Nothing feels better than waking up from a great night of sleep, and the perfect pillow can make all the difference. Pillows play an essential role in the quality of your sleep. The right pillow can keep you from tossing and turning all night long, so you’ll feel rested and recharged when you wake up. Sleeping on the wrong pillow can be the source of headaches, neck pain, and discomfort. Most importantly the wrong pillow can keep you from getting a full night of sleep.
But with so many pillows to choose from, buying the right pillow can be a daunting task. Here are a few things to consider when looking for the perfect pillow.
Consider Your Sleep Position
Find a pillow that puts your body in a “neutral alignment”. This means that your head is square to your shoulders without being too far back or too far forward. The perfect pillow is designed to keep your head neutral in your preferred sleeping position. In general, back sleepers need a medium density pillow, side sleepers need a firm pillow, and stomach sleepers need a thin, almost flat pillow.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
Probably the most important component of a pillow, the filling is what provides your head and neck with the proper support. From down-feathers and foam pieces, to polyester fiberfill and memory foam, these days there is no shortage of pillow fillings. It can be tough figuring out which filling is best for you because each type has its advantages and disadvantages. But, consider all the fill options when you’re looking for your next pillow.
Memory Foam: Over the past 15 years memory foam has been all the rage in the bedding world. You can find memory foam in pretty much every bedding product including pillows. The reason memory foam has become so popular is its ability to reduce pressure points while continuously adjusting to your head and neck. But be weary, if you are a hot sleeper, memory foam has been known to make heat buildup worse. If you are looking at purchasing a memory foam pillow, you might want to consider adding a cooling pillow cover to keep your head and neck cool.
Polyester: Polyester pillows are easy to come by and tend to be less expensive than other fill types. These pillows come in a variety of firmness levels. Because they are easy to wash and dry they are best if you have a sensitivity to dust and need to wash your pillows frequently. It’s important to look for quality construction when purchasing a polyester fill pillow because some cheaper polyester pillows will break down much faster than other materials.
Down/feather: Down pillows are one of the best pillows for a good night’s sleep. This is mostly because you can move the filling inside the pillow to offer the most support where you need it. They tend to be soft, yet firm enough to give you the support you need. Some sleepers have multiple pillows for each sleeping position, but the movability of down filling is a great alternative to stacking your bed full of pillows.
What’s On The Outside Still Matters
One of the most overlooked components of a pillow is the outer shell. When looking at pillows, most shoppers only squeeze the pillow to feel the filling. When you’re buying your next pillow make sure to also examine the outer shell. Does the fabric feel comfortable? Is it made with durable materials? Will it cause irritation on your head or neck?
Unless you’re looking at a memory foam pillow, you’re probably going to buy a pillow with a cotton or polyester outer cover. Cotton tends to be more breathable than other fabrics, so if you are a sleeper who needs their pillow to stay cool, cotton can be the answer. If staying cool is important to you, you might want to consider specialty pillows that are designed to stay cool throughout the night.
Change Your Pillow Often
Do you know the lifespan of the average pillow? Chances are you’ve been holding onto your pillow for way too long. According to Dr. James Maas, author of Power Sleep, a good pillow should last four to five years. Many people, however, keep theirs for ten years or more. Keeping your pillow past its lifespan can be the reason why you are not getting a great night’s sleep, so make sure to change yours often.
Look At Specialty Pillows:
Many pillows are designed to address specific needs, including hot flashes, headaches, and snoring. Here’s a quick look at some of the options:
Cooling pillows: Nobody likes having to flip the pillow to the “cool side” multiple times a night. As a result, retailers have designed pillows with special technologies that keep your pillow cool. If you love the idea of a pillow that stays cool, but you can only use a certain type of pillow that does have this ability, look into adding cooling pillow covers.
Water pillows: These pillows use water to create a customized level of support. This can be extremely useful if you are always changing sleeping positions. Instead of having to have multiple pillows, you can have one that changes to the perfect firmness.
Anti-snore pillows: Snoring typically happens when sleepers are on their back. Although there is limited research showing that any particular pillow design affects snoring, some sleepers have found these pillows can provide relief.
Tips For Buying The Perfect Pillow Online
Buying a pillow in a store can be tough, buying a pillow online can be awfully difficult. As much as you might read about the pillow, you won’t truly know how it feels until you sleep on it. However, buying your pillow online has it benefits. Besides saving you money, you have access to pretty much every pillow imaginable. It makes it that much easier to find the perfect pillow designed specifically for you. Follow these tips to make your next online purchase a breeze:
Find the right firmness: The biggest challenge with buying a pillow online is determining if the pillow is the right firmness for your sleeping position. A general rule of thumb is soft fills are for stomach sleepers, medium fills are for back sleepers, and firm fills are for side sleepers. Also, sleepers with larger heads will require more filling than sleepers with smaller heads.
Don’t judge a book by its cover: The same old saying is true for pillows. Most websites will have only have pictures of their fluffiest and fullest filled pillows because they look the prettiest. Pictures are not how you should buy your pillow. Instead, make sure to thoroughly read the reviews so you know exactly what to expect.
Find out the return policy: Due to federal regulations, it is illegal for retailers to resell used bedding. Unfortunately, this means that not all retailers offer returns. You need to do extra research to find out if the retailer accepts returns. If they do, look at their return policy. You should have enough time to sleep on your new pillow for at least a week.
Don’t Forget The Pillow Case
Why would you spend so much time finding the perfect pillow only to cover it with an inferior pillow case? Upgrading your pillow case can make any normal pillow the “perfect pillow”. Look for pillow covers that are hypoallergenic and machine-washable, but still won’t irritate your skin. By combining your pillow with a temperature regulating pillow cover, your pillow will absorb excess heat and release it when you get too cold, dramatically increasing your sleeping comfort.