All you need to know about pillows

In this day and age, pillows seem to come in all shapes and sizes, and are intended to suit any specific requirement, such as pregnancy or back pain. From the luxurious comfort of feather and down pillows to the plumpness of ’bounce back’ pillows, pillows are an established part of everyday life.

The Pillow Problem

One of the questions we get asked often is 'What type of pillow should i choose?'

There are so many different brands, fillings, shape, medium or firm you'd be right to be confused.

Having the right pillow will help with neck pain, upper back problems and of course, sleep!

A pillow should supply support, keeping your head and neck in neutral alignment throughout the night and take the load of your head away from your neck. The head should sit directly on the neck with the chin not poking forwards. The head should also sit level, not tipping towards one shoulder or the other.

The right pillow can make a big impact on your quality of sleep, your health and ultimately your well-being. Pillows probably don’t get the attention they warrant, as they can be instrumental in getting a good night’s sleep or be the cause of a terrible night of sleep, which will lead to a terrible day!

Further exploring the idea of an optimal pillow height is a 2015 study, which tested 16 adults using 3 different pillow heights and consequently found that an average pillow height of 10 cm offered the best spinal alignment, most comfort and least muscle activity.

Choosing pillows for you

Pillows should be individualised for each sleeper based on preferred sleeping position, height, weight, allergies and chemical sensitivities, temperature preference and any personal health condition.’ So after discovering the optimal pillow height, how can you know which kind of pillow is best suited to you and your sleeping habits?

Back Sleeper

If you sleep on your back your pillow should be firm enough to support the natural curve of your spine, without too much height to bend your neck unnaturally. In general, your pillow height should be lower than side sleepers, so don’t double up.

Side Sleeper

If you’re a side sleeper, your pillow should help your spine maintain a natural horizontal line, and a thicker cushion than back sleepers is recommended. Although you can get away with most types of pillow, it’s best to opt for a plumper one to support your neck, so try to avoid feather options.

Consider using a 'box edge' pillow which helps fill the gap between your neck and shoulder.

We reccomend - Cloud 9 for a softer feel or Bamboo Box Edge for a firmer feel

Front Sleeper

This position is not the most ideal sleeping posture as the neck is often turned and held in one direction for several hours. Front sleepers are encouraged to place a pillow under their chest or sleep with a shoulder slightly back to place the neck in a more neutral position and avoid over-extension.

 Types of Pillow

1. Microfibre/Hollowfibre

These pillows contain fine strands of synthetic material such as polyester or nylon. These may be a more affordable option and are easy to take care of at home, but they may need replacing every few years. Microfibre pillows are a great option for people with allergies.

We reccomend - Spundown Medium

2. Feather & Down Pillows

Down is a filling consisting of feathers. Down pillows are durable, but they flatten over time, and a person needs to re-fluff or reshape them regularly. While down pillows may repel dust mites, they also require professional cleaning, which can be expensive.

Additionally, down pillows are not suitable for individuals following vegan lifestyles, and they may not be right for people with allergies.

We reccomend - Ultraplume Duck Feather & Down

3. Memory Foam Pillows

This synthetic foam aims to conform to the shape of the body. Memory foam pillows may benefit people with neck pain or discomfort at pressure points.

However, memory foam can retain heat, so it may not suit individuals who become too hot during sleep. Choose a quality memory foam pillow with cool gels to help combat this.

We reccomend - Mlily Bamboo Serene

4. Wool Pillows

Temperature is critical for good sleep. Wool regulates your body temperature like no other material and will simply not allow you to sweat during the night. It promotes healthier sleep and the main reason for that is wool’s quality to control your body temperature through its unprecedented breathability and moisture management.

If there is one thing that dust mites despise, it’s wool. Why so? They just don’t like lanolin. Plus, the structure of the wool fibers repels them, making wool bedding the only naturally dust mite resistant option.

We reccomend - Baavet Wool Pillow

5. Latex Pillows

Latex foam consists of rubber tree sap and is one of the more expensive pillow materials. The feel of this material is similar to memory foam, but latex foam is less likely to retain heat when a person sleeps.

Latex foam is also a durable material and holds its shape for a long time.

We reccomend - Cooltex high or low profile


We hope you have found our guide useful. We have a wide range of pillows in our Surbiton showroom which you can try before you buy.

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