How do I Pick a Pillow?

One of the questions we get asked frequently is about pillows, and what is the best pillow to sleep on.  When it comes to thinking about sleep equipment, most people solely focus on the mattress. The mattress is one of the most important sleep equipment you will buy, but when it comes to sleep, quality pillows are just as important. How you lay your head when sleeping plays a huge role in determining the type of support you need.  Pillows not only impact the quality of sleep but can prevent neck discomfort and headache.

Why Does Your Pillow Matter?

A proper pillow will facilitate a good night’s sleep without waking up at night or waking up with pain or a stiff neck. Having the wrong pillow over time can exacerbate unnecessary neck pain.  There are a few factors that go into making a self-guide to determine the proper pillow for you.

When Is It Time To Replace Your Pillow?

On average, a pillow should be replaced every 18 months. The old-age rule “you pay for what you get” applies to pillows as much as it does to many other products. A higher-quality pillow will last longer than an inexpensive option.  Here are a few things you can do your pillow to see if you need a new one. First, take it out of the pillowcase to see if there are any stains or fold it in half and see if the pillow stays folded.  If either of these is true, it is time for a new pillow.  Also, if you are routinely waking up with neck pain and stiffness or have morning headaches, these are all indications that a change in pillow may be in order.

Determining Type of Pillow:

What if someone told you that your sleeping style would determine the type of pillow you need? Let’s roll into our sleep style section.

Back Sleeper:

Sleeping on your back might appear to be comfy but will highlight the underlying issue of snoring if you have a pillow that allows your head to sink. As you lay your head back, gravity will push the tongue back and can block your throat. An alternative will be a pillow that offers height, neck support, and helps position your throat at a comfortable level.

Stomach Sleeper:

Sleeping on your stomach might be comfortable for a few nights, but after a while can become taxing on your back and neck. However, having the right pillow can negate some of these issues. A firm/plump pillow will force your neck into an odd angle that might lead to some discomfort. A better alternative for stomach sleepers (who haven’t been able to get out of the stomach sleeping habit) would be a softer, thinner option, something that has less structure and can ‘scrunch up a bit.’

Side Sleeper:

One of the most common positions to sleep in is on the side. You will need more support to keep the neck at a neutral angle.  Often times, highly structured foam contour pillows are best for side sleepers.

Pillow Talk:

Tricore Pillow:

One of the bright sides for this brand is that it has a variety of pillows to match your sleeping style. One particular benefit for having a Tricore Cervical support Pillow is the trapezoid-shaped center.  The trapezoid shaped center will cradle the head and has a built-in neck roll. The luscious lobes support the head in a neutral position. There is also the therapeutica orthopedic sleeping pillow which was created specifically for those who sleep on their backs.

Cervipedic Pillow:

The cervipedic pillow helps facilitate cervical support by using its contour shape to help relax the neck. The shape will cradle the head and neck by promoting a natural curve. It has adjustable neck support and can be used anywhere you recline. The design of the pillow makes it more efficient for travel purposes, but if you are looking for a pillow to help with a good night’s sleep, this will not be the pillow for you.

Omega Posture systems:

These are high quality contoured pillows made up of varying densities of foam.  This is a Winnipeg company and the pillows are available at our clinic.

Decision Time:

Before buying a pillow, it’s important to determine the budget that you are willing to spend. Prices vary widely depending and can range anywhere from $30 to $150. The prices might differ if you buy the pillow from the parent website or Amazon. Most companies will offer a guarantee if you are not satisfied typically 30-90 days. The decision will ultimately come down to preference, style, and comfort. Remember your taking time to research types of pillows that will best fit your needs, so be sure to find the one that will benefit your long-term health.

Dr. Russell Baron

Chiropractor

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