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Bed Basics

Everything You Need to Know About Pillows

Next time you enter your bedroom, take a good look at your bed. See those pillows there? They make up 25 percent of your sleeping surface. Having proper pillows is an easy way to sleep better. "Your pillow is a significant part of getting your much-needed rest," said Elijah Gomez-Spiers, accessories buyer for Mattress Firm. "The wrong pillow can cause aches or make existing pains even worse."

The Right Pillow Depends On Your Sleep Position


It's important to keep in mind how you sleep when choosing a pillow, because just like a mattress, not every pillow is right for every person. You need to have your body properly aligned in the bed while you use your pillow, and depending on whether you're a tummy, side or back sleeper, you'll find there are several choices out there when choosing the best pillow for your sleep habits.

"Pillows fill the gap between you and your sleep surface," Gomez-Spiers said. "If you sleep on your side, you want to minimize the gap between your ear and shoulder. If you sleep on your back, you want to reduce the gap between the bottom of your head and where the spine starts." Those who sleep on their stomachs do best with "thin profile" pillows, meaning full and fluffy is not a good choice to help get the best sleep possible. Many people love the pliability of feather pillows. "They're very malleable," Gomez-Spiers said. "You can scrunch it up and make it fit wherever you need it to fit."

Discover Memory Foam & Hybrid Gel Pillows


Memory foam pillows are another option. "It contours to your body, whereas pillows with other fillers don't have the same type of support," explained Gomez-Spiers. "There are different grades of foam on memory pillow providing different benefits such as higher quality foam that won't break down as quickly as a lower quality foam option. You can tell the difference simply by feeling the pillow -- the denser the pillow, the more supportive it will be."

But, memory foam has one downside: it tends to generate more heat than other pillows. Hybrid gel pillows are a new product that has recently come on to the market that combines the features of gel and memory foam into one pillow. Thermal regulated technology allows the Memory Foam Lux Gel Pillow to soften with temperature changes, such as body heat. Many people have found these hybrid pillows to be the best of both worlds.

Controlling Allergies With Latex or Other Hypoallergenic Fibers


If you are one of the 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies or asthma, several manufacturers have created pillows made with latex or other fibers to help control the irritating symptoms that can keep you up at night.

Whichever pillow you choose, protect it with a pillow cover - just like you (hopefully!) use a mattress protector to provide a barrier between your mattress and liquids, dust mites and allergens - and replace your pillow every few years. "Your body naturally releases moisture, and the head is usually the hottest part of the body," said Gomez-Spiers. "Dust mites feed off sweat and go into the pillow. You don't want dust mites that close to your airway because it may cause allergies or asthma at night." A clean sleeping surface is important for you and your family to maintain healthy sleep habits, and that includes your pillow!

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