The definitive guide to buying a pillow
Did you know that on an average, we sleep for one-third of our life’s duration?
The quality of your sleep can depend on the smallest factor such as pillow, mattress, etc. Pillows are our trusted companions in the search of that perfect few hours of slumber in a day. A single pillow will not work for everyone which is why we give you a lot of options to choose from at DuringDays while buying a pillow. We understand that despite all the various options available online to choose from, searching for your perfect pillow can still be a tough ask.
That is why we have taken the effort to list down a definitive buying guide to help you shop for your next pillow. We have made the process of online shopping for a comfortable pillow easier by explaining everything that you need to know about a pillow.
Do you really need a new pillow?
Pillows are instrumental in helping you to relax. They are a helpful accessory to help you maintain your postural alignment. Your sleeping pattern can have an instrumental impact on whether you need pillow and the type of pillow you require. If you are side-sleeper, your neck needs a support mechanism to help it from being tilted in an unusual way which is misaligned to the natural body alignment. If you prefer sleeping straight on your back, you may need a thinner pillow. It is okay for you to choose sleeping without a pillow on an odd day but in the longer run, you will still require a pillow. When you are lying down on your back, the gravity is exerting its pressure on your body. It may result in significant discomfort if you do not have a pillow as your headrest. Stomach sleepers tend to sleep in an uncomfortable posture which results in significant pressure being exerted on the upper body. It is imperative for them to choose the right type of pillow so that they do not gain wrinkles formed due to sleeping strains.
You need a new pillow because of invariably many reasons, the least of which is the quality of sleep. Using a damaged, worn-out, or mismatched pillow can cause adverse health effects. Having a proper postural aid like a good pillow when you go to sleep can help you avoid backache or fatigue. By using a pillow, you can keep the backache, joint pains, shoulder ache, neck pain, at bay while fighting fatigue with a proper night’s rest.
Out with the old and in with the new (pillow)
Congratulations! By realizing that you need a new pillow, you have decided to pay much-needed attention to your overall well-being. Look out for obvious signs that tell you that you need a replacement of your pillow.
In a recent survey of 2200 people, a leading pillow manufacturer found out that only a startling figure of 18% were aware that they should look for a new pillow replacement in every two years. It was also found that an average pillow user would continue using the same pillow for more than three years. This raises many serious questions about our self-awareness towards our overall well-being. Pillows can attract dust, breed allergies, and cause you enough turmoil with neck and back ache if it has passed its intended use date.
Pillows do not maintain their shape, comfort, or size over their intended use of a few years. Depending on the end material used in the pillow, your pillows can show its wear and tear in different forms. If you are using a feather pillow, the feathers can tend to break away and leave you with their poky ends causing spikes in the pillow. If you are using a fiberfill pillow, it may not spring back to its original shape after you get up from it and may need you to fluff it by patting it harder each time. The same is true for memory foam pillows which do not retain its shape after a night’s use. Pillows are certainly not lifetime buys and it is not necessary that you will need the same type of pillow as you have been using for the past few years when you go in the market to buy a new one.
Are you susceptible to allergies?
Are you one of those people who are allergy prone? You will need to change your pillows frequently if you are susceptible to allergies. Pillows are known to cause allergies and asthma attacks. Children are more prone to suffering from asthma than adults with over half of all asthma cases being described as allergic-asthma. If you have made constant endeavours to improve the quality of air inside your house and still find that one (or more) members of your family continue to wake up with red eyes, sore throat, or itchy nose, and you are still not able to figure out the reason behind it, it can be due to the overused pillows in your house.
On an average, a person may lose up to 1 litre of moisture each night. This moisture is soaked in by your pillow and bed sheet. Many of the pillow types are not breathable in nature which means that the moisture has no outlet to mingle with the atmosphere. This creates an allergy-prone environment in the pillow which may become a breeding ground for the dust mites, bacteria, etc. You will be revisiting these pillows to sleep on them during the next night and in the course of your sleep breathing the same stale air.
You should ensure that you change your pillows as frequently as once in every six months.
What is the perfect solution to your need of a new pillow?
You should invest some time and research in the process of buying a new pillow which suits your current requirement. It is advised to change your pillows as frequently as six months if you are allergic in nature as pillows can attract dust, lice, contain fungi, and aggravate your asthma attacks due to accumulated dead skin, saliva residues, and dust particles.
In a study of side sleepers conducted by Journal of Pain Research, it was found that the frequent users of feather pillows were more prone to waking up with headache and neck pain. Pillows should comfort your cervical spine from quick unwarranted movements that occur during the night’s sleep. If you are facing a lack of quality sleep, it is better to opt for latex or memory foam pillows.
There is no exact science to figuring out as to how many days a pillow should last before being replaced. The frequency of changing your pillow depends on your usage, requirements, and awareness towards better health. You can extend the life of your pillows by buying dust mite covers and washing it regularly. You can also wash your pillow as per the manufacturer’s instructions mentioned in the instructions sticker.
If you’re contemplating buying a new pillow, you can always recycle the old one. Look for tell-tale signs of your pillow being worn out including lumps formation in its filling, constant fluffing or battering required to help it regain its composure or noticeable loss in the original shape and size of the pillow.
How many pillows do you need to sleep?
The number of pillows you have can influence your sleep too. If you are having trouble getting sound sleep during the night, it can also be the cause of using less than standard number of pillows. The number of pillows that you need may also depend on the size of bed that you may have. Figure out the bed size which will help you determine how many pillows that you will need. A twin bed can accommodate one pillow. A double or queen bed will need two standard pillows. A king bed will however require three standard pillows or two king-sized ones.
You can use multiple pillows to help you sleep better. It will require some experimentation on your part to come to a conclusion on the number of pillows that you need to sleep better. Ensure that the pillows give you sufficient lift for your head’s tilt to the same plane as your spine. The choice of number of pillows to use varies with different people. While many people can sleep perfectly with just one pillow, many require additional pillows to help them sleep better. Some of the popular combinations of pillows used by people are listed below. Try these combinations to see if any of this works for you.
- Single pillow - For headrest
- Two pillows – One for headrest and one for the body (hug)
- Two pillows – One each for the head and feet
- Three pillows – One each for headrest, feet, and below the knees
If you are using more than one pillow, ensure that it does not cause discomfort to you while sleeping. If the chin is angled towards the chest as you lie down to sleep, it means that undue pressure is being exerted on your face. Sleeping in such awkward angles will lower your sleep quality. The correct usage of pillows should give you a proper night’s rest without stiffness in the neck or soreness in the body. Improper sleeping pattern or use of pillow can cause breathing problems, tiredness, and joint pains, among other health woes.
Tips for correct use of pillow
Wake up refreshed on a morning with our handy tips to correctly use your pillow. One of the most common causes of morning tiredness and stiff neck is the incorrect use of pillow.
Pick a pillow that offers good support to your neck:
- It is vital to choose a pillow which offers you good support for your head and neck. It should give you a good postural comfort by aligning your spine and head together in a straight line.
For back sleepers:
- If you are a back sleeper, choose a pillow that supports your neck, head, and shoulders without adding any pressure or deformation to the natural position of your spine. The pillow’s height should ensure that your chin isn’t tilted to avoid any strain on the neck muscles. Placing a pillow below your knees can help reduce the pressure on the back if you are recovering from back problem.
For side sleepers:
- Side sleepers need to place their pillow between their ear and the mattress to prevent the neck from tilting. The spine should be straight aligned to the rest of the upper body. You can place another pillow below your waist or knees to be more comfortable or support.
For stomach sleepers:
- Use a thin pillow if you must or you can opt to sleep without a pillow under your head. You can place a comfy pillow under your stomach to ensure that your spine is properly aligned.
- If you are suffering from chronic neck pain, place a pillow under your arm for support. It will help increase your comfort level and alleviate the neck pain.
Types of pillows
Pillows are classified by the type of fillings used in creating it. There are many different types of pillow for you to choose from. We are listing down some of the most commonly found pillow types with its various pros and cons for you to make a better purchase decision for your next pillow.
If you are running on a tight budget, you can consider buying polyester pillows as they are quite economical, easy to wash, and most commonly found in the market. You should carefully evaluate the building material of the polyester pillows because of the constituents which may have been quite easily sourced and may not conform to all the health checklists. Cheap polyester pillows may be potentially hazardous to both your health and environment. These types of pillows have a short lifecycle and may require replacement in just a few months or a year of its usage.
Down pillows are made from the furry covering found on the belly portion of a bird. Unlike feathers which are found on the wings of the bird, down is a softer alternative to pillow fillings. It can offer you up to three times better quality of softness as compared to a synthetic filling. Since it doesn’t break as easily as feather, it has better durability compared to a feather filled pillow. A down pillow can be entirely made of down or it can also be sold as a combination of down and feather fillings to make it more affordable. A pure down pillow will last you through many years. It offers better support for your head and neck because of its better structure and constituents. One of the striking characteristics of down pillows is that it is very lightweight and soft in use.
All these features of down pillows do come at a premium price. Its malleable nature means that you will need to constantly pat it to maintain its shape. The larger amount of down filling will result in higher quality of the pillow. Larger clusters of down will add longevity to your pillow. If you are an admirer of firm pillows, then down pillow isn’t for you. They can be used by anyone regardless of their sleeping positions.
Feather pillows are a cheaper alternative to down pillows. Feather pillows best serve the needs of back or side sleepers. While down pillows will last through an extended period of time before becoming obsolete, feather pillows can easily run out of juice within a short time with rough use. Feather quills used in making such pillows may start breaking and showing cracks which may reduce their fill hold. Feathers have a central spine and filaments that radiate from it. Constant use may break these filaments and result in the spine poking the surface of the pillow which will result in much discomfort. Feathers are known to form clusters among itself which takes their fluffiness away. It can be cumbersome to clean a feather pillow.
Buckwheat pillows are made using the husks of Buckwheat. Buckwheat is a plant which is cultivated mainly for its seeds. This type of pillows is often recommended because of its apparent hypoallergenic qualities which makes it useful for someone who is allergic in nature. It is supportive and malleable in nature. You can even add or remove the husk fillings to adjust the height of the pillows. It is quite durable due to the use of natural ingredients in building it. These fillings can also increase the weight of the pillow. You may need some time to get used to these pillows because of its firmness. It is advised for people who are ailing from neck, back, or shoulder pain to use these pillows for extra support.
You must be familiar with these fillings which can be commonly found in the beanbags and travel pillows. It is the synthetic alternative to using a buckwheat pillow. While they have been commonly used as travel pillows, their use as regular sleeping pillows is building pace lately. These pillows are made using white polystyrene beads. Thousands of these beads are housed inside a soft elastic casing which could be made either from spandex or lycra. It offers good ventilation for the materials to breath. They are mostly cylindrical in shape that allows them to give you good shoulder and neck support. Depending on the build quality, these pillows can sometimes be too firm which can make you uncomfortable. Their height can’t be adjusted which makes them suitable to most side-sleepers. Compared to other type of pillows, Microbead pillows are cheaper and quite durable in nature. You will probably need to buy new pillow cases if you are opting for these pillows as chances are they won’t fit in to your old pillow cases.
Latex pillows are becoming immensely popular nowadays because of their supportive qualities. Latex pillows are very responsive to pressure which gives them the unique property of getting instantaneously back to its original shape after the pressure is removed. The latex pillows are made of latex foams. It offers you better heat dissipation properties than the memory foam pillows. Since it is synthetic in nature, you will not have to worry about dust mites.
One of the drawbacks of using latex pillows is that it cannot be height-adjusted. It is very durable in nature. Its soft support can help you catch a well-needed good night’s sleep comfortably. They can be heavier than memory foam pillows. Buying these pillows will dent you pockets as they are more expensive than other pillows.
Water pillows are not popular or commonly found in households unless advised by doctors. Water pillows can be of two types. It can either be a cooling pillow or a water pouch pillow. Cooling water pillows are made of pouches which stores water and allows for good heat dissipation. It is especially useful if you perspire a lot during your sleep. Water pillows with pouches offer better comfort because the pouches can be height-adjustable with varying amounts of water. You will not be able to adjust its shape according to your preference because water in the water pouches won’t hold the shape. They are relatively inexpensive and offer good comfort and pain relieving properties. They are heavy because of the water filling. It becomes tedious for you to keep refilling the pillows. It can be used by everyone irrespective of their preferred sleeping position.
Kapok pillows are made from the seeds from the flowers found on a Kapok tree. These trees are found in Mexico and can even attain a height of 200 feet. Since Kapok is an all-natural filling, you can be rest assured that there are no harmful chemicals used in creating these pillows. The kapok fillings are totally biodegradable which makes it more environmental friendly. It can form lumps like feather pillows after constant use. Also, Kapok pillows are extremely flammable.
Memory Foam Pillows
Meet the modern marvel of shape-shifting pillows. Memory foam pillows are built using chemicals like polyurethane which gives them a strong odour. These chemicals help increase the viscosity of the pillow. They are temperature sensitive which helps them mould their shape according to the body heat. Many manufacturers highlight the fast shape retention speed of memory foam pillows. It offers good support and do not clump like feather pillows. You also do not have to constantly fluff a memory foam pillow to bring it back to shape. It is majorly used for the superior support it offers to the neck, head, and shoulders. It is not moldable. They work best for back sleepers as the height cannot be adjusted because of the tendency of memory foam pillows to regain its original shape.
The memory foam pillows help you to align your head to your spine to give you the best postural balance while sleeping. They are hypoallergenic to offer you allergy-free sleep and devoid of any respiratory problems. They can be washed as per the manufacturer’s instructions which make them more hygienic than other pillows. All these features come at a premium price. They are slightly expensive. One of the biggest drawbacks to the memory foam pillow is that it emits a strong fresh odour while it is new. Since it is machine washable, you can wash the pillow to remove the odour or place it in a separate section of the house before its regular use.
Memory foam pillows come in different shapes, styles, and sizes. Each type of memory foam pillow serves a different purpose.
Contour Memory Foam Pillow
- A contour memory foam pillow provides maximum stability to the head. It is made of viscoelastic foam which is made of two ridges running parallel to support the neck. This is what gives the contour shape to the pillow. This combined with the supportive nature of the pillow makes it a popular choice of pillow for people troubled with neck pain. It is more suitable for a back sleeper because of its shape.
Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
- Shredded memory foam pillows resemble the appearance of normal pillows. They are made of numerous small shredded pieces of foam which are bound together to create that filling. The shredded memory foam pillows are airy and therefore offer better heat dissipation. They come in various sizes to choose from. Since the height of this type of pillows is average, it offers good comfort during the sleep for a variety of sleep positions. While the contour memory foam pillow isn’t height-adjustable, the shredded memory foam pillow can have its height adjusted.
Wedge Shaped Pillow
- Wedge shaped pillows are used to offer better support than a traditional pillow. They are triangularly shaped and gradually sloped to offer better support. The angle of slope can vary depending on its usage. They offer multipurpose use apart from sleeping purposes. It offers good back support. Because of its heat-retaining feature, it provides a warm surface to rest your back on. They are frequently recommended by doctors for patients with respiratory problems, sinus, and backaches. It is also the pillow of choice for pregnant women to help them fight acid refluxes. They can also be used as support pillows for pregnant women to rest their baby bump on.
- Here’s a one-stop solution for all your pillow-related needs. A single full-body pillow can provide support to your neck, hips, and back. A full-length body pillow is useful for side sleepers. It gives the sleeper support to lean on and relive the pressure points of a body to help you relax. Once you are comfortable in your sleep, you are less likely to turn or toss on the bed. Full length body pillows come in varying shape and size. They are made to feel like ordinary pillows with an elongated shape. Many of the full-length body pillows can have square sides.
There are U-shaped maternity full body pillows for pregnant women to support their back while they sleep. It is helpful for moms-to-be to use U-shaped pillows while they are seated on chair, sofa, or the bed. It can provide them additional support as they read, work on their laptops or watch TV.
What are the qualities that you should consider while buying your next pillow?
Your pillow should not only help you get a trouble-free sleep during the night, it should also ensure the high quality of your sleep so that you wake up reinvigorated for the next day. We have created a checklist of attributes that you should look for in your next pillow.
- Do you like firm or soft pillows? If you prefer soft pillows, try down pillows which will give you unparalleled comfort. You can opt for memory foam pillows if you are a back sleeper who needs a proper postural alignment for a better sleep.
- Memory foam pillows are tailor-made to offer you the best support for your neck and back. Down pillows are ideal to be used by stomach sleepers as they let your head to sink in and lower the overall angle of your head and align it to the spine.
- If you are a zero-maintenance person opt for pillows with synthetic stuffing. If you can muster the effort to clean your pillow regularly, you can opt from the entire range of pillows at your disposal.
Warmth or cooling effect:
- In the famous Australian summer, do you want your pillow to offer a level of cooling? If so, then you can opt for a water pillow. If you want to brave the winters, opt for memory foam or down pillow to insulate the body warmth and comfort you to sleep.
- How durable do you want your pillows to be? Can you repeat the process of buying a pillow again in a few years? If you want a durable pillow, you can choose to opt for down or memory foam pillows. Down pillows will require occasional cleaning whereas memory foam pillows will be able to retain their shape for a longer period of time.
Handy tips to help you maintain a pillow
You will need to take proper care of the pillows to help increase its longevity. Whether you use a memory foam pillow for your headrest or a down pillow for a perfect night’s sleep, all pillows will last longer if they are properly cared for. Maintaining pillows isn’t too hard if you know the following tips:
Invest in a good pillow cover:
- A good pillow needs an equally good pillow case to help ensure that it serves your needs for the maximum time possible. Pillows and mattresses can absorb sweat, dust, dead skin, saliva, etc. with its usage which can turn it into a breeding ground for dust mites and bacteria. Invest in an allergen-free pillow case. Remember to clean the case regularly to keep it dust free.
- Shake your pillows to remove any piled-up dust that may have seeped in through the cover.
- Not all pillows need a constant fluffing to help regain its shape. Memory foam pillows are one such example which can naturally regain its shape without any external help. Pillows made of natural components or bird’s down or feathers require constant shakedown to help regain its original shape otherwise they may form lumps or get deflated with constant use.
- Yes, you can indeed wash your pillows. Despite keeping your pillows wrapped up in a cover, the pillow will absorb moisture, dust, stains etc. which may require an occasional washing. Check the label for reading the manufacturer’s instructions on washing the pillow. Remember to check the label to see if you can use the machine dryer to dry the pillow. If not, keep it out in an open, well-ventilated area to dry.
Toss it over:
- Ensure that you keep alternating between the front and back side of the pillow for even wear on each side. This will help you stop the pillow from becoming flat on one side as compared to the other.
Learn how to fluff your pillows:
Regular fluffing of your pillows will help it regain its shape for a longer duration. You can fluff any pillow except those made from foams to help it look better. Here’s how you can fluff the pillow by using your hands:
Hold the ends of the pillow and push inwards and outwards. You can then gently pat the pillow back to shape. Pat them gently on the sides to see if it fluffs back to shape. Patting your feather or down pillows will usually do the trick because of their fill material. You can also hit it against an even surface to help it get back to shape. Fluffed pillows after regaining their composure can help you get better sleep. When fluffing the pillows, maintain a healthy distance if you are allergic to feathers or have asthma.
There is another handy hack to fluffing your pillows by drying it in the machine dryer along with tennis balls. Put the tennis ball inside a sock and tie its open end. You can then throw it in the dryer with the pillow or cushion. Start the machine to dry the pillow for a few minutes. After a few minutes, your pillow should be fluffed and ready for a good night’s sleep. If you have a cotton-filled pillow, put it in the dryer for 15-20 minutes. Your pillow will be completely dry by the time you take it out. Hit it with your fists to fluff it back to shape. If the pillow has lost its composure due to moisture, leave it out in the sun for the moisture to dry. This will help you increase the fluffiness of the pillow with little effort. You can let he pillow soak in the sunlight for a few hours.
How to properly wash your pillows
Washing the pillows can help you get rid of the dust accumulated in the pillow. It can also help you remove the stains that may have been imprinted on the pillow because of perspiration or usage of hair products. Washing a pillow can also help you free the lumps that may have formed in the pillow with constant use. You can wash your pillows once in a while or once every six months to extend its life or wash away the dirty allergens by following the below mentioned steps.
Carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions on the tag stitched with the pillow. While majority of it contains the warranty information or compliance standards, a section of it will tell you how to wash the pillow. Pillows which are made using synthetic fibre are safe to be machine-washed. Use them in the machine on a gentle (or delicate) cycle. Use mild detergent if you need. Bleaches will have adverse effect on your pillow’s shape and size. Avoid using beach to get the job done.
Though you can use cold water to clean the pillow, use hot water instead to help cleanse the pillow of bacteria and other allergens. You can also use hot water if there is visible stain on the pillow which is hard to remove. For removing the yellow stains, you can use vinegar, baking soda etc.
If you are washing feather-filled pillows, you can also throw in a few tennis balls to help detangle the clumps that may have been formed inside. Be careful how you wash the feather pillows. Read the manufacturer’s label to see if you can machine-wash the pillow or should you get it dry cleaned instead.
You need to be extra cautious while drying the pillow. Place the pillow between two towels to help soak the extra water in it. Do not squeeze or wring your wet pillow. Put the pillow in the dryer for a new dry cycle. Toss in a tennis ball masked inside a clean sock. Use the lowest- or no-heat setting while drying the pillow in the dryer. Heat may spoil the feather. Keep fluffing the pillows in between the cycles by patting it so that you can break the lumps that may have been formed with the constant use. You can also put a towel in the dryer to soak any additional water in the pillow.
The pillow after coming out of the dryer may still contain a few lumps which can be removed by fluffing. Leave it for drying in a clean place. Let it dry entirely before use. You can leave it out in the sun for a few hours which will also help in killing any bacteria in the pillow.
The importance of using the right pillow for your sleep cannot be emphasized enough. You will need to understand your preference of sleeping position to evaluate the right kind of pillow. Whether you prefer sleeping on your back, sides, or stomach, there are different types of pillows suited to your sleep preferences. On DuringDays, you can opt from a variety of handpicked pillows from each of the pillow categories which offer you the utmost comfort. Avail great discounts on the biggest brands and we will gladly ship it to you for free within the country including Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, or Melbourne.
Using a worn-out, overused, dirty pillow can have detrimental effect on you and your family’s health. Use a new pillow which offers you the best support for your head, neck, and shoulders. Pillows are a helpful accessory during pregnancy. It helps the expectant mothers sleep well by providing much needed support to their stomach. Pillows are not just required for sleeping purposes. A good pillow is often recommended by orthopaedics to relive joint pains. A good pillow will do wonders for your postural alignment.
If you have been plagued by sleeplessness, restlessness, or morning tiredness, a pillow can substantially help in bolstering your overall sleep quality. At DuringDays, we have the best quality of Goose Down Pillows which will last you for many years to come. Investing in a pillow can have long-term health benefits.
You can extend the life of the pillow with small measures like fluffing, shaking, patting, dusting, etc. Invest in a good pillow case to help you protect the pillow from gathering allergens which may adversely affect the sleep quality. Read the manufacturer’s tag provided in the pillow to see if you can machine-wash the pillow. You can wash the pillow once in every six months to ensure that it is clean and hygienic. Take adequate care while washing the pillows by using mild detergents before drying the pillow in the machine’s dryer. You can hang the pillow on a clothing line to get some sunshine which will take away any moisture in the pillow.