Picking the Perfect Pillows

Buying a great mattress is a big step, but it doesn’t really help your sleep much if you don’t find the right pillows to go along with it. Those “economy” packs at the big box stores are perfect — for decoration! Just as you would spend time researching the right mattress, you need to do the same with new pillows.

How High is Too High?

Let’s first talk about loft: Loft is how high the pillow is when it sits on the bed. Remember that some materials may lose their loft naturally over time. It’s always a smart idea to test a pillow in-store for a good 10 minutes.

The position in which you normally sleep will determine what loft pillow is best for you.

  • Back sleepers need medium loft that supports the natural curve of the spine
  • Stomach sleepers need a low, flat loft
  • Side sleepers need a higher loft that keeps their spine horizontal

It’s What’s Inside that Really Counts

Yes, that’s not just something people say. There are so many innovative new pillows out there, it’s hard to keep up.  Also, if you have a medical condition, that may determine what filler is best for you.  Do you have asthma or allergies? What about chronic pain or injury? Depending on your answer, you may need to eliminate some pillows from your search, but here’s a good place to start:

  • Down: Made from the plumage of geese, down pillows are breathable and can last up to 10 years. Those with allergies can look into purchasing synthetic versions.
  • Wool or cotton: These natural fiber-based pillows are a great hypoallergenic option, but stomach sleepers beware because they tend to be very firm.
  • Latex: Resilient and elastic latex pillows are mold-resistant, cooler than memory foam, and can conform to your head. They do tend to be a little pricey.
  • Memory Foam: Choose this option if you have jaw pain or shoulder problems, or you need a little extra support. For “warm” sleepers, foam may not be ideal.
  • Polyester: This choice is the most cost-effective, and it holds its shape while offering support, but it’s also less durable than the other fillers.

Even if your body is supported by the right mattress, choosing the wrong pillow could cause pain, stiffness, and sleeplessness. Take into account any special sleep needs you have, like an apnea machine or allergies that may require a special pillow cover.

As you shop in-store, keep the above tips in mind as you test your different options.

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