Choosing the Right Pillow for a Good Night’s Sleep
Choosing the right pillow is as important as choosing your mattress in order to get a good night’s sleep. Take a moment to inspect your pillow. Does it feel worn out? Are you getting the support you need? When was the last time you replaced your pillow? Like your mattress, consider your pillow as an investment in high-quality sleep. The better your sleep, the better your performance.
What makes a good pillow?
A good pillow supports your body while you sleep and helps you maintain a healthy sleep posture. A healthy sleep posture means your body is in alignment. To achieve alignment and support your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees should be inline. Without the proper support, you could negatively impact your alignment and experience discomfort, pain, and even sleeplessness.
If it’s been a while since you replaced your pillow or you notice that your pillow is starting to ware, consider purchasing a new one! With the exception of memory foam pillows, which typically last up to three years, you should replace your pillow every 18-24 months. Pillows made with natural materials will last longer than pillows made with synthetic materials.
What’s your sleep position?
The position you sleep in makes a big difference to the pillow you choose. Whether you’re inclined to sleep in the same position, or you find that you move around throughout the night, be sure to choose a pillow based on your primary sleeping position.
Side sleepers: Try a firmer pillow. Find one as thick as the distance between your ear and outside shoulder.
Stomach sleepers: Look for a soft pillow or no pillow at all. For back support, try a lighter pillow under your stomach and pelvis. This is a great way to relieve back pain.
Back sleepers: A flatter pillow will help keep your head and neck inline. Normally a softer pillow is recommended, but if you wake up with neck pain, look for a pillow that provides additional support. Some also find comfort with a smaller or lighter pillow under the knees to help with alignment.
Choosing the Right Pillow Type
Here’s our list of the most common types of pillows you can buy. As you read through your options consider which pillow best suits your favored sleeping position.
Down pillows are light and soft. This makes them more malleable for those who like to re-shape their pillow. Goose down also tends to be softer than duck down and therefore more expensive. Down pillows are made of different combinations of down, feathers, and other fillings. For those allergic to down and feathers, try pillows made with hypo-allergenic down, also known as “hypodown”, to get that same down comfort. Good quality down pillows are expensive, but worth it if it’s your preferred pillow.
Synthetic down and polyester fill are an inexpensive option and tend to be medium to soft, though less soft than down. They are easy to re-shape and maneuver. Synthetic down and polyester pillows flatten with time which may cause them to be replaced more frequently.
Wool pillows are naturally hypo-allergenic, and resistant to mold and dust mites. They wick away moisture from your head and neck and can be effective at helping regulate your temperature during sleep, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Wool pillows also tend to be firm and long lasting. If you want the benefits of wool without all the firmness, look for alpaca wool, rather than cashmere fibers.
Cotton pillows, like Wool pillows, are naturally hypo-allergenic and resistant to dust mites and mold. Cotton pillows tend to be somewhat flat and firm. However, they are often a smart choice for people with allergies and chemical sensitivities. Cotton pillows are also great for summer weather or people who tend to get warm when they sleep because they help keep you cool.
Latex pillows are yet another natural option and tend to be more firm than down, but still very comfortable. They hold their shape and are harder to squish. Latex is resistant to mold and dust mites. Contoured pillows designed to deliver extra support to the head and neck, or to restrict movement during sleep, are made from latex.
Memory foam pillows have become tremendously popular in recent years because they conform to your individual shape. Responding to your weight and body heat, memory foam softens and conforms to the lines of your head, neck, and shoulders, while evenly distributing your weight across the surface of the pillow. These qualities make it a popular choice for people with head and neck pain, or pressure points that cause discomfort during sleep. Be aware that these pillows can also give off chemical smells, particularly when they are brand-new, which can cause a reaction in some people. Try throwing it in the dryer for 10-15 minutes to help get rid of the smell, or follow special instructions provided by the manufacturer. We also recommend a lavender pillow spray or your favorite calming essential oil to promote a peaceful first sleep.
Specialty Pillows can help with additional support and stability. There are cervical and contour pillows to help with neck and back pain. There are also body pillows which can provide support, stability, and relief at multiple pressure points along the body.
How to avoid allergies from your pillow
Allergic to down pillows? Down and feathers can house dust mites over time. Dust mites feed off of dead skin cells and leave excrement behind that can contribute to asthma and allergies. They are known to flourish in warm weather, so keeping your feather bedding clean during those summer months is important. One solution is to wash your pillow using a down-safe laundry detergent, like Woolite. Dry pillows in a dryer with a hot setting. Alternatively, just tumble dry the pillows on full heat for 10 to 15 minutes once a week. This kills the mites and helps keep dust mite colonies from forming.
Also, changing your pillow case more frequently, say every 2-3 days, helps keep your pillow free of dust mites. Sevenfold Home Pillow Case Sets come in sets of 2, so you can have one pillow case in use while the other is in the laundry.
Consider your allergies and chemical sensitivities when selecting a pillow type.
Match the Right Pillow Case to Your Pillow
For most people, a standard-size pillow is sufficiently large. However, king sized pillows are generally used for King or California King beds. The thickness or thinness of your pillow should enable you to sleep with your head, neck, and shoulders aligned with your spine, as well as provide you comfort. Read the pillow label to find out what size pillow you bought and be sure to order the right size pillow case. Sevenfold Home Pillow Cases come in three sizes: Standard, Queen and King, so your pillow cover will fit your new pillow size perfectly. Sevenfold pillow cases are made from the same specially-sourced premium cotton as our sheets. An inside tuck fold ensures your pillows stay uncommonly cozy.
Choosing the right pillow for a good night’s sleep has never been so easy.