Find The Perfect Pillow – Complete Buyer’s Guide for better sleep

Girl is trying to choose a pillow

If you ever felt that you didn’t have a great night or woke up with pain around your body despite a great mattress, think your pillow! Like most of us, you spend the third of your life in bed, so purchasing the right pillow is essential. This guide will help you to find the perfect pillow that fits your needs. Pillow is such an essential investment as your mattress to improve your sleep quality, therefore, the quality of your entire life.

Why is it crucial to have the right pillow?

When you go to bed in the evening, the main goal is to reach a relaxing sleep during the night. Pillow is a critical part of this pursuit. You can be relaxed when your body is entirely aligned from the knees through your spine to your head and neck. Your hip, shoulders, and chest should also be positioned in a relaxed way. If any of these body parts are twisting or bending, it can prevent relaxing sleep and cause pain when you wake up in the morning.

The best pillow for you will be comfortable lying on and supporting your neck, shoulders, and back. 

Choosing the right pillow is mainly depends on your needs and even on your sleeping position. Many factors can define what type will be perfect for you. In the following, try to figure them out together. Also, when buying a pillow, keep in mind that the right one for you doesn’t fit your partner’s or kid’s needs. Choose one for them carefully too.

Sleep fact

Pillows were used already in the middle Ages, but only women in labor used them. Men rarely used them because they considered them as a sign of weakness.

Industrial Revolution brought the popularity of the pillows. With the mass production of large factories, they get much cheaper, so most households started to use them for sleep and decoration.

When do you need to replace your pillow?

When you buy a pillow, you won’t buy it for your entire life. They need to be changed from time to time. But when? Let’s see some guidelines to decide if your pillow is ready for a replacement!

Generally, it would be best if you change it every 18 months. Some factors, such as material and quality, can vary on it. 18 months is 1.5 years; it is not a long period. But if we do the math, calculating with 8 hours of sleep every night, you use the pillow more than 4000 hours during this 1.5 years.

If you have a memory foam one, you can use it for a bit longer period, about 3 years. Natural pillows last longer than synthetic ones.

Generally, we can say that high-quality pillows will last longer than cheap ones.

Last night I dreamed I ate a ten-pound marshmallow, and when I woke up the pillow was gone.” – Tommy Cooper

Test your pillow

Are you not sure if you should replace your pillow, check it with some easy tests.

Test 1: The first step, remove the pillowcase and check your pillow. Is it already torn? Sniff it. Does it smell? Is it stained with sweat? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you should start to use a new pillow.

Test 2: If your pillow passed the previous inspection, do the fold test. Put it on the bed folded twice (If you have a giant size one, wrap it in third, not just in half). What do you see? If your pillow is staying there folded, consider the immediate change. That dead cushion won’t give the necessary support for your neck and body.

Choose a pillow for your sleeping position.

Sleeping position is one of the most significant factors when you purchase a new pillow. Mainly there are three dominant types: on your back, on your side, on your stomach. If you want to know more, read my post about sleeping positions.

Pillow for back sleepers

As a back sleeper, you need a pillow that can keep your neck perfectly aligned with your spine. What you are looking for is “medium”. Not average, medium means medium firmness and a medium loft. Thinner pillows can work, too, if they have additional loft at the bottom. That means that they are a bit thicker around the neck area. Often memory foam pillows have this feature. 

Extra tip: put a cushion under your knees to support your back and avoid back pain.

Pillow for side sleepers

If you sleep on your side, you will need a firm and thick pillow. The high loft can keep your head up to align it with your spine. Also, a high-profile pillow will be a relief for your shoulders since it doesn’t have to keep your body’s full weight. Firmness is essential. With a softer pillow, your head would sink closer to the mattress, and you would lose all benefit of a thicker one.

Extra tip: put an extra pad between your legs for better alignment with your spine and support your hip.

Pillow for stomach sleepers

Stomach sleepers will need a thin and soft pillow because we aim to keep your head close to the mattress. If you keep your head elevated, your spine will lose its aligned and relaxed position. If possible, choose a compressible fill, such as natural down. Breathable fabric is also a plus since you will breathe through your pillow most of the time.

Extra tip: sleeping on your stomach hurts your lower back. Try to switch to a side sleeping position and hug a body pillow if you need to feel some pressure against your chest.

Pillow for all-around or combo sleepers

If you are changing your posture during the night, you should invest in an adjustable fill pillow. These types of pillows make it possible to personalize them for maximum personal comfort. Also, try to choose a lighter one; it will be easier to move around in the bed with a lightweight pillow.

Sleep fact

Ancient cultures, such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China, used hard pillows designed from stone, wood, and ceramic. In ancient China, for example, people believed that soft cushions could suck the energy from their bodies during the night.

Select the right material

It is time to review what is the filling of the pillows. Every filling has its characteristics; get familiar with them before purchasing. We can distinguish between natural and synthetic pillows.

Natural pillows

Down pillows – These pillows are made from goose or duck down and feather. Down pillows are very soft and goose down even more delicate and more expensive than duck down. Not just down used as a filling in these pillows, manufacturers are adding some feathers and other fillers to them. If you worry about an allergic reaction, you can choose from hypoallergenic down pillows; they are available on the market. This type is expensive but is a good investment for your quality sleep.

Wool pillows – It is a great organic choice if you are looking for a firm pillow. They are made from thick natural fibers and are hypoallergenic.

Synthetic pillows

Microfibre pillows are synthetic alternatives to down pillows. They are antiallergenic and free from animal parts. A great choice to save some money, and it is also a vegan option.

Memory Foam pillows – These pillows are trendy nowadays. Memory foam is concerning your body and reacts to your body heat and your weight. It contours your head, neck, and shoulders to keep your body aligned. Memory foam is a heat retaining material that can cause sweating and discomfort during the night.

Latex pillows – Latex pillows keep their shape very strictly and providing firmer support for your neck. They are very comfortable and help to maintain your sleeping position.

Acti-Gel pillows – You could know them as cool or fresh pillows. They are made from breathable material and have a layer of acti-gel that can regulate temperature and keep your body cool at night.

A clear conscience is a good pillow.” – American Proverb

Important factors we didn’t cover yet.

Yes, it is still about pillows. There are a few other factors that I should mention to help you pick the perfect one for you. See them:

Fill weight

Different fillings have different weights. Down and synthetic pillows are lighter than memory foam or latex ones. Your personal preference will decide which one do you prefer. If you like to reshape your cushion and move around with it in the bed, you should choose a lightweight one. If you need firm and constant support, a heavier one will fit better.

Fill quality

Every filling is available in different quality, and the price of a pillow in most cases reflects on this. Once you decide what filling will be the best for you, set up a budget and buy the highest quality that it allows. Keep in mind that a high-quality pillow is more durable, and you will spend a lot of time lying on it.


Pillows are usually available in two sizes: standard and king. Standard ones are big enough for most people. Experience the right filling, the perfect firmness, or softness that provides the ideal alignment of your body. Finding the perfect support is crucial for your health. Rarely necessary to buy a king-sized one. However, it could look better on a King bed.

Mention here the shape too. There are pillows available in different shapes. Contour or cervical ones can keep your neck aligned with your spine; therefore, you can minimize back pain. 

The fabric of the cover

The cover keeps the filling in a particular form. Be sure that this cover is made from some natural and breathable fabric. Of course, you should add another cover to your pillow; this is the pillowcase to protect it from sweat and stains.


Almost all pillows go through some chemical treatment before buying them or are eternally made through such processes. 

Natural pillows often get antimicrobial treatments to avoid user’s allergic reactions. Manufacturers, through chemical processes, make memory foam, latex, or other synthetic pillows. Before buying a pillow, take into consideration your chemical sensitivity and allergies. 

“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.” – Charlotte Bronte

The mattress-pillow relation

Finally, but still, a significant factor, take into consideration the type of your mattress too. The relation between your mattress and your pillow is crucial for your quality rest.

A firm mattress requires a softer pillow to give a firm surface and adapt your head’s weight in your desired sleeping position.

On the other hand, a soft mattress works perfectly with a firmer mattress to keep your spine and head aligned.


If you liked this post, you could access its information; the infographic below contains all the practical info.

Closing thoughts

Pillows are essential when you are ready to improve the quality of your sleep. Try to find the perfect pillow with the best firmness and size to reach maximum comfort and support. 

Ready to start sleeping better? Check the following posts to find your perfect one for relaxing sleep: Best feather pillows and Best luxury pillows.

Please help us to rate the post:
User Review
4.96 (26 votes)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.