Are you searching for the perfect pillow? Nothing is more frustrating than finding a pillow that offers support, but doesn’t retain heat. Or maybe your problem is waking up too early after only 4 hours of sleep because your head sinks so low! The best way to find the ideal pillow is to be aware of all the factors to consider when shopping for one.
First things first: what type of sleeper are you? Side, back or stomach?
No matter what position you sleep in, there’s a perfect pillow out there waiting for you. Your sleeping style should help guide your pillows selection process; it can make all the difference between tossing and turning while trying to get comfortable and getting the restful sleep that helps keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
Side sleepers want to look for something firm, but with enough give to keep their head from tilting forward or sinking too far down. If you’re unsure what firmness level works best for you, start with a soft-medium pillow and if it’s not quite right, try one that is slightly firmer.
Stomach sleepers need very little loft because stomach sleeping shouldn’t allow your neck to bend at all; this causes strain on the back muscles which can lead to discomfort throughout the day.
Back sleepers should be able to completely rest their head on the pillow without feeling like they are sinking too far into it, causing them to feel uncomfortable against the mattress or sleeping on an incline due to either sleeping on a pillow that is just a little too thick or a bit too thin.
The shape of the pillow is also something to consider.
Tri-corns are triangular pillows that can easily be molded into any position you want, but they don’t offer as much support as foam.
Side sleepers will benefit from shredded memory foam which molds to their head and neck while still providing enough support throughout the night, sinking down slightly for comfort without losing its shape. If you’re looking for a loftier option, shredded latex offers the best all-around support and firmness level to keep your head high off the mattress without going overboard on price point.
You could do a quick Google search to find out how much your preferred type of pillow costs, but that won’t help you get a better idea of what’s on the market. You don’t want to shell out a ton of money for something without knowing whether it’ll be a good fit for your sleeping style and personal preferences. So, before you head over to Google or Amazon, take some time to read through our guide so you can discover which pillow is best for you!
There are many factors to consider when choosing pillows, but our definitive guide will make sure that your search stops here. We’ve sorted through all the different types of pillows available today in order to break down their materials, attributes and price points! Take a look at how we break it down below:
Memory Foam (polyurethane foam with gel and plant-based ingredients):
Memory foam is a material that was originally developed by NASA to help astronauts endure extreme conditions; we now use it in pillows to give support where it’s needed without putting too much pressure on the neck and shoulders. Memory foam is entirely customizable: shredded memory foam allows you to make adjustments, adding or removing fill as needed for comfort and support. However, since memory foam molds directly to the unique shape of your head and neck, these specific types of pillows can be fairly expensive because they are made specifically for each individual.
Buckwheat (natural shells filled with fiber):
Buckwheat pillows are popular among side sleepers because they offer plenty of support while letting you sleep on a natural material filled with toxin-absorbing fiber. These pillows are able to adjust their level of firmness according to your preferences, but because there is no memory foam or gel involved in their construction, they can’t offer the same level of customization that shredded foam can.
Natural Latex (dried sap from rubber trees):
Latex is a popular material for mattresses and pillows because it’s naturally antimicrobial and doesn’t accumulate dust mites like many materials do. It also has an adaptive quality: when latex cools off, it becomes firmer so you always receive support where you need it without feeling stuck in place. There are two types of latex: Dunlop and Talalay process . Dunlop is harder and can retain a more defined shape, while Talalay is softer and returns to its original shape more quickly. It’s important to note that latex pillows usually aren’t adjustable; however, you can push them down into the pillow case for a tighter fit if necessary.
Water (shells filled with water):
Water pillows like this one by Coop Home Goods are extremely supportive because they’re able to mold according to your head and neck, but what makes them really stand out from other types of memory foam pillows is their level of adjustability: as the water heats up throughout the night, it becomes less dense so you receive the support you need without feeling stuck in place.
Down/Feather (soft feathers from geese and ducks):
Down and feather pillows are extremely soft and breathable, but they don’t offer much in the way of support. Because these types of pillows don’t hold their shape well, they can become compacted which makes them uncomfortable for many sleepers.
Buckwheat hulls are a popular option among side sleepers because they’re able to return quickly to their original shape, making them less likely to collapse when you place your head on them. However, since there is no additional material involved in their construction like memory foam or down/feathers, it’s difficult to adjust the firmness of this of pillow . If you want a somewhat adjustable pillow, choose one with a memory foam or latex core.
Feather and down pillows are extremely soft and breathable but don’t offer much in the way of support. Because these types of pillows don’t hold their shape well, they can become compacted which makes them uncomfortable for many sleepers . Even worse: since there is no additional material involved in their construction like memory foam or buckwheat hulls, these pillows aren’t adjustable and usually not worth your money.
Wool fiber is a popular filling for pillows because it’s naturally resistant to dust mites , moisture and mold so you’ll never have to worry about waking up sneezing or having to flip it over because of an unpleasant smell. However, similar to down and feather pillows, fiber only pillows are also not adjustable so you run the risk of waking up with a compacted pillow unless you find one that’s filled with something like memory foam or latex.
Memory Foam (gel or viscoelastic polyurethane):
Memory foam is unique in that it responds quickly when you rest your head on it by molding around its specific shape. This is why when you lie on memory foam pillows , their material won’t sink beneath where your neck meets your shoulders, which can be painful for some sleepers . Also popular among side sleepers are shredded memory foamows because they provide support without being too firm.
Blend pillows are extremely popular because they combine elements of down, feather, memory foam and other materials to provide specific benefits while giving you the adjustability of a multilayer pillow. However, keep in mind that no matter how much research has gone into blending these types of materials together, the possibility for something to go wrong still exists. Since there have been complaints that some blend pillows don’t perform as advertised , choose one only after reading reviews from multiple sources . Also make sure it comes with a warranty so you’ll be able to return it if necessary .
Microbeads (foam beads):
Similar to water pillows, microbead pillows are filled with small, bead-like material made up of polystyrene foam which makes them easy to adjust because you’ll be able to move the beads around inside. However, keep in mind that many microbead pillow have a tendency to flatten out faster than others , so even though they’re adjustable, it may only last for a year or less . Also, just like water pillows , if your head sweats at night , these pillows will accumulate moisture making it uncomfortable.
Similar to water pillows, buckwheat pillows are a popular choice because they allow airflow through their material and can support the weight of your head while you sleep by adjusting based on where pressure is applied. However, unlike water pillows , these types of pillows are difficult to adjust because you’ll need to move whole buckwheat hulls around at once, which can take some time. Also keep in mind that if you sleep hot , it’s not recommended because the empty space between the natural material will accumulate heat making it uncomfortable.
If you’re not a fan of traditional pillow materials, then you should go with an adjustable shredded memory foam pillow because it’s made from a soft material while also being easy to adjust. However, if you have allergies , always choose something hypoallergenic and don’t forget about warranties so your investment is covered for at least a few years .
The best way to determine which type of pillows are right for you is by choosing one that combines the benefits of different types of pillows into one customizable option. In terms of price range , expect pillows that balance support and comfort to cost anywhere from $75 to $150 depending on where you buy them from. If this sounds too expensive for you , opt for memory foam or shredded memory foam pillows because they’re easy to adjust and soothing without costing more than $50.
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