There’s a million rules for getting a good night sleep, from drinking chamomile tea to banning laptops an hour before bed. But really, which busy collegiette can plan her bedtime? What you can do to guarantee some beauty sleep is to make sure that you’re resting your head on the comfiest pillow ever. Pillow shopping may feel like a re-enactment of Goldilocks, but it doesn’t have to be!
This guide is here to help you find the perfect pillow. Now you can spend that extra time finding the cutest pillow cases instead!
First, some basic housekeeping: most pillows need to be replaced every 1 to 1.5 years. If it’s been over two years, toss it1.
The next step depends on your sleeping position habits. If you are a…
Side Sleeper: Your best bet is a firm pillow that aligns your head with your spine. Picture drawing a straight line, from the middle of your head to the base of your tailbone. Look for a pillow that comfortably fills up the space between your bed-facing ear and shoulder2.
Back sleeper: Go with a low to medium-thickness pillow, as a too-high pillow can be uncomfortable for your neck3. If you have neck pain (I know I do!), find a pillow that is higher at the bottom to help take the tension off your neck.
Stomach Sleeper: A pillow might not even be needed for your head, but a thin one placed under your stomach may help prevent or eliminate lower back pain4.
What about stuffing?
There are so many crazy materials for pillows these days; with pricing ranging from reasonable to crazy (I’ll take $200 worth of wine over one pillow, thank you). The good news is that you can pick whatever you like!
A tip for trying out pillows when there aren’t beds available is to borrow a wall, get into position (back, side or stomach against the wall), and test the pillow out. Make sure that your neck is aligned with your back (that imaginary straight line), and bingo.
A few notes on the most well-liked materials:
Down or feather is usually a safe option5. If you have allergies, a good pillow cover should take care of the issue. Not willing to risk sneezing through the night? Try a synthetic hypoallergenic pillow instead. Be warned that they tend to flatten out quickly and may need to be replaced more frequently6.
Memory foam pillows are comfy and many back sleepers swear by the s-shape ones. However, if you’re going with memory foam pillows, you may want to pick one with cooling abilities as this material tends to get hot during the night7.
Buckwheat pillows are filled with husk from seeds and they tend to be popular with people who like really firm pillows8. However, the slight noise that the husks make when you move around freaks some people out at night.