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Best Pillows

Gone are the days of having just two pillow choices, plain polyester or airy feathers. Whether you’re looking for the most comfortable pillow, an orthopaedic neck pillow, or an allergy friendly pillow, there is something available to give you a better night’s sleep. If you're keen for more pillow talk, you can continue reading...

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163 listings

Spinaleze Pillows
  • Award Winner 2021
  • 2020

Spinaleze Pillows · includes 3 listings

4.8 from 1,354 reviews

The $219 Spinaleze Pillows are a premium yet hugely popular pick for providing superior spinal and neck support.

Price (RRP) $219.00

Ad
  • Relieves neck pain

  • Highly supportive

  • Australian company

  • Value for Money
    4.8 (917)
  • Pillow Relieves Pre-Existing Pain Yes (527) · No (17)
Spinaleze Pillows
  • Award Winner 2021
  • 2020

Spinaleze Pillows · includes 3 listings

4.8 from 1,354 reviews

The $219 Spinaleze Pillows are a premium yet hugely popular pick for providing superior spinal and neck support.

Price (RRP) $219.00

  • Relieves neck pain

  • Highly supportive

  • Australian company

  • Value for Money
    4.8 (917)
  • Pillow Relieves Pre-Existing Pain Yes (527) · No (17)
MicroCloud Pillows
  • Award Winner 2020

MicroCloud Pillows · includes 5 listings

4.6 from 574 reviews

The MicroCloud Pillows are available in a variety of styles. According to reviewers, they have one thing in common - the ability to contribute to a comfortable and pain-free night’s sleep.

  • Both supportive and comfortable

  • Help to relieve back and neck pain

  • Value for Money
    4.3 (202)
  • Pillow Relieves Pre-Existing Pain Yes (81) · No (8)
Koala Pillow

Koala Pillow

4.7 from 73 reviews

Why can’t we have both? The $160 Koala Pillow is made with two sides - a soft side and a firm side, depending on the level of comfort or support you need on a given night.

  • Highly supportive

  • Choice of soft or firm feel

  • Value for Money
    4.6 (67)
  • Pillow Relieves Pre-Existing Pain Yes (32) · No (0)
TLC Latex Classic

TLC Latex Classic

4.8 from 44 reviews

With the option to choose your preferred pillow profile, paired with your desired density (low, medium or high), the TLC Latex Classic Pillow is suitable for people with a variety of sleeping styles.

  • Reduces neck pain

  • Cloud-like comfort

  • Strong support

  • Value for Money
    4.7 (12)
  • Pillow Relieves Pre-Existing Pain Yes (7) · No (0)
Ecosa Pillow

Ecosa Pillow

4.0 from 122 reviews

This $120 contoured pillow from Ecosa has done a successful job relieving the neck and shoulder pain of many now-happy sleepers.

  • Superior neck and shoulder support

  • Comfortable to sleep on

  • 100-night trial period

  • Value for Money
    4.1 (104)
  • Pillow Relieves Pre-Existing Pain Yes (50) · No (6)
Spinaleze Pillows
  • Award Winner 2021
  • 2020

Spinaleze Pillows · includes 3 listings

4.8 from 1,354 reviews

The $219 Spinaleze Pillows are a premium yet hugely popular pick for providing superior spinal and neck support.

Price (RRP) $219.00

Ad
  • Relieves neck pain

  • Highly supportive

  • Australian company

  • Value for Money
    4.8 (917)
  • Pillow Relieves Pre-Existing Pain Yes (527) · No (17)
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Middle aged man sleeping on a comfortable pillow

Types of pillows for sleeping positions

The way you lay, scrunch or scrawl your body when you go to sleep is an important consideration when selecting a pillow.

The point of a pillow is to keep your spine in alignment as you sleep - called a neutral position. This keeps your neck and back - as well as your head - properly supported, which minimises strain and relieves pressure.

Choosing the wrong type of pillow for the way you sleep can throw off the neutral position of your spine, leading to pain and poor posture in the morning.

Stomach sleepers

Sleeping on your stomach puts a lot of distance between your back and the mattress.This gap causes the shoulders and back to slump, throwing off the neutral position that supports your spine.

The aim here is to reduce the distance between your shoulders and spine and the mattress - using a good pillow. Choose a soft pillow that's also flat, or low-profile. This will prevent your head and neck from becoming too elevated and misaligned with the spine. Sometimes also propping a pillow under your shoulders can add some extra support. Sleeping with no pillow can also keep the spine in alignment.

Side sleepers

If you sleep on your side, you need a pillow that allows you to keep your ears in line with your shoulders. For this, your neck should be on the pillow, and be properly supported.

For most side sleepers, choosing a firm pillow with a medium profile (height) will be a safe choice. The firmness allows your neck to remain supported, while the medium profile stops the neck from arching upwards (for a pillow that’s too high) or downwards (for a low pillow).

Choosing the right profile - which influences the pillow’s loft or elevation - also helps side sleepers from tucking their chin towards the chest, a habit that can cause neck pain.

Sleepers with larger frames may find that they prefer a side sleeper pillow that has a higher profile.

Back sleepers

This is the sleeping position that best encourages a neutral spine position. It can keep a healthy curve in the spine, and evenly distribute weight across the body. However, having a pillow that’s the wrong height can still leave you waking up with a sore neck.

With back sleeping, your head and neck should be kept on the same level. This keeps a natural distance and curve between the neck, and your shoulders on the mattress.

A medium profile pillow that has a medium thickness is likely to do a good job. It will prevent an unnatural or exaggerated angle caused by a pillow that’s too high or too low.

Combination sleepers

If you find yourself dabbling in these different sleeping positions all throughout the night, you’re likely to be a combination sleeper.

If this is you, you have the option of buying a pillow that suits the sleeping style you’re in the most. Alternatively, here are some tips to help you find a pillow that’s going to be able to adjust with your movements throughout the night.

  • A soft to medium comfort level can encourage movement. In comparison, a firm pillow (especially one made from high-density memory foam) can make you feel locked into a sleeping position. You won’t feel like you can freely move around.
  • Two sides to every pillow. Some pillows have a firm side and a softer side, which you can flip over depending on what feels more comfortable for your sleeping position.
  • A contour pillow has two heights across the pillow length. One part is slightly more elevated than the other. You can turn it upside down, and right-side up again, throughout the night depending on your shifting position.
  • Adjustable pillows are designed with an adjustable loft. You can add or remove filling - such as shredded memory foam or buckwheat hulls - until you reach your desired amount of filling.
  • Multiple materials rather than just one, may be naturally more adaptable when you move around at night.

Types of pillow materials

Polyester

Once the stock standard pillow filling, polyester is a synthetic material that has some benefits, but limited longevity compared to other pillow material types.

Pros

  • Good for stomach sleepers as the material flattens easily, reducing the loft between your spine and the mattress.
  • Flexible and lightweight, you can bend them in half to increase the loft and shape the pillow to lay how you like it.

Cons

  • Cheap to purchase, you won’t break the bank handing over money for a polyester pillow.
  • Low longevity - polyester pillows can wear out their welcome in your bedroom in as little as 6 months.
  • Material becomes clumpy - and doesn’t maintain its structural integrity for long, especially compared to denser (and more expensive) materials like latex and memory foam.

Foam

This usually refers to polyurethane foam or PU foam. This is generally the most inexpensive pillow to make.

Pros

  • Cheap to purchase, you won’t break the bank handing over money for a polyester pillow.
  • Flexible and lightweight, you can bend them in half to increase the loft and shape the pillow to lay how you like it.

Cons

  • Can often be thin and unsupportive. High-density PU foam will be more supportive than low-density foam, but this dense composition will also retain more heat.
  • Traps heat easily. High-density PU foam will be more supportive than low-density foam, but this dense composition will also retain more heat.

Memory foam

Also known as visco-elastic foam, memory foam is hugely popular when it comes to pillows.

Pros

  • Contours to the shape of your head and neck. This means your head and neck are supported - as the foam shifts to cradle them throughout the night.
  • Praised for its pressure relieving properties, which can help soothe aching muscles and joints, and prevent strains.
  • A smooth surface prevents lumps and bumps in the pillow surface, which aids in a pillow’s longevity.

Cons

  • High density memory foam, while highly supportive, traps heat. If you're a hot sleeper, some heat may be reduced by choosing a cooling pillow cover.
  • Can be expensive. However there are affordable options too, like memory foam Kmart pillows.
  • Sometimes emit a chemical smell when they’re new. This is due to a process calling ‘off-gassing,’ which occurs when Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are released. However, this odour is mild and usually goes away by itself over time.

Latex

Pillows made from latex are another popular choice today. There is natural and synthetic latex. Natural latex is derived from the sap of the rubber tree, whereas the synthetic option is man-made.

Pros

  • Contours to the body and moulds to it like memory foam.
  • More resilient than memory foam - springs back to its original shape faster.
  • Breathes well, as an airy structure (particularly with Talalay latex) prevents heat and moisture from becoming trapped.
  • Natural latex is hypoallergenic and resists dust mites.
  • Durable and can last a long time, when maintained well.

Cons

  • Not adaptable - if you’re not happy with a latex pillow, there’s usually little you can do to change the shape or the loft.
  • Can often be expensive.

Feather pillows

Most feather pillows are made from a combination of feathers and down (both of these soft materials are taken from ducks and geese).

Pros

  • Fluffy, soft and comfortable.
  • Easy to re-shape and adjust to your preferred style of pillow.

Cons

  • Not supportive, due to its ultra-soft feel. Won’t be supportive enough for side sleepers or tummy sleepers.
  • Hard to maintain, as they will quickly become lumpy and require fluffing.
  • Can be expensive, especially when the ratio of down to feathers is high.
  • Not cruelty-free.

Bamboo pillows

This refers to pillows that use bamboo fibres weaved into the pillow cover, rather than inside the actual fill material. (This is also the case for cotton pillows, which refers to an independent filling that uses a cotton pillowcase).

Pillows with bamboo covers are usually filled with memory foam or shredded memory foam.

Pros

  • Cooling bamboo material can help counteract some of the heat built up inside dense memory foam pillow fillings.
  • Bamboo covers are also naturally hypoallergenic. Dust mites won’t build up on the pillow’s surface, which means if you suffer from allergies you’re less likely to wake up sneezing in the middle of the night.
  • Antimicrobial properties help your pillow maintain a hygienic surface.

Pillows for pain relief

If you experience neck, shoulder and back pain during the night or the morning after, a dodgy pillow might be playing a contributing factor in your chronic pain.

To help avoid pain, both your head and neck should be securely positioned on the pillow before you drift to sleep. If they're not, you're starting off your night misaligned, and it's likely to only get worse.

In terms of materials, generally memory foam, latex and water pouch pillows can be effective at relieving pain. They mould to your body and provide a high level of support. They can also take some pressure off joints. Contoured pillows are often also designed specifically as pillows for soothing neck pain.

Everyone is different, so the right pillow for one person who experiences neck pain may continue to cause pain for someone else. Finding your pain-free pillow match does involve some experimentation, which can be expensive.

Look for pillows that have an ‘obligation fee’ style trial period, which allows you to try out the pillow for a set period and be able to return the pillow before that date if it doesn’t work out or still causes you pain.

Allergy friendly pillows

Allergies in the bedroom stem from a number of sources, the main culprits being dust, dust mites and dust mite faeces (gross!) Other allergy triggers include pollen, pet dander, mould and chemicals. The presence of any of these can kick your sinus and asthma symptoms into gear.

Sourcing an allergy-friendly or ‘hypoallergenic’ pillow can go some way in keeping irritants at bay.

Allergy friendly pillows include those made from natural latex, cotton and bamboo. These natural materials all create an inhospitable environment for allergens and discourage their growth.

Tightly woven microfibre, although a synthetic pillow material, also demonstrates resistance to dust and pet dander.

If you’d prefer to keep your current pillow, you can opt for a dust mite resistant casing instead. You zip this casing over your pillow, and can buy matching ones for other bedding like your mattress.

Regularly washing your pillowcase is also an important step when it comes to keeping away allergens.

Hot sleepers

If you have a tendency to sweat a lot throughout the night, particularly during summer, this can contribute to a disrupted sleep that leaves you waking up feeling groggy and grumpy.

Hot sleepers may benefit from carefully selecting a pillow with both a fill material and cover that works to make getting too hot and bothered a thing of the past.

Cooling pillows will often have covers made of cotton or bamboo. These natural materials are breathable, as they wick moisture away from the body. The fill of a cooling pillow can also be made of cotton.

A memory foam pillow shredded memory foam (rather than block memory foam) and a cooling-gel surface can help you keep cool during the night. While memory foam does retain heat, the shredded nature promotes airflow. The addition of gel is considered to help reduce heat, including in other materials like microfibre.

How often should pillows be replaced?

It’s recommended that you change your pillow every 1-2 years. Over time, even the best of pillows flatten and become less supportive. Particularly if the pillow insert is not washable, it can become heavier from skin cells and dust mites accumulating.

If the filling of your pillow is machine washable, you can pop it in the wash at the end of every season. This will keep your pillow lasting longer. However, the cell structure of some pillow fill materials is damaged if washed - for example, you should avoid putting memory foam and latex in the wash.

It may also be time to replace your pillow earlier than the 1-year mark if you notice any of the following: flatness (or it feels like all the loft is gone), lumps, yellow spots or a funky smell. Also consider making a change if you wake up in the morning with sore or stiff neck or shoulders, or you notice an increase in your allergy symptoms, especially when you first climb into bed at night.

All of these tell-tale signs signal that your pillow is on its way out. Changing your pillow at the right time can also prevent you waking up with pain, and the discovery that a pain-free morning awaits you can be pretty exciting.