You’ve probably seen those posts before. You know what we are talking about – those wildly popular infographics-style articles that claim to reveal what your sleeping posture says about you.

This isn’t one of those posts. This is instead, an article about what your sleeping posture says about your pillow.

What your sleeping posture says about your pillow

There are indeed a wide variety of sleeping positions, but all of them are based on just three main ones:

Side sleeping posture: Whether you sleep like a foetus with your arms curled up to your head, like a log with your arms by your sides, or with your arms outstretched as though yearning for a partner – all these positions have you slumbering on one or the other side of your body, making you a side sleeper.

Back sleeping posture : Or, perhaps you sleep like a soldier with arms close to your body, or like a starfish with your arms and legs all akimbo. If you do any or all combinations of these on your back, you are a back sleeper.

Front sleeping posture: Finally, if you prefer to head into dreamland poised like Superman – flat on your stomach, you are a front sleeper.

Now take a look at the people around you. Have you noticed how everyone has different heights, shoulder widths and head sizes? Given the many styles of sleep postures, should all these people get along with the same type of pillow?

Now obviously not. Not only are people each physically unique, they also may have health issues such as muscle aches, curved spines or slipped discs. All of these factors, plus their sleeping posture preferences, play a vital part in determining the pillow designs that are best for them.

What sort of pillow does your sleeping posture require, for nights of blissful rest, and days of fruitful productiveness?

Firmness and height

In general, side sleepers need firmer, higher pillows that provide natural support for their heads in relation to the width of their shoulders. This prevents neck and shoulder aches the next day.

Back sleepers benefit from pillows that aren’t too tall so as to maintain the natural curvature of their spines when they rest their heads on the pillows. Floor pillows may also be desirable to lift their feet off the ground and retain the natural curvature of their spines.

Front sleepers may need pillow patterns that are even flatter still, though a certain level of firmness is still desired to prevent the risk of suffocation.

Contoured or not?

The shape of the pillow matters too, depending on your preferred sleeping posture.

Pillows for side sleepers should be contoured to follow the shape of the head and allow the spine to be aligned with the neck. This calls for a greater contrast between the height and depth of the contours.

Back sleepers also benefit from contoured pillows, although the height-depth contrast required is not as high as their shoulders are not in the way.

Front sleepers should choose flatter pillows to avoid over-arching their necks while they sleep, which could cause neck aches in the morning.

Benefits of custom made pillows

The vast majority of people sleep on their sides. But neck, shoulder and back pains are also common complaints amongst this group, due to bad pillow designs, bodily changes like looser ligaments and stiffer muscles as we age, or repetitive muscle strain during the day.

What’s more, mass produced pillow designs don’t come close to addressing the infinitely variable combinations of head and shoulder widths that humans have.

Yet, a contoured pillow that is the right height and firmness for your head and shoulders can be the magic bullet to ensure a perfect night’s rest for side sleepers. In short, pillow designs don’t matter as long as it fits your body perfectly.

However, in the early noughties, Dr. Andrew Macfarlane, an Australian osteopath and chiropractor, seized upon the perfect formula for determining the right height, contours and firmness of a pillow, with his Neck Compression Index (NCI) rating, a system he later patented. This is used today to produce his brand of custom made pillows, called Pillows Made To MeasureTM.

Because each customer’s head and shoulders measurements are unique, Pillows Made To MeasureTM is the only pillow in the world which requires you to be measured before you are allowed to buy one.

Plus, the NCI system is designed to be easy to use.

For example, at the online retailer’s website,, putting your order in the Blue Oktopus shopping cart allows you to activate your webcam camera and follow simple onscreen instructions to have your head and shoulder dimensions automatically recorded for your custom pillow.

Blue Oktopus also has a Singapore and Hong Kong clinic directory where you can find a clinic to have your dimensions recorded by a healthcare professional.

The perfect pillow for side sleepers?

People who struggle with neck and shoulder pain usually end up changing their pillows often. Unfortunately there is not enough time or money in the world to try all the pillow designs available.

The pillow might be too firm, too, soft, too tall or too low. Or if it is tall enough, it isn’t firm enough. If it is firm enough, perhaps it loses its firmness too quickly.

Fortunately though, Dr. Macfarlane’s research has resulted in the perfect pillow for side sleepers.

And everyone can afford his custom made pillows. Each pillow costs SGD$228, with free shipping thrown in, which is quite reasonable, considering how every Pillow Made To MeasureTM is hand-made for the person who ordered it.

Every Pillow Made To MeasureTM is also made of 100% certified organic, carbon-neutral materials, free of chemical fertilisers, and is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, allergy-proof, mite-proof, 100% biodegradable, and comes with a fitted white cotton cover.

So if you are a side sleeper and still looking for the perfect pillow, Pillow Made To MeasureTM is the one made for you. Literally.

Pillow Made To Measure` is a registered trademark of Sleep Made To MeasureTM .  To order, visit Blue Oktopus ( or drop by in person at one of their partner clinics to get measured in person by a health practitioner.