Finding the right pillow can make or break a good night’s sleep. Everybody’s bodies are different meaning we all need varying levels of neck support during sleep and when factoring in the varying positions we sleep in, things can get extremely confusing. The first step in choosing a pillow is deciding what type of sleeper you are. This will determine which type of pillow is best for you.
Front sleepers will benefit from synthetic pillows such as microfibre or hollowfibre with a soft rating, or soft down pillows. Sleeping on your front can bend the neck and spine backwards into an unnatural position so a softer pillow will reduce the tension placed on the neck.
Back sleepers can benefit from a medium rated pillow. This ensures your head is supported and that the angle of your neck is neither too far forwards nor backwards during sleep. Feather and down pillows will have the same effect.
Side sleepers will generally need a firmer pillow. It’s important that the neck and spine are aligned correctly and firm pillows can achieve this by providing firm support to your keep your neck and head in place.
People who sleep upright should consider purchasing a memory foam pillow. Sleeping in this way puts the body in an unnatural sleep position so it’s important for your neck and head to be fully supported, a feature which a memory foam pillow can offer.
Natural Or Synthetic Pillows?
Once you have decided on a suitable firmness, it’s important to consider what type of filling you want your pillows to have. Although there are various options in terms of material composition, all pillows fall into one of two categories, Natural or Synthetic. Although the choice is often just a matter of personal taste or budget, each have their own qualities which need to be considered before making a purchase.
Synthetic pillows most commonly use a mixture of polyester, cotton and microfibre. They are ideal for allergy sufferers as they are non-allergenic and great for children who can become allergic to natural products. They have a lighter, softer feel to natural filled pillows and are easier to care for, being able to withstand washing on a more regular basis.
Natural pillows usually consist of feather or down or a combination of both. Feathers have a natural ability to retain heat which means naturally filled duvets can be much thinner than synthetic ones, whilst still matching their insulating capacity. They are generally warmer yet allow your skin to breath due to the exclusion of synthetic materials. They are generally not suitable for allergy suffers.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam is a malleable synthetic material that reacts to pressure but returns to its original shape once pressure is removed. It was developed in the 1960s by NASSA for use in aeronautics however in recent years has been adapted to provide a solution to supporting the body whilst sleeping.
Memory foam is especially effective when used in pillows as the material contours itself to the shape of your head and neck, keeping them fully supported and thus maintaining a straight spine. It is especially effective for people who sleep upright in bed.
Pocket Sprung Pillows
Pocket sprung pillows contain multiple springs contained in pockets of hollowfibre or memory foam in just the same way as a sprung mattress. This means a sprung pillow bounces back to it's original shape after use. Pocket sprung pillows provide excellent support for the neck and back resulting in superior spinal alignment. Being pocket sprung also means the pillows will maintain their shape and fullness for longer.