How to choose a pillow?
Choose the best pillow by considering the pillow filling, the support it offers, the construction and the size. This will help you decide what the best pillow is for you.
How to choose a pillow:
- What are the types of pillow filling?
- What is the best pillow to sleep on?
- What is a chamber pillow?
- What are the standard pillow sizes in the UK?
- How often should I replace my pillow?
The perfect pillow is key to a good night’s sleep. It should provide the right amount of firmness and softness. It should support your neck and contour to your head. It should be breathable, long-lasting and spring back after use. It shouldn’t be poky, go flat, set off your allergies or lose its shape after six months. The perfect pillow should feel luxurious, combining the best filling with the cleverest construction.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF PILLOW FILLING?
Your first choice is whether to go natural or synthetic?
Down and feather - usually combined in varying amounts to create the right support and comfort. Down is fine, soft and springy. Feathers add weight, firmness and support. Goose down and feather are finer and fluffier than duck down and feather. This filling is breathable and allergen resistant if it’s good quality and properly treated. Look out for the anti-allergy NOMITE mark.
Wool, silk and cotton - other natural choices. Generally firmer as they are more naturally compressed or have less loft. Naturally hypoallergenic and breathable.
Man-made fibres can be manufactured to different measurements of thickness.
Hollowfibre - a hollow thick synthetic fibre which is lightweight but firm. Creates a supportive pillow if well filled.
Microfibre - a much finer synthetic fibre which is soft and silky and produces a pillow with medium firmness. Needs to be well packed to provide enough neck support.
Memory foam - developed by NASA scientists! It contours to the shape of your head and only adjusts shape slightly, providing good support if you can get used to it. Not washable though.
WHAT IS THE BEST PILLOW TO SLEEP ON?
The best pillow for neck pain - If you suffer from neck pain, check whether your pillow is providing the right support. If your pillow is too high or too firm your neck will be extended which can lead to neck strain.
The best pillow for side sleepers - Ideally you should sleep on your side or your back for a comfortable night’s sleep rather than on your stomach which can give you neck or back ache. Your pillow should be higher under your neck than your head to keep your spine straight when you sleep on your side.
You should only need to sleep with one pillow - if you find you need more support then it’s time to find the right pillow.
Feather and down pillows contour well to your head and neck. Memory-foam pillows can also conform to the contour of your head and neck. Their manufacturers claim they help foster proper spinal alignment.
WHAT IS A CHAMBER PILLOW?
How a pillow is constructed can have a big impact on the support it provides. A chamber pillow is essentially a sandwich with a central core of firm filling such as feather in the scooms pillow and outer surrounding chambers of soft, squidgy filling like the goose down in the scooms pillow. This provides good support for the head and neck.
Synthetic pillows can also use chamber construction and may have the firmer hollowfibre in the core for support with softer microfibre in the surrounding chambers.
WHAT ARE THE STANDARD PILLOW SIZES IN THE UK?
There is no specific reason to choose a particular sized pillow apart from your bed size and your personal comfort. Go for a standard pillow size, 50cm x 75cm (20” x 30”), if you have a single or double size bed.
If you have a king size or super king size bed, then you may want to cosy up to a larger king size pillow 50cm x 90cm (20” x 35”). (This size can also be called super king.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I REPLACE MY PILLOW?
Many sleep experts recommend replacing a pillow every one to two years. Pillows lose their ability to be supportive over time. Different fillings do have different durability, natural down and feather pillows last longer than polyester filled pillows for example.
Pillows also absorb body oils, dead skin cells and can attract dust mites. Regular washing every six months can extend your pillows lifespan. Check the care label on your pillow for washing instructions. Foam pillows can’t be washed however. See our guide on how to clean your down pillows.
TOP PILLOW FAQS:
What do I need to consider when choosing a pillow?
There are 4 key criteria to consider when choosing a new pillow. The filling, level of support, construction and pillow size. Choose one that is accredited by the relevant industry accreditations such as Responsible Down Standard, Nomite, Downafresh and Oeko-Tex.
What are the types of pillow filling?
Down and feather - usually combined in varying amounts to create the right support and comfort. Down is fine, soft and springy. Feathers add weight, firmness and support.
Wool, silk and cotton - generally firmer as they are more naturally compressed.
Hollowfibre - a hollow thick synthetic fibre which is lightweight but firm.
Microfibre - a much finer synthetic fibre which is soft and silky.
Memory foam – which contours to the shape of your head.
What are the standard pillow sizes in the UK?
There are 2 main pillows sizes in the UK: standard pillows, 50cm x 75cm or 20” x 30” and king size pillows which are 50cm x 90cm or 20” x 35”.
How often should I replace my pillows?
Also in Pillows
A standard size pillow in the UK is 50cm x 75cm (20” x 30”). Here's the scooms guide to pillow sizes in the UK:
You should sleep on only one pillow. The right pillow should help your body maintain the ideal sleeping position throughout the night, keeping your head, neck and spine in neutral alignment.