Nothing starts your day off better than getting a good night's sleep, and sleeping with the right pillow can help.
"Pillows can not only impact the quality of our sleep, but also how healthfully we rest and recharge," says sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep.
But the wrong pillow may worsen headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm numbness, discomfort, sneezing, and wheezing, notes orthopedic surgeon Andrew Hecht, MD.
"A bad pillow won't be the cause of any of these problems, but using the incorrect pillow can certainly exacerbate many of the underlying problems linked to these symptoms and it certainly can keep you from getting a good night's rest," says Hecht, the co-chief of spine surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York.
And if your pillow is past its prime, it may contain skin cells, mold, mildew, fungus, and dust mites, which make up more than half of an older pillow's weight, Breus notes.
Is it time to buy a new pillow? You should buy a pillow every 12 to 18 months. After two years, it's definitely got to go.
Pillow Shopping: Consider Your Sleeping Style
Before you buy a new pillow, think about your sleep position.
The goal of using a pillow is to help keep your head in what is called a 'neutral alignment,' meaning your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward.
If you sleep on your back: Back sleepers need thinner pillows, so their head is not thrown too far forward. Also look for a pillow with extra loft in the bottom third of the pillow to cradle your neck.
If you sleep on your side: Side sleepers need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder.
If you're a stomach sleeper: Look for a very thin, almost flat pillow. You may not even need a pillow for your head, but consider tucking one under your stomach to avoid lower back pain.
Pillow Stuffing Options
There is no shortage of fillings you can find stuffed in a pillow these days. The most common ones are down-feather combinations, foam, or polyester fiberfill. Memory foam and latex pillows have become quite popular in recent years, particularly among people looking for additional neck support.
What's right for you? That may depend on how you're feeling on a given day, we recommend that most people have more than one type of pillow to choose from. A pillow wardrobe, in other words.
Foam: Go by the density. The higher the density, the less breakdown, and the more support you will have without getting too soft.
Memory foam: These are popular because they reduce pressure points by continuously molding and adjusting to the shape of your body as you move throughout the night. Memory foam pillows come in various shapes, including a popular contoured S-shape, which is meant to support the neck.
Latex: This is the firmest type of pillow, and it resists mold and dust mites. Latex pillows may also help with back and neck alignment, as they're often contoured for neck support.
Wool/cotton: Wool and cotton pillows are hypoallergenic and resist mold and dust mites. Both also tend to be quite firm. So if you love a squishy pillow, these fillers aren't for you.
Down/feather: Many sleep experts recommend these as one of the best pillows for a good night's rest. One of the great things about down pillows is that you can move the stuffing around so that you have the most support where you need it. Plus, it's soft; yet firm enough to give you the support you need.
Listen, don’t take our word for it – come in and feel the difference for yourself! A pillow that will last for 2 months vs. a higher-end pillow made to last!