While most of us really enjoy our sleep, surprisingly few of us give very much consideration to our comfort when we’re in bed. When you stop and think about it, pillows are actually one of your most important bedding elements as they provide comfort and support, and the wrong one could be causing major problems for your body without you even realising it. Since no pillow is inherently better than another, the following steps will help you narrow down the style that is best for you.

Step 1: Sleeping style

What position do you take when preparing for sleep? Do you lie on your back, side or stomach? Do you change positions frequently? Since your sleeping style can dictate the best type of pillow, finding out your most frequent sleeping position will get you started on your quest to finding the perfect one.

 

For example, if you sleep on your side most often, then a foam-filled side pillow will support your back while you rest. On the other hand, back sleepers may benefit more from a memory foam pillow that provides more ridged neck support. Stomach sleepers will get the most comfort from a very thin — yet firm — down pillow.

Step 2: Pillow material

Pillow material plays an important role in how comfortable you are when you sleep, and there are three main categories:

  1. Down. Down is the feather material underneath the outer feathers of geese and ducks that provides warmth and softness. Goose down is the pinnacle of down pillows as it is far softer and fluffier, but regular feather pillows provide a decent, cost-effective alternative if your budget is small.
  2. Foam. Foam pillows are normally filled with polyester material, which makes for a firm, long-lasting pillow. If down or feather pillows are too soft for your taste — or you are allergic to feathers — then foam may be better for you.
  3. Memory foam. Memory foam pillows are designed to remember the contours of your body so that they can provide support where your body needs it. Generally, people either love or hate memory foam as it is quite firm and holds the shape of your head for longer after you roll over. The most popular style nowadays is the one that has ridged neck support, which is beneficial for back sleepers in particular.

Step 3: Thickness and firmness

A pillow that is either too thick or too thin will compromise your sleep. Generally, stomach and side sleepers like thin pillows, as there is less strain on the neck and head, whereas back sleepers find the support of thick pillows to be more comfortable. Those who change positions frequently may benefit more from a soft pillow that changes shape easily, but those who stay in the same position more often may prefer a firmer pillow.

Step 4: Pillow shape

Pillows come in a variety of shapes to support various parts of the body. The most popular shapes are rectangular and square head pillows as they support the head, neck and shoulders, but neck pillows are slowly catching up. Some people think neck pillows are even better because they support the neck rather than just the head. Side and body pillows are also popular for side sleepers, especially if you want more support either in front or behind to take the pressure off of your shoulders, or if you’re pregnant.

There is a lot to consider when choosing a pillow, but the more time and thought you put into your decision, the more comfortable you will be.