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Finding Your Perfect Pillow

Man sleeping

Get great sleep with the perfect pillow

We must get asked two or three times a week by patients what pillow is right for them. The answer depends on your sleeping style – do you sleep on your stomach, back, or side?

First off, if you are a stomach sleeper, this is a bad habit you must work to break. This leaves your head twisted to the side, for hours at a time, putting strain on your neck, spine, and nerves. You wouldn’t try to go through your day with your head constantly turned far to one side right? It just isn’t comfortable.
That leaves side and back sleeping.

Back sleepers

For you, the best option is a flat, thin pillow with just enough puff to provide support for your neck. This will maintain it in a neutral position, just as it would be if you were standing upright with a healthy posture.
If your pillow is too thick, it will push your head forward and chin down. It’s similar to sitting hunched over the computer, with your head tilted forward. In both cases, you are putting strain on the neck that can lead to pain and negatively affect the proper curvature of your neck.

Side sleepers

In your case, a thick pillow is required. Again, the aim is to support your neck in a neutral position, just as it would be if you were standing upright with a healthy posture. That means you have to fill in that gap between your shoulder and the side of your head. You need a thick pillow.

Many people who sleep on their side have a habit of tucking an arm up under their pillow and head. Why? Because their pillow isn’t thick enough and they are unconsciously trying to compensate. But this can compress nerves and blood circulation – your arm, hand, and fingers can go numb. At the very least, this can disrupt your sleep, but it can become a chronic problem.

How much should I pay for the right pillow?

That is up to you. Pillows, like anything else, come in “Cadillac” versions. There are different materials and styles, and many claim to be “ergonomic” in one way or another.

You can buy a firm foam pillow that is cut to accommodate both back and side sleeping, but my choice is a thick, squishy pillow that flattens down well when I sleep on my back, and can be compressed into a ball for added thickness and support when I sleep on my side.

Did you find this information useful?

I hope you did. Please share it with your friends. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, where we regularly post on other health-related topics. Our website also has great information about Chiropractic care and other health-related topics, such as selecting the proper backpack for you or your child.

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