May 07, 2018

Many of us wouldn't dream of sleeping without our favourite pillow. It's like a good friend: reliable, comforting, and always there in times of need. Some of us are so attached that we even haul it along on trips! But how often do you consider whether that old stand-by is actually giving your head and neck the support they need? Better yet, when was the last time you replaced it?

If you're complaining about the quality of your sleep, your pillow might be to blame. Good pillows give your head and neck the support they need to keep your spine in alignment and prevent future health issues. They also help you regulate your temperature while you sleep by surrounding your face with a cool pocket of air and keeping you dry. A high quality pillow is truly worth its weight in gold!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about when it's time to replace your favourite pillow, choosing the best pillow for your sleeping position, and what to look for in a durable, supportive, and most importantly, comfortable pillow!

When It's Time to Say Goodbye to Your Old Pillow

Like most soft products, the average pillow (if properly cared-for) is good for about a year before it needs to be replaced. Can't remember the last time you replaced your pillow? You're not alone! What usually happens with pillows is that we'll find "the one" and hang on to it for as long as possible. The problem is this: many Canadians are laying their heads down on lumpy, frumpy pillows without considering the stress it's putting on the neck and spine.

In addition to normal wear and tear, your pillow becomes a haven for bacteria, allergens, and even dust mites over time! Unless you like the idea of laying your head down on a bed of dead skin cells, bacteria, old sweat, and yes, bugs... you should be washing and swapping out your pillow regularly.

Not sure if it's time to replace your pillow yet? Here's a quick test you can do at home:

  • Feel your pillow. If the texture changes from one end of the pillow to the other, or you feel any lumpy spots, it's probably time for a change.
  • If you're still not sure - fold it in half and squish it down. If the pillow bounces back to its normal shape within a couple of seconds, it still has some life left in it!

Can't bear the thought of giving up your favourite pillow? When you find one you like - buy 3 or 4 and keep the extras in storage until they are needed! That way it won't hurt so much when it's time to throw ol' Pilly away.

Your Sleeping Position Matters

Your sleeping position has a direct effect on your respiration, the alignment of your spine, and even wrinking in your skin! Whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach, the pillow you choose should compliment your sleeping position. Your head and neck should be supported in a nice neutral position so your spine stays straight. Here are a few tips so you know you're choosing the right one:

Side Sleeping Position

Side-sleepers should look for a thicker, firmer pillow. When you sleep on your side, there is more space to fill between your head and your mattress to keep your head and neck in the proper alignment. Your pillow should be thick enough to keep your spine straight, but not so thick that your head ends up on an angle. Because you tend to sleep in the middle of your pillow, it should be firm enough that it doesn't collapse under the weight of your head over time. If it gets too thin in the middle of the night, you'll wake up with a sore neck!

Back Sleeping Position

If you sleep on your back, you'll want a thinner, slightly firm pillow. There is less space to fill between your head and the mattress, so you need less pillow stuffing. It shouldn't be so thin that you're laying your head directly on the mattress - just enough so that your neck and spine are in a neutral position. It should be firm enough to hold your head in position so gravity doesn't pull your neck toward the left or right as you sleep.

Stomach Sleeping Position

The stomach sleeping position is the worst for your overall sleep quality and health - so you should avoid it if you can! It's just not possible to keep your head and neck straight when you're sleeping on your stomach - unless you plan on sleeping face-down. If you just can't get comfortable without sleeping on your stomach, choose a thinner pillow with breathable, cool materials. When you exhale into your pillow overnight the area around your head heats up, which can disrupt your sleep. You want something cool and breathable so the heat dissipates quickly.

What Does the Ideal Pillow Look Like?

The ideal pillow for any sleeping position should have all of these traits:

  • Medium-soft firmness that is strong enough to support your head through the night and keep it in position, but not so firm that you're uncomfortable
  • Not too thick or thin to keep your spine in the correct alignment
  • Made from breathable materials designed to regulate your temperature and keep you dry
  • Treated with a safe, antibacterial coating to fight odour-causing bacteria and reduce sweat staining

If you're looking for a jack-of-all-trades pillow that will provide the maximum comfort and support possible while still being durable enough to last more than 6 months, look no further than LunaZen's own memory foam gel pillow! It checks all of the boxes and is made right here in Canada - complete with our Zen-M gel-infused memory foam (for a perfect medium-soft texture that will keep you cool throughout the night) and a breathable, hand-stitched 100% organic cotton pillow cover. It comes pre-treated with Silpure technology, which fights odour-causing bacteria and keeps it fresh for much longer than regular pillows. Better yet, it even has a 3-year limited warranty, so you can sleep soundly knowing that you're covered if it fails before its time.