Why Does Pillow Height Matter? Every Inch Counts!

What’s the secret to finding the pillow of your dreams? It’s a measurement you may not know much about: pillow height. This refers to the thickness of your pillow, whether it’s flat as a pancake or as puffy as a cloud.

But why is the correct height of a pillow so important? Well, have you ever woken up and still felt tired, with an achy neck or shoulders? Pillow height (or “loft,” as it’s also called) plays a key role in supporting your head, and that influences sleep quality.

A pillow height that’s too high or too low can move your spine and neck out of alignment, cause pain, or disrupt a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many people are stuck with subpar pillows because they don’t know what pillow loft they need. In our research and product testing, we’ve learned that typical pillow options fall into three categories–soft, medium and firm–which are fairly broad. On top of that, 95% of customers end up choosing a medium pillow that’s not too soft and not too hard as a kind of Goldilocks option. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the pillow will be “just right” for your needs if the pillow height isn’t a fit for you.

We know how important pillow height is, and we want you to know that, too. Here’s what you should keep in mind when you’re shopping for your next pillow.

What Is the Best Pillow Height?

There’s no universal “best” pillow height. It’s a personal choice that’s based on several factors. A pillow height that works for you may not work for your partner.

First, let’s look at typical pillow lofts. They usually range from 2” to 8”, spanning a spectrum from low to high loft. And that loft can decrease when you lay your head on the pillow, which results in what’s called compression height. You can expect to lose a little pillow loft if your pillow is made of down, which is soft and can mold itself to your head. A foam pillow is a little firmer, so it usually retains its original pillow height. But the material in your pillow is only one element to consider.

How to Choose a Pillow Height

What is the correct pillow height for you? Here’s what to think about:

Sleep Position

When you sleep, you don’t want your head to sink too low or sit too high on your pillow–the goal is to maintain alignment from the head all the way down the spine. That’s why your pillow height is determined in part by your sleep position.

  • Stomach sleepers need a pillow height on the low side, around 3 to 4 inches. A pillow that’s too high can overstretch the neck and make the back curve unnaturally.
  • Back sleepers should look at pillows in the middle to high range of the loft spectrum to maintain a neutral spine for comfort.
  • Side sleepers can get thicker pillows because they need that extra bit of support to keep the neck in line with the head and shoulders.

Your Build

Your weight and height are also important when you’re thinking about how to choose the best pillow. A good rule of thumb is that the taller you are, the thicker your pillow should be to provide ample support. Also, people with larger frames may end up with more pillow compression, so take that into account when selecting the loft size.

Your Pillow Material

As we mentioned before, the stuffing inside your pillow can change the loft as you use the pillow over time. This is a matter of personal preference: Some people love the delightful softness of a feather pillow, other people may choose memory foam if they get hot while they sleep, while still others need to take allergies into consideration.  

Pillow Height: Men vs. Women 

Yes, even this can make a difference in the type of pillow you purchase. Men often have bigger builds and they tend to sleep hotter than women, so they may look for a thicker pillow height with a cooling material inside. Women with smaller builds can use smaller pillows, but again, sleep position can make a difference.

So you’ve got some things to think about, but pillow shopping doesn’t have to be a complex process. We make it easy at Elegant Strand.

First, we’ve designed a unique “pillow within a pillow” construction. A core of goose feathers is encased in an outer pillow of goose down. This double pillow strikes the just-right note of softness and support, and it also makes our pillows adaptable to any sleep position.

Then we took into account the fact that almost all consumers gravitate towards medium firm pillows. We decided to offer a slightly different selection process by creating three pillows with this medium firmness and then giving our customers multiple pillow heights to choose from. Because our pillows are made of down, we also considered compression height in the design. Our pillow heights:

  • 6” loft / 3.5” compression height 
  • 7” loft / 4.25” compression height
  • 8” loft / 5” compression height  

We also offer recommendations on pillow choice based on body type:

  • 6” pillows for people under 6’ tall
  • 7” pillows for people who are 6’ tall
  • 8” pillows for people over 6’ tall

Finally, we offer our sleeping pillows in king and queen sizes, as well as our square-shaped Euro pillow. You’ll find the perfect pillow with this deliberately curated collection. And if, for some reason, your first choice isn’t a perfect fit, that’s not a problem. Send it back to us for free during our trial period, which is 100 days long (Yes, you have plenty of time to try out your pillow!) and you can then purchase a different size. 

Take your pillows to the right height. Shop the best selection of quality pillows at Elegant Strand.