Are you aware that a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for good health? In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, the Western way of life is interfering with natural sleep patterns. Americans are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and the quality of their sleep has also decreased considerably. If you’re looking to improve your sleep and rest, start with your bedding and keep in mind that just like a mattress, a quality pillow is the best guarantee for a good night’s rest. If you often wake up tired, with tight shoulders or kinks in your back and neck; it may be time to look for a new pillow.
It’s a well known fact that in order to get a good night’s sleep, the one thing you can do every night is making sure to have your head, neck and spine well aligned. The easiest way to correct your sleeping posture and aligning your body correctly is getting a good pillow. A pillow is supposed to allow you to get into the best position so that you can relax all your muscles and be able to enjoy quality rest. Do you know how to choose the best pillow for your posture and your sleep patterns? If the answer is no, you’re in luck! This shopping guide is made with everything you need to know in order to find the perfect pillow.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our Selection: The Best Pillows on the U.S. Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Pillows
- 3.1 What is a pillow exactly?
- 3.2 What are the types of pillows that are available?
- 3.3 What is a viscoelastic or memory foam material?
- 3.4 Which materials should I choose for my pillow?
- 3.5 Which type of pillow is the right one for me?
- 3.6 How do I know which is the right size of pillow for me?
- 3.7 Which are better memory foam pillows or feather pillows?
- 3.8 How are pillows cared for?
- 3.9 How often should I change pillows?
- 3.10 Which is the best pillow to treat neck and back pain?
- 3.11 Is sleeping with a pillow between the legs useful?
- 3.12 How are cervical pillows used?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- There are pillow designs for many different circumstances. There are pillows specially designed for people with muscle pains and aches, for example. These include models with cervical support and patterns which deliver acupressure. These models are also ideal during pregnancy.
- Flatter and smaller pillows are meant for smaller and lightweight people or those who sleep on their stomachs. If possible, the pillow should always be wider than the shoulders. Thicker and larger pillows are made for side sleepers and medium-stuffed pillows are meant for those who sleep on their backs.
- The model you choose will likely be determined by your posture during sleep. Keep in mind that it’s firmness and malleability will be determined by the filling and its manufacturing materials.
Our Selection: The Best Pillows on the U.S. Market
If your goal is to establish a good sleep routine in order to ensure a good night’s sleep, you should start by choosing the right pillow. Because there are so many options available in The United States, in order to choose the right pillow you’ll have to consider things like your sleeping patterns and physique — specifically your weight and height. To serve as a guide, in this next section we’ve selected and listed the very best pillows out there, read on to find the right pillow for you.
- The Best Gel Pillow
- The Best Memory Foam Pillow
- The Best King-Sized Pillow
- The Best US-Made Pillow
- The Best Customizable Down Pillow
The Best Gel Pillow
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The Beckham Luxury Linens Gel-Filled Pillows are crafted in a super plush gel fiber that puts all other pillow to shame.The cover is made of 100% cotton and the filling is 100% poly gel fiber. These pillows are expertly tailored to ensure maximum comfort for any and all sleeping positions. They are made with no-shift construction, which keeps the head from sliding at night causing neck and back pain. The stylish and luxurious design is fade resistant as well as stain resistant.
Not only are these pillows dust mite, mold and mildew resistant, they are completely allergen and chemical free. It’s the perfect choice for those that suffer from asthma, allergies or other respiratory issues. They are machine washable, making them super easy to wash and enabling you to always keep them looking and feeling like new. These pillows come in both king or queen sized options, as well as a 30 day satisfaction money back guarantee.
The Best Memory Foam Pillow
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This memory foam pillow by LIANLAM is on of the most advanced, high quality pillows you can find at the most reasonable price. With a premium adjustable design, you can take control of your sleep by adjusting it to the ideal pillow height by adding or removing the foam fillings by way of an inner and outer zipper cover. Extra memory foam is included in the purchase for those who prefer extra fluffy pillows. The memory foam cross-cute design prevents clumping that ensures even support while you sleep.
To avoid dampness from avoid night sweat soaking into the pillow, it’s design incorporates a high tech fabric that is made of 40% bamboo-derived viscose rayon and 60% polyester to promote breathability. Because of its ergonomic design, side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers can all benefit from its customizable features, making it the perfect pillow for any and all kinds of sleepers. This memory foam pillow is made without ozone depleters, PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead and formaldehyde and is certified to the highest consumer safety standards.
The Best King-Sized Pillow
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These king sized pillows by Philly Linens is the best bang for your buck. Three high quality pillows all for $46.49. With dimensions of 20” x 36”, these pillows have a polyester fibre filling that ensures maximum comfort for any sleeping position. They are expertly tailored, promising a completely supported full nights sleep. These pillows are also offered in a hypoallergenic down alternative toddler pillow pack option, although prices may vary.
When purchased, these pillows come in an easily transportable 11” x 11” package. The pillows are vacuum packed and sealed; therefore manufacturers suggest allowing a full 24 hours for them to fluff up completely before using them. Philly Linens has created a pillow that is extremely easy to wash and maintain. They are machine washable, however one should never bleach them and tumble drying them on the lowest setting is recommended. This product is secured with an exclusive lifetime guarantee which allows for easy refunds, replacements or exchanges of your purchase, no questions asked!
The Best US-Made Pillow
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The premium memory foam pillow by Coop Home Goods comes in both queen and king sized options. It is made of 60% polyester and 40% rayon derived from bamboo. This US made product is a completely adjustable pillow, created with a medium firm mix of memory foam and microfiber material. One has the capability of removing or adding more filling to create a level personalized to each consumer, creating the perfect pillow height. It is also hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
The memory foam material used is CertiPUR-US certified and Greenguard certified; analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories that meet standards for quality, safety and durability. The pillow is made from a cross-cut cover that promises a pillow shape that holds firm for years. The rayon cover is removable and washable, making for easy maintenance. Buyers love the balance this pillow has between softness and firmness. Many reviewers found that this pillow alleviated chronic neck and back pain.
The Best Customizable Down Pillow
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The customizable down-alternative pillow is one of the best pillows available for the cheapest price. Not only is this pillow under $40, but it comes in a pack of 2; giving you 2 for the price of 1. This imported, polyester pillow has synthetic polyester fiber balls that mimic the feel of a real feather down pillow. It comes with the ability to add or remove however many fiber balls you choose to create a completely personalized pillow at the height you desire, allowing for the perfect night’s sleep.
This pillow by AmazonBasics is not only hypoallergenic, but actively repels dust and allergens that can enter the respiratory system and disturb the quality of sleep. Each purchase comes with a fiber ball refill pack and ultra-soft microfiber shell. The pillow is slightly dense with a comfortable quilted case, designed to hold it’s shape. Reviewers love how affordable and plump each pillow is, creating a soft yet firm, supportive sleeping surface. This pillow is available in standard, queen and king size options.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Pillows
If you’re under the impression that pillows are irrelevant parts of your bedding, mainly there for decorative purposes, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Investing in a good pillow could be the best decision you make if you often experience poor sleep or have any neck or back pain.
Choosing the right pillow can be a total game changer, so we encourage you to make an informed and well-thought-out decision — It is for this reason that in this next section we go over everything you need to know before making your purchase.
What is a pillow exactly?
A pillow is soft item on which you rest your head, a support for when the body is at rest. It can be designed for comfort, therapy, or decoration. It is always placed at the head of the bed and in the homes of Americans, they are usually in a pillowcase that matches the bed sheets and cover.
Pillows are designed with the one goal of keeping the spine straight. They are made to fit in and support the neck cavity, allowing the nape of the neck to relax and thus avoiding tense muscles. Some other types of pillows include throw pillows and decorative pillows.
What are the types of pillows that are available?
Most people are not aware about all the different types of pillows and the purpose they serve to the different types of needs. People usually choose a pillow simply based on their instinct — simply by looking at the price and taking the size of the bed into consideration — this is a common mistake, and one you should avoid.
Aside from finding pillows with tailored shapes, there are also pillows made from natural fibers, synthetic fillings, with firm or softer textures, and the list goes on. To help you compare between models, in the following table we’ve listed the different types of pillows and their main characteristics.
|Memory Foam||Synthetic foam.||Fits the shape of the body.||May be very hard and trap heat. Cannot be washed in a washing machine.||You can choose its size. Certain models offer heat-resistant fabrics.|
|Fiber||Polyester and synthetic fibers.||Machine washable. More affordable, they are hypoallergenic.||They deform and lose their consistency quickly. The filler may spoil.||They are usually very affordable. Silicone hollow fibers are hypoallergenic.|
|Gel||Viscoelastic and latex.||They feature a gel middle layer.||More expensive. Cannot be washed. They require the use of an antiperspirant cover.||Ideal for hot areas.|
|Anatomic||Viscoelastic.||When in proper posture, allows you to relax. Improves blood flow. The weight is evenly distributed.||Square models only allow you to sleep on the back. Getting used to them can be difficult. They can be very firm.||Ideal for people with neck or cervical pain.|
|Feather||Goose feathers, down or a combination of both.||Malleable structure. Lightweight and cool.||Avoid in case of allergies and cervical pains. They require dry cleaning.||They are more refreshing.|
|Latex||Latex or a mixture of latex and viscoelastic materials.||Excellent head and neck support. Very comfortable and relieves back pain.||Can be too firm and cannot be washed. Unpleasant and distinctive smell (non-toxic).|| Smooth texture and provides good cervical support.
Pleasant to the touch and with good adaptability.
What is a viscoelastic or memory foam material?
Viscoelastic protection or padding is a material developed by NASA that presents innovative properties to alleviate the pressure that certain materials exert onto our bodies. It was originally designed to make space suits more comfortable during take-off. Nowadays, this material is used in the textile, automobile and bedding industries.
It is also used in hospitals for the manufacture of prosthetics, as well as for making adaptable mattresses and pillows. Because this type of material has the ability to form to the natural contour of the body, it helps alleviate pressure on the spine, neck and limbs. Making it the ideal material to promote proper rest for those who suffer from lumbar or cervical pain.
Which materials should I choose for my pillow?
Currently, most pillows on the market are made from memory foam. These models, as well as latex pillows, are the best ones to adapt to the contour of the neck. However, latex pillows are much more likely to cause allergic reactions. Moreover, if they are not cared for properly they may become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.
If you have a tendency to suffer from allergies, your best option will be to choose a pillow made from memory foam or synthetic fiber, as both feather and latex have been known to cause some serious allergic reactions. Furthermore, if you suffer from cervical pain or back issues, materials like viscoelastic or gel will offer better support and an adequate density that will promote proper rest.
Which type of pillow is the right one for me?
Just like with a mattress, there is no ‘one size fits all’ option: it all depends on your personal needs and requirements. Don’t simply choose a well-known brand or follow the advice of other consumers when choosing your pillow — this should be a personal decision, tailored to meet your sleeping needs.
There are many well thought out models, made specifically to meet certain needs, your task is to find the most appropriate one for you. Here is a quick list of the best pillows for each sleeping posture, consider your habits and routines, and find the right one for you:
- If you sleep on your side: Thicker pillows are recommended for side sleepers. They will keep the neck straight and aligned with the spine. If the neck is not positioned correctly, you will suffer from cervical problems and muscular pains down the line.
- If you sleep on your stomach: Your best bet will be a soft, thin and flexible pillow. In this posture, the neck doesn’t need much height to stay aligned with the spine. However, this position is not recommended, as it tends to pull heavily on the neck.
- If you sleep on your back: A pillow with a medium thickness is what you need. The neck should be raised a little to maintain alignment with the spine, although it won’t need the elevation that a side sleeper would need.
How do I know which is the right size of pillow for me?
Until recently, pillows in The United States came in standard sizes, these sizes were established according to the width of the bed. The first change came when they began to be made in softer or more firm materials, before the trend of mixing aesthetic and ergonomic factors came along. Nowadays, your personal anatomy is the best factor to help you establish which pillow best suits your needs.
There are three criteria you should consider in order to pick your pillow size: the build of your shoulders, your sleeping posture and the firmness you want or need. One way to find your size is to lie on a very thin pillow and add towels until you find the right elevation. When you’ve got it, measure the pillow and towels and this should give you your ideal size.
Which are better memory foam pillows or feather pillows?
Memory foam pillows stand out because of the special material with which they are manufactured. It can very easily adapt to the user’s anatomy, as it easily fits the shape of the head and neck. They are most recommended for people with back and neck problems. However, these pillows have a tendency to be uncomfortable if you sleep on your side.
On the other hand, pillows filled with feathers or downed do not offer sufficient firmness, which makes them ideal for people who sleep on their belly. Even though their softness allows them to adapt well to almost any posture, they are not the best option for people who sleep on their backs. Nonetheless, these types of pillows are durable and lightweight, they have also been known to get a little warm, ideal for cold weather.
Still unsure about which pillow is best for you? In the table below we have outlined the main differences between synthetic and organic material pillows:
|Memory foam||They adapt better to the contours of our body. They are hypoallergenic and very easy to find. They can be washed. Ideal for people with muscle pains.||They can be very firm and are not suitable for sleeping on your side. They are somewhat more expensive.|
|Down||Lighter, they easily adapt to all sleeping postures. Pleasant to the touch with a moldable structure. They also manage temperature better.||This form is to be avoided by those who suffer from allergies. Their maintenance also requires more effort. Not recommended for people with neck pain.|
How are pillows cared for?
Taking care of your pillow is important if you want to extend its useful life and get the most out of it. As a general rule, the number one maintenance tip is airing it out on a regular basis. It is also recommended to turn it over often, this is meant to avoid it becoming deformed, mouldy or yellow on one side. It is also super important to always remember to use a pillowcase. Depending on its manufacturing material, each type of pillow will require specific care. Check out the table below with the main types of pillows and the maintenance they require:
|Fiber|| Machine wash delicate, wrap it in a cloth of the same color and you can roll it up to avoid deformation.
Do not tumble-dry and make sure to wash it separately.
|Viscoelastic or memory foam|| Do not wash, as they deteriorate and do not dry fully.
Check the manufacturer’s label for instructions.
Make sure to wash the pillowcase frequently.
Add a protective breathable fabric pillowcase and air it out daily. Vacuum it once every two weeks.
Turn it over often.
|Latex||Same maintenance as with memory foam models.|
|Gel and anatomically designed||Same as memory foam pillows. However, do not turn them around, as the gel will lose its useful shape.|
|Feather|| Wash at least once a year. If it has stains, soak for one hour with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.
Put a tennis ball in the washer and dryer with the pillow to prevent feathers from clumping together.
Make sure to use the delicate washing setting and liquid soap.
Do not add fabric softener, most pillows can be put through the dryer or air dried on a flat surface.
How often should I change pillows?
A well-kept pillow can last anywhere from five years to a lifetime. Naturally, its duration will depend on its quality and manufacturing materials. Depending on the model, a pillow could last you decades while others may need to be changed within the first couple of years. Its longevity will be affected by how well you take care of it, as well as whether or not you use a protective cover.
That being said, in most cases it is recommended to change pillows every few years. This is because after this time, it is actually very likely that the pillow has deformed irreversibly or it has acquired mites, which are impossible to get rid of. Of course, if you find your pillow is no longer comfortable or it doesn’t support you the way it used to before the 2 years have passed, you should definitely get a new pillow without waiting any longer.
Which is the best pillow to treat neck and back pain?
Sleeping without a pillow, or with a pillow that is too firm or too small, can easily cause neck and back pain. If you feel pain after sleeping, try choosing a model that provides good support for your head and neck, without being too firm. Memory foam pillows are the go-to choice for people suffering from back, neck or head pain.
These pillows perfectly adapt to the shape of the head and neck. They are also designed to alleviate pressure and to help relax the muscles around this area. They are called memory foam because return to their original shape when pressure is lifted away from them. These types of pillows offer medium firmness and resistance, which provides a pleasant level of relaxation around the neck.
Is sleeping with a pillow between the legs useful?
Just sitting and walking correctly is not all that is needed for maintaining good posture: sleeping properly is also important. During sleep, the tissues, ligaments and muscles of your back regenerate and get shaped, which is why a proper sleeping position is so essential. Regardless of which side you sleep on, you must keep your neck and back axes aligned. If you tend to sleep on your side, using a pillow between your legs is the best option to avoid causing muscle injuries and to rest more comfortably.
This technique helps keep the hips leveled, while also taking some of the weight from the top leg. This helps eliminate the pressure on the hip and lower back muscles, resulting in much better alignment and a more comfortable sleep.
How are cervical pillows used?
This type of pillow is the best choice for people who frequently have neck and/or back problems. However, you have to know how to use them properly if you want to benefit from their beneficial properties. In order to get the most out of these pillows, place your whole head on the pillow, always trying to have your shoulders fully on the mattress.
Ideally, your head, neck and shoulders should be perfectly aligned in order to be able to adopt a natural posture. This posture will help prevent neck injuries and back pains. Different from most of the other pillows, when using cervical pillows you must sleep on your back, otherwise this model will not be efficient and you may even make matters worse.
Quality pillows are incredibly important items to have if you want to get the best rest possible. In North America today, thanks to scientific development, the market offers a wide range of models and types — such as cervical support, memory foam or latex, etc. All this choice may make it harder to be able to choose the right pillow, so in this next section we’ve included the key aspects you should consider when shopping for a new quality pillow.
- Sleeping Posture
One of the most important aspects when looking for the right pillow, is it’s material — just as important as its quality and how it adapts to your needs — As mentioned before, memory foam pillows are currently the best-selling models in The United States. This is probably because they are very comfortable and resistant pillows. They adapt perfectly to the contours of the neck, alleviating pain and stress in the process.
In America today, synthetic fibers and memory foam are the most popular manufacturing materials for pillows.
If you want to opt for more traditional materials, feather, downed, natural or synthetic fiber pillows will be your options. The latter is the best choice for people with allergies, and it so happens to be the most affordable option as well. Finally, you should probably opt for those made of latex if you prioritise soft touch and greater durability — Keep in mind however, choosing these types of pillows means making a greater financial investment from the get go.
As we mentioned in other sections of this guide, choosing the right size of pillow isn’t just about having it match the size of your bed. While this is how they were measured and chosen in the past, there is a lot more to consider these days. Now for example, there are thicker or lower pillows depending your needs and posture while sleeping.
It stands to reason that predominantly sleeping one way or another — on your side as opposed to on your stomach or on your back — will mean having different requirements for your pillow. Some pillows even have the capacity to adjust their height through a system of interchangeable internal parts. These models are made for people who suffer from back or neck problems and even though they are more expensive, they are the best alternative for those wanting to rectify their posture.
We would like to mention this again, the position in which you sleep predominantly will play a large role in helping you determine which pillow you should purchase. As mentioned before, for example, stomach sleepers are advised to opt for feather or down pillows, these tend to be thinner and more malleable, allowing the neck to remain in line with the spine in this posture.
On the other hand, cervical support or gel models are tailored made for people who sleep on their backs. Memory foam or latex pillows will also be comfortable for sleeping on your back since they have a higher density. fiber pillows are extremely versatile: they adapt well to the curvature of the neck and fit easily, whether you sleep on your side or in any other posture.
Most pillows have a similar and traditional design, even though some may be taller, wider or longer depending on their size. However, certain models feature special therapeutic benefits, made specifically for people with problems with their posture or cervical aches and back pain.
We can’t stress enough how important your sleeping posture is in helping you determine which pillow design will be best to suit your needs. Make sure not to settle for the first pillow you find, it is super important that it adapts to your posture, needs and preferences.
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The pillowcase is another key element that shouldn’t be neglected. Most pillows come with a washable cover. Memory foam pillows, for instance, have a protective cover that you will need to wash on a regular basis. These pillowcases are generally made from natural fibers such as eucalyptus or bamboo.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the material of the pillowcase when buying your pillow: it should be hypoallergenic and anti-mite. This factor is particularly important if you suffer from asthma or have some kind of allergy to dust. Last but not least, make sure that the cover is both removable and washable.
Choosing the right pillow means understanding that pillows are so much more than just lumps of fabric and cloth on which we rest our heads. The quality of your sleep will largely depend on whether or not you choose the right pillow. Making an informed decision will also help you prevent the neck and back pains that result from bad posture and alignment while sleeping. Always make sure your pillow allows you to align the axes of your neck and back comfortably.
As we explained throughout this guide, many factors will come into play when the time comes to buy a new pillow. Some of the things you should consider are your sleeping posture, whether or not you suffer from neck or back pain, the manufacturing materials of the pillow and even its maintenance requirements. If you follow our advice and keep these things in mind, we’re confident that you’ll be able to pick the perfect pillow that will allow you to get the most refreshing sleep.
If you liked our shopping guide to pillows, feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts in the section below, or share this guide with your friends and family so that they too can get a better nights’ sleep!
(Source of featured image: Belchonock: 32985619/ 123rf.com)