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How to Pick the Right Pillow

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the importance of mattress choice, what it sleep position is best, and what accessories can be used to aid sleep, but we haven’t addressed where you literally lay your head. People who aren’t sleeping terribly well don’t have always have the cash to purchase an entirely new mattress, so they look to make a pillow change. In a lot of cases, that’s all that needs to be done to remedy poor sleep. So, we’re going to run through a few things to consider when pillow hunting.

When looking for a pillow, there are two main things to consider:

  • What material is the pillow made of?
  • What position do you predominantly sleep in?

  • If we can answer these two questions, you should have no problem picking out your ideal pillow. When presenting pillow materials, we’re going to present them from least firm to most firm.

    Memory Foam

    Memory foam pillows are extremely popular right now. They come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, all purpose built for different sleep situations. The benefit with these pillows is that they will reform to fit your sleeping habits while you’re sleeping. The downside is that they tend to not be all that supportive, as they constantly compress under your weight. For people seeking a thin pillow, or one that won’t inhibit your body’s natural positioning, this may be a great choice for you. One other thing to take note of is that memory foam pillows often cause the sleeper to sweat due to poor temperature regulation, and can give off a chemical smell when new.


    Down pillows have been used for centuries, and have the reputation as being some of the most comfortable pillows around. Filled with a large amount of feathers, it’s remarkably easy to move around the contents of the pillow to suit the position you’re sleeping in. The down pillow is the true middle ground between less supportive memory foam, and the more firm pillows we’re getting to. The one downside with down is occasionally being poked by the end of a feather from time to time. All things considered, it’s a very minor downside.

    Wool & Cotton

    More on the firm side of things, wool & cotton pillows are extremely commonplace. More firm than down, less firm than latex, they are fairly hypoallergenic, but not to the same extent that latex is. Generally, these pillows don’t have a great deal of give to them, so avoid these if you’re looking for something truly soft.


    Of the four pillows we’re discussing, latex is the firmest. Latex pillows are extremely hypoallergenic, and generally do a great job regulating temperature. Latex pillows are formed when made, so they often come in many shapes and sizes, though not as many as memory foam. Latex and memory are two sides of the same coin, in that they are both molded and come in a variety of shapes, but they differ heavily in terms of temperature regulation and firmness. Latex pillows should be used by those seeking a definitively firm pillow.

    Now that we’ve covered material, which is a matter of preference, we’ll talk about sleep position, which is often partially out of your control. According to doctors, each sleep position has different needs in terms of pillows. We’re going to go through the 3 standard sleep positions in terms of pillow thickness, starting with the thinnest pillow.

    Sleeping on Your Stomach

    Unless you’re sleeping with face down into the mattress (which we strongly advise against), sleeping on your stomach means that your head will be cocked to the side for the duration of the night. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you use as thin a pillow as possible, or don’t use one at all. Another common recommendation is to use a small, thin pillow under your stomach to prevent lower back pain.

    Sleeping on Your Back

    People sleeping flat on their back have a great deal of variance in their pillow preferences. A lot of people prop their heads up in order to watch TV or use their computer, and then fall asleep that way. Unfortunately, that’s horribly unnatural for your neck. Doctors actually recommend you use a thin to medium firmness pillow for on-back sleeping. When sleeping, your spine and neck should be in near perfect alignment, so propping your head up could have negative effects on your posture, and cause a lot of undue pain.

    Sleeping on Your Side

    If you regularly sleep on your side, you know how difficult it can be to position the pillow perfectly to fill in the gap from your shoulder to your head. Your neck is often far removed from the mattress and pillow, which is can awful for your spine. In response to this, doctors recommend that side-sleepers use a large, firm pillow to provide all night support to that crucial area of the body. A down or latex pillow would be the strong recommendation here.

    Between what your pillow preferences are, and what your body needs for support, this should give you a clearer picture of what pillow decision you should make. At the end of the day, no pillow is complete without an equally supportive mattress. We’d urge you to consider the Aereo Choice mattress, which offers unparalleled comfort and customization. Rest easy, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive deals!

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