We’ve been giving advice on pillows and sleep for nearly a decade. Below we’ve posted some of the most useful FAQs / readers’ questions to help you find the right pillow for you.
If you would like to get in touch with a question that we haven’t yet answered, do drop us a line on our Contact Us page.
Different Pillow Types
Hi Nicola, Your email was really well timed as we've just reviewed a fantastic pillow by Panda pillows which our teenage reviewer has fallen in love with. Panda use memory foam and bamboo and an organic cotton cover for their pillows and they come in three sizes: adult, child size and a baby / toddler size. We'd massively recommend the child-size pillow. Good for any age from 3 to 16. Actually good after that too if you don't want to take a big pillow with you on sleepovers or travelling. We're just ordering 2 more for our kids as they are fighting over the one we've already got.
I hope you enjoy them. Best Regards, Susannah - PillowAdvisor team
Hi Sue, Latex pillows are a very good choice for those who suffer from back and neck problems but can be a little warmer than natural fillings, and don't really have the 'marshmallow' feeling you are describing. This is why I did not recommend them to you in your last email. However, if you buy one with a 100% cotton cover which is also washable, it could be a good solution for you - they are fantastic for neck and head pain and many sufferers swear by them. Have a look at the review we wrote here of the latex Super Comfort Dunlopillo, or go straight to the less firm, softer Dunlopillo Serenity Pillow here (best for back sleepers). You shouldn't need another pillow underneath. Also - thanks for your comments about Soak and Sleep. We'll definitely look into this to see if anyone else has had a negative experience. All best, The Pillow Advisor team
Hi Joseph, thanks for getting in touch. We've not tried this pillow before, it sounds like it could be a little gimmicky. Is both neck pain and overheating an issue for you? If it's mostly dealing with neck pain and you're a side sleeper then the best approach is to ensure you've got just the right amount of head support so that your neck is held straight. A firm microfibre pillow or memory foam can do this, you might need to experiment a little to find the right one for you. Might be worth giving the Kaymed one a go, especially if your local retailer could let you try it on for size. Suzie
Hi Mary, Thanks for your question and don't worry about being tricky, we love a challenge. It's useful to make sure that we're on top of the market and know what's out there for different kinds of needs and sleepers. Actually, your request is a little difficult as with feather and down you tend to get what you pay for and the nicer products are more expensive. If you don't want to spend too much and you can't wash your pillow, you will have to compromise a little and go for a pillow which is not a Pillow Advisor 'Best', but is still a decent pillow. Your email actually made me go and review a pillow I've been aware of for a while at Marks and Spencer's and I think it may fit the bill as it has a cool cotton cover with a full down / feather filling and ideal for front sleepers Have a look at the M&S Duck Feather pillow - we have reviewed the firm support version here but they also have a medium pillow for £18. Good luck and here's to a happy night's sleep! Suzie.
Hi Ali, glad you like the site. We think it's a shame that the White Company have discontinued the HGD pillow - it was very good. The good news is that we've found a successor in the John Lewis Ultimate Winter Snow Goose Down pillow - here's the review. It's pretty expensive but worth it? If you're going to spend years with it then it's a long term investment.
Hey Jo! We recently reviewed the Dunlopillo Serenity Deluxe pillow, we thought it was pretty good
Finding My Perfect Pillow?
Hi Rog, My recommendations would be: 1) Wool pillow – You won’t sink in to a wool pillow and it’s brilliant at controlling temperature. Try this one – very reasonably priced: M&S Wool Pillow 2) Latex pillow – We’ve tried the Dunlopillo Serenity Deluxe (I have it on a bed at home right now) and it’s very comfortable, good at regulating temperature, is supportive but not too firm. Also is around your budget. Also read the excellent reviews for it at John Lewis here . 3) Firm down pillow – Soak and Sleep Duck Feather & Down pillow – Cheap but a good pillow. You won’t get too hot and its box-structure means it’s more supportive than traditional down pillows, so you won’t sink in too much (that’s why you need ‘firm’ with a down pillow). Best of luck and let us know how you get on!
Dear Zoe, Thank you for your email. We are sorry to hear that you are struggling to sleep due to your husband's snoring. In our experience, different things seem to work for different people depending on the underlying causes of the snoring ie. sleeping position, allergies, lifestyle etc. Sleeping position is certainly one thing to look at and so purchasing a firm pillow is a good starting point. A firmer pillow will help align the head and neck to keep your airways open. The British Snoring Association agree with us that the Silentnight Anti-snore pillow is worth considering. Please take a look at our review here. At only £15 from Amazon, this is a good first option. Another pillow worth looking at, if you have a larger budget, would be the Tempur original pillow which is a firm memory foam pillow. This pillow is pricey but provides great support, is dust mite and allergen resistant. Our final piece of advice would be that often a change of pillow alone does not provide a cure and the best results are likely to be experienced in conjunction with a number of other changes. Things to also consider are: * Lack of exercise * Over-eating * Alcohol intake * Smoking I hope you find this useful and see some improvement. Best of luck! Pillow Advisor
Hi Sue, Happy to advise any time. For back-sleepers who need support, I would typically recommend a Tempur memory foam pillow such as the Tempur Traditional Cloud Pillow - click pillow name for our review. This has the benefit of cushioning your head and neck but at the same time has a softness to it. Tempur are also the brand most frequently recommended by osteopaths and physiotherapists for people with head and neck problems. However, the only drawback with them really is that memory foam pillows can retain heat and moisture and may - as can any polyester / microfibre / synthetic pillow – give you a warmer night’s sleep. If you want your head to stay cool at night and not sweat, you are therefore much better off going for natural materials rather than synthetic materials, in the top portion of your pillow where your head rests. The Tempur pillow (mentioned above) at least has a 75% cotton cover so this will help. What we’d personally recommend is a memory foam inner or lower section, with a natural fibre outer or top section. These tend to be expensive but are definitely worth it if you can afford it. You could go for a bamboo pillow - The Bamboo Cool Orthopaedic Pillow is a good option and combines lots of support with natural covers and top layer. If you love the feeling of down and want a really natural, no sweat experience, have a lovely down pillow on top such as Soak and Sleep’s Luxury 90% Hungarian Down Pillow and then a thin polyester pillow underneath. Whichever one you choose above, I think you’ll have a better night’s sleep once you have support underneath and natural fibre softness on top. We hope you find some comfort very soon. Susie - Pillow Advisor team.
Hi Wendy, Tempur isn't for everyone and especially if you sleep on your back then it can push your head too high and cause neck pain. A big factor in getting a comfortable night's sleep is having a pillow which supports your head so that your head properly (not too high or too low - your head should be in-line with your spine). The quickest way to sort this out is to try a few different types of pillows with different heights and levels of support. A rough rule of thumb is if you sleep on your back then look for a low or soft pillow, if you're a side sleeper then look for more support. Take a look at our top 10 pillows for a variety of really good pillows of different types - keep on trying pillows until you find the right one - it's worth it!
Hi Hafid, Yes, sure, why not. This sounds like a logical idea if you're in love with the pillow - just make sure that your sewing skills are up to the job and you're prepared for a bit of a mess during the operation! Down is notoriously flighty, of course that's what makes it so soft and light, so you are likely to end up with quite a bit of down attempting to escape whilst you are sewing up the casing. You'll also need to ensure that your stitching is close together and very secure or you'll find little bits of down in your bedroom for the rest of the life of your pillow. Obviously it depends what the casing is as to how easy this will be; some pillows have piped edges which would be more difficult to open and sew back together without difficulty. Good luck, and if all goes wrong, you can always try the Simba Hybrid Pillow which although made of foam nano tubes allows you to adjust the height or alternatively Soak & Sleep's 90% Hungarian Goose pillow which I think is a bit lower than most but filled with down. Thanks.
Dear Sam, Marks and Spencer do a (rather outrageously) cheap pillow called the 'Bounce Back Pillow', which although not the greatest quality in the world, are very comfortable and certainly do exactly what they claim to - bounce back. They're £6 and certainly won't squish flat, so hopefully will do the job. Hope they are a success!
Hi Chris, you're right, we haven't reviewed many pillows for side and back sleepers. We also haven't really found a memory foam pillow we're happy with - we'll get on the case. The search continues!
Hi Patricia, We don't often get questions about the best pillows for ipads and tablets, but always happy to oblige! Although we haven't tested it, the Bamboosa Lap Log - (a 'soft iPad & tablet stand' - i.e. a pillow, or cushion) looks by far the best out there. You're absolutely right to want it to be 'eco-friendly'. Lots of this kind of product are made with tiny plastic microbeads / polybeads and we're only just finding out now how much damage they're doing to the environment, oceans in particular. There's more information about microbeads on our 'About...' page here. The Bamboosa Lap Log (click the name for a link to the pillow) is from Amazon and £35. It's not cheap but looks like a quality product with 100% sustainable materials: organic cotton, buckwheat and wood. It looks smart - black or green - has great reviews, is washable, lightweight, and apparently will come before Christmas if you order it now. Hope that's helpful ! Pillow Advisor team.
Night Sweats and Keeping Cool
Hi Chris, Take that polyester pillow away from your husband straight away! Polyester, memory foam and latex pillows can all be terrible culprits for sweaty nights if you're prone to getting hot. See my answer to Paul's similar question below. Best of luck - this should sort him out.
Hi Paul, I think many of us can sympathise with your experience, especially over the last few warmer weeks. It's a question we get asked a lot and oddly it's only recently that manufacturers have specifically been addressing the issue. First thing to do is to go natural rather than synthetic (use down rather than memory foam or latex which can both be notoriously sweaty) and make sure your pillows are a good quality, checking that the casing as well as your pillowcase are 100% cotton. You could try the specifically designed Marks and Spencer's 'Comfortably Cool' pillow, or combine your natural-filled pillow and cotton pillow case with a product called a 'Chillow' or the (better in our opinion) 'Gel O'Cool' pillow mat. Both of these products are mats which provide a cool layer between your head and the pillow. We haven't got specific reviews for these but you can find plenty of happy. We also really liked the REM-Fit snow pillow which has an outer cover made of Nordic Chill fabric and the Simba Hybrid Pillow made using OUTLAST technology (which developed for NASA), it takes temperature control to another level, ensuring you are never too hot or cold.
Hi Laurie, This is a great question as it brings up lots of common issues people have with pillows and trying to get a good night’s sleep. Latex pillows should keep you cooler than other synthetic pillows for example memory foam pillows. Latex foam (made from the sap of the rubber tree) has an open-cell structure which allows more airflow than many other materials. Latex mattresses and pillows are also created with pinholes in the structure which further helps airflow. However, a latex pillow won’t be as cool as a down / feather pillow, silk pillow or a wool pillow because these natural materials have evolved to help their creatures regulate their own body temperatures in hot or cold weather – this is particularly true of wool which is an excellent choice of pillow if you suffer from night sweats. You sink into a latex pillow more than you do a synthetic polyester pillow, or a well-stuffed feather pillow, so this also contributes to a lack of air-flow around the head and face. The other thing to consider – and this is really important – is what you’re covering your pillow with. You must absolutely use a 100% cotton (or wool) pillow protector and pillowcase; this also goes for a mattress protector. If you’re covering your pillow with any kind of polyester / nylon mix material you will suffer more from heat and sweats, guaranteed. A natural bamboo pillow with cotton pillowcase can also be a good choice to keep you cool. So what would we recommend? Best Cotton pillow protectors: The White Company (very soft, thick 100% cotton) – read our review. Best Wool pillow: Marks and Spencer's Wool pillow Best Bamboo pillow: Panda Bamboo pillow – review here. Best Synthetic cooling pillow with cotton cover: Simba Pillow with Outlast – NASA space technology to keep you cool – review here. Last one to mention, and may well be the best is the: REM Fit Snow pillow. Our reviewer, Mark really likes it for it’s cooling properties: read review here. All best, Pillow Advisor team.
Head and Neck Pain
Hi Jade, A common cause of head and neck pain can be from the head not being aligned comfortably with the spine - it might be worth trialling a range of pillows which support your head at different heights to see whether it helps. The Simba Hybrid Pillow is particularly popular as it allows you to add or remove the filling to adjust the height of the pillow. You should be aiming to have your head, neck and spine in a straight line, if your pillow offers too much or too little support then your head and neck can be at an angle which can lead to pain. If you sleep on your back then you should be looking for a soft pillow or one without much filling (so that it is low), if you sleep on your side then you should look for something with more support (more height). Good luck!
Hi Gillian, It's difficult to sleep with face down, as you pointed out it requires a special head support pillow with a hole in the middle to allow you to breath whilst keeping your head straight. We've not tried any of these so we can't vouch for them but there are a few types available you could take a look at. You could take a look at this low profile pillow from John Lewis or SPA Salon cradle cushion from Amazon meant more for massage tables. Hope you find comfort!
I'm really sorry to hear that you're having such an uncomfortable night's sleep at the moment - it sounds pretty miserable. To be honest, I'm a bit reluctant to suggest a particular pillow for you as you have such a range of symptoms. From your email, it sounds like you are a side sleeper so problems with your pillow are not likely to cause your eye / nose pillow or your headaches. Perhaps the best route is to go back to your doctor and ask for further investigations, plus also possibly a physio referral in the meantime? You're probably doing this already so in terms of short-term help, I would try a really soft, bouncy good quality microfibre pillow. This shouldn't aggravate any of your symptoms which you should try and get diagnosed before going for a specific neck-support pillow. They also have the advantage of being anti-allergy, so you can rule that out as a cause of your skin irritability. Try the Breathe pillow from John Lewis Here's hoping 2015 brings you a little more luck in the sleep department!
Dear Mark, Understand what your physio is saying here. Yes, the Tempur pillows can be a little high for some people, so try a slimmer latex pillow instead. It should still give you a good level of support and bounce but is certainly less bulky than the Tempur equivalents. Dunlopillos have a great reputation and are very good quality, take a look at the Serenity Deluxe pillow. Best of luck with the neck and the disc problem. Not fun, but hopefully this might help - do let us know. Regards, The Pillow advisor team
Hi Brenda, there's no one pillow we could recommend for you as it's always personal, but the best advice we could give is to find the right height of support so that your head and neck are aligned straight with your spine. If your pillow gives too much or too little support then your neck can be strained. Experiment with different heights of pillow, even try a couple of pillow together if you can't get the height from just one. It doesn't matter too much about the type of pillow material, as a side sleeper you will be looking for a firm base, so a firm microfibre or memory foam with a decent height, or a combination of pillows. Good luck!
Hi Sarah, sorry to hear you're in pain. The trick with sleeping on your side is to have a pillow which will support your head more than the average pillow. Your head, neck and spine should be straight and nicely aligned. If your pillow isn't supportive enough then your head will be too low and your neck will be out of line with your spine causing it to strain.
I've chronic neck and back pain for some times and seeking sleep aid - neck pillow or support but have no idea where to start. I consider myself side sleeper (preferable left side) but due to the pain I've switched to right side. Sadly the pain now on both sides of the shoulders and neck. I have feathers allergy and preferable soft pillow. Though I'm small frame but I have king bed. I’ve been healthy and never had anything pain like what I’m suffering now since April last year. Pain is getting more severe from top of my neck down to shoulders and back. Painkillers don’t work at all and really borders me with the quality of life I have. I’ve been using Silent Night ordinary pillow (not 100% sure which, think cotton hallow fibre?). I hope you can advise me which one to get.
Thanking you in advance Hi Irene, Ok, so it sounds like you have some more serious neck / musculo-skeletal issues going on than just suffering from an uncomfortable pillow. The first thing we would always recommend is that you get yourself checked out by doctor, or if you can't get a GP appointment and you don't mind paying privately, you can go straight to an orthopaedic specialist, such as an osteopath or chiropractor who specialises in neck and spinal discomfort. They should be able to ascertain if there is anything more serious going on, and what may have caused your current condition.
They will almost certainly suggest you get a better pillow as well as your standard pillow from Silentnight won't support your head and neck the way they should be supported. Professionals will normally recommend an orthopaedic cervical neck pillow such as this excellent, well-known one from Tempur - https://pillowadvisor.co.uk/review/tempur-original-queen-pillow-review/
If only the large pillow is available and you want a normal sized pillow, you can try the Noffa cervical neck pillow from Amazon instead - it also has great reviews and will support you much better than your current pillow.
Best of luck and hope the pain calms down soon and you get a better night's sleep.
Pillows for Allergy Sufferers
Dear Shona, Unfortunately, as I'm sure you are aware there isn't a simple solution for severe allergy sufferers. As you're already doing, a combination of approaches is always the best to ensure you've got a range of defences. I would suggest that you go for a pair of very good quality anti-allergy microfibre pillows, that perform well when you wash and dry them. The key thing is to wash them weekly in a 60 degree wash and dry in a large tumble-dryer (remove any dust and fibres in dryer's filter). This is common-sense I am sure for any mother of a child suffering from asthma, so sorry if I'm repeating stuff! You could also use pillow protectors and wash them first.
Thanks for your query and your feedback. Yes, if you're looking for an anti-allergy pillow and want to avoid the fibre clumping that can happen over time with the average microfibre pillow, latex or memory foam may well be a good idea. Dunlopillo is the most reputable and popular manufacturer in the UK and we really like the Serenity Deluxe. However, it is on the slimmer end of the pillow-spectrum, so if you're after a fuller pillow, try the Dunlopillo Super Comfort pillow at John Lewis, which people rave about. In terms of Italian pillows, Italy does have an excellent reputation for latex technology and precision cutting. This is the most popular option in the UK at the moment and has really impressive reviews on Amazon. We haven't tested it though so if you try it, please do let us know if the Italian reputation is deserved! Hope that helps! The Pillow advisor team
Hi Chris, you're not wrong, pillow cases for the Tempur original queen pillow seem to be very difficult to find. We've hunted around and the best we've been able to come up with is via eBay, here's a link. There are a handful of tempur queen pillow cases available, a few of which are from UK-based suppliers, others from the US.
Hi Steve, Tempur foam will start to sag after a while, looks like this can be anywhere between 3 to 5 years of use (according to a quick bit of research). If it is the case that your pillow used to be high enough for you then this is probably the case. If your head is not supported enough, your neck will be out of line with your spine and you can suffer from pain. I guess the options you've got are either to boost the height up a little as you are already doing, get another tempur pillow (expensive) or perhaps try out an adjustable height pillow like the Mediflow waterbase pillow which you should be able to adjust so it's just right for you - it might take some experimentation but aim to have your neck in alignment with your spine when you sleep on your side. Hope this helps!
Hi Lindsay, fibre clumping can be down to the quality of the filling, we've reviewed a few low-end fibre pillows which clumped horribly within days. I suspect that might be the case here, have you tried a high quality fibre like the fabulous John Lewis breathe? I'd recommend giving that a go, alternatively, if feather / down is out for you and you want to avoid memory foam because of getting hot then you could try a micro bead pillow - these synthetic pillows will definitely not clump. We haven't actually had any reviewed yet, I'll add a couple to the review list.
Hi Bob, firstly I'm sorry to hear that you're suffering. It's not daft, not if it's not letting you sleep, I know what it can be like to be super aware of all noises around you when you're trying to get back to sleep at 3 in the morning. The quietest pillow? - It's got to be memory foam by a long way! Especially with a soft towelling cover. Most other pillow types have a loose filling which rustles, even down pillows. The Tempur memory foam pillow is not cheap (£100) and is shaped for support, but it's very good. If you're after a more regular shape then you could try others in the range, we have yet to try them ourselves though.
Hi Douglas, You raise such an interesting point here, it made us write an article to explain the facts. We’ve put in our posts section with the title ‘Chemicals in Pillows?’ You should find some answers to your question there, a bit of pillow advice and some pillow recommendations. We’re also going to create a new section shortly for ‘Organic’ pillows, as it’s of interest to more and more of our readers- please watch this space. Thanks for emailing us with your question, it's an important area to consider.
Hi Saurabh, I'm a side sleeper too. Side sleepers need a bit more lift in their pillows to make sure that the head and neck are aligned with the spine, in this way a side sleeper can be comfortable and won't tend to get pain. If the head is too high or too low then it can cause problems. I really like sleeping with 2 pillows; the first a supportive and breathable micro fibre as a base (something like the always excellent John Lewis Breathe or the White Company premium hollowfibre On top of this then I love a soft down pillow to add a bit of luxury - if cost was not an issue then I would definitely go for the Winter Goose down, again at John Lewis (they do seem to do some good pillows).
Camping and Travel Pillows
Dear Craig, Thanks for taking the time to email us. A section on camping pillows is an excellent suggestion! We can certainly look to reviewing some of the key products on the market and will get to it as soon as we can. In the meantime, best of luck with your exercise and if you find a great pillow before we get our reviews up, let us know! UPDATE : Please find our new section on Travel pillows here. All best, The Pillow advisor team