Pick a pillow depending on your sleeping position.

Pick a pillow depending on your sleeping position.This article was first published in Health magazine, March 2007.

Like your mattress, your pillow is an important part of the most critical hours of the day. And many of us are snoozing (or not) on a lousy excuse of a pillow.

For starters, the average lifespan of a pillow is two years; after that, it cant provide the support you need for sleep. Frequent washing takes its toll, too, and can take a year off of a pillows life.

Then there are all the choices. How do you know which pillows just right for you? We shipped 20 pillows to our expert, Jeffrey Goldstein, MD, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and a spinal-surgery specialist at New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases. He tested fluffy, flat, water-filled, down, and foam to find the best fit for your sleeping style. Whether youre a side, back, or tummy sleeper, supporting your neck in its most natural position is what really matters, Dr. Goldstein says. Here are his tips for pillow bliss:

Back sleepers
“Theyll be more comfortable with a medium-firm pillow.” Try Select Comforts Memory Foam Contour Pillow ($109.99 to $149.99).

Side sleepers
“They will rest easier with a medium-firm pillow that cuddles and supports the neck.” Try HoMedics Pillow Rx Luxurious Comfort Pillow ($49.99).

Tummy sleepers
“A soft pillow with a gentle slope is best for stomach sleepers.” Try Cuddledowns Luxury Batiste Pillow in “Stomach” density ($159 to $219).

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