First, the job of a pillow is to support your head, neck and back, pillow experts say. A better pillow can mean a better night's sleep. You can spend $5, $100, or in between. A good pillow might last for up to 20 years, while a less expensive pillow may need to be replaced after three years. Keep in mind, you're investing not only in a good night's sleep, but also in your health, as national studies have linked poor sleep to a variety of health issues.
A proper pillow isn't always the largest one on the shelf. "The average consumer views bigger as better," says Beth Mack, chief merchandising officer for Hollander Home Fashions in Boca Ratton, Florida. "A pillow can be very large and fluffy and not be correct for the type of sleeper you are."
How you sleep helps determine the best pillow. About 70 percent of people sleep on their sides, 20 percent are primarily back sleepers, and 10 percent are stomach sleepers, says Mack.
A side sleeper requires the most support and an extra-firm pillow, while a back sleeper can go for a medium-firm to firm pillow and a stomach sleeper might opt for a medium-density, flatter pillow, she says. Since more people are side sleepers, a firm pillow is a good choice for a guest room, she adds.
"If you talk to people, you'll hear them say, I bend my pillow in half to double it up," Mack says. "They're so used to buying a pillow and bending it, but the truth is the pillow is not providing enough support."
If you have allergies, you'll want to get a hypo-allergenic pillow. While all synthetic fills are allergen free, you can also get down and feather pillows rated hypoallergenic. Linda Howard, vice president of sales for Pacific Coast Feather, notes, "There are a lot of consumers who feel they are allergic to down and feathers when in fact they are allergic to improperly washed down and feathers."
A memory foam pillow will mold itself to the contours of your body. Open-cell memory foam pillows are designed to keep air flowing. "A lot of people, as they're sleeping, find their pillow gets hot," says Maria Sigmond, director of product development for Sleep Innovations in West Long Branch, New Jersey. "We get great feedback from our customers that they don't feel hot on open-cell memory foam pillows."
Taking care of your pillow is important to extend its life span, Howard says. "You definitely want to protect it from oils and dirt," she adds. To wash or not to wash? Check the tag. In most cases, a pillow that can withstand washing is higher quality, Howard says" "The stitching will be more durable. The fill will be good so it can withstand washing." Due to the material it is made from, memory foam cannot be washed," Sigmond notes.
Whether or not your pillow is washable, you can extend its life with zippered pillow protectors in addition to pillowcases.
Take time when buying your pillow, Sigmond says: "People's tastes in pillows vary greatly- it's a very personal decision."
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*Article from the Costco Connection