We spend a third of our life sleeping, (200,000 hours in our life)! Therefore it is so important that we make sure it is of good quality as sleeping is also when the body gets given the best chance of healing.
When it comes to choosing a pillow there is no such thing as a universal fit. Your sleeping position is one thing to consider. Are you a Back sleeper? Side sleeper? Stomach sleeper? Or All of the above?
Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your pillows.
This is the most common position when falling asleep, it is also the most common position for snoring. If you are one of these people it is good to place a firm pillow under your knees and a medium firm pillow under your head. The pillow under the knees will take pressure off of your low back allowing your spine to assume its natural curves without stress. The pillow under your head should not be propping you up, but providing some support to the natural curve of your neck. If you are not sure if your head is propping up get a family member or friend to take a photo of you so you can determine whether you need a softer pillow or not.
This is the most common sleeping position throughout the night, and the best for your spine. If you snore on your back, shifting to your side generally quiets you down. Place a firm pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure off of your hips and low back. Another firm pillow should support your head and neck in a straight line with the rest of your body. (Again get a family member or friend to take a photo so you can assess this). Two pillows or soft pillows tilt your head and stresses the muscles on either side of your neck that can lead to stiff necks, headaches, and even torticollis in the mornings.
Although this is the least ideal sleeping position proper pillow placement in the stomach sleeping position can reduce your chances of waking up with back and neck pain. Placing a firm pillow underneath your hips/stomach will reduce the stress on your low back and neck. This pillow placement may eliminate the need for a head pillow, but if you still need one, use it to support your head at a downward angle as opposed to totally turned to the right or left. If you have an extra pillow lying around, place it under your ankles for even more support for your spine.
- Consider a pillow that is hypo-allergenic – You can be surprised by how much can accumulate in your pillow over time. This includes, skin cells, dust mites, fungus and mould. Memory foam pillows are a great choice as they are hypoallergenic and usually recommended for sufferers of asthma and allergies.
- Choose a pillow that is appropriate for your body size – if you are of a smaller frame you will not need as firm of a pillow compared to larger frames or people with broader shoulders.
- Keep track of how old your pillow is. Pillows should be replaced every 18 months to make sure you are getting the proper neck support.
At chiropractic balance we offer a pillow hiring e service where you can trial one of our recommended pillows for a week. If this something you are interested in feel free to ask one of our chiropractors or staff for more information.