After having a lot of Patients ask me about the right mattress AND pillow, I have always said "You have to find the right fit for YOU." Not everyone prefers the same sleep position, but different positions require a different pillow size and that size varies on the size of the person.
Back sleepers should not have a pillow behind their head pushing their head WAY forward causing snoring and a "bent over old man" position later in life. Imagine if you were standing straight up and shoving your head as far forward as a pillow under your head does. That would not feel good and it cuts off your breathing tube causing snoring at night. That breathing tube needs to be nice and open! Try placing a pillow or two under your knees while you are on your back to take pressure off of your low back, but NO PILLOW UNDER YOUR HEAD.
If you are a side sleeper, your pillow needs to be thick enough to keep your spine straight. A good estimate is to get a pillow as thick as the distance from the outside of your shoulder to your cheek, so when you lay on your side, your head is supported perfectly and spine is straight.
Sleeping on your stomach is a big no-no!! Having all that torsion on your neck and spine can cause horrible back problems down the road!! Never sleep on your stomach. Get a body pillow to put in front of you to wrap your arms and legs around if you need help getting off of your stomach.
I always lay on my back first and prop my side sleeping pillow up against my headboard. At some point, I roll to my side and grab my pillow because I usually wake up on my side. This is perfectly healthy.
As far as a mattress and pillow goes, the firmness is whatever is comfortable for your particular body - no 2 bodies are the same! I sleep on an organic Latex mattress with a pillow made of the same with organic cotton sheets. This bed is made of Organic cotton and latex and there are NO CHEMICALS IN THIS BED!!! I don't want to lay my head on chemicals for 1/3 of my life (8 hours in bed) and off gassing of chemicals can cause sleep disturbances. The nice thing about this bed is you pick your firmness and change layers of bed around later if you don't like the way the layers currently are arranged. Two people can have 2 different levels of firmness from one side of the bed to the other. You can check them out here:
PlushBeds 100% Natural Latex Topper is made of the finest quality 100% natural latex - no synthetics or blends and no chemicals. It is encased by a luxurious organic cotton cover. And it comes in 2" and 3" thicknesses and soft, medium, medium-firm and extra-firm.
If you are having trouble falling asleep, your stress hormone, CORTISOL, could be high. Meditation or shutting off computer/TV screens earlier can help this a lot. I recommend a fermented version of Phosphatidylserine that lowers cortisol to help you calm down at night. Melatonin can be beneficial, but I find most people need more than they are willing to try. Often times, sleep problems are an overall hormone imbalance, too. You can read about that on our "Hormone Rejuvination" page.
I hope all this info helps you get a better nights sleep in the right position with the right bed, pillow, and supplementation if needed!