Many of us are walking around sleep deprived. The average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night to be fully rested. Lack of sleep affects our productivity and our ability to make good decisions. People who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night are 29% more productive than those getting less.
Quantity of sleep is important but so is quality of sleep. Once we fall asleep it is beneficial for your health to stay asleep. There are many components to making a comfortable place to rest and one of the more important components is your pillow.
Picking a pillow is not easy and not cheap. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for a new pillow:
- The Filling
- The Firmness
- The Price
- Your Sleeping Position
First let us consider your sleeping position.
Side Sleepers: Sleeping on your side is the most common position for sleep. When you sleep on your side you need a firm pillow that supports the weight of your head and keeps your shoulders and neck in alignment. Sleeping on your side can reduce snoring.
Stomach Sleepers: If you find that you lie on your stomach you want to look for a flat, thinner, softer pillow. You don’t want to stress your neck and head by having them tilt. You also want to keep your neck in alignment with your spine. Some stomach sleepers prefer no pillow at all.
Back Sleepers: If you sleep on your back you want a medium height pillow. Contour pillows that are firmer or rounded on the bottom may help give you the neck support you need. Be aware that you don’t want to curve your upper back and shoulders.
Mixed Sleepers: If you find you move around a lot at night try and pick a pillow for the position you are in most often. You may also want to consider a middle of the road pillow for height and firmness.
There are many ways to fill a pillow: down feathers, feather pillows, shredded foam, molded foam, memory foam or latex.
The filling will effect the firmness. Once you know your regular sleep position that will help you determine the firmness of the pillow you want to look for.
You also need to take into consideration any allergies you may have. Some people find they are allergic to feather pillows, if so pillows with this filling should be avoided. If you are sensitive to dust mites you will want to consider a pillow that is washable. Washing a washable pillow in hot water can help eliminate dust mites.
Different fillings can also affect how hot your pillow gets. Latex does not trap heat like foam pillows. Latex is often an allergy free choice.
Down pillows are generally softer than feather pillows. Down and feather pillows do not offer firm support, stay away from these fillings if you need a supportive pillow.
Memory foam pillows have high density and come in a variety of shapes. They are very supportive of your head. Some people complain about how hot memory foam pillows can be.
The denser the filling the warmer the pillow.
Pillows are priced all over the place. You can get a two pack at Walmart for under $20 or you can spend $160 per pillow. Some pillows claim to last up to 10 years but in generally most of us don’t keep our pillows that long.
It is time to replace your pillow when it breaks down, no longer holds it shape or is no longer comfortable for you.
Because choosing a pillow is difficult you will have to find the price point that works with the amount of cash you can spend. The Walmart cheap pillows are probably not going to last or be comfortable. You will probably have to spend more than that.
Some pillows offer money back guarantees. That could be a smart way to go. That way after a few weeks if it doesn’t work out you can return it.
Changing your pillow is a cheaper option than changing out your mattress.
Your pillow is one component to getting a good night’s sleep. Good quality sleep and at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep is recommended for adults.
Pillow shopping isn’t easy. Unfortunately, recommendations from friends does not always work because we are all so individualized in how we sleep. If you can afford to have a variety of pillows on your bed with different options of firmness for those different sleep positions then you could never blame your lack of sleep on your pillow.
READ MORE: The Tight Ties Between Sleep and Stress