Published on April 01, 2019

Pillow Talk

A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by. If you’re constantly tossing and turning, your pillow could be the culprit. Use our guide to find the perfect product to rest your head.

woman sleeping on her sideWhat’s Your Position?

Start your search by identifying your favorite way to cuddle up at night. In other words, what’s your go-to sleeping position? The secret to reducing tossing, turning and endless pillow fluffing is to make sure your pillow properly supports your head and neck. How much support depends on your slumber style.

Side sleepers. If you’re a side sleeper, congratulations. You’re in the majority. Nearly 70% of the population sleeps on its side. However, side sleeping creates a gap between the neck and mattress, which can cause neck pain. A firm pillow can give your head and neck a little extra support. Another option? Stack two pillows.

Back sleepers. If you sack out on your back, head to the fluffier options. A fluffy, yet firm, pillow can help keep your spine properly aligned and give the right amount of support for your head and neck. Or, try a contour pillow with a recessed middle.

Stomach sleepers. Stomach sleeping is the least common sleep position. If you snooze on your stomach, finding the perfect pillow may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. The goal is to keep your neck straight and as close to the mattress as possible. Try a thin pillow, a fluffy pillow, or go commando and forego the pillow completely.

Fill It Up

Your pillow’s filling is also a contributing factor in whether you have sweet dreams or sleepless nights.

Wool and cotton. If you prefer a firmer, flatter pillow, wool or cotton stuffing is the way to go. However, these pillows don’t offer much head and neck support, and they tend to really flatten out with use.

Down or feather. Pillows filled with down or feathers are typically soft, fluffy and flexible, meaning you can shape them however you’d like.

Memory foam. Memory foam pillows contour to your body and offer stable support to your head and neck. Sorry, stomach sleepers, memory foam pillows weren’t made with you in mind.

Pillow Life Expectancy

Regardless of which pillow you choose, don’t get too attached. The average shelf life is 12-18 months because over time, your pillow collect dust mites, mold, dead skin cells and mildew. Um, gross. If you find a pillow you love, consider buying an extra.

Try It Before You Buy It

Buying a pillow is a big commitment. Do a little research, and test a few different types before you buy. If still have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep after swapping out your pillow, you may have a sleep disorder.

Take our sleep disorder self-test. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your doctor about getting a referral for a sleep study at one of our Diagnostic Sleep Centers.

Related Reading

Slumber Party
Good Night, Sleep Tight