Those that know a thing or two about mattress have a favorite saying: the pillow makes the bed. Choosing the right mattress is important, but selecting the perfect pillow is the key to getting your best sleep ever. Here are 5 different types of pillows and some information to help you decide which one might be the one for you.
Down and Feather Pillows
With a pillow, the higher the fill power number, the longer the pillow will retain its firmness. Down is soft and fluffy and comes from the undercoat of geese or ducks. It tends to be a soft pillow that flattens rather easily. Stomach sleepers usually like the way the pillow almost becomes part of the mattress. Feathers have quills that can poke you unless they are encased in a very high quality fabric, but they are usually both firmer than other types of down pillows. Both are washable by hand or on a hand wash or delicate setting on your washer. Dry them on low or the air dry setting with a tennis ball or two to fluff them back up.
Down Alternative Pillows
The polyester micro-beads in these pillows have the soft feel of down but without the concern of allergies to the down or feathers. You’ll have to find that brand that offers the firmness and height you want. You can get them firmer for back sleepers or softer for stomach sleepers. Wash according to the instructions on the pillow or follow the above instructions for down pillows.
Memory Foam Pillows
Just like a memory foam mattress, these pillow conform to the shape of your head and cradle it. It bounces back slowly when you change positions, but overall the pillow will maintain its loft. The pillow may be flat or contoured. If you choose firm, it will be heavier. Memory foam tends to sleep hot so if you want a cool pillow, make sure to find one with a cooling gel infusion. However, they are great for side sleepers as they help maintain spinal alignment. To clean, use a damp cloth with a mild detergent and sponge away any spots or stains.
Latex Foam Pillows
Like the memory foam pillow, latex foam is supportive. However, since latex foam is more breathable than other types of foam, it sleeps cooler. Latex is antimicrobial and mildew-proof. Latex may have an odor when first opened, but it will dissipate over time. Choose a softer pillow if you're a stomach or back sleeper and a firmer pillow if you're a side sleeper. These aren't washable, so plan on spot cleaning with a damp cloth.
Polyester pillows are hypoallergenic and come in a range of densities, but tend to be a bit on the soft side. If yours develops a flat or hollow spot, you can fluff it back into shape. Tossing it in the dryer at a very low heat will also return it to the correct shape. You can “smush” these pillows for sleepers who like the ball up a pillow to the shape they want. They are easy-care, machine wash and dry – just use a gentle cycle and low heat in the dryer.