Pillows can be like our best friends – they hear our secrets, witness our dreams, and occasionally wipe away our tears. The only difference is … you can buy a good one at a store!
If you are looking for a cozy place to rest your head, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Think about size. Pillows come in standard sizes: standard, queen, king and neck roll. Besides taking the width of your bed into consideration, think about whether you really like a whole lot of pillow, or if you’d do better with three standard-sized pillows rather than a couple of kings.
- Look for loft. How high does the top of the pillow (crown) reach? Generally, if it’s got a good loft, it will offer decent support for your head.
- Blow through the fabric – if air can pass through easily, so can anything else, such as feathers. (This is not a good sign!)
- Squish the pillow to see if it returns to its original loft (fluffiness) or if it remains compressed. If there is a big dent in it, put it back on the shelf!
- Test the pillow by actually resting your head on it – how does it feel? You may feel silly, but you wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it, would you? The same goes for pillows!
- If you are shopping for a feather pillow, decide whether you would like an all-down pillow or a blend of down and feather. The blend will hold its shape better, but you may be able to feel the spine of the feathers. Feather pillows also tend to be flatter, while down pillows have more loft and conform to the contours of your body.
- Next, figure out how much support you need. Support is determined by the quality of the fill and the number of ounces. Fill power measures the quality (fluffiness) of the down in down pillows. Lower fill powers will generally be found in softer pillows, while higher fill powers are used in more supportive pillows. Soft pillows are usually good for stomach sleepers, firm for back sleepers, and medium for those that alternate or turn from side to side all night.
- The material used to fill the pillow will give you an idea of the support level. Natural fills, such as pure down or a mix of down and feathers will give a soft to medium support with more adjustability. Synthetic fills, such as polyester, have good neck support and different levels of firmness. Foam pillows, made from rubber latex, offer firmness and support.
How Do You Like to Sleep?
Depending on whether you like to sleep on your stomach, back, or side, you may prefer one type of pillow over all the rest. Those who like firm or medium-firm support may want to try a wool-filled pillow, while those who like it super soft will love down. Memory foam is great for those with any kinds of back problems as it supports and conforms to the spine, relieving pressure. Those who sleep on their stomachs will generally need a thinner pillow, and would probably benefit from the standard cotton variety – which is easy to clean and hypoallergenic (important if you’re going to have your face right in it!). Those especially concerned about germs can try a latex foam pillow, which, besides being hypo-allergenic, is anti-microbial, and comes in different levels of support. There are also neck roll pillows to support the neck, which can have everything from orthopedic foam filling to buckwheat kernels, and is very portable.
Price ranges for pillows are as varied as the materials they are made of. Depending on the size and type, you could be looking at as little as $7 for a standard cotton pillow to $100 for a special sterile latex pillow. In the end, a pillow is a very personal choice, and just as important a consideration as the mattress you’re sleeping on. A bad pillow can cause back and neck cramps, leading to headaches, soreness, and trouble sleeping. So make sure you shop around for one that fits you properly – making it match your décor is simple with the right pillowcases.
No matter if you like to sleep on your front, back, or side, there is a pillow with your name on it! After you find your pillow, you’ll be ready to find a pillow protector and pillowcases. And then a mattress cover, and a sheet set, and a comforter, and a new lamp … But really, when you get down to it, the pillow is the most important part – if all else fails, you can even sleep comfortably on the floor with a good pillow!