There is no doubt that a higher quality pillow lasts longer than an inexpensive one.A pillow is in constant use for almost 8 hours each night. Just like your mattress, your pillows are an investment towards a good night sleep. Here are a series of questions to ask yourself when you do not know whether you need a new pillow or not:
- Is my pillow torn?
- Does it have sweat stains?
- Does it smell?
If the answers to the above questions are “Yes “Then there is no doubt you need a new pillow.
It is important to understand that pillows collect dead cells, fungus, bacteria and dirt. These micro-organisms may lead to allergies that interfere with breathing during sleep. Additionally a bad smell from dirty pillows hinders proper sleep.
How do you choose the right pillow for you?
Are there factors to consider before paying for that pillow? Choosing a pillow is an individual process. When it comes to picking the right pillow no size, shape or material cuts across all. It is therefore essential to have your criteria for choosing the shape, size colour, and material. Even Do you ever think about your bed pillows? If the answer is “no” you are not alone. Most people primarily focus on their mattress and not pillows. It is ok to invest a lot in your sleep mattress, but when it comes to sleep quality, your pillows are as important.
A pillow that you have to fold up every night to get comfortable is a red flag that it is time to go for pillow shopping. Even though your pillow might not be as old; pillow shopping could be the best choice you ever made about your sleep.
Why does your pillow matter?
A proper sleeping posture is the key to sound sleeping. It is not worth waking up each day with neck stiffness. Your pillows enhance and support your sleeping posture. A good posture involves proper body alignment from the knees and hips through the spinal cord, chest, shoulders and finally neck and head.
If for instance your neck and head do not get enough support, chances are your spinal cord and body will be out of alignment causing discomfort hence sleeplessness. A good pillow is the one that feels comfortable to rest the head on.
When should you replace your pillow?
A general rule states that; bed pillows be replaced within 18 months. Foam pillows may last longer up to 3 years while natural pillows are a better choice compared to synthetic pillows. Here is our guideline on how to choose a comfortable pillow. Look into:
1. Pillow Fillings
There are several types of pillow fillings. All the available varieties have advantages and disadvantages depending on what you need and prefer. Look at the common types of pillow fillings below:
Down: Pillows made of down are soft and light. If you prefer to lay your head on a soft place after a long day at work, then get yourself a down pillow. These pillows are made of goose or duck fibers. Note that goose down is much softer than duck down thus making it more expensive. Down pillows are made of a different combination of materials such as feathers and other fillings.
- Do not go for down pillows if you have a history of allergies. However, it is believed that allergies from down pillows tend to occur when the feathers haven’t been sufficiently cleaned.
When shopping for down pillows look for one called “hypo down” this type is often thoroughly cleaned and blended down. Additionally, it is blended with syriaca, a natural substance that helps deplete the allergen properties of down. Hypos down pillows are quite an expensive but worth every dime.
Synthetic down and polyester fill: These types of pillows are less expensive and natural. They need frequent replacing since they are less hypo-allergenic. These pillows are affordable compared to other types of pillows on the market today. Most of them are medium to soft though less soft than down. Synthetic polyester pillows flatten within a period.
Wool: Wool pillows are naturally hypoallergenic. Additionally, they are resistant to moulds and dust mites. They help you regulate your sleeping temperature by wicking away sweat from your neck and head.
These pillows are firm with increased longevity. Alpaca wool is more long-lasting and firm than the cashmere fibers.
Cotton: Cotton pillows are naturally hypo-allergenic. They are also resistant to dust and mites or mould. They are also firm and flat enough to lie on without straining your neck. Cotton pillows are highly recommended for people with allergies and sensitivities.
Latex: Latex pillows are more firm than down pillows. Again, they are held there shape and maintain their comfort throughout use. Latex is resistant to mould and dust mites. They are often contoured to provide the shape that you need or restrict unnecessary movement during sleep.
Memory foam: These pillows conform to an individual shape. They respond to one’s weight and shape. They soften the lines of the head and neck. The memory foam pillows also distribute weight evenly across its surface area hence a perfect choice for people who suffer from neck and head pain during sleep.
Because these pillows retain heat, one may experience excessive sweating and discomfort during sleep. They also have a chemical smell when new, hence troublesome for individuals with allergies and chemical sensitivities.
2. Quality of fill
Quality of the pillow fills matters a lot when you are looking for pillow comfort. Quality of the fill is often reflected in the price. Even though once you are decided on the pillow quality you want, choose one within your budget. Just remember that you shall be spending thousands of hours on this pillow before you can finally dispose it off.
3. Size and specialty
It doesn’t matter which size of pillow you prefer as long as you can keep your body in proper alignment. The thickness of the pillow should enable one to sleep with their head and neck properly aligned with their spine besides providing utmost comfort. It is also essential to ensure that your pillow cases fit correctly. Do not staff a big pillow into a small cover case; this will damage the original shape of the pillow.
- Cervical and contour pillows help support your neck by adding more stability. They also help with neck pains by providing relief for pressure points on the body.
- Anti-snore pillows help position the head by lifting the chin away from the chest so that the airway is fully opened.
- Cool pillows absorb heat from the head and neck to keep you feeling cool. These types of pillows can be used by anyone who wishes to keep cool at night. Recommended for women undergoing menopause as they experience several episodes of hot flashes.
- Oxygen pillows are designed to enhance oxygen circulation which is meant to help you breathe freely during sleep.
- Positional pillows help individuals with sleep apnea stay in the ideal sleeping position. They also help reduce tossing and unnecessary turning in bed.
For a pillow, just go for natural, breathable fabrics for covering your pillows. Pillow cases help extend the life of the pillow by protecting it against sweat and stains. Decorative pillows that do not meet the criteria of a good sleeping pillow should be removed before bedtime.
5. Fill weight
If you do not like bulky and heavy pillows then down and synthetic pillows are a good choice for you. The weight of your pillow is personal preference. If you always have to remove pillow fillings as you rest, a lighter pillow may be a better choice for you.
Does my sleeping position affect pillow choice?
Yes. There are recommendations on which types of pillow one should get depending on their sleeping position. Here are some guidelines:
Side sleepers: Sides sleepers may need firmer thick pillows. Have one that is as thick as the distance between the ear and outside shoulder.
Stomach sleepers: Stomach sleepers in most cases do not need a pillow at all, but if so they wish, a soft pillow is an excellent choice for them. A pillow under the stomach is recommended to prevent back pain.
Back sleepers: Back sleepers need a soft flatter pillow to keep the head and neck properly aligned to the spine. Look for a pillow that provides additional support on the neck while maintaining the comfort that you need for a good night sleep.
Does my mattress affect the choice of my pillow?
Choose a soft pillow if your mattress is firm. This is because the pillow lying on a firm surface needs to sustain the pressure and weight of the head in the sleeping position you choose. If you have a softer mattress, then you need a firm pillow to keep your neck and head appropriately aligned to the spine.
Do not ignore your pillow. It is an important element in your sleep. Having the right one under your head can reward you with more restful comfortable nights.