Pillow Types You Should Know About To Sleep Well

By: Jan Hajek | Date Posted: February 26, 2021

A Pillow? The first word that comes when you think of it is a soft and fluffy rectangular thing. As an item that is usually overlooked, there are pillows to help you get quality sleep similar to mattress types like orthopedic ones.

What type of pillow is meant for you? Your sleeping position, sleeping condition, and material preference will be what will readily determine the answer to that. The pillows, however, should relieve pressure, and straighten out your spine, all the while supporting your head and neck.

The sole reason you should not overlook the pillow types and go for the generic ones is that although the traditional rectangle layout, pillows are readily supportive and pretty much adequate to ease any built-up pressure. But if you are a slide sleeper who is or is not over 130 pounds sleeping on the generic ones will not save you from developing a sore neck over time.

Your spine alignment has been causing you backaches all this time and not your age or job. What type of pillow is for you? It certainly is not the generic one but the spine-aligned pillow.

However, the innovative orthopedic considerate pillows are built out there with a wide array of shapes, each accommodating a certain type. Like cervical or the body, pillows readily ease chronic aches and considerably improve sleep conditions.

The plethora of options out there is so many that your head can’t even fit, let alone rest on. To ease you out of this hassle, we assembled the most quality sleep-warranting and durable types of pillows according to your conditions, sleep positions, and material preference, all readily available at pillow manufacturers.

Pillows for Sleeping Conditions

  1. Wedge

The wedge is an orthopedic pillow fit for back sleepers. These types of pillows come in a wide array of sizes, but all are triangle-shaped and angled to help you sleep in an inclined position by elevating your upper body. These pillows ease acid reflux, GERD, and obstructive sleep apnea conditions.

Wedge pillow

  1. Cervical

Or rounded pillows ease shoulder and neck pain mainly. Featuring a divot around the neck domain and holding your head and neck in place as you sleep, these pillows actively minimize stiffness and strained muscles in the shoulder and neck.


  1. Contour

Contour pillow

Wavy-shaped, these pillows employ one arch in the neck and the other in the head domains. It is usually referred to as back and side sleepers as they ensure a neutral spine and reduced stiffness.

  1. Bolster

bolster pillow

Usually used as decoration pieces, these pillows assist in healthy spinal alignment besides relieving the pressure and pain from the lumbar spine and neck when placed under your knees or neck.

  1. Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

These types of pillows, as the name suggests, are meant to have cut-outs to readily accommodate the CPAP machine’s cords and tubes (continuous positive airway pressure) to avoid worsening your symptoms.

Pillows for Sleeping Positions

  1. Back Sleepers

Such sleepers require a medium loft pillow (4-5 inches) type with a firmness ranging from medium to medium-firm to keep the spine, neck, and head aligned.

  1. Side Sleepers

Since their head tumbles slightly far away from the head, such sleepers require a high loft (5-7 inches) type of pillow to fill the space between their head and the mattress while offering adequate cushioning to the head to be in line with the spine.

  1. On Stomach Sleepers

Sleepers can be a firm and thin loft (3-4 inches) type of pillow since they only have to rest their forehead to avoid neck strains while they lay face down so the medium loft pillows will be suitable.

  1. Combo Sleepers

It is harder for people who sleep in undetermined positions to determine the types of pillows, firmness, and loftiness that would suit them. Therefore, adjustable pillows like shredded memory foam or latex pillows are moldable, lofty, and adequately firm.

Pillows with Different Material Fills

  1. Feather

These are readily affordable pillow fills, from geese to duck topcoats. These are durable yet supportive materials. There are mixed feathers to ensure the pillow is soft, cozy, and affordable. However, they can sometimes poke out of the fabric or emit a strange odor.

  1. Down

A luxurious and ultra-soft material, the down is picked from the underbellies of gooses and ducks. However, it is useless to you if you are allergic to ducks and geese despite the material itself being hypoallergenic. They require regular fluffings but are quite durable and malleable but less affordable than feather ones since the high-quality ones can cost up to $200 or more.

  1. Down Alternative

It is a hypoallergenic material built from synthetic polyfill or polyester fibers and serves as an alternative to the down if you are allergic to it. While comparatively less warm, cozy, and durable, it is also inexpensive, easier to maintain, and more responsive.

  1. Memory Foam

Such pillows filling are contoured well and serve as effective pain relievers for your head and neck. It is quite responsive to your movements and adjusts itself accordingly to maintain your neck and head cushioning. If the foam is CertiPUR-US certified, you don’t have to worry about any “off-gassing” or chemical smell.

Shredded memory foam and block memory foam are two types, each housing different features. The shredded are ripped polyurethane pieces blended with polyfill and are moldable to any sleeping position and don’t have to be regularly fluffed.

While the block is a firm piece of polyurethane with no blending of polyfill, it is highly supportive and doesn’t clump like other pillows out there.

  1. Latex

It is a soft, breathable, and supportive fill foam material that offers optimal pressure-point relief while being resistant to dust mites, mildew, and mold to ensure your environment is hygienic. It is readily available in shredded and block forms with characteristics similar to those of memory foam shredded and block fills.

However, if you are allergic to latex itself, this is not the right fill for you, but memory foam would be. While natural latex is 100% biodegradable, it is also more durable, comfortable, and eco-friendly than synthetic latex.

  1. Microbeads

Also referred to as EPS (unexpanded polystyrene beads) are a comfy, contouring pillow-fill material. They offer optimal support and ensure an upright sleeping position and are mostly found in horseshoe neck pillows.

Microbeads are not only cooling but also breathable. However, these are not eco-friendly, and polystyrene takes 500 years to degrade while there is always this threat of pillow tear and bead spilling with these types of pillows.

  1. Buckwheat

Buckwheat flower, though, symbolizes lovers in Korea; this flowering plant is rather popular in Asian countries and serves as the best alternative to microbeads since it houses a similar texture and feels.

Not only it biodegrades quicker, but it is more durable and eco-friendly. The pillow, though, is soft and comfy but can be noisy when the hulls slide over, rub, and crunch against each other.

The Final Verdict

Taking the time to make a sound choice of pillow that readily meets or beats your criteria would now be easier and quicker. Since we compiled the essential facts and figures, you must know before you go after the products. A night of good sound sleep gives you dreams—the very foundation of your drive to live. So choose once, and choose well!

Bonus video: The Best Type of Pillow for Sleeping for Neck Pain, Pinched Nerve & Herniated Disc – Dr. Mandell

Thank you for reading!

Jan Hajek

I am an experienced writer. I write about home improvement topics such as construction, electrical work, plumbing, security and safety, interior design, exterior design, tools and woodworking, gardening, and garage organization. I love helping people improve their homes and make them more enjoyable places to live.

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