For something so simple in its design and function, we're pretty picky about what exactly we lay our head on when it's time to sleep.
Shouldn't we just throw our hands up in the air and say "It's a pillow! Cut the Goldilocks routine and just pick one!"
I mean, it is just a pillow.
Yet a pillow can often make or break a good night’s sleep. We know this pretty well - especially after suffering through a night with God-only-knows under our neck. After that, it's no wonder we insist on finding the perfect pillow.
To help ensure that you get the right pillow for your sleep needs and preferences, take a cue from Goldilocks - that noisey, pokey intrusive child. She may have broken into her neighbor's house but she made sure to test everything out before deciding what to she wanted.
Here are 4 steps to help you on your way.
There’s no better way to pick a pillow than to actually touch it and test it out. Indulging your inner Goldilocks allows you to see how a potential pillow would fit with your sleep habits. Squish it, mash it, see if a pillow is too hard, too soft, or just right.
If you want to try matching your main sleeping position with your pillow type, here are some general guidelines. Keep in mind that almost no one actually sleeps in a static position all night long - so make sure to pick a pillow that you find comfortable in all positions.
The stuffing in a pillow can make a big difference. If you've got an allergie to down, you're not going to want to buy a feather pillow. The good news is that few people have issues with wool and cotton fills.
Some people, especially those with neck pain, really enjoy the memory foam pillows. Quality memory foam, however, is based on quality chemistry behind it. Chemistry can be a factor when choosing pillows with antimicrobial treatments, which you’ll find in many synthetic fills.
When it comes to “fill power,” the higher the number, the higher the quality and the longer the life of the pillow. Top-of-the-line Hypodown pillows have a fill power of 800 and are marketed to last ten years. As a rule of thumb, anything above 600 is good fill power.
Make sure your pillows fit their covers and cases perfectly. Most people only need a standard-size pillow - or in Goldilock's case, the Baby Bear sized bed and chair. If you're a bigger than average guy, you might need a little more surface area - but not much.
If you're pregnant, body pillows might be a good fit as they adding extra support under their bellies and between the knees. You may also want to experiment with pillows uniquely shaped for maintaining position; the hook-shaped Sleep Posture Pillow cradles you in a semi-fetal position that prevents you from wiggling (and disturbing your bed partner). If you don't want a full-body pillow, try small pillows for in-between the knees to help relieve lower back pain and stress.
If you’re into decorating your bed with fashionable, eye-catching pillow designs, be sure to remove them prior to sleeping. These are usually not supportive and can be too stiff.
There also are numerous pillows marketed--without any scientific proof--that boast anti-snoring qualities, oxygen-increasing properties and magnetic therapy. If they're comfortable and help you sleep, then by all means give it a shot; just remember that there's currently no way to definatively prove that one pillow is better than another
Again, it's worth repeating that the pillow for you might be a terrible pillow for someone else yet by following these 4 steps, you should be able to find the perfect pillow for your good night's sleep.