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Water Pillow

water pillow
Learn how are the water pillows made and from which material, which types exist, and what are the benefits of sleeping on the water pillow.

Water Pillow – Everything You Need to Know

Basically, a water pillow is made by wrapping a plastic reservoir with polyfoam. Traditional pillows tend to collapse after a while due to the weight of your head, which may result in neck pain. Because of this drawback, water pillows became a thing. Water pillows provide firm, elevated support for your head and head when sleeping and, they do not collapse easily.

Here you will get to know the construction process and what you stand to gain from using water pillows. In addition, you will get to know the different types of sleepers and the water pillows that are best suited for them.

How to Make a Water Pillow?

Although “water pillow” implies just filling a pillow with water, the construction process is more sophisticated than that.

Even though the materials and specifications may differ from model to model, all water pillows have basically the same composition: a fillable water sac and a thin layer of fiber.

The water sac is constructed with a sturdy, insulated material to avoid heat transfer and the growth of bacteria. You can fill this sac with tap water to form the needed firmness and height through a valve.

Besides the internal water sac, there is not much difference between water pillows and traditional pillows.

Water pillows are usually filled with different types of fillings to provide the desired support, comfort, and firmness. Let’s take a look at the fillings added to water pillows below.

Polyester Fiber

Polyester fiber is also known as poly-fiber. It is a synthetic material that is just as soft as cotton. Polyester fiber is used for making lightweight, odorless, and hypoallergenic water pillows.

Polyfiber water pillows come in different levels of firmness and may clump after using them for a while. But then, the water base of poly-fiber water pillows prevents sagging that is usually associated with this type of material.

Memory Foam

The other name for Memory foam is viscoelastic polyurethane foam, and it conforms to heat and pressure. As a highly contouring material, memory foam supports the head and neck, thereby preventing pain associated with those parts of the body.

Note that memory foam water pillows are a little bit more expensive than poly-fiber water pillows. Also, you may not like the odor when you unwrap the pillow for the first time. If you’re in a cold region and need a water pillow that retains heat, those made of memory foam are the best option for you.

Memory Foam water pillow
By Johan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia


Down water pillows are constructed from the interior section of a duck’s feather. This makes them pretty soft and lightweight. The water sac in down pillows helps to keep them from losing their shape after a while.

However, down water pillows are not recommended for persons with allergies and sensitive skin.

The downy feather of a common woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) – By Flappy Pigeon – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia

Down Alternative

The down-alternative water pillow is not all that different from poly-fiber pillows in terms of lightness and softness. While this water pillow does not have a long lifespan, you can use it if you suffer from skin sensitivity and allergies.

Benefits of Using Water Pillows

You derive the following benefits from using water pillows instead of traditional pillows.

Pain Relief

According to research conducted by the School of Medicine at the John Hopkins University, water pillows are effective in reducing morning pain intensity. The water sac in a water pillow provides support for your neck, which helps to relieve neck and body pain you usually experience when you wake up in the morning.

Pain Relief
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Better Sleep Quality

The study by the John Hopkins University also suggested that water pillows help to enhance your quality of sleep since nighttime neck and body pain will be reduced. Since water pillows can maintain their shape and firmness, you do not need to wake up to and adjust or fluff them. This way, you get to sleep peacefully and wake up feeling reinvigorated.

Better Sleep Quality
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels


As mentioned earlier, you can adjust your water pillow to impress its firmness, support, and comfort. You can add water or remove it from the water pouch to increase or decrease the height of the pillow.

Temperature Regulation

You can have a cool and peaceful sleep because of the water pouch fitted to the pillow, which prevents heat transfer.


While traditional pillows tend to exert pressure against your skin when lying on your stomach or side, water pillows conform to your face. This posture helps to prevent wrinkles and skin irritation.

Drawbacks Associated with Using Water Pillows

Some of the setbacks you may encounter when using a water pillow are listed below.

Weight of Water Pillow

While most water pillows are not that heavy, traditional pillows are way lighter than them. A typical water pillow should weigh less than 2 pounds, but that might still be considered quite heavy.

Complicated Adjustments

It might take some time so you can get the perfect height and firmness that works well for you. You have to experiment with different firmness levels and height and repeatedly add or remove water. This can take a lot of time and energy sometimes.


On rare occasions, users have reported that they noticed leaks from the water sac in their pillow.

What to Consider When Getting a Water Pillow

Apart from the design, there are lots of other features to consider when getting a water pillow. Let’s check them out.


Some water pillows are more difficult to wash than others. When getting a water pillow, go through the cleaning instructions recommended by the manufacturer and check if the pillow comes with a machine washable, removable cover. Also, check if the pillow itself is washable or needs special cleaning.

Mattress Encasement

Although it’s only on rare occasions that water pillows leak, it would be best if you go for those that come with a waterproof mattress encasement. This waterproof material protects against leaks and also from spills.

Shipping and Delivery

Some brands offer free shipping to any location, while others do not. If you live outside the United States and you are ordering via online stores like Amazon, the shipping and import charges may be more than the pillow itself.

Warranty and Return Policy

Premium quality water pillows usually come with a refund policy and warranty as signs of good faith. If you received a defective product, the warranty and refund policy cover you for any losses.

The Different Types of Sleepers and the Water Pillows Recommended for Them

Just randomly picking any water pillow might not be the best idea, especially if you have an unconventional way of sleeping. Here are some of the different types of sleepers that we recommend water pillows for:

  • Sleepers that experience head and neck pain
  • People who like several options for height and fitness
  • Sleepers who perspire a lot due to heat
  • Back and side sleepers

However, water pillows are not recommended for the following types of sleepers:

  • Sleepers who are searching for a hassle-free pillow. Water pillows take a lot of time and energy to get the right adjustments.
  • Stomach sleepers
  • Light sleepers who are waking up at the slightest noise. The poly-fiber and down alternative water pillows tend to make noises when adjusted.

Improved Sleep Quality

Water pillows are the go-to option for sleepers who suffer from head and neck pains after waking up. These pillows are equipped with a water sac that you can adjust to fit your needs. While water pillows are quite expensive than traditional pillows, they serve you for a considerable amount of time and offer you better sleep quality.

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