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Bed Basics

How a Pillow Fitting Can Improve Your Sleep

collection of pillows
Set of soft pillows isolated on white

It can be frustrating (and flat-out no fun) to sleep on the right mattress and still not get the quality rest you need. But if your mattress isn’t the problem, what is?

There could be several reasons. A good place to start looking for the answer is your choice of pillow. Having the right one can dramatically—and scientifically—improve your sleep. Here, you’ll find out how a Mattress Firm Sleep Expert™ can match you up with the best pillow exclusively for you. And when you’ve got it? You’ll get your best rest ever*.

Before we get into the selection process, let’s start off with some science.

The science of pillow fitting: pillow choice and improving sleep

Mattress Firm has partnered with SleepScore Labs™ to add scientific approaches and data to what we do best—helping millions of customers sleep better to feel, and live, their best. Part of what we do together is conduct studies about different aspects of sleep. One of our recent studies focused on the Pillow Fitting service offered by Sleep Experts™ in our 2,400 stores nationwide. The goal of the service: Match customers with a pillow, based on personalized fit and optimal comfort, to improve their sleep. Were we doing it right? Yes. When customers compared the zzz’s they got with their new pillow against those from the one they had been using, they confirmed their sleep had improved.

Here are some of the takeaways:

  • With the right pillow, you can add up to eight hours of extra sleep every month
  • You’ll spend more time each night in deep, restorative sleep
  • Sleeping with the pillow selected with the help of our Sleep Experts™ can help you spend more time asleep, get more consistent sleep—and better sleep

Choosing a pillow with the help of our Sleep Experts™ doesn’t take a lot of time — you can find your match in just a few minutes. And it eliminates squeezing and smushing pillows in a department or discount store hoping one will be comfortable—let alone improve your sleep.

What’s the Sleep Expert™ process of finding the right pillow? Read on.

A pillow fitting can give you 8 more hours of sleep each month
Aneela Rashid

The pillow fitting process: what to expect

Your pillow has as much to do with improving the quality—and quantity—of sleep as your mattress. Remember: Your pillow represents about 25% of the surface you’re sleeping on. Plus, the right pillow is going to put—and keep—your head, neck, and spine in the best possible position to reduce pain and improve your sleep. Pillows matter!

When you come into one of our stores, tell your Sleep Expert™ what’s keeping you—or waking you—up. Don’t hold anything back. The more information you give the better your Sleep Expert™ can help. Need a few conversation starters? Describe the pillow you’re sleeping on. Talk about any aches and pains you experience. Tell them if you (or your sleep partner) snore. Whatever prevents you from getting a good night sleep, let them know.

The Pillow Fitting experience is going to be a two-way street. We spoke to Texas-based Sleep Expert™ John McCarty about how he guides guests through the pillow fitting experience. His questions include:

  • What position do you sleep in—on your side? Stomach? Back?
  • Do you experience neck or upper back pain while sleeping?
  • Have any concerns about pillow temperature? Do you sweat while sleeping?
  • How frequently do you find yourself having to fluff your pillow, smack it down or flip it over to find a comfortable height?
  • Do you have allergies? Do any other medical concerns hurt your sleep?
  • Have you slept on a pillow you loved? What made it so great?

As you answer, the wheels start turning in the heads of our Sleep Experts™. They use the details of your sleep habits and concerns to curate a selection of pillows suited for your needs. Since pillows aren’t one-size-fits-all, your Sleep Expert™ will suggest trying several options.

The selection at a pillow fitting

More than likely you’ll be given several pillows made of different fill materials and with different lofts to try out. One might be filled with down or down alternative. One could have memory foam, latex, or the newest grid technology. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have trouble sleeping due to allergies? You’ll be given hypoallergenic options. Depending on your sleep position, pillows of different heights will be suggested to keep your neck and spine in the best position for sleep—and to reduce pain if you experience it. In short, the pillows you’ll be given to try will be the best options for you.

How to test your perfect pillow at a pillow fitting

You can’t judge a mattress by sitting on the side and bouncing up and down a few times. The same goes for your pillow: You can’t choose a game-changing pillow by squeezing or hugging it out. Your Sleep Expert™ will give your pillow options to you, each with a fresh, clean cover. Then they’ll suggest you lie down on a mattress, get in your normal sleep position, and get comfortable! That’s the best way to try out the pillows your Sleep Expert™ suggests.

The best way to test a pillow: relax and enjoy

OK, we get it. You might be hesitant to lie down to try out pillows in the store. Don’t be! Everyone—both customers and Sleep Experts™—is there for the same reason: better sleep. So, put concerns aside. Whatever you’re doing to test your pillows others might be doing in a few minutes (you might even be giving them pointers!). Plus, your Sleep Expert™ won’t hover over you while you’re weighing your options. He or she will give you space and all the time you need to make the right pillow choice. McCarty says it's worth spending several minutes on the pillow, lying as you would at home, to be sure that the alignment and filling feel right.

After you’ve narrowed your choices and picked your perfect pillow? Take it home and get ready for your best—scientifically proven—sleep ever.

*Based on 2021 pillow fitting study conducted by SleepScore Labs. Individual results may vary. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for any health condition.

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