Wednesday, December 2

Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Pillow for a Great Night’s Sleep


When most people think about creating a sleep haven, they focus primarily on their mattresses. Mattresses get a lot of attention, for good reason. Your mattress is the largest, most important financial investment you’ll make in your sleep but, when it comes to sleep quality, pillows are almost as important as your mattress.

If you’re sleeping on a worn-out pillow, scrunching and folding it up every night to get comfortable, that’s a red flag that it’s time for a new pillow. Even if your pillow isn’t old, it might not be the best choice for your comfort and support. If you’re sleeping on the wrong pillow, it may be responsible for that nagging neck ache, and the feeling that you could do with more sleep.


Sleeping posture is key to comfort while you slumber. Your spine and head should be aligned while you sleep. If your spine is in an awkward position it could lead to you tossing and turning all night long, or worse, you could wake up with a crick in your neck! Find the perfect pillow for you is key to ensuring good posture while you sleep.

But how do you know which pillow is best for you and how do you go about choosing one? We’ve put together this easy buyer’s guide to pillows so you can get a good night’s sleep every night. Here’s what to consider when buying a pillow:


How old is your current pillow?

If your pillow is older than eighteen months, it might need replacing. Examine it carefully, and do the pillow test – drape your natural fill (down or feathers, wool, etc) pillow over your arm, if it hangs there limply, it’s time for a new one. Your synthetic fill (microfibre) pillow should spring back if folded and be its original shape. If it doesn’t, it’s time for a replacement. Don’t forget to smell your pillow. If it smells, it is time to replace it.

What is your mattress like?

What is your mattress like? Firm, soft, medium? Differing firmness of mattresses require the correct type of pillow to support your body.

A firmer mattress will need a firmer pillow as your body doesn’t ‘sink’ into the mattress; whereas a softer mattress will require a softer pillow, as your body ‘sinks into’ the mattress and a softer pillow is able to provide enough neck support.


What position do you favour most when asleep?

Next, consider the position you favour most when asleep. Back, side and stomach sleepers all require different types of pillows.

The most important factor to consider is sleeping position. Back sleepers need neck support, so a firmer pillow which aligns the head and spine is ideal. Stomach sleepers need a thin soft pillow, as tilting the head on a firm pillow will throw the head/spine alignment out. Side sleepers need a thicker, firmer pillow, which aligns the head and supports the area between the neck and shoulders. Mixed sleepers need a medium pillow, that can manipulate into the support they need for whatever position they prefer.

Consider filling:

There are many types of products used to fill pillows. They each contribute to your sleep quality in a different way. Let’s take a look at the different types of fillings:

Down and Feather

Down and feather pillows are light and soft and are made from either goose or duck down. Look for certification that the down is sourced sustainably. Most of these pillows aren’t pure down, but a mixture of down and small feathers. Look at the percentage – higher feather count will give you a firmer pillow, higher down count will give you a softer pillow. Good quality down pillows are expensive and you ultimately get what you pay for, but they’re worth it as they are washable and durable.


Linen Drawer Duck Feather and Down Pillow.

We recommend the Linen Drawer Duck Feather & Down Pillow. They are manufactured from a luxurious down and feather fill (50% duck down and 50% small duck feather mix) that is soft, with excellent loft and thermal properties.

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Chipped Foam

Polyfoam and memory foam are also popular pillow fills. These can be used in sheet form, or in chips, or as a combination. Hypo-allergenic and comfortable, these pillows cannot be washed easily.

Polyester Filling

Synthetic filled pillows are usually made from polyester, making them washable and hypo-allergenic. Look for a pillow that has a cotton cover, in the firmness you need. Some pillows have a zipper opening for adding or subtracting fill – to ensure perfect sleeping comfort. The polyester is usually ‘shaped’ spirals or little puffs that mimic down. Again, quality pillows are not cheap.

foam filling

We recommend the Linen Drawer Microfiber Pillow. These are manufactured from polyester micro fibres that are soft and down-like and have an excellent loft, thermal properties and a rating of 8 tog, making it ideal for summer and winter weather.

Find the best prices on microfibre pillows online with PriceCheck now:

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Chipped Foam

Polyfoam and memory foam are also popular pillow fills. These can be used in sheet form, or in chips, or as a combination. Hypo-allergenic and comfortable, these pillows cannot be washed easily.

Latex Chips

Derived from rubber, a natural product. a latex chip filled pillow provides great support and is long lasting. Natural latex is moisture absorbent, heat-regulating, and is naturally anti-mildew or mould.

wool filling

Wool filling pillow.

Wool Filling

Wool filled pillows are quite firm, speciality pillows that are excellent temperature regulators. You pillow will be cool, even if you have a warm head. Wool is also naturally hypoallergenic.

Buckwheat Husk Filling

Buckwheat provides a firm, yet contouring sleep surface and is best for side and back sleepers. Buckwheat pillows are often prescribed for neck pain relief. Although buckwheat is a natural fill, it needs to be replaced regularly, and the pillowcase washed. Buckwheat pillows are also exceptionally cool sleeping pillows.

Kapok filling

Kapok filling.

Kapok Filling

Kapok is extremely soft and breathable. It is often mixed with memory foams and polyester fibres. It is a good plant-based alternative to down, but kapok pillows are firmer than down and not so mouldable. They’re very tricky to wash, as kapok is naturally buoyant.

Silk Filling

Very luxurious and soft, silk is a naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-allergy product. Pillows filled with silk are very soft, mould well to your body and cool to sleep on. They cannot be washed, however, can be aired and sunned to restore loft.


Cotton Filling

Biodegradable cotton offers a soft feeling, yet firm sleeping pillow. It cannot be easily adjusted/moulded so it might be only suitable for back sleepers. Cotton filled pillows are often blended with microfibre, which improves the clumping of the filling, washing is not recommended, as it could become mouldy if not dried completely.

Cooling Gel Layer

If you get hot while sleeping, look out for memory foam pillows with a layer of cooling gel. A pillow with a gel layer ensures that the natural warming/heat holding property of memory foam is countered by the cooling gel layer. This is helpful if you are a warm sleeper, as your pillow always feels cool.

Find the best prices on pillows and bedding online with PriceCheck now:

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