Having the right pillows on your bed can make a big difference to your quality of sleep. If your current ones are feeling a bit flat and lifeless, it might be time to replace them to avoid developing neck and back aches.
It’s pretty easy to tell if your pillows are no longer comfortable, but there is a simple test you can do to see if it is still providing all the support it should:
Feather or down – place the pillow on a flat surface and fold it in half, squeezing out the air. If the pillow unfolds into its original shape after you let go, then it’s fine, but if it stays folded up then it’s lost its support and needs to be replaced.
Synthetic filling – follow the same steps as above, but place a weight of around 300g (a medium-sized paperback) on top of the folded pillow. If it can’t summon the strength to shrug off the object placed upon it, then it needs throwing out.
Most feather and down pillows can be expected to last around 5-8 years, while synthetic can last as little as 6 months or up to two years.
How to choose a new pillow
The first thing to think about is your sleeping position. If you tend to sleep on your back or side, most medium thickness pillows will be fine, but if you sleep on your front, you need to have a relatively thin pillow to minimise the strain on your neck, and keep your spine aligned.
While down and feather pillows are very luxurious and soft, it’s best to avoid them if you suffer from allergies. Many are treated to remove allergy-causing particles, but if you’re not sure then it’s best to stick with synthetic, hypo-allergenic fillings, which can also be put in the washing machine.
The firmness of a pillow, as well as the number and thickness, is often down to personal preference – essentially, if you’re comfortable then it’s right for you – but as a general rule if you’re smaller you probably need fewer, thinner pillows, but if you’re bigger you’ll probably want one or two plumper pillows.
For the amount of time we spend with our heads on them, a decent pillow is one of the most important purchases you can make, so it’s really worth spending some time picking the one that’s perfect for you.