How Do I Choose the Best Pillow?

How do I choose the right pillow

Most pillows look similar

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the correct pillow.  After all, you do spend 1/3 of your life using them.  Below are some tips that can be applied as a good starting point when choosing a good, comfortable pillow.

Experts say comfort is your primary consideration, but it shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when buying pillows. You also have to think about neck support, potential allergens, and long-term durability.

Why is Choosing the Correct Pillow Important?

Pillows provide support to the head and neck while you are sleeping.  In addition to providing comfort, the right pillow should provide appropriate support for the neck and spine—alleviating or preventing any form of back and/or neck pain.

An incorrect pillow that does not provide the appropriate support in the right places can contribute to headaches, neck pain, shoulder or arm numbness, discomfort, snoring, sneezing, and wheezing (trouble breathing), which could lead to extra tossing and turning, which leads to lack of sleep. This has an effect on you both mentally and physically.

  • Mentally – Lack of sleep affects your concentration, judgement, memory, mood, and stress levels.
  • Physically – Lack of sleep can contribute to soreness and pain, slow the healing process, prolong illness, and lead to immune system breakdown, weight gain, fatigue, and a variety of other health issues.

What is Inside this Pillow?

From soft to firm pillows, the type of fill for your pillow is really a personal choice. Most pillows look similar.  When looking inside the pillow you will find a variety of fillings, including soft down and feathers or synthetic down; latex foam; high-tech gel and memory foam. All pillow types have their pluses and minuses. Below you will find different pillow explanations that will help you choose the best pillow for your sleep needs. It’s important to discover how comfortable the right pillow can be.

Down Pillows
Down pillows are made from duck and goose feathers.  Down clusters are made up of light, fluffy filaments that expand and intertwine to form air pockets. These clusters trap air to create nature’s most effective insulator. That’s what makes down so light and fluffy.

A lot of companies will rinse their down multiple times to remove dust and allergens that cause allergic reactions.

Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows are comprised of dense foam that reverts back to its original shape after sleep and typically offer very good neck support. These are popular because they reduce pressure points by continuously molding and adjusting to the shape of your body as you move throughout the night. Memory foam pillows come in various shapes, including a popular contoured S-shape, which is meant to support the neck.

When choosing a memory foam pillow, it’s important that you choose a higher quality brand as many of the cheaper memory foam pillows come with lower density foam and inexpensive components.

Latex Pillows
Latex pillows conform to your head and neck for comfort and support. Latex itself has a resilient feel. Latex pillows generally come in two forms: a solid core for a bouncy, solid feel, or a shredded and/or granulated filling for a down like feel that doesn’t compact over time. Latex pillows are hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, mildew proof, and dust mite resistant.

Wool and Cotton Pillows
Wool and cotton pillows are hypoallergenic and resist mold and dust mites. Wool pillows also naturally regulate body temperature by wicking away moisture, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Both wool and cotton pillows tend to be quite firm. So if you love a squishy or soft pillow, these fillers might not be for you. Their all-natural ingredients offer good neck support.

Specialty Pillows

Specialty pillows include all other pillows that don’t fit the “normal” category.

  • gel pillows
  • buckwheat pillows
  • aromatherapy pillows
  • water pillows

Why Does my Sleeping Position Matter When Choosing a Pillow?

Everyone has their own sleeping position. There are side sleepers and back sleepers as well as stomach sleepers.  The best thing a pillow can do for you is keep your head and neck in a natural position during sleep (“natural position” means keeping your spine the same as if you are standing). To find the most appropriate pillow for your body type, you should become aware of your sleeping habits. Keep in mind that you may start sleeping in one position and end up in another.

I Sleep on my Back, now What?
Back sleepers need thinner pillows so their head isn’t thrown too far forward. Look for a pillow with extra loft in the bottom third of the pillow to cradle your neck. If you sleep on your back, you will want to consider a medium or thin pillow. The proper height for the pillow depends on your body build. Sleep experts usually recommend adding an extra pillow underneath your knees when you sleep on your back to further help align and support the natural curvature of your upper spine, which in turn provides support under your head, neck, and shoulders. A pillow that is of medium firmness would probably be the correct choice.

I Sleep on my Side, Now What?
Side sleepers need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder. If you sleep on your side, then you need something to support your head and neck correctly while you sleep.  This will prevent a kink or “crick” in the neck, so to speak.  Ideally you will be looking for a medium density pillow so your spine maintains a straight, horizontal line. A firmer pillow would probably be the correct choice.

I Sleep on my Stomach, Now What? 

Stomach sleepers need a thin, almost flat pillow. Some may not even need a pillow for the head but might consider tucking one under the stomach to avoid lower back pain and support the natural curvature of the spine.  Stomach sleepers should be cautious of higher profile pillows as that could increase the chance of placing their spine into very unnatural positions and causing neck or back pain.  A thinner type of pillow would probably be the correct choice.

I Move Around a lot While I’m Sleeping, Now What?
Moving around or tossing and turning in your sleep creates a need for a good all-around pillow type.  This means not too dense or thick for most individuals.  You’re looking for a pillow that provides proper support for the average build in all positions.  Some active sleepers choose a half and half pillow.  That is half memory foam on one side and latex foam on the other.

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the appropriate pillow.  The above information is a great starting point when choosing a good, comfortable pillow. Below is coupon code for our readers and some of our favorite pillows.

 

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