Why buy bed pillows?
The obvious answer would be that sleeping with a pillow is more comfortable than lying flat on a mattress, couch, or any other surface. But some bed pillows are designed for performance. For example, if you’re the type that sweats in your sleep, a bed pillow that incorporates cooling memory gel foam can help you stay cool throughout the night, so you’re not waking up because you’re sweaty. They also help align your spine and neck properly so that you don’t wake up feeling sore and achy.
What should you consider when shopping for bed pillows?
- Filling: Almost all bed pillows will be stuffed with one of the following materials: down feathers, synthetic materials, memory foam, or regular foam. Down feathers are ideal because they aid in regulating warmth as well as being a soft surface. But some people may be allergic, and depending on the quality of the pillow cover, getting stuck by feather quills can be a frustrating side effect. Synthetic fillings, usually polyester, are hypoallergenic and machine washable, but they have shorter life spans and offer the least amount of head and neck support. Memory foam is also generally hypoallergenic, is nice and dense, and offers extra support since it molds to the shape of your head and neck. However, it is usually a bit more and is not machine washable. Meanwhile, foam pillows offer similar benefits as memory foam for less money.
- Size: You’ll usually find three main sizes for bed pillows: standard, queen, and king pillows. Standard pillows are 20 by 26 inches, queen pillows are 20 by 30 inches, and king pillows are 20 by 36 inches. Generally, you’ll want to buy a pillow that aligns with the size of your mattress, i.e., if you own a queen-sized mattress, you should aim for a queen-sized bed pillow.
- Sleeping Position: As we mentioned in the introduction, some pillows are specifically designed for certain sleeping positions. While most pillows are universally supportive of side and back sleepers, if you’re a stomach sleeper, you’ll want to look for pillows specifically designed for this. Typically, they’ll be a bit flatter to ensure that your neck can maintain a neutral position.
How often should you replace your pillows?
Ideally, you should replace your pillows every one to two years. But between then, properly cleaning them is important. While you can toss poly-fill pillows into the washing machine, this isn’t true of memory foam pillows. Instead, only the pillow cover can be removed and tossed in the laundry. You can vacuum your memory foam pillows and use baking soda to eliminate any odors.
Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows
A pair of plush, luxurious pillows that are hypoallergenic and chemical-free.
Pros: This pillow set is made of 100% cotton and filled with gel fibers, making them a great universal pick for side, back, and stomach sleepers. They’re also designed with no-shift construction to ensure that they retain their shape and plushness, even with regular use. The cotton fabric is breathable and cooling, ideal for anyone who tends to run hot as they sleep. Both pillows are anti-fading and anti-staining for increased durability and longer-lasting use. You’ll also like that they’re resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew and are hypoallergenic, chemical-free, and machine washable.
Cons: While the reviews are generally positive for these pillows, we did note that of the negative reviews, shoppers complained that these pillows have a tendency not to hold their shape. In particular, people noted that they weren’t as supportive as they hoped they would be.
Bottom Line: If you’re outfitting your bed with new pillows and need a solution that works for various sleeping styles, this two-pack from Beckham is ideal.
Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow
A highly adjustable memory foam pillow that comes with extra filling for anyone who wants an extra-thick pillow.
Pros: Memory foam is a fan-favorite choice for people seeking truly supportive bedding—and that includes pillows too. This pillow is filled with shredded memory foam, meaning that you can adjust the fill level to suit your sleeping preferences. It comes with a machine washable cover and promises to be toxin- and chemical-free, vegan, and CertiPUR-US and GreenGaurd Gold certified to be low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with minimal off-gassing. You’ll also get an extra half-pound bag of fill to customize your pillow if you like.
Cons: Not everyone enjoys shredded memory foam. While the customizable nature is ideal for people that need to create their own Goldilocks zone, it can lead to a slightly lumpy texture. Also, depending on who you’re buying this pillow for (think children), easy access to bits of memory foam can make for a cleaning nightmare.
Bottom Line: If you’re concerned about VOCs and harmful chemical off-gassing, you’ll appreciate this adjustable memory foam fill pillow that’s CertiPUR-US and GreenGaurd Gold certified. The adjustable fill allows you to create a customized firmness level for ultimate comfort. But this might not work for some who may not like the somewhat lumpy nature of shredded memory foam fill.
Utopia Bedding Pillows Set of 2
A set of pillows designed for universal sleep styles that keeps you cool as you snooze.
Pros: No matter your sleeping style, you deserve to fall and stay asleep—not wake up in the middle of the night because you’re hot and sweaty. This two-pack set of Utopia sleeping pillows promises to do just that. They’re designed to be universally supportive of all sleeping styles and support cooling technology to keep you comfortable while you sleep. And these are filled with polyester material, making them machine washable.
Cons: Most reviews for this product are fairly positive, but we did note that in the negative reviews, a common refrain was that they weren’t as supportive as people had hoped. In particular, reviewers noted that they tended to sink into the pillows, which offered little in terms of firm support.
Bottom Line: With your choice of queen and king-sized pillows, this two-pack of universal sleep-style pillows is ideal for updating your bedding without breaking the bank. Polyfill makes these easy to care for, thanks to their machine-washable nature. But if you’re looking for a firmer pillow, you might want to keep looking.
Sidney Side Sleeper Pillow
A pillow designed specifically to offer customizable support for side sleepers.
Pros: Side sleeping is a fairly common position, but it also means that you might experience discomfort in different areas of your body depending on the firmness of your mattress and pressure points along your body. This side sleeper pillow from Sidney features adjustable, removable memory foam, allowing you to create the right level of firmness. It features a design that hugs the body to give you the right support where you need it most.
Cons: While this pillow states that it’s designed to be universal for all sleeping styles, the slightly curved shape does mean that it’s best for side sleepers. While reviews are mostly positive, even positive reviews noted that creating the right customized firmness level can take some time.
Bottom Line: Although billed as a pillow for all sleeping styles, this pillow is especially suited for side sleepers thanks to a curved design, breathable airflow, and adjustable shredded memory foam fill. However, getting the firmness level to your liking might take some time.
DreamyBlue Premium Pillow for Sleeping
A low VOC emitting pillow that comes with extra memory foam so you can customize the firmness.
Pros: Adjustability is the key feature of this CertiPUR-US certified bamboo rayon-covered pillow. It comes with a bag of fill, so you can customize the firmness to your preference. This is another universal sleeping-style pillow, thanks to the removable shredded memory foam fill. And the cover is machine washable.
Cons: Note that only the pillow cover is washable, not the memory foam. Additionally, the shredded foam can make for a slightly lumpy texture, which might not appeal to everyone.
Bottom Line: A healthier pillow thanks to CertiPUR-US certification and a customizable firmness are the key hallmarks of this universal sleeper pillow. But the shredded memory foam core can make for a lumpy texture.
It’s not an understatement to note that we all need sleep to function properly. So, it stands to reason that your sleeping environment should be as comfortable as possible. You should look for a pillow that complements your sleeping style. And depending on your preferences, find a firmness level that provides the proper support for your neck and head without being uncomfortable.