Did you know that if you are using the wrong kind of pillow, you might be actually waking up several times during the night without noticing it? This phenomenon is much more common than you might think; for example, sleep apnea sufferers often have bad and non-restful sleep because the condition causes them to awaken at least several times per night. This disrupts the sleep cycle and prevents you from entering the truly deep stages of sleep, which is where most of the benefits of sleep are obtained.
When you use the wrong kind of pillow, what happens is that it disrupts your sleep by causing neck pain and discomfort (by not being able to keep your neck parallel to the mattress) which results in frequent shifting of positions throughout the night, causing sleep disruption. If this sounds like you, then try out these 5 useful tips below on making sure your pillow is letting you get the most out of your precious sleep time; a limited resource in this day and age.
Tip #1: Choose Pillows That Are Right for Your Sleeping Position
A good pillow should allow you to keep a position that follows the natural curve of your spine. A pillow that is too high off the mattress will result in your head bending forward if you’re a back sleeper (exacerbating the forward head posture or kyphosis, that most people already have) or cause an awkwardly bent neck if you’re a side sleeper. In our opinion we find pillows made out of memory foam to be the best in terms of neck support for most people. This is not to say that other kinds of pillows are inadequate of course, just make sure that it is of the right height and firmness for your own individual needs (as an example, if you have a heavier head, you’ll need a firmer pillow).
Tip #2: Don’t Use Feather Pillows If You Are Prone To Neck Pain
Feather pillows may be great from a financial and comfort perspective, but they’re not a good idea if you suffer from chronic or acute neck pain. This is because they do not provide sufficient stability for people with such conditions due to the innate airy nature of the feathers. Down pillows are actually more supportive but they are also much more expensive. Also be careful to ensure that you are not allergic to feathers before buying one, despite the ‘hypoallergenic’ label on the pillow (most pillows nowadays use this label as there is no regulation controlling the use of the term).
Tip #3: If You’re A Stomach Sleeper, Consider Body or Side Pillows
Because stomach sleepers are the rarest kind (estimated at only about 10% of all people), most pillows are not made for them. The best option for stomach sleepers may be body pillows or side pillows as they can help maintain a neutral spine and posture throughout the night by placing pressure on and providing support to the stomach.
Tip #4: Take the Firmness of Your Mattress Into Account
Your mattress and pillow should work in complement to provide you with maximal comfort and necessary support to you during your sleep. Therefore, qualities for one must compensate for the other. If your mattress is of the firmer variety, that means your shoulders will not depress into the mattress by a significant amount, meaning a pillow needs to fill more space and hence a thicker pillow is necessary. Conversely, your shoulders depress considerably into the mattress of the softer variety, meaning the pillow has less space to fill between your head and the mattress and hence you should use a thinner pillow.
Tip #5: Know That Buckwheat Pillows Are Rather Noisy
Buckwheat pillows are all the rage nowadays and it’s easy to see why, they’re adjustable, extremely breathable, and provide great neck and spine support. Just be aware that when you shift positions the pillow will make a crunching noise, which depending on how light a sleeper you are, may also cause sleep disruptions that will be non-conducive to optimal sleep.