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Bed Pillow Buying Guide

Size It Right

The first step in making a new pillow purchase is choosing the size that best suits your bed. The size of your mattress can serve as a guideline for which bed pillows you should choose, and how many—although you can always add or subtract depending on your preferences.

Bed Pillow Sizes


Most pillows you see in non-specialty stores are standard bed pillows, which can be accommodated by any standard case. The size of a standard pillow might seem too small for mattresses larger than a full or queen, however. For pillows that look a little more at home on large mattresses, turn to queen or king pillows. The extra several inches of length fill the space more evenly and keep the bed looking proportional.

For a bed with a little more dimension, consider layering a few Euro pillows in with your rectangular pillows. Euro pillows will require square pillowcases or shams, usually in a color or pattern that coordinates with the duvet, quilt, or bedspread. Euro pillows are the more practical answer to decorative throw pillows, as they offer plenty of space to comfortably rest your head.

A Pillow for Every Position

Your sleeping position can help inform your decision when purchasing pillows. Depending on whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach, you'll need a pillow that best facilitates spinal alignment and supports your head and neck.

Sleeping on the Back

If you sleep on your back most nights, you'll need a pillow that supports the natural curvature of your spine. You'll want a pillow that adequately supports your head, neck, and shoulders, but it doesn't need to be ultra-thick. Choose a pillow that only elevates the head until it's level with the rest of the body, and don't use a pillow that makes you feel like you're straining your neck.

Sleeping on the Side

Side-sleepers will require slightly thicker pillows than those who sleep on their backs. Look for a pillow that's thick enough for your spine to maintain a straight, natural horizontal line. Bending your legs and sleeping with a pillow between the knees also helps keep the spine in a neutral position—a firm pillow usually maintains this position better than a soft pillow.

Sleeping on the Stomach

Stomach-sleepers will want to look for relatively flat pillows that prevent the head and neck from being strained. Some also find that placing another relatively flat pillow under the abdomen or pelvis helps keep the lower back properly aligned.

Find a Favorite Filling

The material a pillow is made from can greatly influence its comfort and performance. Whether you're considering an ultra-supportive memory foam pillow or one filled with luxuriously soft goose down, you should explore various materials and fillings to determine which pillow is best for you.

Down

Down pillows are filled with the soft, fuzzy undercoating of a bird's feathers. Down pillows are known for their exceptional softness and comfort, and can hold their loft up to three times longer than synthetic pillows. Down pillows are moldable and malleable thanks to their light and fluffy filling, but don't offer significant support to the head and neck.

Memory Foam

Memory foam pillows offer some of the best support on the market, and don't ever clump or require fluffing to maintain their shape. While these firm pillows provide excellent support for the head and neck, they don't offer any malleability and the loft can't be adjusted.

Gel

Those who find themselves constantly flipping to the "cool side of the pillow" night after night might benefit from the temperature-regulating properties of a gel pillow. Made from silicone or polyurethane materials, these pillows are known for their cooling properties and for superior pressure relief.

Cotton

Cotton pillows are the natural, cruelty-free answer to synthetic or feather pillows. Known for their soft-yet-firm loft and naturally absorbent properties, these pillows are great for sweaty sleepers or those who want a little extra lift. Cotton pillows will have to be replaced every so often, however, as cotton can begin to compress and take on a lumpy texture after a certain length of time.

Polyester

For the thrifty pillow-seeker, polyester fillings offer the same lofty comfort as cotton pillows at a much lower price point. Polyester pillows are sold by varying heights and densities, and are easy to clean. However, pillows filled with polyester also have a tendency to clump and require regular fluffing and readjustment.


Whether you're seeking a high-tech contour pillow that offers premium support, an ultra-soft pillow just for cuddling, or a set of chic Euro pillows to keep your bed looking stylish, hayneedle.com has hundreds of pillows in every style and at every price point.

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