Just like a mattress, a quality pillow is the best guarantee for a good rest. It might be time to change yours if you often wake up with shoulder, neck or back pain. The number one rule to get a good night’s sleep is to have your head, neck and spine well aligned.
Correcting your sleeping position and aligning your body is exactly what a good pillow will do. Your goal is to have the most appropriate posture to relax your muscles and promote quality rest. But do you know how to choose the best pillow for you? Do you know which one best suits your posture and sleeping pattern? You’re in luck: we designed this shopping guide to tell you everything you need to know.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best pillows on the Australian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about pillows
- 3.1 What is a pillow exactly?
- 3.2 What types of pillows are available out there?
- 3.3 What is viscoelastic?
- 3.4 Which materials should I choose?
- 3.5 Which type of pillow is the right one for me?
- 3.6 How do I know my pillow size?
- 3.7 Are viscoelastic pillows or feather pillows better?
- 3.8 How do I take care of my pillow?
- 3.9 How often should I change my pillow?
- 3.10 Which is the best pillow to combat pain?
- 3.11 Is sleeping with a pillow between the legs useful?
- 3.12 How should I use my cervical pillow?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- The posture in which you sleep is a key factor in your final decision. The different materials of the pillow will strongly influence its firmness, as do the distinct fillings available.
- Your pillow should always be wider than your shoulders. Lower pillows are most appropriate for lightweight people and those who sleep on their stomachs. Higher models are designed for those who sleep on their sides, and medium pillows for those who sleep on their backs.
- Pillows with special designs, such as cervical models, are designed for people with muscle pains and aches. They are also useful for pregnant women.
Ranking: The best pillows on the Australian market
If you want to get a good night’s sleep and rest well, picking the right pillow is essential. There is a wide range of pillows available on the market, so you’ll have to consider factors such as your sleeping habits and physical build – in particular your height and weight. We’ve selected the very best pillows out there and listed them in the next section to help you make your choice.
No. 1: Save&Soft Orthopaedic Memory Foam Pillow[amazon box=”B01N0YJCNO” description_items=”0″]
Save&Soft is a company that specialises in high quality pillows, whether for your bed or for your travels. This specific orthopaedic memory foam pillow has received incredible reviews from past customers, and it has now become Amazon’s Choice in the category. It comes with a removable soft case made with breathable fabric that you can machine wash.
Its smaller size – 50 x 30 x 10 centimetres – means that it’s easy to also take it with you on your trips. Designed to support head and spine alignment and correct bad posture, it is also suitable for children. Made from hypoallergenic and latex-free material, this pillow has been praised by users. They have described it as comfortable and very efficient in treating neck and back pains.
No. 2: Woolcomfort Pregnancy Pillow[amazon box=”B07CVBLSRY” description_items=”0″]
Based in New South Wales, company Woolcomfort works with local farmers to turn the very best Australian wool into high quality products for your home. Their pregnancy pillow is an Amazon Best Seller that’s 100% made right here in Australia, and it has also received fantastic reviews and ratings by past buyers. This product also comes with a 1-year warranty.
With a filling made with memory resistant polyester fibre and an organic cotton case, this large pillow is easily adjustable so that pregnant women can find the most comfortable position as they rest. The pillowcase is easily removed and can be washed in the washing machine. Available in nine different colours, you’re sure to find the one to match your bedroom too.
No. 3 : Gioia Casa Twin Pack of Duck Feather Pillows[amazon box=”B077N14W4T” description_items=”0″]
Gioia Casa is another Australian brand out of Melbourne. Inspired by the fashion industry, it creates innovative and elegant products for your bedroom. This set of two pillows offers great quality and fantastic value for money, and will be ideal if you need to dress your new bed. Its size – 73 x 48 centimetres – is designed to fit all standard pillowcases.
Each of these two pillows is filled with 1 kilo of duck feather, making it nice and soft for people who prefer to sleep on their back or stomach. One advantage of these products is that they are machine washable, just like the breathable Japara cotton cover. User reviews have stated that these Gioia Casa pillows were both comfortable and flexible.
No. 4: Guardian Angel Deluxe Memory Foam Pillow[amazon box=”B017WLPWSO” description_items=”0″]
This large pillow – 80 x 40 x 13 centimetres – by Guardian Angel is made from ultra comfortable memory foam, providing orthopaedic-like quality for you to get an optimal rest every night. The perfect fit for your head, it will adjust to the shape of your neck and contribute to reducing stress and muscle tensions.
This pillow is soft enough to avoid back and head pains, with a custom-made viscoelastic polymer filler. This product also comes with a zippered protective case that you can put in the washing machine to best preserve your pillow. It is also available in the following measurements: 70 x 35 x 14 centimetres.
No. 5: Memory Mate Memory Foam Travel Pillow[amazon box=”B0791SLP13″ description_items=”0″]
Last but not least, this little wonder of a pillow by Memory Mate is a little bit different from the other models of our selection. It is Amazon’s Best Seller in the travel pillow category, and has also been praised by past customers. The zippered cover is easily removable and machine washable so you keep it squeaky clean.
Made from memory foam, this travel pillow moulds perfectly your head while being firm enough to provide the right support for your neck. A nice addition to this product is that it is delivered with a small carry bag, noise-cancelling earplugs and a sleep mask so you’re all set to sleep during your long travels. Available in midnight black or Paris grey.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about pillows
If you think that pillows are just another item in your bedroom, you’re far from the truth. A change of pillow could be the best decision you make if you suffer from sleep problems, and back or neck pains. We encourage you to make your choice with great care, which is why we’ve designed the following shopping guide to help you in this purchase.
What is a pillow exactly?
A pillow is a soft item on which you rest your head during sleep. Place on the mattress and at the top of the bed, this product generally matches the bed covers. It is designed to fit in the neck cavity, therefore relaxing the nape of the neck and avoiding muscular tension, with the end goal of keeping the spine straight.
What types of pillows are available out there?
A lot of people generally pick their new pillow solely based on instinc, simply by looking at the price of the item and the size of their bed. This is a common mistake, and most don’t know about the different types of pillows and for whom each one is tailored to.
There are pillows made of natural fibres, synthetic fillings, with firm or softer textures, and the list goes on. In the following table, we have listed the different types of pillows and their characteristics to help you in your final decision.
|Viscoelastic||Synthetic foam.||Fits the shape of the body.||May be very hard and hot. Cannot be washed in a washing machine.||You can choose its size. Certain models offer heat-resistant fabrics.|
|Fibre||Polyester and synthetic fibres.||Machine washable. More affordable, they are hypoallergenic.||They deform and lose consistency quickly. The filler may spoil.||They are usually very economical. Silicone hollow fibres are hypoallergenic.|
|Gel||Viscoelastic and latex.||They feature a middle layer of gel.||More expensive. Cannot be washed. They require have an antiperspirant cover.||Ideal for hot areas.|
|Anatomic||Viscoelastic.||Allows you to relax when in the correct posture. Improves blood flow. The weight is evenly distributed.||Square models only allow you to sleep on the back. Getting used to them can be difficult. They can be very hard.||Ideal for people with neck or cervical pain.|
|Feather||Goose feathers, down or a combination of both.||Malleable structure. Lightweight and cool.||Avoid in case of allergies and cervical pains. They require dry cleaning.||They are more refreshing.|
|Latex||Latex or a mixture of latex and viscoelastic.||Excellent head and neck support. Comfortable. Relieves back pain.||Can be too firm. Cannot be washed. Unpleasant smell (non-toxic).||Smooth and with good cervical support. The feeling when touched is pleasant. Good adaptability.|
What is viscoelastic?
Viscoelastic protection or padding is a material developed by NASA that presents innovative properties to alleviate the pressure that tissues exert on your organism. It was originally designed to make space suits more comfortable during take-off. Nowadays, this material is used in the textile, automobile and bedding industries.
It is also used in hospitals for the manufacture of prostheses, as well as for adaptable mattresses and pillows. This type of material is ideal to promote rest for people with lumbar or cervical conditions, as its ability to adapt to the natural contour of the body allows it to alleviate pressure on the neck, back and limbs.
Which materials should I choose?
Currently, the most common on the market are viscoelastic pillows. These models, as well as latex pillows, best adapt to the contour of the neck. Latex pillows are much more likely to cause allergic reactions, and they need to be cared for properly. Otherwise, they may become a hotspot for bacteria and fungi.
If you have a tendency to allergies, your best options will be viscoelastic or synthetic fibre, as both feather and latex can cause serious problems. If you have cervical issues, materials like viscoelastic or gel will offer better support and adequate density that will promote rest.
Which type of pillow is the right one for me?
Just like with mattresses, the same pillow isn’t the best for everyone: it all depends on your sleeping needs. Don’t simply choose a well-known brand or follow the advice of other consumers when choosing your pillow. Many great models are available out there, and your task is to find the most suited to your needs.
Here is a quick list of the most appropriate pillows for each sleeping posture, which we hope will help you find the right one:
- If you sleep on your side: Thicker pillows are recommended. They will keep your neck straight and aligned with your spine. If your neck is not straight with your back, you will suffer from cervical problems and muscular pains in the long run.
- you sleep on your stomach: You will best rest with a soft, thin, flexible pillow. In this posture, your neck doesn’t need so much height to stay aligned with your spine. However, this position isn’t very recommended, as it tends to pull heavily on your neck.
- You sleep on your back: A pillow with a medium thickness is what you need. Your neck should be raised a little to maintain alignment with your back, although not as much as if you sleep on your side.
How do I know my pillow size?
Until recently, pillows had standard sizes depending on the width of the bed. They then began to be made in softer or harder materials, before the trend of mixing aesthetic and ergonomic factors came along. Nowadays, the anatomic criteria that have been established help you make the right choice.
There are three criteria to consider in order to pick your pillow size: the build of your shoulders, your sleeping posture and the firmness you want or need. One way to find your size is to lie on a very thin pillow and add towels until you find the right posture. When you’ve got it, measure the pillow and towels and this should give you your ideal size.
Are viscoelastic pillows or feather pillows better?
Viscoelastic pillows stand out from the crowd because of the special foam with which they are manufactured. It can very easily adapt to the user’s anatomy, as it fits the shape of the head and neck. They are most recommended for people with back and neck problems. They will result uncomfortable if you sleep on your side.
On the other other hand, pillows filled with feathers or down do not offer sufficient firmness, which makes them ideal for sleeping on your stomach. However, they are not suitable for sleeping on your back, although their softness allows them to adapt well to almost any posture. Durable and lightweight, they can also get a little warm. Are you unsure about which pillowcases are the best? In the table below, we exposed the main differences between synthetic and natural pillowcases.
|Viscoelastic||They adapt better to the contour of our body. They are hypoallergenic and very easy to find. They can be washed. Ideal for people with muscle problems.||They can be very hard and are not suitable for sleeping on your side. They are somewhat more expensive.|
|Down||Lighter, they easily adapt to all sleeping postures. Pleasant to the touch. Mouldable structure. They control the temperature better.||To be avoided in case of allergies. Maintenance requires more effort. Not recommended for people with neck pain.|
How do I take care of my pillow?
Taking care of your pillow is important if you want to extend its useful life and get the most out of it. As a general rule, the number one maintenance tip is to regularly air it out. It is also recommended to turn it often, so as to avoid that it becomes deformed, humid or yellowish on one side. Remember to always use a pillowcase. Depending on its material, each type of pillow requires specific care. Here is a table to help you:
|Fibre||Machine wash. Wrap with a cloth of the same colour. Roll it up to avoid deformation. Delicate washing program. Do not spin-dry. Wash separately.|
|Viscoelastic||Do not wash, as they deteriorate and do not dry. Check the manufacturer’s label. Wash the pillowcase frequently. Add a protective breathable fabric pillowcase. Air out daily. Vacuum once every two weeks. Turn it over.|
|Latex||Same maintenance as with viscoelastic models.|
|Gel and anatomic||Same as viscoelastic pillows. Do not turn around, as the gel will lose its usefulness.|
|Feather||Wash at least once a year. If it has stains, soak for one hour with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Put a tennis ball with the pillow to prevent feathers from clumping. Delicate washing program and liquid soap. Do not add fabric softener. Air dry on a flat surface.|
How often should I change my pillow?
A well-kept pillow can last up to five years, but this naturally depends on its quality and manufacturing materials. Certain models could last you a lifetime, while others may need to be changed within the first couple of years. How well you take care o it, as well as whether you use a protective cover or not, also affect its useful life.
That being said, it is most recommended to change pillows more or less every two years. It is actually very likely that, after this period, your pillow has deformed irreversibly or has mites impossible to eliminate. You should obviously change it before that time if you notice that it is no longer as comfortable as at the beginning.
Which is the best pillow to combat pain?
Sleeping without a pillow, or with a pillow that is too high or too low, can cause neck and back pain. Choose a model that provides good support for your head and neck, without being too firm, if you feel pain after sleeping. Viscoelastic pillows are the go-to choice for people suffering from cervical, neck or head pain.
These pillows perfectly adapt to the shape of the head and neck. They are also designed to alleviate pressure on the area and relax the muscles. They are also called “memory foam” because they regain their original shape when you take the pressure off of them. They offer medium firmness and resistance, which provides a pleasant level of relaxation in the neck.
Is sleeping with a pillow between the legs useful?
Sitting and walking correctly isn’t all that’s needed for a good posture: sleeping appropriately is also important. During sleep, the tissues, ligaments and muscles of your back regenerate, which is why a proper sleeping position is so essential. Regardless of which side you sleep on, you must keep your neck and back axes aligned.
If you tend to sleep on your side, using a pillow between your legs is the best option to avoid causing muscle injuries and rest more comfortably.
This technique reduces the weight and pressure of the upper leg, while eliminating the pressure of the muscles of the hip and lower back, resulting in a better alignment.
How should I use my cervical pillow?
This type of pillow is the best choice for people who frequently have neck and/or back problems. However, you have to know how to use them properly if you want to benefit their positive impact. In order to do so, place your whole head on the pillow, always trying to have your shoulders on the mattress.
Ideally, your head, neck and shoulders should be perfectly aligned and adopt a natural posture that will prevent injuries and pains. Unlike with other pillows, you need to sleep on your back for cervical models to be efficient.
Pillows are incredibly important if you want to get the best rest possible. Nowadays, thanks to scientific development, the market offers a wide range of models and types – such as cervical, viscoelastic or latex. In the following section, we’ve detailed the key aspects that you need to consider when making your purchase.
- Sleeping posture
- Individual or double pillow
The type of pillow you need is greatly influenced by its material, as are its quality and fit to your needs. As we mentioned earlier, viscoelastic pillows are currently the best-selling on the market. The reason for this is that they are comfortable and resistant, adapt perfectly to the contours of the neck, alleviating pain and stress in the process.
Today, synthetic fibres and viscoelastic are the most commonly used and sold materials.
If you want to opt for more traditional materials, feather, down or natural or synthetic fibre pillows will be your options. The latter are most recommended for people suffering from allergies, and also happen to be the most affordable. Finally, you should go for latex if you prefer a soft touch and a greater durability – but remember that these models are more expensive.
As we explained earlier in the article, choosing the right pillow size isn’t just about matching with the size of your bed. While they used to be the measured this way in the past, there are now higher or lower pillows depending on the needs of your body and your sleeping posture. As you can imagine, sleeping on your side, on your stomach or on your back don’t present the same requirements.
Certain pillows even feature an adjustable height through a system of interchangeable internal parts. These models are ideal for individuals with neck and back problems. While they are a little more expensive, they are your best option if you really want to correct your posture.
Again, the position in which you sleep will directly impact the type of pillow you should buy. Stomach sleepers, for instance, are advised to opt for feather or down pillows, as they tend to be much thinner and more adaptable. On the other hand, cervical or gel models are tailored for people who sleep on their back.
Featuring a higher density, viscoelastic or latex pillows will also be comfortable for sleeping on your back. Fibre pillows are extremely versatile: they adapt well to the neck and fit easily, whether you sleep on your side or in any other posture. Take a good look at how you sleep, and choose the pillow that will be most comfortable.
The majority of pillows present a traditional design, with some being taller, wider or longer depending on their size. However, certain models feature special therapeutic designs, specifically designed for people with postural problems or cervical aches. If that’s your case, consider your needs and choose accordingly.
We can’t emphasise enough on the importance of your sleeping posture when it comes to choosing a design. You obviously shouldn’t settle for the very first pillow you see, but rather adapt it to your posture and your preferences.
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The pillowcase is another key element that you shouldn’t neglect. Most pillows come with a washable cover. Viscoelastic pillows, for instance, have a protective cover that you will need to wash regularly. These pillowcases are generally made from natural fibres such as aloe vera or bamboo. Make sure that it is both interchangeable and washable.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the material of the pillowcase when buying your pillow: it should be hypoallergenic and anti-mite. This factor is particularly important if you suffer from asthma or have some kind of allergy to dust.
Individual or double pillow
The answer is very simple if you sleep alone, even if it is in a large bed. This is because you won’t have problems with the movement of your partner during your rest. The problem with shared pillows is that they prevent you from being able to choose the material you prefer, or the way you sleep according to your own needs.
Also, if one of the people has a tendency to move during the night, they will most likely bother the other person. This is why it is now recommended for everyone to have their own individual pillow. That way, both people in the couple has a model tailored to their specific needs.
Pillows are much more than mere pieces of fabric on which we rest our heads at night. How well we sleep depends a lot on choosing the right model, which will also prevent us from suffering from neck and back pains the next morning. Your pillow should align the axes of your neck and back, helping you get the most refreshing sleep and relieving stress.
As we explained in our article, many factors will influence your purchasing decision: these include your sleeping posture,, whether you suffer from cervical pain or not, the manufacturing material and even its maintenance. If you follow our advice, we’re confident that you’ll be able to pick the perfect pillow to sleep like a log.
If you liked our shopping guide, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below, or share with your friends and family so that they also know how to find the right model on the Australian market.
(Source of featured image: Belchonock: 32985619/ 123rf.com)