How To Choose The Best Pillow For Your Needs
Choosing the best pillow may seem easy. Is the price right? Does it feel soft? What’s it made of? Well whilst these are all important things to consider, there’s a little more to it. To explain it better, and with more validity, we’ve spoken to industry experts from Levitex, Woolroom and Slumberdown.
As James Leinhardt, Sleep & Posture Expert and Founder of Levitex states ‘We dont all wear the same size shoe so what we lie on at night shouldnt be one size fits all either. Choosing the right pillow for you is ensuring the best possible sleeping surface for an optimised sleep posture’. Unsurprisingly, it’s not all about what’s inside your pillow, too.
‘Whether you are buying hypoallergenic pillows or regular, you should bear in mind the inner filling, outer cover, height preference and sleeping style. Remember, this is for your own sleep benefits and should fit most of your needs and wants if a good-nights rest is what you are after.’ adds Chris Tattersall, Clean Sleep Expert and MD at Woolroom .
How To Choose The Best Pillow For Your Sleep
In general, all sleepers should look for an easy-to-clean pillow, which keeps you cool at night and is made from breathable materials. If you tend to sleep in a certain position on your back, front, or side, then think about choosing the following pillows for your sleep style
Back sleepersâ Choose a pillow with medium loft and firmness to relieve pressure in the neck and shoulders, while maintaining neutral spine alignment. Look for pillows with extra cushioning on top.
Side sleepersâ Look for a pillow with high loft and firm support to relieve pressure at the shoulder and help maintain a neutral spine position. Adjustable pillows with fluffable materials will also help you adjust the shape more easily to suit your position.
Stomach sleepersâ A pillow with low loft and soft support will help keep the spine in alignment, and prevent the head from being too propped up. A compressible fill allows the pillow to be shaped into a comfortable low loft.
We’d recommend picking a pillow that comes on a trial period, giving you at least three weeks to make sure it’s the best choice for your sleep and posture.
Best For Neck Pain: Cushioncare Gel Cervical Neck Pillow
Works for side and back sleepers
Neck and shoulder support
Ventilated foam and cooling gel pad
Only one size
Finding the right pillow for your neck pain is very individual since the wrong pillow can add to or worsen your pain during daytime and nighttime.
The best pillow for neck pain depends on the buyer typically, the most important features to look at are loft, firmness, and shape for your preferred sleeping position, says Logan Foley, sleep science coach and managing editor at SleepFoundation.org.
We like the CushionCare Cooling Gel Cervical Neck Pillow because its ergonomic design allows for neck support for both side and back sleepers, thanks to the contoured shape that hugs your neck and offers added support for your arms and shoulders. On the cooling front, the pillow is made from a ventilated memory foam insert and includes a removable gel cooling pad and a moisture-wicking polyester cover.
Stuffing Material: Memory foam | Cover Material: Polyester | Sizes Available: Standard
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What To Consider When Purchasing A Cooling Pillow
Below are some key factors to keep in mind when purchasing a cooling pillow. A cooling pillow draws heat away from the body, and certain materials do this better than others. That being said, each person is different and what works for one may not work for another.
In addition to regulating temperature and providing a comfortable sleep environment, a cooling pillow may also relieve pressure and provide ample support for the head, neck, and shoulders. While the focus of this guide is a pillows cooling properties, there are additional factors that determine if a pillow is a good purchase or not. Shoppers should consider what type of pillow they want, and what is most important to them in addition to cooling properties.
How Do I Wash My Pillows
The general rule is that as long as it’s not memory foam, you can shove it in the washing machine with the rest of your bed linens. This can vary for feather and down pillows, some of which are professional clean only, so do make sure to check the washing instructions when you get a new set.
For memory foam pillows, you should have to clean them less often anyway, as the material is naturally resistant to allergens and bacteria growth. But if you do spill something on one, just draw a bath, add some detergent and submerge the pillow, squeezing the water through it. Air dry or use a fan to speed up the process. Never use a heater to dry memory foam as its a serious fire hazard.
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Who Should Buy A Cold Style Pillow
If you tend to wake during the night feeling hot and bothered perhaps you flip your pillow to the cooler side or go in search of a glass of water a cooling option is probably a good choice for you.
The cooling effect and breathability of these pillows can give hot sleepers a more restful, uninterrupted nights sleep. They can be especially useful for hot sleepers during the summer months. They can also be a lifesaver for anyone who lives in a hot, humid climate.
Research by the American Academy of Sleep has also shown that people with insomnia can be helped by cooling down the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain just behind the forehead. So, if you suffer from this common sleep disorder, a cooling pillow could ease your restless sleep and help you drift off easier.
Why Its Great For Back Sleepers
What makes this pillow particularly great for back sleepers is its loft level: it has a medium height thats just right when sleeping on your back. This height in combination with its ultra-contouring feel will provide back sleepers with some great support that should help prevent neck and back pain.
With that being said, we think that this pillow should work in pretty much every sleeping position. We found that back sleepers spinal alignment remained proper, that the foam compresses enough to keep the neck comfy for stomach sleepers, and that it still provides good support and height for many side sleepers.
Interested in learning more? Check out my full Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud pillow review.
Price: $89, with free shipping and a five-year warranty.
The TEMPUR-Cloud pillow provides the great body-contouring memory foam feel that Tempur-Pedic is known for and is a great choice for the back sleepers out there!
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Best Pillow For Stomach Sleepers
Sealy Conform Medium Memory Foam Pillow
- Fill type: Memory foam
- Height: 5.75 inches
Many stomach sleepers will recognize the familiar struggle of trying and failing to get comfortable on a too-high pillow, eventually pushing it away in frustration.
When you sleep on your stomach, a flatter, medium pillow can often improve your rest, while a taller pillow can lead to discomfort and pain. Reviewers say this medium memory foam pillow provides just the right mix of comfort and firm support for stomach and combination sleepers.
A few reviewers found it uncomfortably firm, but many people call it very comfortable. Several even say this pillow helped improve neck pain. It doesnt feature any specific cooling technology beyond a breathable cover, but a few people note that it stays cool regardless.
Wayfair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Cooling Bed Pillow
- Fill type: Memory foam
- Height: 5 inches
This basic memory foam pillow has a lower loft that a variety of sleepers may find comfortable. According to the reviews, a few stomach sleepers find it comfortable, but most combination sleepers prefer this pillow for side and back sleeping.
The company says the foam in the pillow is infused with cooling gel for cooler sleep. Ventilation in the pillow is supposed to help promote airflow, so heat pockets dont make you sweat in the night.
Fern And Willow Pillows
Since these Fern and Willow pillows come in a set, they are a terrific option if youre looking to cozy up your guest bedroom. They are stuffed with a down alternative that conforms to your head so that you stay comfortable. Perhaps the best quality of these pillows is that the filling is adjustable, so if you feel its too large, you can adjust the amount of filling inside to your liking. To top it off, its completely washable, making it great for those with allergies.
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An Adjustable Pillow That Always Feels Just Right
Coop Home Goods
Fill Material: Shredded memory foam | Size Options: Queen, king | Density: Adjustable
Finding a just right pillow is a matter of personal preference and thats why the Coop Eden Pillow shines. Its adjustable, so you can remove or add fill to help keep your back and spine aligned. Its made with a soft, gel-infused memory foam and microfiber fill blend, so it creates a much cooler surface than other standard pillows. And the pillowcase is made with a blend of bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester for extra breathability and softness.
How We Tested These Pillows
Yes, thats right, weve been snoozing on the job putting the top pillows – and brands – to the test. Though, since different sleepers require a different type of pillow to sleep soundly, weve shared the snooze time amongst numerous members of the Real Homes team as well as passed them around to family members for an all-round rating – plus, if this task was left to one person, theyd be napping too much to get any work done. Weve had allergy sufferers try out our best anti-allergy pillow and a snorer , see which anti-snore pillow helped them sleep any quieter, to just name a few. Theyve been slept on, washed and used again for numerous nights to take into account every sleep scenario. You can rest assured, these pillows are the best value for your money because we certainly have been.
This is an updated review of the best pillows, and some favourites will have kept their place on the bed. As for the new pillows, well pay special attention to how they last over time and update the guide accordingly. No one likes sleeping on a tired pillow, do they?
Still intrigued by our testing process? Find out more about how we test on our page.
Here are a few of our Real Homes pillow testers and what they said about their favourites:
Jennifer is one of our expert reviewers here at Future, and she’s tested a fair few of the pillows throughout her time. Her favourite? The Simba Hybrid and Brooke and Wilde’s Cooling pillow gets her vote:
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How Often Should You Buy A New Pillow
Using a worn out pillow could inflame health conditions, since pillows can harbor allergens like dust mites, Neomi Shah, MD, associate professor of sleep medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, previously told SELF. Plus, a super old, ineffective pillow can mess with your neck and back.
Its smart to buy a new pillow every two years , according to the National Sleep Foundation. Even if your old pillow feels pretty good, its still smart to switch it out in order to avoid any negative health consequences that can creep up over time.
Why Its Good For Side Sleepers
The design makes the Resident memory foam pillow adjustable! If youre a side sleeper who needs something especially soft, you can actually unzip the pillow and remove or add the fill to your liking. Pro tip: side sleepers who need some good loft to support their head might want to leave the pillow completely filled.
As for other sleeping positions, back sleepers can take out a bit of fill for that perfect balance of comfort and support. Stomach sleepers might want to take out most of the fill to soften the pillow as much as possible.
Price: $75, with a five-year warranty as well as a 50-night sleep trial.
The Nectar Resident is an adjustable pillow that comes overfilled to put you in control of your comfort. If the pillow is firm, remove stuffing until it is just right. The inner pillow is supportive, but the outer pillow adds a soft touch of fluff to allow you to decide how much you want.
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Best For Side Sleepers: Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow
Coop Home Goods
Filling across products is inconsistent
Side sleeping is probably the most common position, but that doesnt mean its easy to achieve comfortablyyour neck, shoulders, and arms all have to be positioned correctly during side sleeping to prevent aches and pains.
For ergonomics, side sleepers should look into additional spinal support, ensuring that the area between the ears and shoulder is aligned and stable, says Weiss.
Thats why we love the Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow for side sleepers: Not only does the shredded fill give you the opportunity to find the exact loft for your body type, the pillow is made with a full gusset around the perimeter, which provides an extra level of structure and support for side sleepers needing to keep their neck and shoulders properly aligned. And as for cooling? The Eden has you covered with its memory foam, microfiber gel filling, and breathable polyester blend cover.
Stuffing Material: Memory foam, microfiber | Cover Material: Viscose rayon, polyester | Sizes Available: Queen, king
Best Pillow Overall: Amerisleep Comfort Classic
Amerisleeps Comfort Classic is the best pillow you can buy. A memory foam option, the Comfort Classic is excellent at alleviating aches and pains in your neck. Amerisleep conveniently designs their products for types of sleepers and they state on their website who theyre meant for their Comfort Classic pillow has a 6-inch loft and is catered towards back and side sleepers, specifically.
While most pillows are either hard and heavy or soft as a cloud, Amerisleep designs theirs to be a perfect mix of comfort and neck support. When you lay on the Comfort Classic, itll cushion and mold to your neck to alleviate pressure points and pain while still being supportive enough to hold your head in line with the rest of your body.
In this product, Amerisleep uses its proprietary Bio-Pur® foam, plant-based memory foam. Their foams are certified eco-friendly by CertiPUR-US®, meaning theyre free from ozone depleters, PBDE flame retardants, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, harsh chemicals, and low in VOCs. Because they use plant-based foam, their Comfort Classic is five times more breathable than other solid memory foam pillows.
To reinforce their pillows breathability, Amerisleep also includes cooling channels in their design that allows hot air to escape out and away from you while you sleep. The combination of their advanced open cell structure and cooling channels helps keep you cool all night long.
AMERISLEEP COMFORT CLASSIC
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Best Cooling Pillow: Zoma Pillow
For a pillow to be successful, it should not sleep hot , it should not be so thick that it creates discomfort in your neck and spine and it needs to be comfortable. The Zoma Pillow does all of this and more.
First, the Zoma Pillow is customizable. We dont mean you need to worry about taking out shreds of foam and changing the shape of your pillow. We mean the pillow material made of a material called MicroCushions can be molded and adapted to your needs.
If you want a thicker pillow just fluff the pillow up to your desired loft. If you want a thinner pillow , you can massage the pillow down and create a comfortable contouring spot for your head.
Second, the Zoma Pillow is breathable thanks to its mesh polyester and spandex cover. This helps keep you from sleeping hot throughout the night.
Finally, the ability to customize this pillow, to move and shift its foam to your desired shape makes the Zoma Pillow truly comfortable. This pillow is available on Zomas website, comes with free shipping, and a 10-year warranty.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Pillow
You should consider many factors when pillow shopping. First, your personal sleep position preference heavily influences which pillows best fit your body. Of course, many shoppers are limited by a budget. Keep these factors at the forefront of your mind while examining your pillow options.
Learn each pillows loft and firmness level to determine if its a good option for you. Identify the materials each pillow is made of, if it has cooling properties, and if it will relieve pressure in your neck and shoulders.
In this section, we provide more information about the factors to consider when pillow shopping.
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How To Choose The Best Pillow Brands
A pillows importance in your sleep quality cannot be emphasized enough. If you get a pillow thats too high up or too low to the mattress, it can cause pains, breathing problems, and sleep issues of various kinds.
Likewise, if your pillow is too firm or too soft, you wont have the most comfortable sleep. Theres an ideal firmness or softness for everyone, according to Dr. Rosmy Barrios.
For those who sleep on their backs, a soft pillow will be most suitable, as it will properly distribute the weight on the shoulders, said Barrios.
For those who sleep on their stomachs, an extremely thin and soft pillow or no pillow at all will be an excellent choice, while for those who sleep on their side, a thick and firmer one.