One of the vital components of a great night’s sleep (along with a Herdysleep wool mattress) is a perfectly plumped pillow. Choose the right pillow and one can enjoy sound sleep the whole night through, leaving you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Using the wrong pillow can lead to broken sleep, leaving you grumpy with a sore neck or in the worst case, even give you an allergic reaction.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to pillows, but with so many to choose from (different heights, filling and support), how do you know which one is right for you?
Our guide will take you through the steps to choosing your perfect pillow, helping you get a great night’s sleep.
1. It depends on how you sleep
For a pleasant sleep, your head needs to be in “neutral alignment”, or a midline position with the rest of your body.
This should be a similar position to standing up with good posture; your head shouldn’t be too far forward or too far back, resting squarely on your shoulders.
You need a firm, medium pillow that provides just enough support so your neck and head aren’t too far forward, but not too little that it tilts your head upwards.
For extra support for your lower back, sleep with a pillow underneath your knees too.
You need a soft, flat pillow, because you only need to lift your head a small amount to align the spine.
You need a medium to firm, thick pillow that supports your head and keeps it in line with your spine. Sleep with a pillow between your knees or around your waist to further align your back.
The ideal position to sleep in when you’re pregnant is on your left side, with lots of support.
Use pillows between your knees and one under your belly, to keep everything in line.
You can also buy special pregnancy pillows to help provide relief from aches and pains.
2. Choose the right pillow filling
There are a variety of pillow types on the market, each with different advantages and disadvantages. Here we look at the main five.
A versatile pillow, synthetic is the affordable option.
Lightweight, easy to care for and good for those with allergies. They do however have a short life-span and they tend to flatten quite quickly.
Soft, durable and long-lasting, feather pillows are relatively inexpensive.
However, they don’t offer much support for side or back sleepers, and the feather quills can spike through covers, making them uncomfortable for some.
Very soft, airy and cool, down pillows are luxurious.
They aren’t very supportive and can be expensive, but while feathers may come through the covers, these won’t be spiky like feather pillows.
Very supportive, durable and easy to look after, memory foam pillows are perfect for those who don’t move much in their sleep or are suffering with neck or back pain.
However, if you tend to move around a lot, then a memory foam pillow may not suit you.
Supportive, soft and quick to bounce back, a wool pillow draws moisture away from the skin for a steady temperature. It’s also naturally dust mite free.
3. Looking after your pillow
Once you’ve got a pillow that gives you the support you need, it’s important to look after it properly to ensure a long life.
Even with a pillowcase, your pillow will absorb all sorts.
From perspiration and saliva to germs and dust mites – the list goes on.
The first step is to buy pillow protectors.
They keep pillows cleaner, they’re easy to wash, they reduce allergens, and they lengthen the life of your pillows. The pillows themselves should also be washed occasionally, usually at least twice a year.
How do I know when I need to replace my pillow?
If you suspect that a pillow needs replacing, then there is a simple test that you can do.
Fold the pillow in half and place a clean shoe on the top.
If your pillow doesn’t bounce back, throwing the training shoe off, then it is old and needs replacing.
If the shoe falls off and the pillow straightens itself, your pillow can stay!
Are you a back, side or stomach sleeper? What kind of pillow do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below or join the flock on Herdysleep's Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.