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sleeping on pillow


Pillow Use Suggestions

Selling organic and natural fiber pillows for ten years has given us insight on some good tips for using a pillow.

First, match the pillow to your mattress.  The same pillow that works well on a firm mattress may not work as well on a softer mattress.  For instance, a pillow that raises the head six inches while on a firm mattress, may raise the head eight or ten inches on a soft mattress.  That’s because a person’s body sinks farther into a soft mattress than it sinks into a firm mattress, making the pillow effectively raise the head higher because the body is lower in a softer mattress.

Next, match the pillow to your sleeping style.  In general, back-sleepers are more comfortable with a lower height pillow and side-sleepers are more comfortable with a higher pillow.  A pillow that is too high for back sleepers will push the head up too far, craning the neck.  A pillow that is too low for side-sleepers will cause the head to droop down, putting more weight on the shoulders.

Here are some other tips.  When a side-sleeper puts their lower arm underneath the pillow, it can result in pinched nerves which can cause the arm to temporarily lose feeling.  An arm under the pillow is usually a sign that the pillow is too low for side sleeping.  Consider a taller pillow.  Keep arms to sides or on top of pillow.

When side sleeping, pull the edge of the pillow into the crook of the neck, between the neck and shoulder.  When the edge of the pillow is between the neck and shoulder, it supports the head more completely. Don’t let the pillow get under the shoulder, else it can raise the shoulder relative to the neck and cause neck or shoulder pain.

When back sleeping, keep the pillow under the head only.  Don’t let the pillow get under the shoulders, else cervical support will be lessened.  If the pillow is too tall to have only under the head, consider a lower/thinner pillow.

There may be a trade-off necessary with pillows that can’t be adjusted in height.  Many people alternate between sleeping positions, making it a challenge to find a pillow that is the right height.  Yet the right type of pillow can accommodate both sleeping styles. 

We recommend a pillow with loose fill, and a zipper that allows access to the fill. These typically come over-stuffed.  Being able to access the fill lets some of the fill be removed to reduce the height of the pillow if necessary.  Some common fillings are shredded latex, kapok fiber, goose-down or wool tufts.    Unzip the case and remove enough fill to match your sleeping style: remove a lot for back sleeping, or remove a little for side-sleeping.  Save any fill that has been removed.  If the pillow compresses over time, it can then be re-stuffed with the excess fill.

A pillow with loose fill also lets the pillow be formed or manipulated by the sleeper to accommodate more than one sleeping style.  For instance, when back sleeping, a depression can be made in the pillow perpendicular to the body, so that a neck-roll is created.  The fill in the center of the pillow can also be pushed to the perimeter, so that a low spot is created in the center of the pillow.  When side-sleeping, the pillow can be bunched-up, or compressed laterally to increase its height.


We have several pillows with adjustable fill.