Finding the Right Pillow

Finding the right pillow can be challenging. Should you buy a wool, down or a down alternative pillow? Should you buy soft, medium or firm? What about a memory foam pillow? We have added some research below to help you narrow down your search.

  1. Think about your most preferred sleeping position. Some people sleep primarily on their back, some sleep primarily on their side and some prefer to sleep on their stomach. Knowing which position you tend to sleep in is important for picking the correct pillow.
  2. Spend a few nights discovering your favourite sleeping position. Although you may already have a pretty good idea about your preferred position, it is good to take a few nights to confirm it.
    • When you are getting ready to fall asleep, spend a few minutes on your back, on your side, and on your stomach. See which one feels the most comfortable for you. If you spend half an hour on your stomach and you haven’t fallen asleep, it’s probably not your preferred position.
    • Try to be aware of the position you are in when you wake up in the morning. Write down the position you woke up in so you can compare over a few days.
  3. Choose your preferred position. Now that you have spent time thinking about and discovering your preferred sleeping position, it’s time to decide. This is an important decision, as it will guide you to your perfect pillow.
    • If you are a stomach sleeper, you will need a soft, fairly flat pillow, or you may not need any pillow at all. Having a soft pillow will allow your neck to stay more in line with your spine.
    • If you are a back sleeper, look for a medium thick pillow. You don’t want it to be too thick, or it will push your head too far forward. You also don’t want it to be too soft, or your head will simply sink down to the mattress. In this case, you may want a pillow which is thicker and firmer on the bottom, to provide a bit of neck support.
    • Side sleepers will need a thicker, firmer pillow to help support the neck.
    • If you find that you are a mixed sleeper and you find many positions comfortable throughout the night, look for a pillow that is of medium thickness, and a bit softer so that it can be used comfortably in different positions
  4. Learn about the different kinds of fillings that exist. There are many types of pillows, and each type has different things to offer.
    • Consider any medical issues you have. If you have asthma, allergies, or chronic neck pain, you may need a particular filling.
    • Consider the cost. Some pillow fillings tend to be more expensive than others.
  5. Consider a down or feather pillow. These pillows are typically made from the inner plumage of geese or ducks and can be filled according to your preference.
    • More firmness, or loft, suits side sleepers while less loft is better for back or stomach sleepers.
    • They can last up to 10 years and are resilient and breathable because they are made of a natural material.
    • Be aware that there is a difference between a down pillow and a feather pillow. Down is very light and soft, and is usually located underneath the harder, stronger feathers, which protect the bird from the elements. A feather pillow will likely be harder, and there is a chance that some of the feather quills could poke through the fabric, particularly in cheaper feather pillows.
    • Although there is no scientific evidence that down or feather pillows exacerbate allergies or asthma, some people prefer to avoid them.
    • You might wish to avoid down/feather pillows for ethical reasons, or due to asthma or allergies. In this case, there are synthetic versions available.
  6. Consider choosing a wool or cotton pillow. A wool or cotton pillow might be particularly suitable for you if you suffer from severe allergies, as these pillows are not susceptible to dust mites or mold.
    • Be aware that these pillows tend to be quite firm, so they may not be the most suitable for stomach sleepers.
    • If you are a stomach sleeper, but you also want a pillow that is hypoallergenic, you may be able to find a very thin wool or cotton pillow.


  • Consider having more than one kind of pillow. Some days you may feel like you need more support than on other days, so it is nice if you can have different options to choose from.
  • Wash your pillow regularly according to manufacturer’s instructions or use a pillow protector to increase its life. Foam pillows cannot be washed, but a pillow protector will help keep it clean.
  • Replace your pillow when it breaks down or no longer holds its shape. Fold your pillow in half lengthwise and hold it that way for 30 seconds. If it doesn’t go back to its original shape when released, you need a new pillow.