What is the best type of pillow ?

The Ref: your resource for well researched questions and answers. So when it comes to choosing a pillow what’s the best pillow to choose? Lets see!


So when it comes to buying a pillow, a number of questions come to mind: how to choose  the type, the filling material and the design? 

So here on The Ref we rely on papers-research to give answers to any question. Let’s get started!

This paper below is a randomized trial- it means that the participants in the study were chosen at random (anyone could be picked) to participate in this experiment.

The paper title is: 

Pillow use: the behaviour of cervical pain, sleep quality and pillow comfort in side sleepers.

Gordon SJ, et al. Man Ther. 2009.

So what did they do? 

  • Essentially, in this experiment 106 people were allowed to experience sleeping on different pillows so that the different types of pillows can be assessed and compared.

What was the experiment?

  • The authors did an experiment: each person slept for a week on their usual pillow, polyester, foam, feather and rubber pillows of regular shape and a foam contour pillow.

And then?

  • The people in the experiment then expressed their opinions- they reported if they felt neck pain when waking up, their comfort level, how many times they woke up at night and went back to sleep.

 So what was the point ?

Well , the point was to see if a specific pillow design offered better comfort than the others. 

Guess which pillow performed better? 

So the people in the study measured the overall outcome (how comfy the other pillows were) compared to their own go-to pillow. 

Most found that their own pillows performed similar to foam and polyester pillows. Yep, so all that hype ablout foam may not always be true.

Suprisingly, it was the rubber pillow that in many cases performed better that their own pillows. The authors found that many participants found that it helped them deal with neck pains. 

Conclusion from this paper

There are many options out there, and most pillows whether polyster or foam or rubber filled tend to give similar results. There is no reason to specifically recommend the use of a foam pillow for neck comfort. 

Our two cents: 

Find the pillow that comforts you- and if you have neck pain on waking up then a rubber pillow may help. Purchasing a high end foam pillow “specifically shaped to provide neck support” may not deliver all the comfort it promises you and it may not be really worth its price! 

Disclaimer: The above post is based on our views of already established research. The paper quoted above remains the property of its authors.The paper above is not the only one in the field our papers my report different findings so do not take our analysis as an all encompassing opinion. The opinions expressed here are in no way a replacement of an expert professional opinion. 

Below are some high rated Amazon pillows- if you purchase any through the links below we get a small profit- that helps us keep the website running – so please go ahead check them out! 


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