Best Pillows for Sleeping in Australia

Choosing the perfect pillow is key to getting a good night’s sleep, especially for those who sleep in unconventional positions like on their stomachs and often struggle to find the right support for their head and neck. With so many types of pillows and materials available, picking the right one can be overwhelming. Factors like sleeping position, body mechanics, and personal preferences all play a role in finding the right pillow.

Quality sleep affects nearly every aspect of health, from boosting the immune system to improving mood. Your bedding, especially the pillow, is crucial for creating an optimal sleep environment that helps maintain proper posture and ensures consistently restful sleep.

Whether you prefer memory foam, latex, feather, or polyester, understanding the details of each type is essential for making an informed choice. Our comprehensive guide aims to make choosing the best pillow easier by offering our top picks and insights tailored to individual needs and sleeping styles. We explore the importance of proper support for head and neck alignment, considering factors like pillow thickness, loft, fillings, temperature regulation, and pain relief.

If you’re unsure where to start, consulting a sleep specialist can provide personalised advice based on your specific needs and sleeping habits.

How do you pick the right pillow in Australia?

When seeking the perfect pillow, it’s important to not be swayed by exaggerated marketing claims. Companies often market their pillows as akin to sleeping on a cloud, universally suitable for all sleepers, and capable of maintaining coolness throughout the night. Rather than being convinced by advertising, it is advisable to base your decision on your own research and sleeping style.

Numerous factors warrant consideration when shopping for a good pillow. Your choice will hinge on your unique needs and preferences, particularly those influenced by your sleeping position. Your preferred sleeping style and posture dictate the type of support essential in a pillow. Maintaining spinal alignment is pivotal for good posture, uninterrupted sleep patterns, and overall well-being. A quality pillow ensures proper alignment of the head, neck, and spine, reducing the likelihood of neck pain and alleviating pressure on the body.

Examining each pillow’s loft and firmness level is essential to ascertaining its suitability for your needs. It’s also beneficial to assess the materials used, whether the pillow offers cooling properties, and its potential to alleviate pressure in your neck and shoulders. A pillow’s size and shape will also play a role in determining what is right for you.  Additionally, budget constraints may play a role for many shoppers, so it’s essential to keep these factors in mind while exploring pillow options. However, the ultimate objective remains to find a good pillow that promotes comfort and facilitates restful sleep.

In this segment, we delve deeper into the factors you should consider when finding the best pillows.

  • Sleeping Position: The way you prefer to sleep greatly influences the type of pillow that will provide you with optimal comfort. Stomach sleepers typically favour softer, flatter pillows to prevent neck strain, whereas side sleepers often find thicker pillows more supportive for maintaining spinal alignment. Back sleepers usually find medium pillows most accommodating, offering a balance of support and flexibility. Sleepers can also be what we call “combination sleepers,” meaning their position changes throughout the night. This kind of sleeper needs a pillow that adapts to their sleep position and is not too high or too low, ideally opting for a pillow with medium loft and firmness.


  • Loft: The term “loft” pertains to a pillow’s height or thickness when lying flat without any additional weight on it. Various sleeping positions tend to align with different loft preferences. Loft, in conjunction with firmness level, determines how high a pillow elevates your head when under pressure. Pillows are generally divided into low, medium, and high lofts. A low loft pillow measures 3 inches or less in height. A medium loft pillow measures between 3 and 5 inches thick. A high loft pillow measures over 5 inches in height. Regrettably, there hasn’t been widespread adoption of these measurements among pillow manufacturers. This means that some companies may label their pillows as “low loft” or “high loft” when, in reality, they fall within the medium or average height range. It is highly advisable to check the actual pillow measurements rather than descriptions whenever possible. Though some companies provide an exact measurement of their pillow’s loft, many do not.


  • Firmness Level: Similar to mattresses, pillows come in a range of firmness levels, influencing both the pillow’s feel and its ability to support your head at an optimal height. For instance, a pillow with a high loft might not provide the expected support if it’s excessively soft and prone to sinking under pressure.


  • Price: Pillows are available across a wide spectrum of prices, spanning from budget-friendly options under $10 to luxurious selections exceeding $1,000. However, most pillows fall within the $200 range. A pillow’s price is typically dictated by its materials and construction, though quality doesn’t always correlate directly with cost, as there are plenty of good pillows available at affordable prices.


  • Pressure Relief: Just like mattresses, pillows can either alleviate pressure points or exacerbate discomfort. Pressure relief is a crucial consideration for many sleepers, as it can significantly impact overall comfort and neck health. The pillow’s materials, loft, firmness level, and the individual’s preferred sleeping position collectively determine its effectiveness in providing pressure relief.


  • Quality Materials: While there isn’t a single definitive pillow cover or fill material considered the highest quality, variations in quality exist within each material type. Customers can explore materials such as down, poly-fill, memory foam, and others to gain a better understanding of what constitutes quality within each category.


  • Cooling Properties: Similar to mattresses, certain pillows offer superior cooling capabilities compared to others. Down alternatives generally sleep cooler compared to authentic down, while buckwheat hull pillows are renowned for their exceptional cooling properties. Memory foam pillows have a tendency to retain heat, although many incorporate cooling gel or other materials to counteract this issue.


What types of pillow material are there?

Pillows are constructed with a variety of materials. Understanding what these materials are and how they generally perform will help you determine which pillows best fit your needs.

  • Polyfoam: Polyfoam, or polyurethane foam, is a type of foam used in both mattresses and pillows. Although polyfoam can vary widely in terms of both quality and firmness, it is generally more affordable than memory foam. When used as pillow fill, polyfoam is often shredded or cut into small pieces.


  • Memory Foam: Memory foam pillows often provide a soft, conforming feel. Since memory foam tends to trap heat, manufacturers typically infuse it with a cooling agent or construct the pillow in a way that encourages airflow. Some memory foam pillows are constructed of full blocks of memory foam, while others contain shredded or cut memory foam.


  • Down: Perhaps the most traditional pillow fill, down is the soft, fluffy feather found beneath the outer, harder feathers of many birds. Most down pillows contain goose down, and some contain down mixed with feathers. Down is known for its durability, but it may bother some people with allergies or asthma.


  • Down Alternative: Any pillow that was created to feel like down, but does not contain down, is considered a down alternative pillow. Down alternative pillows offer options for vegans and people with allergies who like the feel of down. They are most commonly filled with a polyester microfibre filling.


  • Latex: Latex pillows are pressure-relieving and extremely durable. They tend to have a high loft and be more dense, so they’re better for side and back sleepers than stomach sleepers. Latex pillows can be made of one piece of latex or shredded latex fill. Latex feels similar to foam, but is more cooling, especially when aerated.


  • Feather: Generally, the term “feather pillow” is used to refer to pillows that contain both feathers and down. Since feathers are harder than down, 100% feather pillows are less common. Feather pillows are soft, breathable, and a good option for people who sleep hot and want a lower loft.


  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, the small outer casings of buckwheat grain kernels. These pillows closely conform to the body, and some people have compared the feel of them to that of a bean bag. Many buckwheat pillows are vegan and organic, making them appealing to eco-conscious shoppers.


  • Wool: Wool is a less common fill material that is growing in popularity as customers search for natural pillow options. Most wool pillows are hypoallergenic, organic, and on the luxury end of the price spectrum. Wool is naturally temperature-neutral and not extremely conforming.


  • Water: Water pillows typically contain water along with another fill material, such as memory foam or polyfill. Most water pillows require customers to fill the pillow with water themselves. This system allows for adjustable firmness levels. Water pillows are known for being supportive and cooling.


Pillow covers also come in a variety of materials. Most pillow covers are made of cotton, polyester, or a cotton-poly blend. Some are made of other materials, such as bamboo-derived fabric or satin. Cotton covers tend to be more breathable than polyester. Different cover materials feel different to the touch, but the feel is less important since most customers use pillowcases over their pillows.

What pillow shapes and sizes are available?

Pillows are available in a range of sizes and shapes that are tailored to accommodate different bed sizes, body weights, and sleeping habits; with pillow dimensions being just as crucial as firmness and loft in finding the perfect fit.

  • Standard: Measuring 20 inches wide by 26 inches long, standard pillows are the smallest and most economical option. They are also the most commonly found pillows on the market.
  • Super Standard: Slightly larger than standard pillows, super standard pillows measure 20 inches wide by 28 inches long. They are typically used singly on twin or full beds, or in pairs on larger beds, offering an additional 2 inches of length for sleepers who require extra support due to head size, body weight, or night time movement.
  • Queen: With dimensions of 20 inches wide by 30 inches long, queen pillows provide an additional 2 inches in length compared to super standard pillows. This extra length accommodates sleepers who frequently shift positions during the night or find smaller pillows inadequate.
  • King: King pillows, measuring 20 inches wide by 36 inches long, are notably larger than standard and queen pillows. They are ideal for king-sized beds and larger individuals, offering 10 inches more length than standard pillows and 6 inches more than queen pillows.
  • Body Pillow: Body pillows come in various dimensions, with common sizes being 48 or 54 inches wide by 20 inches long. Designed to be hugged, they are favoured by side sleepers and pregnant women for their added support and comfort.


The best tried and tested pillows for sleeping in Australia

For recommended pillow purchases, the team at Sleep has conducted research into the best choices in today’s market. Their testing team used a comprehensive methodology when evaluating pillows. Their process consisted of multiple stages, during which the testers lie on and handle the pillow to gauge its shape retention, moldability, and conforming ability. Additional tests evaluated the pillows for temperature control and odour potential and also took weight, firmness options, and ease of cleaning into account. Their selections for the best pillows are chosen using their testers’ scores along with in-depth research and analysis.


BEST OVERALL: Saatva Latex Pillow

Price Range: $165 – $185

Fill: Shredded Talalay latex and down alternative

Firmness: Medium Soft

Saatva is best known for luxury sleep products made from premium materials. The Saatva Latex Pillow is a prime example of the brand’s commitment to quality and sustainable production. We found the pillow quite balanced, with plenty of cushioning for the head and neck without sacrificing support. At 8 inches thick, the Latex Pillow is among the loftiest we’ve tested first hand.

Read a more detailed review from the Sleep Foundation here


BEST MEMORY FOAM PILLOW: Sleep Is the Foundation Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Price: $96

Fill: Shredded memory foam (gel-infused)

Firmness: Adjustable

The Sleep Is the Foundation Loft Pillow is fully adjustable, allowing you to customise the design based on your ideal thickness and support levels. Shredded memory foam fill ensures the best of both worlds if you’re looking for a pillow that contours evenly and feels exceptionally plush without sacrificing support.

Read a more detailed review from the Sleep Foundation here


BEST COOLING: Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Price Range: $279 – $329

Fill: Long-Strand Mulberry Silk

Firmness: Medium Soft

Mulberry silk is one of the most luxurious bedding materials on the planet. As such, products made from this material tend to be fairly expensive. The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow delivers exceptional softness, cooling, and overall comfort, yet carries a price-point that’s accessible to many shoppers. Above-average durability also makes this pillow a solid long-term investment.



Price: $150

Fill: 100% Polyurethane

Firmness: Medium, Adjustable

Side sleepers will feel most comfortable on a pillow that offers firm support and keeps the neck aligned with the spine. The Ecosa Pillow is a good option due to its adjustable height design with removable pads, allowing customisation to suit individual needs. The memory foam contours to the head and neck, providing support and relieving pressure points. Its ergonomic design keeps the neck and shoulders aligned with the spine, reducing discomfort. The Ecosa Pillow is a practical choice for side sleepers who need support and customisation.

BEST FOR BACK AND NECK PAIN: Dentons Pillows Ultime

Price: $209.95

Fill: Visco Elastic Memory Foam

Firmness: Medium

The Dentons Ultime Pillow is ideal for those suffering from neck and back pain. As the world’s first co-moulded pillow, it combines Memory Foam and Softec™️ to provide exceptional support and comfort. Designed with different neck support heights on the front and back edges, it ensures proper spinal alignment, reducing pressure on the neck and back. The pillow is also Health Fresh treated to control bacteria, mould, and mildew, and features a removable, machine-washable velour cover. Its thoughtful design makes it a superior choice for pain relief and restful sleep.


BEST DOWN PILLOW: Downia White Collection Duck Down Pillow

Price: $249.95

Fill: 85% White Duck Down and 15% Duck Feather

Firmness: Soft

If you prefer pillows that feel exceptionally soft and sink deeply beneath your head, the Downia White Collection White Duck Down Pillow is an excellent choice. Filled with 85% white duck down and 15% duck feathers, this pillow offers a plush feel while maintaining gentle support. Its chambered design ensures that the pillow retains its loft and softness throughout the night. Additionally, the pillow features a 280 thread count downproof cotton cover for added luxury.


What Is the Best Pillow Based on Sleeping Position?

Side Sleepers:

Most individuals favour sleeping on their side, often curled up in a foetal position or lying straight on their side. Side sleepers require substantial support from their pillow, both in terms of height and firmness.

Typically, side sleepers opt for pillows with a medium to high loft, approximately 4 to 6 inches thick or even thicker. Given the sleeping position, additional padding is necessary to cushion the head, neck, and shoulders, promoting proper alignment.

Body pillows can also be a viable choice for side sleepers, offering support to the pelvis and hips.

Opting for a moderate to firm pillow can further benefit side sleepers. Fill materials such as buckwheat hulls, memory foam, and latex generally provide firmer support, while down pillows tend to be softer unless densely packed.

Back Sleepers:

For optimal comfort and spinal alignment, the ideal pillow for any sleeper should effectively cushion the head, neck, and shoulders. This is particularly vital for individuals experiencing back pain, as misalignment often exacerbates discomfort.

For back sleepers, it’s advisable to opt for a pillow with a lower profile and medium firmness. A pillow that’s excessively lofty can strain the neck. Memory foam pillows are worth considering as they conform to the contours of the head and neck for personalised support.

One suitable choice is a cervical pillow designed with a higher bottom third that gradually slopes down toward the centre where the head rests. Alternatively, a standard pillow of medium to thin height may provide ample support without altering the neck’s angle.

Stomach Sleepers:

Individuals who prefer sleeping on their stomachs should consider supporting specific areas of their body to maintain proper spinal alignment during sleep. This position can exert pressure on the spine and muscles of the back and shoulders, which may be problematic for those with back pain, according to experts.

For stomach sleepers, choosing a softer pillow with a lower height is recommended. Pillows filled with down or feathers are typically less rigid and can be adjusted to a comfortable height.

If you find yourself sleeping partly on your stomach and partly on your side, or if you tend to tuck your arms beneath your torso, using a body pillow for added support could be beneficial. Positioning yourself around a body pillow mimics the sensation of sleeping on your stomach while allowing for proper alignment of the head, neck, shoulders, and hips.


What is the Best Material for a perfect pillow?

Because comfort is subjective, the optimal pillow filling is contingent upon individual needs and preferences. Down, down alternative, and shredded foam pillows typically offer a softer feel, whereas solid foam, latex, and buckwheat pillows tend to be firmer. If you seek close contouring, foam or latex are more adaptable than other materials. For those desiring adjustable fill, shredded foam, shredded latex, or buckwheat pillows are recommended.

What is the perfect ‘Loft’ for me?

The optimal pillow loft varies depending on individual preferences and needs. Factors such as sleep position, head size, body weight, and mattress firmness all contribute to determining the ideal loft for you.

  • Sleep Position: Stomach sleepers typically require low-loft pillows to prevent strain on the neck, as medium or high-loft pillows can elevate the head too much. Back sleepers often prefer low or medium-loft pillows, while side sleepers typically benefit from medium to high-loft pillows to maintain proper spinal alignment.
  • Head Size: Head size plays a role in determining the ideal pillow loft. Larger heads tend to sink more into pillows, making high-loft pillows preferable, whereas smaller heads may find lower-loft pillows more comfortable.
  • Body Weight: Body weight influences the desired pillow loft, with heavier individuals typically preferring higher loft pillows for adequate support. Lightweight sleepers often prefer pillows with lower lofts, but other factors like sleep position and pillow firmness should also be considered.
  • Mattress Firmness: The firmness of your mattress affects how deeply you sink into it, thus impacting the required pillow loft. Softer mattresses necessitate lower or medium loft pillows for comfort and support, while firmer mattresses may require higher loft pillows to maintain proper alignment of the head and neck.

Considerations when shopping for a new pillow

When it comes to purchasing pillows, you have the option of either browsing online or visiting physical stores. While online shopping may limit your ability to physically assess the firmness and texture of a pillow, detailed product descriptions and understanding its construction can aid in making an informed choice.

For those who shop in a bedding store, several steps can help in finding the ideal pillow:

  1. Test the firmness: Lay the pillow on a flat surface and press it with your palm until it compresses to half its original thickness. A firm pillow will require more pressure compared to a softer one. The firmness of a pillow indicates the level of support it may provide for your head and neck.
  2. Fluff test: Pillows filled with small pieces of material may lose their shape over time. To assess this, give the pillow a good fluff and observe if it returns to its original shape. A pillow with a consistent shape and fill is generally considered more comfortable for sleep.
  3. Inspect the cover: Opt for a pillow with a well-sewn cover to minimise wear and tear, thus ensuring its longevity.

By following these steps, you can confidently select a pillow that meets your specific needs and preferences, whether you’re shopping online or in-store.


What to avoid when buying a pillow

When purchasing a pillow, you can avoid certain pitfalls that can lead to discomfort and poor sleep quality. Firstly, steer clear of pillows that don’t provide adequate support for your sleeping position, as this can result in neck and spine misalignment. Additionally, resist the temptation to sacrifice quality for a lower price, as cheaper pillows often lose their shape and support quickly. Instead, invest in pillows made from durable materials like memory foam or latex.

Furthermore, consider your specific needs and preferences, such as allergies or sleeping temperature, when selecting a pillow. Lastly, don’t overlook proper care and maintenance, as neglecting to clean your pillow regularly can lead to the build-up of allergens and bacteria, affecting your respiratory health and overall comfort. By avoiding these pitfalls and making informed choices, you can ensure a restful night’s sleep with the right pillow.


When to replace your pillow.

Regardless of the perfect pillow you have selected, it will not last forever. It’s advisable to replace your pillow every two years, although a premium memory foam pillow may endure for approximately three years. If you sweat or drool profusely at night, this may also shorten the lifespan of your pillow.

Identifying the need for a new pillow involves thorough inspection for indications of wear, such as stains, smells, physical deterioration, or loss of shape. If any of these signs are apparent, it’s imperative to consider replacing the pillow promptly. Prolonged use of an out-of-date pillow is not recommended as it can grow mould, and collect dead skin cells, and dust mites, which can pose some potential health hazards.


My pillow is new and perfect, but I’m still sleeping poorly…

If you were hoping that a brand new, perfect pillow was going to be enough to get you back to sleeping well, then you wouldn’t be alone. For those suffering from insomnia and other sleeping problems, replacing their mattress and pillow is often the first steps taken in the hope of getting their sleep back to normal. Whilst choosing the best pillow is important, it may not be enough to fix an underlying sleep disorder.

The next step would be to ensure your sleep hygiene is up to standard. By addressing your sleep environment as well as other influences you are exposed to in the daytime; you can eliminate anything that may be negatively impacting your sleep.

If you are having difficulties falling asleep or maintaining sleep, then it is possible you may have insomnia. Making an appointment with a medical professional qualified in sleep medicine is important as they will be able to take the time to examine all aspects of your routine, health and sleeping complaint to determine the best course of action. If insomnia is diagnosed, then Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is considered the best and most effective treatment option.

At TM Insomnia Treatment, we provide one on one online insomnia treatment for adults suffering from chronic insomnia. Wait times are currently short and you do not need a referral from your general practitioner. TM Insomnia treatment uses scientifically backed CBT-I to treat their patients.

In Summary…

In conclusion, selecting the right pillow is undeniably crucial for achieving a comfortable and restorative night’s sleep. From memory foam to down alternatives, the options are plentiful, each catering to different needs and preferences. However, it’s imperative to recognise that sleep quality depends on more than just pillows alone. Factors such as mattress quality, sleep environment, and personal health conditions play significant roles in determining the effectiveness of your rest. Therefore, while finding the perfect pillow is a step in the right direction, addressing any underlying sleep disorders or concerns with a qualified sleep consultant is essential for truly enhancing your overall sleep experience. By taking a holistic approach to sleep health, we can ensure that every night is filled with rejuvenating rest and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.