The Best Pillows
Sleep Number Pillowology True Silver Shell and Core
With its insert in place, this pillow is a high, firm oasis. Sans insert, it’s low and luxurious. Suits all sleep positions.
To buy: $130, sleepnumber.com.
Soft and Lofty
Cuddledown Batiste 800 FP Down Medium
Springy, cloudlike, and nearly weightless, it gently compresses to cradle your head. Suits side and back sleepers.
To buy: $209, cuddledown.com.
iComfort Gel-Infused Memory Foam Contour Pillow
A wondrous supportive wedge of memory foam that contours brilliantly without leaving your head sweaty (as some memory foams can). Dust mite-resistant and antimicrobial. Suits side and back sleepers.
To buy: $100, icomfort.com.
Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton and Down Firm
Not too hard, not too soft—top-shelf white goose down wrapped in organic cotton. Blissful. Suits side sleepers.
To buy: $158, garnethill.com.
The fill, a blend of down and wood pulp, is sewn into channels so it stays put without clumping. Sturdy and supportive. Suits side sleepers.
To buy: $120, sleepnumber.com.
For Allergies and Paranoia
Designed to protect completely against dust mites, bedbugs, and toxins. Note: Some pillows in this category make a “crunchy” noise, due to the polyester cover, but this one is quiet, as well as comfortable. Suits side and back sleepers.
To buy: $20, cleanrest.com.
Best of Both Worlds
A lofty center with low, gusseted edges (plus pleasing squishability) to accommodate the perpetual repositioning of toss-and-turners. Suits side and back sleepers.
To buy: Starting at $110, eddiebauer.com.
Pillow Talk: What Matters Most
Height: Comfort and neck support are less about firmness than about height, says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a sleep specialist in Virginia. “Side sleepers need a high pillow to fill the space between shoulder and ear,” he says. Back sleepers should use a low one so as not to kink the neck and restrict airflow, and stomach sleepers need a flat pillow (or no pillow). Since body weight influences a pillow’s functional height, sticklers should shop in person.
Fill: What’s the difference between down and feathers? Down is the soft stuff closest to the skin of the bird. It holds more air than feathers do, so it’s loftier and more luxurious. If you’re prone to allergies, you should avoid both materials, because they can attract and hold dust. Instead, opt for synthetic down.