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How to choose the right pillow no matter what position you sleep in

Most people spend a lot of money and time on getting the best mattress. Unfortunately, they don’t pay the same level of attention when shopping for bed pillows. If you’re concerned about your sleep quality, you should really know how to choose the right pillows.

Pillows come in varying materials, sizes, and densities, and this makes them all feel differently. While the price is an essential determinant, the comfort of the pillows is even more important. In addition to your style and shape preferences, consider these key factors when choosing a pillow.

bed with white pillows next to table with tall lamp
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Consider the material

We all have our preferred materials when shopping for pillows, but it’s still vital to understand the different options available. The common materials include:

  • Memory foam. This is the most popular option, and it’s ideal for anyone. It has a high density and viscosity. However, it can get very warm, which can be uncomfortable during the summer.
  • Shredded memory foam. The material is just memory form, but in this case it’s shredded to ensure optimal ventilation. The drawback is that it doesn’t mold easily to fit your desired shape.
  • Down pillows. If you want a light pillow, then down pillows are ideal. They maintain their shape and offer adequate support. The issue with down pillows, however, is that they have poor durability.
  • Feather pillows. Feather pillows are malleable and light, and you can fold them to suit your sleeping position. They’re durable and affordable. Their problem is that they start to sink while you’re sleeping, and this can affect your spine and neck.
  • Polyester fiberfill. This material is easy to clean, making it ideal for busy parents. It’s also odor-free and lightweight. However, polyester fiberfill isn’t quite breathable, and it’s not resistant to dust mites.
  • Buckwheat. This pillow is filled with natural buckwheat hulls, and it easily molds to your neck’s shape. However, the material is heavy, and it tends to make a rustling noise, which can be uncomfortable.

These are just some of the materials you know when shopping for pillows. There are even more options, such as microbead, latex, kapok, water, and gel. Bear in mind that each material has its own pros and cons, which you need to know before buying.

Check the firmness or density

girl sleeping on side on blue pillow
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The firmness level of any pillow is vital once you have selected your preferred material. Your sleep style should guide you in determining the right density for your pillows. Your options include:

  • Soft density.This level is thin and comfortable, and it’s ideal for stomach sleepers.
  • Medium-density. If you want a thick enough pillow for spinal support and cushion for the head, a medium level of firmness is recommended.
  • Firm density. This level is thicker than all other levels, and it’s perfect for keeping the body in a horizontal position.

While each of the above firmness levels is recommended for a particular type of sleeping position, you can always have all of them if you’re always alternating between different positions.

Take into account your sleeping position

girl in gray t-shirt sleeping on stomach
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If you have a preferred sleeping position, you’ll definitely need a pillow that suits your way of sleeping.

  • Back sleepers. Medium pillows are usually ideal for back sleepers as they provide extra loft for neck cradling. In this case, opt for medium-density memory foam pillows because they mold to the shape of your neck and head.
  • Side sleepers. Side sleepers would be more comfortable with firm density pillows. Be sure to get one with an extra-wide gusset to bridge the gap between your shoulder and ear.
  • Stomach sleepers. Thin/soft density pillows are suited for stomach sleepers. In some cases, these types of sleepers might not need a pillow. This is because sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your lower back.

Whatever your sleeping position, it’s advisable to also invest in a comfortable mattress. In some cases, sleeping with a pillow under the knees can help to alleviate stress on the lower back. This particularly applies to back sleepers.

If you’re a side sleeper, you can also sleep with a pillow between your knees to ensure proper alignment of your spine.

Final thoughts

woman sleeping in bed with white bedding
Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Whatever your sleeping position, it’s vital to understand that there’s a perfect bed pillow for you on the market. Be sure to take the time to compare the different material options to pick one that’s most comfortable. When shopping at a local store, let them allow you to try out different pillows just to get their feel and comfort.

If you’re a combination sleeper, you can opt for a pillow that features adjustable fills. This allows you to personalize and customize your bed pillow to accommodate your preferred positions. It’s recommended to replace your pillows at least every 18 months, particularly if you’re prone to allergies.

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