How to Choose a Pillow – the Full Guide to Get the Best Pillow for You!

Sleeping with the wrong pillow under your head can be uncomfortable and detrimental to your health in the long run. If you think about it, no matter what you go through during the day, that is, no matter how tired you are, you'll feel better after a good night of sleep when your body finally gets the chance to recuperate. What do you think happens when your body cannot recover due to a lack of quality sleep? It's pretty simple; you will be unable to perform at the level you usually do and may even fall sick. Thankfully, choosing the right pillow for yourself isn't hard, and we're here to guide you on every step of your journey.

To choose the right pillow for yourself, you have to consider many factors, including your sleeping position, body type, the alignment set by the cushion, the distance between your shoulder and your neck, and your personal preference too. A good pillow should offer a median height and have you wake up feeling fresh and energized rather than disoriented and tired.

What Is the Difference Between Memory Foam and Feather Pillows?

Memory foam pillows and their mechanism are pretty interesting. To clarify, these foams aren’t loosely named, and the way they work does relate to their name. Memory foam pillows, when brought, can be pretty stiff. These pillows mold themselves around your neck as they loosen up due to the pressure and heat given off from your body. 

In simpler terms, memory foam pillows are perfect for cradling and offering support to your neck as they can adjust themselves to the neck of the individual that is placed on them. While such pillows may be a bit firm to feel, they’re resourceful and have a great consumer market. 

On the other hand, we have the feather pillows. These pillows are made from feathers procured from ducks or geese, which provides a very soft and comfortable feel. These pillows are pretty standard, and you might already be familiar with the feathers used to make them; remember the old quill pens. 

The Pros and Cons of Memory Foam Pillows

Although they’re great for support, memory foam pillows have their fair share of cons, which include:

  • Price: memory foam pillows are expensive. 
  • Weight: memory foam pillows are, as mentioned, quite sturdy, which can make them heavy in comparison to other pads, especially feathered ones. 
  • Temperature: memory foam tends to retain heat since it isn’t made of breathable material; this heat can be pretty uncomfortable, especially for the people who live in hotter areas of the globe or those who have a higher body temperature. 

However, they do have their advantages, for instance: 

  • Support: memory foam pillows are famed for their neck support. However, if you happen to be a side or front sleeper, you might have to reconsider purchasing the pillow as its support is geared primarily towards back sleepers. 
  • Durability: a good memory foam pillow can last you for a few years. 
  • Smoothness: memory foam pillows are entirely man-made, unlike feather pillows which use feathers from ducks or geese. Therefore they’re geared towards providing a smooth surface that has no lumps to disturb a seamless pillow experience. 

The Pros and Cons of Feather Pillows

Although feather pillows have a very soft feel and fill, they also have some disadvantages, which include:

  • Quills: feather pillows still have quills that can poke you and ultimately can be pretty uncomfortable to rest your head upon.
  • They have to be replaced quite frequently in comparison to memory foam pillows.
  • These pillows are pretty flat when compared to other pillows. Such a shape makes them prone to breaking down and, therefore, they must be fluffed up more frequently than standard pillows.

However, other qualities can make feather pillows quite an attractive choice:

  • Price: feather pillows are a cheap alternative to memory foam pillows. 
  • Adaptability: feather pillows can be folded more efficiently in comparison to memory pillows and can therefore fit under the neck easier.

How to Choose a Pillow for Your Specific Needs

There are many factors to consider when you want to choose a pillow that is tailored specifically for you. These factors include: 

The position you sleep in. 

The position you take while sleeping goes a long way in determining the type of pillow that you can use. For example, side sleepers might find a thick pillow to suit their taste, while front sleepers would love a thinner pillow for a good night of sleep.

Your personal preference

Some people tend to like fluffy pillows that sink in, whereas others want to sleep on firmer pillows. 

The pillow fill

Now, this one is more for people who have specific allergies or just don’t like certain materials. Knowing what your pillow fill is should be a priority if you tend to be sensitive towards certain fabrics, for example, feathers. 

When Should You Replace Your Pillow?

According to experts, one should change their pillows once every 1.5-2 years. You’ll be surprised or, better, even disgusted once you find what your pillow is aching after a year of continuous use. 

When used continually (and even if they aren’t used continually), pillows can get packed to the brim with dust, dead skin cells, mold, and even dust mites; while you can certainly extend the life of your pillows by washing them out (some pillows aren’t washable so you should check that out first) which would only backfire as it’d decrease the life of your pillow exponentially. A better alternative would be to get a pillow protector; however, once two years have passed, it’d be better to opt for a new pillow entirely. 

You can also check what shape your pillow is in. If your pillow doesn’t get back to its original position (that is, if it doesn’t lay flat again) after you fold it in half, it would be better to choose a newer pillow for yourself. 

Best Pillow For Specific Types Of Sleepers

Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

The organic cotton side sleeper from Eli & Elm’s is a great choice when it comes to individuals who like to lay on their side to rest. It has a unique U shape which helps it to fit right below your neck and nestles it in a comfortable angle to promote sleep and comfortability. It has a soft blend (polyester fiber and noodled latex) that doesn’t sink too low or high and keeps your head at the recommended level. 

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Best Pillow for Stomach / Belly Sleepers 

Elite’s Slim Sleeper is a slim pillow that will keep your head comfortable and at the right level. The pillow is designed especially for front sleepers and doesn’t cause any discomfort for people that sleep on their stomachs. Even though it is slim, it is firm enough to give you a good night of sleep. 

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Best Pillow for Combination / Multi-Position Sleepers 

The Eden Adjustable pillow from Coop Home Goods is the perfect choice for all combination sleepers. The pillow has a gel memory foam fill, and it covers up some of the most significant memory foam issues, for example, temperature. The gel memory foam is shredded, which allows good air circulation, thereby preventing it from storing heat. 

What makes it perfect for combination sleepers is the fact that the pillows are entirely adjustable. You can use the zip on the side of the pillow to add or remove filling according to the position you’d like to take while sleeping. 

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Best Pillow for Back Sleepers

The Laya memory foam is an excellent pillow for back sleepers who prefer to have a somewhat soft yet firm pillow at the same time. The pillow is made of shredded memory foam, which allows for air circulation and helps with air circulation (although it still isn’t as good as shredded gel memory foam when it comes to air circulation). The pillow is excellent at keeping your neck at a certain angle and helping you get a good night of sleep. 

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Best Pillow for Toddlers and Infants 

My Little Dreamy Pillow from KeaBabies is widely considered one of the best options for toddlers and infants by people and professionals alike. The product has amassed over 17,000 positive reviews on Amazon (which is quite something) and is relatively lightweight with an authentic feel. It complies with OEKO-TEX standards and has a polyester fiber ball fill. Furthermore, you can also buy a lot of adorable pillow cases to go along with the pillow. 

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Best Pillow for Pregnancy 

The Queen Rose pregnancy pillows are the best pregnancy pillows to have by your side from the second trimester and onward. The pillow is shaped like a U, which offers full body support to the individual in question and the pad itself has a polyfill filling. It is also relatively low-maintenance, keeping pregnant women in mind, and the cover itself can be tossed into a washing machine and reused promptly. 

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Best Pillow for Restless Sleepers 

The Emma memory foam pillow has three layers of support which help to cushion any restless head. It allows you to feel comfortable in a lot of positions after tossing and turning around, and it also encourages sleep by promoting a good spine and head angle. The pillow also has a soft and breathable outer cover which helps people who like to sleep on their belly. 

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Best Pillow for Elderly 

Vissco’s cervical pillow is an excellent fit for elderly people or people who suffer from cervical spondylosis. The pillow is perfect for patients that deal with intense back pain, cardiac problems, or a cervical spine. The pillow is designed specially to help relax neck muscles and support it for a good night of sleep. Vissco’s cervical pillow has a polyurethane foam that keeps the pillow firm and ensures its longevity. 

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Best Pillow for Ear Piercing 

Impressa’s firm memory pillow is a perfect choice for people who have just gotten ear piercings. The pillow is smooth to feel and has a great texture. It is suitable for people with chronic pain but is designed for people who have recently gotten ear piercings. The pillow also has a hole in the middle of the pillow, which is placed conveniently enough to cater to your pierced ears which gives your ears the healing time that it needs. Finally, to top it all off, the pillow comes with great matching pillow cases. 

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Best Pillow for Sleeping With Eyelash Extensions 

PRASE lash pillow is geared mainly towards individuals with a lash extension. Even if it is explicitly designed for that purpose, there’s a lot more to the pillow. It has a curved design that helps with spinal posture, it also has a firm feel to it along with a memory foam filling, and it is also completely washable! Finally, if you want to upgrade your lash pillow, you can opt for a silk pillowcase to help with your eyelashes! 

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Best Pillow for Ehlers Danlos 

The best pillows for individuals that suffer from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome are pregnancy pillows, or, to be more precise, U-shaped pregnancy pillows! People who suffer from EDS find it difficult to conform to a single sleeping position, which is why such pillows are the best option for them to opt for. When it comes to U-shaped pregnancy pillows, we’ve already discussed the best option available; Queen Rose’s U-shaped pregnancy pillow is the only option on this list that is repeated twice, and it is only because it caters best to pregnant individuals as well as those who suffer from EDS.

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Best Pillow for Someone With Chiari Malformation 

ProSource’s acupressure mat and pillow set are great for individuals with Chiari malformation. It reduces pain, provides stress and pain relief, and is a great overall set to have around if you’re dealing with Chiari malformation. 

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Best Pillow for Ulnar Nerve

Medline’s Ulnar nerve cushions support the arm and provide sufficient elbow support; this elbow support offers relief to your whole arm and helps to keep your wrist in a flat and neutral position to help with your ulnar nerve pain. 

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Best Pillow for Parkinson’s Patients

Core Product’s cervical tri-core pillow is excellent for providing healthy and timely sleep. It helps with neck and shoulder pain and also helps to avoid it altogether!

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Best Pillow for Klippel Feil Syndrome

Sleep Innovations memory foam contour pillow has a therapeutic design that molds itself gently with the shape of your neck and your head. It does so subtly and fully supports the neck, removing pressure and strain, which is excellent for individuals that suffer from Klippel Feil Syndrome or KFS.

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How do you know which pillow is good for you?

You can accurately determine a good pillow for yourself by perfectly gauging your sleeping position. For example, on average, side sleepers tend to prefer pillows that are a bit thicker in comparison to people who sleep on their back or front. 

How often should you replace your pillows?

When it comes to pillows in regular use, you should replace them between 1.5 to 2 years starting from the day you bought the product. 

Are down pillows good?

Down pillows are soft and fluffy; they’re also cheap when you compare them to options such as memory foam pillows. Down is usually collected from birds that are bred for meat and the pillows offer good comfort. 

In a Nutshell- How to Choose a Pillow

Choosing a pillow is a matter of vital importance. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, your performance is affected, and ultimately, you might even fall sick for a short period. A good pillow induces a perfect sleeping posture and provides a good night of sleep, leaving you fresh and enthusiastic to face another day!