Choosing The Right Pillow

Choosing The Right Pillow

How to choose a pillow

Choosing a pillow is something we often don’t think about as intensely or frequently as we should. It might surprise you to know that experts recommend replacing your pillow every 1-2 years due to the buildup of dust mites and other contaminants from our bodies, which can irritate allergies and lead to poorer sleep quality. Not to worry, we have a guide written to help you pick the right pillow every time!

Mattress type

First and foremost, you need to keep your mattress type in mind throughout this guide. It’s also important to think about your body weight and how you tend to sleep. 

Sleepers who weigh more tend to compress their beds down more, changing the alignment of the spine, neck, and pillow. For sleepers that tip the scales at a lower number, a pillow with more loft is important to get good results, since your head and neck will be higher off the bed surface.

Likewise, your sleeping pattern (side, back, or stomach) will also have a big impact here. Stomach sleepers tend to do best with pillows that are very thin when compressed, and side sleepers tend to prefer pillows that do the opposite to take weight off their shoulder resting on the bed. Meanwhile, back sleepers (the most common type of sleeping pattern) will usually prefer a medium amount of loft for optimal spinal position.

Firmness, loft height, and fill type

These three quantities are all related to each other. Firmness refers to the pressure required to squish the filling of the pillow. Fill type is the material used to stuff the pillow. And loft height is how tall the pillow is when compressed (this last one can be tricky but most pillows will list a loft height on their labeling).

First up is firmness. This is a highly personal preference between different people. Some folks love having a big fluffy pillow that hugs their head, while others like the extra support that comes from a less compressible filling. Oftentimes, this is influenced by your sleeping pattern. Firmer pillows tend to have a higher loft height.

Loft height is a huge part of the sleeping comfort equation. This is heavily related to your head position. A heavy individual who sleeps on their stomach in a soft foam bed will almost certainly want the lowest loft height possible, because their head is lower down. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a lightweight person sleeping on their side in a very firm spring bed would want a very tall loft height (perhaps even two stacked pillows!), because their head is quite a ways up off the mattress.

Finally, we have fill types. This has a big influence on both loft height and firmness. A solid foam pillow will often be very firm and have a high loft height, while a lightly-stuffed down pillow may be very big at first, but compresses to a very small thickness once the weight of your noggin is resting on it. It’s best to try these different fills and firmnesses out in person, something we can help you with at Mattress Firm El Paso!

Breathability, wicking, and temperature control

These three are all a little bit related to each other, just like the ones in the previous section. The more breathable and better at wicking a pillow is, the cooler it tends to be. That’s a big plus in the heat of summer here in Texas!

Most pillows that feature temperature and moisture control enhancements will proudly declare that on the label, since it tends to be a big selling point. Look for labels like “Cool Touch” or “Temperature Controlled” when you’re shopping for pillows, and don’t be afraid to give them a try before buying here at Mattress Firm El Paso.


An often-forgotten aspect of pillows is size. Most of us are used to relatively small pillows that are sized for one person, but these can end up feeling a little small on a larger King- or Queen-size bed. Shop around for different sizes of pillows in the style you want, you may find out that a bigger pillow is a nice place to luxuriate after a long day. It’s especially nice to have on a larger bed where a smaller pillow may restrict how much of the bed is really comfortable to use at night.


There are a bunch of different considerations when purchasing a pillow, maybe more than you were expecting! We specialize in helping people find the best solution for THEM at Mattress Firm El Paso, so come by for expert help in choosing a new pillow today.

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