9 Tips to Buy a Good Pillow
You want to wake up well rested.
You want to reduce neck complaints.
You want to reduce back complaints.
You want to fully enjoy your day.
You want to...
Whatever you want, everyone needs it: a GOOD pillow.
Your mobile phone. Your toothbrush. YOUR PILLOW.
Which products do you truly use on a daily base?
Think about it. There are not many... but a pillow is definitely among them. Reason enough to choose for a good pillow.
But there are so many different pillows. How to choose the right pillow?
With the following 9 tips you will choose the perfect pillow:
... and know more than the sales guy in your local bedding store.
In 5 minutes, you will be the pillow expert .
Below you will find more information on the different tips:
tip#1 - A good pillow has the right height
The perfect pillow supports your spine in its natural position. It ensures a regular pressure distribution on your intervertebral discs at the height of your neck vertebrae. Science agrees that a natural sleeping position is essential to avoid pains coming from the neck musculature.
If your pillow is too high or too low you will create tension in your neck. You overburden the cervical vertebrae, causing you neck complaints.
The correct height is also importance to relief the schoulder joint from pressure. If your pillow is too low, you will create extra pressure due to the weight of the neck and the head.
PRO-tip: Ask someone to check if your cervicale vertebrae are horizontally aligned in their natural position.
tip#2 - The pillow is form-retaining
If your pillow is not form-retaining, the pillow filling will move during your sleep. Pillow filling that moves never offers you a good, consistent support. The result? You won't sleep well and might get neck complaints.
Water, buckwheat, down and other loose materials move under pressure. To maintain a supportive shape or height, you must shake these materials overnight. Far from ideal...
The recommended option is a form-retaining material, so you will get a stable support. All night long.
PRO-tip: You can easily distinguish them form-retaining from non-form-retaining. With a non-form-retaining material, the filling will move when you shake the pillow.
- Non-form-retaining pillows: buckwheat, water, down and loose fillings.
- Form-retaining pillow: latex, bultex, cold foam.
tip#3 - The pillow is elastic
A high-quality pillow is elastic so that it can adapt to the contours of your head and neck, in all sleeping positions.
Pro-tip: Take the cover off the pillow and drop a weight on the core of the pillow. If the weight springs up and down a few times then you have an elastic material. If it makes (almost) no upward movement, the material is not elastic.
tip#4 - The pillow is not pressure & temperature sensitive
Visco-elastic foams (memory-foam, Tempur) are characterized by their pressure and temperature sensitivity. This makes this type of pillow feel hard at cold temperatures and (too) soft at warm temperatures. Your support shouldn't depend on these elements which is one of the reasons why we prefer latex pillows. Latex is not pressure and temperature sensitive.
Also, if yoo change sleeping position, memory foam needs time to adjust. When you turn from your back to your side, the part of the pillow that you did not rest on feels hard and uncomfortable at first. The pillow must again adjust to the pressure and temperature of your head and neck.
PRO-tip: If the pillow is temperature or pressure sensitive, you feel that it takes a while for it to conform. If you then change your sleeping position, you feel that you are coming to a harder zone that adapts less quickly.
tip#5 - It is ventilated
A pillow that ventilates poorly will feel uncomfortable. Visco-elastic foams ventilate less well. Typically, pillows made out of natural materials such as down or latex ventilate well.
tip#6 - It is antibacterial and antifungal
Good pillows are antibacterial and antifungal. This way they last longer and remain hygienic.
tip#7 - Adapted to your physique
The pillow might be made out of the very best materials, it also needs to be adapted to your physique. The ideal pillow takes into account:
- the length of your neck,
- the width of your shoulders,
- the ratio of your neck width to your head width.
Choose a pillow that bridges the length of the neck and the distance between shoulder and neck when you sleep on your side. If the distance between shoulder and neck is optimally bridged, the shoulder will not get extra pressure either.
If you sleep on your back, the pillow should give sufficient space to the back of the head so that the natural cavity of the cervical vertebrae is optimally supported.
tip#8 - It is adapted to your sleeping position
For SIDE SLEEPERS: if you often sleep on your side, the pillow should be high enough and give space to the head and a lot of support to the cervical vertebrae. You should feel like your head lies in a horizontal position in line with your pelvis. In short, when your pelvis and head lie on the same horizontal axis, it is a strong indication that the pillow is a good match for you.
For BACK SLEEPERS: it is a different story for sleeping in a back position. When you sleep on your back, you should feel that your head actually tilts slightly in its natural position in the pillow so that there is a slight traction at the height of the neck vertebrae and that the neck vertebra height is well respected by the pillow. For people sleeping on the back, the pillow should certainly not be too hard.
If you feel your head tilting too far back while sleeping on your back, the pillow is probably too low. On the other hand, if the pillow is too high, the pillow pushes the head forward and you get a bad support of your cervical vertebrae. In summary, a pillow that is too high isn't good either.
tip#9 - Make sure you can test the pillow at your home
Make sure you can try the pillow at your home for a long time. Allow yourself about two weeks to get used to your new pillow.