How to Choose the Best Pillow for Optimum Sleep


Getting the right pillow can significantly improve your sleep quality as it helps your posture, just like having the right duvet cover creates a cocoon of comfort and temperature regulation. If you’ve ever woken up in the morning with a weird ache in the neck, it’s time to have a second look at your pillow. Having the right one helps improve your sleep and lets you wake up without any pains or aches.

While the pillow you select is largely dependent on your personal preferences, there are several other factors to consider as you shop around. From sleeping postures to body type and specialty requirements, we’ll discuss most of these factors in this article.

Sleeping Position

Sleep advisors argue that proper alignment is the most essential factor for all sleepers. The pillow you select can affect your alignment when sleeping, depending on which position you sleep in. 

Here are the distinct types of sleepers and the best pillow options for each of them: 

  • Back Sleepers: If you are a back sleeper, it is important that you opt for a pillow that supports your head and neck, but not so much that your neck is propped up at an awkward angle. Remember you want your neck and spine to be in alignment as you sleep, so it would be best to go for a medium-thick pillow – an option that is neither too flat nor too full. 
  • Side Sleepers: Side sleepers should consider a pillow that supports the head in a neutral position, aligning it with the spine. Because you exert the most pressure on your shoulder when you sleep on your side, you might want to get a full and firmer pillow to support your neck and take off some of the weight off your shoulder. 
  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleeping is the most uncomfortable and can cause back joint, and neck pain. This is why sleep experts recommend training yourself to change to other sleeping positions for a good night’s sleep. However, we understand that change cannot happen overnight, so if you are a stomach sleeper, consider getting a pillow that is softer and less full. This goes a long way in keeping your spine as neutral as possible.  

Body Type 

Another factor to consider when buying a pillow is your body type. Are you small or petite? Extra tall and firm pillows are a no-go zone as they could cause spinal misalignment. Larger individuals, on the other hand, need pillows with additional support and loft for proper spinal alignment and posture improvement.

Filler Material 

What is contained in your pillow determines how it feels and functions. Here are some of the most common filler materials:

  • Down: Down fill is derived from the undercoat of a goose or duck. However, keep in mind that it is an incredibly soft material that flattens quickly. So, although it can offer a low loft profile for sleepers who do not need a lot of support, a down pillow will require frequent fluffing up to offer comfort. 
  • Feathers: Feathers also come from birds but are flatter than down. Feather pillows are firmer than their down counterparts and hold less heat. 
  • Memory foam: You can construct a memory foam pillow using a solid piece of foam or stuffing several bits of memory foam inside the pillow. It is, however, more challenging to make memory foam stay calm because it tends to be less breathable and denser than other materials.

Other pillow filler materials to consider include polyester, latex, and buckwheat, among others. 

Special Requirements

Some pillows come with unique features to increase your comfort and quality of sleep. These include cooling technology to help insomniacs sleep faster and for longer. There are also allergen-free pillow options for those with allergies and asthma. These have gone through an antimicrobial treatment to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and mildew.

Note that some pillows come with a foam wedge specifically designed for people with sleep apnea and conditions like acid reflux. Such pillows are also ideal for people who snore in their sleep.

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