In today's article we will talk about that product that can have the power both to take our sleep away and to make us sleep calm and serene like babies: the pillow.
Choosing the right pillow for your profile and sleeping posture is fundamental for a good night's sleep. An adequate pillow can prevent several problems such as headaches, crickets, back pain, numb arms and hands during the night, among many other symptoms of a bad night's sleep.
Follow us until the end of this Review and check out the tips and basic information so you can choose the pillow that best fits your profile and that will give you sweet dreams.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Pillow: Our Picks
- 4 Buying Guide
- 5 Purchase criteria: Factors to buy the different pillow models
- Even though it is an extremely popular product, which can be found on sale almost everywhere, choosing a pillow inspires a lot of care. An inadequate or poor quality pillow can harm not only your night's sleep, but also your health.
- Besides height and density, which are up to each person's taste, it is essential to pay attention to the model, material and possible ways of cleaning when choosing a pillow.
- It is possible to find pillows in all price ranges. The simplest ones can be bought for as little as 15£. The most sophisticated models, from renowned brands and with fine fabrics can cost more than 700£.
The Best Pillow: Our Picks
Did you like our pillow ranking? Then you're ready for the next step: the Buying Guide. In this section you'll find the most relevant information about the different types of pillows. We'll tell you about their advantages and disadvantages, values, where to buy them and much more.
In addition, we'll help you with topics about the characteristics you should pay attention to when choosing your dream pillow.
What is a pillow?
It can have various types of filling, it is responsible for giving support and stability to the head and neck during sleep, promoting greater comfort and the alignment of the cervical column with the trunk.
What are the advantages of a good pillow?
The ideal pillow is the one that gives support to the neck filling exactly the shoulder space, the one between the mattress and the head.
The correct pillow allows the spinal column to be aligned, relaxing the muscles and consequently improving blood circulation. These factors ensure a better mood upon waking up, as they favour sending stimuli from the brain to the other organs.
Because it is a constant and important companion in our routines, the pillow is a product that deserves and demands attention in the choice, use and maintenance.
Surely, getting it right is worth all the effort. Discovering our preferred model can take some trial and error over a lifetime.
But nowadays this problem is less frequent, since we have a lot of information available and good prior research on the characteristics of the ideal product can prevent bad purchases.
Therefore, do not make impulse purchases. Do your research! The more suitable to our profile and comfortable the pillow is, the more well-being it will provide.
Which pillow is right for me?
Consider whether it is the firmer or softer type that brings you more comfort. The position you sleep in will also be a determining factor in this choice.
If you sleep most of the time on your side, the ideal is a firmer pillow will give better support to your head and neck. For those who sleep on their stomachs, a medium to firm pillow will suit you well.
The softest and lowest pillows are best for those who sleep on their stomachs. For people with back problems, the ideal is to consult a doctor to define the best model for each situation.
The height will also depend on the anatomy and preference of each person. Wider shoulders, for example, will require higher pillows to guarantee that the head is supported at the correct angle in relation to the spine. Children and people with a slim profile, on the other hand, will adapt better to shorter models.
If you have respiratory problems and allergies, double your attention. Some materials are more prone to the proliferation of mites, fungi and bacteria. Check carefully if the chosen model has technologies against this type of accumulation.
Finally, consider carefully the characteristics of each material. Pillows made of materials that heat up and absorb too much heat may not be ideal for hot regions and people who feel hot at night, for example.
People with allergies, respiratory problems and sensitivities should avoid pillows without antibacterial protection or which are difficult to clean.
What are the different types of pillow filling?
- Feathers: Natural feathers may proliferate mites and microorganisms. It loses volume with time and machine washing may cause odours. It is breathable, retaining little heat.
- Viscoelastic: it is thermo-sensitive and does not deform. It is denser and cannot be machine washed.
- Latex foam: It has perforations that favour ventilation and is sterilized in the factory. It does not deform. It has a very strong smell when new.
- Silicon fiber: Not all are machine washable. It is usually light and flexible and absorbs and retains heat. It loses volume with use.
In the Purchase Criteria section we will talk about other types of pillow.
When is it time to change the pillow?
To find out if your pillow is still usable, do the following test: fold it in half and hold it firmly for about 30 seconds. If when you release the pillow it doesn't return to its original shape, it's time to discard it.
The anti-allergic models with anti-dust mite, fungus and bacteria protection have a longer useful life, but they may be more expensive. Check, also, the instructions for care and cleaning of the product, and if they fit into your routine. The ideal is to clean the pillows at least every 6 months of use.
Daily use deposits humidity, sweat and dead cells in the pillow, making it the ideal environment for the proliferation of dust mites and bacteria.
It is recommended that they be changed every two or three years to avoid allergies and respiratory problems
How much does it cost?
It is possible to buy a very basic model for cheap money, while the more sophisticated models, magnetized or with fine fabrics and famous brands may cost more than 700£.
Purchase criteria: Factors to buy the different pillow models
In this final section we will list the characteristics that you can evaluate when buying to recognise the best pillow to meet your needs and expectations. They are:
Below, you can understand in detail the importance of considering each of these points.
The basic pillow model is rectangular, for pillowcases of 50 x 70 centimetres. However, there are variants that you can consider for choosing the ideal product for your needs and your family. Check them out:
- Infant Pillow: In size and shape differentiated for the anatomy still in development of babies and children. Give preference to anti-allergic and anti-suffocation models, which come with small holes to make breathing easier if the child turns over on its stomach.
- Body pillow: An elongated version of the common pillow, this model measures 50 x 1.35. It is suitable for those who sleep on their sides. It should be positioned between the legs and arms, almost like an embrace. The position gives support to the knees and elbows so that the spine is well aligned.
- Orthopedic: with higher edges and concave centre, this model has a shape similar to an S for better accommodation of the head. It is indicated for those who have back problems or tendency to torticollis. It can also be used by those who want to improve their posture during sleep.
- For pregnant women: The worm is a variation of the body pillow specifically for pregnant women. Shaped like a horseshoe, it wraps around the entire torso. It gives support to the head and passes between the legs, accommodating the belly. It can also be used as support for breastfeeding and for babies who are learning to sit.
- Ramp or anti-reflux: Recommended for those who suffer from gastric reflux, it is shaped like a ramp or triangle, which supports the spine while allowing the head to be elevated in relation to the body. The position mitigates and prevents the symptoms of the disease. It can be found in adult and child versions, with variable heights according to the severity of the reflux.
The material of the pillow directly interferes in the level of comfort provided during the night, besides determining the durability and quality of the product.
With the advance of technology, today there are pillows in materials for practically every type of preference or need.
Check out the top tips for today's most popular types of materials:
The latex foam pillow is the most indicated for respiratory problems and allergies. The material is sterilized at the factory, and usually comes with micro-holes that allow ventilation, reducing the concentration of moisture and microorganisms. Besides, it can be washed in a common machine.
The viscoelastic foam, known as the Nasa pillow, is ideal for those who have restless sleep and are prone to muscle pain. This is because, although the material molds easily to the head and neck, it is firm and heavy, providing good support and improving circulation.
Goose feather models are extremely soft and cosy,
for years it was considered the best type of pillow in the world. However,
it is not suitable for those who are restless sleepers or who sleep on their sides. This is because the
material, despite being very comfortable, does not offer firmness and support,
it can sink too deep during sleep and leave the spine misaligned.
The polyurethane foam pillow, also called compact foam, this material is very firm, suitable for those who sleep on their sides and do not change their position much during sleep. Some people may find it uncomfortable because it is harder.
There is also the siliconized fiber, or microfiber, which is flexible and light, adapting well to those who sleep face up or down. However, it may not be a good option for hot regions or periods, because the material is synthetic and tends to heat up a lot.
If you prefer the spring pillow, know that this is usually the material of orthopedic pillows. Ideal for those who have back problems, need to maintain or want to improve their posture. It is firm, but softer and more comfortable than the other options with a harder composition. It is also good for those who sleep on their sides.
And finally the foam flake models, with conventional cut-out foam filling, is light and soft. However, it is not the most suitable for sleeping, as the foam flakes tend to accumulate on the sides, impairing head support and spinal alignment. It is ideal for decorative purposes, providing that fluffy, chunky effect on the pillowcase.
The ideal pillow height, as a rule, is the one that exactly fills the width of the shoulder, in other words, the space between the mattress surface and the person's head.
You should also consider the final height of the pillow: the height at which it will stay with the weight of the head applied on it.
Therefore, the correct height varies from person to person because it also depends on each person's taste and anatomy. Tall or broad-shouldered people will need higher pillows to ensure that the head is supported at the correct angle in relation to the spine.
On the other hand, children, people of short stature and with a slim profile will adapt better to medium to low models. As we've already mentioned, the sleeping position of each person can also be a determining factor for choosing the pillow height.
For those who sleep face down or face up, the ideal models are low. For those who sleep on their sides, the choice should be between medium or high. Do you want to test the right height? This can be done without having to lie down in the middle of the shop.
Place the pillow to be tested against a wall. Standing up, lean against the same wall, placing your head on the pillow. Simulate your preferred sleeping position. If your neck is aligned with your spine, the pillow height is correct.
The hygiene of the pillow is a very important factor. By being in direct and prolonged contact with the face of the user, a pillow poorly cleaned can be a cause of allergies, irritations and respiratory problems.
Give preference to washable models, as the ideal is that the product be cleaned every 6 months to avoid the concentration of dust mites and bacteria. If the product is not washable, check if it comes with a protective waterproof cover.
It is also possible to buy the cover separately, which is indicated even for washable models, since washing only the cover is much more practical than washing the whole product. It will be effective in retaining most of the dirt, without it coming into contact with the pillow.
Most models, according to the manufacturers' instructions, should not be exposed to the sun, as the heat may further increase the proliferation of micro-organisms inside the product.
Therefore, do not wash your pillow if you have difficulties drying it completely in the shade. Poor drying can be more harmful to your health than dirt itself.
If possible, go to a professional laundromat, which has the necessary equipment for proper washing and drying.
Avoid leaving your pillows in wardrobes or under the covers after use. If possible leave them airing under indirect light in a ventilated place daily, to dissipate possible humidity.
(Source of the highlighted image: KakaduArt / Pixabay)