How to Choose the Perfect Pillow – Ultimate Guide for 2023

Lying down on our soft and comfortable bed is what we look forward to after a long day from work. The soft cushioning of our bed that supports the weight of our body can somehow aid our stress. Our beds are basically the throne of our bedroom. And the bed is technically made for sleeping and lovemaking. It is where we get ourselves comfortable and recharge our bodies from all day’s work.

And we need a well-rested body so that we will still be able to make a living. There are different kinds of bed mattresses in the market for us to choose from. They come in different sizes and comfort levels. But all mattresses are made to be comfortable or to help you with certain conditions like a mattress for sciatica. So that anyone will still be able to afford a mattress with the right amount of support that they need. But a comfortable bed will not be complete without a pillow or two.

Choose the Perfect Pillow

Some people prefer to sleep with only one pillow. And there are even some who prefer to have a lot of pillows around them. It actually depends on the person on how many pillows they want to place in their bed. As long as they are comfortable, they are good to go. But little do you know that there are special kinds of pillows that are made specifically for a type of body. Even the positioning of your body when you sleep, there are still pillows for that.

How to Pick the Right Kind of Pillow

Know your comfortable sleeping position

Since every person is different, they have their own comfortable sleeping position. And this will also matter in choosing the right kind of pillow for you. You will need the right amount of support that you need so that your body will not be sore whenever you lay down.

  • Side Sleeper

If you are comfortable sleeping sideways, you will need a thicker pillow. This is to ensure the spinal alignment of your body. Some side sleepers tend to have neck pain when they wake up in the morning. This is because they are not using the right kind of pillow. The pillow they use lacks the support that can cause neck pain. And there are certain thick pillows that can fully support the head and neck.

  • Back Sleeper

Back sleepers need a thin pillow or a pillow that has an extra loft on the bottom part which is to support the head and neck. Thick pillows can throw the head forward and it can misalign the spine and it will be difficult for you to breathe.

  • Stomach Sleeper

Stomach sleepers need a thinner pillow than the back sleepers or not having a pillow at all. Sleeping on your stomach can put a lot of stress on the lower back and on the neck. This is why this kind of position is not advisable. A lot of people experience stiff necks whenever they are in this position.

  • All-Around Sleeper

If you are a mover when you sleep, all you need is a medium pillow. Not too firm and not too soft. This is to fully support your body whenever you are moving all around.


Buying a good pillow can be a little bit pricey especially if you go for luxury pillows used, for example in hotels. This is why you need to have a budget so that it will be easier for you to find the right kind of pillow that you need. There are a lot of pillows in the market that comes at different prices. These pillows also have features that may suit your preference.  Also, try to know how many pillows you really need. Even if you are buying some pillows for the guest room. Setting the budget can help you go through pillow shopping.

Materials: inside and outside the pillow

Pillows are made from different kinds of materials inside and out. Knowing what kind of material you need is also as important as knowing what sleeping position you are comfortable with. This is for you to know what kind of pillow you will be getting.

For the exterior material of the pillow, it is up to choose what kind of casing that you want. The most common pillowcase that people get is cotton ones or silk ones. Because they are soft and it doesn’t catch dust easily.

Pillow fillers are also important. You need to take look at every pillow in the market on what kind of pillow fillers they are using. This is for you to have maximum comfort whenever you are on your bed lying down.

Here are some pillow fillers you can choose from:

  • Foam – This will give you full support without making the pillow too soft.
  • Memory foam – Memory foam is popular because of its ability to bold according to the shape and size of your body. It will be able to support your body and reduce pressure points so that you will be able to have a comfortable sleep.
  • Down/feather – Feather or down is the traditional style in filling your pillow. It is also one of the most recommended pillow fillers by sleep doctors. Because it is not too firm and not too soft. And you can control the amount of fill and move them around whenever you want to so that it will be able to support the areas where you want to be supported.
  • Latex – If you are prone to allergies, the latex filler is the perfect one for you. According to, latex can resist dust mites and molds on your pillow. This is to make sure that you are comfortable and healthy at the same time whenever you are sleeping.
  • Cotton/wool – another hypoallergenic type of pillow filler is cotton or wool. Just like latex, it also has the ability to resist mold and dust mites. And these pillow fillers are known to be one of the firm kinds of fillers for you to have.
  • Chemistry

Know the exact detail about the chemically made pillow fillers like latex, polyester, and memory foam. You might be too sensitive to these kinds of fillers because they went through different kinds of treatments. They smell a little bit rubbery at first so it is advisable to have it washed when you first bought it to remove the smell.

Bed size

The size of your pillow will depend on the size of your bed. You don’t want to have a big pillow on a small bed. We have a single bed which is the smallest and the king-sized bed which is the biggest. Know what kind of bed size you have so that you will also be able to get the appropriate pillow size.

Kind of mattress you have

A lot of people don’t know the mattress-pillow relationship. This is why they are having a hard time finding the right kind of comfort that they really need. It is because they just buy random pillows without knowing the kind of mattress they have. Body cushioning should be balanced.

If you have something soft, match it with something firm. And if you have something firm, match it with something soft. This will give you full-body support without missing any parts of your body.

“If you use a firm mattress, then a softer pillow may be better because the pillow is lying on a firm surface and needs to adapt to the pressure of the weight of your head in your starting sleep position. If you have had a softer mattress, then a firmer pillow may be better to keep your head and neck aligned” –

Get to know the special kinds of pillows

If you are used to buying rectangular types of pillows, you should learn about the special kinds of pillows. They are specifically made for certain support so that your body is well-aligned. These special pillows are made for those who are suffering from a certain medical condition. But anyone can still have one or two of these pillows. So that you will be able to have more comfort when you sleep.

Here are the special pillows you need to know

  • Standard pillow

The standard pillow is the ordinary kind of pillow that you commonly see in the market. It is a rectangular-shaped pillow that comes in different sizes and thicknesses for you to choose from.

  • Wedge pillow

This wedge pillow is commonly used if a person is recovering from surgery. Or if the person has back problems or leg problems. It is used to elevate the upper body or the legs of a person. Another advantage of this kind of pillow is that it is one of the pillows used for people who are suffering from sciatica.

  • Body pillow

A body pillow is a long rectangular pillow that you can hug with your arms and legs. It can fully support your body whatever position you are in.

  • Pregnancy pillow

A pregnancy pillow is specially made for pregnant women. It is to support their bellies and give them the right comfort they need. And it also serves as their cuddle pillow. Pregnancy pillows come in a U-shape form or an extra-long rectangular pillow.

  • Roll/Bolster

Roll or Bolster pillows are used to add more support to the neck and the legs. It is also used as an added bed decoration.

  • Travel pillows

The common travel pillow is the C-shaped neck pillow. A lot of people are using this kind of pillow whenever they are traveling. Because it supports their head whenever they fall asleep in a seated position.

  • Coccyx pillow

There are some people who have sensitive coccyx (tailbone). This is why the coccyx pillow is made to make sure that the tailbone will not have direct pressure from a hard surface. It is around the pillow that has a hole in the middle so that your tailbone will be free from the pressure.

  • Lumbar support pillow

Not all people know that they need a lumbar pillow. Our spine is naturally curved. And whenever we lean back there is a gap between the wall and our spine. A lumbar support pillow fills in this gap. This is also to avoid lower back pains in the future most especially if you are seated for a long period of time. Most especially when you are an office worker or if you are driving long distances.

Choose whatever special pillow you need as long as you will be comfortable whenever you lay down. Extra comfort is what we always wanted. And we can only get that full experience when we are in our own bedroom.

Taking extra care of your things will prolong its quality. This is also for you to be able to use it for a long period of time. It will also help save you a lot of money from buying cheap and poor quality things. This is why it is still best to invest in good quality things. Even your pillow needs to be well taken care of because it is the one that is going to give you more comfort.

Make your Pillow Last Longer

Change the pillow sheets

Same things with mattresses, the sheets need to be replaced with clean and new ones. Pillows are like sponges, unless if it is water-proof. They absorb liquid even our body fluids, our sweat, and oil. And if it mixes with the material of our pillow, there is a tendency that the pillow will deteriorate. And the role of pillowcases is to prevent any liquids from going to the pillow itself.

Give a little bit of a shine from the sun

Place your pillow under the sun from time to time so that it will kill some bacteria. It can even stop fungi and mold formation that can give a lot of health risks. This is also one way of cleaning your pillow and maintaining its puffiness.

Keep it clean

There are people who don’t clean their pillows. It is unhealthy for a person to sleep on a dirty pillow because it contains different kinds of bacteria. One way to keep your pillow clean is to have it vacuumed or have it washed. But if you have a special kind of washable pillow, you need to wash it according to the instructions that are given so that you will not ruin the quality of it.

Fabric disinfectant spray

If you want to clean your pillows quickly, you can make use of a fabric disinfectant spray. It will not just kill the bacteria in it, but it will leave a fragrant scent.

Don’t jump on them

Some kids jump on the bed and they sometimes jump on their pillows. And we know that it can ruin the surface and the quality of the mattress and the pillow. Orient your kids not to jump on them so that they will be able to use it for a long period of time.

Wrapping it up

There are a lot of pillows in the market for you to choose from so that you will be able to sleep comfortably at night. But you still need to know what kind of pillow is good for you. Pillows are made to support your entire body. Keeping everything aligned and you will no longer have to wake up with a sore neck, arm or hip.

Take time to test each one of the pillows because you will be spending it for your comfort. And you want to have a comfortable bed with a set of pillows that is worth your money.

Just know your comfortable sleeping position and the size of your room and your bed so that you can get the right pillow for you. Some people even go to a sleep doctor to have advice on what kind of pillow they will be getting. It is for you to have a good night’s sleep and a well-supported body as you rest. Not everyone takes care of their bed.

That is why most of them are stressed because they wake up with body pain. But going to the detail of each material and fabric of your mattress and pillow, you will have a long way to go.

Nothing is better than having the most comfortable pillow in the world. Spending for it is no longer a problem so that you will be able to sleep peacefully at night. And we invest for our comfort so that we will be able to be productive as soon as we wake up the next day. All of us need a good night sleep not just for us to be productive, but also for our cells to repair themselves and to keep us healthy.


Written by: Dr. Stephen Walter

Dr. Walter is a sleep doctor of Medical Adventist Hospital and one of the writers for He is an ongoing researcher for Sleep Foundation and a lecturer of Harvard Medicine.

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