This post was most recently updated on December 20th, 2018
You may not realize it, but the quality of sleep actually has a huge impact on a person’s mood the next morning. Are you feeling grumpy and disorganized? You might just have woken up from a night of tossing and turning. Are you feeling energized and ready to take on the day? Then you might have woken up from the best slumber of your life.
Instead of just guessing how your day will turn out, put together a plan to gain full control over it. The key is to gather together the elements of a great slumber. To kick start your search, here is a guide in choosing the right bed pillow for you or your guests.
Ultimately, you will need to choose 2 characteristics for your pillow:
- Fill – down, feather, foam, latex
- Density – soft, medium, firm
- Loft – low, medium, high
Find the level of support you need
The level of support that a person needs depend on the sleeping position one is used to. Pay particular attention on the body part that goes in contact with the bed. It’s all about keeping the spine aligned.
A stomach sleeper will feel best with a soft (or flat) pillow – like the Downlite Extra Flat stomach sleeper pillow shown above.
If you are a back sleeper, you will need a medium pillow.
For a side sleeper, a medium or firm pillow works best to align your head with the rest of the spine. You should also take your mattress into consideration. A really soft mattress means your body sinks into it more, meaning less gap between your mattress, and your head. So a softer pillow will work better.
Firm mattresses result in a larger gap between the mattress and your head, so a firmer pillow will probably suit you more.
Consider the fill of your pillow
The filling type is responsible for the loft of the pillow. There are a lot of fillings available today which can cause a lot of confusion. If you understand the differences between the types, and learn how to read the labels, choosing the right pillow will not be too hard.
Duck and goose down
Traditional pillows have goose or duck down filling. This is a filling made up of soft feathers. Down pillows are soft, cuddly, and very easily mold to the shape desired. They are usually very light in weight, durable, and can generally be used for most sleep positions. They make very little noise, and with proper care will last a long time.
If you are looking for high quality down pillows, check out Downlite’s store on Amazon. They are the nation’s highest quality supplier of down pillows (as well as comforters).
The downside to down is mostly the high cost. But sleepers who require more loft will benefit from different types of pillows.
Down & feather filled pillows offer the benefits of a natural fill, but at a lower price. They are scrunchable like down pillows, very affordable, and do not get too hot. They are a good choice for back or side sleepers who do not need high loft or hypo-allergenic pillows. Unfortunately, feather & down pillows can emit an odor, can have feathers poke through the pillow case, and can be a bit noisy.
Down alternative pillows are generally filled with polyester “gel” or “puff” fibers. These fibers give the pillows a feel similar to that of down, but without the possible allergy issues. These are soft, moldable pillows, and are a good “one-size-fits-all” option at an affordable price.
You generally have your choice of density and loft options. Down alternative pillows however do not offer the same durability as natural filled pillows, and can get clumpy after prolonged use. They are a middle of the road option, and do not offer the same firm support as some other options.
Down alternative pillows are on the lower end of the firm spectrum. They also squish down with less force, so they generally aren’t a good option if you need a high loft pillow.
Memory Foam pillows come in many varieties including contoured (shaped for head and neck) and traditional shape. Memory foam consists of millions of spherical open cells made from polyurethane with additional chemicals added to increase density. Depending on the model, they can offer the specific shape and/or firmness required.
Memory foam is supportive, and offers above average pain relief. They do not clump, and don’t need a regular fluffing. However, they are not moldable, often emit an initial foul odor (the first day or so), and may hold on to heat. A memory foam pillow is not a crowd pleasing pillow. It is more of an “individual needs” option.
If you are searching for high quality memory foam pillows, Malouf is my recommendation. They use the highest quality materials, and offer different varieties, utilizing various materials. Memory foam pillows are not a “one-size fits all” type, and every person will prefer one model over the next.
Latex pillows are great for those looking for support and loft. Latex offers pain-reducing capabilities by providing the support needed for some, and are very durable. They are often described as being dense and heavy, and very hypo-allergenic. They do not attract dust mites.
Latex pillows are usually an expensive option, and are not relatively moldable. Like memory foam, this is more of an individual-needs pillow. However, latex pillows are very popular with those looking for alternative options. The latex pillow below is also made by Malouf.
One reason why latex pillows are so attractive is because of the fill method. Whereas memory foam pillows are one huge chunk of foam, latex pillows are filled with shredded latex. Latex pillows mold to your shape better than memory foam.
Consider the loft of your pillow
While the loft of the pillow isn’t something that is always mentioned, some pillow packages do – specifically the high loft pillows. This is basically the height of the pillow.
If you find that a firm pillow is still not supportive enough, you’ll probably benefit from trying a high loft pillow.
A high loft pillow, regardless of firmness, looks much more plump than a regular pillow. High loft pillows are more often than not, a firm pillow, with a bit more stuffing.
Determine the number of pillows you need
The next thing to consider is the number of pillows you need. Your goal generally is to have enough pillows for comfort while not leaving your bed overstuffed. For instance, if you have a twin sized bed, a single standard pillow is enough. If you have a bigger bed like a king size, you can stuff up to 3 standard pillows, or 2 king pillows.
If you just look at all the options available, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. But if you consider what you need from a pillow, you can easily remove some of the possible options and make an effective decision.
Are you a stomach sleeper? Then you need a flat pillow, without much loft – get a soft or flat down pillow.
Do you want a supportive pillow for reading in bed? Get a 5/95 feather and down blend pillow
Do you sleep on your back? A medium down pillow is most likely the best option, but some might prefer a 5/95.
Do you sleep on your side – a firm down pillow might work well – but if you need more loft, you might be better off with a foam or latex pillow.
If you are still confused, please contact us! We will be glad to give your our suggestion.