When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, not all pillows are created equal. In fact, your pillow can make all the difference between a blissful sleep and a night spent tossing and turning (not to mention all the attendant side effects, from exhaustion to under-eye bags).
But what makes a pillow high quality, and how are you supposed to choose the right one?
For starters, one thing all good pillows have in common is that they keep your posture properly aligned, meaning your head doesn’t bend too far forward or back. Your pillow should also hold its shape when you move around—because there’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night to re-fluff.
Otherwise, your choice of pillow will depend on your individual sleep style and personal preferences. Here, we’ve answered all your most pressing pillow questions in order to help you navigate the options, and make a choice that’s right for you.
What’s the difference between a down and synthetic pillow?
Down pillows are made from natural fibers (feathers and down), while synthetic pillows are filled with down-alternative fibers (poly-blends). Down pillows have a soft, cloud-like feel that’s ultra-comfortable, and they can last for a long time, if well cared for. Made to mimic the feeling of down, synthetic pillows are also a great choice, especially for anyone with allergies.
What’s the deal with memory foam?
Memory foam is a different type of synthetic pillow that tends to be the firmest option on the market. Because it’s super-firm and not as malleable, it works well for people who need a little extra head and neck support, and who don’t move around a lot at night.
What pillow is best for back sleepers? Side sleepers? Stomach sleepers?
In general, we recommend our firm pillow for back sleepers, the plush for stomach sleepers, and the mid-plush for side sleepers.
However, realistically, most people tend to shift positions during the night. For this reason, our (best-selling!) Mid-Plush pillow is the best all-around option – it’s super versatile, and suits every sleep style.
The Mid-Plush pillow uses dual-core engineering—we call it the “pillow in a pillow”—to help it maintain its shape throughout the night. Its inner feather core provides support, while its outer down core gives it softness and buoyancy.
We also offer a synthetic dual-core version, with unique suprelle fibers that prevent clumping (as cheaper synthetics are wont to do). Like the Mid-Plush feather-down hybrid pillow, the Mid-Plush poly-suprelle constantly adjusts to your sleep patterns, so that you stay comfy all night long, regardless of your position.
What type of pillow do you recommend for someone who sleeps hot?
We recommend a down or feather-down blend pillow, as synthetic fibers tend to retain more heat (the same goes for memory foam). That being said, the overall difference in terms of heat retention in synthetic vs. down pillows is fairly marginal, so don’t let it outweigh other important factors, like head and neck support.
Why are some pillows so prohibitively expensive, and what makes a pillow “high-quality”?
A wide variety of factors go into the cost of a pillow, ranging from material and production costs that directly impact quality, to post-production costs, which can include brick-and-mortar locations, wholesaling, licensing, distribution and more.
At the material level, the main costs are the shell and the fill. The fill is usually either down or down-alternative, with down generally being the more expensive of the two. The country of origin of the down, quality of the down and the loft factor will also affect the final price. For example, a higher-quality, ethically sourced down from cold-weather countries such as Canada, Iceland and Norway will be the most premium. We use the highest quality all-natural White Down, sourced from the eco-friendly Hutterite farms in Northwest Canada.
A higher loft, aka fill power, will be more expensive as well (the loft is the measure of the ‘fluffiness’ of the down filling). The higher the fill-power, the more air the down can trap, and the more buoyant and “fluffy” a pillow is. A higher fill-power also traps more heat, so you don’t necessarily want the highest number possible—500 or 600 is generally the sweet spot. The loft of the down in our pillows is 600. Our Plush pillow is 100% down, while our Mid-Plush and Firm pillows feature the aforementioned dual-core down and feather construction in order to provide greater firmness and support.
On the materials and production front, our costs are effectively the same, if not higher, than pricey labels. However, by eliminating costs like brick-and-mortar locations, distribution fees (transporting the product to various locations), department store costs, and so on, we’re able to offer competitive prices. Slimming down the supply chain and delivering our products directly from our factories to our customers allows us to sell luxury-grade pillows, but without the markups.