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Can’t Sleep? Your Pillow Is Probably To Blame

By: Don Lee | Tips | 6.8.2016

Getting a proper amount of sleep is essential for living a healthy life. Getting a proper amount of quality sleep is a whole different story.

Aside from your mattress, your pillow is one of the primary components of how well you’ll be able to sleep. To the typical tired person, pillows might not seem like anything special, but they actually serve a crucial role during the night. As a result, they have a substantial impact on how well you rest and your overall well-being.

Support Is Key

A pillow provides support to a person’s neck as well as their upper back. Since people sleep in varying positions, including the missionary, fetal, freefaller, and yearner, it’s important to consider neck and upper back support when shopping for a pillow. Again, this differs depending on your sleeping position. Here are some examples of suitable pillows for different positions.


Back sleepers:

For those who like to sleep on their backs, pillows that are flat and thin provide much needed support to the head and spine. Wedge pillows also do an outstanding job of this.


Stomach sleepers:

Stomach sleepers don’t really need much support while sleeping. Just make sure that the pillow is thin, since this helps prevent your head from rising to a higher degree, putting unnecessary strain on your neck.


Side sleepers:

A contoured pillow that provides firm support is best for those who prefer to sleep on their side. It’s recommended that side sleepers place a pillow between their legs as well to help keep the spine aligned.

The appropriate level of pillow support is critical as the human spine is naturally curved. If the pillow is too high while sleeping sideways or on your back, your air pipes can narrow, resulting in obstructed breathing and snoring.

Choose the right pillow texture & material

The type of pillow texture is another minute, yet major detail in choosing a pillow. After all, your pillow has to “feel” comfortable so it’s easier to fall asleep on.



There are cool, smooth-feeling pillowcases and warm, rough-feeling ones. If you’re a person who ends up flipping your pillow constantly to get to the cold side, then you’ll most likely be looking for something cool. Contoured orthopedic pillows are generally the coolest, while feather pillows provide the most warmth.



The material inside of a pillow is what you ultimately feel when you lay your head down, so it’s important to choose the right filling. Here are some examples:

  • Polyester
  • Latex
  • Water
  • Memory foam
  • Buckwheat hulls

However, it can be difficult to check if a certain material works for you since most stores don’t allow you to test out pillows first (can’t lie down on the ground can we?). Not to mention, the government doesn’t have an official scale for pillow firmness. It’s best to check in advance to see if a store is generous when it comes to return policies, just in case.

Good versus great

In essence, don’t overlook the importance of a pillow. It can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a great night’s sleep.

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