How to Pick The Right Pillow

If you're like most people, you spend about a third of your days asleep (less, perhaps, if you're a new parent or a college student cramming for finals). And the most important piece of the slumber puzzle is your pillow. Choose the wrong one, and you'll trade 40 winks for fitful tossing and turning. Keep these tips in mind as you shop for the right headrest. 

Choose a filling. Your preference is as individual as you are, but there are three major types of fillings.
If you like to feel cradled, you might choose a malleable goose down or feather filling. These materials retain warmth and help to keep you toasty on cold nights. On good-quality versions, look for an indicator called fill power, which refers to how much filling the pillow has (the more filling, the plumper and longer lasting the pillow will be).
One advantage to down: It lacks the sharp ends of feathers, which can poke through the pillowcase and prickle your skin. Allergy sufferers who want the comfort of down or feathers can buy special hypoallergenic pillow covers to alleviate reactions. Springy memory foam molds itself to your head, returning to its original shape after you arise. Because it conforms to your movements in the night, it can be a good choice for restless sleepers. It also works well for those with neck and spinal problems, as it distributes weight evenly. The downside? It tends to be expensive.

Polyester filling, less expensive than down and memory foam, tends to provide good support and hold its shape reasonably well. However, it is also the least durable of these materials. There are more specialized and natural options too; you can also buy pillows with specialized fillings such as buckwheat hulls, which shift along with your position, and natural and organic latex, which are breathable and resist mold, mildew and mites.