What to Look For In a Pillow

Good sleep is important, and good sleep needs good pillows. If you don’t have good support and comfort, it’ll be much harder for you to rest properly, and you might even end up in pain or with muscle problems brought on by a pillow that you don’t find comfortable. Reviews can help – but these pillow reviews often only go into certain brands. Here are the things that really matter when it comes to pillows, no matter who you’re buying them from.

Pillow Types

Cotton pillows are often the most basic type you’ll find, both in physical stores and online. They’re really easy to get hold of, but are also some of the most heat-absorbent options on the market, meaning that they’ll warm up quickly. They also have the extra issue of wearing out quickly, which can lead to them getting very flat very quickly if they’re used every night. Feather pillows are more squishy, lighter and much more comfortable, but can be more expensive and harder to find.

Memory foam is the general go-to option for a lot of people, since they mold to your head shape and adapt to suit your sleeping style. Most of them are also hypo-allergenic and won’t trigger any bad reactions: however, they’re quite firm, especially if they haven’t molded to your head yet, and certain times of foam absorb moisture and heat more than a pillow should.

Microfiber pillows are the most expensive option by far, but they are also some of the most convenient. They don’t trap heat, let your skin breathe and offer plenty of support to help you sleep correctly. The only problem is that they cost quite a lot, and repairing them if they get damaged isn’t very easy.


A firm pillow isn’t always better, just as a soft pillow isn’t always more comfortable. Certain people simply prefer other levels of firmness, and it isn’t always clear why you have those preferences. It can depend on your sleeping position, the size of your body relative to the pillow, or could even be due to some previous health or posture issue.

It isn’t very difficult to figure out what kind of pillow firmness you like: just try a few and see. You’ll eventually get an idea of what you find comfortable versus what you find uncomfortable, and that can make it easier to track down a better option later on.

Remember that you can also go for a medium pillow that’s both firm and soft in equal amounts. These are great for people who don’t know which they prefer, as well as for people who just prefer that kind of medium softness anyway.

Sleeping Position

Oddly enough, your sleeping position can make a huge difference when it comes to the kinds of pillows you find comfortable. There are three main sleeping types: stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and side sleepers.

For side sleepers, you’ll want something that comforts the side of your body and gets rid of unwanted pressure on certain nerves or muscles. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to rest without twisting your neck too much, which is something that many people overlook. A lot of side sleepers prefer firm pillows due to the way they can help your spine stay straighter if used correctly.

Stomach sleepers will want thin pillows – a large one will bend your spine in the wrong direction and hurt your posture, and it’s not worth the risk. Some people suggest getting rid of the pillow entirely, but this can make you uncomfortable if you like firmer mattresses.

Back sleepers generally benefit from thinner pillows as well, but not always. Memory foam is quite a common choice here, since it can mold into your head shape and provide a personalized fit without being too extreme in any way.

If you shift around a lot in the night, and wake up in a position that you didn’t fall asleep in, try to remember the way you sleep most often. Just because you think you sleep on your back doesn’t mean that you actually do, and it’s quite easy to forget that you keep waking up in a different position or at a different angle.