We spend at least 33%, or one-third of our lives in bed sleeping – or at least trying to sleep! Our bed and our pillow are important elements of our home. But not all beds and not all pillows are created equal! Different sleepers need different pillows for the best sleep! The wrong pillow can be a “real pain in the neck” – Literally!
Everyone has experienced a bad night’s sleep and waking up with a sore back and neck that stays with you throughout the rest of the day. This is normal to happen on occasionally, but when it becomes a trend, it is important to identify the problem and solve it before long term damage can occur. The first place to start? Your pillow!
You need a pillow that will support the natural curve of your spine and your neck. Side sleepers typically need a thicker pillow that will keep your head and neck steady between your shoulders. Back sleepers, though, need a thinner pillow that does not prop the head up too high and cause your neck to bend. Sleep experts agree that sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleep position. However, we cannot always change how we sleep. Adding a body or side pillow can greatly improve sleep posture. Bottom line – you want to choose a pillow that keeps your neck parallel to the mattress without bending side to side or up and down.
There are several different types of pillows to consider. High and stiff pillows are the enemy of your neck. They keep your neck constantly flexing and leads to pain and discomfort. This is especially true for side and stomach sleepers.
Feather pillows are great for comfortably conforming to the shape of the neck and providing gentle comfort your head. However, they give only minimal support and not much neck stability. Some experience allergies from the feathers. These pillows also will collapse over time and need to be replaced annually.
Down Pillows are like feather pillows. They are a little more supportive than feather pillows but do require fluffing up. Both feather and down pillows may feel super comfy when you first snuggle into bed, but they collapse as you sleep leaving you virtually no support.
Cervical Contour Pillows
Cervical contour pillows have a depression in the center. Your head rests either on a less elevated side or a more elevated side. You should use the less elevated side when you lay on your back and the more elevated side when you are side sleeping.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam contour pillows bend and shape to your curves. This doesn’t truly mean they are bending the correct way to give you the support you need. You may need to have some trial and error with memory foam pillows. They also tend to get hot.
Latex Foam Pillows
Getting hot while you sleep can lead to discomfort, to tossing and turning, and to exacerbating neck pain. Natural latex foam pillows provide the same support as expensive memory foam pillows but will stay much cooler.
Buckwheat pillows are full of hulls that allow air to circulate and offers a cool sleep. They are also cost effective. They offer your neck support if you sleep on your side, but as you sleep, that support can slip away as the hulls move – similar to a beanbag. The hulls may feel noisy at night as you move.
A Pillow on the Go
They type of pillow we sleep on in bed is extremely important, but all sleep does not happen in bed. Are you likely to doze off when watching TV? Do you often rest or sleep in the car, on trains, buses, or planes? Your neck needs support then, too! Do your neck a favor and invest in a horseshoe-shaped travel pillow that will prevent your head from dropping forward or to the sides when at rest. These are a great investment for children too who often fall asleep in their car seats or in the regular car seat.
Chiropractic pillows are an excellent option for a healthy sleeping position. Most are made from memory foam. Some are made to be inflated with air or filled with water. They are made with breathable materials to regulate the temperature. These pillows offer neck support and can help with neck pain or headaches. These pillows also help support proper posture.
One type of pillow does not fit all. Each type of pillow has pros and cons. No one pillow can meet everyone’s needs. If you suffer from neck pain, and have tried different pillows without relief, a chiropractor can help you correct the way you sleep. Dr. Mike at Spinal Logic can even offer you a chiropractic pillow. Our chiropractors will take the time to assess every aspect of your lifestyle, medical history, and body to find a permanent solution to your headaches. Contact our team today at 317-745-5111 to schedule an appointment or learn more. We look forward to hearing from you.
Are you on Facebook? We are too. Let’s be friends!
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.