How often have you gone to the store hoping this would be the time you finally purchase a perfect pillow for your night sleep? I also used to come back home with my “perfect option”, but after testing one during several nights, it felt either too soft, hard, flat or everything all together.
The conclusion is, you can’t really trust your feelings in the store (maybe, the exception is when you purchase a bed rest or a neck pillow). In fact, scientists confess it takes a week sleeping on a pillow to find out if it’s the right one for you. No doubt, such fact can drive all of us in a tight corner…
Among the many available options with different pillow inserts and forms, it’s not your personal preferences that should determine what kind of pillow you’re likely to buy.
Again, according to many scientists, the determinative factor is your sleep position. Let’s learn how knowing your sleep position can make your bedding pillow shopping easier and herewith save a bunch of money by excluding for wrong options.
But, first, let’s take a deep look at what exactly is hidden inside our pillows.
1. Feathers or Down
Feathers and down are different in their structure. Down softens and flattens the pillow, meanwhile further makes it firmer. Compared to down, feather models don’t seem to create a lot of comfort for sleepers because of the feathers tending to poke through.
In addition, you’ll always need to fluff the pillow to keep it from flattening. However, feather insert is quite soft, durable and usually cheaper than down.
I think, down is a bit pricey because it’s really soft, light and pleasant to the touch. The drawback of both feather and down is that they are unsuitable for people suffering from allergy.
2. Down Alternative
If you are indeed allergic to natural feather and down, down alternative is your true salvation. Such synthetic filling consisting of polyester microfibers gives the same feeling of softness as a traditional filling, so you won’t spot any significant difference when trying both.
True down and its alternative can provide you with a good support and warm up the cushion very easily. The main difference is perhaps in the price and in the way how these materials should be cleaned and maintained. Synthetic models are always cheaper and easier to clean than models with natural inserts.
3. Memory Foam
People who ever tried sleeping on a memory foam pillow, tend to love it. What’s so special about this polyurethane foam and why did it get such an interesting name? The answer is simple: the material can modify its shape to the person’s body, in other words, “memorize” the person’s head and neck position.
It helps you sink into the pillow instead of laying on its top. The bad thing is that it leads to bad ventilation and increases the sensation of heat. Hence, a memory foam cushion is a bad choice for people who like it “cold”.
Even though memory foam pillows are more expensive than any of the options above, the price is justified by the number of positive features, like the ability to provide a good support and relieve pain. Just make sure this one is right for you.
By the way, most of the bamboo pillows contain memory foam instead of true eco-friendly and organic materials. Glaring names do not always tell the truth, so stay careful!
4. Latex Foam
If you like everything about memory foam expect the too-much-heat part, latex pillows can be a great replacement. Natural rubber material provides a good support, remains soft and herewith keeps away the microbes and mildew. Latex foam models seem to have the least amount of cons, therefore have the highest ratings among all types of pillows. You just have to figure out its correct shape and height for your own body. Although, keep in mind that such latex is a red flag for people allergic to it.
I should give a credit to this polyester synthetic fiber, as it’s one of the most common and affordable pillow inserts. Depending on different firmness and thickness, polyester pillows fit all sleeper types.
They prevent from neck pains and in addition to that, maintain the shape of your head longer than pillows made of cotton. But here comes a downside: polyester tends to flatten faster and preserve heat, which can be very uncomfortable during a hot night. I also wouldn’t recommend polyester to people with skin or breathing problems since such material might collect dust mites.
6. Buckwheat Hulls
Buckwheat hulls as a pillow insert? – you might think right now. Absolutely! This 100% organic pillow filler was used in Asian countries for centuries before we could finally discover its benefits for ourselves.
Yes, buckwheat hulls are heavy, a bit noisy and for some people even too firm, but they maintain their pillow’s loft well and ensure a great support. Besides, such pillows have support high durability and can be utilized for 10 years or even longer.
What Type Of a Sleeper Are You?
1. Side Sleeper
Most people prefer sleeping on either of the two sides. The best pillow for side sleepers, according to 2015 issue of Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, should be firm or extra firm to keep the right curve of the neck and head.
Herewith, the height of the pillow should be around 4 inches above the mattress. Side sleepers should give preference to latex or memory foam since such inserts won’t flatten that fast as polyester or down.
2. Back Sleepers
Those who love sleeping on the back should search for medium-firm and medium-loft (the height of the pillow on the bed) models stuffed with down, memory foam or latex foam. They will keep your neck’s natural curve. Furthermore, don’t forget that back sleepers often suffer from snoring as the tongue blocks the airway and eventually causes that annoying buzzing. In this case, scientists suggest supporting the sleeper with at least 2 pillows to lift up the upper body and avoid the tongue’s airway block.
3. Stomach Sleeper
Compared to the previous types of sleepers, people rolling over to their pillow should shop for thin and soft models with down alternative, polyester or foam inserts. Firm and high-loft pillows can become a reason for a neck pain.
4. Combination Sleeper
Yes, a person who likes moving around during his sleep may get very confused. The best option for combination sleepers are pillows filled with several materials. Also, I’ll give a credit to a buckwheat pillow, which can easily adjust to any of your sleep positions.
Knowing your sleeping peculiarities can help find that one perfect pillow to ensure your good sleep. I gave my preference to down alternative for kids and buckwheat hulls pillows for me and my husband, since both of us experience frequent neck pains. And what kind of pillows is your favorite?