How to Buy the Right Pillow in Australia
Australian Pillow Buying Guide
Most people sleep with a pillow, yet few give much thought to the type of pillow they buy. Did you know that sleeping on the wrong type of pillow for your size can lead to disturbed sleep, headaches, and neck pain?
Picking the right pillow is important given that you can spend an average of 8 hours a day resting your head on it—and more if you’re lucky! Consider the following to help you choose the right pillow for better rest and the wellbeing of your neck and spine.
What is your main sleeping position; Back, stomach or side?
Your sleeping position is the best place to begin when choosing a pillow. Do you sleep mostly on your back, your side, or your stomach?
If you sleep on your back:
Choose a pillow that is not too firm or too high as you want your neck supported with your head at the same level as your upper spine. According to an article by Harvard Medical School, a rounded pillow with built-in neck support that supports the natural curve of your neck and an indentation for the neck is a good way to go.
If you sleep on your side:
Look for a feather or memory foam pillow. These conform to the shape of your neck. The key is to keep your spine straight with a pillow that is higher at the neck and lower at the head. There should be no gap between your neck and your pillow when lying on your side.
If you sleep on your stomach:
Experts don’t recommend sleeping on your stomach. When you do so, it causes your back to arch and neck to turn, straining your neck and spine. If you do find yourself unable to sleep any other way or waking up mostly on your stomach, then it’s advisable to choose a very soft, flat pillow or no pillow at all to help keep your neck and spine as level as possible.
What feel do you like in a pillow?
Your pillow choice is a very personal thing. You spend several hours a day on it when you’re resting so it should be something that feels good for you. Do you like a firm pillow? Do you prefer a soft, barely-there pillow? Perhaps you like a crisp pillow? Think about the feel that you most enjoy resting your head on and consider it when making your choice.
Pillows come in a variety of materials, all of which offer a different feel against your head and neck.
Latex pillows offer good support for the neck and head, and are also hypoallergenic. Latex pillows, which come in a variety of sizes and densities, were recently found to reduce pain and stiffness on waking in a study by the James Cook University in Queensland. They are also durable and long-lasting.
Considered a comfort product, memory foam adjusts to the body’s contours, relieving pressure on the neck and spine. They come in different shapes and sizes and ideal for those looking for a personalized shape.
Pillows filled with down and feathers are luxurious and shape to your neck, but tend to be lower. Down is softer while feathers tend to be stronger and offer more support. Feather pillows should be replaced every year or two or when they flatten and no longer offer support.
These are the most common pillow types. They are filled with polyester or other synthetic fibres and range from low-high in profile. The fill itself offers comfort to many types of sleepers as it can be soft and fluffy to full and somewhat firm. The amount of support depends on how much filling is in the pillow. While many find them comfortable, they’re not recommended for those looking for extra neck support for neck or back pain as they tend to lose their shape easily.
Bamboo fibres wick away moisture and prevent odour retention which makes it an ideal filling for a pillow. Bamboo pillows use a cotton cover to allow for breathability with a bamboo outer filling and a microfibre core for support. Bamboo is a renewable source, which makes this an eco-friendly option. Bamboo also happens to be quite soft against the skin. Those looking for a “cool” pillow will enjoy the feel of bamboo.
Pillows made from Tencel® fibre are soft while still offering fullness and support. Tencel® is made from a natural eucalyptus that is hypoallergenic with antibacterial properties. It is an eco-friendly option that is recommended for those who suffer from allergies or asthma.
If you enjoy a soft and warm pillow, then an alpaca pillow may be the way to go. This luxurious fibre is extremely light and conforms to the shape of your body. It helps wick moisture away which can keep odours at bay while allowing for a dry and comfortable sleep. Alpaca wool is also naturally hypoallergenic and durable.
Tea Tree Flakes:
Tea tree flakes are light and fine layers of tea tree bark. They have been proven to promote airflow and are a great option for those who are looking for a breathable, hypoallergenic pillow that feels cool in the summer and warm in the winter
Consider a pillow’s profile and the best one to suit your specific preferences and needs. Profile refers to the height of the pillow and determines how your head and neck will be positioned in comparison to your spine. Your body shape also determines the best profile for you, i.e. the smaller the frame, the lower the profile and vice versa.
Pillows come in the following profiles:
- Low Profile Pillows - Ideal for stomach sleepers or small framed adults
- Medium/classic Profile Pillows - Ideal for back sleepers, side sleepers or medium framed adults
- High Profile Pillows - Ideal for side sleepers or large framed adults
- Contoured Profile Pillows- Ideal for back sleepers, side sleepers, or medium framed adults
- Kids Profile Pillows - For when they move from a cot to their first bed
Amount of Fill
The amount of fill in your pillow is what makes a pillow softer or firmer. Your choices include:
- Soft to medium
- Medium to firm
- Firm to extra firm
What else can the right pillow do for you?
Along with being a place you look forward to resting your head at night or for a lazy Saturday afternoon nap; pillows can also help you with certain issues. You already know that your pillow can help alleviate or prevent neck and back pain, and headaches, but it can also help with:
- Sleep apnoea
- Muscle and other aches and pains
Care and Maintenance
The care and maintenance that a pillow requires should also be a consideration when shopping for the right one for you. Look for machine washable covers and durable materials to save money and time in the long-term. Covers should be washed monthly and the pillow itself at least yearly. Some fabrics are better at wicking moisture and preventing odours than others, which should also be a consideration when shopping.
Happy shopping and sweet dreams!