4 Must-Know Facts About Buying Pillows

April 07, 2013

4 Must-Know Facts About Buying Pillows

The perfect pillow may be your ticket to dreamland. According to a survey from the National Sleep Foundation, 9 out of 10 people rank pillows as important for a good night’s sleep. Want to make sure you’ve got the right one for you? Here’s what you need to know.

Fact #1: The right pillow matches the way you sleep

Experts say that purpose of a pillow is to provide support and keep your head in “neutral alignment” when you sleep. So according to this line of thinking, the type of pillow you need depends on your sleeping position. If you sleep on your back, for example, sleep gurus say you need a thin pillow, while if you sleep on your side, you need something thicker, to fill in the area between your neck and chin. Stomach sleepers need a soft pillow, to prevent neck strain.

Fact #2: Pillow makers try to make things easy

Fortunately, there’s no need to over-think this. Pillows often come labeled as being suitable for back, side, or stomach sleepers. In other words, if you know your sleep style, you can use that information to narrow down your selection.

Fact #3: What the pillow is filled with makes a difference

The fluffiness and firmness of a pillow depends on its filling. Check out the most common materials.

  • Down pillows are filled with at least 75 percent down (the soft insulation underneath the feathers of geese and duck) and no more than 25 percent feathers. They tend to be on the pricey side, but they also last the longest. They may not be a good choice for people who suffer from allergies.
  • Down alternative pillows, are filled with polyester that has been coated with silicone, giving it a similar feel to down without the allergy issues.
  • Memory Foam pillows are dense, sponge-like pillows that mold around your head and neck. Fans of firm pillows may like this type. People with neck and spine issues may appreciate the extra support.
  • Synthetic pillows are usually made of hypoallergenic polyester. If you don’t want soft and fluffy, this may be the right pillow for you. These can be the least expensive of pillow types, but they should be replaced at least every two years. Their firmness varies.

Fact #4:  There may be no substitute for hands-on testing

Until the day you’re able to virtually test pillows at home, don’t hesitate to visit a store near you for a hands-on trial. Nothing gets more face-time than your pillow. Make sure it’s the right one.

Kate Kelly


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