Pillows can make or break your good night’s sleep. Choosing the wrong one can leave you with a stiff, achy neck and wake up feeling just as tired as when you laid down to go to sleep. Many don’t think of their pillows or the quality of the stuffing as a concern when choosing a new one, but they have much to do with a restful night. Choosing the correct fill keeps your neck properly supported and leaves you feeling awake, alive and refreshed in the morning or after a nap. Many fillings have their good points and their bad points, beside the amount of fill in them.

Homeowners and home decorators use them as a decorative addition to the home. Some perform double duty, acting as both a decoration and as a comfortable place to lay your head. The fill in decorative ones isn’t as important as the ones you sleep with. When choosing one -- choose wisely. They fall into a wide variety of price ranges depending on what they are stuffed with. Put the thought of the expense to the side when choosing new bed pillows because no amount of money can make up for lost or uncomfortable sleep.


The difference between a good pillow and a great pillow is all in the filling just as the difference between a terrible and an amazing ones is in the stuffing. 


Down pillows by far are the most luxurious especially specialty down such as Elderdown. Elderdown is very expensive and extremely hard to find. While Elderdown is an indescribable luxury, it is also out of most people’s price range.

Goose down and duck down are what most people are what most people think of when they talk about down pillows. Down ones are filled with the tiny feathers that do not have the hard quills from the chest of ducks and geese. Down pillows come in a soft, medium, firm and extra firm. Soft offers the least head and neck support while extra firm offers the most support. Down pillows are often thought of as only for people who do not have allergies. This isn’t entirely true. Even those with allergies can sleep on down pillows. The key is to find washed down. Manufacturers wash and treat the down to remove the dust and dirt on the feathers taking away the allergy factor. Of course if you are severely allergic, choose a hypoallergenic down that has been specially treated.


Feather offer sleepers a pillow that has a more firm feel than down pillows. One of the main drawbacks to feather pillows is the quills that poke you in the head after they peak out through the outer covering. If you choose a feather choose one that uses small feathers because the quills won’t be as stiff as the larger feathers. Look for a high thread count outer covering, which is called the ticking. Feather ones are available in hardnesses ranging from soft to extra firm. If you choose a feather pillow and have an issue with the feathers poking out, buy a pillow tick cover in a high thread count to keep the feathers where they belong.

Down and Feather Combination

Down and feather combinations are filled with both down and feathers. The first “ingredient” on the list is the one that has the majority share of the pillow filling. For example if the pillow says 80-20 blend feather and down. The pillow is 80 percent feathers and 20 percent down. If the pillow label reads 80-20 blend down and feathers. The pillow fill is 80 percent down and 20 percent feathers. A feather and down combination offers the softness of down with the support of feathers.

Faux Down

Don’t be fooled faux down is not tiny fake down, it is typically polyester. Not that it is bad because there are pricy faux down that you would never be able to tell the difference between the fake and the real thing. Faux down provides those who sleep on their backs excellent neck support and a more restful night sleep. Faux down pillows are also good for those who are severely allergic to down or feathers.

Polyester Fill

Polyester filled are the most affordable, but are the most likely to not hold up. Many polyester filled pillows will bunch up or balls up and make for a very uncomfortable place to lay your head.


Buckwheat are popular in Asia and are used for those who suffer from headaches, neck pain and back pain. Buckwheat pillows are made from natural buckwheat hulls and take some getting used to if you’ve never used on before. The buckwheat hulls move about inside the pillow ticking and surround your head and neck when you lay on it. Buckwheat pillows have no give as the hulls are hard. This is one of those pillows that people either love or hate. If you choose a buckwheat pillow choose a high quality one because they are usually filled properly unlike the less expensive version that most don’t find comfortable.

Wool Filled

Wool filled offers medium support. The main drawbacks to wool filled pillows are they tend to be very warm to sleep on. Over time the wool does bunch up and may become uncomfortable. Regular fluffing and beating the pillow will keep this from happening.

Silk Filled

Silk filled pillows are luxurious and are the best pillows for dust mite repellant. They offer medium to firm fills and are supportive, which are good for your neck and back. Silk is a lightweight pillow fill, but the weight does not take away from the natural support. The one main drawback is, silk filled pillows are dry clean only and require cleaning at least twice per year, but, are incomparable for those suffering from allergies.

Cotton Filled

Cotton is also a filling that is good for those with allergies. Cotton fill doesn’t allow for your head to sink in as you would expect from a pillow and it doesn’t have a springy feel to it. Choose organic cotton fill because it will not contain any chemicals or additives as found in some cotton fills.