Guide To Bed Pillow Sizes – An In depth Look

When you go out to purchase a new bed, or a new mattress, you do not just pick and go.

You work with sizes to determine what you want- not forgetting your preferences and other considerations like color, design, size among others considerations!

The same principle applies to bed pillows. When you need to purchase a pillow, you will need to work with sizes to get a pillow that serves you well.

How do I know what size pillow to use?

Pillows come in different sizes and shapes, with the aim of accommodating people’s different preferences. People make their choices based on how the pillow looks and how it feels.

Pillows also differ in their fill volume. That explains why different pillows offer different comfort levels. Its critical to choose the right size of your pillow to ensure you get the maximum benefits of your sleep time.

The role of the pillow is to hold your head and neck comfortably as you sleep. The posture you take dictates your cervical alignment which is a great influence on your overall health.

The posture you take as you sleep should not be taken lightly. What about the times you walk into that store to make your pillow purchase and unfortunately the store does not have what you had anticipated to buy?

Should you just do away with the pillow?

Do you really need one as you sleep?

How to choose a pillow to buy

Here we go;

  • Consider your sleeping position

Before you can quickly any pillow available in the store, or do away with the pillows that make you uncomfortable in your sleep, it’s important to understand a few things. One, is the natural position you take in your sleep.

Do you lie on your back or are you a side sleeper?

If you are one of those categories of sleepers, it is essential to take care of your back alignment, so that you do not wake up with backaches. You will need a pillow that keeps your back in proper alignment and correctly supports your neck.

In case you sleep on your side or your back and you notice each time you wake up you experience a sore neck or back, it will be inevitable to get a suitable pillow for your sleeping position.

If you are a back sleeper, your advantage is that most mattresses will support the natural curve of the spine.

Most mattresses have bars that are extremely soft on your spine and you can lie without placing stressors upon the soft tissues.

What you need to do is to keep your head level with the shoulders, then support your neck softly, ensuring you fill the gaps between the head and the shoulders.

The best pillows for back sleepers are those that are thinner and have more contours.

A pillow that is too thin or soft will cause your head to fall back off too far, and a pillow that is too thick will lift the head way too forward.

A thick pillow will cause you to strain your lower back or neck. Side sleeping is also considered healthy.

What you need to check, is that both your mattress and your pillow enhance your spine to remain naturally straight.

Back sleeping allows the spine to curve naturally, but a side sleeper needs to get a sleep surface that will conform to their body posture, maintaining the natural curve and shape of the body.

The sleeping surface should allow for the spine pressure, so that your spine is kept elongated.

The best choice of pillows for back sleepers are those that are thicker, more supportive and gusseted designs.

Such a pillow is best fit for side sleepers because it helps keep the head between the shoulders.

When the head is elevated, it creates a large space between the head and the shoulders.

A thicker pillow comes in handy to fill up that space, keeping the neck and the surrounding soft tissues well rested.

  • Pillow for a stomach sleepers

If you are a stomach sleeper, check what your personal comfort preferences are and what cushioning you prefer. However, the stomach sleeping position may need you to do away with that pillow.


With a pillow, no matter what you do, you will always strain your back and compromise your spine. This is because you will keep turning your head from one side to the other.

Stomach sleeping is rated as the least healthy position. However, it is difficult to control the natural position one takes when they fall asleep.

If you are a stomach sleeper and you prefer a pillow, choose one that is very thin and extremely soft so that you keep your head as close to the mattress as possible. However, if you can do without the pillow, it will be much better for your spine.

Sleeping without one actually helps to straighten the spine, and also take away any strain from your shoulders, as well as the lower back.

  • The pillow for back sleepers

Some back sleepers will also find comfort in sleeping without a pillow. To decide on whether you need the pillow or not, you will need to consider more than what your personal preferences are.

You also need to consider your body structure. If you are broad shouldered, you may need a thin pillow to support your head and neck. The same concept will apply for individuals who are large bodied too.

If you have a firm mattress or bed topper and are a back sleeper, you will find it very comfortable to sleep without a pillow, especially if you have back pains.

Are there sleepers who can do without the pillow?

If you have ever felt like you wanted to completely do away with the pillow and sleep without any, you were probably on the right track. If you are a back or stomach sleeper, your body might demand to sleep without a pillow.

The two sleeping positions – the back and the stomach positions- often cause a strain on the lower back especially a result of poor choice of mattress or some previous health issues- or even injuries.


Such a sleeper will therefore find comfort when they sleep in a way that the spine is stretched out and prolonged, keeping a natural position.

Does your bed size determine your pillow size?

Just as standard bed size is easily available, standard size is the most common of all the pillow sizes. A large percentage of sleepers opt for this size.

It measures 20X26 inches and comfortably serves majority of people, from children to larger bodied sleepers. The ones that may not fit too well are the broad-shouldered people.

What are the different sizes of pillows?

Generally, the pillow sizes are categorized into standard and king. The standard size then fits the standard, super standard and queen sizes. We will break this further to give a better view of the different pillow sizes:

  • Standard pillows: They come in 20X26 inches and fit in a standard pillowcase. Depending on its fill volume, the twin pillow can serve any kind of sleeper. A typical standard pillow is used on a twin bed, and you can use two to serve a full or queen bed. If you have a king or California king mattress, you will need to use three standard pillows.
  • Queen pillow: This comes in the size of 20X30ninches. It fits tightly when you place it in a standard size pillowcase, which causes it to offer more firmness. If you use a queen size pillowcase, it will fit with a slack. It is created specifically for the queen size bed-two of them will fit perfectly well across a queen, or full-size bed.
  • King pillows: They fit perfectly in a king size pillowcase. If you need extra body support, or you have some joint pains, or you are expectant, getting a king pillow that is extra long will serve perfectly well. Two king pillows fit perfectly well across the king or California king size beds. It comes in 20X36 inches.
  • European pillow: This comes in the size of 26X26 inches and is majorly used on European sham as a decorative pillow. They are mainly placed against the headboard to add a touch of style.
  • Body pillow: It comes in the size of 20X54 inches and fits well into a body pillowcase. The pillow is body-length and one can curve it to fit their body shape. It therefore comes in handy for expectant moms, side sleepers or anyone managing joint pains.
  • Travel pillows: These fit very well into a travel pillowcase. They come in the size of 12X16 inches, and are a perfect choice when you need to travel by plane or car. If you need to travel with your baby, the travel pillow or a boppy pillow is something you do not want to leave behind.

What size is a standard UK pillow?

When you go out to purchase your bedding, you probably have lots of questions going on in your mind.

One of the main concerns is whether the bedding will fit well on your bed, whether it will be a perfect match for the rest of the bedding such as the duvets and the pillows, and other similar questions. However, no matter what you buy, you want the size to fit perfectly!

Do you need to know the UK pillow sizes?

Yes, especially when you need to shop right when you are adding international products to your online shopping cart. UK names the bedding differently from US and Australia, and the measuring system is different as well.

It is inaccurate to state that the size of the pillow case does not matter as long as the mattress topper or the sheets fit perfectly. When you have an oversize pillowcase, the pillow will keep shifting throughout your sleeping time and you will not enjoy your sleep to say the least.

If on the other hand you take a pillow and fit it in a very small pillowcase, the pillow will lose its softness, and you will lose the comfort you had bought the pillow for. When you think of the right pillow size for you, there is a rule of the thumb to fall back to.

Always make sure the pillowcase is 8-13 cm larger in size than the pillow. That way, you can always easily get the accurate pillow size. The standard UK pillow size is 50X75cm or 20 by 30 inches in size.

They fit well in a standard pillowcase which is also known as a “housewife pillowcase”. You will notice the solid sewn edge of the housewife pillowcase.

How big is a jumbo pillow?

What is the biggest size of a bed pillow you can probably get apart from a floor pillow?

The Jumbo pillow measures 20X26 inches. It is also known as the King size pillow, and it is the largest of all sizes. The main purpose of the jumbo pillow is to decorate the king size bed- when laid across the width of the bed.

However, this size also fits very well for sleepers who are broad-shouldered. That class of sleepers generally need extra body support and the king size pillow comes in handy. If your body is average size, it is advisable not to use this pillow size.

It has too much extra material which may distort your sleeping position and hurt your body posture. You do not want to start healing body pains you could avoid in the first place!

Finding the right pillowcase for the king size pillow can be an uphill task. You would still need a pillowcase that fits your jumbo pillow perfectly. A king size pillowcase will be perfect if you get 31 inches by 21 inches lengths.

Make your pillow designs work for you

Your bedroom feels like a safe haven when you have a neatly made-up bed to come back to. One of the creative things you can do is to have a jumbo size pillow at the back, and smaller or standard sized pillows in front.

It gives an amazing outlook in the bedroom. The other idea would be to place two queen sized pillows at the back, and have two throw pillows in front. It’s your bedroom and you can get as creative as possible. You can go the whole way and have layers of pillow tiers as your décor.

You simply start with two large pillows at the back, followed by two smaller ones in front, then followed by one tiny pillow at the foremost front. Do all you can to get the best out of the different pillow sizes!