You’re supposed to replace your pillows every 12 to 18 months. Are you as shocked by that fact as we are? (One editor admitted to having the same pillow for 15 years.) Well, turns out that over time, pillows slowly become piles of dead skin, mold, mildew, fungus, and dust mites. Don’t care? Then think about this: A faulty pillow can exacerbate headaches, shoulder and arm numbness, wheezing, sneezing, and snoring. And a lack of quality rest can decrease your immune system, affect your memory and work performance, and worst of all, make you pretty gosh-darned cranky.
In other words, if you haven’t been getting a good night’s sleep, you may want to consider ditching your old pillows before spending a small fortune to replace your mattress. And it’s not hard to figure out how to choose the best pillow.
THE BEST PILLOW IF YOU SLEEP ON YOUR STOMACH
Stomach sleepers often experience neck kinks and lower back pain. A thin, flat pillow, or one that’s ultra soft, will do the trick by allowing your head to sink into it; you might also consider stuffing a pillow under your stomach to combat lower back issues. However, when it comes to cleaning up that nasty drool stain on the pillow, you’re on your own.
THE BEST PILLOW IF YOU SLEEP ON YOUR BACK
The back sleeper should aim for a soft to medium-firm pillow so that it’ll mold to the curve of your neck — memory foam works great. Choosing a pillow with extra loft in the lower third to cradle your neck can also be beneficial. Additionally, if your lower back tends to get sore in this position, try adding a pillow under the knees. Another option is to find a chiropractor for lower back pain.
THE BEST PILLOW IF YOU SLEEP ON YOUR SIDE
If you’re a serial spooner, you need to make sure your neck is supported so your spine stays aligned. Look for an over-filled pillow that will fill up the space under your neck and head so that your neck isn’t kinked and you’re not putting all of your weight on your shoulder. Also, you could benefit from placing a soft or flat pillow between your knees to keep your spine aligned.