How To Know If You Need Soft Or Extra Firm Pillows

Sleep is a human necessity that one mustn’t miss. While you may want to stay up all night to finish some tasks and chores, you still need to end the day with a good night’s sleep.  

As you try to hit the hay, you might not be in the most comfortable position as your body isn’t resting properly. While mattress shopping is one thing you need to be concerned about, you should also consider that the right pillow type will come into play.  

Importance Of Pillow

When you lay your body to sleep, a pillow will help to provide proper spine alignment that’ll allow you to relieve any pressure and pain. With the appropriate pillow putting you in the right sleeping position, you can almost guarantee you won’t be having any neck and back pains every time you wake up from your sleep. However, you still need to consider your bedding and medical history.  

You can use pillows anytime you want to doze off. With the right travel pillow, you won’t have to worry about neck pains and discomfort after traveling for hours. Not only would you be able to have a restful sleep, but you can make the most out of the dead time you use while you’re traveling.

Choosing The Right Pillow Firmness

While choosing a pillow may sound like an easy and quick job, there’s more to it. You can’t just pick the fluffiest pillow you see on the market and expect to have the best sleep of your life. You need to be specific about your pillow to ensure your head and neck would have the proper support it needs.

As you go pillow shopping, you need to be aware of the pillow firmness, especially that they don’t just come in one. With the right choice, you can ensure you’d be having a restful sleep without any neck pain that’ll just make it difficult to get through the day.  

When choosing pillows, there are three main firmness options you could choose—soft, medium, and firm. While most people would prefer choosing soft since they feel like sleeping on a marshmallow cloud, it may not be beneficial for you to use at night.  

Significance Of Loft Type

Apart from identifying which kind of firmness you need for your pillow, you also need to consider the loft type your body needs. While you may want to focus on the firmness options, allowing yourself to have the right loft height will enable you to achieve maximum proper sleeping alignment.  

A loft type is the height and thickness of your pillow. With the right size and firmness, you can encourage suitable spinal alignment that’ll improve your overall health. In this way, a pillow can properly lift your head to an optimal height to discourage any discomfort or nerve pains.  

Your Sleeping Positions

Your pillow firmness will depend on your sleeping position. Different people have various ways of how they sleep. As you position your body differently, you’re putting your head and neck in multiple places that may disrupt your spine alignment. With that, choosing the right pillow firmness is an absolute must.  

With a pillow firmness, you can allow the pillow to lift or flat your head perfectly while you lay in bed. With the right height, you can encourage proper spine alignment that’ll benefit your health and not just allow you to get through the following day.

Since you’ll be needing various pillow heights, the right pillow firmness would help you achieve optimal sleeping. No matter how high your pillow is, if you choose a soft one, you’ll just sink into the pillow, not allowing your body to have the spine alignment it needs. While the task might sound easy, you should consider your sleeping positions very seriously. Here are some of them: 

Stomach Sleeper  

Being a stomach sleeper isn’t everyone’s cup of tea since you’ll need to continuously turn your head to the side so you can allow your body to breathe as you sleep. However, if you find the most comfort with sleeping on your stomach as you can feel the comfort of your bedding and mattress right onto your skin, you should pair your bed with a soft pillow.  

As you sleep on your stomach, you might add pressure to your neck and spine, especially that you need to turn your head for proper breathing. As you lay your head flat onto the bed, a low loft pillow will benefit your sleep position. Ideally, your pillow should only have a maximum of two inches in height with a soft firmness.  

You mustn’t force your head to be too high as it can make you crane your head upwards, ruining your spine alignment and allowing you to wake up with terrible neck pain. Apart from causing pain, it can also cause health concerns for your spine and neck.  

With a soft firmness, you’re allowing your head to lay almost flat on the mattress without putting any pressure on your neck and shoulders. However, some experts might suggest you should eliminate using pillows for the best spinal alignment. But if you’re not comfortable sleeping solely on your mattress, using a soft and low loft pillow would be the best option for you.  

Back Sleeper

Sleeping on your back is one of the most usual ways people sleep at night. For maximum comfort, a back sleeper should have medium firmness with a medium loft pillow. 

With a medium loft pillow, you’ll be using three to five inches of height for your pillow. In this way, you can allow the pillow to relieve any pressure from your neck and shoulders as you’re providing a good cushion between your head and the mattress.  

Moreover, a medium loft pillow also helps with proper spine alignment. You can just imagine the pain and discomfort when you sleep on your back when your neck is tilted upwards. It’ll cause you great neck pain in the morning. However, if you sleep with your head too low, it might cause discomfort and pain as well. With a medium loft, you can allow your head to be in the proper position as you sleep at night.  

Apart from choosing a medium loft, a medium firmness will help you achieve maximum support for your head, neck, and spine. With medium firmness, you can ensure the pillow won’t flatten as you lay your head at night. While it may allow you to sink lightly, it’ll only take for a few centimeters, providing enough comfort for your body. This will allow you to sleep if you’re looking for the convenience of a soft pillow while getting the support you need.   

Side Sleeper

A side sleeper tends to sleep on either side of their body, with the choice of using a leg pillow for maximum support and comfortability. As you sleep on your side, you need to have all of the help you need, especially when your head is usually higher to accommodate the space between your bed, shoulders, and head.

As a side sleeper, you need to have a high loft pillow for at least five inches tall. In this way, you can allow your head to lay properly on the bed while adjusting to the additional height from your shoulders. With the proper size, you can prevent any neck pain, promote proper spinal alignment, and relieve pressure from your shoulder.  

Ideally, your main goal is to disallow your shoulders to dig dip into the mattress as it could be a sign your pillows aren’t lofty enough. If you feel pressure and pain on your shoulders as you sleep on your side, you might want to consider getting a higher loft.  

Apart from your pillow’s height, it’d be beneficial to acquire firm or extra firm pillows. While a soft pillow is genuinely comfortable, it’ll only help your head to sink deeply into the bed, not enabling your body to have proper spinal support. While a medium pillow might work, you could get the best help from firm or extra firm pillows as you can ensure your neck would stay in the same position and height, avoiding any future aches and discomforts.  

Different Pillow Types

As you can identify which kind of sleeper you are, you can now have a guide on which type of pillow firmness and loft works best for you. While that may help, it’d be best to know various pillow options you can use to maximize your sleep experience fully. With the right pillow, it’ll allow you to sleep restfully every night even if you’re not staying in a hotel.

Moreover, listed below are the different pillow types you could choose from:  

Down Pillow

Down pillows have a fill with soft fibers similar to the skin of a goose, duck, or swan. With those, you can just expect the softness and comfort it’ll bring to your head as you sleep at night. However, most down pillows come with a mixture of feathers for the extra fluff. You may have to confirm with the brand about their feathers and down ratio to ensure you’re getting what you pay for.

Using a down pillow is perfect for people who are stomach sleepers as they come in soft firmness. While down pillows are genuinely comfortable, they can impose potential allergic reactions due to the natural materials. In that case, you can consider having an alternative down pillow as it uses synthetic materials allowing for similar comfort without the risk of allergy reactions.  

Polyester Pillow

If you’re looking for a cheaper pillow option that can provide you with the firmness and loft height you need, a polyester pillow would be the best option for you. However, since they come at a lower price, expect that they might not be able to be in their original condition for a long time.

With a polyester pillow, they may tend to get lumpy easily, making you purchase a brand new one quickly. However, they’re lightweight, hypoallergenic, and affordable, making a good choice if you’re just starting to identify your pillow firmness and loft. You can choose to wash your polyester pillows to make them look near brand-new every time you need to clean them.  

Don’t worry as with a poly-fill pillow, all firmness options are available, allowing you to try out which one makes you comfortably sleep while allowing for excellent spinal support.

Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam is popular for its firmness, its near disability to flatten out, and its flexibility to conform perfectly to your body as you lay on it. With that, you can expect a memory foam pillow to hug your head shape, allowing for maximum support.  

Since a memory pillow adjusts well with your head, you can use it with all sleeping positions. However, you still need to be careful about the loft height as it can still affect your neck and spinal alignment. Watching this would help to know more.

Moreover, when using a memory foam pillow, you no longer have to worry about clumping and continuously fluffing your pillow to allow maximum shape. With this pillow, it’ll retain its shape even when you use it for longer hours. However, with how dense a memory foam pillow is, it might not promote breathability, especially that it may retain body heat intensely. This won’t be your option if you usually sleep hot at night.  

Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

For maximum customization, while still having the advantages of a memory foam pillow, a shredded memory foam pillow would be your next best option. With this, you can easily adjust the height of your pillow by allowing yourself to take some foam out. In this way, you can customize your pillow and modify it with how high or low you’d like your pillow to be.  

With a shredded memory foam pillow, you can allow maximum breathability as the pillow doesn’t come in whole, giving enough space for each block, providing proper airflow. A person who’s a side or back sleeper would highly benefit from this kind of pillow. While stomach sleepers can use them, it might be too uncomfortable since each foam may be too firm for their liking.  

Conclusion 

Comfortably sleeping is one thing you need to focus on. While people might invest highly in their mattress choices, you shouldn’t forget that using the right kind of pillow plays a big part as well.Ideally, you should first identify which kind of sleeper you are so you know what time of firmness your body needs. If you still want to achieve a marshmallow softness, you can choose to add a thin layer above your pillow and allow yourself to sleep peacefully like a baby. You could even indulge in a good self-care night routine, enabling you to wake up feeling incredibly good about your sleep and your skin.

Author: SHABL

Rob has been traveling the world and living abroad for over a decade. The goal was to stop having a boring life and it turned into something far greater. He's worked with national tourism boards and been mentioned in National Geographic. These days he lives abroad and loves business, technology, the tropical lifestyle, good food and travel.

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