A good pillow is one of the most important elements in getting a great night’s sleep. It provides a comfortable place for your head to rest while you sleep and it supports the neck, shoulder, and upper back.
Pillows vary in size, firmness, and material. Some are made of a foam, such as memory foam, that retains its body pillow maker over time. Others are filled with down or feathers.
Pillows aren’t just a necessity for many sleepers; they can actually be a great tool to help you fall asleep and remain comfortable throughout the night. Whether you have neck pain or back pain, are a light or heavy sleeper, or need additional support to keep your head and shoulders aligned properly, there is a pillow that will work for you.
The comfort of a pillow depends on several factors: the materials used, the firmness, and your sleeping position. The right pillow will give you a good night’s rest, which is critical for your overall health and well-being.
Choosing the right pillow for your needs is a personal decision, and you should be sure to test it out before making a purchase. You’ll want to ensure that the pillow you choose offers proper support, is made from high-quality materials, and doesn’t have any unpleasant features.
If you suffer from allergies, be sure to look for a pillow that has a hypoallergenic material. These pillows will be resistant to dust mites and other irritants, reducing your risk of allergy problems.
Another factor to consider is your body type and weight. If you are a heavier person, you may need a higher-loft pillow to stay upright during sleep and support your head. Similarly, if you are a light sleeper, you may want a mid-loft pillow to cushion your head while still maintaining a high level of loft.
You should also choose a pillow that will keep you cool during the night. The best gel pillows are thermo-regulating and offer a comfortable, soft feel.
While cotton is popular for its soft texture and ability to absorb moisture, it’s not the best choice for hot sleepers. A better option is a bamboo pillow, which comes with shredded memory foam inserts that are thermo-regulating and promote increased airflow.
Latex is another popular choice for pillows, as it is both custom shaped pillows and antimicrobial. It is also a nontoxic alternative to polyurethane-foam pillows. However, latex can cause allergic reactions in some people, so be sure to check out the ingredients list on your pillow before purchasing.
A pillow is a great tool for supporting your neck and head during sleep. It also allows your shoulders to rest in a neutral position, which can prevent aches and pains.
Choosing the right pillow depends on your sleeping habits, and it can help to use a few different types for each type of position you sleep in. For example, a back sleeper may need a firmer pillow than a side sleeper. If you tend to wake up with stiffness in your neck, a specialized cervical support pillow can keep your spine in a natural, restful position.
Pillows are available in many shapes and sizes, so it’s important to find the best fit for you. You should also think about the type of fill your pillow has. Some options like memory foam and latex are more durable than other fills.
Shape: Choose a pillow with bolsters that nestle into the natural cervical curve of your neck to add support for strain-free sleeping. Cervical pillows offer a range of shapes from standard rectangular forms to more specialized options that address specific pain points and alignment concerns.
For instance, the Original Groove Pillow has a solid foam core that elevates your head while cradling your neck. Its ergonomic design helps reduce neck pain for both side and back sleepers, and its high-quality construction makes it a solid value.
Customizable Support: Bedding brands are increasingly designing pillows that sleepers can customize to meet their specific needs. Some pillows even feature adjustable fills, which allow you to manipulate the internal stuffing until you find the feel and support that works for your body.
Fiber: Unlike traditional pillows, which are made of polyester or cotton, some fiber-filled pillows are more breathable and resistant to allergens. They’re also machine-washable and can be dried quickly in a dryer to prevent mildew buildup.
Latex: This is a newer type of pillow that has become popular due to its durability and hypoallergenic properties. It also provides a high level of support and can help to regulate temperature while you’re sleeping.
For those who suffer from chronic neck pain, a neck pillow is essential. While most people have some level of neck pain, a high-quality pillow can keep your head, neck, and shoulders in a natural position.
Pillows are made of different materials, and their durability depends on the type of material they’re made from and how you care for them. If you don’t follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, it can shorten their lifespan.
Memory foam pillows are generally quite durable and tend to last for two to three years before they begin to sag or lose their support. However, they do need to be replaced sooner if you notice sagging or lumps that aren’t providing enough support.
Down pillows are also long-lasting, but they can fall apart over time if you don’t care for them properly. Look for clumps, which indicate that the fluff has broken down and won’t conform to your body’s shape. You can also replace down pillows after they begin to sag, or if you’re experiencing neck or shoulder pain.
Latex pillows are also fairly long-lasting, but they don’t hold up as well against sagging if you’re not careful about how you care for them. They aren’t as heat-reflective as memory foam, which can be a concern for hot sleepers.
If you’re worried about stains, choose a pillow that’s machine washable. But don’t use bleach or fabric softener — they can damage the pillow’s materials and cause color loss. Instead, use warm water and a gentle soap or detergent to clean them thoroughly.
When washing, don’t place the pillow in a dryer on high, or it may break down and become moldy. Drying on low heat is best.
A good rule of thumb is to use a pillow that has been made with organic cotton. GOTS and Oeko-Tex certifications ensure that no harmful chemicals were used in the production process.
To maintain your pillow’s longevity, you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying it. The temperature of the water you use will depend on your preferences, but it’s a good idea to use a second rinse cycle so that any soap residue is removed.
To find the best pillow for you, we’ve tested over 100 varieties in the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab. Our PEOPLE Tested team tested pillows for comfort and breathability, as well as temperature regulation and support. We also sent pillows to real sleepers to get feedback on whether they were comfortable, helped with hot or cold sleeping, and alleviated allergies or snoring.
Pillows are an important part of your bed and sleep comfort, so it’s essential to keep them clean. These delicate items can be a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and fungi that could make you sick.
Taking care of your pillows is just as important as washing your sheets and pillowcases. Germs, sweat, saliva, and dirt can build up inside your pillows over time, leaving them smelly and uncomfortable.
The best way to keep your pillows fresh and smelling good is to wash them regularly and air dry them periodically. Here are a few tips to help you do that:
Machine-Wash – Most pillows can be washed in the washer using lukewarm water on the gentle cycle. However, it’s always a good idea to read the label and follow the care instructions for your specific type of pillow.
Spot Clean – If you have a stained pillow, it may be best to hand-wash it instead of washing it in the washer. Dampen a cloth with water and a small amount of detergent, and rub the spot gently until it’s cleaned.
Dry – Most pillows can be dried in the dryer on a low or medium heat setting. Some fabrics, like silk, may need special treatment before being dry cleaned.
Fluff – Fluffing your pillow every day helps prevent dust and moisture from building up, which can lead to fungal growth. For polyester-filled pillows, a daily fluffing can also help them maintain their shape and keep them fresher longer.
Replace – Your pillows should be replaced regularly, especially if they’re starting to feel old or show signs of wear and tear. Often, this can be indicated by the pillow no longer being firm and springy after it has been folded in half.
Cleaning – Most pillows can be machine washed, but it’s recommended to hand-wash down or feather pillows with the cover off. Use warm water on the gentle cycle and avoid harsh detergents.
Buckwheat Hulls – You can wash the hulls of a buckwheat pillow in your washing machine, but they will take up to three times longer to dry than poly-filled pillows. Empty the hulls onto a large cookie sheet or wide, shallow bowl, and set it out in the sun to eliminate odors.