Most people don’t realize how detrimental the right pillow can be for the quality of your sleep. A regular store-bought product is likely to fall apart, become dirty, and lose its form after just a few short months of use. Thankfully, modern day technology has allowed the industry to expand the design of pillows to include hundreds of different shapes and sizes. Sleeping is not a one size fits all circumstance, and you need a pillow that fits your personal needs.
Quick Look at Our Top 5 Picks
Where should I start? What should I look for in a pillow?
Hypoallergenic Properties– Heavy dyes and porous foam can easily become filled with mildew, bacteria, dirt, and dust mites. Your pillow should have hypoallergenic properties; unresolvable coughing, sneezing and upper respiratory issues might just be related to the microbes living inside of the material. Purchase one that has a removable and machine washable case.
What Position Do You Sleep In?
Waking up with pain in your neck, back, shoulders, and hips can be an indicator that you’re sleeping wrong, or you just may not have a very good pillow. If you lie on your back most of the night, look for a design that offers contouring to the neck and slightly lifts the shoulders. Sciatic pain and nerve compression are also major issues that make it impossible for you to relax your muscles enough to sleep. Wedges and knee pillows are great for raising your pelvic region and keeping the legs at an angle to take pressure off of your nerves.
Target the area that gives you the most trouble and pick a shape that provides immediate relief.
What Kind of Material Do You Want?
For most, basic goose down pillows are pretty comfortable, but they don’t usually come with a removable cover. Since goose down can’t be washed, you’ll quickly have a dirty pillow on your hands from months of dirt, hair, and dead skin cells building up.
Alternatively, foam and gel pillows are also popular and frequently purchased. Unfortunately foam is non-recyclable and can be harmful to the environment. Look for materials that have the CertiPUR Seal or RoHS Certification; these organizations ensure that consumers who are environmentally concerned and health conscious get a safe, top quality pillow.
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
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The Snuggle-Pedic holds its form for years and is literally made from bamboo! The cover is 43% viscose of bamboo, 56.4% polyester and .6% Lycra. The soft and supportive foam is made from certified Eco-Friendly Biogreen material and is only sold by Relief Mart Inc. Beware of imitation brands and check the label when purchasing this pillow! The “shredded” design provides a cooling effect as well so you won’t wake up sweating.
- Can be used for multiple sleeping positions
- 20 year warranty guarantees customer satisfaction, and 120 day sleep trial
- Case can be unzipped, removed, and placed in the washing machine
- The memory foam might be too stiff for some people
- Light odor has been present upon purchasing, possibly due to packaging
- Some issues with lumps have been noted with these pillows, small percentage
Dust allergies and contact dermatitis can cause serious reactions, but the Snuggle-Pedic is hypoallergenic and made without formaldehyde, flame retardants, mercury, and other chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and to the environment. However, if you’re interested in a softer, more pliable pillow, the Snuggle-Pedic might not be right for you. Only wash the case, washing the actual foam could be a reason for lumping.
MARNUR Contour Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow for Neck Pain
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Contoured pillows are a great option if you aren’t the kind of person who tosses and turns. The groove in the center gently aligns your vertebrae so that you don’t roll into awkward positions or wake up with a sore and stiff neck. The polyester case can be removed and placed in the washing machine so you don’t have to worry about it collecting dirt, mites, and dead skin.
With a RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substance) Certification, you can be sure this pillow is environmentally safe. It doesn’t contain harmful materials like lead, mercury, or hexavalent chromium. If you have someone in your home that snores, this pillow will keep their head up to prevent airway obstruction, which will help you get better rest in turn!
- Works well with neck injuries (vertebrae c1 through c5)
- Prevents headaches from sleep apnea and lack of oxygen from snoring
- Breathable foam prevents heat retention and mold growth
- You can really only use this pillow for your neck, not very versatile
- Won’t work for people of smaller or petite builds, might make sleeping more painful
Even if you don’t want this pillow for yourself, you can always purchase it for loved ones who have trouble sleeping without feeling sore in the morning. Grandparents and parents love the MARNUR Orthopedic pillow and agree that it can be used as a long term fix for neck pain. It’s also helpful for those going through recovery from car accidents and physical therapy! This product also comes with its own carrying case for long car rides and other forms of travel.
SweetyLife Knee Pillow for Back Pain and Sciatica Relief
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Pillows aren’t just meant for your head and neck, knee pillows provide elevation to the hips and legs to take pressure off of your sciatic nerve. You can place the Sweetylife between your thighs when sleeping on your side as well to keep your spine straight and aligned. When lying on your back, place it under your knees or hamstrings for extra elevation and relief. Sciatic pain is a very real and very common issue among people, and pillows like this really do work!
- Includes a lifetime warranty, you’ll never need to buy another one
- Has a removable cover that is machine washable
- Helps people with nerve compression and osteoarthritis
- A bit too small for people who have a wider build or are a bit taller
- Difficult to soften and break in
When purchasing the Sweetylife pillow, you should keep in mind that it will be firm. It’s meant to support the weight of your legs, so it won’t have the soft touch like the ones used for your head. Instead of tossing, turning, taking pain killers, and trying to find a comfortable position, try a knee pillow to help take all the pressure off of your back. The Sweetylife pillow will make sure you wake up feeling refreshed and loose.
Bed Wedge Pillow with Memory Foam Top by Cushy Form
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This 12 inch wedge is a gift from above if you know someone who snores or has severe acid reflux disease. If you work from home and need some extra support for your shoulders and lower back, the Cushy Form pillow is worth investing in. With measurements of 25 inches by 24 inches by 12 inches, you’ll have a nice rigid alignment while you’re typing on your laptop or studying for finals. The high density memory foam ensures that your wedge never loses its shape so that you can get the most out of your money.
- 100% money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase
- Reversible, you can use it for hip and lower back nerve compression relief
- Helpful with upper respiratory infections, reduces drainage to the lungs
- Great if you have recently had shoulder surgery and can’t sleep flat
- Pillow case is loose and not detachable
- Measurements are a bit smaller than described in the advertising
- Not a machine washable product
Foam wedges are designed to be firm enough to withstand the test of gravity, so you might need to put a softer pillow beneath you for added comfort. This pillow cannot be placed in the washing machine, so you’ll have to lightly clean the exterior part of this wedge. Other than the issue with hygiene, the Cushy Foam pillow wedge does exactly what it’s meant to! If you do decide you don’t like it, just send it back to the company for a refund; this pillow is a risk-free purchase.
Arc4life Cervical Traction Pillow for Neck Support and Side Sleepers
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The Arc4life is a bit softer and more flexible than foam pillows, it has gentle grooves made from polyester fiber filling that contours more easily around your neck and shoulders. The soft lift keeps chin pointed upward, which prevents snoring and encourages better breathing. If you wake up with a headache after sleeping, you probably weren’t getting enough oxygen to the brain. Ruptured and herniated discs can make it impossible for someone to lie on their back without experiencing sharp pain in the neck, this pillow can help you with that. Neck injuries shouldn’t prevent you from getting a comfortable, deep sleep.
- Comes with instructions, versatile capabilities
- Relieves arthritis in the shoulders and neck
- Helps with numbness in hands and arms due to nerve compression
- Comes in 3 different sizes (Large, medium, small)
- Won’t work as well for those with a petite build, smaller shoulders
- Contents seems to shift around after a few months, causing structural issues
- Could take up to 2 weeks before your body fully adjusts to this pillow
Since your neck is used to lying in a certain position, it might take your muscles and tendons awhile to loosen up and adapt to the curve of this pillow. The best approach would be to test it out for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, and gradually increase the minutes as you get more comfortable using the Arc4life. This is custom for just about any pillow you get, your body needs time to stretch out in a strange way that it isn’t accustomed to. Compare it to yoga, you can’t do all the poses the first time around, but after a few weeks you’ll notice a big difference in the way you feel. Specialized pillows work in the same manner.
Sweetnight Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
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If regular foam feels too stiff, shredded foam can be a convenient alternative. Made with 90% gel, and 10% foam, the pliable filling is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. The CertiPUR Certified, which means there aren’t any harmful chemicals such as mercury and lead present in the Sweetnight pillow.
These substances can cause cancer, fertility issues, and birth defects in infants, which is why companies like to let their customers know they have a seal of approval. To receive this seal, foam products must meet strict guidelines that include both physical and analytical testing. Vegans will be pleased with the positive effect that the Sweetnight pillow has on plants and animals, on a global scale.
CertiPUR products do cost a little bit more, but the quality is exemplary and you’ll rarely see a bad review on these hypoallergenic items.
- Stuffing is removable so that it doesn’t clump over time
- Environmentally friendly materials and production
- Can be used in any sleeping position
- Minor issues with a bad pillow, mold
There have been little to no complaints about the Sweetnight Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow other than one known issue with mold. Otherwise, the removable stuffing is perfect; you get to decide how firm or soft your pillow is. If your product arrives with a bit of a “chemical” smell, this is normal and is related to the way it is packaged. Air it out for a few days, and the smell should disappear in no time.
If your case gets dirty, you can easily unzip it and place it inside the washing machine. The foam itself is not washable, so put it in a clean bag for storage until your case is completely dried and ready to be used. Don’t place the stuffing back in your pillow case until it has dried completely, moisture will encourage growth of mold and other harmful bacteria that will ruin your pillow. The better you take care of your pillow, the long it will last.
Bluewave Bedding Slim-Gel Infused Memory Foam Pillow
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Gel is a popular and favored material among many! It’s cool, refreshing, breathable, and feels great when you’re sick with a fever. Bluewave is a hybrid version of this material, made up of 60% polyester and 40% rayon extracted from bamboo. This pillow also happens to have a seal from CertiPUR for their globally conscious products! The case is both removal and washable, helping to keep your pillow clean and comfortable.
- Machine washable and removable cover (do not wash actual foam)
- Case wicks away sweat from your skin
- 30 day money-back guarantee
- For those with longer/thicker hair, this pillow might get hot after a few hours
This pillow is on the firmer side, it’s not soft the adjustable stuffing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, your Bluewave won’t lose its shape if you happen to spend several months with it under your stomach while you sleep. The slim build will keep your vertebrae aligned at night and helps to manage lower back pain.
ComfySure U-Shaped Full Body Pregnancy Pillow
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Pregnancy is tough, the further along you are the more uncomfortable it is lie down and sleep. When you’ve got a baby punching your stomach, poking your ribs, and pushing on your spine, getting rest is frustrating, but also necessary. There is hope, the ComfySure U-Shaped Full Body Pregnancy Pillow is perfect for women who are struggling to get through their third trimester. Made from 100% polyester, the hypoallergenic properties will keep you from getting itchy rashes. This pillow is huge at 39 inches by 59 inches and can be used as a mattress if you can’t lie comfortably on your regular one.
- Cover is removable and machine washable, on cold, delicate cycle
- Relieves pressure from your belly
- Can be used for years, great if you want to have more children
- Lower arm position is a bit awkward
- Material isn’t as soft as advertised, a bit too rough for some
- Can be irritating if you need to return it, the box is large and required to receive a refund
Other than the material being slightly rough the ComfySure Pregnancy Pillow is very helpful for anyone expecting a baby soon. You’re already dealing with nausea, acid reflux, cravings and mood swings, so do yourself a favor and get some sleep. You deserve a pillow that encourages muscle relaxation and tension relief, it’s good for the baby too! Once your child is born, you can elevate the ComfySure for added support while you hold your new baby, feed them, and rock them to sleep.
Cozy Hut Memory Foam Semi Roll Half Moon Pillow
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If you’ve ever used a generic body pillow, you’re aware of how big and bulky they can be. It provides very little pain relief for things like sciatica and knee aches if it doesn’t fit between your thighs properly. The Cozy Hut is just like a body pillow, but cut into a half roll for a more effective design.
- Multi-use for back, stomach and side sleepers
- Removable case is machine washable
- Helps provided added comfort and back support for those who are wheelchair bound
- Might be smaller than what’s expected from the photo
- Fresh “foam” smell
So far the Cozy Hut pillow has worked wonders for everyone who has used it. There have been a few complaints about an odor when the pillow comes fresh out of the package. Remember that this is normal for almost all foam products and it’s just a natural scent from your freshly made pillow. It should disappear after a few days, you can air it out or wash the outside cover once it’s arrived. You should try it out to be sure you like it before washing it though, this way you can return it if it isn’t what you were looking for.
TMJ Relief Pillow by Accutrig for Pain Management
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If you don’t snore or have sleep apnea, there could be another reason for nightly headaches; you might just be grinding your teeth. If you are, you your jaw probably moves out of place, causing even more pain. The Accutrig stretches your neck out and aligns it properly through the night, while relaxing the muscles in your jaw at the same time.
- Works well for truck drivers and people who work at a desk
- Reduces stress in neck and shoulders
- Relieves pain even after you’re done sleeping
- Those with larger heads might not have enough neck support with this
Migraines and neck tension can cause blinding pain and ruin your day, slowing down your everyday productivity. Instead of spending $100 a week on massages, try the TMJ Relief Pillow by Accutrig for comfort and pain management that extends throughout your day. Keep in mind that you should only use this pillow to relax and stretch your muscles for about 10 to 15 before you fall asleep.
Pillows Are Considered “Personal Hygiene Items”
One significant dilemma people run into when purchasing blankets, pillows, eye masks, and other sleep products, is the return policy. Sometimes when we get home things just don’t work out for the better. Allergic reactions and disappointing quality among other things are reasons you might end up wanting to return most items.
When it comes to pillows, you need to keep the plastic covering over it if you aren’t sure whether or not you’ll be keeping it. The reason being that a company cannot resell an opened product once it has been used; it violates health codes that have been set in place in order to protect people from the spread of infections, bugs, and problems that can spread. If your pillow has a warranty, read the return policy very carefully and be sure that you completely understand the guidelines. Never throw away any boxes, booklets, instructional guides, or receipts that came with your purchase. You’ll need it later for returns and exchanges!