Do you ever wake up in the morning and say, “I must have slept funny,” as you try to massage out the kink in your neck? We’ve been there, too. Feather and down pillows could last up to 5-10 years. Polyester pillows should be replaced after 2 years.
Good sleeping posture helps you sleep better and wake up without those aches and pains. A pillow’s number one function is to align your head and neck with your spine while you sleep.
A good sleeping posture is the key to sleeping soundly, night after night, and waking without pain and stiffness. Your pillow helps to support a healthy sleep posture. If your neck and shoulders don’t get sufficient support or are propped at an angle that causes twisting, craning, or crunching, this puts your spine and body out of alignment, leading to strain and discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and back.
The right comfortable pillow will help keep your spine stay in alignment while you sleep, regardless of your preferred sleeping position. With a pillow that supports healthy posture, your neck, shoulders, back, and hips will get the support they need so you wake up pain-free.
If you’re sleeping on a worn-out pillow, scrunching and folding it up every night to get comfortable, or if your pillow is lumpy, smelly, flat (or all of the above), that’s a red flag that it’s time to update to a new perfect pillow. You can also tell if you need a pillow upgrade by the fold test. When you fold your pillow in half, does it stay folded, or does it spring back to its original position? If it stays folded, your pillow is probably exhausted, literally, and it may be time to say goodbye.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to pillows. Whether you want a fluffy pillow or a flat pillow, each type of pillow will have different advantages and drawbacks depending on your needs and preferences. Let’s look at some of the most common types:
- Down pillows: Down is the warm, fluffy, and soft layer of feathers underneath a bird or fowl’s more prominent outer feathers. It is an excellent insulator and is a durable fill option for pillows. Typically, down pillows will contain some feathers in them, so look out for the down to feather ratio in the pillow. Down pillows have a longer lifespan, meaning they will stay supportive and retain their height for longer, and are moldable and soft – ideal for snuggling into. However, down pillows require a good deal of fluffing to maintain their shape. Allergy sufferers may also be allergic to the down used for fill the pillow. A lot of down pillow owners prefer to use pillow protectors for this type of pillow as well.
- Feather pillows: Feathers in a feather pillow typically come from geese or ducks’ wing and back feathers. These feathers are small and soft but have more pronounced quills, making for a pillow that’s light, moldable, and more affordable than a down pillow. The feather pillow is comfortable and breathable, but they can become flattened over time and will need regular fluffing to retain their shape.
- Down alternative pillows replicate the look of a down pillow but instead are made of synthetic materials such as polyester. This type of pillow is ideal for people with allergies and those who want to choose various firmness options. You can use cotton covers to help maintain their shape.
- Memory foam pillows: This is the same material many mattresses are made of. Memory foam pillows are available in two different styles: solid or shredded. Solid memory foam pillows are designed to give you that super supportive feel as your head sinks into the pillow, but the fill cannot move. Shredded memory foam pillows still give you the supportive feel, but the fill can be moved around for a plusher feel. Shredded memory foam is less firm, very malleable, and can easily be conformed to your desired position while sleeping. The breathability is also better when compared to solid memory foam pillows. This type of pillow is not usually machine washable.
- Latex pillows are gaining popularity because of the high level of support they provide for your head and neck while still maintaining a soft and cozy feel. They feature pressure point support and possess more breathability than traditional memory foam pillows. Like memory foam, latex pillows can either feature solid or shredded materials.
- Polyester pillows are versatile, affordable, and popular for those allergic to natural feathers and down. Because polyester is a synthetic fiber, it can be produced at a fraction of the cost of more premium pillow fillings. It’s also a low-maintenance option that can be tossed in the washer alongside your pillowcases and sheets. The downside to polyester pillows is their tendency to clump, which means an eventual lumpy pillow with a much shorter life span than genuine down.
Sleep position is another key factor in choosing the best pillow for both body alignment and comfort, as well as personal preference. Are you a back sleeper, side sleeper, or stomach sleeper? This will determine the amount of support you need from your pillow. The easiest way to test if your pillow is perfect for your sleeping position is to check if your neck tilts too much. To give your neck and head the support they need, you want a pillow that won’t tilt your head either up or down too much. Sometimes curved pillows may be needed.
- Side sleepers: If you’re aside sleeper, you need a thicker pillow and firmer pillow to support your head in a neutral position, keeping aligned with your spine. The best pillow for side sleepers is a plush yet supportive pillow with a medium-density fill to give your neck the support it needs, take some weight off your shoulder, and prevent your neck from extending in either direction. Look for one that’s as thick as the distance between your ear and outside shoulder.
- Back sleepers: For back sleepers, your pillow should support your neck and head, but not so much that your neck is propped up at an unnatural angle, as this could lead to a stiff neck in the morning. A flatter pillow with medium thickness will help your spine and neck to stay aligned while you sleep. The pillow size and pillow design don’t really matter for this position.
- Stomach sleepers: Sleeping on your stomach is the most stressful position for your back neck; that’s why you should ensure your pillow provides maximum support. Some stomach sleepers are comfortable with no pillow at all since their necks rest in a neutral position. But if a bed without a pillow feels incomplete, opt for a softer pillow, thinner pillow, or squishy pillow that is a little less full so that it doesn’t push the neck up too high. This will help keep your spine as neutral as possible, relieving stress to your neck and back. You can also place a pillow under your stomach and pelvis to help prevent back pain.
Choosing the best pillow is always a sure way to improve your sleep quality and ensure you wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Be sure to consider the filling inside the pillow and the position in which you typically sleep, as these factors can have a significant impact on the type of pillow that is best suited for you. The best pillow that will reduce neck pain and keep you sound asleep all night long has to keep your spine aligned in a neutral position while also being a comfy material you enjoy resting on. At No Bull Mattress, we’re committed to helping you enjoy the best sleep quality possible. We are also available for when you might be looking for a big kid bed.
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