Just because a pillow works for one person doesn't mean it works for everyone. Pillows can be firm or soft, plushy or flat and can contain different stuffing insider.
So finding a pillow that is right for you isn't as simple as just going with the most popular model.
You need to consider your body type, your height, and any medical issues or chronic pain that you may experience.
The wrong pillow will make everything worse rather than better, can create more issues and make it difficult to get enough rest to fully function.
Pillows provide much more than comfort for you or decoration for your bed.
Consider coming home after a long day, crawling into bed, laying your head down onto your pillow and closing your eyes to go to sleep.re problems than just feeling rested.
One of the most obvious problems you can get with the wrong pillow is neck soreness and pain.
If your pillow is too firm your neck can be put in an awkward and uncomfortable position. If the pillow is too soft or plushy your head can sink down too far and put your neck at a slight angle that can create a painful kink.
The height of the pillow can also affect more than the angle of your neck as you sleep. When a pillow is too low it can cause pain in your neck and down into your shoulders.
If the pillow is too high it can cause pain in your neck, shoulders, and back.
The pain isn't the only side effect of poor pillow choices. You can also end up dealing with issues with feeling tired as well.
Even if you are sleeping through the night, an improper pillow can affect how rested you feel and how much REM sleep you get.
Just because you don't think you are waking up during the night you may not be getting that deep sleep you need to fully reset your body from the day.
If you are uncomfortable on your pillow you will more than likely be tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable and alleviate your discomfort.
You can also snore more with the wrong pillow because your head, neck, and airways will be in a position that makes it more likely to create the sound and breathing conditions that promote snoring.
Poor pillows lead to poor sleep and without proper sleep, your body is much more susceptible to health problems.
Not only can the wrong pillow cause pain in your body and make snoring, which is a breathing issue where your airways are obstructed, but also can contribute to allergies.
Certain pillow materials and fillings can aggravate your allergies and lead to congestion.
Older pillows can also be filled with bacteria and old germs from previous illnesses. This can mean you are laying your face on something that can make you sick.
The longer you have the same pillows, the larger the amount of bacteria build up that you are breathing in
There are some important things to consider when looking for the right pillow for you.
While you can take online quizzes to find the best pillow for you and what kind of pillow you need.
It can seem straightforward enough when reading a label, but it is important to know ahead of time what you need from a pillow before you go shopping.
The fill of your pillow is an important feature to consider because it determines not only whether or not the pillow will be hypoallergenic, but how heavy the pillow will be and how firm it is.
Down: down is made from goose or duck feathers and are seen as the lightest and softest option for pillow filling. But down is also expensive, not hypoallergenic and not animal-friendly.
Synthetic Down or Polyester Filling: One of the most inexpensive pillow filling options, synthetic down and polyester are typically soft to medium firm, but will not be as soft as real down.
This type of pillow filling will also wear out sooner and will need to be replaced more often than other materials.
Wool: Cashmere wool filled pillows are one of the longest lasting pillow options on the market.
Wool is a fantastic material for anyone with allergies because it is naturally hypoallergenic and will resist dust mites and mold.
Wool will also help you regulate your temperature over the course of the night.
Wool will keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and will also wick away any moisture, whether it be sweat or saliva, from your head and neck.
But wool is also a very firm material. If you find wool to be too firm it is recommended that you try alpaca wool instead of cashmere.
Cotton: Ideal for anyone with sensitivities to chemicals or with allergies, cotton is a natural material that is resistant to dust mites and mold.
But cotton is also known for being on the flatter and more firm side.
Latex: Latex is another material used for pillow filling that is mold and dust mite resistant.
Known for their shape holding abilities, latex pillows are often designed in very specific shapes to fit the sleeper’s needs because it is nearly impossible to squish them down into the position you want.
The latex filling is more firm the down but are also very comfortable. Latex is ideal for those who need extra support or need to restrict the movement of their head and neck while sleeping.
Memory Foam: Unlike latex that will not give up their form, memory foam is designed specifically to form to your head and neck.
While memory foam retains heat more than other pillow materials, it is also ideal for anyone who needs to use a pillow that will cradle your head rather than prop it up.
Memory foam is ideal for anyone who suffers from neck and shoulder pain.
Pillows with higher thread counts are more durable than those with lower thread counts. They will also feel more plushy.
The position in which you sleep is also a big factor in choosing the right pillow for your needs.
No matter how you sleep, it is important to find a pillow that will support your head and promote your body’s natural alignment.
There are four categories of sleeping positions that pillows are designed for.
Back Sleepers: If you sleep on your back it is important to find a pillow that supports your neck’s natural curve.
Look for medium height and medium firm pillows. Too high and your neck can get painful and your breathing can become obstructed.
This can lead to snoring. Too low and your neck and shoulders can get painful.
Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers need to go with a thinner pillow because you want to retain the natural curve of your body without forcing your head up and creating neck pain.
Look for low height pillows with a more soft and plushy feel that will cradle your head and keep it close to the mattress without going too low.
Side Sleepers: The majority of people sleep on their sides. At almost 70 percent, side sleepers are not only the most common but the easiest to find a pillow for.
You need a pillow that is either firm or extra firm to keep your head up and maintain the natural curve of your neck.
Ideally, you want a pillow that is around 4 inches high to keep your body in alignment without going too high or low to create awkward neck angles.
Combination Sleepers: If you switch between sleeping positions during the night it can be helpful to find a pillow with different sections in it to fit your different needs.
Consider pillows with lower centers and higher sides and softer and firmer sections throughout.
This way you get the support you need in any position without having to switch pillows in the night or risk waking up in pain.
There are a few different factors that come into play when figuring out when it is time to get new pillows and toss the current ones.
Because your pillow absorbs bacteria, germs, saliva, and skin cells, even through pillowcases, it is important to understand that the longer you have a pillow, the more of these things will be collected into it.
While you can try washing the pillows, this only offers a temporary solution and won't fully remove the particles or saliva that has soaked in overtime because it really only washes the outside of the pillow.
The build-up in your pillow can also create other problems such as allergies and skin problems like acne.
The inside of the pillow collects the skin particles as well dust mites and, while they might not fully wash out, they can come out when you inhale.
This means as you sleep with your head on the pillow you are exposed to and consuming these particles that enter your airways and can cause congestion.
Even if you choose a hypoallergenic pillow and a thick, high-quality pillow case, you still can't fully prevent this from happening. So if you have allergies it is important not to hold onto the same pillows for too long.
If your pillow has started to lose its shape or some of its firmness, that can also be a sign it is time to change pillows.
While it can be quite obvious when a pillow has lost some of its shape, by the time it is clear from just looking at it, the pillow is too far gone.
Once a pillow starts to feel “off” and different from what you originally purchased, it is a good indicator that it is time to start looking for new pillows. Many people try to hold onto pillows even after they start to lose their shape.
But because pillows play such a key role in both your sleep and overall health, it is important to make sure you are only using a pillow that provides the necessaries you need for your body.
The National Sleep Foundation has gathered data and done research to try and find the average lifespan of a pillow.
They recommend that you replace your pillows every 18 months to keep you from using pillows that are filled with particles or have lost their shape.
While you may not consider a pillow a perishable item, they too have a best by date and there has been much debate over that specific amount of time.
While some say it should be a new pillow every year, others argue that it can be as long as three years between changes.
But it seems like the brand of pillow you go for and the quality of the materials you choose can also prolong the lifespan of your pillows.
Pillows filled with cheap, low-quality materials will expire much sooner because they are not designed to last for a long period of time. While higher quality materials may be able to make it to three years.
But you should never, no matter how high the quality, keep a pillow for longer than three years due to the particle build up.
There are a few things you can do to make your pillows last longer. While they won’t save your pillows from the inevitable, it can keep them functioning for you a little linger than if you went without them.
It is recommended that you wash your pillow after every six months of use. This will help keep the pillows from building up too much saliva or dust particles.
While it won’t fully rid your pillow of this buildup, it will help it from getting too high and affecting you too much.
But washing your pillow more than once every six months can make the pillow lose its shape and affect the filling’s placement within the pillow.
Pillow cases can help reduce the amount of saliva that soaks into your pillow. The thicker the pillow case you use, the more saliva it will soak up and the less that will go into the actual pillow.
In addition to a pillowcase, you can also use a pillow cover. Similar to a mattress cover, a pillow cover is a tighter, more form-fitting cover that will fully close.
This will help prevent dust, moisture, and even bed bugs from getting into your pillow. While it won’t prevent your pillow from losing its shape over time or losing its height.
The right pillow is key for creating not only a good night's sleep, but the right conditions to promote a healthy mind and body.
Without a pillow that both supports you and promotes comfort and relaxation, you can find yourself having trouble sleeping and the lack of sleep can impact other aspects of your life.
So before you buy the first pillow you see or the one that looks the most expensive, you should always consider what the pillow offers you.