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How to Choose Pillow Firmness?

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Ah, after a long day at the office, you want nothing more than to crawl into bed and rest on a comfy pillow

But what if you were actually hurting your body by laying on the wrong pillow? (Yes, there is such a thing as a wrong pillow.) 

The perfect pillow does exist, but it depends on factors such as your body, weight, sleeping position and health condition. 

Choosing the right pillow firmness will help you get a better sleep and be fully rested. 

In this article, our pillows specialists at Polysleep tell you all about pillow firmness and the type of pillow you really need. 

What does pillow firmness mean?

Home caregiver installs an accommodating pillow for the elderly woman in her bed

When you think of pillow firmness, are you thinking of how hard or soft a pillow is? Yes, that’s part of it, but it’s also much more than that. 

The pillow you choose will not only need to be comfortable, but also support your head, neck, and spine

Without that support, you can face injuries, pain, or general lack of sleep. 

But are firm pillows better? 

Not necessarily. Before you shop for one, consider how you sleep, how much you weigh, and whether you’ll need extra support. 

From there, you can determine the firmness of the pillow as well as the material it’s filled with. 

The different pillow firmness

The good news is that you can choose the level of pillow firmness you prefer.

Soft pillows are perfect for sleepers who don’t need a lot of support. Soft pillows conform to your head and neck. They can also lead to neck pain if you lay the wrong way.

Like soft pillows, these pillows are plush, but give you a bit more support.

If you need a pillow right in the middle, this one's for you. It’s not too soft, and it’s not too firm. If you change positions a lot, this pillow will suit you best.

If you need a firm pillow, but would like a bit of flexibility, the medium firm pillow will work. It provides you neck and head support with a balance of conformity.

The firm pillow is the toughest on this list. It’s perfect for larger sleepers as it gives you more support without the plush. These will be heavier pillows that will not conform.

Type of sleepers: what firmness is best for you?

Everyone sleeps differently and therefore each person needs specific pillows to ensure they’re supported during sleep

For instance, if you sleep in “all” positions, you might not want feather pillows which will not be comfortable in all positions. 

Approximately 70% of people sleep on their sides, so most pillows are designed for side sleeper pillow firmness in mind. 

If you’re a consistent side sleeper, get a firm or extra-firm pillow to maintain the alignment of your spine and neck, which is helped by having a hard pillow. 

Side sleeper pillow firmness is crucial in ensuring a good night sleep for your body (and your mind). 

Additionally, you definitely want to get a thicker pillow to ensure more support.

While sleeping on your stomach is not ideal, there are pillows that are best for sleeping that way. 

When you’re sleeping on your stomach, your neck and spine are in a non-traditional position

You want to try to make your spine as level as possible with the mattress. 

Because of that, you want a thin pillow that is soft and pliable, but able to keep you flush with the mattress.

The healthiest way you can sleep is on your back (barring sleep apnea).

A medium firm pillow will be the best start because it will support your head and the curve of your neck

However, a thinner pillow will also help support your alignment. 

In addition, if you have sleep apnea or severe snoring, prop pillows up so you sleep at an angle, or use a wedge pillow.

Learn more about: Our Wedge Pillow Guide

Pillow firmness and material

Woman sleeping with her head lying on a firm pillow

Along with the level of firmness you prefer, you can also choose the type of material for your pillow. 

Memory foam pillow

Memory foam has long been associated with comfort, and a pillow made with this material is no different. 

Because of the technology, the pillow conforms to your head and neck shape. As you move, it moves and adjusts accordingly

As they tend to get warm, try to get one that has more breathability

Latex pillow

Latex has been popular because it’s known to be supportive, yet soft

Latex pillows offer breathability and flexibility. 

Buckwheat pillow

These pillows are great for back and stomach sleepers

Filled with buckwheat shells, which are all-natural, these pillows are adaptable and breathable

Unfortunately, they’re heavy and firm, which can be difficult for some sleepers. 

Down pillow

If you want a soft pillow, grab a down pillow. These pillows are made with feathers but not just any kind. 

These feathers are from the bird’s undercoat and designed to keep them warm. 

They don’t typically provide a lot of support and are difficult to clean.

Down alternative pillow

This is a version of the regular classic down pillow and is often created using synthetic materials

Often, polyester is used so it feels like a down pillow. 

This makes it a favorite since it tends to be cheaper and better for allergies

However, it’s not as malleable as other choices. 

Feather pillow

Feather pillows are exactly that — feathers. Usually made of goose or duck feathers, they’re valued for their ability to return to form and how strong they are.

Because of their curly shape, they have the ability to support without flattening, though a good fluff is always helpful. 

Keep in mind that feather pillows can get hot and be hard to clean.

Polyester pillow

Polyester is an extremely affordable option. 

Often referred to as poly-fill, this pillow is light and great for allergies, but tends to get lumpy and does not last long

Water pillow

A water pillow offers a pocket to fill with water. 

Why would you want a pillow filled with water, you ask? Because you have the ability to keep it at the level you want so you never have to worry about pillow firmness or softness. 

It’s also geared towards all sleepers. 

Learn more about: Adjustable Foam Pillow

Customizing the firmness of your pillow? We say “Yes”! 

Woman sleeping comfortably on a Polysleep pillow

You’re right. Rather than choose from one of the many choices listed above, customizing your own pillow according to your needs is the best decision. 

Thankfully, that does exist!

You should try the Polysleep customizable pillow. It offers different layers of hybrid viscoelastic foams that you can add or remove according to your preferences. 

Not only will it fit your needs, but it will also be soft and malleable. 

In addition, the hybrid foam layers used in our pillows are ventilated, antimicrobial, latex free and certified ISO 20743 and CertiPUR-US

The Polysleep customizable pillow provides support and assists you in getting the good night sleep you deserve.

Discover the Polysleep pillow now!

Antimicrobial certified Polysleep pillow


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