Pillows: they’re soft, bouncy and a crucial ingredient for a good night’s sleep. But with a variety of styles out there, it can be tricky knowing which one will best support you, especially given that you can’t test drive them first. Here’s a handy guide to help you find the perfect pillows for supreme snoozing comfort.
Firstly, how do you check if you need a new pillow?
Pillows typically have a short life span as they are easily flattened. You should always look to replace your pillows when they feel flat or lumpy, as they won’t be able to offer you the right amount of support. Likewise, if you wake up wheezy or with a runny nose, there could be dust mites lurking in your pillows. If you’re unsure whether you need to buy new ones, one really easy test is to fold them in half. If they bounce back to their original shape, then this is essentially your green light to still use. However, if the pillows remain in their folded position, this is a key sign that they need to go.
Before you buy, figure out your sleeping style
The way you sleep is a big factor to consider when it comes to finding the perfect pillow. It’s important to find a pillow that suits your most natural sleeping style for maximum support. The right pillow should conform to your natural contours, holding your head in the correct alignment whilst you sleep.
Front sleepers fall asleep on their stomach, often hugging onto their pillow or with their arms out to the side.
Softer pillows are generally a good choice if you sleep on your front. This is because sleeping on your stomach can push your head upwards into an uncomfortable position. A low-profile pillow will keep your spine in a neutral position.
Also known as the soldier position, back sleepers tend to lie flat on their backs with their arms by their sides.
If you sleep on your back, you should look out for a soft/medium support pillow to keep the natural curve of your neck and spine.
Side sleepers lie with their backs arched to one side and often fall asleep in a foetal-like position.
If you sleep on your side, a firm pillow is ideal. This will provide height and support to keep your spine in alignment and prevent hunching and painful necks.
Synthetic (manmade) fillings come in a range of different materials, making it easy for you to find a pillow that meets your exact needs.
Often cost-effective in comparison to natural fillings, they can provide extra support for different sleep types. Synthetic fillings also tend to need less maintenance, which makes them perfect for a busy home.
Created to replicate the feeling of down without the price point, “just like down” synthetic pillows are created using a soft hollowfibre fill. Their medium support benefits back sleepers the most and they’re perfect for people who like the feel of down, but are unable to use natural products due to allergies.
An anti-allergy filling prevents dust mites and bacteria. They offer soft/medium support, making them perfect for front or back sleepers. You’ll also find that they are easy to wash and care for.
These pillows perfectly sculpt to the natural contours of your head and neck, relieving unwanted pressure and allowing your head to rest in its most natural position. They are suitable for most sleeping positions, but tend to benefit side sleepers the most. The high-density filling is also good at retaining its shape over time.
Natural fillings are a good option if you want a pillow that’s lightweight and breathable. Known for luxurious comfort, they tend to benefit those who prefer a pillow with softer support. However, being natural means they can attract dust mites, so make sure to avoid them if you suffer from allergies. They are also usually more expensive than synthetic.
Feathers / down filling
Down pillows are considered to be the most luxurious kind of pillow out there and are renowned for being sumptuously soft. They are available in different combinations of feather and down. Generally, the more feathers there are, the firmer the pillow tends to be. The great thing about feather pillows is that the stuffing moves around to support you wherever needed, moulding comfortably around your neck and shoulders.
Did you know we can sweat up to a pint each night? That’s quite a lot of bacteria harbouring in your pillows! Not many people realise that most pillows are machine washable, so be sure to check the label and launder them every now and again.
Pillow protectors are another good way to protect your pillows and also have the advantage of being really easy to wash. A simple task of plumping your pillows for a minute or so each day can also prolong their longevity.