The key to a good night’s sleep is a comfortable place to rest. Although choosing the right mattress is important, choosing a pillow that suits your preferences and habits is also vital to sleeping comfortably through the night.
In order to choose the best pillow for your mattress and sleeping style, you should understand the different types of pillows available. Different pillows suit different sleeping positions, common sleep problems and comfort preferences.
There is no one right choice when it comes to selecting a pillow. The best pillow depends on an individual’s sleeping patters and preferences. By using this guide to pillows, you can find tips on selecting the pillow most likely to give you the best night’s sleep possible.
Your Current Pillow
Chances are you’ve been using the same pillow for several years. In all likelihood, the last pillow you bought was the cheapest one you could find at your local big-box store.
If you didn’t spend much time picking out your current pillow, there’s an excellent chance that it’s not fully meeting your needs. It may be too soft, too thick or too thin. It could also be worn from overuse. Old pillows tend to lose their support and structure over time, which can lead to neck pain and other forms of discomfort as you sleep.
Do you find yourself stacking up multiple pillows to get a good night’s rest? That could be a sign that your pillows are too thin and unsupportive for your preferences.
Are you flipping your pillow over multiple times a night and turning the AC down due to overheating? Your pillow could be made of a material that retains too much heat for comfort.
When preparing to buy a new pillow, take note of what makes you unhappy with your current pillow. That can give you a guideline of what to look for when you go shopping for replacements.
Understanding Pillow Types
When looking for pillows with the perfect qualities and attributes for your preferences, you may find hundreds of different options. By narrowing down what each type of pillow offers, you can make the decision easier.
Consider the following materials used to make and fill pillows:
- Down, made of fibres from goose and duck feathers, is very soft. You may prefer a hypoallergenic or synthetic down.
- Polyester filled pillows are quite soft, though they may flatten more easily than higher-quality pillows.
- Wool pillows are quite firm and can help to regulate your temperature throughout different seasons.
- Cotton pillows are firm, regulate temperature readily and are often flatter than other types of pillows.
- Latex pillows are firm but not flat and are generally good at holding their shape. You can purchase a pre-shaped pillow for extra support.
- Memory foam contours to the shape of your head and neck, offering full support. The dense surrounding material can be very warm.
- Shredded memory foam offers a similar experience to memory foam, with less warmth. You can mold the shape of the pillow yourself if you prefer.
- Buckwheat hull pillows are a natural option that are firm, low and very supportive, as well as cooling. The texture is like a bean bag.
When looking at pillow types, keep in mind you do not have to limit yourself to a single type of pillow. For the best results, try combining multiple types of pillows until you find a set you are comfortable with.
Complimenting Your Mattress
Before making plans for the type of pillow you want, take some time to note the type of mattress you have or want to buy. You may find a particular mattress comfortable without knowing exactly why, and you must understand its various qualities to properly match your pillow purchase to your mattress of choice.
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You might consider trying out another mattress in your home, or even visiting a mattress retailer to make comparisons. If the mattress you try feels too soft, for example, your preferred style of mattress may be firmer.
Regardless of your sleeping position, it is always best to ensure your head, shoulders, neck and spine are lined up in a comfortable manner with no strain. This alignment can be affected by the softness or firmness of your bed, and a soft or firm mattress must be appropriately complimented.
If you have a very firm mattress, a softer pillow might be needed to take the weight of your head. For a soft mattress, you may need the support of a firmer pillow.
The Way You Sleep
The position in which you sleep may require a particular mattress and pillow combination. You may already have purchased a mattress with your typical sleeping position in mind and may need a matching pillow to compliment your existing mattress.
If your mattress is not entirely suited to the way you sleep, you could potentially correct your discomfort by choosing a pillow to fit your sleeping position. The recommendations for different sleeping positions are as follows:
- Side sleepers need to make sure their heads are supported, as there may be a gap between the neck and the mattress. Make sure your pillow offers enough support when added to the firmness of your mattress. There may be added pressure on the side you sleep on, if your mattress is very firm. In this case, consider softer pillows, and perhaps extra pillows for your hips and back.
- Stomach sleepers may need a firm mattress to prevent strain on the lower back. A softer pillow could help add more comfort, but must allow your head to remain low, to keep your spine and neck aligned.
- Back sleepers generally need a firm mattress, and you may want to add to your comfort by choosing a softer pillow. The pillow cannot be too high, as this can push your head forward while you sleep. Consider something low or shaped to keep your shoulders and neck in the correct posture.
- Combination sleepers may simply choose the mattress that feels most comfortable overall, as they change positions during the night. A pillow that can adapt is the best option for these sleepers. You may even find a pillow with some higher or lower sections to use depending on your position.
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