How a New Pillow Can Help You Sleep Well and Feel Better Too
Want to Catch Your Zzs?
Do you suffer from insomnia, once or twice a week? If yes, you’re one of the 75% of Americans who have the same problem. Does pain make you turn from physical discomfort three nights a week? Based on a 2015 poll from the National Sleep Federation, if you've answered yes, you might have interrupted sleep.
How Long Does a Pillow Last?
The pillow material should be medium firm and not too thick, so it would align with your neck. If not, you could have headaches, feel stiff and numb, be in pain, and have insomnia.
Good pillows last four to five years; you should keep in mind to buy a new one after two years. If it’s past its prime, you might find mold and dust mites inhabiting inside the pillow to add more to the weight.
Finding Your Right Sleeping Position
For those who prefer to sleep on their back, you would need the right pillow to support your back. If it isn’t the right strength, you might experience back pain. If you stack your pillows, it could protrude your head forward and make you feel tightness and neck pain.
One option is memory foam pillows, which shapes the neck's natural curve. If you can afford an expensive denser cushion, it would give you more support. Also consider thinner pillows and ones with extra cushioning at the bottom to cradle your neck. These pillows offer reliable support when you change positions when you sleep. Another idea is to place a second pillow under your back like a wedge or a bolster for example. When you change sleeping positions, these types of pillows offers reliable support. Or try sandwiching a second one under your knees to lower pressure off your back like a wedge or a bolster for example.
When sleeping on your left or right side, tuck a pillow between your knees. This will strengthen your spine and keep it straight. Or consider a leg-spacer pillow to set between your knees. It would help relieve pressure from your hips to your ankles. If you suffer from sciatica, it reduces stress on your lumbar vertebrae. As you lie down on your bed, place a medium-firm cushion under your head. It should fill the gap between the ear and an outside shoulder.
Don’t sleep on your stomach. If you do, it could create potential pain in your neck and lower back. Snuggling with a giant body pillow could give you a similar feeling. Your body will feel comfortable with the right support when you sleep on your sides. It’s three times longer than a king-size bed. Or tuck a thin, almost flat pillow under your stomach.
Choose a Pillow for Your Needs
If you’re one of the 35%-80% of the population that suffers from neck pain, consider trying two different types of pillows. Memory foam and water-based pillows are perfect for you and it's also hypoallergenic. If you choose one that’s made from water, it relieves chronic neck pain, reduces frequency of headaches, and improves sleep.
If you’re sick with allergies or asthma, try synthetic fiber. It might help you feel better. Pillows with feathers can worsen it overnight. Shield yourself from pollen, pet dander, and dust mites by using an anti-allergy cover.
These pillows can make you feel well-rested after a good night’s sleep. Natural dust-bite repellents, such as lamb’s wool and silk also provides relief.
If you or your partner snore, an anti-snoring pillow helps you fall fast asleep. They subtly shift your head to the “sniff” position to give you neck support. You would find it easily to breathe with opened airways. And it also won’t create other issues like neck pain. Due to a recent study in 2005, it showed positive results in some people.
Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition to have while you're sleeping. It could cause you to gasp, stop breathing, or raise your blood pressure. Depression and GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease) is also linked to it. If you think you might have GERD, see a doctor.
If you’re an expectant mother, back pain is expected for the eighth and ninth month of pregnancy. To encourage blood flow between the two main vessels that pass, lift your belly. That would help remove pressure from your ligaments. To minimize stress from your hips and lower back, have your knees sandwich another pillow. Avoid sleeping on your back. Place a pillow or two under your head and one under your stomach to raise your belly. To provide comfort for your lumbar spine, prop another small cushion between the lower back and the bed. Or try a full-body pillow that’s shaped like a giant “U” or “C."
Be Selective on Pillow Stuffings
Down-feather, foam, or polyester fiberfills are the most common stuffing options in pillows. For those who need more support for the neck, memory foam and latex pillows are popular nowadays. Choosing the right pillow depends on how you feel on a given day. It’s recommended you should have more than one type to select. These pillows do serve many purposes. For example, like if your neck hurts one day and then appears fine the following day, that same pillow might not be right for you.
If it’s out of your budget, consider polyester fibers like Primloft that mimic tdown feathers. Other cheaper alternatives might be pure ones, but they won’t last long.
Five Different Kinds of Pillows
Offers more support... w/o getting too soft
Adjusts to body shape at night
Mold and dust mite resistent
Mold and dust bite resistant.
Might be hypoallergenic and made from natural fibers.
Reduces pressure points, real popular.
Firmest, assists in back and neck alignment.
Extremely soft to support head and neck.
Comes in various shapes like "S" for neck support.
Contoured for neck support.
Provibes warmth and durable and inexpensive to purchase.
Tips for Choosing a New Pillow
When you shop for a new pillow or two, keep these tips in mind, even for specialty pillows:
The Price Isn’t Right. Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's the right pillow for your neck. And just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's the right it won't be the most supportive pillow for you.
Give it a Test Feel. If you’re shopping for a new pillow and allowed to lie down on the bed, have a test feel. If not, set the pillow against the wall and then get ready for sleep. Lean against it and then ask a sales representative if your neck looks straight or not. Align it with your spine.
Cervical pillows: They add more support in the lower portions to rest the neck. Though it comes in assorted fabrics and forms, they can be of help. A recent study showed it didn’t have enough proof to recommend for or against the pillows.
Water Pillows: It has a base of water sandwiched between the polyester filling. Add water to create your own pillow size. Chiropractors and physical therapists favor it, since you can use water to create your own tailor-made density and support.
Cool pillows: It has a filling of tiny “beads” that soak up and pulls away the head heat. If you experience hot flashes and night sweats, it’s the perfect antidote, since the lower part of the pillow that touches your face will be cool.
Oxygen-Promoting Pillows: Based on a research study, this new technology in pillows from sock fabric has helped diabetes patients with circulation. It can also increase oxygen up to 29% content with tiny blood vessels. From another report, it decreases the pain.
Positional pillows: If you sleep on your sides, back, or stomach, these helpful pillows are designed for you. Make sure it gives you the right comfort and support you need.
New Pillows Offers A Good Night's Sleep
Try placing a pillow under your legs, or between your legs when you go to sleep, if you have lower back pain. That's what my physical therapist recommended four years ago and it worked like a charm. I've been doing it ever since then. Ever since I brought a new pillow four years ago, it helped me feel better to catch some ZZs and prevent any cricks in my neck or have new lower back pain every night.
If you consider buying a new pillow, it might cure what ails you and give you a good night's sleep. Give it a try and see for yourself. You might be surprised how wonderful it works by when you'll be feeling better the next day.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Kristen Howe