The Best Pillow for You, According to Your Favourite Sleep Position

There are many factors that can stand in the way of you getting perfect sleep, night after night. From too much blue light exposure from your phone to anxiety, the colour of your bedroom and even the foods you eat throughout the day, pinpointing the underlying source that’s causing these uncomfortable and restless nights can be a difficult task, to say the least. But if you’re physically uncomfortable and waking up with neck pain, it could be an easy solution to fix. 

Obviously, investing in a brand new mattress would be your first train of thought, however, it’ll be a massive hit to your wallet. But a new comfy pillow to give you extra support and comfort? That’s definitely a more financially viable option. 

Your pillow should provide comfort and support, and allow you to wake up feeling refreshed and restored. The problem is, most people don’t spend enough time choosing the perfect head cushion for them, which leads to sleepless nights and eventually neck pain. 

“Thinking the most expensive is the best, not testing prior to purchase and going by what their friends have are the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing a pillow,” sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo tells Bed Threads Journal. “Remember, your best friend might have the same choice in Netflix shows as you, but this doesn’t mean she has the same sleeping position or body profile as you.” 

Arezzolo stresses: “You’ll know you have the right pillow when you wake up - you won’t have any aches, pains or strains in your neck or upper spine.”  

How do you choose a pillow that won’t cause neck pain?

Instead of letting online reviews sway your decision, Arezzolo recommends following these three important tips when purchasing the perfect pillow:

  1. Go into the store to try it - this should not be an online purchase! 
  2. Go to a department store and test it out for 10 minutes in your natural sleeping position - shoes off and all.
  3. When testing, your pillow should ensure your neck stays in alignment with your spine and not be cocked up or slumped down. 

Here’s how to choose the best pillow for you, depending on whether you’re a side, back or stomach sleeper. 

What is the best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain?

Height is key if you spend most of the night lying on your side. “Generally, a thicker pillow is best,” Arezzolo notes. “This is because it fills in the space between your shoulder and your head.” You’ll also want to opt for one that’s quite firm.  

What is the best pillow for back sleepers with neck pain?

According to Arezzolo, “as a general guide, a medium pillow is best. This is because there is less space between the back of your skull and the mattress, compared to side sleepers.”

You might also need dual support by adding a second pillow under your legs. 

What is the best pillow for stomach sleepers with neck pain?

“Stomach sleepers need a very soft and thin pillow to prevent extension in their neck.”

Steer clear from foam and latex pillows, and instead opt for a wool-fibre, feather or down option. 

Olivia Arezzolo is a Sleep Expert who holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology); Certificate of Sleep Psychology, Diploma of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine); and Certificate of Fitness III + IV. Sign up to her sleep e-course here and follow her on Instagram @oliviaarezzolo.

Do you find yourself waking up at 3am? Here's why this is happening - and how to stop it. 

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