Choosing the right pillow: a quick guide

The right pillow can make or break your sleeping patterns. This is why choosing the proper pillow is paramount to getting a healthy, peaceful and overall restful night’s sleep. But choosing the right pillow can be tricky. Do you opt for a high-profile pillow or a low one? When should you replace the pillow you’re using?

This article seeks to answer these questions … and more. So, read on for your quick guide on choosing the right pillow for your best night’s rest.

When should you get a new pillow?

Generally, typical pillows should be replaced after 18 months. Memory foam pillows, however, can last a bit longer: up to three years. As a rule of thumb, natural fibre pillows tend to last longer than synthetic. And, unsurprisingly, higher quality pillows will outlast the cheaper options.

What this all means is, no matter how much it cost or how good it was, if your pillow is old enough to be starting primary school, it’s past its use-by date. You’re no longer getting the support you should be.

If you’re unsure whether one of your pillows is over the hill, there are a couple of quick tests you can try:

  1. Remove the pillowcase and examine your pillow. Is it sweat stained? Is it torn? Does it have a “lived-in” aroma? If the answer to any of those is “yes”, it’s time to buy a new pillow. 
  2. Test your pillow’s “rigidity”. Rigid pillows might sound odd, but if your pillow doesn’t spring back into shape when folded in half, it’s a dead pillow. Time to replace it.

Choosing the right pillow for you

So, you have chosen to replace your old faithful pillow. Choosing a new one can be daunting. There are a few factors to consider, including:

Fill/Fibre

There are many different types of pillow fills. Each serves a purpose. Here are a few of the main ones:

Down

Light and soft, these pillows are made from duck or goose down. If you prefer softer pillows, this may be the type for you.

Synthetic down and polyester fill

The less expensive version of down pillows, these will need replacing more often and can flatten over time.

Wool

Wool pillows are naturally hypo-allergenic and are resistant to mould and dust mites. They also wick away moisture as you sleep and can help regulate your temperature. If you run particularly hot or cold, a wool pillow might suit your needs.

Cotton

The brother of a wool pillow, cotton pillows are also naturally hypo-allergenic and resistant to mould and dust mites. They can, however, be flat and firm.

Latex

Latex pillows tend to be firm but comfortable. They hold their shape particularly well and are resistant to mould and dust mites.

Memory foam

Memory foam pillows conform to your individual shape by responding to weight and the heat of your head and neck. They can, however, hold onto too much heat. This can make them a poor choice for people who run particularly warm.

Size

Your body size and how you sleep will dictate the size of the pillow you’ll need. 

If you sleep mostly on your back, you’ll require a pillow with a low profile. This ensures your neck and back aren’t craned at an awkward angle when you drop off.

If you sleep on your side and are under 1.8 metres tall (6 feet) with relatively normal or narrow shoulders, then you’ll require a medium-profile pillow. This pillow will support your neck in correct alignment with your spine.

If you’re over 1.8 metres tall (6 feet) or have particularly broad shoulders, your pillow choice should reflect that. Go for a pillow with a high profile so that your neck and back are properly supported.

Read our other guide to help you choose the right pillow size for you.

How you sleep

We all sleep differently. Some of us are side sleepers, others prefer to sleep on our backs. Side sleepers may need a firmer pillow that’s either a medium or high profile. The rule: you want a pillow that’s as thick as the distance between your ear and the edge of your shoulder.

Stomach sleepers, meanwhile, need a softer pillow to help avoid neck and back pain. Back sleepers often need flatter, softer pillows to help maintain healthy spinal alignment.

Choose the right pillow every time

Getting a good night’s sleep takes the right pillow, and choosing it takes more forethought than you’d think. So, if you have a dead pillow and are looking to upgrade, check out our range of expertly engineered Spinaleze pillows today.