The right pillow can be the difference between waking up refreshed and waking up with a sore neck.
That’s why we’re here with some helpful advice on how to choose a pillow that’s suited to you and your sleeping needs. While an unsupportive pillow can result in upper body aches and pains, the perfect pillow can prevent and ease them.
Looking for better sleep? Check out our personalised pillow tips…
Choosing the Right Pillow for You
Making the right pillow choice for you comes down to several factors, including how you sleep, your firmness preferences and any sleep-related issues you may encounter.
Here are some things to watch out for...
There is a wide range of pillow types out there. Here’s an overview to help you pick the right one.
Feather pillows are typically made from the wing and back feathers of geese or ducks. They feel soft and fluffy but the feathers can start poking out if not replaced regularly. Not suitable for vegans or allergy sufferers.
Down pillows are more expensive than feather and are longer lasting. They are made from clusters of fibres from a goose, duck or swan which looks a bit like cotton wool inside. They are very soft but can lose their shape and become compressed over time. Not suitable for vegans or allergy sufferers.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows are made from viscoelastic foam which softens when pressure and heat is applied. Memory foam pillows mould to the shape of your head, neck and shoulders for personalised head and neck support. They are long-lasting and hypoallergenic.
Latex pillows are either made from natural latex derived from rubber trees or synthetic latex. Latex pillows can feel very firm and are suitable for people with allergies (not to latex!) However they can be expensive and not as suitable for those with joint pain.
Microbead pillows are made of polystyrene beads for very firm support. This type of filling is most commonly found in travel pillows.
A wedge pillow is a triangular-shaped pillow designed to make sitting up in bed more comfortable. This is perfect if you like to read or watch TV in bed, or if you need to stay elevated at night for health reasons.
A body pillow is a larger, longer pillow which is often used by pregnant women for extra comfort.
A standard size pillow will suit most sleepers. You can always sleep with several if you like to support your knees or elevate your legs at night.
Your Sleeping Position
Your favoured sleeping position should be an important consideration when it comes to choosing the right pillow.
Best Pillows for Side Sleepers
Memory foam pillows work well for side sleepers as they help to keep your neck aligned. Sleeping on your side can put pressure on your shoulders. A contour pillow solves this issue as it mirrors the contours of your upper body, encouraging natural spinal alignment.
Stomach sleepers or front sleepers may need a slimmer pillow so as not to elevate your head too much which would emphasise the arch in your spine.
If you sleep on your back, most pillows that support your head will be suitable so it just comes down to personal preference.
How Do I Choose Pillow Firmness?
Pillow firmness comes down to personal preference and the amount of support you require.
Soft pillows are well suited to back and front sleepers and those who enjoy a softer feel.
Firmer pillows work well for side sleepers who may need a little extra support.
Next, we answer some common pillow-related queries…
Is It Better to Have 1 or 2 Pillows?
Again, this is down to personal preference! We recommend sleeping with one pillow to maintain good sleeping posture. However, it can be nice to have an extra pillow to hug or place behind your knees.
Is it Better to Sleep on a Hard or Soft Pillow?
This depends on the level of support you require and your sleeping position. Back and front sleepers may need a softer, slimmer pillow to avoid their head and shoulders being too elevated.
How Elevated Should Your Head be When Sleeping?
The goal is to maintain natural alignment from your head to the base of your spine. This means your head, shoulders and hips should be roughly in one line. However, elevating the head slightly can be beneficial for some health issues such as:
When Should I Replace my Pillow?
Regularly replacing your pillow is important as the body sheds dead hair and skill cells as you sleep which can cause odour, dust mites and bacteria to grow.
The lifespan of a pillow is dependant on the type and quality of the pillow. Polyester pillows should be replaced every 6-24 months, while memory foam pillows can last up to three years.
You should replace your pillow if:
- It is lumpy or compressed
- There are permanent sweat stains
- You wake up with aches and pains in your head, neck and shoulders
- You experience allergy symptoms
- You wake up with headaches
Next, we explore some of the best pillows for different sleep dilemmas...
Best Pillow for Allergy Sufferers
If you suffer from allergies, avoid feather or down pillows which can become a breeding ground for dust and dust mites. Due to the compact construction, memory foam is hypoallergenic and acts as a barrier to dust mites making it the ideal solution for allergy sufferers.
Best Budget Memory Foam Pillow
If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to compromise on comfort, the Essentials Memory Foam Core Pillow combines polyester and memory foam for a supportive night’s sleep. The memory foam relieves pressure while the 100% cotton cover allows for breathability.
Best Pillow for Neck Pain
Neck pain can really affect the quality of your sleep. The Classicpedic Orthopedic Pillow features orthopaedic foam designed for optimum support and pressure relief. The foam moulds to your shape, encouraging correct spinal alignment.
Another option is the Coolmax Memory Foam Wedge Pillow. This can be used in a variety of ways; for sitting up in bed, to elevate your legs, or to support your knees. It supports your spine in different positions, preventing pain by allowing you to relax comfortably.
Best Pillow for Side Sleepers
The 4G Air Contour Memory Foam Pillow features a curved shape to mirror the contours of your neck and upper spine. By allowing your head to rest in the hollow, this innovative pillow design supports your neck and encourages the natural alignment of your spine when sleeping on your side.
Best Pillow for Hot Sleepers
If your head and neck often get too warm during the night, then a cool pillow is just what you need.
4G Aircool Pillows are made from innovative 4G Aircool Memory Foam. This soothing memory foam is infused with gel particles which release a cooling sensation when you rest your head.
Coolmax Pillows feature a breathable Coolmax fabric cover. Coolmax fabric wicks away heat and moisture build-up, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout the night.
Enjoy a Good Night's Sleep
Ready to open the door to a great night's sleep? We have a diverse selection of products for you to browse.
Find your memory foam pillow here.