We all have opinions about what type of pillow is the best, or at least which ones we find to be the most comfortable. Personally, I’m not very hard to please. If it’s soft, clean, and helps me spend my nights in in a peaceful slumber, then I’m a happy camper. But I have spent enough nights battling pillows in guest bedrooms, on dorm futons, and on basement couches when the heat of a summer night finds light sleepers seeking cooler conditions, to know that when you’re not laying on the right pillow, falling asleep can seem impossible. Let’s take a look at a few different kinds of pillows, and hopefully if you’re among those on a quest for the perfect one, this will steer you in the right direction.
Down and Feather
Down pillows are made of the light, fluffy tufts that lie beneath the wings of geese and ducks. Feather pillows are made of flat feathers with quills running through them. Many people prefer down and feather pillows because of their pliability and the ease with which they conform to the neck. These pillows are washable, and when taken care of, can sustain their durability. If you’re a hot sleeper, you may not favor these as they can trap heat and make for a sweaty night. Also, if you have a heavy head or require lots of neck support, you will likely find these pillows unsatisfactory. Finally, down and feather pillows can trigger allergies for some, so you’ll want to be sure you’re not allergic to the pillow before you buy it.
If allergies are one reason you wouldn’t buy a down pillow, then you might enjoy nights spent on pillows made of synthetic fiber. Free from allergens, synthetic pillows are soft, washable, and, if made of high quality fiber, can last for years. Cheap synthetic pillows, however, can break down easily resulting in a lumpy, uncomfortable surface. Synthetic pillows often require a “break-in” period of about a week, so keep that in mind if you don’t find yours immediately comfortable.
If you enjoy the feeling of a pure, natural pillow, then you might enjoy one made of cotton. These pillows are favored by those who find down pillows excessively soft. Over time, cotton pillows can compress and harden, resulting in a firm spot to rest your head. They do not contour easily to your body, so if you desire pliability, you may not enjoy these pillows. Also, cotton pillows retain moisture and, if not washed often, can attract mold and dust mites.
Foam pillows are a great choice for those seeking superior neck, back, and spine support. Specifically designed to contour your body, foam pillows offer the right support precisely where you need it. Memory foams will conform most readily, but harder foams will offer better support. Foam pillows can retain heat, so like down pillows, these might not be the best bet if you’re prone to a sweaty sleep. Like other synthetic materials, foam may require some time before it feels comfortable. Additionally, foam can give off a chemical smell for a day or two when brand new, so keep that in mind if you experience an immediate odor.
So, which pillow is best? Do you prefer easily shaped down to hard foam? Do you enjoy the hardness of your cotton pillow? Do you like anything as long as it doesn’t make you sweat? Asses your needs and preferences the next time you buy a pillow, and hopefully when you go to bed at night, you’ll rest your head on the best one.