People fuss over the best mattress and the best sleeping position, but they tend to overlook one important element of sleeping: the pillow. They hardly take a closer look at the design or materials because, after all, pillows are just there to make sleeping more comfortable. And to help you win at pillow fights.
Pillows, however, play an important role in maintaining a healthy spine and neck. Any neurologist or chiropractor in Salt Lake City would tell you to take pillow shopping seriously because your spine health depends on it.
Maintains Proper Alignment of the Spine
The human spine is naturally curved, which means a flat mattress alone doesn’t provide the ideal support. Lying on a mattress without a pillow distorts the position of the spine, which could result in stiffness in the neck and back.
A pillow is needed to support the head and neck, maintaining the proper alignment of these parts of the spine. This applies to whatever type of sleeping position you take. If you sleep on your back, a pillow allows for the natural curvature of the spine. Most pillows are designed for this kind of sleeper. You could also place a small pillow under the back of your knees to reduce the stress on the spine.
If you sleep on your side, a thick pillow would help you keep your neck straight. You could also put another pillow between your knees to help keep your spine in a neutral position. If you sleep on your stomach, a thin pillow helps keep your spine in its natural form.
Provides Support for Spinal Issues
If you experience spine conditions, your pillow will provide additional support that will help you on your way to recovery. The right pillow prevents twisting, craning, or crunching of the joints. It won’t exacerbate your condition.
There’s no recommended type of pillow for every disorder, though. You’ll have to ask your chiropractor about the right kind of pillow for your case.
Choosing the Right Pillow
As a rule of thumb, you replace your pillow every 18 months because they lose their firmness over time. A limp and deflated pillow no longer provides the right support for your spine. You can replace them earlier, too — if the pillow has sweat stains, tears, and funky odors, it’s time to toss them out.
Here are other considerations:
- Fabric – Go for breathable, natural fabrics because they allow for better ventilation and cooler sleep. If you want decorative pillows, remove them before sleeping and swap them for simple but functional pillows.
- Fill – Different kinds of fill options have their fair share of advantages. Down pillows made from goose or duck feathers are light and soft, perfect for everyday needs. Synthetic down and polyester fill, meanwhile, are inexpensive and medium to soft. Cotton is flat, firm, and hypo-allergenic. Lastly, latex pillows are firm, hold their shape, and perfect for when you need better support.
Pillows are extremely important in not only getting quality sleep but also maintaining the proper alignment of your spine and neck. So the next time you go shopping for pillows, keep these insights in mind, so you can have a good night’s sleep.