Everything You Need to Know About Pillows | Sleep Hub

Posted by Pam Johnson - Head of Buying on 1st Jan 2020

Everything You Need to Know About Pillows | Sleep Hub

Choosing the right pillow can mean the difference between a refreshing night’s sleep and tossing and turning all night like no one’s business.

Getting the best pillow for you is therefore just as important as the right bed frame and mattress.

Sleeping with the wrong type of pillows can be a pain in the neck – quite literally! The wrong pillow could cause discomfort while you sleep and may even cause you to wake up with neck pain in the morning.

In this article, we give you guidance on choosing the best pillows for your sleeping position and preferences. If you’re wondering to yourself “what pillow should I buy?” then read on for our pillow buying guide.

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How should I choose the right pillow?

A stack of three pillows on the corner of a bed.

When it comes to choosing a pillow, you might be pleasantly surprised at the amount of choice that is on offer.

You can select from different materials such as microfibre, memory foam or latex; various types of pillow fillings like down, feathers or synthetic fibres; as well as numerous different shapes.

You’ll also need to consider pillow firmness. Pillows come in a range of firmness ratings and you can choose from soft pillows, medium pillows, medium firm pillows, firm pillows and extra firm pillows.

To find the best pillow for you, you’ll need to first find out what your normal sleeping position is, and which shape of pillow will keep you comfortable overnight, to help prevent any unwanted back or neck pain.

Once you’ve ascertained your sleeping position (and, let’s face it, that should only take one night!), the next stage is to think about any conditions that you might have which could affect your choice. Are you a snorer, for example, or do you regularly suffer from asthma?

Then you’re ready to think about your budget and choose the best pillow quality for your needs.

When you think you know what you are looking for, have a browse of the range of high quality Bensons for Beds pillows on our website.

How to get the right pillow for your sleeping position

Bird's eye view of a man and woman asleep in bed. The man is sleeping on his back and the woman is on her side with one arm and one leg resting across the man.

The first stage of picking your perfect pillow is to understand what type of sleeper you are. Do you like to sleep snuggled up on your side or do you prefer to starfish across the bed on your back? Perhaps you like to lay on your front while you sleep?

Here are our suggestions for the best pillows, based on your sleeping position:

Best pillows for side sleepers

If you like to sleep on your side then you’re not alone. Sleeping in the foetal position is a popular way to sleep, with four out of 10 people preferring this way of snoozing. It’s also one of the healthiest ways to sleep, as it allows your spine to rest in its natural alignment.

However, if your head rests too high or too low then it’s easy to knock this out of alignment. Choose a memory foam pillow or an orthopaedic pillow to help keep your head at a level height. These types of pillow can also support pressure points on the head and neck.

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Best pillows for back sleepers

If you’re a back sleeper, this means that you like to sleep flat on your back. When it comes to your pillow, it’s important that back sleepers keep their head as flat as possible and not pushed too far forward as this will otherwise put a strain on your neck.

Try to go for a bouncy pillow that isn’t too soft. Latex or memory foam pillows are also a good option, as they mould to the contours of your head and neck.

Here at Bensons for Beds, latex pillows are becoming more and more popular. They are in the higher price bracket but they could certainly be worth the outlay. If you fancy splashing out on one then they offer plenty of benefits.

Latex pillows mould around your neck before springing back and they won’t get too hot, ensuring that you stay cool and comfortable throughout the night.

Best pillows for front sleepers

Sleeping on your front is not thought to be the best way to sleep, as it can cause strain on your back and neck which leads to a poor night’s sleep and discomfort throughout the following day. However, we also know that many of us just can’t resist sleeping on our stomachs.

If you love lying on your front all night, then opt for a soft pillow. Feather and down pillows are good choices. Go for a low height with your pillows as having your head too high while you sleep on your front could lead to your spine arching.

You might want to consider placing an additional pillow underneath your stomach. This can help to ease any strain on your spine.

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How to choose a pillow for your needs

Woman holding a pillow and looking to her right quizzically. Her forefinger and thumb are clutching her chin.

As well as basing your pillow choice on how you sleep, you’ll need to consider any other needs which you might have. These might include:

Best pillows for snorers

Snoring happens when your airway is narrowed during sleep. When you breathe in and out, it causes some of your airway’s tissues to vibrate, resulting in a snoring sound.

There are different causes of snoring, including factors such as drinking alcohol, sleeping in a certain position or a person’s weight.

If you or your partner happen to be a snorer, then you’ll be pleased to know that your choice of pillow can help to ease this.

You might be asking yourself “what type of pillow do I need to help with snoring?” Well, you’ll need to choose a supportive pillow which lifts the upper body and helps to reduce airway compression but doesn’t force the neck and head too far forward.

Unfortunately, there is no magic fix for snoring but the right pillow can help to reduce the volume and frequency of these night time noises.

Best pillows for pregnancy

If you’re pregnant, you might have started to experience a bit of tossing and turning. It can be difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position with a new addition on board and your body temperature may be warmer than it usually is.

There are specific pregnancy pillows that you can buy which help to support your legs, back and bump. These come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, with the U-shaped option often being the most popular.

Pregnancy pillows can be pulled, pushed and wrapped around the body, to ensure that you can sleep comfortably in a position that works for both mum and baby.

If you’re not keen on the amount of space that a pregnancy pillow takes up in the bed then try a temperature regulating pillow instead. Our iGel pillows use innovative technology to remove heat from the head.

Naturally breathable, they’re also impenetrable to dust mites and they expertly regulate temperature through their use of phase change crystals. These respond to your body temperature and absorb excess heat if you’re too hot, releasing it if you get a bit chilly.

These cooling pillows also wick away moisture from the head, leaving you feeling fresh and comfortable in the morning.

Best pillows for back and neck pain

Waking up with pain in your back or neck? It could be that your pillows are to blame.

You should choose pillows which give the right level of support to your head and neck. Memory foam or latex pillows are a great option as these help to cushion your head without letting your neck arch.

Best pillows for asthma and allergies

If you suffer from asthma or allergies, then you might want to choose an anti-allergy pillow. These hypoallergenic pillows are made with microfibres which have been specially treated. These help to reduce the build-up of dust, improving comfort and breathability.

You should opt for pillows with synthetic fillings rather than down or feather pillows, as these natural fillings can irritate allergy-prone sleepers.

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How many pillows should you sleep with?

Lots of pillows strewn in a disorganised pile.

Each month, approximately 900 Brits ask Google, “How many pillows should you sleep with?”

The number of pillows you choose to sleep with is mainly down to personal preference and what feels right for you. You might prefer to have your head propped up or prefer to have it more in-line with your body.

Sleep experts say that one pillow is better to sleep with than two, as it keeps your spine in its natural alignment. If you do prefer two pillows, then you should choose soft pillows that your head can sink into a little bit.

H2: How Many Pillows Do People In Britain Sleep With?

Recent survey data reveals that less than a third of Brits sleep with the recommended one pillow. What’s more, over half of Brits are sleeping with two pillows, falling vulnerable to spine misalignment and long-term effects to their quality of sleep.

16.6% opt to keep their heads high by sleeping with three pillows or more. The odds stack up against these Brits as they could be placing themselves at more and more risk of spinal issues, and other health problems in addition to increasing discomfort.

How often should you replace your pillows?

Out of all of your bedding, it’s your pillows which need to be changed the most often. Experts recommend replacing your pillows every one to two years. This helps to keep your pillows free from dust and allergens.

Pillows also tend to lose their elasticity after a couple of years and so won’t be offering your head the support that it needs while you sleep.

You should be able to tell when your pillow needs to be replaced as you’ll find that you’re waking up with a sore neck.

If your pillow is stained or discoloured, then it should also be replaced as this means that moisture and sweat is getting through the surface of the pillows.

If you want to make sure you get the best out of your pillows then check out our  guide to caring for your pillows .

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authors profile
Pam Johnson
Head of Buying
Pam has worked within Bensons for Beds for 16 years and has a great deal of experience in both developing and sourcing new product ranges. As Head of Buying specialising in mattresses, divans and headboards, Pam is dedicated to providing solutions that help customers to get a great night’s sleep.
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