December 2018

How to choose a pillow that’s best for you & when should you change your pillow

How do I choose a pillow that’s best for me? When should I change my pillow? We’re frequently asked these questions and many more about pillows, because they play such a critical role in maintaining proper spinal alignment and promoting comfort while sleeping.

When choosing a pillow, it’s important to consider both materials and the sleep position your body is most comfortable in. By replacing your pillows every one to two years, you can dramatically improve your sleep quality and will wake up feeling refreshed.

Here are our recommendations for when to change your pillow and tips to help find the right pillow for you:


Inexpensive pillows are not as inexpensive as one might think, because you need to replace them more frequently, perhaps every 6-8 months.

For quality pillows of down, memory foam, or more structural poly materials like PrimaLoft®, the general consensus is anywhere from 18-36 months.

At Garnet Hill, we recommend that you change your everyday bed pillows every 18-24 months for optimum sleep conditions.

Guestroom pillows will last longer, but we recommend that you use pillow protectors to keep the dust and dust mites out. Pillow protectors are a great way to prolong the lifecycle of all pillows in your home.

Also, hypoallergenic poly is great for guest pillows, since you might not know whether guests are sensitive to down.


Pillows don’t last forever, and they certainly don’t last as long as your mattress.

Every night, your body sheds skin and natural oils that your pillow absorbs. Even with routine washing, these materials build up and eventually reduce the pillow’s resilience, support, and comforting properties.

Your pillow also supports the weight of your head night after night. This weight eventually compresses even the best pillow’s fill, causing it to flatten out and clump unevenly in spots.

By following these guidelines and updating your pillow regularly, you should enjoy better sleep.


  1. Do you often wake up tired after getting 6–8 hours of sleep and suspect that you’re not getting quality rest at night?
  2. When you wake, do you feel tension in your neck? Do you sometimes wake up with a headache? Do you experience aches and pains in your neck, back, and shoulders after sleeping?
  3. Is your current pillow getting lumpy? Is the fill clumping and pooling unevenly within its fabric shell?
  4. Do you wake up stuffy or sneezing? This could be from dust and dust mites or a sensitivity to the pillow’s fill material. If you have allergies, you should replace your pillow more frequently.
  5. If you have a feather or down pillow, do you need to spend time fluffing and reshaping it to get comfortable? If you can fold your pillow in half and it stays that way, it’s time for a new pillow.

If you observe one or more of the above, you should consider updating your pillow immediately. It’s important to regularly assess your bedding and change the pillows in your house.


  • First start with the materials that you prefer to have next to your skin. Is it important for your pillow to have a 100% cotton and/or organic cotton shell?
  • Do you have any sensitivities or allergies to materials like feathers or down? If so, it might be best to choose a hypoallergenic down-alternative fill, like PrimaLoft® poly.
  • Are you currently waking up sore? If so, you may want to reassess how you sleep and select a design that will give you the customized support that you need. Different sleep positions require different heights and densities. What position keeps you the most comfortable and rested?


We recommend firm, high-loft pillows for people who tend to sleep on their backs. It’s important to have a pillow with enough firmness and height to prevent the head from going back too far. There are contoured pillows designed with specialized divots to cradle the head and neck to ensure proper body alignment while sleeping on your back.


This is the most common sleep position. Medium to Soft densities work best for people who sleep on their sides. A fuller, traditionally shaped pillow will provide the best support and body alignment. For this reason, we recommend the PrimaLoft® Comfort Pillow for its gusseted sides and optimal loft.


Finding a pillow that provides comfort but is not too thick is key for people who sleep on their stomach. Thicker, high-loft pillows will increase neck tension and diminish comfort, so it’s important to go with a softer or low-profile pillow design with loft no greater than 3” thick.

Many of the pillows in our collection work with multiple sleep positions and come in multiple densities, so that you can select the firmness that’s best for you.

When was the last time you changed your pillow? What attributes do you look for in a pillow? For more pillows, plus comforters, bed toppers, mattress pads, and other solutions for a great night’s sleep, explore our latest home collection of luxurious bedding basics.

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