A lot of factors go into determining the best pillow for side sleepers, and at the end of the day, your personal preferences will always play a role. That being said, there are certain ways to check the quality of your pillow, both before and after you buy.
You may have heard the term thread count before, but it is not always clear what the benefits are of purchasing a pillow with a higher thread count. In a nutshell, it means that there are more threads woven into each square inch of fabric that makes the pillow, and the more tightly woven it is, the less likely it is that feathers and other elements will poke out, even as it gets a bit more worn out. It also keeps the dirt out, which extends your pillows life.
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Another way to extend your pillow’s life is to get a pillow protector. These are much cheaper to replace than a good pillow, so it is worth the initial investment.
To find the best pillow for side sleepers, the ideal pillow will have a high amount of firmness. A pillow’s firmness helps eliminate the risk of back, neck, or shoulder pain caused by inappropriate or uncomfortable sleeping positions. Back sleepers tend to enjoy medium firmness, while stomach sleepers need much less firmness.
Side sleepers fall on the other end of the spectrum from those who sleep on their stomachs. They really do need a pillow that has maximum firmness, so that they can get the right support for their head, neck, and shoulders. Every person’s body is a little different, so it might take a few tries to find the one that is right for you, but most side sleepers prefer to have a firm pillow.
It is also a good idea to look for pillows that have gusseting. Gussets are sides built into the pillow to support the top and bottom. A lot of pillows are made from two pieces of cloth sewn together around the edges. These are fine, but gussets increase the pillow’s support and they also keep it from wearing out as fast. Pillows with gusseting are able to maintain their form better than those without it, therefore, makes them one of the best pillow for side sleepers.
Gusseting is also great for side sleepers, because those two extra pieces of material provide even more support for the neck. In this way, you can find a firm pillow with a high thread count and gusseting, and you should be almost guaranteed a good night’s sleep. Throw a protector over it, and you should not have to worry about the condition of your pillow for a long time.
Pillow fill can be another issue that prevents you from sleeping as well as you could be. There are two basic types of fill, natural and synthetic, and some people have minor allergies to feathers or down that can keep them awake at night without them realizing the cause. However, natural fills like these have advantages, including the pillow’s weight, which is very minimal.
Synthetic fills are usually made of plush polyester or visco-elastic memory foam. Higher-density foam molds itself to the heat of your body, while lower-density foam responds to pressure. In mattresses, this type of memory foam can be very comfortable, and in pillows, it usually offers more support. This material is much denser than natural fill, so the pillow will be correspondingly heavier.
One of the hazards of memory foam is that it is highly flammable, but if you do not keep your pillow close to heat sources, then this should never be an issue. It can also give off a strong chemical smell, especially when it is new, but the smell dissipates after some time. Some people remain sensitive to it and can experience mild allergic reactions.
The best fill type for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. The ideas mentioned here are just a few things to think about when you are getting ready to buy a new pillow.
This brings me to another point. Not everyone knows how to decide when their pillow is on its last legs. A simple trick exists for testing the state of your pillow. Simply fold it in half and then watch how quickly it springs back. A slower reaction means that the pillow is in poor condition. For side sleepers, this means that it should be replaced immediately, because a pillow that does not unfold on its own has lost most of its firmness.
At the end of the day, choosing the best pillow for side sleepers might seem like a complicated ordeal, but it really should not be so hard. If you keep in mind that you need something firm and gusseted, then the other considerations are details. Every thought you put into picking a pillow will make it more comfortable and healthy for you, and the extra money you spend will usually pay for itself if you have picked the best pillow for side sleepers like you.