded foam pillows is memory foam. Better still, gel-infused memory foam, which delivers top-notch breathability and cooling effect. Also, shredded foam pillows typically come overstuffed and have an adjustable height, so you can easily tailor them to your needs.

  • Shredded latex. The only significant difference between shredded latex and shredded foam is that the former is natural. This adds to the cooling effect and overall durability, but generally, shredded latex shares the same properties. You can use it for any sleeping position and their combinations and feel comfortable.
  • Fibers. Pillows filled with synthetic down alternatives are lightweight and fluffy, so you can expect great moldability. But fibers tend to have a shorter lifespan and may go flat sooner. This doesn’t make them a bad choice, though: those who shift between back and stomach sleeping can still use these pillows and enjoy their cradling and pressure-relieving properties.
  • Feathers and down. Natural down and feathers are denser compared to their synthetic analogs while remaining lightweight and fluffy. They can cradle your head pretty well and offer decent pressure relief. Also, natural down adapts to the body temperature and creates a cooling cloud around you, preventing you from sweating and hot sleeping. Depending on the amount of filling, feather and down pillows can make a great purchase for people sleeping in different positions (4).
  • Buckwheat hulls. Being a completely natural material, buckwheat hulls have great supportive properties. They might feel more rigid than other types of filling, but they offer close conforming to your body curves and easily adjust to any sleeping position. A fluffed and thick buckwheat pillow can perfectly suit those who shift between side and back sleeping. If you’re a mixed sleeper who loves snoozing on the stomach among other options, you can choose a thinner buckwheat pillow (or, remove some of the filling). 
  • Solid memory foam. And we’re slowly moving to the least suitable materials. Of course, you might find a solid memory foam pillow that will support you in any sleeping position. But typically, the fixed loft and firmness can only give proper support in one particular position.
  • Solid latex. Solid latex pillows are more bouncy and responsive than foam ones, so they might be compatible with mixed sleeping. But again, they may not be malleable enough, so in my opinion, it’s better to go with some of the other options.

One more thing to know about finding a suitable pillow type is that you should give your pillow a test before you buy it (if possible). If you prefer shopping online, you can still stop by a sleep accessories store on your way home, just to see how different options feel.

“Do not underestimate the value of user reviews and expert opinions on a particular model. You can always check them online to learn about how the chosen model is likely to perform in real life.”

Important Factors to Consider

Choosing the right pillow type is only half of a successful purchase. The other half is much more intricate and consists of numerous details you need to consider. 

Because it’s the attention to detail what will ensure that you’ve picked not just a good pillow for combo sleepers but the right pillow for your needs.

So, I will list the important factors just below for your comfort.

  • Loft. Combination sleepers often find it hard to decide on a perfect pillow loft, that is, the most suitable pillow height. For example, side sleepers prefer a high loft for proper shoulder and spine alignment, while stomach sleepers prefer the lowest loft. Back sleepers also tend to go for the high loft but not too high. 

    For most mixed sleepers, it’s a combination of side sleeping with either stomach or back sleeping which makes the choice easier. But for sleepers who combine all three positions, it’s a bit harder. Thankfully, most of the best pillows for combination sleepers come with adjustable lofts.

  • Adjustability.Important Factors to Consider Pillows with an adjustable loft are pretty common today, which is a plus for mixed sleepers. By adding or removing some filling, you can make your pillow work specifically for your sleeping preferences. Some studies suggest that the most optimal pillow height for cervical health is about 10 cm (or 3.93”) (5), so you can try this as your starting point and then adjust it more precisely.
  • Firmness. Different sleeping positions require different firmness levels. For example, side sleepers will benefit from firm pillows, whereas stomach sleepers need something softer and more moldable. Back sleepers can use pillows of medium firmness, as they offer a balance between contouring and neck support. I advise you to monitor how you sleep during a couple of days to find your most preferred sleeping positions and choose the firmness level accordingly.
  • Pillow material properties. In choosing the perfect pillow for mixed sleeping positions, the material used in making the pillow should also be considered. Hypoallergenic materials are best as they ward off allergens and help get a blissful night’s rest. Some pillow materials also have antimicrobial properties, which is another major plus.
  • Thermoregulation. Sleeping on the wrong pillow can be pretty disturbing, but if it also makes you sweat a lot, your slumber may easily turn into an unbearable nightmare. To avoid that, choose pillows made of natural materials, such as shredded latex, feathers, or buckwheat hulls. They’re breathable and temperature-neutral. Gel-infused foam can be an alternative, as well as a breathable cover.
  • Usability. Before you buy any sleep accessory, you must consider its health implications if the product is safe for use. For pillows, looking out for specific certifications and labels is an excellent way to go. CertiPUR-US indicates the product free of heavy metals, ozone depleters, and other potentially harmful chemicals. The Greenguard gold label certifies low emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Warranty and return policies. Sometimes it just happens: you choose a pillow, sleep on it for a couple of weeks, and realize that it’s not your type. Returns can be a lot of fuss, so try to choose reliable and well-known brands. 

Conclusion


Choosing a pillow for a mixed sleeper might seem complicated, but in fact, it's way easier than it sounds. First, make sure to know your prevalent sleeping positions — you can keep a sleep log for about a week to define them — so that you can choose the model accordingly. Next, opt for pillows with adjustable loft and pleasing cooling effect — in most cases, this would be enough to ensure sound sleep.

For me, I fell the most in love with the Saatva Latex Pillow, and I’d recommend it as the top pick for combination sleepers. My primary reason is for the responsiveness, which traces down to its latex core. The best pillow for an active sleeper like myself doesn’t change in feel when turning during sleep. Also, the cotton pillow layer and breathable cover have such a soft and cooling effect that it would make you fall asleep faster every night.

So, that’s it for me, over to you.

What are your most preferred sleeping positions? How do you choose a pillow based on them? Feel free to share below!

References

  1. Eivind Schjelderup Skarpsno, Paul Jarle Mork, Tom Ivar Lund Nilsen, and Andreas Holtermann (2017, November 1) Sleep Positions and Nocturnal Body Movements Based on Free-Living Accelerometer Recordings: Association With Demographics, Lifestyle, and Insomnia Symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5677378/
  2. Mi Yang Jeon, HyeonCheol Jeong, SeungWon Lee, Wonjae Choi, Jun Hyuck Park, Sa Jin Tak, Dae Ho Choi, Jongeun Yim. (2014, July 9) Improving the Quality of Sleep With an Optimal Pillow: A Randomized, Comparative Study. Retrieved from https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/233/3/233_183/_article
  3. John Schubbe, DC (2016, March 3). Best Pillows for Different Sleeping Positions. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/pillows-different-sleeping-positions
  4. Ron Miller, PT (2016, April 6). Pillow Types to Consider. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/pillow-types-consider
  5. Hyung Cheol Kim, Hyo Sub Jun, Jihee Kim, Jun Hyong Ahn, In Bok Chang, Joon Ho Song, Jae Keun Oh. (2015, September 30) The Effect of Different Pillow Heights on the Parameters of Cervicothoracic Spine Segments. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283326363_The_Effect_of_Different_Pillow_Heights_on_the_Parameters_of_Cervicothoracic_Spine_Segments

Additional Resources 

 

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