What Should You Look For in a Firm Pillow?
While quality, material and cost of a pillow should all be considered, the position you usually sleep in is another crucial factor when it comes to determining which pillow is best for you. While there are pillows specifically designed to be supportive for combination sleepers (people who change positions throughout the night), if you tend to migrate towards a certain position every night it’s certainly worth going for a pillow solely designed for that position.
Firm Pillows for Side Sleepers
Sleeping on your side (or more specifically your left side) comes with a whole host of benefits, including improved digestion, increased circulation to the heart and more effective lymphatic drainage from your brain. However, side sleeping can have some issues too if sleepers don’t regularly use a pillow that supports them.
Side sleepers will require a slightly thicker pillow than those who sleep on their back or stomachs. This is because there is a larger distance between your mattress and head which needs to be filled completely by your pillow to keep your spine neutral. Sleeping on a pillow which is too thin will result in a sore neck, back and shoulders, as your spine will be positioned unnaturally. Side sleepers should look for something both thick and firm, while also opting to sleep on their left side, if possible!
Firm Pillows for Back Sleepers
Back sleepers won’t need a pillow quite as thick as the side sleepers might, but it’s still advisable to get something with a bit of height. Like side sleepers, t’s important that the space between the back of your neck and the mattress is filled, keeping your head supported.
Many back sleepers like the feeling of sinking into their pillow, but this can cause problems long term. Instead, back sleepers should go for something firm, with a high loft. This’ll stop the head from sinking back too far and may even prevent snoring!
Firm Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
Sorry stomach sleepers, but your choice of sleep position is widely reputed to be the worst way to sleep, mainly because it’s difficult to keep the spine neutral when using a standard pillow.
However, we all know how comfortable sleeping on your stomach can be, and many pillow manufacturers design pillows specifically to keep stomach sleepers supported and free of neck pain.
Pillows that offer thick cushioning or a high loft are a no-no. These will push your head back into an unnatural position, causing discomfort anywhere from the neck all the way down the lower back. Instead, stomach sleepers should go for something firm but thin – three inches thick appears to be the magic height, although this will vary from person to person.
Using a pillow this thin may take a while to get used to, but it’s more than worth it. A thinner pillow will help keep your spine neutral, easing any tension throughout the neck and back.
Read our Firm Pillow Reviews
First up we’ve got the ComfoLife Shredded Memory Foam. We’re big fans of shredded memory foam and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. The bamboo cover ensures it keeps cool during the night unlike many memory foam products, and the zipper on the side means you can adjust the firmness to suit your preferences.
The bamboo cover is ultra-soft, breathable and washable, while the pillow is covered by a 3-year manufacturer guarantee. It comes in just one size – Queen – but is high-quality and durable.
The height and fill of the ComfoLife is idea for side sleepers. Those who sleep on their back may need to remove some of the filling however, and we also don’t recommend this pillow for stomach sleepers due to its height.
All in all, the ComfoLife is a great option for someone who wants something firm, but customisable, and for a memory foam product it’s great quality while still being affordable.
Next, we’ve got the Pinzon White Duck Down Pillow. While certainly not as firm as memory foam, duck down is a high-quality filling and this pillow can be purchased in a variety of sizes and fillings, Standard, Queen or King and Firm, Soft or Medium. This makes it a fantastic high-quality, down pillow which can easily be customised to suit you.
Ideal for side sleepers, the Pinzon pillow contains a unique 3-chamber design. The top and bottom layers are filled with 65% white duck down, and the middle layer is filled with feathers to give extra support. While it may lack the ‘bounce-back’ feature of a memory foam, this pillow is soft, breathable and durable. Finally, it contains a shed-resistant shell which will stop feathers escaping over time.
At a similar price to the ComfoLife, this Pinzon product is a fantastic alternative to memory foam, retaining its comfort and bounce over time.
The first of our 2-packs, the BioPEDIC firm pillow is specifically designed for stomach and back sleepers. It’s thin design naturally positions your head at the correct angle, supporting your neck, shoulders and back throughout the night.
While its filling, fibrefill, has a slightly bad rep in the pillow world, it is easy to clean, affordable and adjustable. The BioPEDIC is sold in three different densities – Extra Firm, Firm and Medium.
While fibrefill is often criticised for its lack of ventilation, this BioPEDIC pillow has a soft cotton cover which uses Nanotex Coolest comfort technology to help you stay cool throughout the night.
In terms of firmness, this pillow doesn’t disappoint. The 1.5-inch gusset frames around the sides ensure the pillow keeps its shape overtime, and it’s certainly comfortable. What it may lack in durability, this pillow more than makes up for in value and comfort.
The WENERSI Premium Goose Down pillow also comes in a pack of two, providing great value for money, although the goose down makes it more expensive than others on the list.
This pillow comes in various degrees of soft and firmness, as well as different sizes. Choose from Queen Firm, Queen Soft, King Firm and King Soft each containing three layers of high-quality goose down and feathers.
The WENERSI claims to suit all sleeping positions, although stomach and back sleepers should opt for the firmer versions. It’s chemical-free and hypoallergenic so good for people who have allergies.
The pillows arrive vacuum packed which can be a little disconcerting! Stretching them out and ventilating them for a few hours however, will expand them to full size, as well as get rid of any odour.
The Luxuredown White Goose Down Pillow is another great option for those who need a firm and supportive pillow. It’s certainly at the top end of our list price-wise – and that’s just for one!
However, the Luxuredown is certainly comfortable. The cover is made from 100% cotton meaning it stays cool throughout the night. It’s medium in firmness, so great for someone who wants something firm but don’t fancy sleeping on a rock! It claims to be perfect for both back and side sleepers, as it’s slightly on the fuller side, and it also comes in a Standard, Queen or King size.
While it may be pricey, the Luxuredown pillow supports your spine in a variety of sleep positions, and the filling is extremely good quality. It holds its shape and loft well, is comfortable and feels very luxurious. What’s not to love? Apart from the price.
The only-gel infused memory foam pillow on the list, this Bluewave Ultra-thin pillow is a great price for what you get. First things first, the Bluewave really is ‘ultra-thin’, although it does come in a couple of sizes – Medium Firm Full Pillow or Extra Firm Half Pillow.
The ultra-thin is just 2.5 inches thick, which makes it ideal for stomach sleepers. It also works great as a support cushion to be placed between your knees in the night, keeping your spine even straighter!
The gel-infused memory foam stops the pillow from getting hot in the night as the gel alleviates the build-up of heat. The pillow also contains ventilation holes to keep it even cooler. The foam contains no nasty chemicals, and the cover is made from rayon and polyester which should prevent the odour which often occurs with memory foam products.
All in all, this Bluewave pillow is durable, supportive and multipurpose. While it may take some time to get used to, it’s a fantastic choice for those of you who need something a lot thinner, and at such a great price it’s certainly not going to break the bank.
Last, but by no means least is the Sealy Firm Density Pillow which comes in a pack of two.
This pillow is made from a 300-thread count cotton sateen fabric, and Is hypoallergenic. It comes in two sizes, King and Standard, and is ideal for side sleepers thanks to its height and good level of firmness.
It’s made from hypoallergenic polyester which can be both a pro and a con. For one, it brings the cost down and can work well for people with allergies. On the other hand, they are not overly durable and will flatten faster than something of a better quality.
Having said that, this pillow is plush, supportive and comfortable. For side sleepers looking for something cheap and cheerful, you can’t go wrong.