While lack of sleep is a major problem and complaint among Americans and products promising more restful sleep become best sellers, few of us take the time to choose the right pillow and mattress for our individual sleeping style. The idea that some pillows really are better than others isn’t just a marketing ploy; your head weighs approximately 10 pounds and the best pillow provides support and comfort. This is a short guide on how to choose the best pillow for you.
Best pillow for back sleepers: If you sleep on your back the right pillow for you needs to support the head, neck, shoulders, and spine. Remember the spine naturally curves so the best pillows will conform to the spine’s curve; look for a firm, flat pillow with extra height in the bottom third of the pillow to support the neck.
Best pillow for stomach sleepers: The right pillow for someone who sleeps on their stomach is a softer, flat pillow to allow just enough support to keep your head, neck, and spine aligned. You may be comfortable without a pillow under your head, but consider putting a pillow under your stomach to reduce lower back pain.
Best pillow for side sleepers: People who sleep on their side will find the best pillow supports the head and neck (allowing the spine to be relaxed in the horizontal position); a firm pillow is needed to fill in the space between the ear and outside shoulder (WebMD). If your head or neck “tilts” as you sleep you could suffer from headaches, neck pain, and other problems. Some experts recommend sleeping with a pillow in between the knees as well, to help maintain proper spine alignment while you sleep. My personal preference as a side sleeper is a body pillow.
Shopping for the Best Pillow for Sleeping
The sheer amount of pillow choices is overwhelming, so its no wonder we often end up grabbing a good pillow (“it’s good enough”) and making a break for it. After reading the tips above, you already have a better idea of the right pillow to buy for yourself.
Filling: Pillows today are filled with any number of natural or synthetic materials.
Foam: Once we heard NASA was fond of memory foam technology, it became the rage. A memory foam pillow reduces pressure points, so people with sore joints may want to look into this.
Latex: Latex pillows are firm and often contoured for neck support. Additional benefits include resisting mold and dust mites (people with allergies, rejoice).
Cotton/Wool: These pillows are hypoallergenic, resist mold and dust mites, and are usually very firm.
Down/feather: Down pillows are often recommended by sleep experts because you can move the stuffing around to get support where you need it most; down pillows can be firm but “squishy.” Some synthetic alternatives mimic down, and while less expensive they won’t last as long either.
Is it time to replace your pillow?
After learning over half of an older pillow’s weight can be comprised of skin cells, mold, mildew, fungus, and dust mites (ewwww) I gave more than a little thought to replacing my current pillow (well, my first thought was to run home, burn my old pillow, and sanitize all my linens). Experts say the general rule is to buy a new pillow every 12-18 months, and after 2 years it is definitely time for a new pillow.
When you are shopping for the perfect pillow, don’t be afraid to try it out! Lay your head against pillows in the store to find the most comfortable pillows for you! While this focuses on the best pillow for sleeping, there are a wide variety of neck pillows, travel pillows, and more. Click on these links for more information on how to choose the best orthopedic pillow and how much sleep you really need. In addition to selling the best pillows on the market, ActiveForever carries numerous innovative sleep aids as well.