Just as your bed should provide good support for your body, your pillow should give you the right cushioning to position your head and neck properly. It should hold your head in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing with correct upright posture. If you sleep on your side, you may want a fairly firm pillow to give your head and neck extra support.
If you sleep on your back, try a medium-firm pillows to cradle your head with more "give." And if you sleep on your stomach (although some physicians caution against this position), choose a soft pillow to lessen the strain on your neck. Today’s consumer has access to a wide variety of pillows at a variety of price points. Shopping for the right pillow is an essential part of building your perfect sleep system.
The timeframe for how long a pillow can be used often depends on the quality of the pillow. Generally, pillows should be replaced every year, but some pillows may wear faster than others. A simple test to determine if your pillow needs to be replaced is to fold your pillow in half (thirds for larger pillows) squeezing out the air. In general, when you release the pillow it should spring back into its original shape and fullness. If it doesn’t, then it’s likely time for a new one.
Additionally, pillows can show signs of wear and tear over time. If you notice the following signs, you should consider replacing your pillow.
- No longer feels the way you did when you first bought it
- Shows visible signs of dirt
- Feels lumpy and bumpy