Bed Pillows Buying Guide

It’s when you rest your head on your pillow, is that you assess the day that’s gone by. All the ups and downs and just the little things that make up your day finally lay to rest when you sink into your pillow. So, choosing the right pillow to support your dreams and your goals (and your head and neck, of course) is an important consideration.

You might have the best mattress to sleep on, but if you have ever woken up with a crick in your neck, then you know how important a great pillow is for a good night’s sleep.

A pillow should provide comfort and support for your head and neck. It also shouldn't deflate or lose fluffiness quickly in the long run.

Whether it's a memory foam pillow or filled with goose down, we’re going to help you choose one that’s right for you. Whether you are waiting for sales to buy a new pillow or simply looking to upgrade your old ones, this guide helps you understand the differences in filling material and finding the best one for you.

With multiple fabrics, materials, and fills, there is an extensive array of choices available out there. We actually spend a third of our lives in bed! So, it is important to find the right pillow with the right support to help you drift off into restful sleep.

When is it time to change your bed pillows?

There are three main ways to determine if it is time to change your pillow.

Time Test: Are you using a pillow that’s five or six years old? Then, it is definitely time to change that pillow. Memory foam pillows that are built to last longer than your average pillows only last up to three years. Even the highest quality pillow will not last longer than five years.

It may seem like a short shelf-life but 5 years translates to 12,500 hours of use! You need to buy a really good pillow to ensure you get high-quality sleep.

Looks Test: How does your pillow look? Once you remove the pillowcase, does it have lumps? Does it sag in places? Does it have stains or tears? Does it smell? If your answer to any of these questions was yes, then it is time to change that pillow.

Pillows can be are home to a lot of dead skin cells, mold, fungus, and dust mites, which can trigger allergies.

Fold test: Fold your pillow in half and add some weight on it, a book for example. When you remove the weight, if the pillow is still folded and not springing back to its original shape, that pillow needs changing.

With pillows that have natural fills, drape the pillow across your arm. Does it hang down over your arm? Then, it is time to change it.

What’s Your Sleeping Position?

Did you know that the way you sleep impacts the type of pillow you might need?

The general rule is that if you are side sleeper, you need a thicker pillow to ensure two things:

  • The gap between the shoulder and your neck/head is filled to keep the body in a horizontal line
  • Your neck is not taking on the weight of the head

For stomach sleepers, the head only needs to be slightly raised. So, you need a softer, flatter pillow so as not to to not stress the neck too much.

Back sleepers need medium pillow support to cradle the natural curvature of the upper spine.

What’s in the Pillow?

The next most important consideration is the filling of the pillow. To help you decide the best type of fill, ask yourself - How do you like your pillow to feel?

If you want a pillow that is fluffy and is like a soft cloud around your head, then, you are looking for pillows filled with:

  • Down
  • Down alternatives

If you want a pillow that’s firmer, then, you are looking for pillows filled with:

  • Foam
  • Cotton
  • Bamboo
  • Polyester

If you want a pillow that’s extremely supportive, then, you are looking for memory foam pillows. You can even try gel-filled pillows!

If you are looking for hypoallergenic pillows, try one with a cotton, memory foam, or latex filling.

Nebraska Furniture Mart also offers specialty pillows that come in different shapes and provide orthopedic support to the back and lumbar region.

How Big Should Your Pillow Be?

There are a few factors that you need to consider when deciding the size of your pillow.

One, is the size of your bed.

Bed Size Pillows
Twin Bed One Standard Pillow
Double or Queen Bed Two Standard or Queen Size Pillows
King or California King Thee standard or queen-size pillows, or two king pillows

The other factor is your preference. You may want different combinations of pillows based on their sizes.Mix it up with some larger pillows and smaller ones to accent or keep it simple with pillows of the same size.

You can read more about decorating your bed in our bedding buying guide.

Here are some of the pillow sizes available at Nebraska Furniture Mart:

  • Euro Square: 26" x 26"
  • Standard: 20" x 26"
  • Queen: 20" x 30"
  • King: 20" x 35"
  • Jumbo

Jumbo pillows provide additional support and stability for your body, head, and neck. The full body pillow provides help with neck and back pain, and relief for pressure points throughout the body. The body pillow, besides being snuggly, also provides support and relief especially during pregnancy.

Pillow Care

The first rule of pillow care is to buy pillow protectors. They not only keep your pillows clean and fresh but also protect them from dust mites and other allergens.

These protectors also come in silky sateen finishes, giving you a luxurious, hypoallergenic, and organic protective barrier for pillows.Pillows last longer if you use a pillow protector and wash it two to four times a year.

The next level of pillow care is to use a good pillow case. You can find out more about it in our bedding buying guide.

You also need to regularly wash or clean a pillow as recommended by the manufacturer. While most pillows are machine washable, you need to be aware of those which are dry clean only, and those which only allow spot-treating.

Comfort at Last!

Armed with this information we hope you choose the best pillow that supports a great night’s sleep for years to come. Pillows are also great for setting a bedroom’s décor and expressing your personality with vivid colors, prints, or a choice of dignified subdued tones and designs. Do take a look at our bedding buying guide to know more about layering your bed with different sized pillows.