There’s more to buying a pillow than just grabbing one from the bin at the store. Pillows are an important part of sleep hygiene and picking the right one can seriously improve your sleep and comfort. Here’s everything to consider when picking a pillow.
How do you Sleep?
Chances are you move around during the night but before picking out a pillow, consider the primary position in which you sleep: on your stomach, back or side. Pillow thickness should be selected based on your sleeping position. Those who sleep on their stomachs should use a thin pillow. Back sleepers should use a pillow of medium thickness and side sleepers should go for the thickest option.
The thickness of the pillow and position affect the alignment of the spine so this can aid in breathing (reducing or even eliminating annoying snoring), the quickness at which the sleeper falls asleep and reduce stiffness and pain upon waking.
Buying the Perfect Pillow: What’s on the Inside Counts
One of the most important considerations when selecting a pillow is what’s filling it. First, decide between a traditional pillow and memory foam. While memory foam pillows last longer (about twice as long as traditional pillows) if you change positions and like to move your pillow this is a less than ideal option.
If you’re going with a filled, traditional pillow there are a few things to consider. Down pillows are the most comfortable and high-quality pillows are almost guaranteed to not cause allergic reactions. If you’re still worried, hypodown is the best option.
Another thing to look at when it comes to filling is the “fill power.” Look for pillows with a 600+ fill power. The higher the number the better the quality and 600 signifies an excellently-made pillow.
Types of Filling
In addition to down and memory foam, there are lots of other options for pillow fillings to consider, including lesser-known options wool and latex.
Wool pillows are dust- and mold-resistant and firm. If you want a less-firm wool pillow, seek one of alpaca wool instead of the more firm cashmere variety.
Latex provides a bouncier pillow. Those who hate a pillow that flattens throughout the night but don’t want something quite as firm as a memory foam should check out the springier latex pillow which is an under-the-radar option.
A Note on Memory Foam
Memory foam pillows are a popular option but they are not right for everyone.
There’s no cool side of this pillow, they retain heat. Even those with built-in ventilation will never get as cool as a traditionally-filled pillow.
They are very firm. Sleepers who don’t like a firm pillow will not like a memory foam pillow.
Consider a mixed-fill pillow. Many sleep experts recommend a combination pillow: one that has a core of memory foam that is surrounded by a more traditional filling.
Back sleepers often like memory foam pillows. It’s worth a try by those who sleep on their backs!
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to pillows.
First: the average life of a pillow is a year and a half (three years for memory foam). After this, pillows lose their benefits.
Pillows should be washed three to four times a year. Each pillow comes with instructions on how to wash and these should be closely followed.
Try the fold test to see if your pillows are ready to be tossed: Fold a pillow in half and place a book on it. If it unfolds it’s still in good shape. If not, it’s time to go shopping.