A pillow can make or break your sleep. Choose the wrong one, and you could end up tossing and turning all night and waking up with a stiff neck in the morning. Choose the right one, and you’ll sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. The trouble is there is no right pillow for everyone. It all depends on your preferences. Here’s a short guide to walk you through the important considerations when buying pillows.
Considerations when choosing pillows
The way you sleep plays a major role in the firmness of the pillow that you need. You want your neck to stay in proper alignment so you don’t wake up with soreness. Stomach sleepers don’t need much support, so a soft pillow should be plenty. Side sleepers, on the other hand, need a lot of support in order to hold their necks at the right angle, so a firm pillow is the best choice. If you sleep on your back or you sleep in different positions, choose a pillow of medium firmness.
Of course, personal preference plays into this as well. Some people naturally prefer firmer or softer pillows. Use the above guidelines as your starting point, and then make adjustments based on the type of pillow you like best.
Here are some other factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a pillow.
Pillows can either be made of synthetic fiber, memory foam, or feathers. Synthetic fiber pillows are common and affordable. Feather pillows are soft but expensive and not as widely available these days. Memory foam pillows also tend to be expensive, but they’re popular because they’re durable and mold to the shape of your head and neck.
Pillows are available in standard (20 x 26 inches), queen (20 x 30 inches), or king (20 x 40 inches) sizes. When possible, choose the pillow size that matches the size of your bed.
If you suffer from allergies, you may want to choose a pillow that’s made from hypoallergenic material.
Some synthetic fiber pillows are filled with antimicrobial filling to help lock out bacteria and dust.
You can buy pillows in packs for less than $10, or you can splurge and spend $100 on a memory foam pillow. If you just want a basic pillow that won’t go flat on you, you can expect to spend somewhere between $20 and $30.
Q. How often should I replace my pillows?
A. You should replace your hollow fiber pillows every six months to a year in order to avoid the buildup of bacteria. Memory foam pillows can be replaced every three to four years. In addition, you should replace your pillows whenever they become stained, smelly, or uncomfortable.
Q. What’s so special about antimicrobial pillows?
A. Antimicrobial pillows are designed to reduce the bacteria and dust mites that build up on your pillows. These pillows may be the right choice for you if you have a compromised immune system or if you suffer from allergies.
Pillows we recommend
Best of the best: Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Cover
Our take: This adjustable memory foam pillow cradles your head and neck at the perfect angle, so you can enjoy a great night’s sleep.
What we like: This pillow is made with shredded memory foam, which you can add or take out until you reach your desired level of support. It’s hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant and is backed by a five-year warranty.
What we dislike: It has an odor when it first arrives, though this does dissipate. Some users have said the pillow is not ideal for side sleepers.
Best bang for your buck: Perfect Fit Extra Firm Density Pillows, Set of 2
Our take: This is a solid option if you want firm yet supportive pillows at a price that won’t break the bank.
What we like: This set of two pillows is filled with hypoallergenic polyester fiber that won’t flatten out over time. You can wash the pillows in the washing machine if needed.
What we dislike: These pillows may be too firm for some, especially those who like to sleep on their backs.
Choice 3: BioPEDIC 4-Pack Bed Pillows with Ultra-Fresh Anti-Odor Technology
Our take: You’ll have a hard time finding a better value than this four-pack, but these pillows may not stay as fluffy as you’d hoped.
What we like: These pillows are filled with antimicrobial polyester to prevent bacterial growth and staining. A majority of users report they are comfortable no matter which position you typically sleep in.
What we dislike: They have a tendency to go flat over time.
Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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