What Is the Best Pillow to Purchase?
Tired of laying back and your head sinking straight through your pillow? Or having lumps under your head or waking up every morning in a pool of sweat? If you’re nodding your head, then it’s most definitely time for a new pillow.
You should change your pillow every 1-2 years and wash it regularly to keep it fresh, however, for this, you need a durable pillow, and for your own ease, you want a machine-washable one.
What else you need to look out for when buying a pillow and what factors make up the best pillow, you’re about to find out.
How to Choose the Best Pillow for You
Sleeping is a very subjective experience, with some people nodding off in a few minutes, and others tossing and turning for an hour or more. So, choosing the best pillow isn’t as simple as buying the one with the best rating online: it’s about how you sleep and what’s best for you.
Here are a few things to consider when buying a new pillow:
- Sleeping position
- Sleeping body temperature
- Neck or back pain
Each factor affects what size, shape and material you should choose for your new pillow if you want to get the best night’s sleep of your life.
While the majority of people are combination sleepers, switching sides many times overnight until they feel restful and comfortable, some people can only sleep on a specific side, and as such, should choose the right pillow for their position.
Even combination sleepers spend most of the night on their side, and so require a higher, firmer pillow than those who sleep on their front, who need a relatively soft and thin pillow to properly align their spine. People who sleep on their backs should choose a pillow with medium height and firmness, as should people who know they’re restless overnight and should allow their head and neck to be comfortable in every position.
Moving Around at Night Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
It may seem as though you or your partner rolling around in bed all night shows restlessness and discomfort, however, moving around at night is largely a positive thing. You don’t want pressure or bed sores from laying in the same position all night, so we move from time to time to improve circulation and shift our weight. If you’re awake while you’re tossing and turning, however, it’s probably a sign you should invest in a new mattress, duvet, or pillow, or need to take another precaution to improve your sleep.
Sleeping Body Temperature
As with sleeping position, people’s body temperature differs greatly overnight, with some people waking up shivering in the middle of the night after the room and their body temperature have dropped, and others finding themselves soaked in sweat each morning. Changing to a thinner or thicker duvet is, of course, the best way to deal with overheating or cooling at night, but since around 10% of heat is lost from our heads our pillows also play a significant role.
If you’re a hot sleeper, materials like memory foam trap heat without having the moisture-wicking technology that cools you down by removing the sweat from your skin and allowing it to evaporate, so they can increase your body temperature and give you an uncomfortable night. Conversely, synthetic down alternatives or replicants have the same cosy insulating effect as down and feathers but have been made with new technologies that allow you to remain cool overnight.
For front sleepers, feather pillows are great as they both fit the sleeping position perfectly and allow airflow through the pillow to keep you cooler than a down-filled pillow.
Babies are hot sleepers and so should have a blanket rather than a duvet until at least 12 months old, however, you can begin to introduce duvets later as they grow.
Neck or Back Pain
Having the wrong shape or size pillow for your body shape and sleeping position can not only cause neck and back pain due to poor alignment with the spine, but also exacerbate previous conditions, so having the right shape pillow is integral for your health.
Orthopaedic pillows tend to be firmer than others in order to provide sufficient support to the neck, while also being on the thinner end of the spectrum so that your head is not any lower or higher than the rest of your body. Since people with neck pain shouldn’t sleep on their fronts anyway, specialist orthopaedic pillows are the best option for those with chronic pain.
As women tend to have more sleepless nights than men, it’s important for them to make their sleep a priority and this is never more important than during pregnancy. That’s why maternity pillows were created. Coming in various shapes and sizes, maternity pillows support the woman’s tummy, neck and back as her body changes and joints begin to strain, to ensure a peaceful night.
You can also find V-shaped pillows to ease discomfort from slouching when breastfeeding.
Best Pillow Fillings
There are four main pillow filling types, each with its own benefits to different sleepers so need to be assessed accordingly:
- Foam pillows support the head and neck well and are naturally hypoallergenic
- Fibre pillows are super soft and the density of the filling changes the pillow’s firmness
- Down pillows are naturally soft and insulating, making back sleepers feel as though they have a cloud to rest their head on
- Feather pillows flatten easily while creating a soft thin cushion for front sleepers
While you can choose which pillow is best for your sleeping position based on the filling, some pillows contain a mix of fillings to gain the benefits of each material. Furthermore, you can determine which pillow cover you need, based on your sleeping temperature.
How Many Pillows Should You Use?
Although half of the UK sleeps with two pillows, this isn’t necessarily the best choice for great sleep. One pillow is the best choice for most people as it should be thick enough to support their head as well as being soft and comfortable, but having two pillows can have its benefits.
One of the most common questions when it comes to pillows is when to wash them, and hopefully, the answer doesn’t surprise you. While you should be changing your bedding every 1 to 2 weeks as most of us spend around 8 hours a day, every day, in them, your pillows also need to be taken care of, with a wash every few months.
In fact, the main secret behind hotel pillows being so comfortable is that they’re washed regularly and replaced more often than we replace our own at home – some people aren’t even sure when to replace their pillows.
Down, feather and down-alternative synthetic materials can usually be washed in a washing machine, although you should always refer to the care instructions on the label, however, most memory foam pillows need to be hand washed. Washing will rejuvenate your feather pillows as much as your hollowfibre pillows, as long as they have plenty of time to dry and can be fluffed up afterwards.
As well as washing our pillows, we should also protect them properly with pillow covers that you can wash once a month to reduce the urgency of washing and drying the pillow itself, especially over Winter. In Summer you can try other ways of protecting your pillows, such as aerating them on a washing line.