How to choice Linen Sheets?

What is Linen?

Linen is a textile material derived from cellulose fibers of the flax plant (also known as linseed). Considered one of the world’s oldest fabrics, the production of linen dates back to prehistoric times. Today, linen is used to make a wide range of products, including garments, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels. It is also used to produce sheets and pillowcases, and is considered a more breathable alternative to cotton and polyester.

 

To produce linen, flax fibers are separated from the plant and spun into fine yarns, which can be woven or knit (most sheets and pillowcases are woven). Linen is commonly harvested by hand, a technique that often results in a highly durable material.

Linen offers a distinctly crisp hand-feel. Some sleepers love the texture of linen, while others find it a bit too coarse and scratchy. Linen is exceptionally breathable, as well, making it well-suited to warmer temperatures.

How to Choose Linen Sheets

As with other bedding products, choosing a linen sheet set requires consideration and research on your part. We recommend comparison shopping with different brands and collections to get an idea about expected prices, available sizes and styles, and other important details. In the next section, we’ll cover the most important factors to take into account when shopping for a new linen set.

What to Consider When Buying Linen Sheets

Our most important considerations for linen sheet shoppers are outlined below. Keep in mind that a high price-point does not always equate high quality. Some luxury bedding brands use misleading jargon to market their products. While many high-end linen sets are a worthwhile investment due to their durability, breathability, and comfort, some are simply overpriced and may not perform well over time.

  • Feel: Linen feels very crisp and smooth at first, but the material will soften over time with subsequent laundry cycles. Some linen bedding feels initially softer due to certain manufacturing techniques, such as garment-washing or stone-washing. Linen blended with other fabrics like cotton or rayon from bamboo also tends to be softer than pure linen.
  • Fit: When browsing linen sheet sets, be sure to check the “pocket depth” measurement of the fitted sheet. This figure refers to how far the elasticated corners will stretch, and should accommodate the thickness of your mattress. For example, a fitted sheet with a 12-inch pocket depth won’t be deep enough for a 13-inch mattress. Also keep in mind that linen may shrink in the wash – though this won’t be an issue if you buy pre-washed linen.
  • Price: High-quality linen sets typically cost $200 or more in any size. For a queen size set, expect to pay between $300 and $600. More affordable linen sets are also available, but they may not meet the same standards for quality and durability. Blended linen usually costs less than pure linen.
  • Weight: The weight of linen sheets is expressed in grams per square meter, or GSM. According to general consensus among sleepers and sleep experts, the ideal GSM for linen sheets falls between 170 and 190. Heavier linen sheets provide more insulation during colder times of the year, but they may feel excessively warm when the temperatures rise. Lighter linen sheets are optimal for warmer weather but may feel too thin in colder climates.
  • Design, Color, and Pattern: Compared to sheet sets made from other fabrics, you may find a more limited color and pattern selection for linen items. Neutral and earth tones, as well as whites and off-whites, are most common. These shades complement most bedroom decors, but if you prefer more vibrant colors and patterns, then you may want to consider another bedding material.
  • Breathability: Breathability is considered one of linen’s biggest strengths. The material is very airy and light, making it ideal for sleep during hotter times of the year. At the same time, most linen sheets and pillowcases offer decent warmth and insulation from the cold.
  • Durability: Linen is quite durable, especially if the fabric comes from hand-harvested fibers. That said, linen tends to deteriorate over time if you wash and dry it in a machine too frequently. Many manufacturers recommend line-drying to preserve the material better. A higher GSM measurement may indicate the linen is more durable.
  • Ease of Care: Most linen sheets and pillowcases can be washed and dried in any household machine, though you should not wash these items too frequently; otherwise they will deteriorate more quickly. Most manufacturers discourage the use of chlorine bleach or fabric softener.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Linen Sheets?

Natural breathability and durability are considered two of linen’s biggest strengths. However, there are also some disadvantages associated with linen, such as above-average pricing and excessive wrinkles. In the table below, we’ll break down linen’s most notable pros and cons.

Pros Cons
  • Linen is a naturally breathable material that wicks away moisture from your body and can help you stay cool during warmer months. It won’t trap heat like polyester and other synthetic fabrics, but heavier linens provide good insulation when the temperature dips.
  • The flax fibers used to create linen yarns are very durable. As a result, linen bedding products typically offer decent lifespans – provided you don’t wash them too often. Linen doesn’t pill like cotton or polyester, either.
  • Linen offers certain health benefits for users. It is naturally hypoallergenic, making it ideal for people with allergies. Linen is also resistant to dirt and won’t generate static.
  • Even for a natural fiber, linen is quite eco-friendly. Flax plants are renewable and their cultivation requires minimal irrigation.
  • Many sleepers enjoy the crisp hand feel of traditional linen, but some find it too coarse and scratchy at first. The material may soften over time, but other bedding materials – such as cotton and Tencel – offer more initial softness.
  • Linen sheets and pillowcases are prone to wrinkling, especially if you choose to line dry them. Fabric softener is generally discouraged, but you can iron them flat if excessive wrinkles occur.
  • Linen sheet sets tend to be fairly expensive compared to items made from other materials. A high-quality linen set will probably cost at least $250, and some exceed the $500 mark.

What Is the Ideal Thread Count for Linen Sheets?

The ideal thread count for linen is between 80 and 120. However, judging the thread count of linen can be a bit tricky. With other materials like cotton or silk, a higher thread count often corresponds to better quality. The opposite is true for linen because the fibers are thicker and more difficult to weave together. If the thread count is too high, the material will be bulky and not particularly breathable. Bottom line: be wary of any manufacturer or seller that touts a “high thread count” for their linen sheet set.

Many manufacturers of linen bedding do not list a thread count at all. Instead, they use grams per square meter, or GSM, to describe the material’s quality. The optimal GSM is 170 to 190, indicating a medium weight of about 0.3 to 0.4 pounds. These sheets and pillowcases will drape comfortably without feeling too heavy or hot. If you don’t see GSM listed on the website of a linen sheet set you’d like to buy, reach out to customer service.

More Frequently Asked Questions About Linen Sheets

How long do linen sheets last?

With proper use and care, a linen sheet set can last years – even decades in some cases. The trick to preserving linen bedding items is to clean them sparingly. Avoid using chlorine bleach and other chemicals during the wash cycle, and consider drying the linen on a line rather than in a machine. Excessive washing can cause linen to develop holes and deteriorate more quickly.

How do I make my linen sheets feel softer?

High-quality linen will become softer over time with repeated wash cycles, but it will still retain its naturally crisp texture. If you prefer softness over crispness for your sheets and pillowcases, you may want to purchase a set made of linen that has been garment-washed or stone-washed during production. These techniques give the fabric a softer hand feel.

How do I wash and care for linen sheets?

Always defer to the care tag on your linen bedding when it comes to washing and drying these items. In most cases, you’ll be able to clean these sheets and pillowcases in any household machine. Machine washing in warm or cold water and tumble drying on low is usually recommended, and you should never use bleach or laundry additives. You should also wash linen bedding separately from other garments and items. Hot-ironing can damage linen, so use a warm iron setting when removing wrinkles. Linen is also very absorbent, so be sure to spot-clean stains and spills as quickly as possible.

Are luxury linen sheets worth the price?

You’ll probably pay at least $200 for a high-quality linen sheet set – and in some cases, the sticker price will be double or even triple this amount. The good news is that linen sheets are exceptionally durable as long as you wash and dry them infrequently. So while linen sheets and pillowcases may be significant up-front investments, you’ll be able to enjoy them for many years.

Organic Sheets

While the term “organic” has become a buzzword in recent years, organic bedding can have several benefits for sleepers. Organic materials tend to be more breathable, and they are typically free from harsh chemicals that could irritate the skin or respiratory system. Organic bedding can also be more durable than products made using non-organic materials, blends, or synthetics, which can make them a good long-term investment.

Additionally, producing organic sheets may be better for the environment and workers. Many organic bedding manufacturers focus on using socially and environmentally sustainable practices that support communities while limiting the environmental impact.

Since sheets lie against the body, choosing a quality set is an important task. To help you decide if organic sheets are right for you, we’ll explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of this type of bedding. We will also discuss our favorite organic sheets while outlining some important things to consider, such as weaves, thread count, and types of fabric.

How to Choose Organic Sheets

With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for when purchasing a new set. Between marketing lingo and greenwashing in the bedding industry, finding organic sheets that truly meet high standards of quality is often a challenge.

However, there are a few key things buyers can look for to help them find quality organic sheets. From performance factors to industry certifications, we’ll walk you through how to find the best organic sheets for you.

What to Consider When Buying an Organic Sheet Set

Several factors may influence which organic sheets are best for you, including material, weave, thread count, and performance.

Weave and Knit
Weave and knit refer to how the fabric is constructed, which can ultimately impact breathability, durability, and feel. While weaves, such as sateen and percale, are composed of several threads crossing over each other, knits consist of a single interlaced thread. Weaves usually have a tighter structure with minimal stretch. Knits stretch more easily, but they may lose their shape over time.

Staple
Staple refers to the length of the cotton fibers used to create yarn for the fabric. Short-staple cotton tends to feel rougher to the touch and may pill or wear out more quickly. Long-staple fibers are typically softer and more durable. Extra-long staple fibers are usually the softest and most durable, making them more common in high-end, luxury sheet sets.

Feel
The way a fabric feels plays a large role in how satisfied you will be with your sheets. The material and weave are two main factors that determine the overall texture, weight, and softness. Determining which materials or weaves you prefer can help you find the sheets that are most comfortable for you.

Fit
Sheets that don’t fit well can interrupt your sleep and make you less comfortable. If the fitted sheet is too small, it may be difficult to put on the bed and could pop off throughout the night. If it is too big, it may be baggy, bunchy, and uncomfortable. It is important to measure not only the width and length of your bed but also the height to ensure the pocket size is correct. Additionally, you should consider how much your material of choice may shrink in the wash to ensure a lasting fit.

Price
Setting a budget is an important step when searching for new sheets. While the price of organic sheets varies widely, the typical price range for a quality organic set is $150 to $250. Organic sheets also typically cost slightly more than non-organic bedding because these products cost more to produce. However, shoppers should note that organic materials also tend to be more durable, which can make them a good long-term investment.

Thread Count
Thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads in one square inch of fabric. A higher thread count is often associated with enhanced softness and durability. However, shoppers should be aware that some manufacturers manipulate their thread counts, which can give a misleading impression of the quality of fabric. Additionally, not all materials will have a thread count. While thread count may be a small consideration, shoppers should also examine other factors to find quality sheets.

Design, Color, and Pattern
Feel and performance are critical in finding the right sheets for you, but style can also be an important consideration. Finding colors and patterns that suit your style preferences can help complete your bedroom’s look. Color and pattern options frequently depend on the type of fabric and the brand. Neutrals are more widely available, particularly with organic sets.

Breathability
Breathability is a key factor, particularly for those who live in warm climates or who tend to overheat. Certain fabrics, such as cotton, are naturally breathable and promote airflow throughout the night. This can help with temperature regulation by distributing heat away from the body.

Durability
Since sheets rest so close to your body and need to be washed frequently, durable materials are important. Low-quality materials may wear thin, develop holes, lose their softness, or fade in color. While most sheets will need to be replaced after a few years, high-quality organic materials will likely last longer and remain in good shape even after considerable use.

Ease of Care
Since sheets often make direct contact with a sleeper’s body, they will need to be washed frequently. With that in mind, shoppers should consider how the materials need to be handled. Organic cotton sheets are usually machine-washable, but owners should follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to reduce the risk of damage.

Organic Certifications

The increasing popularity of organic products has caused some manufacturers to exaggerate their claims as a means to raise prices or increase sales. Many sheets that claim to be “made with organic cotton” may also contain other non-organic materials.

One way to determine whether a product is truly organic is to look for trusted third-party certifications. Certifications check the products to confirm their contents. Some certifications to look for include:

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): The GOTS certification holds textiles to a worldwide standard of quality to ensure a product is organic. To have a GOTS label, a finished product must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibers, which is defined as fibers grown without the use of GMOs or synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or insecticides. The standard also includes other ecological and social criteria to ensure the product is not hazardous to the environment or the workers who make it.
  • GREENGUARD Gold: While the GREENGUARD Gold certification does not directly relate to organic sourcing, products with this label are tested to be free from certain chemicals and to have lower volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. This means that GREENGUARD Gold bedding has low chemical emissions and should not interfere with indoor air quality. This may be particularly important when shopping for quality, organic mattresses.
  • OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100: To have the OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 label, each component of the bedding must be individually tested for an array of potentially harmful substances. While OEKO-TEX also has other certifications, the STANDARD 100 is most common in the bedding industry, so it is often simply referred to as “OEKO-TEX certification.”

What Types of Organic Sheets are Available?

There are many types of organic sheets on the market today. Buyers can choose from distinct colors and styles as well as different materials and weaves. Some common materials and weaves include:

Organic Cotton:

Regular Organic Cotton: Regular organic cotton is an all-encompassing term commonly applied to organic cotton varieties with shorter staples. To ensure the cotton is truly organic, shoppers should look for products with GOTS certification.

Organic Pima Cotton: Pima cotton is an extra-long staple cotton variety that originated in South America. It is valued for its above-average durability, breathability, and softness. Supima cotton is high-quality, American-grown Pima cotton. Because of its quality, Pima cotton tends to cost more than regular cotton.

Organic Egyptian Cotton: Organic Egyptian cotton is widely regarded as one of the highest-quality cottons available. Similar to Pima cotton, it is an extra-long staple variety that is known for its enhanced breathability, softness, and durability. Shoppers should note that many bedding sets advertising Egyptian cotton are often blends since Egyptian cotton can be quite expensive. If you want pure Egyptian cotton, look for manufacturers with accreditation from the Cotton Egypt Association.

Other Organic Materials:

Organic Bamboo: Rayon, viscose, modal, and lyocell fabrics may use fibers crafted from cellulose derived from bamboo. These materials are often purported to be eco-friendly since bamboo grows quickly. However, this point is debated since they use chemical processes in manufacturing. Bamboo linen is less common, but it removes the chemical processes. Most fabrics marketed as bamboo are breathable and have a silky texture.

Organic Linen: Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant, and it typically has a crisp feel that softens over time. Linen sheets are usually more expensive than those made of other organic materials, such as cotton, but they are often more durable.

Organic Silk: Silk is known for its luxuriously smooth feel that can be beneficial for those with dry skin or hair. This material is made from the cocoons of silkworms, and it is a very durable and hypoallergenic option.

Organic Flannel: Flannel is made using thickly woven yarn that is brushed or napped to create an extremely soft and durable fabric. Flannel is known for retaining heat, which can make it comfortable for those in colder climates. Organic flannel sheets usually consist of cotton or wool.

Organic Fabric Blends: Organic fabric blends use a variety of materials to create a comfortable and durable final product with a unique feel. Shoppers should look for third-party certifications to verify the organic status of blended fabrics since some manufacturers market blended materials as organic if they contain just one qualifying material.

Weaves:

Sateen: Sateen is a common weave that creates a silky, wrinkle-resistant fabric with a subtle sheen and good drape. In this weave, three or four threads go over for every one thread that goes under.

Percale: Also called a plain weave, a percale weave is made when the warp and weft threads overlap in an even, one-over, one-under grid shape. This leads to a crisp and breathable fabric that softens over time. Since this weave tends to retain less heat, it is often recommended for hot sleepers.

Twill: Twill can be identified by its diagonal ribs. Fabrics that use this weave are typically heavier and more durable. While some sheet sets use this construction method, it is most often associated with denim and upholstery.

Jersey: Jersey is a knit that interlaces individual cotton yarns to create a soft, stretchy surface. This method is often used when creating articles of clothing, such as t-shirts, as well as bedding.

What are the Pros and Cons of Organic Sheets?

High-quality organic sheets tend to be more durable and eco-friendly than non-organic options, and most organic bedding is made without the use of harsh chemicals. However, quality organic products can be difficult to identify because of misleading marketing tactics, and they are often more expensive.

Pros Cons
  • Limited Potential Irritants: Certified organic materials should be free from harsh or toxic chemicals that could irritate the skin or interfere with indoor air quality, which may be beneficial for those with allergies or other sensitivities.
  • Often Better for the Environment: Cultivating organic crops often limits water usage, reduces runoff, cuts down on potential contaminants, increases soil fertility, and curbs soil erosion.
  • Frequently Last Longer: Organic fabrics are frequently more durable than lower-quality alternatives, so they might last longer without showing major signs of wear.
  • Typically More Expensive: Since organic materials usually have high standards for sourcing and production, they are more expensive to manufacture. This may make organic sheets less accessible to shoppers on tight budgets.
  • Some Companies Are Not Transparent: Unfortunately, some manufacturers exaggerate the quality of their products by claiming that they are organic when they are only partially organic. Buyers need to conduct research to identify certified organic bedding that is truly high quality.

Who is Best Suited to Organic Sheets?

A certified organic sheet set may be a good choice for many sleepers because organic bedding is versatile and available in a wide variety of materials and styles. Organic bedding may be particularly beneficial for sleepers who are sensitive to harsh chemicals since it is often free from substances that can cause irritation.

Organic sheets may also appeal to eco-conscious shoppers who value sustainable practices.  Manufacturers that produce organic sheets frequently focus on responsible and ethical production. Additionally, organic materials tend to be more durable than other options on the market, which may be a good fit for shoppers who want a long-term investment rather than a sheet set they’ll need to replace every few years.

While organic sheets offer many benefits for a wide variety of sleepers, this bedding is usually more expensive upfront, so it may be cost-prohibitive for shoppers on a strict budget. Additionally, shoppers may have to do some extra research to understand what they’re getting for their money. Some manufacturers exaggerate their claims of organic materials to boost sales, so looking for certifications can help prevent you from overpaying for a product with little organic content.

What is the Ideal Thread Count for Organic Sheets?

Thread count refers to the measure of lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Thread count can be used as a way to predict the softness and feel of a fabric.

Shoppers should note, however, that thread count is not the only indicator of the feel or quality. Many marketers play up thread count to make their products appear higher quality. Shoppers should also consider the quality of the yarns or threads, which can be as important as thread count.

However, the ideal thread count for many fabrics is between 200 and 800. Fabrics with a thread count of less than 200 may not be as soft or as durable, while thread counts of over 800 may be more likely to be artificially inflated by twisting yarns together.

The best thread count for sheets also varies based on the type of fabric and the weave, but we’ll share some general guidelines:

Fabric Type Ideal Thread Count
Pima Cotton 200-400
Egyptian Cotton 300-400
Linen 80-140
Bamboo-Derived Fabrics 300-500
Percale 200-400
Sateen 300-600

 

Shoppers should note that thread count is rarely listed for linen sheets, as it is not a useful indicator for the feel or quality of the fabric. In fact, a higher thread count may make linen sheets bulky and less breathable.

Some other fabrics use other metrics in place of thread count. For example, flannel is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). Heavier and more durable flannels tend to be in the 170+ GSM range. Like flannel, jersey is measured in GSM. Most quality jersey sheets are around 150 GSM, but this can vary based on the type of material. Silk is measured in momme, which is the number of pounds in a piece that is 45 inches by 100 yards. Quality silk sheets are typically around 17-22 momme.

More Frequently Asked Questions About Organic Sheets

  • How long do organic sheets last?

    With proper care, quality organic bed sheets can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Thanks to the superior quality of organic materials, these bed sheets typically last longer than products made using non-organic materials. Some signs that your sheets are wearing out include thinning fabric, fading color, holes, or reduced softness.

  • How do I wash and care for organic sheets?

    It is always advisable to follow manufacturers’ guidelines to extend the life of your organic sheets. Machine washing on warm and tumble drying on low is a simple and effective way to keep many types of sheets in good condition, though some materials or weaves require special care. Always read through the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper care.

  • Are organic certifications necessary for sheets?

    Third-party certifications are necessary for verifying that sheets are fully organic. Unfortunately, greenwashing is common in the bedding industry. Some manufacturers claim that their sheets use organic materials, but non-certified bedding may also include non-organic content, including harsh chemicals and synthetic materials. Looking for trusted certifications can help you find products that meet established standards.

Cooling Mattress Toppers

How to Choose a Cooling Mattress Topper?

Sleeping cool has become a major buzzword in the mattress industry, and all the marketing jargon about the latest technologies and state-of-the-art materials can be overwhelming. This guide will help you to cut through the hype and help you find the best cooling mattress topper for you.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Cooling Mattress Topper

There are a lot of choices to sort through when buying a cooling mattress topper. From price to material, cooling properties to sleeping position, here are some of the most important factors you should keep in mind while you search.

  • Cooling Properties: The most straightforward way to maintain temperature neutrality is by using materials that allow for airflow, thus carrying the heat away from your body. Some mattress toppers accomplish this with the use of naturally breathable materials, like latex or open-cell foams and cotton or wool covers. Others feature a convoluted or aerated design that increases air circulation.For materials that are inherently prone to retaining heat, manufacturers must resort to other tactics. These include charcoal, graphite, gel, or copper infusions designed to transport heat away from the body. Some mattress toppers incorporate phase-change materials, which regulate temperature by absorbing, storing, and releasing heat.For people who run very hot at night, it might be worth investing in a topper that allows you to control the temperature at the touch of a button. These active cooling toppers work by heating or cooling air or water and pushing it through the mattress to actively control the surface temperature.A few mattress manufacturers make toppers that are cooler in certain areas, such as the core. This can have the added advantage of alleviating aches and pains.
  • Price: The price of a mattress topper can vary widely depending on materials and quality. Cooling polyfoam mattress toppers start at less than $100, but you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a latex topper, and even more for sophisticated devices with cooling tubes. That said, if the added price means better longevity or reduced air conditioning bills, it might pay off in the long run.
  • Sleeping Position: Since your mattress topper goes on top of your mattress, it’s important to choose a topper with the right firmness to accommodate your body type and sleeping position. Side sleepers usually opt for a plusher surface that reduces pressure points, so they may need a thicker topper to form a cradle for the hips and shoulders. Stomach sleepers should be fine with a firmer, thinner topper, while back sleepers fall in the middle of the spectrum.
  • Quality Materials: Latex and wool toppers offer the best longevity, and you can expect them to last around 3 to 4 years on average.In contrast, a low-quality memory foam topper can develop permanent body indentations before the year is out. Higher-density polyfoam or memory foam toppers will last longer than their lower-density equivalents, but they will also usually trap more heat. Fiberfill and feather toppers are fairly high-maintenance and require regular fluffing in order not to lose loft over time. You can usually expect these to last around 2 to 3 years.
  • Firmness Level: Since a mattress topper can’t add support to a sagging mattress, the main reason people purchase mattress toppers is to adjust the firmness level of a mattress. In general, lighter sleepers and side sleepers are best suited to a plusher topper, while stomach sleepers and heavier individuals are best suited to a firmer topper.Mattress firmness plays a crucial role in heat retention, as a softer surface allows the body to sink in further and causes more heat to build up around the sleeper. The heavier the sleeper, the more they will sink into the mattress, leading to increased heat retention. If you find you run hot, you may want to consider getting a firmer mattress topper.
  • Thickness: Mattress toppers tend to measure between 2 and 4 inches thick. People who exert more pressure on the mattress, such as heavier sleepers and side sleepers, should look for a thick mattress topper that can handle this extra weight without bottoming out.
  • Pressure Relief: Memory foam is usually acknowledged as the best material for pressure relief due to its close-conforming abilities. However, if you overheat with memory foam, a latex mattress topper may do the trick. Latex can have pressure-relieving properties similar to memory foam, but it’s more breathable and forms a looser cradle around your body.

Which Type of Mattress Topper is Best at Cooling?

Most toppers on the market today are made of memory foam, polyfoam, or latex, each of which offers its own advantages. You may also see mattress toppers stuffed with wool, which wicks moisture away from the body to keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.

  • Memory foam: Memory foam is a popular material for mattress toppers because it offers superior pressure relief and motion isolation. Unfortunately, memory foams, particularly high-density memory foams, have traditionally been known for trapping heat. Modern-day cooling memory foam mattress toppers get around this by infusing the memory foam with charcoal, copper, graphite, or other substances that draw heat away from the sleeper.
  • Polyfoam: Open-cell and convoluted polyfoam mattress toppers are designed to improve airflow, allowing body heat to escape from the sleeper instead of building up on the surface of the mattress. Polyfoam has the added advantage of being the cheapest topper material. The downside is that polyfoam toppers will eventually develop permanent body indentations.
  • Latex: Natural latex is a breathable, open-cell material that is prized for its durability and sustainability. Latex tends to keep sleepers “on” and not “in” the mattress, preventing heat build-up around the body. While natural latex toppers can be expensive, they maintain decent temperature neutrality and are much less likely to develop body indentations compared with synthetic latex or other foams. Many latex toppers are “ventilated” with pincore holes that allow for better air circulation.
  • Gel: Many manufacturers use gel infusions, gel beads, or a top layer of gel in an effort to stem heat retention in memory foam or fiberfill toppers. The jury is out on whether or not this is actually an effective cooling technique.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cooling Mattress Toppers

  • Do gel mattress toppers keep you cool?

    While they may help a memory foam topper sleep somewhat cooler at first, cooling gel mattress toppers don’t always manage to keep a neutral temperature all night long. The gel may also lose potency over the years.There are two principal ways by which gel is used to help memory foam sleep cooler. Thermal gels are cool to the touch, whereas phase-change gels regulate heat by absorbing and redistributing it to maintain a constant temperature.

    While these techniques can stave off heat retention for a while, many sleepers find that the mattress eventually warms up anyway. However, a cool gel memory foam mattress topper may help keep the temperature low long enough to help you drift off to sleep.

    In a nutshell, if you sleep hot but have your heart set on memory foam, then a gel memory foam topper might be the way to go. But for people who sleep very hot, it’s usually better to avoid memory foam altogether.

  • Do cooling mattress toppers really work?

    Cooling mattress toppers have varying degrees of success depending on the type. Materials like latex, wool, and open-cell or aerated foams can help disperse heat, but they won’t actively cool the mattress.

    Phase-change material goes an extra step by using a chemical reaction to keep the surface cool to the touch. For people who are very sensitive to temperature changes, the best solution might be a mattress topper that actively works to control the temperature via water or air channels.

  • What’s the difference between a mattress protector and a mattress topper?

    Mattress protector are relatively thin and are primarily meant to protect against spills and stains, whereas mattress toppers are usually several inches thick and are designed to change the feel of a mattress.Mattress protector often contain some kind of padding like wool, cotton, fiberfill, or down. While this can add some plushness to a mattress, this is not their main purpose.

    Mattress toppers usually come in the same materials you would expect from a mattress comfort layer, such as memory foam, polyfoam, latex, wool, or down. A mattress topper can’t fix an old, sagging mattress, but it can change the feel of a mattress that’s too firm or too plush. This is a cost-effective way to obtain a different firmness level without investing in a whole new mattress.

  • Can I buy sheets to keep me cool?

    The sheets you use definitely play a role in maintaining temperature neutrality. Linen, cotton, and bamboo are all naturally breathable and will help fight heat retention. In terms of weave, stay away from flannel sheets and choose sheets with a breathable percale weave. Some synthetic fabrics also use technology such as phase-change material to keep you cool.

    It’s important to remember that the temperature of your sleeping environment is a product of many factors including your mattress and/or topper, sheets, ambient temperature, your pillow, and your own personal body heat.

Mattress Toppers of 2022

How to Choose a Mattress Topper?

Mattress toppers serve two essential functions: adjusting the feel of your mattress to make it softer or firmer, and protecting the surface from long-term wear and tear. In today’s mattress topper market, you can choose from a wide selection of models that vary by material, thickness, firmness, price-point, and overall performance. The best topper for you will depend entirely on your personal needs and preferences.

Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of different mattress materials, explore the various benefits of using a topper, and answer a few frequently asked questions about these products.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Mattress Topper

Think of a new topper as an additional comfort layer for your mattress. You should judge different topper materials and models the same way you might evaluate a new mattress. Important factors include temperature control, conforming ability, durability, and motion isolation for couples. Pricing is another key variable, as well.

Keep in mind that some manufacturers use misleading marketing jargon to discuss how well their toppers perform. Watch out for descriptions such as “universal comfort” and “endless support,” as well as labels like “green” or “natural” for materials that are mostly composed of synthetic components. When shopping for a new topper, here are the most important points to consider:

  • Cooling Properties: As is the case with mattresses, some mattress toppers bottle in body heat and sleep somewhat warm as a result. Memory foam, polyfoam, and non-ventilated latex tend to trap more heat than other topper materials, such as down and feathers or wool. Topper softness can also play a role in temperature regulation. If you sink too deeply into a topper, this can restrict surface airflow and make you feel too warm.
  • Price: A new topper may cost less than $100 or more than $500, but most high-quality models sold today are priced between $150 and $450. Factors that can drive up a topper’s sticker price include its material composition, thickness, and whether or not the product has received certifications for organic or other materials. Additionally, some brands have steeper price-points than others.
  • Sleeping Position: Do you sleep on your side? If so, chances are you’ll feel most comfortable on a topper that cushions the shoulders and hips to align the spine and reduce pressure points. Back sleepers generally need a firmer, more balanced feel. This ensures comfortable conforming and even support with minimal sagging around the torso and waist. For stomach sleepers, a topper should offer extra reinforcement between the shoulders and hips to prevent too much sinkage.
  • Quality Materials: Certain topper materials are associated with longer lifespans and stronger performance in different categories. These include high-density memory foam, ventilated latex, natural wool, and premium down. While these materials can drive up the sticker price by a significant margin, the topper will offer better long-term value compared to a model made from lesser components.
  • Firmness Level: Firmness level is strongly tied to sleep position and body type. People who weigh less than 130 pounds and/or sleep on their side will likely prefer a softer topper feel. Those who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds, regardless of sleep position, may be more satisfied with a mid-level firmness. People who weigh more than 230 pounds and sleep on their back and/or stomach should consider a firmer topper with stronger overall support.
  • Thickness: The average topper measures between 1 and 3 inches thick. Since toppers are placed directly on the mattress surface, you’re essentially adding 1 to 3 inches to your bed’s overall profile. If you sleep on a bed that is already thick, then a high-profile topper may make the mattress feel too tall. This can make getting in and out of bed more difficult. Thin toppers, on the other hand, may not adjust the firmness of your mattress as well as thicker models can.
  • Pressure Relief: The best mattress toppers for pressure relief will conform to the body and support the spine without sinking excessively. Side sleepers may need a softer feel. Otherwise, their spines will not be aligned and added pressure is likely to occur. Back and stomach positions promote spinal alignment, so these sleepers usually need more support and less conforming for optimal pressure relief.

Which Type of Mattress Topper Should I Choose?

After reviewing the topper attributes listed above to determine which qualities are most important, you’ll be ready to choose a mattress topper based on its material composition. Every topper material carries different pros and cons related to pressure relief, durability, temperature neutrality, and other performance areas.

Memory Foam: Memory foam toppers are ideal if you like to sink into the surface of your bed. The material conforms closely to evenly distribute your weight and keep your shoulders, spine, and hips aligned. For this reason, many side sleepers prefer memory foam toppers. Memory foam also isolates motion transfer very well and does not produce any noise, making it a great option for couples and co-sleepers. Although memory foam can trap heat, toppers can be infused with gel, graphite, copper, and other cooling materials to help the surface maintain a comfortable temperature.

Polyfoam: Polyfoam conforms to the body, but not quite as closely as memory foam. This material also feels a bit more responsive. You may find a polyfoam topper comfortable if you want a balance of contouring and surface-level bounciness. Many polyfoam toppers are convoluted with a ridged surface; these models are also known as “egg-crate toppers.”

Latex: Like polyfoam, latex conforms to the body while maintaining a responsive feel. You’ll probably feel less pressure, but your body won’t sink too deeply. Back and stomach sleepers who need more support may find a latex topper more comfortable than a memory foam model. When ventilated with small holes to promote airflow, latex also sleeps very cool compared to foam.

Down alternative: Down alternative material has different choices, the lower D specification is softer, while the high D specification suitable for the people who like the hard touch feeling. Besides, down alternative is cost competitive.

Other Materials: Memory foam, polyfoam, and latex toppers are most common, but these are not your only options. A topper made from down and feathers, for example, might be your best choice if you prefer an ultra-plush surface that is also highly breathable. Wool toppers can be advantageous because they provide insulation during colder times of the year, but also provide cooling and moisture-wicking when the temperatures rise. Lastly, many toppers padded with polyester fibers offer adequate cushioning at a very affordable price-point.

It’s also important to distinguish between toppers and Euro-top or pillow-top covers. A pillow-top is a layer of padding sewn into the sleep surface of a mattress, leaving a small gap separating it from the bed’s comfort layer. A Euro-top is also sewn into the mattress surface, but its edges are flush with the comfort layer to create a more uniform appearance.

Pillow-tops and Euro-tops offer the same cushioning and comfort adjustment as a standard mattress topper, but these layers are typically offered as customization options for a new mattress, rather than an additional layer sold separately; otherwise you’d be responsible for sewing the pillow-top or Euro-top onto your mattress.

What Are the Benefits of a Mattress Topper?

Advantages of using a mattress topper include the following:

Firmness Adjustment
A topper can significantly change the surface feel of your mattress. Most toppers offer a softer feel and are designed to be used with a firm mattress, but some models are intended to make a soft mattress feel firmer. If you’re dissatisfied with how soft or firm your mattress feels but don’t want to pay for a new bed, a topper can be a cost-effective solution.

Mattress Protection
Toppers are different from mattress protectors, which are very thin and solely designed to safeguard your mattress against spills, stains, dust, and other contaminants. However, toppers can help preserve your bed’s surface and prevent the comfort layer material from wearing out. This can extend the overall lifespan of your mattress.

Stronger Support
Over time, the comfort layer of your mattress will deteriorate. This can cause a loss of support that makes the surface feel uneven, and added aches and pains often follow. A sturdy topper adds an extra layer to keep your body on an even plane and prevent it from sagging in areas where you carry a lot of weight.

Better Cooling
If the surface of your mattress tends to trap heat and sleep warm, then a breathable topper can provide better temperature regulation to help you sleep more comfortably. The best cooling mattress topper materials include ventilated latex, natural wool, and open-cell foam.

Fewer Disruptions
Does the surface of your mattress respond quickly to movement when you or your sleep partner move around? If so, both of you may experience sleep disruptions related to poor motion isolation; this issue is particularly common with hybrid and innerspring mattresses. A topper made from memory foam, polyfoam, or latex will absorb more movement and prevent most of this motion from transferring across the surface.

Cost-Effective Solution
While prices vary, most mattress toppers cost much less than a new mattress in the same size. Toppers should be seen as a short-term solution because they are not as durable as mattresses, but using a topper instead of buying a new bed can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Mattress Topper FAQ

  • What is a mattress topper?

    A mattress topper is a layer of cushioning material that rests on the top surface of your mattress, usually tucked beneath a fitted sheet. Unlike pillow-tops or Euro-tops, toppers are not attached to the mattress and can be removed at any time.

    The purpose of a topper is to improve how your mattress feels. As cushioning materials deteriorate and soften over time, the surface of a mattress will become uneven from body impressions and indentations. This can decrease support and lead to aches and pains. Most toppers have soft to medium feels, and are intended to add cushioning to a firm mattress. However, some toppers are on the firmer side and meant for mattresses that feel overly soft.

    Common fill materials for toppers include memory foam, polyfoam, latex, down and feathers, down alternative fibers, and wool. Most toppers measure 1.5 to 4 inches thick.

    The terms “mattress pad” and “mattress topper” are often used interchangeably, but this is technically incorrect. Pads are thinner than toppers and designed to provide minor comfort adjustments. Some pads are also waterproof and can protect the mattress from liquid damage. Toppers provide a significant comfort adjustment, and are almost never waterproof.

  • What’s the best way to clean a mattress topper?

    Many foam and latex toppers come with removable, machine-washable covers. Be sure to follow specific instructions listed on the cover’s care tag. The foam or latex core should only be spot-cleaned when necessary, as machine-washing can permanently damage these materials.

    If the cover is not removable, dry cleaning will probably be the safest method of caring for your topper. Some toppers with down alternative or wool fill are technically machine-washable, but significant shrinkage and material deterioration can occur over time. Toppers with larger sizes may also be too big for household washing machines.

  • How much does a mattress topper typically cost?

    A mattress topper’s cost depends on many factors. These include the fill and cover material, size, thickness, and brand.  Memory foam, wool, and latex models tend to cost the most, while convoluted polyfoam – or “egg crate” – toppers are often the most affordable options.

  • How can you keep a mattress topper from sliding?

    Unfortunately, sliding is an issue for many topper owners. Some toppers are equipped with elastic loops to fit around the corners of your mattress, or “anti-slip” bottoms that provide traction and prevent excessive shifting. If a topper does not include these features, it may slide across your mattress during the night – especially if it’s on the lighter side.

    Tucking the topper beneath a fitted sheet can mitigate this issue, as can covering the topper with a flat sheet and tucking its edges beneath your mattress. Also make sure the topper and mattress share the same size.

  • What are the benefits of using a mattress topper?

    If you’ve owned your mattress for a few years and already notice unevenness in the surface, a topper can help you squeeze a few more years out of the mattress before you purchase a new one. However, this should be considered a temporary fix. The topper – like your mattress – will develop impressions and indentations with continuous use.

    Toppers can also be great additions for guest rooms, especially if your overnight visitors sleep on foldout couches, futons, and other surfaces that people tend to find uncomfortable. The same is true if you have guests who sleep on the floor. Guest room toppers typically last longer because they are used less frequently.

 

Best Weighted Blankets

How to Choose a Weighted Blanket?

If you have a hard time relaxing and falling asleep, then you might be an excellent candidate for a weighted blanket. However, these products are not for everyone. While many sleepers report more relaxation and less anxiety sleeping under a weighted blanket, others feel too claustrophobic and pinned down. A weighted blanket may not be suitable if you are a hot sleeper, either – though some models promote temperature control better than others.

When browsing different weighted blankets, you should take the following factors into account.

Price
Some models carry different price-points depending on the selected weight. For others, the price will be the same no matter which size you select. Be sure to factor shipping costs, if applicable, into your shopping budget.

Weight
The general rule of thumb is to choose a weighted blanket that is roughly 10 percent of your own body weight. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Realistically, a blanket weighing between 5 and 12 percent of your body weight may be comfortable. The best way to determine your optimal blanket is to test out different weights.

Quality Materials
A weighted blanket made from high-quality materials may cost a bit more than average, but you can usually count on better durability and a longer lifespan from these models. Those made with cheaper fabrics and plastic pellets tend to wear out more quickly, especially if you wash and dry them in household machines.

Cover Material
You should choose a weighted blanket based in part on your desired feel or texture. Some of these blankets have covers made of cotton or microfiber material that deliver a smooth feel, while others are made with fleece for a plusher and cozier texture. A few weighted blankets have reversible designs with a distinct feel on each side.

Ease of Cleaning
Most weighted blanket covers are removable and can be washed and dried in a household machine. In some cases, the entire blanket can be laundered at home. Alternatively, you may need to spot clean or dry clean your blanket to prevent early wear and tear.

Breathability
Some weighted blankets are constructed with breathable cover fabrics and interior components to keep you cool during the night. Others may absorb and trap body heat; combined with their hefty weight, this can lead to excessive warmth.

 

What Are the Benefits of Weighted Blankets?

Weighted blankets are designed to reduce stress and promote feelings of relaxation, which in turn can help you fall asleep more quickly. For many people, the feeling of a blanket pushing gently onto their body and weighing them down is calming. This sensation is intended to simulate deep pressure touch (DPT), a type of therapy that alleviates anxiety by distributing an even amount of weight across the body. DPT is comparable to a full body hug. When administered properly, some studies have shown DPT to be highly effective at reducing anxiety in children and adults.
Weighted blankets are often touted as therapeutically valuable for those with certain medical conditions like autism, depression and PTSD, but overall, the research supporting these claims is thin. As with any product, be wary of any medical claims from manufacturers.

 

Who Is Best Suited for a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets carry benefits for a wide range of sleepers. Whether or not it is officially due to sleep onset insomnia, those who struggle to fall asleep at night may feel more relaxed and less anxious under a weighted blanket. This can be true for adults, teenagers, and children age 2 or older, especially if they experience an undue amount of stress over work, family, or other concerns.

 

Which Weighted Blankets Are Best for Kids? Are They Safe?

You should consult with your pediatrician or family physician before choosing a weighted blanket for your child. For some young ones experiencing sleep difficulties, a weighted blanket may be less effective than other strategies, such as establishing and sticking to a strict bedtime or avoiding liquids in the hours leading up to sleep.

Weighted blankets are generally considered safe for children who are at 3 years of age or older and weigh at least 50 pounds. When selecting a blanket for a child, it’s wise to follow the “10 percent rule” or err on the lower side. An excessively heavy blanket can pose an injury risk for children, even if they are 3 or older.

Many weighted blankets are specifically designed for children. A weighted blanket for kids will range between 3 and 10 pounds. If your child weighs more than 100 pounds, then a blanket for adults or children may be more suitable.

Again, have a chat with your family doctor before deciding which blanket – if any – will be the most effective sleep strategy for your child.

Do Weighted Blankets Make You Hot?

The blanket provides some measure of warmth and insulation, but it should not make you overheat. As with standard blankets, whether or not a weighted blanket sleeps cool depends largely on its material composition. Most weighted blankets include an outer cover, which provides padding for your body, and an inner shell where the beads or pellets are encased. Certain cover fabrics, such as cotton and rayon, are fairly breathable, while others trap more heat. The inner shell contents also play a role in temperature regulation. Models with thicker batting tend to sleep warmer than those with little to no batting.

Some blankets also promote more airflow than others due to how they are constructed. Knitted blankets have an openwork design that allows air to pass through freely, and this can help you keep cool – even if the blanket is exceptionally heavy. Quilted blankets cannot circulate air as well and often sleep hot as a result.

How Do I Choose the Right Weight?

The best weight for your blanket depends entirely on your body. As we’ve discussed, most people tend to prefer blankets that equate to roughly 10 percent of their body weight. That said, there is some wiggle room with this estimate.

The table below lists our suggestions for the most common blanket weights. We’ve based our figures for ideal sleeper weight on the “10 percent rule.” The acceptable sleeper weight range figures are based on the general assumption that a sleeper will feel reasonably comfortable under a blanket that equals 5 to 12 percent of their own weight.

Blanket Weight Ideal Sleeper Weight Acceptable Sleeper Weight Range
5 lbs. 50 lbs. 25 to 60 lbs.
7 lbs. 70 lbs. 35 to 84 lbs.
10 lbs. 100 lbs. 50 to 120 lbs.
12 lbs. 120 lbs. 60 to 144 lbs.
15 lbs. 150 lbs. 75 to 180 lbs.
17 lbs. 170 lbs. 85 to 194 lbs.
20 lbs. 200 lbs. 100 to 240 lbs.
22 lbs. 220 lbs. 110 to 264 lbs.
25 lbs. 250 lbs. 125 to 300 lbs.
30 lbs. 300 lbs. 150 to 360 lbs.

Keep in mind that weight loss or gain can affect how comfortable your weighted blanket feels.

These are estimated ranges based on a general consensus among weighted blanket users. To determine your ideal blanket heft, test out a few models with differing weights to see what feels most comfortable.

What Size Should I Get?

You may be a bit limited in sizing options for your weighted blanket. Many models come with the same width and length measurements regardless of which weight you select. For others, you’ll be able to choose from a broader selection of sizes, such as twin, full, queen, and king. Kid-friendly child sizes may also be available, depending on the seller.

Although this is not always the case, some heavier weighted blankets are wider and/or longer than their lighter counterparts. Most weighted blankets are designed for single person use, so twin is the most common size offered by manufacturers. A common size for larger weighted blankets is 60 inches wide by 80 inches long, which corresponds to a queen size mattress.

 

How Do You Clean a Weighted Blanket?

How to clean a weighted blanket depends entirely on that specific model. Weighted blankets generally fall into one of the following categories for cleaning and care:

  • Machine wash and dry: Every component of the blanket – including the inner shell that contains the weighted materials – can be washed and dried in a household machine. These models usually come with detailed laundering instructions about water temperature, acceptable cleaning agents, and drying heat level.
  • Machine wash, not dry: Some weighted blankets can be washed in a machine as a whole, but should be air dried rather than machine dried.
  • Machine wash cover only: For these blankets, you’ll need to separate the inner shell housing the beads or pellets from its outer cover. Unless the care instructions say otherwise, you can wash and dry the cover in a machine. Spot-cleaning with water and mild detergent is usually advised for the inner shell.
  • Spot or dry clean only: Avoid using a household machine to wash or dry these blankets. This can permanently damage the outer and inner materials.

Always consult the care instructions tag that comes with your blanket before cleaning it. Also, keep in mind you won’t be able to return the blanket for a refund if it is stained or soiled (assuming the seller allows returns in the first place).

Pillows for Side Sleepers

The Benefits of Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is the most popular sleeping position among U.S. adults. This position has a few advantages over back or stomach sleeping. For one, side sleeping can minimize snoring because it keeps your airway open; back sleepers snore more often because the tongue falls back into the throat, creating an obstruction for the airway. Side sleeping can be beneficial to people with sleep apnea and/or acid reflux for the same reason. If you’re a pregnant woman, chances are you’ll feel more comfortable on your side than you will in other sleep positions; a bolster pillow for the legs or knees can also provide comfort for pregnant sleepers.

 

Side sleeping can also align the spine and reduce discomfort in the shoulders, hips, and other areas where pressure points tend to develop. However, this is contingent on a mattress and pillow that offer enough support to align your head and neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips.

How to Choose a Pillow for Side Sleepers

The best pillow for side sleepers will provide adequate cushioning to support the head and neck. Pillows that either sink too deeply or feel too thick can interfere with spinal alignment, and neck and shoulder aches typically occur as a result. In determining the best pillow,  you should look at several factors, including loft, firmness level, and material composition. In the next few sections, we’ll discuss how side sleepers can find a pillow that will work for them.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Pillow for Side Sleepers

In your research for a pillow that is compatible with side sleeping, you’ll no doubt come across pillow manufacturers who claim their products are suitable for all sleep positions, or that their pillows’ construction and materials offer universal comfort for all sleepers regardless of body type or personal preference. These marketing claims are misleading. Each pillow is uniquely designed to provide a distinct feel. Given the demands of different sleep positions, any pillow you select will be better suited to some sleepers and less so for others.

Rather than using marketing jargon to guide your pillow search, focus on the following attributes instead.

Key Points
  • Loft: Loft, or thickness, is arguably the most important consideration for side sleeping. Most side sleepers need medium to high loft pillows that provide enough cushioning for the head and neck without sinking too low. If your thickness preferences vary by night, you may be a good candidate for a pillow with adjustable loft levels.
  • Support: Support refers to how well the pillow maintains an even surface for your head and neck. Spinal alignment is imperative for side sleepers, so you’ll want a pillow that doesn’t sink too much or elevate your head excessively. Pillows with solid foam or latex cores typically provide the best support.
  • Firmness Level: A pillow that feels too soft will probably sink too much beneath your head, leading to alignment issues and the potential for added pressure. If the pillow is too firm, then you may experience discomfort around the neck and shoulders. Pillows with mid-level firmness are usually the best choice for side sleepers because they provide a balance of contouring and support.
  • Pressure Relief: Many side sleepers feel pressure in the shoulders and hips because their mattress is not supportive enough. Likewise, pressure points may develop around the neck and shoulders if the side sleeper’s pillow does not keep these areas aligned with the spine. For this reason, side sleepers generally need a supportive pillow that also contours to the body.
  • Shape: Some fill materials compress over time, causing the pillow to flatten and feel less comfortable. You’ll need to regularly fluff these pillows in order to give them a full shape. Other materials, such as solid foam and latex, maintain their shape with less effort.
  • Price: The price of a pillow largely depends on its material components. Pillows made of polyfoam, down alternative, and feathers typically have the lowest price-points, while those with memory foam, latex, down, and buckwheat hulls tend to be the most expensive models. That said, you should be able to find a high-quality pillow with any fill material for $150 or less in a queen size.
  • Quality Materials: The materials used to construct a pillow’s cover and inner components can impact a wide range of qualities, including durability, temperature regulation, and shape retention. You may pay more for a pillow with higher-quality components, but you can also count on more longevity and stronger performance from many of these models.

What Pillow Materials Are Best for Side Sleepers?

The best pillow fill materials for side sleepers include memory foam, latex, buckwheat hulls, and other components that offer sufficient support without feeling too firm. However, However, the amount of comfort a pillow offers side sleepers depends on a few other factors. The most common pillow materials are outlined below.

  • Memory Foam: Memory foam, or viscoelastic polyurethane foam, is engineered to feel softer when it comes into contact with body heat. This creates deep conforming for your head and neck when lying on a memory foam pillow, which can help to align the spine and reduce pressure in different areas.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat pillows are filled with hulls, the hard outer casings of buckwheat kernels. These pillows have a very firm and supportive feel; many liken them to hard bean bags. Most buckwheat pillows can be adjusted for loft by adding or removing kernels, and they promote good airflow, too.
  • Feather: Feathers are the outer plumage of ducks and geese. While light and airy, feathers have a coarser and denser feel than down. As a result, side sleepers won’t sink as deeply into the pillow. Feather pillows also sleep very cool and offer good durability compared to other pillow types.
  • Latex: Latex is a substance derived from the sappy extract of rubber trees. When molded into a foam, latex contours to the body like foam but feels much more responsive. Side sleepers may find a latex pillow more supportive since the material does not sink as deeply.
  • Down: Down is the soft inner plumage of ducks and geese. The material is exceptionally airy and light, and it also promotes insulation. To ensure adequate support for sleepers, many down pillows are reinforced with feathers in their outer chambers. This prevents side sleepers from sinking excessively.
  • Polyfoam: Polyfoam molds to the body but it also feels more responsive. You won’t feel the same deep contour as memory foam, but the material is more adaptive than latex. Polyfoam has a tendency to sleep hot, but many manufacturers ventilate or aerate their foam to minimize body heat absorption.

Other Tips for Side Sleepers

In addition to selecting a supportive pillow that promotes spinal alignment, side sleepers can use the following strategies for sleeping comfortably each night.

Choose the Right Mattress: The best mattress for side sleepers will provide ample cushioning to the shoulders and hips in order to align the spine and alleviate pressure in different areas. Most side sleepers prefer mattresses with softer feels that conform closely to the body without sinking too much beneath their heavier areas.
Use a Pillow Between the Knees: A pillow between the knees can also improve spinal alignment and reduce pressure in the lower back and hips. Pillows filled with down/feathers, shredded foam, and other moldable materials tend to be most comfortable. You may also find more comfort and pressure relief by placing the pillow beneath your legs.
Invest in a Mattress Topper: A topper is a single layer of cushioning material placed on top of your mattress. Toppers can measure up to 4 inches thick, so using one can make your mattress feel significantly softer or firmer. For side sleepers, the right topper can mean closer conforming, better spinal alignment, and less pressure.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What pillow types are best for side sleepers?

    Some side sleepers prefer down or down alternative pillows, while others find that foam or other specialty pillows work better for them. Down and down alternative pillows have a comfortable, classic feel, but they are not always firm enough to offer side sleepers the neck support they need for proper spinal alignment. Because of this, side sleepers who use a down pillow should ensure theirs has a high enough loft to provide support.

    Foam pillows are usually firmer and are available either as a single cut piece or filled with shredded foam for easy adjustment. Single piece foam pillows sometimes have cut-outs to accommodate and support the shoulders and neck, but side sleepers should doublecheck that these will work for their sleep position before purchasing.

  • What pillow loft works best for side sleepers?

    Side sleepers usually need a medium to high loft pillow in order to keep their head, neck, and spine in proper alignment. This usually means using a pillow that is at least 4 inches thick. However, pillow loft is dependent on both the shape of your body and how much you sink into your mattress.

    People with broad shoulders may need a pillow that is over 6 inches, while people who sink deeply into their bed might find that even a 4-inch loft is too high. Adjustable pillows can be a good choice for people who are unsure what pillow loft they need.

  • What pillow type is best for side sleepers with neck pain?

    Side sleepers with neck pain should first check that their pillow is firm enough and at the correct loft. If the firmness and loft are comfortable, then a memory foam. Neck pain can result from your neck and head being misaligned with your spine throughout the night. It can also be exacerbated by an incompatible pillow.

    Memory foam pillows offer pressure relief and the right amount of compression to align your neck, while contoured foam pillows are designed to cradle the head while releasing tension from the neck and shoulders. Contoured pillows tend to be the most popular among people with neck pain, but some struggle to adjust to their unique shape.

  • How firm should a pillow be for a side sleeper?

    A medium to medium firm pillow is ideal for side sleepers. If a pillow is too soft, side sleepers may also sink so far that the pillow covers the mouth, causing discomfort. Side sleepers can also sink far enough into them that the excess filling goes over the mouth, making it difficult to get comfortable.

    On the other hand, extra-firm pillows can lead to tension and pain through the neck and shoulders. If you find a medium or medium firm pillow uncomfortable or too “hard,” consider purchasing a memory foam pillow with pressure relief for a more cushioned feel.

How Much You Know About Down Alternative Pillows?

What is a Down Alternative Pillow?

Down alternative pillows are made with polyester fibers, or more rarely cotton fibers, that are designed to mimic the properties of down. The fibers are spun in such a way as to have a soft and fluffy feel that rivals down, but at a much lower price-point. Down alternative pillows may include technology such as gel fibers to boost attributes like softness and cooling.

Despite being more affordable than real down pillow, down alternative pillows are lightweight and huggable, just like the real thing. While actual down is made from the softest feathers of ducks and geese, down alternative does not contain any animal parts. This makes down alternative a good choice for ethically minded consumers and people who suffer from allergies.

How to Choose a Down Alternative Pillow

Loft
The loft of a pillow refers to how high it sits. Pillows with a thicker loft will keep your head at a sharper angle compared to flatter pillows. Since down alternative pillows tend to compress when you lie on them, you may consider buying a pillow with a slightly higher loft. Alternatively, you can buy a down alternative pillow with extra filling and adjust it until you find the loft that allows your head to sit at a comfortable angle.

Support
The support provided by a pillow is determined mostly by its loft, firmness, and contouring ability. Most down alternative pillows offer a medium level of support, which should be sufficient for most sleepers, but may cause neck strain in those who require closer contouring or a firmer surface. Some sleepers may find that scrunching the pillow into shape can help bolster the neck.

Firmness Level
The tighter a pillow is packed with down alternative filling, the firmer it will feel. That said, down alternative is inherently fluffy and there’s a limit to how firm it can get. Those who need a firmer surface may prefer a buckwheat or latex pillow.

Pressure Relief
Although they don’t contour to the same extent as memory foam pillows, down alternative pillows are much softer than buckwheat or latex pillows. As a result, common pressure points that tend to form in places like the ears shouldn’t be a problem with a down alternative pillow.

Shape
Unlike memory foam pillows which can come molded to any form, most down alternative pillows come in a classic rectangular shape. They can be further pummeled to fit the space you need, but left alone they will usually spring back to their original shape. Down alternative pillows are somewhat high-maintenance in that they must be constantly re-fluffed to avoid flattening out and developing lumps.

Price
Pillows can cost well into the hundreds of dollars depending on their materials and build. Down alternative pillows tend to be among the cheapest, although shoppers should keep in mind that they’ll need to be replaced every few years.

Quality Materials
The quality of the materials used to make a pillow have an impact on its durability, as well as its ability to provide support and pressure relief. Poor-quality materials may feel welcoming at first but are usually quick to break down. Down alternative made with polyester fiber is usually not very high quality. If you’re concerned about this, look for a pillow that blends down alternative with shredded memory foam or latex to make it more resistant.

Moldability
Many sleepers appreciate the ability to mold their pillow to some extent. Down alternative lends itself well to this, taking on any form you punch it into and returning to its original shape afterward.

Temperature Regulation
A pillow that traps heat can be terribly uncomfortable, especially for those who run hot or who live in warm climates. Luckily, down alternative pillows have a breathable structure and are known for staying cool throughout the night.

 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Down Alternative Pillows?

Down alternative pillows are cool, soft, and allergy-friendly. What’s not to love? The following are some of the major pros and cons.

Pros Cons
  • Soft and Lightweight: Down alternative comes close to rivaling real down for softness, and since it doesn’t weigh very much, it’s easy to move.
  • Cruelty-free: For those who like the softness of down but prefer to keep the animals out of it, down alternative may present a more ethical choice.
  • Allergy-friendly: Some pillows may trap dust, but in general, down alternative is usually made of synthetic fibers that don’t provoke allergies as real down would.
  • Easy to care for: In contrast to other pillow types, most down alternative pillows can be machine-washed and -dried.
  • Punchable: Like real down pillows, down alternative pillows are highly scrunchable and can be molded into the user’s preferred shape.
  • Affordable: Down alternative pillows are one of the cheapest types of pillows, with a much lower price tag than real down.
  • Sleep cool: Whether made of polyester fiber or cotton, down alternative doesn’t trap heat, and the fluffy composition of the pillow allows room for airflow to keep the temperature neutral.
  • Adjustable firmness: Many manufacturers offer the option to add or remove filling so users can customize the loft and firmness according to their sleeping position.
  • Odor-free: Down alternative is usually made of polyester microfiber or cotton, neither of which has a strong smell.
  • Easy to find: Down alternative is one of the most common material types, and consequently there is a wide range of down alternative pillows to choose from.
  • Not durable: While down alternative pillows can be re-fluffed to some extent, most down alternative pillows gradually lose their fluffiness and get flatter over time.
  • Loose conforming: Down alternative doesn’t conform as closely as materials like memory foam, which may affect its ability to provide pressure relief in sleepers with more sensitive needs.
  • Poor support: As with a real down or feather pillow, down alternative is known to compress significantly under the sleeper’s head, which can lead to neck and shoulder pain in side sleepers or those who weigh more than 230 pounds. A gusseted edge may help mitigate this problem.
  • Noisy: Down alternative can produce some noise when shifting positions, and some down alternative pillows also have a crackly cover.
  • Lumpy: Some sleepers may find their pillow feels increasingly lumpy as the contents clump toget

 

One-Piece vs. Shredded Memory Foam Pillows

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Memory Foam Pillow?

Memory foam has unsurpassed contouring abilities that make it one of the best pillow materials for pressure relief and support. However, memory foam has some drawbacks as well, the most notable of which is its tendency to trap heat. The material also has a slow response to pressure that some people like, but that can be restrictive when changing positions.

Pros Cons
  • Close-conforming pressure relief: Memory foam softens in response to heat and pressure, molding itself to fit the shape of your body and prevent pressure build-up.
  • Support: Because memory foam remains fairly firm in the areas that are not immediately adjacent to the head and neck, the material forms a supportive cradle that promotes healthy spinal alignment and reduces neck pain and headaches.
  • Price: While not the cheapest pillows out there, memory foam pillows offer a luxurious feel at a much lower price than natural or organic products.
  • Noise: Memory foam absorbs movement and produces little to no noise, minimizing sleep disruptions to you and your partner.
  • Customizability: The viscous nature of memory foam means manufacturers can mold it into virtually any shape, which is why it’s commonly used in orthopedic pillows.
  • Availability: Memory foam pillows are a popular product that you’re sure to find virtually anywhere pillows are sold.
  • Hypoallergenic: Memory foam mattresses are generally resistant to dust mites and bacteria, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers as long as you’re not allergic to the foam itself.
  • Sleeps hot: Memory foam is notorious for trapping heat, leading many sleepers to find it uncomfortably warm.
  • Slow response to pressure: Memory foam is not very responsive, which may lead some people to feel “stuck” when trying to shift sleeping positions.
  • Durability: Memory foam pillows usually last three years at most, since the material eventually loses its ability to regain its shape.
  • Off-gassing: Like all synthetic foams, memory foam releases some initial “off-gassing” odors when it is first unpacked.

One-Piece vs. Shredded Memory Foam Pillows

Here are some of the major ways in which one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows differ:

  • Customization: Both one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows can be customized to a certain extent. Shredded memory foam pillows frequently have a zipper that allows users to open the pillow and add or remove filling to adjust the loft. It’s a good idea to hang on to the filling in case you ever want to make the pillow higher. Although not customizable to the same extent as shredded memory foam pillows, one-piece pillows sometimes have removable inserts that give users several choices of loft.
  • Moldability: Shredded memory foam pillows have a significant advantage over one-piece pillows in that they can be molded to virtually any shape. This is highly convenient for people who like to use their pillow in different positions.
  • Weight: Memory foam pillows weigh more than fiberfill or down equivalents, with many weighing 5 pounds or more. By design, shredded memory foam weighs less than the equivalent volume in solid foam.
  • Heat Retention: Shredded memory foam pillows generally maintain a more neutral temperature, since the design leaves room for airflow between the pieces. That said, some one-piece memory foam pillows feature ventilation or cut-out channels that allow air to flow freely and carry heat away.
  • Fluffing: One-piece memory foam pillows are low-maintenance and don’t need to be fluffed. Shredded memory foam pillows can become lumpy if not regularly fluffed, but the advantage of shredded pillows is that many of them can be machine-washed.
  • Support: One-piece memory foam pillows are usually firmer and keep their shape better than shredded memory foam pillows, which may need to be readjusted every time you switch positions.

How to Choose a Memory Foam Pillow

What Is Memory Foam Pillow?

Memory foam is a type of polyurethane foam that’s been treated with chemicals to give it special properties. It’s also known as viscoelastic foam, a moniker that accurately describes the way the material softens and contours in response to heat and pressure, gradually regaining its shape once heat and pressure are lifted.

 

Memory foam is popular in pillows because it molds to the head and neck, providing a supportive surface that can be shaped to the user’s liking. This close-conforming material is unrivaled in its ability to alleviate pressure points.

In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the pros and cons of memory foam and cover some of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a memory foam pillow.

How to Choose a Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam is a type of polyurethane foam that’s been treated with chemicals to give it special properties. It’s also known as viscoelastic foam, a moniker that accurately describes the way the material softens and contours in response to heat and pressure, gradually regaining its shape once heat and pressure are lifted.

 

Memory foam is popular in pillows because it molds to the head and neck, providing a supportive surface that can be shaped to the user’s liking. This close-conforming material is unrivaled in its ability to alleviate pressure points.

In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the pros and cons of memory foam and cover some of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a memory foam pillow.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Memory Foam Pillow

The market is flooded with manufacturers who tinker with their memory foam to give it different qualities, such as using gel infusions to achieve better temperature neutrality. Some proprietary foams do succeed in their aims, but it can be very difficult to tell before trying the pillow out for yourself.

Before you shop for a memory foam pillow, it’s important to understand the basics behind how they are constructed and what kind of options exist. Focusing on the following factors can help you see past the marketing hype to choose the best memory foam pillow for you.

Memory foam pillows come in two types: one-piece and shredded.

  • One-Piece: One-piece memory foam pillows are made of a single solid block of memory foam. This can either be in the shape of a traditional pillow, or in a tailored shape that mimics the curves of the head and neck. One-piece memory foam pillows conform very closely and have a slower response to pressure. They tend to go back to their original shape when you take your head off the pillow.
  • Shredded: Shredded memory foam pillows can either contain 100 percent memory foam or be blended with other materials such as latex or fiberfill. The advantage of using shredded memory foam is that users can add or remove filling to adjust the pillow loft to their liking, as well as customize the shape of the pillow to a certain extent. Shredded memory foam generally allows more room for airflow compared to a one-piece memory foam pillow.

Here are some other factors to consider when buying your pillow:

  • Sleeping Position: Your sleeping position is one of the main things that will dictate what type of pillow you should choose. One-piece memory foam pillows tend to be higher and better-suited to side sleepers, while stomach sleepers often prefer shredded memory foam pillows with most of the loft taken out.
  • Price: Memory foam pillows have an average price-point, with shredded memory foam pillows running at a slightly higher price-point than one-piece pillows. Some companies offer free pillows along with a mattress purchase, which can be a good option if the pillow matches your needs.
  • Pressure Relief: Memory foam offers exceptional pressure relief, and both one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows conform closely to prevent pressure build-up in the head and neck. Because of its conforming abilities, memory foam is often used in specialized orthopedic pillows to help people with neck pain or other problems.
  • Quality Materials: Memory foam eventually loses its ability to bounce back to its original shape, which in turn affects its pressure-relieving capabilities. A pillow with higher-quality foam will last longer than an inferior one – a difference that is often reflected in the price.
  • Firmness Level: The ideal firmness level for your pillow depends on your sleep position, body type, and personal preference. Most memory foam pillows are medium soft to medium. One-piece memory foam pillows offer just one firmness level, but many shredded memory foam pillows allow users to customize the firmness level somewhat by adding or removing the filling.
  • Loft: A pillow with the right loft, or height, will help keep your head and back aligned and prevent neck pain. One-piece memory foam pillows usually have a medium to high loft, while shredded memory foam pillows can have the loft adjusted to virtually any height. While not as customizable as shredded memory foam pillows, some solid-foam pillows have removable inserts for users to choose between two or more settings.
  • Cooling Properties: Heat build-up in your pillow can make you uncomfortably warm and disrupt your sleep. Memory foam is notorious for heat retention, although today’s manufacturers use many techniques to get around this. Of course, shredded memory foam naturally allows more room for airflow, so all other things being equal, a shredded pillow will sleep cooler than a one-piece pillow.

 

Bedtime Routines can give you best sleep

What Is a Bedtime Routine?

A bedtime routine is a set of activities you perform in the same order, every night, in the 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed. Bedtime routines can vary, but often include calming activities like taking a warm bath, reading, journaling, or meditation.

Why Are Bedtime Routines Important?

Humans are creatures of habit. Like any other routine, bedtime routines establish habits that help our brains recognize when it’s time to sleep. By performing the same activities in the same order every night, your brain comes to see those activities as a precursor to sleep.

Bedtime routines also play an important role in reducing late-night stress and anxiety — the kind of worrisome thoughts that keep you up at night. Anxious thoughts and rumination activate your mind and sympathetic nervous system. Left unchecked, these thoughts can intensify and develop into insomnia. By following a bedtime routine, you can keep your mind focused on other tasks and encourage yourself to relax instead.

Bedtime routines help your brain separate the day from the night, clear your mind and body of the day’s stresses, and relax into sleep.

What Is a Good Bedtime Routine For Adults?

Ready to dream up your ideal bedtime routine? Try these ten ideas.

1. Decide on a Set Bedtime.

As part of your natural sleep-wake cycle,   your brain starts winding down for sleep a few hours before bedtime. You can use your bedtime routine to make that process more effective. First, decide on your bed- and wake-up times, and stick to them every day. Following a consistent sleep routine helps train your brain to naturally feel tired when it’s bedtime.

Next, schedule a time to begin your bedtime routine every night, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed. Set an alarm if you need to.

2. Leave the Electronics Alone.

Despite what you may think, your favorite Netflix show does not help you relax, nor does scrolling on Instagram.  Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light. When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production.and works to stay awake.

Don’t play tricks on your brain. Say goodnight to your electronics at the beginning of your bedtime routine. If you can, avoid using electronics in the evening as much as possible. Be sure to turn on your phone’s red-light filter well before your bedtime routine even begins, so if you accidentally look at it, it won’t be as disruptive.

 

3. Have a Light Snack or Bedtime Tea.

Heavy meals9 and drinking10 before bed can lead to indigestion, acid reflux11, and middle-of-the-night restroom trips that disrupt your sleep. However, going to bed hungry can also upset your stomach and make it hard to fall asleep.
Find a healthy middle ground by calming your stomach with a light snack, like a piece of fruit or yogurt. Cherries, grapes, strawberries, nuts, and oats all have high melatonin content. Non-caffeinated herbal teas, especially ones with chamomile or lavender, are another nice way to calm the mind and induce sleep. Just make sure to use the restroom before bed!

4. Take a Warm Bath.

As part of your sleep-wake cycle, your body experiences various hormonal changes throughout the day. One of these is melatonin production, which begins in the evening to prepare you for sleep. At the same time, your core body temperature drops.
Scientists have found that mimicking that nighttime drop in body temperature via a warm bath can trigger a similarly sleepy reaction. Consider taking a warm bath about an hour before you go to sleep. Your body will heat up from the water, and cool down quickly as the water evaporates, creating a sensation that makes you feel tired and relaxed.

5. Listen to Music.

62 percent of people listen to music to help them sleep. The genre isn’t important, so long as the music relaxes you. Close your eyes, listen to the music, and let it distract you from your worries and calm you down.
Other types of audio can be good for sleep too, like ambient sounds and white or pink noise. Pink noise, like rain or waves, has been shown to improve sleep quality, while white noise may help you fall asleep faster by masking other sounds. You can find playlists for different types of white noise on Spotify and smart home devices like Alexa.

6. Stretch, Breathe, and Relax.

Relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) can allow you to let go of physical and mental tension, by instead focusing on your body and mindfully relaxing. A daily yoga routine has been shown to improve sleep quality, and a few simple stretches or massage before bed can prevent cramping.
Some light yoga, stretching, and breathing exercises can go a long way toward relaxing you into sleep. See what works for you and add it to your bedtime routine.

7. Practice Meditation.

Like yoga, a regular meditation practice can improve your sleep quality. Mindfulness meditation teaches people to allow their thoughts and manage emotions, enabling sleep onset, rather than stressing about not falling asleep.
You can practice mindfulness meditation by simply closing your eyes and allowing yourself to focus on your thoughts and feelings. Observe your thoughts, but don’t judge them. Deep breathing and visualization are other forms of meditation. You can find many guided meditation exercises for free on smartphone apps or YouTube.

8. Read a Good Book.

Reading is a common bedtime routine that begins in childhood. Parents often read to their children as part of a bedtime routine.
When incorporating reading into your bedtime routine as an adult, stay away from exciting genres like suspense and action. A book with a plot that’s drama-free, even boring, can be best.

9. Write Down a To-Do List or Journal.

Many people find it restorative to journal, and doing so in the evening lets them sort out their thoughts and feelings before going to bed.
If the idea of journaling overwhelms you, consider starting with a simple to-do list. One study found that taking 5 minutes before bed to jot down a quick to-do list of tasks that needed to be done in the following days significantly sped up sleep onset.

10. Prep Your Bedroom.

Dedicate part of your bedtime routine to transforming your bedroom into a sleep oasis. Make a ritual out of making things as cool, dark, and quiet as possible.
Set the thermostat to somewhere between 60 to 71 Fahrenheit. Turn off any noisy electronics. Dim the lights and pull down your blackout curtains. Put things away and remove clutter. Enjoy your favorite scent with an aromatherapy diffuser.
Now, for the final piece of your bedtime routine: getting into bed. Make this the very last thing you do, and once your head hits the pillow, don’t do anything else other than try to fall asleep. You want your brain to see your bed as a place of slumber, and that’s all.