Can you imagine how good it would feel to wake up every day feeling rested and refreshed? Feeling that you’re ready to take on the day – to take on every challenge and overcome every obstacle that stands in your way.

Imagine going home from work every day feeling totally refreshed – ready to enjoy your evening rather than simply recovering from your workday or falling asleep on the couch as your dinner microwaves… (and haven’t we all had that happen to us before?)

I want to ask you a question that might make you uncomfortable. It may make you squirm or even embarrass you. Are you ready?

When was the last time you replaced your pillows?

Did you cringe?

We all remember seeing photos in our high school biology textbooks of the little critters that live on our pillows. Little critters so small they can’t be seen by the naked eye. EWWWW!

How often should you replace your pillow?

A quick Google search reveals that pillows should be replaced every six months to two years. When was the last time you replaced yours?

Besides the “ew” factor, there are other reasons to replace your pillows. Obviously, if you are not sleeping well, maybe your pillow has flattened, and your neck and head are not aligned correctly at night, regardless of why there are probably very few people who replace their pillows as often as they should.

Part of the reason you may be suffering with a critter-covered, lumpy pillow every night is that it is difficult to pick out a pillow. There are tons of different options – – how do you pick the right one for you? Here are some things to consider.

Pillow Filling

Down

Down feathers have “soared” in popularity within the last decade and for a good reason. Down pillows are light and fluffy. They shape to your head easily and can be downright cuddly.

Synthetic/Polyester

Unlike down pillows, polyester fiberfill can be cheap cheap cheap! This makes replacing them every six months a little less painful. They are also easy to clean.

Memory Foam

Just as the name suggests, memory foam retains its shape. It doesn’t clump and offers great head support. The magic of memory foam is that it reacts to temperature and pressure to create its shape. Memory foam pillows also come in shredded foam versions.

There are other considerations when purchasing a pillow. Just like sheets, pillows come labeled with thread counts.  Should we care about this number? It is something to keep in mind even if most people cover their pillow with a pillowcase. One thing to consider is that pillows with higher thread count may keep the stuffing inside a little better and may prolong its life.

One of the most important factors when purchasing a pillow is the loft or thickness of the pillow. The best loft for you can be determined by your body size, pillow placement, and whether you sleep on your stomach, back, or side. There are pillow loft calculators online to help you determine the best pillow thickness for you.

Another one of the major factors of purchasing a pillow involves cost. Pillows range from $5 to over 100 dollars! Before shelling out big bucks for a super expensive pillow, make sure you know the store’s return policy. How disappointing would it be to buy a deluxe pillow only to discover it causes pain in your neck!

Regardless of which type of filling you chose and whether you prefer flat or thick, it’s a good idea to pop the pillow in the wash every so often. Just follow the directions on the care label. Then rest easy that the little critters living on your pillow have been removed – at least for one night.

How many pillows should you sleep with?

Even though many people sleep with multiple pillows, the recommended number is one. You only need a single pillow to sufficiently support your head while you sleep. The purpose of sleeping with a pillow is to keep your neck aligned with your spine.

Should I sleep on more than one pillow?

If you sleep on more than one pillow, you could strain several areas of your body. Too many pillows might cause unwanted pain in your neck and shoulders. The extra pillows can lead to problems with spinal alignment and posture.

How many pillows should I sleep with?

One pillow is enough to sleep. You can use a soft or firm pillow. One pillow is sufficient for any sleep position. The key factor is comfort. Your pillow needs to be comfortable. If you have an old pillow, you might need to replace it.

How often should I change a pillowcase?

Once a week, you should change your pillowcases. When you sweat a lot in the summer, you might want to change pillowcases even more frequently. Sleeping on a dirty pillow can cause you to break out, so it makes sense to take a few minutes once a week to replace all pillowslips.

Can a pillow cause back pain?

The pillow you sleep on has an important role in keeping you pain-free. A poor fit can contribute to back pain. Regardless of your sleep position, a good pillow will support a neutral spine. It will also conform to different movements.

If you are a stomach sleeper, you might want to look for higher-fill pillows. Neck and contour style pillows are also great. The pillow you sleep on should support your neck. The wrong pillow can’t keep a natural angle while you sleep. A shallow pillow might cause your head to bend inward and could put a strain on your shoulder.

Can a pillow cause neck pain?

A pillow that is too high might result in tension in your neck. Many side sleepers favor a body pillow. A body pillow can be hugged to the chest to avoid shoulder pain caused by awkward arm positions. You can also place your body pillow between your knees to keep your spine straight.

If you are a back sleeper, you should look for medium fill pillows. Your pillow should provide the same angle when you are lying in bed when you are sitting up straight. If your chin is angled toward your chest, your pillow is too high; your pillow is too low if your head falls back.

Side sleepers should look for fairly thin pillows. A thin pillow provides just enough padding to cushion the face but not so thick that your neck is forced backward.