Choosing Bed Pillows

Pillows are a personal choice.  No two people are alike.  And without doubt no two people in a relationship are alike when it comes to sleeping style.  Take a look at how you and/or your partner sleep?  Are you or them a side sleeper, back sleeper, stomach sleeper, or pillow hugger?  How about allergies?  What size do you need?  Certainly some things to think about before purchasing bed pillows.

Let’s start with what kind of sleeper are you?  This will determine what type of support you need to get that great night of sleep.

  • Back Sleepers need a medium support pillow that will support the natural curvature of the upper spine, providing support under the head, neck and shoulders.
  • Side Sleepers need something that contours and cradles the neck, providing an even sleeping surface. Typically identified by a gusset, the side sleeper pillow helps keep the body in a horizontal line.
  • Stomach Sleepers need a soft pillow so that the head and neck aren’t turned unnaturally to either side.

Now we move on to the fill in pillows.  There is many different fills to consider when purchasing bed pillows.

  • Natural fill is feather, down, or a combination of both. Down is not a feather. It’s the fluffy insulation under the feathers that keep ducks and geese warm and protect them from outdoor elements.  These natural fills are best for conforming to your head and neck.  These fills tend to attract allergens.  So if you want Natural fill pillows, look for labels saying “allergy free.”   These have been sanitized of all impurities that typically affect allergy sufferers.
    • Down is very soft, and on better pillows there is a fill power listed.  The higher the fill power the more loft the pillow will have.  These could be a good fit for someone who hugs their pillow.  Keep in mind that down pillows tend to flatten out sooner as the fill in not very resilient.  Test out the pillows to see if it actually cradles your head like you want, or if it goes straight to the mattress.
    • If you need something with more body, then look for fill that is mixed with feathers.  Feathers are resilient and these pillows tend to hold their shape longer.  The more feathers in the pillow, the firmer and heavier the pillow becomes.
  • Synthetic Fill Pillow: This is a man-made fill, usually polyester. Synthetic pillows typically have a shorter life span and will not conform to the head and neck as well as a natural fill pillow. They are hypo-allergenic and, overall, the most affordable type of bed pillows.  For the most part, they are washable and dryable, and work well for kid’s or guest beds.  These are good choices for most types of sleepers.
  • Poly Cluster Fill Pillow: This is a type of synthetic fill in which polyester clusters are coated with silicone to feel and move like down. It gives the softness and appeal of a true down pillow without the cost. Great for allergy sufferers who prefer synthetic fill but want down-like comfort.  These conform to your head and neck like the natural fill pillows.
  • Memory Foam Pillow: These are dense, sponge-like pillows that mold around the head and neck for extra support. Best for sleepers who prefer a firm pillow. Memory foam contour pillows are also good for people with neck and spine issues.

Size, what would work best for your needs?

  • Standard Pillows (20” x 26”) are the most versatile.  You can use one on a Twin, usually 2 on Full or Queen bed and anywhere from 3 to 6 pillows on a King or California King bed.  Look for Standard/Queen cases (20” x 30”) to cover these pillows.
  • Queen Pillows (20″ x 30″) use a standard/queen size pillowcase like the standard pillow, but will fill the case more completely.  Two fit perfectly across a Queen bed.
  • King Pillows (20″ x 36″) are extra long and perfectly paired across the top of both King and California King beds, however, one King pillow also works perfectly across a Twin bed.  Just keep in mind that you need King Cases to cover these pillows.
  • European Pillows (26″ x 26″) are used primarily for decorative purposes.  However, properly used, they can offer additional support when reading, watching TV, or working on a lap top while in bed.  These need European shams to complete the look.
  • Body Pillows are 20″ x 54″and a perfect for sleeping or relaxing.. It is a full-length pillow that follows the natural contour and shape of your body; is great for side sleepers and expectant mothers. Uses a body pillowcase.
  • Travel Pillows are 12″ x 16″, they are small and easy to travel with, and especially good to have for long trips. They are also good to use for lower lumbar back support when sitting.  Uses a travel size pillowcase.

Pillow Covers

Now we have purchased some new pillows.  How to protect that investment, especially if you have purchased Natural-fill or Polyester Cluster fill pillows?  The answer, pillow covers.

If you have Natural-fill pillows, look for Featherproof pillow covers, this will give you extra protection in keeping the fill in.  These are usually 100% Cotton.   For the other types of pillows, you can look for Pillow covers in a Poly/Cotton Blend.

Why the pillow covers?  You need extra protection to keep stains from reaching your pillows.  These along with the pillowcases are easily removed and laundered.  Pillows lose their shape as they are laundered.

It is best to keep from laundering your pillows as long as possible to extend their life.


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