Best Pillow Ever
Best Pillow Ever
By Greg Greenwald
Report after report shows that a good night’s sleep is an essential component to healthy living. Yet many people struggle with sleep. An often overlooked component of a restful night’s sleep is the humble pillow. Finding the best pillow ever ensures a night of restful sleep, while sleeping with the wrong pillow can exacerbate conditions like headaches, neck pain, numbness in the shoulders and arms, sneezing, and wheezing. But that’s not all. Many people are shocked to discover that half the weight of old pillows is often contributed to mold, fungus, mildew, dust mites, and dead skin cells. That means that people who get the recommended 8 hours of sleep are spending a considerable amount of time snuggled up to some pretty nasty bedfellows that can lead to respiratory problems in certain individuals. Having the most comfortable pillow helps.
Because the quality of a pillow encourages or detracts from a good night’s sleep, sleep experts recommend replacing pillows every 12-18 months. Pillows that are older than 2 years old can actually hinder sleep because they break down over time which reduces the amount of support the pillow provides. But buying a new pillow can be a hassle. There are so many options, they can be pricey, and what happens if you buy the wrong kind? A new pillow feels like a commitment, and some people don’t want to jump from a tried and true favorite into an untested relationship with something different and new.
Sleep Style/ Specialty
It’s a valid point, but such concerns can be alleviated by testing new pillows before purchase. See our review on what is the best pillow. Pillows should be purchased based on sleeping position. The ultimate goal for any pillow is to create a neutral alignment of the head and shoulders in which the neck aligns with the spine. The best pillow for this depends on a person’s sleep position. Back sleepers should look for a thin pillow that cradles the neck without pushing the head too far forward. Side sleepers need a firm pillow that gives support to the area between the ear and the shoulder. Stomach sleepers require very thin, almost flat pillows, although some stomach sleepers forgo pillows altogether. However, stomach sleepers should at least consider a pillow placed under the stomach to provide additional support for the lower back.
Of course, sleep position is relative. Not everyone adheres to a particular sleep position each and every night. In fact, some people, particularly those who travel and find themselves sleeping while sitting, benefit from having an assortment of pillows to choose from. Doing so can ensure the right pillow fit for any sleeping position.
But sleeping position is just one consideration. Material is another consideration, and frankly one that keeps many people from buying new pillows. It can be difficult to decide which pillow is the right choice when there are so many options available. Thankfully each pillow type is recommended with specific needs in mind. Finding the best pillow ever doesn’t have to be intimidating. Have you ever wondered what the history of the pillow was?
Down/feather pillows are the most traditional and most recommended pillows available. They are firm yet soft and the filling can be scrunched around to provide the necessary support to just the right place. Some people worry that down/feather pillows worsen allergies, but most are hypoallergenic and may actually be a better choice for allergy sufferers than synthetic pillows. For those who like the feel of down/feather pillows but don’t like the feathers, foam or polyester fiberfill are comparative options. A word of caution, though; foam and polyester tend to break down faster than the down/feather alternatives.
Memory foam is a good choice for back sleepers and people who need additional neck support. Memory foam molds to the shape of the body and thereby reduces pressure points. Memory foam is available in a wide variety of shapes, like the popular s-shaped pillow, which makes finding the best pillow ever a little bit easier. Bear in mind that some memory foam users find memory foam pillows to be hotter than other varieties. Some memory foam also has a lingering chemical odor.
Latex pillows are another great option to provide additional neck support. Latex is the firmest pillow option available, which helps ensure proper back and neck alignment. Latex can be a good choice for people with allergies as it is mold and dust-mite resistant.
Wool/cotton pillows offer the same benefits of latex pillows, but are made of natural materials. They are almost as firm as latex pillows and are hypoallergenic. They are also resistant to mold and dust mites.
Cervical pillows have extra cushioning along one side of the pillow to provide extra support to the neck. They’re a great option for back sleepers. Cervical pillows come in a wide variety of shapes and materials including foam, latex, and wool/cotton.
Chiropractors love water pillows and some physical therapists endorse them as well. Like a water bed, water pillows allow the sleeper to customize the density and support of the pillow based on preference and need. With proper care, water pillows are surprisingly durable, although a puncture from a pet or child can make a mess.
Cooling pillows are filled with beads that help pull heat away from the sleeper. They can be found in a variety of firmnesses and are great for people who experience night sweats or heat flashes.
Oxygen-promoting pillows were based on the fabric used to make socks to promote circulation in patients with diabetes. Though researchers aren’t sure how beneficial these pillows are, they have found that the oxygen content in small blood vessels increases up to 29% with usage. Moreover, patients who use these pillows report a reduction in overall pain after use.
Positional pillows, like wedges and rolls, provide additional support for body parts like the back or legs. Pregnant women particularly find comfort through the use of positional pillows. These come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials. Comfort, support, and sizing should be considered when buying positional pillows.
Check out what WebMD has to say about choosing the perfect pillow.