If you are waking up with neck or back pain or having trouble staying asleep at night, your pillow might be to blame.
Although a good mattress is necessary to support the whole body, a pillow is just as important because it makes sure that your neck and head are aligned correctly with your spine. When shopping for your next pillow, these are the factors you should consider so that you can find the pillow that will work best for you.
Do you sleep on your back, side, or stomach? Remember that your pillow should support your head so that you spine is straight all the way through your neck, just like it is when you are standing up straight. If you sleep on your back, go for a pillow that is more firm but isn’t too high. Side sleepers need a pillow that wraps around the shape of their neck without pushing their head out of alignment. If you sleep on your stomach, you may not even need to use a pillow all the time, but if you want a little more support go with something very thin and soft to avoid lower back problems associated with stomach sleeping. Women in mid-late pregnancy should consider a full body pillow shaped like a C or U to increase support and aid in blood flow by helping them sleep comfortably on their side.
Selecting the right material is mostly a matter of personal preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind. If you suffer from allergies, a synthetic material that is hypoallergenic might be a better option than a down feather pillow. Memory foam, polyester fibers, and latex are good options, and some pillows are made from natural buckwheat hulls that are also hypoallergenic. If you are prone to sweating while you sleep, a pillow that is very breathable such as down or polyester fibers might help you stay cool at night. Memory foam will perfectly mold to the shape of your head and neck as you move during the night, but it is a denser material that might overheat for some people.
If you aren’t sure whether you need a new pillow or not, you can check your pillow by folding it in half for 30 seconds. If it doesn’t return to its original shape when you let go, it is not giving your head the support it needs. In the end, remember that the best way to choose from all of the different pillow options is to feel them for yourself and decide which one you like best and which one will keep your head in line with your spine. That way you can sleep better and wake up ache-free!