Your mattress is one of the largest, most important financial investments you’ll make in your life. But when it comes to sleep quality, pillows are almost as important as your mattress. Yet, many people have trouble finding a pillow that achieves the ideal balance of comfort and support.
When buying a new pillow, you should consider certain factors—including loft, density, proper spine and neck alignment, and pillow materials. But the fact is, pillows are a highly subjective topic and your preference is the final decision maker. Selecting the right pillow is all about finding one that is comfortable and provides proper neck and head support. Next time you’re in the market for a new pillow, consider these three factors:
1. Your sleep position(s)
2. Your mattress density
3. Your body type
The first thing to look at is your sleeping position. The most common types are stomach sleepers, back sleepers, side sleepers, and multi-positional sleepers. As you may have guessed, each sleeping position benefits from certain characteristics in a pillow. Here is a quick breakdown:
- Stomach sleepers: You want something thin and soft that supports your head without misaligning your spine and causing you discomfort the next day. You’d probably sleep best with a low loft plush pillow.
- Back sleepers: Similar to a stomach sleeper, you want a pillow that gives you proper support while keeping you comfortable. Because most back sleepers rest part of their upper shoulders on the pillow, you have a few more options. You could use a low loft firm or a high loft plush pillow.
- Side sleepers: The density of your mattress and your body type largely determine what type of pillow will be best for you. For example, if you’re 6’2” and have a firm bed and broad shoulders, you want to find a pillow with a high loft and enough firmness to align your spine while you sleep. If you have a soft bed and you’re 5’2” with small shoulders, you want to use either a plush high loft pillow or a low loft firm pillow.
- Multi-positional sleepers: When shopping for a new pillow, find one that accommodates multiple sleep styles and preferences. For example, many bedding stores sell pillows specifically designed for multi-positional sleepers and will let you experience the pillow in the store, so you know whether it’s right for you. If you’re having trouble finding one of these customized pillows, look for one that will provide continual head and neck support as you switch positions throughout the night.
Now, these suggestions aren’t scientific in nature or guaranteed to fit your sleep style. And, in the end, it all comes down to what you prefer and what makes you feel the most comfortable.
Your pillow is an important addition to your sleep experience and purchasing the right one will help you have a comfortable, restful night’s sleep.