Do you struggle choosing what pillow to use for a good nights sleep?
You are not alone, there are so many factors in choosing the perfect pillow. If you go for the wrong one you could exacerbate neck and shoulder tension and give you headaches.
Do not just concentrate on your mattress for a good nights sleep, you also need to focus on what pillows you use.
We all have a “normal” position we sleep in, did you know that makes a difference to what pillow you should have? No I didn’t either.
Work Out Your Preferred Sleeping Position
If you don’t know what your preferred position is, take a few nights to find out. First lay on your back and if you are not asleep in 20 minutes, try your side or your front. Also make a note of how you wake up in the morning. Were you on your front, back or side?
Preferred Sleeping Position
If you find your preferred sleep is on your stomach, you should opt for a soft, fairly flat pillow. This will allow your neck to stay more in line with your spine.
If you find your preferred sleep is on your back, you should opt for a medium thick pillow. You don’t want it to be too thick, or it will push your head too far forward. You also don’t want it to be too soft, or your head will simply sink down to the mattress. In this case, you may want a pillow which is thicker and firmer on the bottom, to provide a bit of neck support.
The best pillows for side sleepers would be a thicker, firmer pillow to help with neck support.
How to Choose The Pillow Filling
There are so many different types of pillows available, how do you know which one to choose?
There are also a number of different factors that should be considered when choosing the pillow filling:
- Ethical Reasons
- Health Conditions
There are eight different pillow filling types available:
- Latex. Is a very long lasting natural material, cooler and more airy than memory foam, it shapes itself to the head and neck. Soft and supportive offering effective pressure relief, it holds its shape well. It can be expensive, heavy, fixed shape and height so if a pillow is not right you can’t adjust it.
- Feather. Usually inexpensive, soft, easy to shape, durable, have a good lifespan. The feather quills can quite often poke through even the toughest cover. Do not offer a lot of support or height – not great for side sleepers, will need regular fluffing and shaking to get back into shape, not great for allergy sufferers
- Down. Tend to make the softest pillows, nice and light, cool and airy, easy to shape, long lasting. Feathers can sometimes poke through the cover (though usually not spiky like feathers), it does not offer a lot of support or height, therefore not great for side sleepers, can be expensive, will need occasional fluffing and shaking to get back into shape, not ideal for allergy sufferers unless the down has been correctly processed.
- Wool. Is environmentally friendly, anti-allergenic, temperature regulating, humidity regulating, supportive, heavier so don’t move around the bed themselves. May be too firm, more expensive than synthetic and washing can be more challenging.
- Synthetic. Relatively cheap, lightweight, good for those with allergies, easy to care for, easy to bend and scrunch to get required height. Have the shortest life-span (6 months to 2 years), flatten quite quickly, the filling can clump and get out of shape.
- Memory Foam. Offers good support and pain relief, is soft and smooth without lumps, can be contoured to closely match head and neck, quiet, good durability and easy to look after. If you tend to move around during your sleep or swap between sleeping on your back, side or front, then the fixed height won’t suit you, it is heavy, not very good ventilation so can be hot, relatively expensive.
- Cotton. They are natural and ideal for allergy sufferers. The cotton fibre breathes better than synthetic that’s why they feel cooler against the skin. Care for cotton pillows is also easier since you can just throw them in the washing machine. Organic cotton is also a good alternative if you have sensitivity against synthetic pillows. Cotton pillows are usually more expensive than synthetic pillows. Cotton pillows start out as fluffy and soft in the beginning but clump up and become hard after a while.
- Water Pillows. Customisable support, height and firmness, shapes itself to contours, offers good pain relief, especially for back and neck pain, offers cooling. The water can make them heavy and sometimes noisy if there is an air pocket, fairly expensive, questionable durability, will need adjustment until you find the right water fill level.
When should you invest in new pillows?
Pillows tend to only last 18 months, memory foam ones however will last up to 3 years. Of course the more money you invest on pillows the longer life they will have.
How do you know if your pillow needs replacing?
There are a number of tests you can do to check if you need a new pillow:
- Does it have stains?
- Is it torn?
- Does it smell?
- Fold it in half, does it stay in that position, or does it bounce back into shape?
Pillows collect dead skin cells, mildew, mould, fungus, and dust mites (as well as their faeces). Over time, as much as half the weight of a pillow can be attributed to these unwelcome organisms. These can trigger allergies, interfere with breathing during sleep, and give out odours that make it harder to sleep well.
What pillows do I recommend?
Well in my house we all have separate pillows as we all sleep differently.
My favourite is the Studio Silentnight adjustable pillow. Personally I use it with all three combinations as I am a side sleeper. I find it is of excellent quality and if I do ever want to sleep on my front (which I do sometimes) I can take out some of the combinations.
Stuarts favourite is the Silentnight Latex Core pillow medium as he doesn’t really have a preference and depending on his mood might sleep on his back, side or front.
Freddie’s favourite is the Silentnight Impress Memory Foam Pillow firm as he is a side sleeper. Freddie suffers with allergies so this is a perfect pillow for him as it is hypoallergenic.
The reason we always have Silentnight is they offer an impressive 2 year guarantee.
I asked some blogging friends what their tips were for a good nights sleep and how they go about choosing the perfect pillow.
Sal from Hello Little Lovely “No screens at least an hour before bed; wind down with a warm bath and a good book! Body pillows are amazing; I used one during pregnancy to help with spd but my husband loves it too! Mine was by snuggle up “
Kate from Ever After with Kids “Lavender oil sprinkled on your pillow or bed sheets. I do it every night religiously and I think it helps a lot, it may even just be the association now but that smell puts me straight to sleep!”
Carla from My Bump 2 Baby “I have a shower in the evening followed by a warm glass of milk and I listen to my audiobook for a good 10 minutes
Claire from This Mummy Rocks “Don’t have kids!!! ??? no, really…find what’s right for you. Other things include, limit screen time before bed, have a wind down routine such as bath, book, self-care and bed so you go to bed relaxed, don’t take your phone to bed with you, listen to your body if it’s tired then rest, nice warm milky drink before bed (no caffeine)”
Laura from Mummy Lauretta “I use essential oils, lavender and peppermint and my pulse points and then night essence (on my tongue) to help calm my mind. I am trying to use screens less just before bedtime but it’s hard as that is when I’m most productive so am trying to read a little bit of a book each night to calm my eyes”
Lisa from Bare Mother “I sleep best when I’m prepped for the next day – daycare bag packed, bottles washed and formula ready – and not laying in bed thinking about all the things I need to do in the morning.”
Nicky from Spinnin Plates “Journal! Brain dump the day and prepare for the following day removes the whirl from your mind and onto paper.”
Victoria from Healthy Vix “I love a warm herbal tea in the evening, but a caffeine free one, to help soothe before bedtime. Also a warm shower or bath is super relaxing and gets me in the mood for good quality sleep”
Helen from Treasure Every Moment “I love using This Works Pillow Mist when I really need a good nights sleep – it’s smells amazing and helps create a relaxing environment
Polly from Our Seaside Baby “A sleep meditation before falling asleep works wonders. It can make a huge difference to having a good quality night of deep sleep.”
Sophie from Soph Obsessed “No technology at least 2 hours before you want to go to sleep!
**The Silentnight pillows were sent free of charge for an honest review, there may be affiliate links in this post.**