Along with your duvet, choosing the right pillow is crucial to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep. The right pillow for you will depend on a number of factors, including the level of support it provides for your head and neck. To find out which level of support you need, you’ll need to think about the position you usually sleep in.
Sleeping positions and pillow firmness
Front sleepers – soft
If you sleep on your front, a softer pillow ensures the best support for your head and neck. A firmer pillow will tilt your spine backwards and may result in neck pain. To maintain the correct head and neck position, look for a softer pillow that is not over-filled.
Back sleepers – medium
If you sleep on your back, a medium support pillow is recommended to keep the spine in alignment. A pillow that is too firm can cause neck and shoulder pain for back sleepers.
Side sleepers – firm
People who prefer to sleep on their side benefit from more support to ensure the spine is aligned and to provide comfort for the neck and shoulders. A firmer pillow is recommended for side sleepers.
A combination of feather and down gives an excellent balance of softness and support. Pillows with a higher percentage of feathers provide natural support due to their central quill. Down rich pillows are luxuriously soft. Down and feather pillows mould snugly round the head and shoulders. The soft to medium support that natural pillows provide makes them most suitable for front or back sleepers.
Synthetic filled pillows are ideal if you’re looking for a non-allergenic pillow. They’re machine-washable, durable and excellent value for money.
Also ideal for allergy sufferers, hollow fibre pillows provide comfortable medium to firm support, making them perfect for back or side sleepers. Air is retained between the hollow fibres, which means they are lightweight yet supportive. They are non-allergenic and being machine-washable they’re easy to care for, making them a highly practical option.
Temperature sensitive, memory foam pillows mould to the shape of your head and neck, providing excellent support and reducing pressure points. Memory foam pillows tend to be firmer and therefore are most suitable for those who sleep on their side. Although the memory foam itself cannot be washed, the covers can be sponge cleaned to keep them fresh.
Anti-allergy pillows are specially treated to inhibit microbial and bacterial growth and to protect against dust mite allergens, making them the ideal pillows for anyone who suffers from allergies.
Specialist support pillows
You can also choose from a range of specialist pillows designed to give your head and neck extra support. These are great options for anyone with neck problems and also for pregnant or new mums.
Orthopaedic support pillows
Specialist, orthopaedic pillows help to relieve neck and spine pressure.
V-shaped pillows provide comfortable neck support and also give you extra support when sitting up in bed
Body support pillows
Designed to help relieve neck and spine pressure and ideal for pregnant and nursing mothers, body support pillows are extra large, soft and supportive pillows. They also available in a V-shape to encourage a more comfortable posture when sleeping
Caring for your pillows
Airing your pillows regularly and plumping them up every morning after use is recommended to maintain their shape and comfort. They should also be washed regularly, according to the manufacturer’s washing instructions, to keep them clean and fresh and to eradicate the dust mites that cause allergies.
To prolong the life of your pillow, it’s a good idea to use a pillow protector. These washable covers help to protect your pillow from soiling and you can even opt for an anti-allergy cover to keep those dust mites at bay.
Pillows with a natural down or feather filling tend to last longer than synthetic pillows. However, pillows don’t usually last as long as duvets because over time your head flattens the filling, reducing their comfort and the support they provide for your head and neck.
It’s recommended that you replace synthetic pillows at least every 12 months. Pillows with natural fillings and those made from memory foam and latex are more durable but you should consider replacing them every 3 years, so that they maintain their comfort and give you the support you need for a good night’s sleep.