How to choose the right pillow
A good pillow is just as important as a comfortable bed for getting a restful night’s sleep. Even though we rarely give a lot of thought to the pillows we use, buying the right pillow and positioning it correctly could be one of the most important parts of achieving a good night’s sleep. In addition to providing comfort, the right pillows can also give the necessary support for the neck and spine, alleviating or preventing many common forms of back and neck pain.
In addition to aggravating and even causing neck and back pain, incorrect pillows can also trigger allergic reactions . Within two years of use, one-third of a pillow’s weight comprises of dirt, oil, dead skin, dust mites and their droppings.
Buying the right pillow
The key to buying a new pillow is knowing what pillow firmness is going to allow your neck and spine to be aligned properly so there is no gap between your neck and your mattress. It’s recommended that you find a position that enables you to maintain a midline position.
Pillows for Different Sleeping Positions
For correct sleeping posture, only your head and neck should be placed over your pillow. Do not place your shoulders on the pillow because this will elevate your upper body much higher than your lower body. If necessary you could try rolling up a hand towel and placing it in your pillow to fill the gap between your neck and shoulder. To maintain the balance of the entire body, a pillow can be placed between bent knees to achieve the midline position when lying on their side.
Depending on your sleeping position, certain pillows might be better for you than others. Whether you’re a side sleeper, a back sleeper or a front sleeper, discover how to find your perfect pillow here.
How often should you replace a pillow?
There is often confusion about when you should buy new pillows. The life expectancy of a pillow varies depending on the type of material it is made from.
If you are unsure whether it’s time to replace your pillow, find out how to test your pillow here .
What pillow filling is best for me?
Different fillings provide various advantages and degrees of firmness, and they can range in price from tens to hundreds of pounds.
Feather and down pillows, such as down or feather pillows, give you comfort and adjustability. They can support your head, eliminate pressure points and increase facial circulation to decrease face squashing. However, if your pillow has any chance of becoming damp – such as in an extremely humid area or in a camper van or boat – it may not be the best option as it can develop an odour. Down is also not an option if you suffer from asthma or have allergies.
Wool pillows provide outstanding neck and head support whilst retaining a soft wool feel that resists flattening and bounces back easily after use. Wool is a great sleep aid, it draws moisture away from the skin and helps the body to maintain a steady temperature, meaning it’s never too hot or cold; and it’s also antibacterial and hypoallergenic as well as being naturally dust mite free.
Memory foam pillows are made of a dense, temperature-sensitive sponge-like material that can easily support your back and neck by conforming to your individual body shape. The memory foam moulds to your neck and head, creating a comfortable cradle for your head while you sleep. This can help relieve pain in your neck while you are sleeping.
Latex pillows are made from a rubber polymer that returns to shape time after time and offers you unrivalled comfort and support. The latex sponge is very reactive to pressure, but unlike memory foam it has instant bounce-back. Latex pillows also have the added benefit of being hypoallergenic.
Synthetic pillows are man-made, usually polyester. They are hypoallergenic making them ideal for allergy sufferers. However, they have a shorter life span and do not conform to the head and neck as well as most other pillows.
Orthopaedic pillows exist in several different shapes and materials and are most commonly used to relieve neck and back pain. Some promise to keep their shape or mould and adjust to your head and shoulders, always keeping spine alignment as the number one focus.
Watch this video for information from physiotherapist Sammy Margo, who talks about choosing the perfect pillow filling.
If your sleep is being disrupted by being too hot or too cold, it is recommended that you opt for breathable bedding. This will help prevent you from overheating and perspiring, as the breathability of your bedding will allow moisture to be absorbed and dispersed.
- Natural cover fabrics, such as cotton will have far better breathability than polyester and other man-made fibres.
- By opting for bedding containing natural fillings, there will be more breathability that those made from synthetic materials. Natural fillings possess the ability to absorb and disperse excess moisture.
Pillows for different sleep issues
Choosing the right pillow can help alleviate common sleep problems such as allergies, snoring and neck and back pains.
Pillows to help snoring – If your head and neck are not properly supported your airways can be restricted, which causes snoring by putting undue stress on your throat muscles. If your nasal passages are being obstructed, then your snoring may also be caused by an allergy.
The SlumberSlumber Contour Memory Foam Pillow with Silver is ideal for helping keep your airways open and offering superb comfort.
Pillows to relieve allergies – Many people suffer from allergies, particularly in the bedroom.
Anti-allergy bedding, such as Allersafe is blended with Amicor Pure Acrylic Fibre, an intelligent fibre with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal additives inside, creating an environment that is unsuitable for dust mites to survive. The Allersafe range of bedding can prevent the allergic reaction and reduce snoring.
Pillows to reduce neck and back pain – If you suffer from back or neck pain, it’s important to look at your pillows. Depending on the position you sleep in and the type of pillow you are currently using, a change of pillow could help alleviate your back or neck pain. Find out more information here .
Support pillows such as the Mediflow Pillow is designed to fit you perfectly. With its patented water base, simply fill with water, adjusting the amount of water to the degree of support you prefer. This flexibility allows you to choose from soft, medium or firm support. This will offer the correct firmness and cervical spine and head support while responding to changing sleep positions. It is clinically shown to reduce morning neck pain intensity, increase pain relief and improve quality of sleep.