Last updated on February 23, 2022

Humans have been using pillows for sleep or some version of a headrest for millennia. Even reptiles and primates have been observed resting their heads on rocks, logs, or each other while sleeping. Pillows enhance the alignment of the spine, to prevent neck pain and backaches due to sleep.


The earliest pillows in human history were made from stone, wood, or ceramic. In the modern era, pillows are made from softer materials. They give us comfort and are available in a wide range of shapes and materials to suit all needs and specifications.


However, before adopting all the healthy habits and nighttime routines, let’s first understand the importance of sleep. This way, you’ll understand better and have a restful slumber.

Sleep & Pillows -
Is There a Relation?

Every person has different needs and priorities in choosing pillows for sleep. Some pillows are more expensive, and the cost may be necessary. However, remember that the most expensive pillows are not necessarily the best pillows for you.


Also, with the immense range of pillows available, it is important to remember that the best pillows for you are the ones that feel the most comfortable and give you the best sleep. Plus, you could also make your bedroom makeover complete with a great headrest to sleep on.


You might think of sleep as simply a time to rest. Energy restoration and conservation is, indeed, a big part of why you need to sleep well. However, there is so much more that happens in your body while you sleep.

During the hours that you sleep, your body regenerates and heals cells. Your nerve cells communicate with each other and reorganize to promote brain function. Your brain stores information, and gets rid of the toxins that build up during the day. A lot of your hormonal functions take place while you sleep as well.

Without good sleep, you will notice a loss of learning memory, problem-solving skills, creativity, decision-making skills, focus, and emotional well-being. Low immunity, unhealthy weight gain, diabetes, and even heart diseases have been linked to poor sleep.

Unfortunately, as you age, a good night’s sleep becomes a more delicate and rare commodity. As a child, a tiring day was probably all you needed to be able to go to bed and have a deep, restful sleep. You might not have even needed a bed or pillows for sleep. As you get older, other factors become a lot more important- your stress levels, the food you have eaten during the day, and even the ambience of your sleeping area.

The bedding you use can make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep. Everything from the fabric of your bedsheets and pillow covers to the materials of your mattress and pillows will impact your sleep experience. It is important to choose your bedding carefully, with consideration of your personal needs and sleep style.

Sleep Statistics

It is projected that 99% of sleepers who sleep on a bed use at least one pillow, and that 27% of those people use three or more pillows for sleep. There is no direct relation between the number of pillows and the quality of sleep. However, a careful selection of pillows catered to your needs can be the perfect remedy for your sleep issues.

Since their use as luxury items in the medieval ages, soft pillows, as most people recognize them today, have become a common household item. Pillows are no longer a luxury item, nor are they entirely inaccessible to people on a tight budget. An orthopedic pillow, particularly personalised pillows, might cost more but is well worth the investment.

There is a good deal of scientific curiosity about whether pillows are beneficial at all. Most research suggests that spinal alignment is the key factor, and the benefits of using pillows for sleep is dependent on whether it aids or interrupts your spinal alignment.

Insomnia is one of the most prevalent sleep issues faced by adults. While the causes of insomnia are complex and manifold, a bad pillow can contribute to the problem. Similarly, while there are many factors in ensuring that you have a high quality of sleep, upgrading your pillows can go a long way to improve your sleep.

What Makes a
Good Pillow?

Choose your pillow based on your needs and preferences in comfort. A good pillow means different to different people. They also have some basic features that others lack. For example, giving proper support as and when you toss and turn. Or, one that helps reduce snoring, if you suffer from it. Here are the factors that make it a good pillow:

  • Gives proper support: You may need neck support pillows, or a side sleeper pillow if you naturally sleep in positions that need more support.
  • Supports the uterus, when needed: You might select a maternity pillow or a pillow for pregnant women, to cater to the needs of a pregnant body. You might want to invest in a cooling pillow, or a cuddle pillow if that’s what your personal preferences are.
  • Helps reduce snoring: People with medical conditions might require anti-snore pillows or sleep apnea pillows.
  • Adjusts with your moves: A great pillow is one that supports your neck and head as you toss and turn. Thereby leaving no space for pain in the morning. Also, for some people with highly specific needs, customized or personalised pillows might be the way to go. Also, personalised pillows can be a little pricey, and you will need to consult a local manufacturer and work with them to identify the dimensions, design, and materials you will use.

For most people, regular pillows for sleep will be enough to meet your needs. They come in an adequate range of styles. In all likelihood, you will be able to address your sleep needs with the existing range of pillows on offer.

Many articles suggest that it is best to sleep without pillows. The reasons for this, however, are all based on experiences of pillows that do not meet your needs. Choosing the best pillows is an important factor in controlling your posture while you sleep. Most people do not have the control to sleep in perfect posture and need support, whether in the form of basic pillows for sleep, or more specialized ones, like a body pillow, knee pillows, or a leg pillow.

Don’t let your sleep settle for any less. Choose from our handpicked selections.

What are the Types of Pillows for Sleep?

Your body posture while sleeping is one of the biggest factors that determine the quality of your sleep. Studies suggest that the best sleep posture has your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned. The best pillows for sleep will help keep your body, and your spine, in particular, in a straight line.

Depending on your body proportions, and natural physical tendencies, you could benefit from different pillows for different parts of the body. An orthopedic pillow might address your specific back problems, and you could use a leg pillow to keep your hips aligned. To address your back issues, you may want to know how to choose a good mattress for back pain for you and soothe it at the earliest.

You might also keep a wedge pillow accessible for when you are sitting up in bed. Pillows come in a range of materials, which you should consider carefully when choosing the best pillows for your sleep.

Pillows for sleep

Feathers or Down Pillows

Feather pillows and Down pillows are stuffed with tufts of hair and feathers from birds – typically geese, swans, or ducks. The main difference is that down refers to the hairs from the chests of these birds, feather pillows use whole feathers from the backs of the birds, including the quills.

Down pillows are considered more luxurious and tend to be more expensive. Feather pillows, which contain the quills of the feathers, tend to be less durable, but are still a great option for accessories, like cuddle pillows.

Pillows for sleep

Latex Pillows

This style of the pillow uses shredded latex as a filling, which offers a similar fluffiness, or plush feeling as feather or down, but with added firmness and flexibility. It is a more eco-friendly option, as it often uses recycled materials. It is particularly useful for people who are prone to neck pain, as it easily moulds, while still being soft, and doesn’t easily compress or lose shape. You may want to consider a couple of them to contribute to your kid bedroom ideas!

Pillows for sleep

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam is made from a substance called viscoelastic, which was originally designed for NASA airplane seats. Memory foam adjusts to the shape of your body or head. It is highly elastic and “remembers” its original shape when the pressure is removed.

Memory foam is exceptionally comfortable and used in several medical products, like prosthetics and seating pads. Its flexibility and durability make it an ideal choice for mattresses and pillows for sleep. You can also consider a bonded foam mattress along with it to have complete ergonomic bedding!

Pillows for sleep

Hollow Fibre Pillows

Hollow fibre is made from fine, hollow polyester strands which are soft and fluffy. They provide uniform support through the length of the pillow and aid in uninterrupted sleep. The Wakefit Pillow is made of hollow fibres and designed based on extensive research of the material.

The Wakefit pillow, being made of hollow fibres, is durable, affordable, and can be compressed for packaging. They have the comfort of memory foam pillows, with added durability and convenience.

Most pillows are made from one of these materials, and differ primarily in their structure. When selecting your pillows for sleep, it is important to consider the parts of your body that need support, and your general sleeping habits.

Pillows for sleep

Neck and Body Pillows

Neck and body pain is often caused by poor posture while sleeping. Specifically, it occurs when your body is misaligned, and your spine is bent strenuously. Neck support pillows can address this problem.

Choose a contoured pillow whose shape lends itself to holding your neck up, to keep your spine straight. Neck support pillows work best for people who naturally sleep on their back, and tend not to move around much in their sleep. A body pillow is another great solution for neck and body pain. They are typically at least three-fourths the length of your body, and lie next to you, along the length of your body.

A body pillow is a wise selection if you tend to sleep on your side, especially in addition to a side sleeper pillow. A good combination of a side sleeper pillow & body pillows can hugely reduce your neck and body pain by reducing the strain on your spine. Also, consider which side is best to sleep on to optimize your night’s rest.

Pillows for sleep

Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are smaller pillows, often covered in fabrics to match the rest of your room decor. They are usually placed on chairs or sofas, but are also included on beds. They are primarily decorative, and serve to create an ambience of comfort.

However, when made from high-quality materials, throw pillows can serve as pillows for sleep, with the practical purpose of added support. Because they are small, you can keep several on your bed, and use them for added neck support, as well as under your knees and ankles. Space is the only limit to how many throw pillows you can keep on your bed. It might be a good idea to use dust-resistant fabrics as covers for throw pillows, as they often end up on the floor.

If you want something to hold in your sleep, that stays on your bed, cuddle pillows are also a great option. Be sure to browse Wakefit’s collection of throw pillows in sets of three and five, to match a wide range of decor aesthetics, from classic and minimal, to patterned and chic.

Pillows for sleep

Pregnancy and Maternity Pillows

Backaches are a common symptom of pregnancy because of the constant weight that adds pressure to the spine. It is extremely important to choose a good pillow for pregnant women for the health of the mother and the child.

A good pregnancy pillow offers the benefit of ensuring spinal alignment and supports the weight of the pregnant belly. A pillow for pregnant women will typically be C- or U-shaped. U-shaped pillows take up more space on the bed but allow more mobility and flexibility. C-shaped pillows are more compact but lack the versatility of U-Shaped pillows.

A maternity pillow is used to support the baby during feeding and sleeping. While they aren’t strictly needed for the baby, they are immensely helpful to parents and caregivers. They balance the weight of the baby across the pillow, which makes it less strenuous to hold the baby for long periods. A maternity pillow can also be used to create a space for the baby on your bed, to make cuddle time a lot easier.

travel pillow

Travel Pillow

Even if you don’t travel frequently, you probably already have a set of travel essentials like a toilet case, with travel-sized toiletries, theft-proof bags, chargers, and so on. If it isn’t already on there, make sure to include a good travel pillow on your list of travel essentials.

A travel pillow will sit on your shoulders, and give you neck support for spinal alignment during sleep in an upright seated position. Wakefit’s travel pillow is made from molded memory foam, and comes in a soft fabric with an attached eye mask, and a discreet pouch for storage.

anti snore

Anti-Snore Pillows

Snoring is caused by a range of issues, including stress and genetics. However, it can also be triggered by improper sleeping posture, when the airway in your throat is twisted.

People who have a problem with snoring are often told to lie on their side, and avoid lying on their backs. These positions can help, but ultimately, excessive snoring may be a more complicated medical issue.

If you have a medical issue with snoring, anti-snore pillows can be a helpful tool for positional therapy, which involves training your body to sleep with good posture. Anti-snore pillows are typically wedge-shaped, which encourages you to sleep on your side. It also supports your head and neck more, which promotes better breathing, and thus, less snoring.


Orthopedic Pillows

An orthopedic pillow is designed to address a specific issue related to body posture. They might be pillows for sleep or use while sitting, or reclining. They can be used to address issues with sleep, breathing, or gastrointestinal function. Depending on the material of the pillow, they can last up to 4 years.

Orthopedic pillows come in a wide range of shapes, for different purposes, and include wedge pillows, leg and knee pillows, lumbar pillows and more. Buying the right orthopedic pillow is typically a matter of preference. Choose a material with the durability and firmness you desire.

However, if you are using an orthopedic pillow to correct a medical issue, it is extremely important to consult your doctor about what type of pillow to buy.

leg pillowa

Leg Pillows and Knee Pillows

Leg and knee pillows are variations of an orthopedic pillow. They are hourglass-shaped, and lie between your legs, at the level of your knees, to keep your hips open and ensure that they are in line with your shoulders. This is important for your breathing as it keeps your spine straight.

Leg pillows and knee pillows are also beneficial for people who are more boney or have joint pains. These pillows provide added support for the legs and prevent contact between limbs that can be uncomfortable or painful. The leg or knee pillow is a side-sleeper pillow, as it relies on the side-sleeping position, which is generally recommended for most sleepers.

However, people with more severe leg pain can sleep on their backs, provided your pillow provides ample neck and back support.

Pillows for sleep

Sleep Apnea Pillows

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where the sleeper stops breathing periodically during their sleep. Excessive snoring, which stops and starts alarmingly, is the most recognisable symptom. It can be extremely dangerous.

While the exact causes are not known, it is often associated with aging and obesity. It is also related to smoking, and is much more common in men. The treatments for sleep apnea typically involve a larger overhaul of the patient’s sleeping behaviours. Doctors may also prescribe the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine.

A wedge pillow might also be used as part of sleep apnea treatment. It elevates the head and shoulders, and allows for an unblocked airway. Wakefits’ Wedge Pillow is a great option, to address issues with sleep apnea, as well as to ensure good posture while seated in an upright position.

Blame it on your old pillow. Bring home a new one. One that’s known for good sleep.

Healthy Sleeping Habits

It is difficult to overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. High quality of sleep is essential to keep our bodies functioning well, just like healthy food, and regular exercise. Scientists even theorize that building beds, instead of sleeping on branches, enabled the high-quality sleep that allowed for humans to evolve from apes!

What are some Healthy Sleeping Habits?

Sleep hygiene is so necessary for our physical and mental well-being, that a healthy diet and exercise can not benefit us without it. As such, it is crucial to prepare for a good night’s sleep, with your habits and sleep accessories.

  • Use high-quality bedding accessories: Make sure you use proper bedding and sleep accessories of high quality. Your mattress and pillow need to be firm enough to provide support, while being soft and flexible, to ensure comfort.
  • Choose fabrics that don’t affect your skin: Your bedding needs to be made of safe, breathable fabrics, that do not irritate your skin, or overheat your body.
  • Use a cooling pillow, if needed: If you are prone to overheating, you could benefit from a cooling pillow that is made from materials, including a cooling gel. Cooling pillows are breathable and have moisture-wicking fabric, to ensure that heat and sweat are not retained in the pillow.
  • Stay consistent with your bedtime: Go to sleep and wake up at regular hours, and try to make the most of sunlit hours. While your work or home situation may force you into a more nocturnal lifestyle, try to get some exposure to daylight whenever you can.
  • Check your sleeping posture: Make sure you have good posture when you sleep, keeping your spine straight. In other words, whether you lie on your back, stomach, or your side, ensure that your ears, shoulders and hips are in a straight line. You can consider studying the different types of mattresses and understand which one is perfect for your body and sleeping style.
  • Find pillows that support well: Use pillows to help control your movement while you sleep, and to ensure that your whole body has adequate support even if you do move.
  • Do corrective exercises: Regular exercise and stretching improve your posture overall, which will impact your posture in your sleep. It also helps to tire your body so that you can have a deeper, more restful sleep.

Sleep hygiene, which refers to habits and behaviours that promote healthy sleep, is just as important, if not more important than proper bedding materials and equipment. Sleep hygiene includes maintaining a regular bedtime routine, which allows for sufficient hours of high-quality sleep. Plus, you can refer to some thoughtful stylish bedding decor ideas that are hygienic and conducive to sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Pillows For Sleep

Yes, they do! A good pillow improves your posture, which works wonders for your comfort. Make sure you choose pillows for sleep that will suit your needs in terms of shape and firmness, and you are guaranteed to see improvement in the quality of your sleep. Factors like the cleanliness and freshness of your pillow will also make a difference, so be sure to clean and dry your pillows regularly.

Most sleepers favour memory foam pillows as the best because they encourage good sleeping positions. They also provide a good amount of support and adjust to the sleeper’s shape, compared to any other pillows. Also, the average lifespan of these pillows is two to three years, which is longer than other pillows. Undoubtedly, memory foam pillows are the best pillows for sleeping compared to other types of pillows.

The best sleeping position changes from person to person, and from night tonight. The best sleeping position will also change with changes in your body, such as pregnancy, weight loss or gain, and medical issues. That said, the golden rule is that the best sleeping position is the one where your spine is aligned, and all your body parts are supported as needed. That is, sleeping on your side or back is the best position to sleep on.

Whenever possible, make sure that you are sleeping on a high-quality mattress, and use pillows for sleep to ensure that your spine is straight, whether you are lying on your back, stomach, or side.

If you practise good posture in your daily life and sleep on high-quality bedding, your body will likely fall into a posture that is healthy and promotes good sleep.

There are many sleeping habits that you can follow to optimize your sleep, but the most important one is to have a regular bedtime routine.

  • Fix one bedtime. Stick to it: Go to sleep at the same time, as far as possible, and go through the same motions as you prepare for bed, to prepare your mind for sleep.
  • Freshen up and detox: Brush your teeth, wash up, and change into comfortable clothes. Set your alarms if needed, and then avoid looking at screens as you go through your bedtime rituals. Plan to sleep for at least eight hours each night.
  • Read, exercise, meditate: Reading, meditation, or even light stretching are great additions to your bedtime routine, and can also be incorporated into your waking up routine. It seems contradictory, but waking up in a healthy way is also an important habit related to sleep.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Drink water when you wake up to rehydrate after hours of sleep. Making your bed helps maintain your bedding, and signals to your body that your day has begun. It is also important when you go to sleep to see a well-made bed, so that you feel welcomed and comforted by your sleeping space.

The healthiest pillow material is one that meets your sleep needs and has no adverse effects. If you have allergies, you may need to avoid latex pillows or feather pillows. If you do not have any allergies, all pillow materials are safe and healthy as long as you maintain them correctly. Wash and clean your pillows regularly, (at least twice a year for down and feather pillows) and make sure to completely dry them before use.

The general thumb rule is to change pillows every couple of years. Doing so helps to ensure that you’re using pillows that are comfortable, supportive, and hypoallergenic. Using the same pillows for too many years may cause several health issues and affect the quality of your sleep.

Hence, to maintain good sleep hygiene and prevent head, back, and neck ailments, it is essential to replace your pillow every one to two years.

Though there is a wide range of pillows, in various materials, shapes, and sizes, the right pillow for you is probably quite easy to find.

  • If you have medical needs, opt for an orthopedic pillow, or sleep apnea pillows, in accordance with your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Consider your personal preferences in firmness to decide on which material you want.
  • If you move around a lot in your sleep, you might choose to include a leg pillow, knee pillow, or body pillow to ensure that you are supported throughout the night.

Feather and Down pillows should be replaced every year. They may last up to two years if you have washed and dried them correctly. Memory foam and Hollow Fibre Wakefit Pillows can safely be replaced every 3 years. With proper care and cleaning, latex pillows can last up to 4 years but may need to be changed after 2 years of intensive use.

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