Reading Pillows: Health Considerations, Options, and Alternatives

Keep falling asleep while reading in bed? Here is a list of a few reading pillow for the bed to keep you and your books propped up and engaged.

People who like to sit up in bed can benefit from reading pillows. People who read, play video games, or watch TV in bed may benefit from them.

This article delves into what reading pillows are, their advantages and disadvantages, how to choose a reading pillow, a product list, and some alternatives.

7 of the Best Reading Pillows

  • Best memory foam: The Husband Pillow
  • Best transportable: Vekkia Reading and Bed Rest Pillow
  • Best wedge pillow: Brentwood Home Zuma Wedge
  • Best headboard alternative: WOWMAX Triangular Wedge Reading Pillow
  • Best for support: Avana Comfort Kind Bed Orthopedic Support Pillow System
  • Best for kids: Nestl Bedding Kids Reading Pillow
  • Best flippable pillow: Contour Living Flip Pillow

Potential Health Advantages and Disadvantages

The main advantage of reading pillows is that they provide back, neck, shoulder, and spine support.

There has been little research into the efficacy of reading pillows. However, a 2013 study on lumbar support pillows discovered that they were beneficial and supportive for both healthy people and those suffering from lower back pain.

Using a reading pillow also eliminates the need to change positions or prop up other pillows to find a comfortable position.

One disadvantage of reading pillows is that they can be expensive. Propping up multiple regular pillows can provide the same effect and support as a reading pillow.

One study published in 2016 looked at how reading from an e-reader or other electronic device affects sleep quality. It was discovered that these screens emit blue light, which may interfere with sleep. As a result, reading a paper book before going to bed may be preferable.

Method of Choosing a Reading Pillow

A reading pillow’s inner and outer materials should be considered. The inner pillow can be made of shredded or solid memory foam. Shredded memory foam is more breathable and better at circulating air than solid memory foam.

Polyester fibers are occasionally used in reading pillows, but they are less durable than memory foam.

A reading pillow’s outer fabric is available in a variety of materials. Consider your allergies as well as how easy these materials are to clean.

Higher quality materials, such as velvet, will outlast cotton, though cotton may be easier to clean.

People should think about the environmental impact of buying a new reading pillow. Consider whether it is a necessary purchase that will be used frequently.

If this is the case, look for products that are free of plastic and made from sustainable materials such as bamboo or cotton. People can also look into a company’s ethical policies.

Best Reading Pillows List

The following are some of the best reading pillows.

Please keep in mind that the author of this article has not used these products. All information presented is based solely on research and was current at the time of publication.

We have a strict product selection and vetting process in place, check the list below:

Best Memory Foam: The Husband Pillow

reading pillow for bed
  • List price: from around $100
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 8.5 x 15 x 31.5 inches (in)
  • Material: memory foam

The Husband Pillow is available in a variety of sizes and colors on the company’s website.

This model has a bolster pillow at the top that can provide a neck support. This is also detachable, so it can be worn behind the lower back or under the knees if desired.

Shredded memory foam and a micro plush cover make up the inner pillow. It also has a zipper that allows the user to add or remove padding to their liking. If a customer requests it, the company can provide free additional memory foam.


Best Transportable: Vekkia Reading and Bed Rest Pillow

Vekkia Reading and Bed Rest Pillow
  • List price: from around $70
  • Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 18 in
  • Material: memory foam and foam

This model is available in two sizes and a variety of color options.

The cover is made of velvet. The inner material is 80% foam and 20% memory foam. Each purchase also includes an extra bag of memory foam, allowing customers to plump the pillow for added comfort.

This model also has a carrying handle, making it easy to transport from one room to another. It also has armrests with storage pockets.

Vekkia recommends this pillow for people under 5’9″.


Best Wedge Pillow: Brentwood Home Zuma Wedge

reading pillow for bed
  • List price: from $49
  • Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 7 in
  • Material: support foam

This Brentwood Home model is a wedge-shaped pillow. It serves several functions, including support for reading in bed. Because of its gradual slope, the company claims that it is also beneficial to people with respiratory problems.

Brentwood Home’s website offers three different height options. The outer material is rayon derived from bamboo, and the inner material is support foam.

This pillow is also available in 10 and 12-inch heights.

It is certified CertiPUR-US and Climate Neutral. The company provides a 30-day return policy as well as a one-year limited warranty.


Best Headboard Alternative: WOWMAX Triangular Wedge Reading Pillow

reading pillow for bed
  • List price: around $130
  • Dimensions: 39 x 8 x 30 in
  • Material: polyester fiberfill

Because it is longer than other models, this triangular reading pillow by WOWMAX can be used as an alternative to a headboard. It also means that two people sitting next to each other can use it at the same time.

This pillow is available in five sizes: 39, 54, 59, 70, and 76 inches.

Corduroy (100% polyester) is the fabric. It has eco-friendly polyester fiberfill, which the manufacturer claims provide good neck and back support. It also comes in a variety of sizes for various beds and 15 different colors.

The buttons on the pillow allow users to detach the cover and machine-wash it. The company also claims that these buttons strengthen the pillow and give it a fuller appearance.


Best for Extra support: Avana Comfort Kind Bed Orthopedic Support Pillow System

Avana Comfort Kind Bed Orthopedic Support Pillow System
  • List price: from $199
  • Dimensions (backrest): 32.5 x 24 x 11 in
  • Material: memory foam

This Avana model is made up of various pillows that support different parts of the body.

The scooped back provides lumbar support and can be adjusted to the wearer’s preference. The headrest provides neck support. The knee pillow supports the joints and keeps the user in a natural position. A second lumbar pillow is available as an option.

The outer cover is made of micro velvet and microsuede, while the padding is made of memory foam. There are six different color options available, but only one size.

The company provides a 30-day return policy but no information on warranty length.


Best for Kids: Nestl Bedding Kids Reading Pillow

reading pillow for bed
  • List price: from around $42
  • Dimensions: 14 x 13 x 14 in
  • Material: shredded memory foam

This model is intended for children and teenagers. It is available in 44 vibrant colors.

People can remove and machine-wash the outer material, which is microfiber with a velvet feel. It has shredded memory foam that contours to a person’s back to provide support.

There are three pockets: one on each side and a larger storage pocket on the back. There is also a zipper for adding or removing memory foam and a carrying handle, so it can be easily moved from room to room.


Best Flippable Pillow: Contour Living Flip Pillow

Contour Living Flip Pillow
  • List price: $39.95
  • Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 8 in
  • Material: hypoallergenic fiber fill

Contour Living’s model is flippable. A person can adjust the position of the pillow to provide support where it is most needed, such as when sitting in bed to read.

The material is a hypoallergenic fiber fill on the inside. According to the company, this material is long-lasting.

This pillow is available in three different colors. People can also select a width between 20 and 30 inches.

Contour Living provides a one-year warranty.


Comparison Chart

The following table compares all the above products.

List priceSizes availableColor optionsMaterials
The Husband Pillowfrom around $100• medium
37memory foam
Vekkiafrom around $70• regular
8memory foam
Brentwood Homefrom $49• 7 inches
• 10 inches
• 12 inches
1support foam
WOWMAXaround $130• twin
• full
• queen
• king
• Cal king
15polyester fiberfill
Avanafrom $199• 4-piece set
• 5-piece set
6memory foam
Nestlfrom around $42• petite small
• standard
• premium large
44shredded memory foam
Contour Livingfrom $39.95• standard
• king
1hypoallergenic fiber fill


Aside from reading pillows, a pillow stand can be used to hold books or tablets. This small pillow sits on a person’s lap and supports a book or device.

Instead of a reading pillow, a person can use a unique back support cushion, such as a lumbar support pillow.

If a person does not want to buy a separate reading pillow, they can stack regular pillows to ensure that their back and neck are properly supported.

Are Reading Pillows Good for Your Back?

A reading pillow’s design provides back support. These pillows are designed specifically for people who sit upright in bed.

Some reading pillows are filled with memory foam. This conforms to the shape of a person’s back and may provide additional support.

What is a Good Size for a Reading Pillow?

This is dependent on the person using the reading pillow.

A person should make sure that the pillow is large enough to provide back support. Some companies sell pillows in various sizes and ages, including those for children.

Can a Reading Pillow Make You Dizzy?

There is no evidence that a reading pillow can cause dizziness at this time.

A person should make certain that their pillow provides adequate support in order to reduce the likelihood of aches and pains.

How Do You Wash a Reading Pillow?

Many reading pillows have removable covers that you can wash and tumble dry. If yours lacks a removable shell, spot-clean it with a mild fabric cleaner and a clean cloth.

You can usually spot-clean the insert if necessary. When in doubt, stick to the brand’s care instructions.

Do You Need a Cover for a Reading Pillow?

It should ideally have a removable and washable cover. This makes cleaning easier while also protecting the material underneath.

However, not all reading pillows, like portable backrests, upholstered headboards, and some decorative cushions, have removable cases. If the case cannot be removed for washing, you can spot-clean it.

Where Should You Store a Reading Pillow?

This is determined by the shape and size of the item, as well as how frequently it is used. If you read in bed every night, the best place to keep your pillow may be under your bed or in your bedroom closet. Consider storing it in your linen closet, laundry room, or guest room if you use it less frequently.

Some reading pillows can also be used as decor, so place them on your sofa or in front of your bed pillows when you make the bed. You could also keep yours in an oversized basket in your living room or bedroom, along with extra throw blankets.


Reading pillows provide back and neck support while sitting in bed to read, watch TV, or play video games.

Reading pillows are available from a variety of brands. Some have armrests, while others are more concerned with spinal alignment.

Before making a final purchase, a person may want to compare different brands and features.

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