How To Choose the Right Pillow

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Do you wake up with a stiff and sore neck? Do your upper shoulders and back feel tight and tense? These problems could be directly related to the type of pillow you sleep on. Pillows are designed to support the shoulders, head, and neck and help ensure your spine is properly aligned. Learning how to choose the right pillow for the best sleep will help you get more restful sleep and stop waking up with muscle tension, soreness, and stiffness. 

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How To Choose the Right Pillow for You

The right pillow will vary from person to person based on their own personal sleeping preferences and specific needs. The first step in the process of finding the perfect pillow is your sleep position. The position you sleep in determines what support you need. 

It is important to choose a pillow that will keep your spine properly aligned while you sleep. This helps prevent aches and pains. Other considerations when choosing the right pillow include the materials, shape, and size. You also want a pillow that feels the most comfortable to you. 

How Do Pillows Affect Sleep and Overall Wellness?

A pillow’s primary purpose is to support the head and ensure the spine remains aligned while we sleep. Misaligned problems can result in neck, shoulder, and upper back pain, as well as muscle tension and stiffness. 

Additionally, having the wrong pillow can cause you to wake up several times through the night or even have problems falling asleep — sleep disturbances alter the quality of sleep cycles. When you don’t get sufficient and restful sleep, it reduces the immune system's effectiveness. Lowered immune system responses increase the risks of getting sick. Poor sleep also contributes to increased risks of injury-causing accidents. 

How To Choose the Right Pillow Based on Sleeping Position

There are three different types of sleepers: side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and back sleepers. When comparing pillows, you want to choose the best pillows for sleeping that fit the type of sleeper you are. You should also consider whether you are a hot sleeper. If you are, there are cooling pillows available that use special cooling technologies to keep your head cool. 

Once you determine what pillow you need, you should narrow down your choices further by selecting the firmness, size, and shape that best suits your preferred sleeping position. 

Side Sleepers

The most popular sleeping position is the side sleeper. In this position, you sleep on your right or left side. You may change positions at night while you sleep. You want a pillow that provides the proper firmness and support to keep your head elevated and your spine aligned. 

Most people need a pillow that can maintain about six inches of head height throughout the night. At this height, the spine, sternum, and nose are aligned, which can help reduce snoring and breathing issues while sleeping. 

Side sleepers can also use body pillows between their legs for added support and comfort. These pillows help reduce pressure on the hips and pelvis while also helping them maintain good sleeping posture. 

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers find it most comfortable to sleep on their stomachs. Sleeping in this position places added strain on the shoulders, neck, back, and spine. The best pillow for stomach sleepers is a pillow with a short height of about two to three inches.

If you also use a body pillow under your stomach, it will raise the height you need. So, if the body pillow raises you back four inches, then you want a head pillow that is about six inches. 

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers need a special type of pillow that helps maintain proper neck and head support while keeping the spine aligned. As such, cervical pillows are the most popular pillow with back sleepers. These pillows are angled so the bottom part under the back is higher and the top part where the head goes is lower. 

How To Choose the Right Pillow Fill, Shape, and Size

Other important considerations when choosing the right pillow are the fill, shape, and size. These determine the pillow's comfort and the amount of support it provides. 

Pillow Fill

The materials used to fill the pillow vary and provide different levels of comfort. Down pillows are very soft but do not provide much height. Memory foam pillows offer added support and height. But they are denser, which means they can make it difficult to stay cool when you sleep

Latex pillows are very firm and provide height and support. They are often encased in a softer material for comfort. Other pillow-fill materials you will find include feathers, polyester, and buckwheat. 

Pillow Shape

While rectangle-shaped pillows are the most popular, you will find other pillow shapes, such as round, curved, and angled (cervical) pillows. There are also U-shaped neck pillows. 

Pillow Size

The size of the pillow is based on its overall size and its height, referred to as its loft. The most important aspect of pillow size is choosing one with the right loft for your preferred sleeping position. 

Health Benefits of Choosing the Right Pillow

Choosing the right pillow provides several health benefits, including:

  • Proper spine alignment: Keeping the spine aligned prevents shoulder, back, and neck aches and pains.
  • More restful sleep: Having the right pillow means you will sleep deeper and more soundly.  
  • Prevents snoring: When the head is properly aligned with the spine, the nose and sternum are also aligned, which reduces snoring and breathing problems. 
  • Immune system support: When you get more restful sleep, it helps keep the immune system stronger to fight off illnesses and infections. 

How To Choose the Right Pillow: Buying Tips

  • Side sleepers: The best pillows for side sleepers are ones made from latex and memory foam because they provide the proper firmness needed to keep the head elevated throughout the night. However, some side sleepers also use a down pillow topper for added comfort.
  • Stomach sleepers: The best pillows for sleeping for stomach sleepers are down pillows and hypoallergenic pillows for people allergic to down. These pillows are very soft and only keep the head elevated a few inches.   
  • Back sleepers: The best pillow for back sleepers should have a medium firmness to provide the right amount of support, like memory foam. If you want added softness, add a down pillow topper. 

Besides choosing the right pillow, you also need to choose the right pillowcase. You want a pillowcase that matches the size and shape of your pillow, is comfortable, and will keep you cool. Most people sleep more soundly when they are cooler. 

Materials that can help keep you cool are bamboo, silk, and satin. However, silk and satin pillowcases can seem “slippery” to some people. Bamboo, on the other hand, is just as soft as cotton but keeps you cooler. Lastly, you want a pillowcase with a decent thread count. The higher the thread count, the softer the pillowcase will be. 

Find Decorative Pillows and Pillowcases at Southshore Fine Linens

Southshore Fine Linens offers a wide assortment of decorative pillows and pillowcases in various designs, styles, and materials. Whether you are looking for throw pillows to accent your bed, sofa, or chairs or want soft bamboo pillowcases, it is easy to find what you need. We also offer one of the best selections of sheets, comforters, duvet covers, quilts, and other bedroom accessories