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Last Updated May 15, 2023
Is your pillow giving you a stiff neck, shoulders, or back while you sleep? If yes, then you’ve chosen the wrong one. Scrunching and folding the pillow, tossing and turning all night, and struggling to wake up refreshed - the pillow you are using right now is probably not the best for your comfort and support.
We are all different in shape, size and even have our own sleeping positions. So, there’s no single pillow that’s perfect for each and every one. The trouble is, there are a lot of pillow options available out there, and choosing the right one may be a bit overwhelming. But fret not! No matter whether you are a side sleeper, back, or stomach sleeper, this handy reference guide can help you find the best pillows!
First things first, before you buy a pillow, ask yourself these questions:
Is my pillow comfortable, not too soft, or not too firm?
Does it provide proper support for both my head and neck?
Would I be happy to sleep eight long hours in this posture?
If the answer to all these questions is ‘NO,’ then it is high to start shopping for a new pillow. Here are some of the important criteria that you must consider when finding the best pillow for you:
Whether you want a flat or fluffy pillow, each type of pillow has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you are someone who likes a soft place to rest your head, you may be interested in a down pillow. These kinds of pillows are either made from goose or duck fiber. Goose down is softer and more expensive than duck down. Even though the manufacturers label them as “pure down pillows” or “all down,” they may still contain feathers and other fill.
If you are worried about allergic reactions caused by a down pillow, then there is something that you should know. Allergic reactions and sensitivity to down come from a bad quality filling that hasn't been cleaned properly. So, it is always best to go for good quality hypoallergenic down, or “hypo down,” that may reduce or prevent allergic reactions and increase the longevity of the pillow. They might be a bit expensive, but definitely worth it if this is the type you prefer.
Apart from pure down pillows, there are synthetic down and polyester fill pillows that are less expensive than natural, hypoallergenic pillows. But the fact is they are teeming with nasty chemicals such as ethylene glycol.
And, when you use such a pillow, you are inhaling it as you sleep. Polyester pillows are medium to soft and are most likely to flatten with time. They typically need frequent replacement than other types of pillows.
Then there are wool pillows with their breathable and insulative qualities. It’s no wonder that wool is a magical luxury fiber that tends to be pretty firm. They are naturally hypoallergenic as well as resistant to dust mites.
And what more, wool pillows are designed to wick away the moisture from your head and regulate your temperature while you sleep - It keeps you warm during winter and cooler in summer. If you are looking for a firm pillow, I would definitely recommend you to use alpaca wool pillows.
Organic cotton, latex, and memory foam are other pillow options available out there. Just like wool and down pillows, organic cotton pillows are hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.
They are somewhat flat and firmer than down and are often regarded as the best choice for those with allergies and chemical sensitivities. However, cotton should be cleaned regularly to avoid dust mites, and it may also get lumpy over time.
Latex pillows are designed to give extra support to your head and neck. These pillows hold on to their shape and are very comfortable and firmer than down.
On the other hand, there are tremendously popular memory foam pillows that conform to your original shape. Memory foam pillows respond to your body weight and heat.
When you are buying a pillow, consider certified organic latex, cotton, or wool. This is because natural pillows like them are chemical-free, allergen-free, and can make an incredible difference to your health.
Although many companies offer different pillow sizes, the perfect size is the one that lets you sleep with your head, neck, and shoulders properly aligned with the spine. It doesn’t matter whether the pillow is big or small, and most importantly, you must pay attention to how the pillow sizes influence your posture through the night.
The standard pillow size measures 20x26 inches and can be considered an acceptable fit for children to larger-bodied sleepers. There are also super standard, king, and queen-sized pillows. Super standard-sized pillows can be considered as the best option for combination sleepers as their extra width provides more support.
While buying a pillow, quality is another important criterion to ensure its comfort, support, and longevity. Once you decide the type of pillow fill and the pillow size that is right for you, make sure to choose the highest quality pillow.
Yes, your sleeping position does matter! It is perhaps one of the key factors in choosing the best pillow to sleep soundly night after night.
Based on your sleeping posture, the body requires your neck and spine to be in a particular position to avoid pain and aches.
If you are someone who sleeps on your back, you will need a pillow that supports the upper part of your spine.
It is preferable to use thin and flat pillows for back sleepers as they help the body maintain the natural curvature of your head, neck, shoulders as well as spine.
Stomach sleepers should choose a relatively flat and soft pillow to ensure that the neck and head don’t turn to either side. This also helps in preventing your head from rising too high and unnecessary pressure on your neck.
Those who love sleeping on their side should use a more contoured pillow that evenly distributes your body weight and aligns your neck and head with the spine.
Most of you won’t take your pillow seriously, but if you really wish to have a healthier and happier sleep and finally wake up refreshed each morning, you must not ignore them.
So, choose the right sleeping gear and say bye-bye to sleepless nights.
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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.