Restful sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

A woman in bed with a stuffed bear counting sheep as they pass over her and time flies.

Sleep is essential to every process in the body, affecting our physical and mental functioning the next day, our ability to fight disease and develop immunity, and our metabolism and chronic disease risk.

— Erica Janses, Research Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences, University of Michigan, 2020

But are you struggling to get a full night's sleep? Do you awake with neck or back pain?

It may be time for you to buy a new pillow to better support your body and health. With so many pillows available, there are some things to consider when deciding which is best for you.

1. Determine if you need a new pillow

Before you make your purchase, determine why you need a new bed pillow.

A woman grabbing a pillow on a bed and looking unsettled.

You may need a new bed pillow if you are struggling to sleep. Your pillow may also be worn out and need replacing.

Closely examine your pillow for the following signs of aging:

  • Stains 🚩

  • Odors 🚩

  • Physical wear and tear 🚩

  • Loss of shape 🚩

2. Examine how you sleep

What kind of sleeper you are can determine the type of pillow you need to improve your sleep.

A cartoon character rolling around in bed with the title

Thinking about the way you sleep can help you figure out the thickness of the pillow you want to try.

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On Your Stomach

  • Try a soft, flat pillow to support your spine in a "neutral position."

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On Your Side

  • Try a firm pillow with added thickness to support your neck and head properly.

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On Your Back

  • Try a soft, medium-thickness pillow to help your head from tilting too far forward.


Some people switch positions throughout their sleep. What type of pillow might you get if you are a mixed sleeper?

3. Decide on the size

When deciding on a pillow size, think about your size and the size of your bed to find one that is just right for you.

A cartoon of Goldilocks waking up beside her bed saying,

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Your Body Type

Consider your body size.

  • A small or petite person may find discomfort in an extra-tall pillow.

  • A larger person may need additional support.

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Your Bed Size

Consider the size of your bed and the pillowcases when choosing the size of your pillow. If your pillow does not fit your case, you may need to buy a new one.

  • Standard-sized pillowcases are typically used for twin, full, and queen beds.

  • King-sized pillowcases are typically used for king and California king beds.

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Aside from pillows for your head, there are body pillows and knee pillows that may also support your body type and size. Consider additional pillows if you are a side sleeper and/or have specific aches and pains. 🌟

4. Set your budget

As you prepare to make your decision, keep in mind that a pillow's cost depends on the size, materials, quality, and brand.

Pillows range in price from $4 all the way up to $400 or more. The bigger the pillow, the more it may cost. Luxury pillows may cost more while pillows made from polyester tend to cost less.

A woman in a robe saying,

How much can you afford? You may need to spend more depending on the type of pillow you choose.

Example average price range:

  • Latex — around $150

  • Feather — $25 - $50

  • Down — $80 - $260

  • Cotton — $50 - $100

  • Memory foam— $50 - $150

You can also find pillows at more affordable prices by shopping at discount stores. Don't forget to check if the material and thickness meet your needs! 🌟

5. Choose the material

Two white pillows on a white bed. Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

The best material depends on your unique needs:

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Down or Feather

Best if you want something long-lasting. They're very soft, can flatten quickly, and needs to be fluffed frequently.

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Cotton or Wool

Best if you have allergies. They aren’t susceptible to dust mites or mold, and they're often firm. 

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This is another allergy-friendly choice. You can find it in synthetic or natural material. Choices may be heavy and firm. These pillows take their original shape after you use them. 

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Memory Foam

This is a form-fitting option. It cradles your head or shifts along with your movements while you sleep. This type of pillow can be denser and less breathable than other materials.


If you're a side sleeper, which pillow would be a good choice for you? Choose all that apply:

6. Test it out

Harry Styles on a bed with many pillows.

Head to the store to touch the pillow you're considering and see if you like the softness, thickness, and materials. Some stores even allow you to lie on a bed to test the pillow. 🏬

If you can try it in person, most stores will accept pillow returns within a certain number of days with a receipt. 🧾

Take Action

Are you ready to improve your sleep? Start with a new pillow!

A person side sleeping on a pillow with the words sleep well about them.


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