What is a Contour Pillow?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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A contour pillow is a specific type of pillow that is contoured to fit a specific part of the body ergonomically. Specially designed to provide support to a target area, a contour pillow is firmer than a standard pillow and is often constructed of high density or memory foam. These unique types of pillows may be recommended for people who have neck or back problems aggravated by sleeping positions or not relieved by a good night’s rest.

There are essentially two types of contour pillows, though specific designs may vary for each type. These pillows are typically designed to support the head and neck or the legs. The type of discomfort you experience as well as the type of sleeper you are may determine which type of contour pillow you could comfortably use.

The most common type of contour pillow is designed for supporting the head and neck while lying down. Essentially, a head and neck pillow will support the neck while providing a contoured place for the head to rest. These types of pillows work well for back sleepers and can help alleviate neck and upper back pain by keeping the neck properly aligned with the spine during sleep. However, side sleepers will most likely find these pillows uncomfortable.


For those who prefer sleeping on their side, a leg pillow may provide more benefit. A contour leg pillow provides support at the knees where legs come together while sleeping and helps support the lower body by keeping the back in better alignment. Both types of pillows may take getting used to and may take several nights for the user to notice a benefit.

In addition to those suffering from neck and back pain, people with mild to moderate sleep apnea are also believed to benefit from using a contour pillow. Some pillows are specifically designed to be used with CPAP machines, medical apparatuses prescribed to improve breathing in sleep apnea patients. The cost of a contour pillow can range from $20 US Dollars (USD) to $60 USD on average. They can be purchased from major retailers of bedding and linens, medical suppliers, and online.


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