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Pillow Buying Guide

Our choice of pillow is just as important as our choice of mattress if we are to get the perfect night’s sleep. The aim of a good pillow is to provide comfortable support that keeps our neck in alignment with the rest of our spine. How do you know you need a new pillow?

A pillow’s normal life span is two to four years. Apart from waking up with a painful or stiff neck, another obvious sign that your pillow is past its best is when it looks discoloured.

Test it before you buy it

As with buying a mattress, ideally test the pillow in store, lying on it in your preferred sleep position for at least 10 minutes. If you can’t do this, test it at home with the plastic wrapper still on so you can return it if it does not suit you.

Choosing your ideal pillow

Preference for a soft or firm pillow is down to personal choice but the position you sleep in is also a factor for consideration. In general, side sleeping requires a thicker pillow, stomach sleeping the thinnest, and back sleeping in between.

Sleep on your side, go thicker and firmer.

In general, people who sleep on their side require a thicker support. A firmer pillow will be easier to use to get the height for your head and neck in alignment with the spine. Side sleeping with a pillow between the knees is also the position most often recommended to lower back pain sufferers. Firmer pillows tend to be high fill down, memory foam, and medium to high fill synthetic pillows. Our popular pillow is a good choice as is our perfect memory pillow, or the Tempur Range

Sleep face down, go thinner and softer.

Sleeping face down is potentially the hardest position to get your neck to relax in, and causes you too arch your back. It’s the worst position for your spine. If you do sleep face down a soft, thinner pillow will potentially give you a better chance of keeping your spine close to its natural alignment. A single pillow is best here. Down or low-fill synthetic pillows are good pillows to consider with a softer, thinner support. Our Premium Pillow is a great choice.

Sleep on your back, go for a medium support.

Sleeping on your back needs a medium support to stop you pushing your head forward, unless you snore a lot, which benefits from a higher propped head position. Stationary back sleeping without a pillow is technically the best position to guarantee your spine is aligned, if your mattress is correctly, supporting you, and it’s also the best position to reduce the getting wrinkles from your sleep position. However, it’s the most common position to cause both sleep apnea and snoring, with side sleeping best for both. A high fill down pillow, or medium fill synthetic pillow are good pillows to consider if you sleep on your back.

Types of fillers

Pillows come with all sorts of fillers and combination of fillers from down and feathers to synthetic and foam.

Natural Fillers. Feather and down pillows are the fluffiest pillows in the market and offer a gentle support. They tend to mould to your head and neck and give a gentle support.

Down. Down pillows are the lighter of the natural fillers, fluffy from the breast of the bird.

Feather. Heavier and less expensive than down.

Synthetic Fillers. Synthetic man-made fillings, such as microfibre and memory foam, are best for allergy/asthma sufferers and are generally easy to care for easy to care for. Make sure memory foam pillows have a washable cover however as the pillow itself can’t go in the machine. Microfibre and Hollow fibre. These are designed to mimic down, trapping warmth and in general provide a medium support. They tend to be cheaper than memory foam pillows.

Memory foam. Memory foam pillows tend to be firmer and thicker, and provide high levels of support.

Things to consider include the quality of the stitching on the outside, which should be firm and tight, with none of the fillings such as feathers or fibres coming through and should bounce back. Whether the pillows are washable and anti-allergy can also be key factors.

Caring for your pillow

Pillows get flattened by the weight of our heads. Synthetic pillows tend to last for less time than natural pillows, and to keep both types in the best possible condition, you should plump them every day. Also it’s worth freshening them up, and killing of dust mites, by putting them in a tumble dryer for 15 minutes once a week. Always check the care instructions on the pillow as some can only be dry cleaned.

Other things to consider

Babies should not sleep with a pillow until 12 months, and a child’s first pillow needs to be very soft to get the correct alignment between neck, head and spine.

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