If you think about the fact that we spend more than one third of our lives asleep, it seems funny that we don’t spend a larger majority of our income on things related to sleep.
People have no problem dropping absurd amounts of money on appliances or cars but scrimp too much when it comes to their beds and as it pertains to today’s article, their pillows.
You may be better off cutting a little out of your bedroom decorating budget and invest in a top notch mattress and the best pillows you can find. You’ll get the good back support with the mattress but your pillow can be crucial between getting a good nights sleep or not.
How does your pillow affect sleep quality?
Besides giving you comfort, a pillow is important for supporting your neck and spine. With an uncomfortable and unsupportive pillow you can throw off your lying posture which can result in you tossing and turning all night.
If you’ve been using the same pillow since Knight Rider was on TV, it will have become less supportive over time. You then can be losing a lot of neck and spine support resulting in agravation and pain. This can even affect your breathing and result in a really bad nights sleep.
How the way you sleep determines pillow type
You first need to look at what type of sleeper you are. Some sleep on their sides, some on their back, some on their stomach or if you’re like me, curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb.
If you sleep on your side you will need a firmer pillow as there becomes a larger distance in your head and you shoulder that can cause neck problems.
If you sleep on your back you can get by with a thinner pillow as you don’t want your head pushed too far forward. Pillows that have a larger loft in the bottom third of the pillow can be great for better neck and spine support.
If you sleep on your stomach you want a very thin pillow as to not push your head out of position too much.
What makes a good pillow?
A feather pillow is the classic pillow and can actually last the longest up to eight years. A down pillow is also great and can last for up to five. The pillows that have “man made” type fillings are the most inferior and can only last around six months to two years. Sleep experts say it’s a good idea to change your pillow at least every 12-14 months if it’s one of the more inferior type pillows. Even a good feather pillow might have to be changed sooner if it starts to get out of shape and lose it’s support.
A good test to see if your pillow is still supportive is to lay it down on a hard surface and fold it in half and squeeze out all the air. If the pillow returns to it’s normal shape after you release it it means it is still supportive. An overused pillow will stay folded up.
How many pillows do you need?
Depending on your sleep position, one should still be all you need if it’s a quality one. Using two pillows can put your head into an unnatural position and result in that neck and spine discomfort that can cause pain and aggravation. It’s also important to be aware of you having your head in a bad position can affect your breathing causing disrupted sleep and even headaches the following day. A second pillow can be useful however to use between your legs in order to take pressure off the lower back.
A pillow is just one of those things people take for granted. People are more aware now of how important a good mattress is for sleep but just as much research and education on the best pillows needs to become part of the equation.
Hopefully now you can see how important pillow choice is to you getting the best sleep possible along with what to look for in a pillow and which type should work best for you.