I recently read that an old pillow can contain as much as 10% of its weight in dead skin, mould and dust mites – yuck! What’s more, poor-quality pillows are one of the biggest causes of neck and back pain.
That certainly rings true with me, as I often struggle to get comfy at night. I tend to hold stress in my shoulders and jaw, so I try to avoid putting any additional pressure on these areas, but I’m also asthmatic, which means I have to sleep with my head slightly raised in order to avoid attacks. The two tend to go against each other, and recently I’ve found myself flinging my pillow off the bed in frustration after lots of tossing and turning. So, as the final step in my quest for a better night’s sleep, I decided it was high time I swapped it for a new one. After all, I spend at least seven hours a night with it!
The problem was knowing where to start. There’s so much to consider – thickness, firmness, material… Luckily, the ever-reliable Soak & Sleep came to my rescue with their new pillow buying guide, which contains all sorts of useful tips. You can also search their selection by material, sleeping position and price, which makes finding the right one a doddle. I quickly narrowed down the options to synthetic-fibre pillows best suited to people who lie on their side, and my final choice has certainly helped: since it arrived, I’ve slept more soundly and woken with much less muscle stiffness than before.
To help anyone else struggling with finding the right pillow, here are a few quick tips to get you started:
- Consider your sleeping position – the key is to keep your spine straight, and prevent your neck from taking the weight of your head. For example, side-sleepers will need a firmer, thicker pillow (or two thinner pillows) than those who sleep on their back or front
- Think about size. If you have a super-kingsize bed, you’ll need a super-kingsize pillow. Leaving gaps between your pillow and the edge of the bed means your head is likely to roll off it during the night, causing cricked necks and stiffness. Similary, square pillows may look great, but they work best as decoration rather than your main pillow
- Find the right filling. You need to take any allergies into account, as well as the support offered by different materials. There are all sorts of options nowadays, from traditional feathers to high-tech memory foam
- Play around with different combinations – you might find you prefer a squishy pillow on top of a firmer one, or two medium-support pillows rather than a single thicker one
- Use a pillow protector to prolong your pillow’s life (either a waterproof version, or a thick cotton one if you find this makes you too hot)
- Replace pillows every few years, as they will eventually lose their plumpness and shape
For more, head over to Soak & Sleep for the full guide.
Soak & Sleep kindly provided me with a new pillow for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.
Top image by Abi Dare; second image via Soak & Sleep