4 steps to picking the perfect pillow

Whether you're a back, side or stomach sleeper there's a pillow for you

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing, however many of us struggle to get enough shut-eye. One way to ensure you get adequate sleep is to choose a pillow that’s suited to your needs.

Richard Christianson is a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and has worked with Dunlopillo to provide the following tips on choosing the perfect pillow.

1 Consider your sleep position
If you sleep in multiple positions then consider a pillow with multiple profiles, such as a contour pillow. If you experience neck pain and disturbed sleep due to it, then having a variety of pillow profiles may be beneficial as different neck pains may require different profiles to be comfortable.

Side sleepers need to fill the gap between their shoulder and midline so that their head doesn’t hang lower than the midline or is propped up to high above midline. The variables which will determine the profile of your pillow for side sleepers is your frame width and the comparative density of the mattress to the pillow.

A lower profile pillow is a good option for back sleepers. Due to the smaller curvature of the cervical spine there is only a small gap to fill.

For stomach sleeping, the main factor to be aware of is the extra degree of neck rotation it causes. When you already have a sore neck, this position is usually an uncomfortable position to adopt. So, when buying a pillow, look for shapes and designs that can help lessen the rotation angle of the neck.

Simon Whitbread
(Credit: Simon Whitbread)

2 Choose the right material
The different materials (latex, memory foam, gel, feather and polyester) provide different support so it’s worth comparing them all. My personal recommendation would be to choose a higher density material (ie: latex or memory foam) because it will hold its shape and continue to give you a consistent supportive feel for longer.

3 Take a picture
A simple self-assessment is to take a picture of yourself lying either on your back or side and see if the pillow fills your natural curvatures of your spine, thus allowing your head to rest in alignment with your chest and shoulders. If your head is angled up, then your pillow profile may be too big and if your head is angled down then your pillow profile may be too low. If you like to sleep in either position, then a dual contour pillow may be a great option.

Cath Muscat
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

4 Test your pillow
When it comes to a healthy night’s sleep the main subjective sign health professionals assess is do you have good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene is considered being able to fall asleep within 20-30 minutes of trying and to stay asleep for the first five hours. One of the main features you should be looking for in a pillow is self-rated comfort. So, a clear sign that your pillow may not be right for you is persistent tossing and turning in the first 20-30 minutes of trying to go to sleep. Make sure you trial multiple pillows as comfort is a personal preference, not a pure science. It comes down to each individual’s perception of comfort.

To mark Dunlopillo’s 90th anniversary, the heritage bedding company has created The Dunlopillo Tool, an online personalised quiz developed to simplify the process of finding the perfect pillow.

For tips on home decorating, check out the video below.

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