Which is the best pillow for side sleepers and back sleepers?

Choosing a pillow suited to your sleeping style is an important factor to getting a good night's sleep. Spending a little extra on a good pillow goes a long way to providing a more comfortable sleeping environment, and quality products tend to last longer. 

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Pillows

What's the perfect Pillow thickness?

To ensure a restful night's sleep, it's important that the height of the pillow suits you. A correct spine and neck alignment needs to be maintained while sleeping so there's no pressure on the neck or back muscles.

To check that your pillow is providing the correct amount of support, you can ask a friend or partner to check your alignment. With your head placed on the pillow, your neck and spine should be straight.

Another way to check is to stand against or next to a wall in the same style as you would lie on your mattress. Place a pillow between the wall and your head, then check the alignment of your spine. Is it straight or is it curved and would you be happy to spend the night in this position?

The pillow that is the one for you will have you looking straight ahead with a straight neck. This allows your spine, neck and head to be fully supported throughout the night.

Which pillow is best - spine alignment

What makes a pillow comfortable, and when to replace it?

The comfort of a pillow depends a lot on the firmness of your bed, and your personal sleeping style. If you have a soft bed, you may find a slightly lower pillow more comfortable than what's recommended for your sleeping style, as this works with your body sinking a little lower into the bed.

Generally, most pillows should be replaced every 2-5 years depending on the quality of the pillow. Some high quality pillows come with 20 year warranties. Using a pillow protector extends the life of your pillow and stops it being degraded by sweat, moisture and bacteria.

Pillows to avoid if you're a Side Sleeper

Let's get this out of the way first. There are a few types of pillows to stay away from if you're a committed side sleeper. Some of these may come as a surprise.  

Down and feather pillows are soft, pliable and feel cuddly, but they lack the height and support needed to keep your neck aligned. Down tends to escape its casing from time to time. 

Polyester pillows generally don't last long, and the contents tend to shift creating hollows. 

Down Alternatives and Gel pillows tend to lack the support and firmness needed for side sleepers. They also tend to clump and become lumpy and uncomfortable with age. 


Which is the best pillows for Side Sleepers?

Side sleepers ideally need a higher, medium to firm pillow. The pillow needs to fill the gap between the ear and the outside edge of the shoulder. This will support your neck, head and spine to ensure they are all in alignment. Sleeping on a pillow that's too soft or thin makes your head lay low, creating a downward bend in your neck. A pillow that's too thick creates an uncomfortable upward bend of the neck.

Side sleepers needs a pillow to stay firm through the night, without the fill collapsing in on itself. Any of the 4 pillow types listed below are ideal for side sleepers. 

#1 - Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillows

Snuggle-Pedic Ultra Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Bamboo shredded / memory foam mix pillows are designed to contour to your spine, giving you proper orthopaedic support. These keep their buoyancy allowing your head and neck to remain in alignment throughout the night. 

Shredded memory foam pillows have a zipper to easily add or remove foam to adjust the thickness, as well as the overall softness and firmness of the pillow. These pillows are fully washable and come with a removable protective cover making them easy to launder, but still need a pillowcase to protect them properly.


#2 - Latex Pillows

Beautyrest Latex Foam Pillow - For side sleepers

If you're not used to a Latex pillow these can feel a little bouncy to begin with. The bounce gives the pillows its resilience and prevents it from flattening. Latex pillows adapt to your shape and adjusts itself as you move to provide optimal support neck and spine support. 

These pillows come with a protective machine washable cover, making it easy to launder, but they still require a pillowcase. 

NOTE: Firmness and thickness does vary greatly between brands and models.


#3 - Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Hokonui Adjustable and Inflatable Contour Pillow

The natural curve design of memory foam contour pillows adjust perfectly to the shape of body. The contour comfortably supports your head, neck and shoulders giving you a deeper sleep.

Choose between the high contour or the low contour side for the height that feels best to you. These are great for side and back sleepers. Contour pillows can reduce neck and shoulder pain, and help reduce snoring. 

These come with a Antimicrobial protective cover that is machine washable. 


#4 - Buckwheat Pillows

Zen Chi Organic Buckwheat Pillow

Buckwheat pillows are firm and maintain their height during use. These pillows naturally conform to the shape of your head, neck and spine to maximizing support and comfort.

Buckwheat pillows have zippers to allow for personal adjustment, to improve spinal alignment and help reduce snoring, making for a higher quality sleep. These have air pockets to naturally keep the pillow cool. 

Buckwheat will make some noise when shifting, but this is not loud enough to wake you if you're asleep. 

NOTE: Buckwheat is a type of grass, so if you’re allergic to grass this may not be the pillow for you.


The best pillows for Back Sleepers

The back sleeping position is considered the healthiest sleep posture, and is recommended by most sleep experts and doctors. Back sleepers generally need a softer pillow that gives a little bit of support under their neck, and isn't too full that it forces the the head to tilt too far forward.

#1 - Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Hokonui Adjustable and Inflatable Contour Pillow

The natural curve design of memory foam contour pillows adjust perfectly to the shape of body. The contour comfortably supports your head, neck and shoulders giving you a deeper sleep.

Choose between the high contour or the low contour side for the height that feels best to you. These are great for side and back sleepers. Contour pillows can reduce neck and shoulder pain, and help reduce snoring. 

These come with a Antimicrobial protective cover that is machine washable. 


#2 - Foam Bed Wedge Pillows

Acid Reflux Wedge Pillow "BIG" by Medslant

Bamboo shredded / memory foam mix pillows are designed to contour to your spine, giving you proper orthopaedic support. These keep their buoyancy allowing your head and neck to remain in alignment throughout the night. 

Shredded memory foam pillows have a zipper to easily add or remove foam to adjust the thickness, as well as the overall softness and firmness of the pillow. These pillows are fully washable and come with a removable protective cover making them easy to launder, but still need a pillowcase to protect them properly.


#3 - Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillows

Snuggle-Pedic Ultra Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Bamboo shredded / memory foam mix pillows will give you good orthopaedic support and are designed to contour to your spine. These pillows retain their buoyancy and keep your head and neck in alignment throughout the night. 

Shredded memory foam pillows have a zipper to easily add or remove foam to adjust the thickness of the pillow. These pillows come with a removable protective cover and are fully washable.


The best pillows for Decoration

#1 - Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow (2 pack)

If you do a quick search on Amazon and other online retailers, you'll find the Beckham Hotel Collection brand right up there on the Best Sellers List. These pillows look beautiful but they are too soft for anyone looking for good for their neck. 

The pillows recommended here give neck support and will keep your spine aligned, but many won't give your bed that straight out of Modern Home magazine look. If you really want the stylish hotel look, then buy a set of Beckham pillows, and put your comfy pillow behind these when styling the bed in the morning.

Tip: Beckham Hotel Collection pillows are larger than standard pillows and come in Queen and King size, so make sure you buy a set of pillowcases to fit at the same time as purchasing these.

Pillow Cases & Protectors

What is thread count and which is the best bedding?

When choosing bed linen, you need to consider thread count, softness and warmth. The thread count and the material play a big part on how comfortable a pillowcase feels. 

Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch. Generally speaking, the higher the thread count, the softer the material. Thread counts go up to over 1000, but 400 thread count is a good number to aim for.

Soft bedding isn't just about choosing a high thread count. The material the sheet is made from makes a difference as well. Soft materials include Bamboo, Egyptian Cotton, Flannel, Sateen and Jersey.

Bamboo Bed Sets

Similar to Egyptian Cotton, Bamboo bedding is naturally breathable and has very thin fibers and threads. Bamboo is one of nature’s most versatile, sustainable, and renewable materials. Growing bamboo takes little to no water and doesn't need the pesticides or fertilizers that cotton requires. Bamboo products are dust mite, mold, and bacteria resistant. This makes these ideal for anyone with asthma or breathing difficulties. Bamboo also absorbs sweat and is naturally temperature controlled.


Egyptian Cotton and Bamboo Sheets



Egyptian Cotton and Bamboo bedding are both highly regarded premium bedding materials.

Cotton & Egyptian Cotton Bed Sets

Cotton is by far the most used material to make sheets. This is because it is both durable and breathable. Cotton is good all year round, but especially in the warmer months, as it's cool and light weight. The most popular cotton is 100% Egyptian Cotton. Egyptian cotton and regular cotton are made from different plants. Egyptian cotton has finer threads meaning more threads can be woven into a square inch, compared to regular cotton. This makes for a softer sheet.

Flannel Bed Sets

Flannel sheets are used as the weather turns cooler. Flannel is a cotton that has been combed to fluff up the fibers, giving these a warm and fuzzy quality. The fluffiness traps body heat keeping you warm through the night. These are a favorite in cold climates, and for children's beds.


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