How to choose the perfect pillow

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Having trouble sleeping? Your pillow may be the problem.

Sleep expert and author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep Michael Breus, PhD, says that the perfect pillow is the key to a better night’s sleep.

“Pillows can not only impact the quality of our sleep, but also how healthfully we rest and recharge,” says Dr Breus.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Andrew Hecht, MD, agrees that the wrong pillow can lead to various sorts of health issues, but warns against the assumption that bad pillows are the cause of sleep issues.

“A bad pillow won’t be the cause of any of these problems, but using the incorrect pillow can certainly exacerbate many of the underlying problems linked to these symptoms, and it certainly can keep you from getting a good night’s rest,” he said.

Add to that the grime that builds up over years of sleeping on the same pillow, and it might be time to pick up a new pillow.

The first thing to consider when you buy a pillow is your sleep position.

If you sleep on your back, you should look for thinner pillows so your head isn’t pushed forward, and with extra cushioning to support your neck, says physical therapist Kammi Bernard.

Side sleepers need a firmer pillow to fill the gap between their head and shoulder.

Tummy sleepers should look for a flat pillow. Or, to avoid lower back pain, try a body pillow under your stomach and no pillow for your head.

Then there’s the filling to consider.

For allergy-prone sleepers, foam pillows are the go. Look for high density foam, which allows pillows to hold up better over time.

Memory foam pillows reduce pressure points by adjusting to the shape of your head. An S-shaped memory pillow is designed to support the neck. Beware though, that memory pillows can make your head quite warm.

The best pillows for allergy-prone people are filled with latex because the material resists mould and dust mites. They’re also good for keeping your neck and back aligned and are often contoured for optimal support.

Wool and cotton pillows are also hypoallergenic, can resist mould and dust mites, but can be firm.

Down and feather filled pillows can be fluffed around to suit your sleep style and give you support where you need it. They’re also hailed as one of the best fillings for a good night’s rest. Many believe that this type of stuffing is bad for asthma or allergy sufferers, but studies show that they pose no greater risk for sniffy sleepers than synthetic pillows. For enhanced support, look for a 50–50 split of feather and down.

If you can’t afford a good quality down pillow, then look for synthetic options. However, as synthetic alternatives don’t last as long, it may be a false economy, so the investment in a good pillow may actually save you money in the long run.

A good night’s sleep may be the right pillow away, and it’s worth noting that an expensive pillow doesn’t automatically make it the best pillow for you. Try them in-store and see which feels right – that’s the key to a good night’s sleep.

Read more at WebMD

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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18 Comments

Total Comments: 18
  1. 0
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    Yes your pillow can make a huge difference. We changed our pillows a few weeks ago as my husband was not sleeping too well and getting a sore neck. We opted for a therapeutic pillow which came in 3 different depths – I also sprinkle lavender or other herbal essence on the pillows and we have been sleeping so much better,

  2. 0
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    I bought a bamboo pillow two years ago. Best ever. I’m a side sleeper.

  3. 0
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    I have a good side pillow as I sleep on my side. I was recently diagnosed with sleep apneoa. Because of it I actually stop breathing several times during the night I wake up and am not always aware of it. For some people it has several side-effects. Waking up in the morning still feeling tired, not refreshed, needing to get up a few times during the night to urinate, depression and a few other issues.

  4. 0
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    I use to use down/feather pillows and always woke up with a sore neck, I changed to organic wool pillow and never get neck aches and sleep soundly. They are available from Blessed Earth on their website or if you are near Maleny have a store there. Best investment I ever made.

  5. 0
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    Helps if your partner has a great set of airbags

  6. 0
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    I used to use feather and down pillows and doonas until I discovered how hideously cruel the industry is. I was naive enough to think it had all fallen out of the ducks naturally. It’s yanked out violently. Because of neck and other issues I find a medium firm good quality V shaped
    pillow the best. I think mine is filled with cotton and polyester. It gives excellent support and comfort for my neck and shoulders, whether I lie on my back or on my side.

    • 0
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      coolumchris I was just about to air my grief at how the feather and down products come about! Thank you for bringing it up. I would Never support down products. It is so inhumane to inflict all that pain on a beautiful creature for anything!
      I use a pillow that I bought from my chiro – an “s” pillow. It is excellent.

  7. 0
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    Has anyone used a Buckwheat pillow before and found it helps, I have Osteoarthritis in my neck and wondered if that sort of pillow would help.

    • 0
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      No, but have you tried wool yet? I use an organic wool pillow and never get neck aches anymore, anything synthetic does. Not sure I believe in the benefits of buckwheat hulls in pillows seems a bit strange even if it is natural.

  8. 0
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    About 15 years ago a chiropractor who had a stall at an agriculture show , recommended a water pillow. Best pillow I have ever had , so comfortable, no flat spots when you turn around in bed.
    Obviously I have not had the same pillow since then but I don’t see myself changing to any other style again. I had previously tried so many and wasted so much money and not been as comfortable as I am now.

  9. 0
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    Incognito, if filled properly ,no you don’t hear water sloshing around. I couldn’t handle that as I do get queasy on a boat. A chiropractor recommended them to me.when I need to buy a new one I google to get the best price as they are quite expensive.

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