On average, we spend about 8 hours a day or one third of our lifetime sleeping. Since that sleep is vital to our health and wellbeing, we naturally want to make the best of those hours and get a therapeutic night’s sleep.
And while most of us recognize the importance of a good mattress to quality sleep, we often overlook the pillow’s importance. Therefore, this guide explains what you need to know about bed pillows, so you can buy the best one for you.
- Size – Like mattresses, pillows come in several sizes. There is a standard, queen, king, European, and body pillow size. And really, there is no right or wrong size. The important thing is to make sure the pillow size doesn’t throw your sleep posture out of alignment. For the same reason, you shouldn’t try to stuff an oversized-pillow into a standard-sized pillowcase or a standard-sized pillow into an oversized pillowcase. Pillows should fit properly into their pillowcases so the thickness and support of the pillow aren’t altered.
- Shape – Studies have shown that pillow shape is important to support and sleeping posture and that it can help reduce snoring and prevent neck and back pain. V-shaped pillows, for example, are good for people who suffer from back pain or who snore; U-shaped pillows are good for overall body support, and contour pillows offer extra neck support.
- Fill – Pillow filling determines a pillow’s feel, and like a mattress, has a variety of forms such as down, feather, polyester, memory foam, microbeads, and cotton. There’s also no right or wrong when it comes to fill; it’s more a matter of personal preferences. For example, for luxuriousness, go with down filling, for affordability goes with polyester fiber pillows, and for pillows that conform to body shape, go with memory foam pillows.
- Fill Power – Fill power is a measurement used for down pillows and measures the amount of volume that one ounce of down will fill. Generally speaking, the higher the fill power, the better the insulation and loft.
- Fabric – Fabric is important to quality sleep as well as skin and hair care. Cotton is a good example; it’s very soft and highly absorbent so cotton pillows absorb much of the moisture in our bodies. As a result, skin can stick to the pillow fabric, which can cause more fine lines and wrinkles over time. In addition, the oils and sweat from the skin absorbed by cotton pillows can cause or exacerbate acne.
- Sleeping position – Your sleeping position should also influence the pillow you choose. Back sleepers and stomach sleepers are better off with thin pillows, side sleepers are better off with high, firm pillows, and side sleepers are better off with pillows that can contour and support the neck.
- Mattress type – Last but not least, the type of mattress you sleep on should also affect your pillow choice. Firm mattresses, for example, should take a softer pillow whereas softer mattresses should take a firmer pillow.