Understanding Pillow Loft and Sleep Positions

Understanding Pillow Loft and Sleep Positions

If you’ve spent time researching pillows then you’ve heard the word loft. But what is loft, and why does it matter? Multiple studies on various pillow heights have concluded that a medium increase in height can have a significant effect on sleep quality and cervical health. So in this article, we'll help you get a better understanding of the ideal pillow loft for your sleeping position and how it can increase your overall quality of sleep (and life!). 

What does Pillow Loft mean?

Loft refers to the thickness or height of the pillow. Words like “firm” and “plush” are also used interchangeably for the same purpose. 

For example a high-lofted plush pillow implies that the pillow is high yet soft enough to sink your head into.

On the other hand, a low-lofted firm pillow means that the pillow has both a supportive and firm surface. This goes a long way in keeping your neck and head aligned.

Finding the right pillow also depends on the pillow height you prefer. The ideal height for your neck, head, and spine can be a little tricky to decipher. But it can be made simple by looking at the various sleep positions.

High Loft Pillows

High Loft pillows are ideal for most side sleepers. A relatively tall pillow height should be able to match your spine so your neck and shoulders remain firm. This also reduces tossing and turning. Sleeping on a tall pillow can create a horizontal spinal curve, which is the correct postural alignment to begin with.

Side sleepers should aim for a pillow that is more supportive, with a higher loft profile (add fill).  A higher loft will provide some nice pressure relief in your shoulder, and hold your head in neutral alignment with your spine ensuring that your head doesn’t gradually sink down, out of neutral alignment with your spine. 

Why use a High Loft Pillow?

  • Ideal for Side Sleepers: High loft pillows provide the necessary height to match the spine, keeping the neck and shoulders firm and reducing tossing and turning.
  • Correct Postural Alignment: Sleeping on a high loft pillow creates a horizontal spinal curve, promoting proper postural alignment.
  • Pressure Relief and Support: A higher loft pillow offers pressure relief for the shoulders and maintains the head in neutral alignment with the spine, preventing it from sinking out of alignment.

Medium Loft Pillows

Medium Loft Pillows are ideal for back sleepers. They offer a height that places the neck slightly in an elevated position, but not too much, creates the perfect “S” curve for curing back pain problems. This also relieves cranio-cervical pressure.

Back sleepers should aim for a “happy medium.” This means that the loft should not be too high, or too low either, (remove a little fill) however, back sleepers often alternate between the supine and lateral positions.

Why use a Medium Loft Pillow?

  • Ideal for Back Sleepers: Medium loft pillows provide the right height to keep the neck slightly elevated, promoting the perfect "S" curve for relieving back pain.
  • Cranio-Cervical Pressure Relief: The medium height helps alleviate pressure on the neck and head, reducing discomfort.
  • Versatile Support: A balanced loft is suitable for back sleepers who switch between supine and lateral positions, offering adaptable support. 

Low Loft Pillows

Low Loft Pillows are appropriately low in height are ideal for stomach sleepers. Flat pillows offer orthotic support for better motion transfers. It does support your head and neck. Plus, it’s good for correct spine alignment caused by injuries or lack of exercise.

Stomach Sleepers in order to keep neutral alignment should use a pillow with low loft, and soft firmness (remove a lot of fill) to support the natural curvature of your spine, and make sure your head/neck is not craned upwards. 

Why use a Low Loft Pillow?

  • Ideal for Stomach Sleepers: Low loft pillows provide the necessary support without craning the head and neck upwards, maintaining neutral alignment.
  • Orthotic Support: Flat pillows offer better motion transfer and support for the head and neck, promoting proper spinal alignment.
  • Natural Spine Curvature: Soft, low loft pillows help maintain the natural curvature of the spine, which is beneficial for those with injuries or who lack exercise.

Choosing the right pillow loft is crucial for achieving optimal sleep quality and maintaining proper spinal alignment. Understanding the terms "loft," "firm," and "plush" helps in selecting the pillow that best suits your sleeping position and personal comfort needs.

It’s important to remember that jumping to extreme ends such as too high or too low is not good for the muscles. Slight pillow elevation offers cervical relief and better spinal support.

Why more people are switching to Adjustable Foam Pillows

Adjustable foam pillows are a game-changer for those seeking personalized comfort. Other than increased comfort and breathe ability, adjustable foam pillows are easy to personalize and will provide you the perfect balance of support and softness, ensuring a restful night's sleep.

A SidneySleep pillow enables you to adjust loft by simply adding or removing foam. Plus, for those who want even more support, our pillows come with extra foam. Allowing you maximum flexibility and making our pillows a must-have for anyone looking to enhance their sleep quality.