How to Choose a Pillow for Your Sleep Needs
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Maintaining the natural curve in your neck and spine is critical to getting a full, restful sleep. The wrong pillow can strain your neck and shoulder muscles and, instead of recovery, it can create more pain while you’re sleeping.
On the other hand, a perfect pillow can help you maintain correct body alignment, relieve pain and prevent injury.
Though your pillow is one of the most important factors for a good night’s sleep, like most people, you may have no idea how to select the right one. Chances are when you are walking through the aisles of a store, you feel overwhelmed by all the options. You likely squeeze a few different pillows trying to figure out what feels the best. But what you likely don’t realize is that you need to consider your sleeping style, body type, mattress and health conditions first when choosing the right pillow.
Let’s dig in and learn more how a perfect pillow can improve your sleep and health and how to choose the right pillow for your needs.
How the Perfect Pillow Improves Sleep and Health
When choosing the perfect pillow, it’s helpful to know the role pillows play in your overall sleep experience.
Your pillow has two main functions:
- Support—Providing support for your neck, upper back and spine allows for rest and recovery
- Comfort—Allowing a higher level of comfort to rest and sleep deeply
The perfect pillow is not only comforting and helps you sleep better, but it’s also beneficial to your spine health. It plays an important supportive role for your entire body head to toe, including your spine, neck, shoulders and back. It helps to keep your entire body in alignment. The right pillow relieves any pressure and prevents pain.
Your spine is naturally curved. Having the right support for your neck, head and upper back helps your body to maintain proper alignment without causing stiffness or pain. The shape, height and firmness of your pillow are all essential to finding the one for necessary spine support.
A proper pillow allows restorative sleep that helps your body correct postural, physical and nervous system challenges throughout the day, to prevent, reduce or even eliminate pain. A good pillow can allow comfortable rest even when not sleeping deep and just taking a short nap or simply relaxing.
Soft pillows may feel like a comforting hug at first, but choosing the right pillow is far from choosing the softest and fluffiest in the store. Chiropractors, physical therapists, body workers and health professionals agree that the right pillow can make a true difference in your health.
The comfort factor of your pillow is fairly subjective, depending on your personal preferences, body size, sleeping position and health conditions. Of course, the right support plays an important role in finding the right comfort level.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Perfect Pillow
When learning how to choose a pillow, you first need to know what factors to consider in your buying decision. Some factors to consider when choosing the ideal pillow include:
- Sleep Style—Are you a side, back or stomach sleeper?
- Unique Needs—What pillow materials or styles will support your ideal body temperature or a sleep disorder you may have?
- Overall Comfort—Do you need supportive pillows for more than just your head?
Best Pillows for Side Sleepers
If you are a side sleeper, a firm pillow is your best choice. Select one that helps to bridge the distance between your ear and your shoulder. To allow more comfort, encourage proper alignment of your spine and prevent rolling on your stomach, you may want to add a pillow between your knees.
Our ContourSide Pillow is specifically created for side sleepers. It combines the shape-conforming benefits of a memory foam contour pillow with a unique airflow system to improve your breathing. It helps with proper spinal alignment, neck comfort and head support.
Best Pillows for Back Sleepers
As a back sleeper, you may benefit from a pillow with an extra loft that helps to cradle your neck. Choose a memory foam pillow that provides consistent support and alleviates pressure by molding to your body.
Our TEMPUR-Neck Pillow is our best pillow for back sleepers and for maximum pressure relief. It supports your neck, allows your shoulders to relax and prevents snoring and sinus issues that may disrupt your sleep. It has a firm feel and is available in multiple sizes.
The TEMPUR-Neck Pillow works not only for back sleepers but side sleepers as well. We recommend this pillow for those who may sleep on their back one night but on their side another.
Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
Due to the twisting of your neck and the pressure on your lower back, we do not recommend stomach sleeping. If you must sleep on your stomach, try an extremely thin pillow or no pillow at all. It is better to teach yourself to sleep on your side.
Try our ContourSide Pillow—specifically created for side sleepers. Put another pillow between your legs and hug a third one with your hands. Or try our Dreamweaver Body Pillow—a versatile option for shoppers looking for the best pillow for stomach sleepers.
With the right pillow, practice and patience, you can learn to become a side sleeper.
Best Cooling Pillows for Hot Sleepers
If you are someone whose body temperature naturally increases during sleep, try our Technogel ContourGel Pillow. We have one for back sleepers and one for side sleepers. A cooling pillow, complete with top-to-bottom air tunnels, the Technogel ContourGel Pillow helps you stay cool and get a comfortable, sound sleep. The best cooling pillows offer ergonomic support for your neck and spine and lush pressure relief while allowing natural movement.
Best Pillows for CPAP Users
If you are a CPAP user, you have nothing to worry about. This CPAP pillow is specifically designed for those who sleep with OSA during CPAP therapy. The best pillows for CPAP users support your neck and spine, provide breathability and have a cooling effect to encourage a comfortable sleep in your preferred position.
Best Support Pillow Options
Sometimes you just need a little extra support. In addition to your head, extra pillows can help support other parts of your body such as:
If you are looking for the best support pillows to use between your knees, hug while side sleeping or need a soft, supportive cushion, our Tempur-Cloud Soft & Lofty Pillow may just be your best friend.
For something more versatile, our peanut-shaped TEMPUR All-Purpose Pillow has multiple uses. It can turn into a leg spacer, lumbar cushion or a neck roll. It offers comfort and pressure relief and is the perfect size for travel. Speaking of travel, this Tempur-Pedic U-Shaped travel pillow offers comfortable support while traveling or even commuting.
If you are not looking for sleep but want to take a small rest or need extra support while sitting, this Neck Sofa is your best option. It can help with stiffness, tension, muscle pain and fatigue by stabilizing your neck, offering comfort and providing support.
Pillow Shopping Tips
Your sleeping position is one of your best guidelines when beginning to look for a new pillow. However, there are other personal considerations not to be overlooked.
To recap, here are the top tips to keep in mind when browsing online or in-store for the perfect pillow:
- Make sure to get the right head and neck support
- Know your sleeping position and select your pillow accordingly
- Consider a hypo-allergenic pillow, especially if you have asthma, allergies or sensitivities
- Consider your body size and choose an appropriate pillow—if you have a larger frame, you likely need a firmer and possibly larger pillow than smaller people
- Try a memory foam pillow that conforms to your body, eliminates pressure points, allows proper spine alignment and can benefit sleep apnea
- Replace your pillow every 18 months or less to make sure it still offers the proper support you need
- Consider size adjustable pillows, especially if you are unsure what height you may need or you change sleeping positions often
- Buy a good quality pillow that offers good support and is durable
- If you are unsure, talk to your chiropractor or physical therapist and contact our customer service for advice
Achieve a Fully Integrated Sleep With the Perfect Pillow, Mattress and Frame
Remember, the perfect pillow is not enough—your mattress and bed frame matter just as much.
If your mattress is too firm, it can be hard on your main pressure points. If it’s too soft, your mattress won’t support your pressure points fully. Neither scenario keeps your body in alignment and can lead to restless sleep and achy mornings. Finding the right mattress for your needs can change your sleep and better your health.
Your bed frame supports your mattress, providing support for your body while sleeping and resting. It helps keep everything steady and secure. You don’t want a squeaky or unstable bed frame. Instead, you want to invest in a quality and supportive one.
Keeping your sleep style, body size, personal health and other preferences in mind can help you select the right mattress, frame and pillow to allow for good sleep. A fully integrated sleep system prevents, improves or eliminates pain and betters your overall health.
Knowing all this information, you are ready to find ‘the one’—the perfect pillow that can change your sleep for the better. Which one will you select? Shop Relax The Back’s selection of high-quality, specialty pillows today.