Have you ever thought about how to choose the right pillow?  Do you tend to choose the one that feels the fluffiest, or firmest?  How do you know what is right for you? We spend a lot of time on our pillows so we really do deserve a pillow that works for each of us. No two bodies are the same therefore different people need different types of pillows.  Here is how to choose the right pillow for you.

Typically, we should be changing our pillows every one to two years.  This is especially true with down pillows. If you are experiencing new neck or back pain/discomfort or if your pillow is losing its shape, it is time to replace it.

So what are the best pillows for various sleeping positions?

Back Sleeper:

A flat pillow is best.  If needed you can add support under your neck (small towel or small tube shaped pillow).  Sleeping with the shoulders off the pillow is comfortable for some.  If you have neck pain you may be more comfortable with your pillow under your shoulders, which will extend the neck slightly.  You may also think about putting a pillow under your knees if you are a back sleeper.  This will help minimize strain on your lower back.

Side Sleeper:

If you have a firm mattress, the best choice is a thicker pillow to allow your neck and head to align right over your shoulder.  If you have a memory foam or pillow-top mattress, you will need a slightly thinner pillow as your shoulder will sink into the mattress.  If there is space under your neck, add a rolled up towel or tube pillow.  If you suffer from shoulder pain try resting your arm on a pillow to lift it up a bit.  Place a pillow between your knees to help maintain a straight spine.

Stomach Sleeper:

Stomach sleepers should be using a flat pillow or no pillow at all.

Upright/Incline Sleeper:

Sometimes we are required to sleep upright or in a reclined position (medical condition, overnight flight, etc.). Horseshoe pillows are great for these situations.  Try not to get a large pillow. You want to keep your head aligned with your spine and squarely over your shoulders.

What is the best material?  This is very much depends on personal preference.  Here are the common materials used for pillows and the pros and cons of each.

Memory Foam:

These pillows change shape in response to the heat from your body and the weight of your head.  This material is hypoallergenic and often inexpensive. However, if you move around during the night, the pillow is slow to adapt to a new position.  It can get rather warm, as it tends to retain heat.


Feather pillows tend to be soft and conform to your head well. Unfortunately, these pillows tend to lose their shape and support over time and therefore lose their support.


Down pillows are extremely soft.  They are more expensive and can cause allergic reactions to some people.  Similar to feather pillows, down will lose its shape and support.


Natural latex will cradle your neck and minimize pressure points.  You cannot adjust these pillows easily.  They can also be pricy.


Buckwheat is a natural material that is breathable, hypoallergenic, durable, and environmentally friendly. They are expensive and tend to be harder than many traditional pillows.  They also tend to be loud!


Polyfoam pillows come in various shapes to allow for specific uses and support.  They respond more quickly to pressure so will adapt to your movement better than memory foam. They are lightweight, affordable, hypoallergenic, and machine washable.  You need to replace these pillows more quickly than other pillows.