Pillow Talk

The wrong pillow can be a real pain in the neck (and back). Here’s how to choose one for a good night’s sleep.


Numerous studies tout the importance of sleep as it relates to peak athletic performance, but what role does your pillow play in all this? Could the place where you lay your head be the key to a good night’s sleep?

“Up to 95 percent of people sleep on the wrong pillow,” says Eugene Alletto, CEO and founder of bedgear, a company that provides bedding for pro athletes on the Padres, Tigers, Mets and Broncos. “Simple adjustments in temperature and spinal alignment have a big impact on the quality of rest you receive.” Use these tips from Alletto to find your perfect bedside companion tonight and reap the benefits in the gym tomorrow.

• Do you sleep on your side? Get a firm pillow to help bridge the distance between your ear and shoulder. Your back? You may benefit from a thinner pillow. Facedown like a starfish? You could use the thinnest type of pillow or even none at all. Research the kind of pillow that properly supports your sleep profile and body type before purchasing. Go to Bedgear Pillow ID at to get “fit” for a personalized pillow.

• At night, your body temperature needs to drop about 2 degrees for proper rejuvenation and recovery. Find a pillow that wicks heat and sweat away from your body to facilitate that process.

• Supporting your head, neck and shoulders is of the utmost importance to ensure proper spinal alignment and improve deep sleep. As your pillow ages, it loses that support. You can test if a pillow past its prime by seeing if it springs back after you fold it in half. If it doesn’t, it’s time to get a new one.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, pillows should be replaced every 18 months or so because they can be packed with illness and allergy triggers such as mold, dead skin cells and dust mites.