Which Pillow Type Should You Use?
The quality of your sleep and the pillow you use have more in common than you may think..
Have you ever bought a new pillow thinking it would change your life, only to find each morning full of back and neck pain? Or inversely, gotten your best night of sleep using an old, worn out couch pillow? Regardless of if you’re a Lark, Owl or Hummingbird, poor sleeping posture can ruin your next day. I suggest the way we’re choosing our pillows might be misguided.
We all have a preferred sleeping position at night. Some people like to lay on their side, while others on their stomach or back. What’s important to understand is that in order to get the best sleep, we must make sure that our spines are straight. Sleeping on a curved or lumpy surface (I slept on a beanbag a few weeks ago, terrible decision) will almost always result in body pain the next day. Being that our heads are the top of the central nervous system, the position in which it rests is critical to spinal alignment. That’s where pillows come in, and the position in which you like to sleep determines the type of pillow you should be using.
Laying on Back
If you like to sleep staring at the ceiling, then you’ll notice your back slightly arching up to compensate for the necks bend. A medium sized pillow is the best recommendation here, to raise your head and align your spine. I also recommend a small pillow underneath your knees, to relieve tension in the lower back. I'm a back sleeper myself.
Laying on Side
Sleeping on your side drapes your neck across the shoulder, which is very straining on your back. A large sized pillow is the best recommendation here, as your goal is to level your head with the rest of your body. Additionally, you should place a pillow between your legs, to relieve tension caused by the upper leg hanging. There are a variety of pillows that offer support for this sleeping type, but I personally recommend one that is very firm (to minimze deflatation over time) and with an outward bow to fit the curvature of your neck.
Laying on Stomach
For this position, your body is already quite flat. If you decide to use a pillow here, I recommend a very small, thin pillow. The last thing you want your back doing is arching upwards overnight- painful! You may also consider placing a pillow under your stomach, as this can help straighten posture in the case of a bowing mattress. In my experience though, sleeping on your stomach doesn’t require a pillow at all, provided the mattress you use is comfortable!
When you go to bed tonight, take a look at the way you sleep and if your pillow is doing justice. If not, you should really consider changing positions or getting new pillows, your body will thank you for it, and you just might find yourself having better Mondays at the office.
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