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Never Underestimate The Power Of Your Pillow, Learn How to Pick Them Well

Never Underestimate The Power Of Your Pillow, Learn How to Pick Them Well

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

More by this author

Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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