How to find the perfect pillow

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 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 instore 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 has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.