What different pillow shapes are there?

Your own pillow is often underestimated for sleep The pillow is not just a simple place to rest your head, it is also an important support. If your pillow is not the right shape and height, this will lead to poor sleep and tension in the neck .

But there is a large selection on the market and confusion can quickly arise. What different pillow shapes are there and which should you choose?

Find out everything about the most common pillow shapes and find out which variant is best for you.

So that you can spend the night relaxed and your head is optimally supported, the pillow must be tailored to both the mattress and your sleeping position . It can therefore not be said across the board that there is a “best” form that is superior to all others.

Rather, the pillow has to meet your individual requirements. It should be more than just comfortable and have good support. Therefore, the typical down pillows should have had their day. They are too soft and hardly take the strain off the cervical spine.

But which pillows are recommended for the respective sleeping position ?


Most people choose to sleep on their side at night. This position provides a higher level of security and is perceived as pleasant.

In the side position , the distance between the head and the mattress increases. This makes it advisable to choose a model that has a greater height. Otherwise the head would sink onto the mattress and receive no support.

In addition to the usual pillows in the size of 40x60cm to 40x80cm and a height of at least 12cm , there are also special side sleeper pillows . These are elongated like a roll and are pushed between the knees. This ensures greater stability in the side position and the back can relax better.

If you only sleep on your side, you benefit from the butterfly shape of your pillow. This special pillow shape has recesses on the sides , in which you can put your arms and shoulders.


If you sleep on your back, a medium-height pillow is the best choice. It is between 7cm and 12cm high and can have different shapes. The most practical neck pillows are those that are not flat but have a wave shape.

Such a neck pillow allows you to rest your head in the recess and the cervical spine is relieved by arching memory foam is used as the material . This is also used for memory foam pillows and adapts perfectly to the shape of your head under stress and the effects of heat.

A neck pillow is clearly different from flat pillows and is recommended for those who sleep on their backs. The waveform supports the spine and offers better adaptability.


Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended. Breathing is difficult, the cervical spine is twisted and the back receives no support.

Since the head is very close to the mattress, people who sleep on their stomach do not necessarily have to use a pillow. If a topper is already used, it is already so soft and comfortable that it is possible to sleep without a pillow .

If you don’t want to do without a pillow, there are special pillows for your stomach sleeper . These are designed relatively similar to ordinary pillows, but much flatter. Only a few centimeters high, you prevent the head from being lifted too much and tension could arise. Some of the pillows have recesses in the mouth and nose area to make breathing easier.

Even for those who sleep on their stomach, the classic soft shape of a down pillow is not optimal and leads to long-term problems. The individual design of the stomach sleeper pillow promotes sleep and improves regeneration.


Babies do not necessarily need a pillow in the cradle. If, for example, a baby’s nest ensures greater comfort, the head can be placed there without the need for a pillow .

From a health point of view, however, it can be beneficial in certain situations to use a pillow for the baby . This is the case when a flat head exists or threatens to occur. Lying on your back for a long time puts more strain on the back of the head and can lead to deformations. The middle of the storage pillow has a recess so that the head does not lie directly on the baby mattress and the weight is better distributed over the pillow.

If your offspring not only sleeps on their back, but often on their side, there are also side sleeper pillows for babies . These are much smaller and provide greater stability during sleep.


Sleep is more of a challenge during pregnancy . In the last trimester in particular, the weight is so high that it is hardly possible to sleep on your back. However, the side position is also perceived as problematic.

Help is special pillow forms for pregnancy designed are. These are either based on the side sleeper pillow or are even larger. The following shapes are available for pregnancy pillows.


The C-shape is very similar to the side sleeper pillow and is designed like a longer roll. It is a little more flexible, which is why it can be bent and thus looks like a “C”.


The “U” version is slightly larger than the C-shaped pregnancy pillow . This longer variant provides support on both the stomach and the back. There is enough space so that sleeping is easier again.


You have now learned which pillow shapes are available and for which sleeping position they are recommended. There are a few basic rules that you should follow when choosing the optimal pillow. Then you will always make the best choice for yourself and adequately support your head.

Basically, the cervical spine should maintain its natural shape while sleeping . The head should not be too high or too low , as this would lead to an unnatural posture. As a result, tension and neck pain develop.

If you get up frequently with neck pain after sleeping , the cause is likely to be found in your pillow. It is a fallacy to believe that soft pillows are particularly beneficial and provide relief. The opposite is the case and a more stable pillow absorbs the weight better and offers your neck muscles the necessary relaxation.

Let another person check that your head is level with your body. This ensures that the pillow does its job and enables a good night’s sleep.


While a fairly uniform down pillow with a simple rectangular shape was used for a long time , it looks completely different now. The manufacturers have reacted to the needs of each sleeping position and designed pillows that take this into account.

There are pillows for side sleepers with recesses on the side that are reminiscent of the shape of a butterfly or neck pillows that are not flat, but rather curved . The aim here is that the head is supported and the muscles can relax.

If your head is at the same height as your body and you wake up in the morning without any discomfort, the pillow shape is ideal for you . Find out about the individual variants and, depending on your sleeping behavior, make the decision in favor of a special pillow shape.

Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

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