To understand how to choose the right pillow for you, you must first know the purpose of it. A pillow is designed to support your head, neck and shoulders so that your spine can stay aligned during sleep. It plays a vital role in posture and sleep quality and can affect your life greatly. Not having enough support can lead to having neck pain and poor sleep quality. Imagine this cycle is repeated everyday, it can have significant consequences. Let’s look at each of the main sleeping positions and things to look for when choosing a pillow.
For back sleepers, it is important to find a pillow that will support the natural curve of your neck. You need to find one that is medium to thin in height that can offer enough support for your head without changing the angle of your neck.
You also need to find one with a medium firmness that allows your head to be aligned with the spine. It also prevents the pillow from becoming too flat while you sleep. Consider a memory foam as this type of material will shape itself around your head and neck.
Side sleepers require a larger amount of support from the pillow, both in height and level of firmness. The pillow should be high enough to support the head and neck, filling the space between the ear and the outer shoulder so that the neck stays in good alignment. If it is too low, your neck will be bent all night and more likely to be sore in the morning.
Selecting a moderate to heavy firmness can also be beneficial. Fill materials like memory foam and latex tend to be firmer, while down pillows are usually softer unless densely packed.
People who sleep on their stomach may need to consider what parts of their body need support in order to maintain good spinal alignment while they sleep. A stomach sleeping position can put stress on the spine or the muscles of the back and shoulders. In some cases, experts advise people with back pain against sleeping on their stomach.
But if you feel most comfortable sleeping on your stomach, a pillow that is softer with a lower height may work best for you. Down and feather fill tends to be less firm than other materials and may be compressed to a comfortable height.
Design elements like shape, size, and material contribute to how much or how little support a pillow can offer. Depending on the position you usually sleep in, you may want to think about how each of these factors will affect your posture and overall comfort.
The goal is to find a pillow that offers the right amount of support and helps keep your body at a comfortable temperature so that you can wake up feeling well rested.
Experts at the National Sleep Foundation recommend replacing your pillow every 18 months or so. The neck spine curvature will change with time, injuries and lifestyle habits. This is why the same pillow can suddenly not feel right anymore. Pillow companies make pillow to fit the general public, so it doesn't matter how much it costs, if it doesn't fit your neck, it wont feel good.
So to avoid having to get 10 pillows and trialing each of them for 2 weeks then throw them away, you should have your neck curve assessed. Our Chiropractor will be able to advise and have guidelines for you to find a more personalised pillow. Bear in mind it can take a good few days to get used to a new pillow. Once you are used to it, it will hopefully give you the best chance of getting a good night sleep. If you still have issues with neck pain or back pain that is limiting your sleep, it would be worthwhile to get it checked by one of our Chiropractors!
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