How do pillows affect your sleep?
The battle with a good night’s rest may start and end with your pillow. Did you know your pillow can help reduce headaches, neck pain, arm numbness and even snoring?
Here are 3 quick tips on how to change your pillow to fit your sleeping position:
Number 1: Check the shape of your pillow
Your neck has a natural curvature and finding a pillow that supports your curves is crucial for solid sleep. Check the position of your neck while lying on your pillow. Is it too thin, too thick? If so, it is time for a pillow change. The too thick or too think pillow will not be your new best friend. (image credit: http://myergobed.com/Bed-Case-Study/sleep_better_study_d11.php)
Number 2: Support
The amount of support you need depends on how your sleep.
Sleeping on your side will require a firmer pillow with a fuller hump for support between your ear and shoulder. Sleeping on your back may require a fuller hump behind the neck that doesn’t give too much of a forward flexion position. Sleeping on your stomach, you may need a flat pillow and you may be more comfortable with a pillow under your hips.
Number 3: Try different pillow materials
Latex, memory foam, foam and down are the most common pillow materials. People tend to have personal preferences for support and comfort, therefore you may want to try out a couple to see what you like.
Latex will be the most firm. It will give good support for side sleepers so that you are not compressing your shoulder throughout the night.
Memory foam is comfortable, but may produce more heat. Therefore, if you are heat sensitive, you may want to lean towards foam or latex pillows.
Foam pillows are measured by density and the denser they are the fewer breakdowns you may experience over time.
Down pillows are usually sold in combination with other materials so it is important to check the percentage of down when purchasing this type of pillow. Down pillows are cooler and lightweight and suggested for side sleepers. However, they tend to flatten and may require frequent exchanging for optimal comfort.
Making your pillow your new best friend is a very personal decision. It will depend on how you sleep, your heat sensitivity and your overall preference for materials. We recommend to start with your alignment—this will give you the best bang for your buck for improved pain when you wake up in the morning.
Do you have a favorite pillow and material? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here and join our private Facebook group to join in the conversation.
Jamal AN, Feldman BM, Pullenayegum E. The Use of Neck Support Pillows and Postural Exercises in the Management of Chronic Neck Pain. The Journal of Rheumatology. 2016 Oct 1;43(10):1871-3.
Chen WC, Lee LA, Chen NH, Fang TJ, Huang CG, Cheng WN, Li HY. Treatment of snoring with positional therapy in patients with positional obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Nature Publishing Group. Scientific Reports. 2015 Dec 1;5:18188.