Dr. Bell's Blog

Choosing The Right Pillow For You

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Thick or thin, soft or hard, feather or memory foam?  

So many choices.

We spend nearly a third of our life sleeping.  Sleep is an essential component in your overall health, and therefore quality sleep is extremely important.  Not having the proper support for your head and neck can effect the quality and amount of sleep you are getting.  One sure sign that your pillow selection needs help, is if you're waking up in the morning with neck and/or upper back symptoms that were not there the previous night.

Sick and tired of being sore in the morning?

Lets look at a few ideas on how to choose the right pillow for you.

1. Sleep Position Matters

Sleep position can have a big impact on the overall stress upon your spine, in addition to requiring different support for your neck.  One thing that virtually everyone can agree upon is that sleeping on your stomach is bad.  It puts strain throughout your spine, including your neck, and is a position that you should get away from sleeping.  That leaves side and back sleeping position, and either can work just fine given the correct type of support.

2. Different Positions Require Different Support

Now that we know side and back sleeping are both viable positions, lets take a look at what type of pillow support you need for both. For side sleepers, you need a thick enough pillow to take up the gap from your shoulder to head, but also supports the side of your neck.  For back sleepers, you need a pillow to support what is a normal backwards bending curve in your neck, but however, you need very little support for your head. A neutral position for your head is nearly flush with your back.  A pillow too thick for back sleepers will create tension on your neck due to forward head posture.

3. No One Size Fits All

There are types of pillows that I believe can work for most people.  There are different support positions on the pillow for side and back sleepers.  This being said, there is not one pillow that will work for 100% of people.  I advise people to try out pillows of different material and support to see what works best. 

Good quality sleep can have a far reaching impact on how you feel as well as your overall health and vitality.  A good quality mattress can significantly impact this, but a supportive pillow is no less important. Once you find the pillow that is right for you, you won't know how you ever slept without it. Find one that works and stick with it!

A great night's rest, with the proper support, will help you get up in the morning ready to...

LIVE well. BE well.