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How to choose your bed pillow

Eloisa Latorre

Posted on March 03 2017

 side sleeper

As important as it is to wear a pair of comfy shoes is to own a good pillow. Without the right pillow, no matter how many hours you rest, the quality of your sleep will not be the best one. And what's more, it will likely lead to neck and back pain and muscle stiffness.

Nowadays, a simple research on pillows will show thousands of results and it can be normal to feel overwhelmed by the ample choice of materials and shapes. If you are not completely sure which is the most suitable pillow for you, keep reading here. In this guide, we are going to talk about the 2 main things you have to take into consideration when buying a new pillow: sleeping position and pillow filling.

Side Sleeper
side sleeper
Source: fashioncorner
Back Sleeper
back sleeper
Stomach Sleeper
stomach sleeper


 ​To choose the correct pillow you have to start by knowing your sleeping habits. What's your sleeping position? There are 3 main possibilities: side sleeper, back sleeper and stomach sleeper.

It is very important to know the way you sleep, as it will be the main factor affecting the kind of pillow that works best for you. Each sleeper type needs different support. Most of the people have an idea of their sleeping position, but if you are not sure or you have different sleeping profiles, you can try all 3 positions. Which is the position you feel the most comfortable with to sleep for 8 non-stop hours? That would be your preferred sleeping position.

Ideally, side sleepers will feel more comfortable with thick, large pillows that will occupy the gap between the head and the mattress to keep your head and neck align with your spine.  Back sleepers should use a medium sized pillow. It is important to remember that the pillow shouldn't be too high, to avoid tilting your head forward, nor too low to make it go backwards. Finally, stomach sleepers should use very little support to align the neck and spine.


​There are many different fillings, and each of them has different advantages and disadvantages. What could be the best filling for side sleepers could be the worse choice for stomach sleepers. Before introducing you to the most common fillings, you have to take into account: 1) your budget for the pillow 2) your health history (allergies, asthma, etc.)
Source: ​Wishing Moon
​- Feathers/Down: typically made from the plumage of goose, these pillows are very malleable and retain warmth, great to feel cradled on cold nights. As they are made of natural material, they are breathable and durable. The main difference between down and feather is that down pillows are made with lighter and softer feathers, which don't have the sharp ends that could poke through the fabric. Feather pillows tend to be harder. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, it is best to avoid this kind of filling. You can use synthetic options instead.
​- Down Alternative: as the name indicates, it is the synthetic alternative to the above filling. As they are not made from real feathers, they are cheaper and can be a great option if you wish to buy the down/feather feeling without compromising your pocket, health issues or your ethical ideas.
down alternative pillow
Down Alternative Pillow (2 pcs)
Breathable, hypoallergenic & dense
  • Exquisite Design: neat double stitching prevents loose threads
  • High-Quality: 28 ounces polyester fiberfill is lofty, soft and pliable; 233 thread count 100% cotton shell has high density and thus down proof
  • Odor-free
- Latex: perfect choice for those with allergies as they are breathable and mold, mildew and mite resistant. This popular filling offers great support and has average higher loft, therefore it is best for side and back sleepers. The downside of latex pillows is their "rubbery" odor. 
latex pillow
Rectangular Dunlop Natural Latex Pillow
Made of natural latex derived from Thai rubber trees and elaborated by Dunlop process
  • Hypoallergenic, antibacterial, anti-mite & doesn’t lose its shape
  • Provides support to your neck & shoulders to help relieve pressure points 
  • Breathable design & zippable cover
​- Memory Foam: firm but molding to the shape of your head, shoulders and neck, alleviating pressure points. This kind of filling is made of polyurethane and they tend to keep warmth as they are usually not breathable. Memory foam pillows work best for back sleepers as they are not malleable. Due to manufacturing processes, this kind of pillows has a slightly unpleasant scent that will fade away after a short time. 
memory foam pillow
Contoured Memory Foam Pillows
  • Contoured design with high and low loft to support your neck and shoulders
  • Breathable pillow cover to dissipates excess body heat
  • Removable knit cover and machine washable to keep it always clean​
​- Microbead Pillows: medium firmness, very malleable and breathable to keep you cool during your sleep. They are made with polymer particles and could be considered the synthetic option to the buckwheat pillows. Best for side sleepers.

- Buckwheat: this super all-natural filling offers a medium to firm support. Promoting air flow, this type of pillow is completely breathable and moldable, offering good super. The main disadvantage is the noise they made when moving and their heavyweight -compared with other pillows.

- Wool/Cotton & polyester: these 2 fillings are soft to medium in firmness. Both of them will "regulate" the temperature, not too hot, not too cold, so you can have a good night sleep. In terms of price, the latest is usually cheaper.
spine alignment pillow
Source: Providr
Last but not least. Do you know what the average lifespan of a pillow is? Depending on their quality, pillows maintain their effectiveness from 3 to 6 years. A trick to find out whether it is time to replace your pillow yet is to fold the pillow in half. If it doesn't spring back to its natural shape, you should think of buying a new one.

And when you do decide to make the purchase, remember the above recommendations to choose the right pillow!

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