After a long tiring day it is just a good night’s sleep that we all crave for. According to a research, an average person spends almost one third of his life in bed! If we were to believe this statistics then it will only be fair to expect that the bed be the most comfortable place in the house. However a bed isn’t comfortable without a good mattress & pillow! Do you know pillows are NOT universal products? Meaning – one pillow variety cannot be suitable for all the people in this world. Thankfully, we all have choices – Lots and lots of choices.

Pillows are of different types based on their shape and the filling used. These pillows serve different purposes and knowing each of them will unite us with our kind of pillow. Choosing the right pillow can make all the difference.

We bring to you a dossier on pillow variety so that the next time you go shopping, you can make an informed choice!

Pillow Variety – Based on their Shape

1. Bed Pillows

Different shapes in pillows are designed to suit the various sleeping postures. One of the most common pillow variety is the rectangular shaped pillow found in our house. The are called Bed Pillows. They are generally fine when new but do not serve any special purpose.

2. Contour Pillow

Pillow Types - Contour Pillow

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 As the name suggests, Contour Pillows are curved model pillows specially designed to contour our head and neck portion. These pillows are firmer and provide the best support to the head and neck region. This pillow is also suggested by the orthopedics as it helps solve various neck and back problems.

Although these pillows are best suited for back sleepers, they are not advisable for side sleepers. Therefore, before buying a contour pillow one needs to check on the sleeping position. Apparently, contour pillow relieves neck pain, frozen shoulders, stiff neck and headaches, if used right.

3. Bolster Pillow

Bolster - Pillow types

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A bolster pillow is a long narrow pillow, generally in the shape of a cylinder. Bolsters are often used for decorative purposes. Some use it as a head support as it is very firm. It is also used as an arm support. Remember the paintings of the Mughal Era, where the kings reclined lazily on these pillows?

It is basically a multipurpose pillow variety which can slide under your neck, leg or any other position which makes it super comfortable.


4. Husband Pillow


Pillow Types - Husband Pillow

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A husband pillow, also popularly called as the “Boyfriend pillow”. It is a large pillow that helps you keep your back upright with two arms on the side acting like arm rest. Where did it get this name from?

The reason for this name is that you get to rest on the pillow while the two arms “hug” you similar to the way couples cuddle. So, if you are single and missing out on the romantic quotient in your life, don’t worry!  This is the time where a husband pillow comes into picture. It supports your back while lending the comfort of sitting with your loved one.

However, these pillows are best when used for back support while sitting and using your laptop or reading a book. They are not suitable for sleeping.

5. Body Pillow

Body Pillow - Pillow types

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As the name suggests, a body pillow is specially designed to give support not only to the head but also the entire body. It is a long body length pillow specially suiting the side sleepers. Basically, this pillow can be wrapped around one’s body while sleeping. So, if you love hugging your boyfriend or teddy bear while sleeping, this fills that void with added comfort.

6. Travel Pillow

Pillow Types - Travel pillow

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As we all know, it is difficult to catch some sleep when we are travelling. Especially, when we have to travel in a seated position. Well, this is when a travel pillow comes to our rescue.

It comfortably wraps around ones neck taking support on the shoulders and when we tilt our head on it, we can easily snooze. The travel pillow is very easy to carry and can be used in any kind of travel – air, bus or train; your choice!

Pillow Variety – Based on their filling

Now that we have seen the advantages of different pillow variety based on their shape, let us also look at a few types based on their filling. Pillow’s filling makes it feel the way it does.

The firmness and softness of a pillow is determined by its stuffing. Similarly, each filling has its own benefit and use.

7. Memory Foam Pillow

Memory Foam - Pillow type based on filling

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This kind of pillow is ideal for back sleepers and side sleepers. The main purpose of using memory foam is to provide ultimate support to your head and spine. For those who tend to spend time on stomach, this would definitely not be a right choice.

The memory foam technology owes its advent to NASA. It is relatively expensive when compared to the regular cotton and synthetic fillings. The memory foam is heat sensitive and it generally acquires the shape of the body lying upon it. It is firm, but soft and smooth without lumps. This generally becomes one’s favorite pillow after using it for a while, but it is usually expensive.

8. Buckwheat Pillow

Pillow Types - Buckwheat filling

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Though this name seems familiar to some ingredient in the recipe book, it is surprising that this is also used as a filling in pillows. Buckwheat hull is known to provide very good support for the neck.

The main purpose of using buckwheat filling is that it stays cool in the summer and warm in winter. Also, one can choose the density of the pillow by deciding how much filling is required. The higher the density of the pillow, the softer it becomes. This pillow variety provides natural air circulation resulting in ideal temperatures for comfortable sleeping.

Another purpose of a buckwheat pillow is that it aids yoga students. It is also advisable to be used by patients who suffer from migraine, snoring, insomnia and menopausal night sweats.

9. Water Pillow

This is the least used filling in pillows. It is generally combined with polyester or memory foam to create the right amount of support and comfort and is adjustable to the way you want it. If there is more water then it is firmer and if there is less water it is softer. The main purpose of using water filling in the pillows is that it increases energy. Also, helps in improved skin texture.

Unlike the synthetic, cotton or other fluffing, a water pillow maintains its shape no matter what. For people suffering with stiff neck problems, a water filled pillow is a one stop solution.

10. Micro bead Pillow

Micro Bead pillow is made up of tiny beads. They are said to be hypo allergic. Micro beads do not absorb moisture, they are free from dust and there is no risk of any bacterial infection or allergy. They are extremely comfortable and provide great support to the body. Usually, these pillows are preferred by the side sleepers and also the ones who discharge saliva while sleeping.

11. Latex Pillow

Latex Filling - Pillow Types

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Pillows with the latex filling adapt quite well to the head and neck. Latex is most recommended because of its long lasting nature. These pillows are easy to clean and the latex does not generate heat. As a result, it does not make the body sweat while sleeping.

The main benefit of using a latex pillow is that it prevents various pathologies of the spine. It helps in improving the brain blood supply. Also, muscle tension is removed. It is highly durable and is said to last for more than ten years, if used with proper care.

12. Cotton Pillow

Cotton is a natural and the most common filling used in pillows. Pillows with cotton filling are very easy to handle. Though they tend to clump over few months, their durability can be increased if they are blended with polyester and other synthetic fibers. They are preferred by people who don’t like too much of cushioning under their head. Suitable for all kind of sleepers, cotton pillows may need some sunshine every now and then to maintain the fluffiness.

13. Herbs Filled Pillows

Herbs Filled Pillow - Pillow types

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Popularly used as a Chinese traditional medicine, herbs are also used as a filling in pillows. The herbs which are used for filling include brown rice, chrysanthemum, uncaria, gypsum, tea etc. Herb filled pillows are well known for their relaxing properties. This herb filling helps to absorb the heat from the head and neck region and volatilize it. The scented herbs create a good fragrance while sleeping. They help in relaxing the nerves and create vivid dreams while sleeping. This pillow variety also relieves anxiety and helps overcome sleeplessness.

14. Feather Filled Pillows

Feathers are also used as a filling in pillows. They are mostly suitable for back and front sleepers. Although, these pillows have an uncommon filling but it remains a popular choice for all those people who have used these pillows in the past.

Feather filled pillows are soft and durable. They have a higher life span when compared to synthetic fillings. However, feather fillings are not advisable to be used by people suffering from allergy.

Pillow Types - Feather Pillow

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Choice of Different Pillow types differs from Person to Person

The list does not end here for there are many other variants and combinations available. Newer varieties too with newer advantages keep getting invented. Mostly every pillow is meant for a purpose and with proper hunting and some trials you will surely find a pillow that is meant for you.

Choose a pillow which understands you and the you will never be able to resist the pillow for too long 🙂 Happy Sleeping.

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