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How to Choose the Perfect Pillow

Pillows play an important role in our sleep. The right pillow will help us sleep soundly and stay healthy. 

Choosing a pillow, though, can be a bit overwhelming. With so many sizes and fills, it can be tricky to figure out which one will suit you best.

We break down how to choose a pillow based on your preferred sleeping position, mattress size, fill material, and more. 

Considerations When Choosing Your Pillow

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Your sleeping position

The way you sleep is the most important factor to consider when selecting a pillow, and will affect the weight or density you should search for while shopping. 

The right pillow for your sleeping position will help to align your spine properly. This will reduce and possibly eliminate neck and shoulder pain, allowing you to sleep more soundly. 

Here’s which density you’ll need to choose and why: 

- Back sleepers - Firm Fill Density with Low or Medium Loft. Medium loft is usually ideal for back sleepers because it’ll keep your head just the right distance above your mattress. 

- Side sleepers - Medium Fill Density with Low, Medium, or High Loft. As a side sleeper, you’ll need a pillow that’s not too cushy or firm. The loft you need will depend on the firmness of your mattress. A more firm mattress will require a higher loft. 

- Stomach sleepers - Soft Fill Density with Low Loft. A softer pillow is not only cushy, but will help keep your head and neck close to your mattress. A higher loft will make it so that your head and neck are too high up, causing strain.

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Your preferred fill 

Pillows come filled with either natural (down) or synthetic (down alternative) materials. Down fill provides cloud-like loft and lasting support, while down alternative fill offers similar comfort in an allergy-friendly fiber. 

We partnered with the experts at DOWNLITE to create our two fill types: our cruelty-free down is responsibly sourced from farms in the U.S. and triple washed to guarantee a cleaner, longer-lasting loft; and our PrimaLoft® Luxury Down Alternative® is a premium hypoallergenic fiber that mimics the weight and gentle loft of down.

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Your mattress size

The size of your bed also matters when choosing a pillow to make sure your pillows take up the appropriate amount of space. Most pillows fall within the range from Standard to Jumbo—sometimes called Super-Standard or Standard XL—to Queen to King. To make shopping easier and sleeping more luxurious, we designed our Standard pillow to offer oversized dimensions, making it the go-to option for most mattress sizes. Here are our expert recommendations for the best pillow sizes for your mattress: 

- Twin: Standard pillow

- Twin XL: Standard pillow

- Full: Standard pillow

- Queen: Standard pillow

- King: King pillow

- California King: King pillow

The firmness of your mattress

Mattress firmness determines how far your body sinks into it. This, along with other factors, play a part in maintaining proper alignment of head and spine. Pair a soft pillow with a soft mattress, and your head will stay close to the mattress as you sink evenly into both, allowing you to sleep in a neutral position. Pair a soft pillow with a firm mattress, however, and your head might rest too low in comparison to your body. A firm pillow will provide more support, keeping your head higher above the mattress regardless of whether your mattress is soft or firm.

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The function of your bed pillows

If you’re looking for a pillow that fits a certain purpose—for sleep versus for decoration—you’ll be looking at totally different options.

Sleeping pillows are your typical rectangular pillows, or specialized pillows that provide targeted support for a specific area of your neck and shoulders. 

Decorative pillows can be made from other materials than sleeping pillows and come in different sizes. For example, the euro pillows has a square shape that makes them perfect for creating depth on top of your bed, while the more narrow lumbar pillow adds visual interest with its unique silhouette—and supports your lower back when used on a chair, sofa or top of bed.   

Why the Right Pillow Matters

Having the right pillow is key for your overall health, since they improve your sleep posture by keeping your head, neck, and spine in proper alignment. This will prevent aches and pains and help you get the best sleep possible. If you have these issues, it might be time to replace your pillow.

The right pillows also make a difference in your bed styling. Pillows that are the proper size and fill will give your bed the lush, luxurious look of your dreams. For some inspiration, check out our recommendations for easy pillow arrangements.