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How to Find the Perfect Pillow for a Good Night’s Sleep

How to Find the Perfect Pillow for a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you wake up in the morning bleary-eyed, groggy and unrested with a crick in the neck? About 75% of Americans suffer from one or more sleep disorders at least a few nights a week, says James Maas, Ph.D, sleep expert, psychologist and author of Power Sleep. You might think the reason you don’t get a good night’s sleep is because you lack a good mattress (which is vital and true), but the pillow you rest your head on at night is equally important.

The adult human head weights between 10 and 12 pounds, depending on the person and how much body fat they have. If you don’t find the right pillow to support the weight of your head in all the right places including the neck through the night, you are likely to suffer from sleep disorder(s). It is critical that you find a pillow that keeps your head in line with your back and spine to prevent potential neck pain and other health problems. Beyond that, your pillow should not lose its fluffiness or deflate quickly.

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But, like most things out there, there is a wide range of pillow options in the market. The choice of the pillow you use is also a very personal matter. Many of us are quite picky when it comes to the pillow we use. So, how do you find the right pillow for you? Sleep experts say there are several factors you should keep in mind to ensure you not only find a comfortable pillow, but also a pillow that suits your sleeping style. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect pillow.

Your Sleeping Position

The way you position yourself in your bed when you go to sleep determines the type of pillow that is perfect for you. If you sleep on your back, a medium to firm pillow that is not too high is right for you. Look for one that molds to your neck’s curve and provides firm support. A water pillow is a good option in this case.

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If you sleep on your stomach, a very slim pillow (or none at all) is perfect for you. Pick a soft one that absorbs the weight of your head, eases the strain on your neck, and reduces stress on your lower back. This helps mitigate many potential health issues and helps you enjoy a good night’s rest.

If you sleep on your side, you need a pillow that wraps around the shape of your neck comfortably. Look for a pillow that provides proper support and keeps your head aligned with your spine.

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Your Size

Pillows are sold in stores in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from small, medium, standard and large. The standard pillow is about 20 inches by 26 inches. If you are six-foot-tall, you will find the pillow a five-foot-tall person finds comfortable does not suite you. So, choose the right sized pillow for you. Your pillow should keep your head and neck well aligned as if you were standing up.

Pregnant women must get the right pillow. This is especially true because most women experience back pain around the eighth and ninth month of pregnancy, says Thomas Holtgrave, N.P., a nurse practitioner specializing in obstetrics and gynecology in Long Beach, California. Thomas recommends a full-body pregnancy pillow shaped like a giant “C” or “U” for women in the middle to late stages of pregnancy. He also advises expectant moms to avoid sleeping on the back because the gravity of a pregnant uterus obstructs blood flow. Sleep on your left side instead to improve circulation.

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Your Pillow Material

Pillows are made from different materials, including polyurethane (memory foam), polyester fiber, and organic products like buckwheat hulls. If you have an allergy, avoid pillows made or filled with material that you are allergic to, such as feather pillows. Feather pillows can worsen allergies and cause you to wheeze and cough at night, says Ronald Kotler, M.D., the medical director of the Pennsylvania Hospital Sleep Disorders Center in Philadelphia and author of 365 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep.

Choose a hypoallergenic pillow made with synthetic material like polyurethane or polyester fiber if you have asthma or allergies. Hypoallergenic pillows are those pillows least likely to cause allergic responses. Buckwheat hull pillows and some memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic. Check the pillow label or packaging to be sure.

Your Personal Preferences

I use two memory foam pillows in bed because I like to read at night. I find two memory foam pillows remain cool throughout the night and provide the best back support when I am reading. However, I only use one pillow when it is time to sleep. How about you? What are your personal preferences for a pillow? Do you like a squishy, feather pillow for the greatest level of comfort in bed? Maybe you prefer a pillow with the same feel as a wool-filled pillow, but with the firmness of a latex pillow?

There is no single pillow that works for everyone. Identify your personal preferences on pillow firmness, flatness, fluffiness, and size and go for the pillow that meets your needs. Dr. John Corrigan, a chiropractor from Weyburn in Saskatchewan, Canada, advises that you check the support it gives you and make sure that it maintains a proper posture. Try different pillows at the store and experiment with various types of pillows at home to find the perfect one that provides you with the best night’s sleep.

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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