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Pillow guide

A good pillow can mean the difference between waking up refreshed and waking up with neck pain. Choosing the right pillow for you or your family can be a hard decision as there is such a huge selection available. But what this means is that with the right information, you can find the pillow to suit your individual sleeping style.

Good Night Sleep have created a pillow guide to help you choose the right pillow for you. And if you are still not sure, you can contact us for one on one assistance.

Two Basic Steps...

Identify your sleep style(s) or concern. This is the key to choosing the right pillow.

Understand the different pillow styles: firmness, fill and size.

 

Sleep Style / Position / Concern

If you ever unexpectedly woke up with a sore back or neck, your pillow might be to blame. Different sleeping positions require different lofts (a pillow’s fill volume) to provide maximum comfort and support. Which type of pillow is best for you depends on if you mostly sleep on your back, your side or your stomach. And also any other specific concerns you have during sleep such as pain

  • Pillows for back sleepers are firm with a medium loft to support the head and neck comfortably
  • Pillows for side sleepers are firm to keep the spine aligned and provide ample head, neck and shoulder support
  • Pillows for stomach sleepers are soft and thin to cradle the head and neck without putting pressure on the neck and spine
  • Combinations sleepers also have pillows designed to suit. But be sure to pick a pillow that fits with how you sleep 95% of the time. You may just be moving positions as you try to get comfortable. 
  • Hug / Cuddle Sleepers often sleep better with an additional pillow which they can hug. It gives a feeling of comfort and closes the energy gap people often feel when there is no pillow present for them to hold onto. The larger body pillows are also great during pregnancy. View these here
Specific concerns:

  • Leg, knee, hip or back pain. Specialist pillows to relieve tension are available. 
  • Beauty pillows - these pillows are generally softer on the face and minimise pressure.
  • Travel and support while sitting long periods. You can view the full range of these pillows here.

 

Pillow Type

Your sleep position will dictate what firmness is best for you. Pick a pillow that both provides adequate support and fulfills personal preferences. Firmness is determined by the type of fill used and how tightly or lightly the fill is packed into the pillow.

Pillows can be filled with natural or synthetic fibres to give them their loft.

Natural pillow fillers are down, a combination of down and feathers, cotton and wool. A soft or medium fill down pillow is a popular choice, especially among sleepers who like to crumple their pillows to get comfortable. When buying a down pillow, look for tightly woven cotton covers. This will help prevent the down and feathers from escaping the pillow.

Wool and cotton hypoallergenic qualities make them a natural choice for allergy sufferers. Cotton pillows are softer than wool pillows, but become flat and might not be compatible with sleep styles requiring more support.

The synthetic fillers in polyester pillows, memory foam pillows and foam latex pillows are also hypoallergenic options. Foam pillows offer more support than down pillows and stay firm throughout the night. Pillows filled with polyester are firmer than down, but softer than foam pillows.


Advantages of Individual Pillow Types

Feather & Down

Advantages
Soft and comfortable
Durable
Luxurious
Disadvantages
Expensive
Poor neck support
May trigger allergies

Down and feather pillows are very plump and comfortable and tend to last longer than other fillings. They are often described as luxurious. However, experts say down and feather pillows don’t offer enough neck support for those that require it, and can cause allergies in susceptible individuals (hypoallergenic down and feather pillows are more expensive).

 

Latex Foam

Advantages
Great neck support
Hypoallergenic
Won't bunch or clump

Disadvantages
Can be expensive
May have slight odor when new

Some are not as soft and plump as some other types of bed pillows, but experts say latex foam pillows offer excellent neck support, and they won't bunch or clump.  These pillows also come highly recomended by physios and other health professionals where neck support is important. There is also a large range of sizes and styles to ensure every person has the right support for their sleep position. However, their resistance to dust mites is uncertain, and new pillows can emit a subtle smell that goes away in a few days.

 

Memory Foam

Advantages
Good neck support
Most maintain shape well
Disadvantages
Poor air flow
Subtle initial odor
Some concerns about durability with cheaper brands

Some like the feel of memory foam pillows, which revert back to their original shape after sleep and offer very good neck support. However, they're also dense, with poor airflow, and new pillows can emit a subtle smell which usually dissipates within a few days. There are also some reports of memory foam pillows losing their resilience over time but this is usually with cheaper brands.

 

Buckwheat

Advantages
Good neck support
Better air flow than other pillows
Natural filling
Disadvantages
Relatively heavy
Shifting can cause noise
Too firm for some sleepers

Buckwheat pillows are stuffed with thousands of buckwheat husks, which offer firm support and better air flow than other pillow fillings (meaning the pillow feels much cooler during sleep). The husk pillow can be moulded to a degree and you can remove husks to make it the correct size for you. However, these pillows are heavy, noisy (when their insides shift), and some users may find them uncomfortably firm.

 

Polyester

Advantages
Cheap
Relatively durable
Machine washable
Disadvantages
Poor neck support
May be vulnerable to dust mites
Gel-filled pillows may emit chemical odor

As a rule, experts aren't very fond of polyester fiber or gel pillows, which offer poor or so-so neck support and attract dust mites. On the plus side, these pillows are relatively cheap and easy to replace when worn out. Plus, most are machine washable.

 

Cotton, Silk and Wool

Advantages
Average to good neck
support
Allergy-free
All-natural materials
Disadvantages
Can be expensive
Not as plump as other pillows
May flatten over time

Pillows stuffed with cotton, silk or wool are pricier than other formulations, but reviewers like their all-natural ingredients, which they say offer good neck support. The downside is that these fabric pillows flatten over time as their filling compacts, and they tend to absorb sweat or facial oils more readily than other fabrics, requiring more frequent cleaning.