The Right Pillow for the Job!

Photo by Sergi Melki via Flickr

Photo by Sergi Melki via Flickr

For the past few weeks, Darren had woken up tired and in a bad mood. Not only that, his neck and shoulders had become progressively more tense and achy.  Since his mattress was fairly new and had all the latest features, he figured it couldn’t be the problem.  It had to be the pillow.  It was 10 years old, after all!  With that in mind, Darren went online to purchase a new pillow.  “But which is the right pillow?” he wondered.  “There are so many to choose from…”

Like Darren, many people are confused by the huge variety of pillow choices on the market.  Picking the right pillow can be as confusing as picking the right car or television.  There are hundreds of different types of pillows to choose from. Many people, however, just grab the first pillow they see or the cheapest they find.  However, picking a pillow is too important a decision to make that way.

Why is choosing the right pillow so important?
Your posture during sleep is just as important as when you are awake.  If you want a good night’s sleep and less aches and pains when you wake up, it’s critical. The right pillow can substantially improve your quality of sleep.  The wrong pillow can lead to restless nights due to increased muscle tension.  Over time, that increased muscle tension and poor sleep quality can take a toll on your body, making you both sore and more fatigued.

How do I choose the right pillow?
Buying a pillow doesn’t have to be complicated.  Just remember one simple rule. When choosing a pillow, make sure that it supports your head in such a way as to maintain the natural alignment of your spine.  You want to make sure that your head is aligned so that your ear is in line with your shoulder.  Some pillows will bend your head towards your chest or your ear upwards to your shoulder, depending on what position you sleep in.  If you are not in proper alignment, it can strain your neck and cause discomfort, pain and a poor night’s sleep.

Now, that being said, there is no one right pillow for everyone.  It is important to choose a pillow based on what kind of sleeper you are.  If you are unsure, choose a pillow based on what position you start in when you go to bed.  Here are some tips based on the position you sleep in:

  1. Stomach Sleeper: Choose a soft, flatter pillow that keeps your back from excessively and unnaturally arching.
  2. Side Sleeper: Choose a firmer, thicker pillow to keep your head in line with your spine.  You can also place a pillow between your legs or hug a long body pillow to help keep the rest of your body in proper alignment.
  3. Back Sleeper: Choose a medium sized pillow that won’t push your head unnaturally forward.  Your head should be in line with your spine so that you are looking straight up at the ceiling, not down the length of your body.

As for those people sleeping with two or more pillows, that is too many.  You should only sleep with one good pillow under your head.  More than that will force your head out of alignment and result in aches, pains and a poor quality of sleep.

The bottom line:
Choosing the right pillow can make a big impact on your quality of sleep and your life.  It can be the difference between a poor night’s sleep and a night of restful sleep.  So, no matter what style of pillow you pick, make sure that it is the right fit for you!  After all, a good night’s rest depends on the pillow you use!

Comments (2)

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  1. Maria Isabel says:

    You are So Right! I used to have problems with my neck and, after I saw a Physical Therapist, she told me what kind of pillow to use. She also told me to use a pillow between my legs. What a difference! No more neck problems.

  2. I have a lot of neck issues and sleep issues. I have several pillows because I start sleeping on my back and switch to my side. However, even through I have 4 pillows none of them feel right, except the one I use on my back. I think I need to go pillow shopping again and come home with one and stick with it. Thanks for the post.

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