If you're replacing your pillow, use our pillow buying guide to find one that isn't too fluffy, too firm or too flat. When shopping online, look for a pillow that includes a risk-free sleep trial or one that can be returned for free. By buying the pillow online and trying it out in the comfort of your own home for a few nights, you'll be able to ensure that your new bedroom addition won't cause any morning aches or pains.
Choosing the Right Type of Pillow
Plucked from the belly of a goose, down feathers flatten and provide little to no support. While some people like how a down feather pillow can be folded or molded to the shape they desire, they just don't provide the solid foundation that your body needs when you go to bed at night. They also are incredibly hard to clean, are prone to dust mites and mold as well as retain heat.
Polyester Fiber or "Fluff"
That unidentifiable "fluff" that pads some pillows might as well be air. If you like the feel of a down pillow, but want a more humane option you may be tempted to choose a down alternative pillow comprised of synthetic or polyester fibers. While these pillows are easier to clean and more hypoallergenic, they still fall flat when it comes to support and sleeping cool.
If you want a pillow that's easy to clean, hypoallergenic and can be customized to fit your body type and sleeping position then a memory foam pillow may be best for you. Unlike down feathers or polyester fiber, memory foam molds to the curvature of your head and neck. Best of all, memory foam doesn't require constant adjusting throughout the night. It provides the same level of unwavering support no matter which way you turn and can even reduce snoring.
Choosing a Memory Foam Pillow Loft
Identifying the proper loft support for your head, neck and shoulders is crucial when buying a pillow. Buying a memory foam allows you to find the best fit for you by selecting a loft support. Most manufacturers create different pillow heights to accommodate different sleeping positions and body types. To determine what the height of your new pillow should be, consider your sleep position and your shoulder size.
Extra Low or Low Loft Support
A low loft pillow can be anywhere from three to five inches high. Typically, an extra low loft or low loft pillow is extremely adaptable, meaning it can be easily scrunched and doesn't have a lot of support. It's best for stomach sleepers or individuals with narrow shoulders who need to ensure that their neck stays in a neutral position to prevent aches and pains in the morning.
Medium Loft Support
A medium loft pillow is usually around six inches high. Because it offers more head and neck support, it's less adaptable. In other words, it won't fold over like a pillow filled with fluff or down feathers. It will keep you in a comfortable position all night long if you're a back or side sleeper or someone who has an average build.
High Loft Support
A high loft pillow is normally seven inches high. As you probably guessed, it has the least amount of give. It'll keep your head and shoulders elevated if you sleep on your side or if you have broad shoulders. When you're a side sleeper, it's important to keep your neck aligned by getting a pillow that will fill the space between your head and shoulders and the bed. Choosing the wrong pillow height will cause neck pain.
Not sure which pillow loft is best for you? Take our Sleep Personality Quiz to find out.