A Buyer’s Guide to the
Did you know that one of the most under-rated elements of a good night’s sleep is right under your head? Yep – the pillow. The best pillow doesn’t just support your head and neck, it helps maintain the proper alignment of your spine while you sleep. So do you really want just any pillow? Or do you need the best?
Choosing the right pillow requires careful consideration. The size of your bed and your preferred sleeping position will dictate what kind of pillow will be best suited to your needs. For instance, if you’re a side sleeper, you’ll need a firmer pillow that provides extra support. And, if allergies are a concern, you want to steer clear of materials that might trigger a reaction. A pillow treated with antimicrobial properties can help keep bacteria at bay, making it a smart choice for allergy sufferers.
For all the latest on pillow materials, costs, and tips on when it’s time to replace it, keep reading. And, if you’re ready to upgrade your sleeping game, check out our top picks – highly recommended options that are sure to keep you sleeping in comfort.
Did You Know?
Sleeping on the right pillow can ease – even help prevent – back and neck pain..
IS IT TIME TO REPLACE YOUR PILLOW?
Pillows don’t last forever, but quality pillows can last a decent amount of time. That said, it’s important to know when it’s time to replace a pillow.
Is your trusty pillow showing signs of wear and tear? While even the finest of pillows won’t last forever, it’s important to know when it’s time to bid it farewell. Here are some indicators that it’s time to replace your pillow:
Discoloration of your pillow might be a sign that it’s harboring a healthy dose of bacteria. The average person loses about a pint of sweat per night, and some of that undoubtedly seeps into your pillow. If there’s discoloration, it’s time to get a a new pillow.
A flat or lumpy pillow
If your pillow has lost its fluff, and refuses to plump up again, or if you can feel lumps in the filling, it’s time to start shopping for a new one. A flat or lumpy pillow won’t provide the support you need for a good night’s sleep.
Back or neck pain
Do you wake up with back or neck pain? This could be a sign that your spine isn’t properly aligned while you sleep Your pillow might be the cause. If you’re feeling achy, it’s time to find a new pillow that will provide better support.
If you wake up with a wheeze or nasal congestion, it’s time to get a new pillow. Barring any other health issues, these signs point to a possible allergic reaction to the dust mites living in your pillow.
Waking up with a stuffy or runny nose can indicate an allergic reaction to the dust mites living in your pillow. If you’re not suffering from any other health issues, it might be time to get a new pillow.
Keep these signs in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to getting the sleep you deserve with a fresh, supportive pillow.
Did You Know?
When it comes to pillows, you tend to get what you pay for…
IMPORTANCE OF CHOOSING THE RIGHT PILLOW
So how do you choose the best pillow? You now know when to get a new pillow, but why don’t just replace it with the first pillow you can. Selecting the right pillow is crucial.
As we said before, the pillow you use affects your spinal alignment when you’re sleeping. And since you will spend about one-third of your life in bed, your posture at night directly affects your well-being during the day.
The correct pillow can help. Choosing the best pillow for your particular sleeping style will help keep your spine properly aligned when in bed. And that means more hours of deep sleep and fewer, if any, back and neck aches in the morning.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PILLOW
Pillows come with a wide range of material for the filling. Here are some of the most common:
- Hollowfiber is a type of polyester that is both sturdy and lightweight. It’s used to create pillows of different firmness levels, with a denser filling leading to a firmer pillow. It’s usually considered hypoallergenic and can also be treated to be antimicrobial.
- Microfiber pillows are synthetic like hollowfiber pillows but have finer fibers. They have a maximum firmness of “medium” density, unless combined with hollowfiber. They are hypoallergenic and sometimes treated to be antimicrobial. Microfiber pillows have a feel that’s closest to down compared to other synthetic pillows.
- Feather and down pillows are traditional but have lost popularity in recent times. Some consider them outdated, while others have ethical concerns about using animal products. Feather pillows are extremely soft, while down and feather/down mix pillows are firmer but more expensive.
- Memory foam pillows, such as the Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow, conform to the shape of your head and neck for optimal support. Memory foam is seen as the gold standard for pillows and is durable, long-lasting, and hypoallergenic. However, they tend to be firm, so not suitable for everyone.
Most pillows are sold in three sizes: standard (20 by 26 inches), queen (20 by 30 inches), and king (20 by 36 inches). The size you need depends on your bed size. Some pillows come in non-standard sizes, making it harder to find a pillowcase for them.
Firmness and sleeping position
Selectin the proper firmness of a pillow is not only about personal preference, but also about how you sleep. Consider these guidelines when choosing a soft, medium, or firm pillow:
- If you sleep on your front, a soft pillow is best as your head doesn’t need to be raised much. A soft microfiber pillow is recommended.
- If you sleep on your back, a medium pillow is ideal as it supports your head while maintaining the natural curve of your spine. The Perfect Fit Quilted Sidewall Pillow is a good medium-density option.
- If you sleep on your side, a firm pillow is necessary to support your head and neck in proper alignment. A firm memory foam or hollowfiber pillow would suffice.
- If you’re a mixed sleeper who changes positions during the night, a medium pillow is best as it provides a “happy medium” in terms of firmness.
A high thread count in a pillow’s outer covering makes it soft and luxurious. The Serta Perfect Sleeper has a 300 thread count that provides good quality at a reasonable price. However, most people focus more on the thread count of their pillowcase rather than the pillow itself. Investing in high thread count bedding may be more practical than buying high thread count pillows.
Did You Know?
Pillows flatten and attract bacteria over time. It’s a good idea to replace them regularly.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU PAY?
Pricing for pillows can vary greatly, with options to suit any budget. High-end memory foam or down pillows can cost over $60 each, while budget-friendly options can be found in packs of two for under $10.
For a balance between cost and quality, a two-pack of pillows for around $30 will provide decent comfort and spinal alignment.
In terms of comfort and durability, you generally get what you pay for with pillows. However, you don’t have to opt for the most expensive option to get a good one.
When shopping for a new pillow, there are many questions that come to mind. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.
Q. What is the best pillow for side sleepers?
A. Side sleepers often prefer a firmer pillow to support their neck and keep their spine aligned. Memory foam or feather and down pillows tend to be popular choices for side sleepers.
Q. What is the best pillow for stomach sleepers?
A. Stomach sleepers need a soft, low-profile pillow that won’t lift their head too high and cause neck pain. A soft cotton or hollowfiber pillow is often the best choice for stomach sleepers.
Q. What is the difference between down and feather pillows?
A. Down and feather pillows are filled with feathers from different parts of the bird. Down pillows are filled with the soft, fluffy plumage closest to the skin and are generally more expensive than feather pillows. Feather pillows are filled with the tougher feathers from further down the bird and can feel more stiff and prickly than down. However, feather pillows are often cheaper and have a longer lifespan. Ultimately, the choice between down and feather pillows comes down to personal preference and budget.
Q. Can pillows help with snoring?
A. Certain pillows can help with snoring by keeping the airways open. For instance, an anti-snore pillow can help reduce snoring by keeping the head and neck elevated and maintaining proper alignment of the airways. However, it’s important to note that snoring is often caused by a range of factors, including sleep apnea, and may require more comprehensive treatment. If you snore frequently, it’s always a good idea to speak with a doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.
Q. Can different pillow fills cause allergies?
A. Yes, certain materials can cause allergies. For example, down and feather pillows can cause respiratory problems, while synthetic materials like polyester can cause skin irritation. To avoid these issues, it’s best to opt for hypoallergenic materials like memory foam or bamboo. You can also look for pillows with allergen-resistant covers to keep allergens at bay.
Q. How do I choose the right pillow height and firmness?
A. The height and firmness of your pillow depends on your sleep position and personal comfort preferences. Generally, back sleepers prefer lower, softer pillows, while side sleepers need higher, firmer pillows for neck and spine support. Stomach sleepers usually prefer the thinnest, softest pillows. When choosing a pillow, consider trying it in-store or ordering from a retailer that offers a trial period, so you can make an informed decision.
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