A good pillow can make all the difference to your sleep quality. There’s nothing worse than waking up with a sore neck or trying to get to sleep on a pillow that is too hard/too soft/too high, etc. The best type of pillow is going to change depending on the user and how they sleep. Here is a quick guide to what kind of pillow might suit you best, in addition to all the different styles of pillows available.
WHAT KIND OF SLEEPER ARE YOU?
If you tend to sleep on your stomach, you should look at pillows with a soft density and a low profile so there’s not too much strain on your neck while you sleep.
If you sleep on your back, a medium density and medium profile pillow should give you enough neck support and cushion for your head.
For side sleepers it’s important to have enough support for your neck – ideally there shouldn’t be any gap between your neck and the pillow. In this case a firmer density and high profile pillow may be the best solution.
Tip: If you require extra neck and head support you might like to consider a contour pillow that is specifically shaped to fit the contours of your neck.
SPECIAL PILLOW SHAPES
In addition to the standard 48cm x 73cm pillow we’re all used to sleeping on, pillows come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes as outlined below:
King size pillow
For sleepers who think bigger is better! These pillows generally come in around 50cm x 90cm in size.
V shaped pillow
Also known as a banana pillow, these are a favourite for people who like to lounge in bed to read a book or watch TV as they give the back support needed for sitting up in bed. V shaped pillows are also popular during pregnancy as their shape makes them versatile enough to support different parts of your body. They’re also a great back support for breastfeeding mothers.
Euro pillows are square pillows, usually 65cm x 65cm. Euro pillows are a great way to get that “luxury hotel bed” look and are usually an additional pillow to your standard sleeping pillow. They also make a great pillow for lounging in bed, propping you up while you read a book.
Another favourite type of pillow during pregnancy, these are super long pillows, usually 45cm x 150cm. Body pillows are great for people who suffer hip and lower back pain or discomfort as you can sleep next to the pillow and place it between your legs to reduce the pressure. Body pillows are also a fun way for the kids (or the kid within) to lounge around.
Like quilts, pillows usually come with a cotton cover, however these days there is a wide variety of fillings to suit different needs. Here is a list of the different types of pillow filling you might come across.
Latex is made from the sap of rubber trees, and is naturally anti-microbial, which is great news for allergy and asthma sufferers. Latex also moulds itself around your head and neck for people who are after extra support and good sleeping posture. While latex pillows are dearer than other types of pillows, they’re also incredibly durable and keep their shape for their entire lifetime, which when looked after well can be 10+ years – so in the long term a latex pillow is a great value investment!
Feather & Down
Just like feather & down quilts, the greater the proportion of down to feather, the softer and more luxurious the pillow will be. Feather & Down pillows are great to snuggle in to and mould around your head and neck. You will need to regularly fluff and shake your feather & down pillows to make sure they stay consistent and plump.
Polyester pillows are a great budget conscious option and also have the benefit of being washing machine friendly. Polyester pillows are also a good choice for people who are sensitive to natural fibres. Polyester pillows do need to be replaced more regularly than other types of filling as you will notice that over time they will lose their ‘bounce’.
Memory foam has a special cell structure made out of polyurethane that ‘remembers’ your shape on the pillow to better support your head and neck and to distribute weight and pressure evenly. Memory foam pillows are usually quite dense and firm so may not be the best option for sleepers who prefer a softer style pillow or for stomach sleepers.
Bamboo and bamboo/polyester blend pillows are a great option if you suffer from the dreaded night sweats! Bamboo is naturally thermal regulating to adjust with your body temperature and also has wicking properties to draw moisture away from the body. Bamboo is also naturally repellant to dust mites and bacteria, ideal features for a pillow, especially for allergy sufferers.
Wool filled pillows are usually blended with synthetic fibres to give the pillows extra loft and softness. Wool is another great option for sweaty sleepers as it naturally wicks away moisture to help keep your temperature regulated throughout the night.
If you love the softness of down pillows, then microfibre filled pillows could be a great affordable alternative. These pillows are super soft and plump and will mould around your head and neck. Microfibre is also great as they can be thrown in to the washing machine and drier at home. They’re also better for allergy and asthma sufferers compared to traditional feather & down pillows.