Nothing starts your day off on a positive note like getting a great night’s sleep overnight. You wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to make the day yours! Of course, there are a number of factors that go into getting a good sleep, but people tend to focus on variables like climate control, light, and mattress quality. While all of these are also important, have you ever considered how much of a role the right pillow plays?
In fact, pillows can have a major impact on not only the quality of our sleep, but on how healthfully we rest and recharge. The right pillow creates good sleeping posture, which helps your spine stay aligned and stops you waking up with neck, shoulder, or lower back aches and pains.
But how do you find the perfect pillow? Before you start shopping, there are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself.
Do you like a soft or firm bed pillow?
One key factor is pillow firmness, which is also determined by the fill. For a firm pillow, the fill will be tighter while for a soft pillow, it will be lighter. There is a wide array of fill options on the market, from feather or down fill to synthetic and down-alternative fills, as well as wool, cotton, latex, and memory foam. The better the quality of the fill, the longer it will last. Even top quality down pillows will need to be renovated every few years, regardless of their firmness.
The way you prefer to sleep can make a difference to how firm your pillow should be. For example, front sleepers need to minimize neck strain, so down or super soft synthetic fibers will be all they need for undisturbed slumber. On the other hand, back sleepers are most comfortable with shoulder support, so the medium firmness given by mixed feather and down or medium synthetic blends is ideal.
What size of pillow do you need?
Most people will be happy to use a standard size pillow, while others prefer something a little larger. To choose the right size of pillow, you'll need to consider three factors:
- the size of your bed
- how many pillows you need
- how you will use them (i.e. how you sleep)
Pillow sizes correspond roughly to mattresses (standard, queen, king). For a twin bed, you'll most likely choose the standard size and for a queen bed you'd want to get two queens or two standards. For a king bed you'd choose two king pillows or four standards.
Do you prefer a large pillow to snuggle with on a smaller bed? Then use a king on a twin bed. If you want a stack of large pillows to lean on, choose as many as is comfortable to you. You could easily choose 4 or 6 standard pillows for a king size bed. For example, luxury hotels use 4 kings on a queen bed. The choice is yours and depends on what makes you feel most comfortable.
Do you sleep on your back, your side, or your stomach?
The ‘loft’ of a pillow refers to the volume of fill it contains and the compressed height of the pillow when you are resting on it. Pillows typically come in high, medium, and low loft. Your preferred sleeping position will have the biggest impact on the loft of your pillow, as different positions require different types of support. The goal is to keep your head in what is called ‘neutral alignment,’ similar in position to how you’d look standing up with good posture. In neutral alignment, your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward.
Most quality pillows give information about the best use for the type of pillow you're considering. Try out several variations to find what works for you. For example:
- If you sleep on your back: Back sleepers need less support, so their head is not thrown too far forward. Look for a pillow that has extra loft in the bottom third to cradle your neck. You’ll often find this bump in modern memory foam pillows.
- If you sleep on your side: Side sleepers need a firmer fill to support the distance between the ear and outside shoulder while still maintaining comfort. Pillows with a high loft are best for this type of sleeper.
- If you're a stomach sleeper: Look for a very thin, almost flat pillow. You may even find you don't need one for your head. However, you should consider tucking one under your stomach to avoid lower back pain.
Do you suffer from allergies?
Allergies are another factor that comes into your choice of pillow. Some people think that they can’t use down pillows if they have allergies. However, there are certain downs that have been specially cleaned to remove certain allergens. Another option is to choose a synthetic fill (down-alternative) if you’re concerned about allergies. Polyester can be a great substitute for down, but any synthetic option can be considered hypoallergenic. Remember to change your cases regularly to avoid dust mites and other irritants.
Caring for your pillows
Once you’ve found the right pillow for you, you’ll want to make sure you care for it properly to give it the longest life.
- The general rule of thumb is to buy a pillow every 18 months. After 2 years, it’s definitely time to replace! You can test if a pillow is ‘dead’ by seeing if it springs back after you fold it in half. If it doesn’t spring back, it’s time to get a new one.
- As well as losing firmness, pillows can retain mold, dust mites, and dead skin cells. A pillow protector can help to extend the healthy life of your pillow.
- Clean your bed pillows regularly and don’t forget to follow the care instructions! A quality purchase will always come with these. You may be able to wash some feather and down stuffings in a home washer while others will need to be dry cleaned. Save the instructions and follow them to ensure a long pillow life.
- Dry and then air your bedding thoroughly before returning it to your bed. Synthetic fibers will dry quickly and are relatively wrinkle-free.
Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to select your perfect pillow! Our range includes different options to suit any kind of sleeper.
- Renew Hybrid Pillow: This dual pillow has a cloud cell chambered construction on one side with a more traditional medium-support construction on the other.
- Zen Bamboo Pillow: Made with super silky soft and durable bamboo rayon, this range is ideal for hot sleepers and those with skin sensitivities.
- 2 Pack Essential Pillows: Quality and value in one, these pillows hold their shape well, while still feeling plush and comfortable thanks to their Dreamspiral down-alternative fill. Great to sleep on or for shams too.
- Resort Pillow: This hypoallergenic down-alternative pillow provides that superior 5-star resort experience at home and is also easy care and machine washable.