5 tips for choosing a pillow for your sleep

8 min

Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to choosing the right mattress. This is undeniably very good. The only bad thing is that many people forget to ask how to choose a pillow for sleeping. In the store, we superficially evaluate a few vending models and choose the one that our inner voice will indicate, and they are often guided by our desire to save money. Is this the correct approach? Not really, because with an incorrectly selected pillow, the properties of even the highest quality and correct mattress will manifest themselves only by 80%. Regular sleep on the wrong pillow results in neck and back pain, headaches and allergies. What parameters are important to pay attention to in the first place?

Types and shapes of pillows

From the usual square pillows, we gradually moved on to rectangular ones, and then to orthopedic ones. It does not interfere with understanding the characteristics of each type and form.

Sleeping pillows can be divided into two groups:

  • classic;
  • orthopedic.

The classic pillow is familiar to everyone from childhood. Earlier, square pillows with a size of 70 * 70 cm and for children 50 * 50 cm were widespread. Now, more than half of buyers choose pillows of the euro size – 70 * 50 cm and 60 * 40 cm for adults and children, respectively. How can you explain such popularity? First, a person in a dream moves horizontally, and not from top to bottom. Secondly, for a pillow 70 * 50 cm, less filler is needed, which affects the price. Thirdly, most bedding manufacturers complete sets with rectangular pillowcases.

Orthopedic pillows provide reliable head support and are essential for spinal problems. Such products are in the form of a roller or rectangle with a depression in the center to ensure optimal position of the head and neck during rest. Orthopedic sleep pillows are made of several layers of special filler (latex, memoriform, polyurethane foam), which memorizes the position of the head and neck. In fakes, only one layer of ordinary filler is used, as in classic pillows, so you should be extremely careful when buying.

These products are recommended for use by people with problems of the musculoskeletal system, incl. suffering from osteochondrosis, chronic pain in the cervical spine, torticollis, increased muscle tone, as well as trauma and displacement of the vertebrae. There is no consensus on whether it is worth using orthopedic pillows for everyone, without exception. Official medicine says that there should be no harm, but common sense suggests that if there are no health problems, then you can choose a classic, but high-quality pillow – it will be cheaper, but no less comfortable.

The disadvantage of an orthopedic pillow is the need to get used to its shape, increased rigidity, hard and high side.

Can you sleep without a pillow at all? Better not, because over time, from such a rest, the cervical spine will begin to bend, provoking pain and other unpleasant consequences.

Cushion height

If the sizes of the pillows for sleeping are more or less standard, then the height can vary significantly. When choosing, take into account the physique of the sleeper and the preferred sleeping positions:

  • if you usually sleep on your side, then the height of the pillow should match the width of your shoulder. Measure the distance from the base of the neck to the shoulder point. Lovers of such sleep will be comfortable on pillows 10-14 cm high;

  • for those who like to sleep on their backs, you need a pillow lower – 8-10 cm. However, if you often roll over from side to back, then take a product 10-13 cm high;

  • for those who are more accustomed to sleeping on their stomachs, the lowest pillows are suitable – 6-8 cm;

  • if in a dream you constantly turn over, then it is better to take a pillow of medium height and try lying on it in different positions in the store;
  • the softer the mattress, the lower the pillow should be;
  • lower pillows are generally suitable for women than for men.

Pillow hardness

The firmness of the sleeping pillow is also adjusted depending on the preferred position during rest:

  • hard pillows are suitable for those who like to sleep on their sides, as they especially need good support for the head and neck. Such products are also recommended for people with problems of the musculoskeletal system;

  • semi-rigid pillows are a great option for those who sleep on their backs;

  • soft pillows are best for those who sleep a lot on their stomachs.

Hardness depends on the filler. To make the pillow stiffer, use horsehair, latex and some synthetic fillers, to provide the product with softness, use down, feather and synthetic winterizer. In medium-hard pillows, several fillers are combined, and sometimes buckwheat is used.

Pillow filler type

It’s time to figure out which pillow filler is best. It affects the degree of rigidity, the ability to support the head and neck, as well as durability and the risk of allergies. There are a lot of options, but for convenience, we will divide all materials into natural and synthetic.

Natural fillers

The most popular natural fillers:

  • until recently, down and feathers were the only options for filler. The material passes air well, absorbs moisture, and therefore regulates heat exchange. Swans, goose, duck and chicken down and feathers are commonly used. In more modern pillows, the filling can be multi-layered, for example, in the middle – down and feathers, and on the outside – only down for better cushioning. The filler can be laid out in separate pockets so that even after wet processing the product can be shaped to the desired shape. Feather and down pillows need to be looked after, dried and disinfected regularly, otherwise dust mites will get inside, the excrement of which may be allergic. But even with constant care, the durability is not high;

  • the filler made of sheep and camel wool conducts air well, absorbs sweat, and maintains a normal body temperature. Overly soft pillows are obtained from sheep wool, but they have a therapeutic effect for colds and migraines. But! Allergy to wool is possible. Low-quality filler rolls into lumps, and care for such a pillow will be difficult – you cannot wash it in a machine;

  • horsehair is rarely used, has a high rigidity, and is often mixed with other fillers to increase the rigidity of the pillow. The material perfectly retains its shape, repels moisture and dust, serves for at least 10 years, is often used in orthopedic pillows;

  • bamboo fiber does not cause allergies, breathes, conducts air, can be machine washed. The material is of medium rigidity, provides good support for the head and neck, and does not lump. Bamboo easily absorbs moisture and gives it away easily, but if the humidity in the room is high, then the balance is disturbed, and the product quickly deteriorates. The only drawback is the cost;

  • natural latex is made from hevea juice. A hypoallergenic material comes out that easily takes the shape of the head and neck, and then is restored. The service life of the pillow is up to 20 years, but the price is high;

  • buckwheat husk is pre-treated with steam, resulting in a hypoallergenic filler, in which dust mites do not start. Buckwheat scales cling to each other and, with constant use, “remember” the shape of the head. Service life – 2-4 years;

  • herbal pillows smell good, have a good effect on human health and sleep. Hop cones, lemon balm, mint, rosemary, sage, kelp, ivan tea and cattail are used as fillers. To add rigidity to the product, add straw, heather or sedge. Shake the pillow regularly. Service life is about 3 months. The needles filler will last up to 12 months. You will have to put up with the characteristic rustling during sleep;

  • silk is an expensive but very durable filler (lasts up to 10 years). It does not roll, has no odor, does not cause allergies, mites and mold do not live in it;

  • cotton – ordinary cotton wool, has sufficient softness. There are many disadvantages: the filler quickly rolls down, loses its shape, parasites like to live in it, and you can’t wash such a pillow. It will hardly last for 1-2 years.

Synthetic fillers

Synthetic fillers are cheaper, do not cause allergies and are easier to care for, the most popular are:

  • polyester is a cheap material, repels dust, but over time it cakes, becomes flat, and threads begin to stick out from the seams. A good option for giving;

  • synthetic winterizer is also inexpensive, does not absorb odors, tolerates machine wash, but over time you will notice a sagging place on the pillow from the head, so you cannot call the product durable;

  • holofiber is the same polyester, but its fibers are twisted into balls, fixed with silicone in order to end up with a more durable material. The filler does not cake for a long time, it can be washed in a typewriter;

  • silicone – polyester in the form of hollow fibers, soft and resilient, breathable, easy to wash, inexpensive, but not very durable;

  • thinsulate is a polyester fiber, twisted into a spiral and covered with silicone. Easy to wash, lasts at least 5 years, it does not get ticks. Minus – the filler can electrify the hair;

  • foam or “memoriform” – an elastic filler that retains the shape of the head, is not attractive to mites and mold, lasts at least 10 years, is used in orthopedic pillows. Minus – cost;

  • microfiber – a substitute for natural fluff. The filler is quite lightweight, durable, does not absorb odors, is easy to clean, but electrified and poorly absorbs water, lasts about 5 years;

  • microgel is an analogue of down, lightweight, hygroscopic, it can be washed at home and does not cause allergies. Such pillows are not cheap, but they last up to 10 years;

  • viscoelastic – a porous filler that easily takes the shape of the head. It cannot be washed, its durability is about ten years.

What else to consider when choosing?

After studying the above characteristics, it will be easier to make the right purchase. However, in order to accurately answer the question of which pillow to choose for sleep, you need to pay attention to some little things:

  • after pressing, the shape of the pillow should be easily restored;
  • the filler should be evenly distributed, without pits and bumps;
  • the pillow should not emit a strong chemical odor;
  • the cover should be made of cotton or silk, sewn with small stitches, and not have protruding threads;
  • preference for pillows with a zipper cover. You can remove excess filler from them, it is easier to care for them;
  • with low blood pressure, it is better to choose softer pillows and vice versa;
  • for pregnant women there are special pillows with a length of 170-190 cm, which help to take the most comfortable position. Newborns don’t need a pillow at all;
  • the label must contain complete information about the product – composition, manufacturer, care, etc .;
  • the name of the manufacturer will say a lot. Among the tested ones, we note Christian Fischbacher (Switzerland), Hefel (Austria), Kaufmann (Austria) – this is the luxury segment. In the middle segment there are Askona (Russia), Le Vele (Turkey), English Home (England), Sonex (Ukraine). Pillows TAC (Turkey), Ikea (Sweden), Crystal (Turkey), Serafimovskaya fluff (Russia) are inexpensive, but they serve well. Read information on the Internet about the selected manufacturer.

If possible, lie on a pillow before buying.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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