How to Choose the Right Sleeping Pillow

Give your head the support it deserves when you rest.

Man sleeping with pillows.
No more constantly flipping to the “right” side of the pillow.Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Choosing a pillow for a great night’s sleep can be as complicated as picking out a bed and mattress. Fill, size and fabric will all influence your decision, but don’t underestimate the importance of your sleeping position. Side sleepers need a firmer pillow that’s as thick as the distance between the ear and outside shoulder. Back sleepers are advised to think flatter and softer to keep their head and neck in alignment. Stomach sleepers should go soft or pillow-free, though they might want to place one under the stomach and pelvis to prevent back pain.

Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow (2-Pack) - Luxury Plush Gel Pillow - Dust Mite Resistant & Hypoallergenic - Queen
A no-shift construction means it keeps its shape, with no bunching or distortion.Beckham Luxury Linens

A gel-filled pillow is breathable and designed to maintain a low temperature on both sides so you don’t have to flip it over to keep from sweating in your sleep. No small wonder they’re sometimes called “chillows.” They tend to be less dense and provide better airflow than solid foam, plus they’re plusher and fluffier.

Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen
An extra half-pound of stuffing is included, just in case you need more height.Coop Home Goods

Memory foam conforms to your body shape, contouring to the lines of your head, neck and shoulders. This makes them a popular fill choice for those who suffer from head and neck pain or pressure points that cause sleep discomfort. Alas, memory foam-filled pillows retain heat, so look for one with ventilation if you run warm or live in a hotter climate.

Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow (2-Pack) Premium Quality Bed Pillows - Side Back Sleepers - Blue Gusset - Queen - 18 x 26 Inches
Dry cleaning is recommended to help the fullness last longer.Utopia Bedding

Pillows with polyester filling tend to be cheaper than pillows made of other types of fill. They may be medium to soft, though they’re typically less soft than down. One drawback is that they do flatten over time, so if fullness is a concern, you’ll need to replace them more often than other pillows.

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