Good quality sleep as well as waking up in the morning without stiffness and pain, largely depend on the pillow that we sleep on. People mostly care about mattresses and stay heedless when it comes to choosing the right pillow for them.
There are lots of pillows available in the market. Not every pillow feels perfect for everyone. Do you want to know how to find the best pillow according to your sleep pattern and position? Then, you are in the right place. I will guide you to get the best pillow, which will improve your sleep quality significantly.
Why Does the Pillow Matter?
The quality of sleeping largely depends on our sleeping posture. It’s the body alignment from head to toe.
If your neck and shoulders don’t get proper support while sleeping, it will cause a misalignment in the body and lead to pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and backside. (Check out our article best pillow for back pain)
The best quality pillow will ensure that your neck and shoulders get the necessary support when you sleep on your bed. When you ensure proper sleeping posture, your quality of sleep will be improved, and you will be productive and feel energetic throughout the day.
Choosing the Right Pillow
There is no one pillow material, size, and shape that fits all. Getting the right pillow is a matter of individual criteria. Here are some key aspects that make a pillow suitable for different requirements.
There are lots of options available when it comes to choosing a fill for pillows. Each of them has it’s own advantages and disadvantages.
Most common types of fills are –
Down pillows are made of the feather of duck and goose and other fillings. These pillows feel very soft to sleep on.
However, goose down is even softer than the duck down, and more expensive as well. If you prefer a soft pillow to rest your head on, you may try a down pillow.
There are reports of allergic reactions from down filling. However, low quality down filling can trigger allergic reactions, not the original ones.
The dirt inside low-grade pillows causes an allergic reaction, not the feather itself.
Synthetic Down and Polyester Fill
Synthetic down is an inexpensive option than the natural ones. But you might need to replace the fill more frequently compared to original down and hypodown.
Polyester fill, on the other hand, is another inexpensive option. Although it’s soft, not as soft as down pillows. This filling tends to flatten with time; so, you will need to replace it more frequently.
These pillows are mold and dust mites resistant. It’s an appropriate option for allergic people due to its hypo-allergenic properties. Wool pillows provide a great solution for various weather. It will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.
Wool filled pillows are pretty firm and durable, as well. However, if you don’t prefer firm pillows, there is an option for without firmness called ‘alpaca wool.’
Wool and cotton filled pillows have many similarities. These pillows are hypo-allergic, as well as dust and mold resistant. Cotton filled pillows are neither too flat nor too firm. It can be a perfect choice for chemically sensitive people.
These pillows are firmer than down but feel very comfortable to sleep on. One distinct characteristic of latex pillows is; it can hold the shape perfectly. No matter how hard you squish the pillow when you sleep, the shape will be the same. The material is also dust and mold resistant.
If you need extra support for your neck and head and want to restrict movement while you sleep, this is the kind of pillow to go for.
Memory foam-filled pillows provide great support to the head and neck by conforming to individual shape. The foam softens and contours line of your head, neck as well as shoulders.
It evenly distributes the weight across the surface.
However, this filling is a heat-retaining material, which can cause sweat and discomfort to some extent.
If you consider the fill weight, down and synthetic pillows are the lightweight options.
On the flip side, latex and memory foam filling are a bit heavier.
It’s all about personal preference. Someone who prefers re-shaping and move the pillow while sleeping, lighter pillows will serve the purpose best.
The higher the fill power, the longer the pillow will last. A pillow with 600 fill-power checks for the highest quality natural down or synthetic pillow; this is one of the highest fill power for pillows.
However, if you see a pillow claiming to have 800+ fil power, that doesn’t mean the pillow will last a decade.
There are 6 sizes of pillows available in the market. Most people find the standard size pillow sufficient enough. However, there are some specialized pillows for specific sleeping patterns.
• Standard size pillows are the most commonly used ones. It’s a short and least expensive option. One standard size pillow is enough for full or twin-size mattresses; for Queen and King-size mattresses, two would be sufficient. This pillow most people need to get a comfortable and sound sleep.
• Super standard pillows are slightly longer than the standard ones. Those who find standard pillows not offering enough room, consider getting this one.
• Queen pillows come with an extra room on each side of the head. It’s ideal for people who frequently toss, turn, and shift their position when they sleep.
• King pillows provide more room on each side of the head, similar to Queen size. Again, it’s for people who toss and turn during the nights. Besides, King size pillows are great for back resting while sitting up in the bed.
• Euro pillows have different dimensions, and mostly they are squared-shaped ones. This size is most appropriate for headrest or backrest and reading in bed. It’s the most commonly used pillow size in Europe.
• Body pillows are specially made for side sleepers, who snuggle or hold onto the pillow as well as pregnant mothers.
Pillowcase and Fabric
Pillowcase shouldn’t be too loose or tight. The cover should be one or two inches wider and two or four inches longer than the pillow.
As far as the fabric is concerned, always use a natural and breathable pillowcase.
Pillows that are made of synthetic materials such as polyester and memory foam go through some chemical processes, such as antimicrobial treatments, while manufacturing.
If you have an allergy or chemical sensitivity issue, be sure to know about the chemistry that the pillow went into.
Loftiness determines the height, thickness, and firmness of pillows. The comfort and supportiveness of a pillow depend on it.
• Low loft pillows offer thickness of not more than three inches.
• Medium loft pillows are three to five inches thick.
• High loft pillows come with more than 5 inches of thickness.
Factors such as sleep position, pillow position, body type, body weight, mattress type affect the loftiness of pillows.
Let’s talk about the back sleepers first. If you are a back-sleeper, you need a pillow with medium-loft or firmness; as it will not put stress on your neck.
As far as the side-sleepers are concerned, when they put their head on the mattress, it creates extra space between the head and the surface. So, they need a medium to a high-loft pillow to get more comfortable sleeping hours.
The stomach sleepers, on the other hand, require a low-loft pillow to support their head on the mattress. Doctors don’t recommend this sleeping position. However, if you still persist, consider taking another flat pillow under your stomach to prevent lower back pain.
If you toss and turn between the sleeping positions frequently, it’s hard to say which pillow will suit your taste the best. But, a medium-loft pillow can be the safest one to bet as it provides support for both sides and back-sleepers.
Those who prefer to position their pillow completely under their head, they find comfort using a low to a medium-loft pillow.
On the other hand, the higher-loft pillow is for those who position their heads partially underneath the pillow.
People with above-average weights; say, above 230 pounds, compress their mattresses. They find less space between their head and the mattress surface. That’s why they need low-loft pillows.
It’s totally the opposite for lightweight (below 130 pounds) sleepers as they don’t compress their mattresses that much.
So, they require high-loft pillows to fill the extra space between their head and the sleeping surface to get a comfortable sleep.
People with average weights (130-230 pounds) feel comfortable to sleep on pillows with medium loft.
Head size and the width of the shoulder are some of the factors that affect the loftiness of the pillow.
Those with larger heads prefer high-loft pillows.
Low to medium-loft pillows suits best for people with small heads.
Mattresses such as foam and latex that sink deep beneath the plain surface, low-loft pillows are ideal in this case.
For mattresses that don’t sink that much, medium to high-loft pillows is necessary to provide support and comfort to the sleepers.
When to Replace Your Pillow?
The longevity of different pillows isn’t the same. A memory foam pillow typically lasts up to three years.
However, natural pillows such as down pillows usually last longer than the synthetic ones.
The rule of thumb is if you are using a pillow for years, and you are not getting proper support and comfort, it’s time to get another pillow.
You can also examine the pillow, whether it needs a replacement or not.
To do that, take off the pillowcase and check if it has stains from sweat, unusual odor, dead skin cells, mold and mildew, fungus, dust mites, etc. These signs will tell you whether you need to look for a replacement or not.
You can further test the pillow by folding it. If it doesn’t spring back, it’s a dead pillow.
For natural pillows, you can test over the arm. If the pillow hangs down and drapes over the extended arm, consider replacing it.
As far as the synthetic pillows are a concern, fold it in half and add some weight to it. Take the weight away, if the pillow returns to its original shape, no need to replace the pillow. And if the result is negative, you need to look for another one.
For being active, productive, and energetic during the day, you must ensure you are getting quality sleep. A good quality pillow helps a lot to get sound sleep during nights. Hopefully, this guide will help you to get the right pillow meeting all your requirements.