When it comes to bedding, mattresses and sheets often get all of the attention while pillows are left as an afterthought. We’ve discussed the importance of choosing a mattress that supports the specific needs of your body before, and choosing the proper pillow is just as important a factor in your overall sleep health.
You can have the most expensive, custom-tailored, perfectly crafted mattress in the world, but if you are using a pillow that doesn’t support your neck and spine in the right ways you could still wake up feeling stiff and sore. Everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to pillows, which is why it’s important to look into pillows that are created with your specific needs in mind. There a lot of options in today’s market, and there are a wide range of materials and firmness levels to suit every person’s desires.
Memory foam is often one of the first things that people imagine when they think about pillows or mattresses that go above and beyond the norm. Memory foam is great for sufferers of back or neck problems, as it is able to conform to your shape with ease and comes in a variety of different firmness levels.
These pillows are made by mixing polyurethane foam with a special set of chemicals designed to make the foam easily form and hold specific shapes, hence the name “memory foam”. While some people really enjoy this type of pillow, others find that the foam is too soft and conforming to be comfortable. In addition, many memory foam pillows retain a lot of heat, which can be either a curse or a blessing depending on your preferences.
We’ve all seen pillows made from feathers and foam, but these unique pillows are made with the hulls of the buckwheat plant. The hulls fill up the pillow, which is then placed into an additional pillowcase to prevent spillage. Buckwheat pillows are very supportive, but unlike memory foam, they will not return to their original state after being compressed.
Buckwheat pillows are considerably heavier than other types of pillows, and the extra weight can be comforting for many people. The spaces between the buckwheat hulls allow for air to travel freely, meaning that a buckwheat pillow doesn’t become as warm as some other varieties of pillows.
Latex pillows are an alternative to Memory Foam for people who want a very supportive yet soft pillow. They are made from foam latex and have a variety of insect repelling and hypoallergenic properties that make them perfect for allergy sufferers (so long as they aren’t allergic to latex).
These pillows are often slightly more firm than comparable Memory Foam options, though there are several firmness levels available. Latex pillows will last for many years if properly taken care of, and a lot of brands are 100% biodegradable, making them the perfect choice for an environmentally-conscious consumer.
Microbead pillows, as the name might suggest, are filled with thousands of tiny beads that are able to slide around and conform to the shape of your head and neck. The beads are able to move around your head without compressing, so microbead pillows are able to maintain a high level of firmness. If you are looking for a firm-yet-supportive pillow, microbeads are a great option to consider.
Microbead pillows retain a lot of heat, however, due to the nature of the beads, it’s easy to give the pillow a shake and disperse the heat quickly. The biggest risk involved in using a microbead pillow is the potential for the pillow to break open, spilling innumerable amounts of tiny beads into every nook and cranny of the bedroom. This caveat means that these pillows may not be a good option for children or those with pets. If you’re worried about microbead spillage you can purchase an additional zippered pillowcase to ensure that no loose beads escape the pillow.
Wool-stuffed pillows are a great choice if you are looking for a natural alternative to synthetic fiber varieties that many consumers have reactions to. Wool pillows offer a high degree of insulation, making them great if you often get too cold or too warm at night. These pillows behave differently than some other types of pillows, the wool will become compressed and flat overnight and will need to be re-fluffed before bed the next night. Wool is perfect for those who are more concerned with allergies than neck/back support.