Side sleepers need a little extra support while sleeping to help keep their spine straight and to relieve pressure points caused by hip, knee, and shoulder joints. They also need to pay attention to the strain improper pillows can cause upon the neck, forcing soft tissues to overcompensate which often results in a sore upper back.
A more plush mattress made from contouring materials is often the solution to nighttime body discomfort in order to allow heavier parts of the body to ‘sink’ and allow a natural spinal alignment. But when it comes to pillow choices, you’ll want to go with a more firm, high loft choice that both supports the weight of the head, but allows for both head and neck contouring. The Sleep Judge recently purchased the Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillows for Back and Side Sleepers in order to see for ourselves what all the fuss surrounding their comfort is. Our results are found below concerning honest opinions during our trial run.
Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow Specs
Loft (Pillow Height): 7 inches
Firmness Level: Very firm
Durability: Machine Washable
Side neck support : Excellent
Back neck support : Good
Breakdown of the Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow
The Beautyrest brand name has been setting a standard of quality since 1925 when it first introduced the pocketed coil spring, forever changing how we viewed mattress weight distribution and overall sleep comfort. Since then it has continually supplied a variety of innovative products to the sleep industry.
This Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow was created specifically for side and back sleepers in mind, and boasts a plush, high loft approach to firm sleep comfort. The fill used specifically helps address the support of your head and neck in the correct spinal posture needed for alignment to provide you with a healthier night’s sleep.
The details of this pillow are addressed below to provide you with a good insight as to whether it is the best pick for you.
- Breathable cotton casing
- High, responsive loft
- Firm, supportive head comfort
- Machine Washable
- May be too ‘springy’ for some people
- Loft height may be too much for back sleepers
- Thickness may interrupt comfort
Features & Benefits
This is an excellent, high loft pillow that provides a thick, plush comfort without sacrificing firm support. If you are a side sleeper, read on as this may be your perfect pillow match.
These pillows are available in standard, queen, and king size with overall measurements of 20×26, 20×30, 20×36 respectfully. Although standard sized pillows are generally the most popular size sold, I would suggest going no smaller than a queen due to the size of these pillows and the queen allows for a bit of extra surface room for the average sized sleeper to take advantage of. The standard to me would seem even more overly filled than they already appear to be.
Many times taller, and wider sleepers will have a support advantage with a queen or king sized pillow as well in order to better span their shoulder width. Be aware that these larger sizes also need to be able to fit within your pillowcases, so be sure to have the correct sizes.
Otherwise you risk compressing the pillow and not being able to take advantage of the comfort it provides effectively. I used a queen sized pillow in a queen pillowcase with no problems. It was a looser, although bit of a snug fit, height wise; and there was plenty of room left in the pillowcase with weight applied to redistribute the filling without making the pillowcase tight.
NaturesLoft Fiberfill Polyester Filling
I’ll be honest here. I have no idea what NaturesLoft Fiberfill is other than it is a hypoallergenic, polyester fiber filling just like most other lightweight, slick polyester fillings that are used within other pillow brands. My searches to discover what, exactly, it was yielded no results- and so my opinion is that it is simply a name to describe the polyfil Beautyrest uses within their pillows.
Whatever it is exactly has me in love. This filling is used to create an overstuffed feel to the pillow, yet responds to weight by evenly distributing around the head and neck without causing an ‘enveloping’ feel.
Overall it is extremely lightweight, but provides a firm support for both your head and neck when compressed.
This redistribution of the filling provides a contouring effect which allows your neck to rest without placing strain upon your upper body, or lower back due to poor spinal alignment. My neck was in absolute heaven while on my side, and I was very happy with the overall plush surface this pillow provides.
Loft is the term used to describe how high a pillow sits when laying flat on a surface. This has to do with both the filling, and how the pillow is constructed for filling distribution. The Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow is an overfilled casing to provide a light, plush comfort that settles under your weight to transfer into a firm, yet yielding support.
The 7 inch loft height is easy to plump, and is rather springy and bounces back into shape very easily. All my manipulation was unable to displace any filling to settle unevenly, and I found a consistent support upon the entire resting surface of the pillow.
This type of loft and fill combination is what works well for side, and occasionally back sleepers, to provide the support needed for their head and neck at the proper height for good spinal posture.
I was very impressed with the distribution of filling within this pillow despite my initial skepticism concerning how high it sat and the spring-like feel it lent under my hand impression. The polyfill is certainly of high quality and does what it claims to do concerning comfort.
A gusseted, or rectangular, sidewall is what allows such a high loft and comfort distribution of the filling in the first place. Rather than sewing the edges of the pillow panels together, a 2 inch strip surrounds the pillow on all sides to provide shaping and even distribution of polyfill. Without these, the filling would rise up around your ears and face when lying upon it, causing an enveloping feel.
The seams are double stitched and corded for an added support against pressure when weight is applied, and to avoid bulging and an unequal distribution of filling. They also compress well under your shoulders if you sleep higher up on your pillow, but also provides comfort against your collarbone if pressed up against it.
400 Thread-Count Pima Cotton
A lower thread count helps to describe the breathability of a woven fabric, not overall quality. Higher thread counts, although often heavier and softer due to the amount of extra threads included in it, also create a tighter weave which doesn’t allow air to pass through as effectively.
A 400 thread count cotton weave is getting to the higher end of lower count weaves in the sleep industry.
Lower thread counts allow for moisture wicking and evaporation, and are a preference to help you sleep cooler through warm seasonal temperatures. The natural cotton is also a preferred fabric due to how well it naturally breathes unlike most synthetics. However, most pillows are also covered by a pillowcase, as well as a protector, which will affect the overall airflow of the experience.
Washing a pillow, although sometimes a necessity, may also create a lumpy mess. Luckily this pillow launders well, as I found out, and and plumped up on a low tumble dry with no problems. Of course you should wash two pillows at the same time to keep them from throwing your machine off balance. Front loaders are also suggested, although I washed mine in a regular top load with no problems.
Beautyrest pillows are a popular market item and many Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow reviews can be found with just a few simples searches. The majority of reviews highly praise this pillow for its lofty, springy, supportive comfort. It is a favorite amongst side sleepers, with the supportive contouring being a major selling point.
Although many fans consider this comfortable and supportive choice, the initial plush surface makes many confuse firmness with hardness and not the firm, yielding support it does provide. This yielding firmness it what has made it a favored pick for people searching for a specific type of nighttime comfort.
Consumers also mention how long their pillows seems to last- with many commenting on how well shaped they still are after months of use and washings.
Naysayers have trouble with how high the pillow can sit, especially for some back sleepers. Others expect a hard, foam-like firmness and are disappointed in the overall construction. Both deal with personal material construction and less to do with the quality of the item.
My Trial Experiences
I am an average sized woman in both height and weight, and although consider myself a stomach sleeper, often find myself on my side throughout the night. I occasionally nap while sleeping on my back as well, and was excited to try this particular pillow out.
I also had two other ‘trial managers’ who sleep exclusively on their sides check this pillow out. One, a male, is of average height and is of a heavier body type. The other, a woman, is of average body weight, but is very tall. I’ll go ahead and make mention here they both tried to steal the pillow from me before the trial was over because they were so in love with the comfort.
This pillow is definitely a no-go for all you stomach sleepers. When sleeping on your stomach you already place strain on your upper and lower back, and when your head is lifted it caused compression within your shoulder and neck vertebrae. The overstuffed loft of this pillow combined with its firmness level makes it a poor choice.
My experience trying to sleep in this position felt as if I was jamming the weight of my head down into my neck and shoulders. I also had so much strain on my lower back that I was forced to twist my hips to alleviate the pressure. Obviously this is not a position you would be able to comfortably rest in for long periods of time, much less fall asleep in.
I was ecstatic about how well this pillow conformed to my head and neck. The firm comfort was both contouring and supportive, and the loft easily distributed away from my face. The biggest position issue that arises when sleeping on your side is a poor spinal support that doesn’t allow your spine to lay straight. Mattresses that are too firm may push the heavier areas found in your shoulders and hip upwards, while too soft a mattress may allow those areas to sink and strain the soft tissues in your back.
The same issues arise concerning pillow support. Your head is a heavier part of your body and needs to sink into a pillow for your spine to stay straight. Your neck, which does all the supporting, needs to be allowed to rest properly upon a surface or it will continue to work to hold up your head properly while you rest. This is what often results in sore neck muscles and cramps.
I was skeptical that this pillow would work well while sleeping on my back. On first glance it is a very tall pillow and looks as if it it would hold your head too high. To my surprise it allowed my head and neck to rest very comfortably. For a heavier person this may be even more comfortable for longer periods of time as I did have a slight head lift, although it didn’t really place any strain upon my upper back due to how well my neck was supported.
Pillows can have, and in many instances, should have other uses for proper sleep, and comfort, positioning. Side sleepers may benefit from placing a pillow between their legs to help alleviate knee joint pressure. Back sleeper may find a pillow beneath their knees help reduce strain upon their lower back, and stomach sleepers benefit from a pillow placed beneath their hips.
This pillow was a bit too lofty, in my opinion, for any of the above. My height and weight wasn’t able to compress the pillow enough for my liking, although I wouldn’t be surprised to find these uses may work well for a person of differing stature.
One of my favorite alternate uses of this pillow was for support while laying back in a prone position to read, or to lean against while sitting up in bed. Rather than stack multiple pillows together for these purposes, I was able to use just one for comfortable support that moved with my weight and adjusted easily when I shifted positions.
This pillow was near perfect as a side sleeping pillow, and only slightly less so for use upon my back. Lighter weighted bodies may not be as comfortable if it lifts their head too much while on their backs, but it is an amazing choice for side sleepers of all shapes and sizes. Although I don’t know if I would truly categorize it as an extra firm in comparison to the entire pillow industry (maybe in comparison to other Beautyfirm products), it is definitely a very firm choice in my experience.
My trial buddies, as mentioned, found this pillow to be a perfect fit for their side sleeping comfort, and attempted to swap out pillows with me in order to continue using the pillow. They agreed wholeheartedly with me concerning my experiences, but also found it to be a good back position pillow as well for their height and weight.
I seriously could find very little fault with this design or construction, and even after washing and drying it it came out just as comfortable and lofty as the pillow I didn’t wash. I highly recommend this pillow for all side sleepers, just be sure to buy multiples as if you ever have guests they may disappear! Let’s just say i know who is getting what for Christmas this year!
Your key to a proper night’s rest includes the best mattress and pillow combination for your sleep position. Side sleepers may need a more responsive surface than the firmer support a back sleeper craves, but both need a firm, yielding, yet lofty pillow for proper head and neck support. If you have been on the search for the perfect pillow, the Beautyrest Extra Firm Pillow for Back and Side Sleepers may just be the answer to your comfort needs.
Multiple trial members have placed this pillow on the top of their list due to how responsive this pillow truly is to their specific needs. Don’t let the high loft and extra firm label fool you – this is an incredibly yielding and supportive pillow that can meet the needs of both firm pillow lovers as well as those looking for soft, plush and supportive comfort.