Did you know that you use your pillow for over 2500 hours a year? That’s over 100 days non-stop! Your pillow is much more than just something to put your head on at night, it is a vital part of getting a good night’s sleep. Using the wrong pillow can mean that you don’t sleep as soundly as you should, waking from deep sleep to try and get more comfortable resulting in waking up not feeling refreshed, sound familiar?
Choosing the right pillow
You spend so much time with your pillow that it’s worth going to the trouble of selecting one that’s right for you. You will have your own sleeping style; perhaps you sleep mostly on your side, perhaps on your back, or a mixture of the two – this determines the ideal height of your pillow. Depending upon the state of your neck, spine and back you will require a specific amount of support from your pillow, you’ll even have your own preferences for the pillow filling; synthetic (hollow fibre) or natural (feather or down), or perhaps something more unusual like memory foam, latex, cotton or water.
Summary of the main pillow types:
Pros: Relatively cheap, lightweight, good for those with allergies, easy to care for, easy to bend and scrunch to get required height, not noisy
Cons: Have the shortest life-span (6 months to 2 years), flatten quite quickly, the filling can clump and get out of shape
Pillow advisor summary: Synthetic pillows are the workhorse of the pillow world and are the most versatile; being a pretty good choice for most people and suited to many sleeping styles. Do yourself a favour though and get yourself a decent one.
Pros: Usually inexpensive, soft, easy to shape, durable – has a good lifespan
Cons: The feather quills can quite often poke through even the toughest cover – they’re spiky! Do not offer a lot of support or height – not great for side sleepers, can be a bit noisy, will need regular fluffing and shaking to get back into shape, not great for allergy sufferers
Pillow advisor summary: Used to be popular but not particularly recommended unless you sleep mostly on your back or front and if feather pillows are your thing.
Pros: Tend to make the softest pillows, nice and light, cool an airy, easy to shape, long lasting, quiet
Cons: Feathers can sometimes poke through the cover (though usually not spikey like feathers), do not offer a lot of support or height – not great for side sleepers, can be expensive, will need occasional fluffing and shaking to get back into shape, not ideal for allergy sufferers unless the down has been correctly processed.
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Pillow advisor summary: Although a bit pricey, nothing feels as soft and luxurious as a down pillow. They aren’t ideal where support or neck pain relief is required, but will not disappoint in almost all other circumstances.
Memory Foam Pillows
Pros: Offers good support and pain relief, is soft and smooth without lumps, can be contoured to closely match head and neck, quiet, good durability and easy to look after, those people who get on with memory foam pillows LOVE them.
Cons: The foam is expensive to make and for this reason this type of pillow can be relatively expensive.
Pillow advisor summary: worth a go if you get the opportunity, they might be your favorite ever pillow, but they are a bit pricey and not for everyone.
Pros: Very long lasting natural material, cooler and more airy than memory foam, shapes itself to the head and neck. Soft and supportive offering effective pressure relief, holds its shape well, quiet
Cons: Can be expensive, heavy, fixed shape and height so if a pillow is not right you can’t adjust it, can smell strange to begin with.
Pillow advisor summary: Latex pillows have some of the highest satisfaction ratings of all pillows and can offer you a very comfortable pain-free night, but make sure you buy one of the right height for you.