Sleep is one of the most important factors to consider for efficient daily functioning. However, as busy humans we often neglect and undervalue sleep.  So many factors can affect the duration and quality of your sleep. But today we will focus on things to consider with your pillow. 

Why does a pillow matter?

Pillow fittingPillows are designed to support our head and neck while we sleep. If you have a pillow which isn’t appropriate for your body, it may lead to aches and pains. 

Your pillow should support the natural curvature of your neck and feel comfortable. If your pillow is too high it can put your neck into a position that may strain the muscles in your neck, back and shoulders. You want to choose a pillow which will keep your head and spine in a neutral position. 

How do I work out what pillow height I need?

Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

The height of the pillow is dictated by the position you sleep in the most. You must work out if you are a side sleeper, back sleeper, or front sleeper.

Back sleepers: you want a pillow that isn’t too thin or too thick, you’re best off choosing a medium-thick pillow. 

Side sleepers: Your shoulders will take most of the pressure when you sleep on your side, you most likely want a firmer, fuller pillow to support the neck and keep it neutral. 

Front sleepers: This position is seen to place the most strain on your neck overnight, so ideally, train yourself to sleep in a different position. However, if you do prefer sleeping on your stomach a softer and flatter pillow may be ideal. 

What type of pillow should I get?

The main recommendations come down to memory foam vs latex pillows. These pillows are often firmer compared to down or synthetic pillows. 

Quality will vary between lots of pillows. The better-quality pillows will allow you to get longer life out of the pillows and promote better airflow which may affect quality of sleep (since no one likes sleeping when it’s hot). The main factor to consider is comfort, the price tag is usually just indicative of better-quality material/technology, which at times might not be that life changing.

When should you replace your pillow?

You should replace your pillow roughly every 18 months. However, a good quality pillow made from memory foam may last up to three years. 

If you’re unsure if you need a new pillow there are a few tests which may help. 

  1. Does your pillow have any holes or tears?
  2. Does your pillow have any stains or smell?

If yes, it’s ideal to get a new pillow. As pillows can collect bacteria which may be harmful to your skin. 

If it passes these basic tests, try fold it in half and see if the pillow springs back or stays folded. If it stays folded, then the pillow is probably worn out. 


Kamal Pakenham OsteopathyIf you are looking to get a new pillow, make sure you are content with your mattress. As the mattress quality will change the height of your body and therefor needs to maintain a neutral spine. 

As your Osteopath we will be able to help assess and help fit you for an appropriate pillow. You can make an appointment at Pakenham Osteopathy. Click here to book online or call us on 5941-4157.

You can email me directly at if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!