Trying to choose a pillow can be a terribly difficult decision. Few things are more important to a good night’s sleep. And few choices are more individual. When you finally settle on a favorite pillow you wish it could last forever. Unfortunately, that’s not a dream that can come true.
Your beloved pillow might wear out. It might be “stolen” by your kids. It might even be snatched away by your favorite pet. Of course, you could get it back, but you may not want to once they’re done with it.
How many people have you seen at an airport clutching their favorite pillow? Makes you want to shake your head a little. Yes, it does, right up until your hotel pillow is horrible. Then we all wish we would have packed our own pillow instead of that extra pair of shoes.
Why avoiding neck pain can be a pain in the neck
Ultimately the best way to pick a pillow is to sleep on it for a few days. However, when you consider size, shape, filling, and covering, it can add up to hundreds of choices. We’ve prepared some simple tips to narrow it down for you.
Pick your pillow based on sleeping position
Even though everyone tosses and turns a little at night, you do have a primary sleeping position and there are pillows that accommodate your position.
Back sleepers can use just about any pillow. Stomach sleepers should really sleep on their side and you can learn more about stomach sleepers here. Side sleepers usually do better with a pillow that supports the neck and/or a body pillow.
Then there are the “specialty pillows”. These pillows don’t necessarily conform to the usual sizes and shapes. Some people may consider them a luxury and some fall in love with them and never go back.
Travel Pillow: Get the right one and you’ll be hanging onto it tighter than a parachute on a plane. These are usually U-shaped and filled with a type of memory foam. Some pillows you can inflate and deflate as needed. Caution – your travel pillow might be so comfortable your travel partner may want to “borrow it” because they “forgot” to pack their own.
Throw Pillow: This may not seem to make sense at first. Throw pillows with crotchet covers are usually found at Gramma’s house. Don’t be fooled. A throw pillow or two on your bed can add a decorative flair and they can provide a little added support when you’re reading in bed.
Euro Pillow: Bless those Europeans. Every now and then they can make your life a little easier. In this case, euro pillows are large, square, and usually go behind your other standard pillows when you’re sitting up in bed.
Orthopedic Pillow: Painful joints, stiffness and sore parts of your body can be supported while you sleep by specifically designed orthopedic pillows. If the pounds have added up along with the years, a good pillow can help you sleep better. My friend told me he uses one under his belly every time, I mean, unless he eats too much over the holidays.
Wedge Pillow: These look like big triangles and are commonly made of foam. They can be used to prop you up while you’re in bed. Some people say they fit perfectly under their knees to improve their circulation and to relieve back pain.
Pregnancy Pillow: Yes, guys, you can use them too once your better half is finished with them. The rest is self-explanatory. (See orthopedic pillow above.)
CPAP Pillow: Specially-designed contours and cut-a-ways help CPAP users sleep more comfortably when wearing a CPAP mask all night.
Standard pillow size and mattress size
Traditions are wonderful. And traditionally, most people choose their pillow size according to the size of the mattress. The bigger the mattress, the bigger the pillow so that you end up with just two pillows across the width of your bed. Queen pillows for a queen size mattress and so on.
Since it’s 2022, we think it’s time to add a new tradition – live a little and use however many alternative pillows at whatever size you want.
List of pillow sizes
Standard sized pillows: 20in x 26in/ 51cm x 66cm
Jumbo sized pillows: 20in x 28in/ 51cm x 71cm
Queen sized pillows: 20in x 30in/ 51cm x 76cm
King sized pillows: 20in x 36in/ 51cm x 92cm
Body sized pillows: 20in x 54in/ 51cm 137cm
With pillows, like people - It’s what’s inside that counts
Hang onto your hat – things can get a little overwhelming here. There are more pillow filling choices than you can shake a stick at. You’ve got latex pillows, feather pillows, polyester fiberfill, memory foam pillows, shredded memory foam, and waffle foam. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages you can review here:
Down/feather: A completely natural product made of goose down and feathers that gives you a pillow you can shape to your heart’s content. Depending on your budget you may want to add an extra pillow cover to make sure you don’t wake up with a chicken feather stuck in your ear.
Memory foam and shredded memory foam: Not all memory foams perform the same way or deliver the same durability. The better-quality memory foam pillows are more comfortable, and some are designed to keep you cooler at night than other foams. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, shredded memory foam can be just the thing for you.
Waffle or egg crate foam: What makes these pillows special is the shape of the foam itself. Along with the material, the waffle or egg crate shape of the foam can provide comfort and cooling all night long.
Polyester fiberfill: These are good, middle of the road pillows. Often, they can be hypoallergenic and discourage the development of dust mites. They are also good for air circulation, which can reduce heat buildup and keep you cool while you sleep.