From flat to fluffy, soft to firm, bed pillows seem to have taken on nearly as many variations as the humans they cradle. Pillows may be filled with down, feathers, foam, polyester, or a combination of materials. In addition to the conventional envelope shape in various sizes, pillows may resemble a bulging box or a hilly slope. They may be agreeably bunchable or adaptable to a custom fit. All offer comfort, some promise therapy. You can spend just a few dollars or hundreds.
For example, “memory foam” is pressure and temperature-sensitive, molding itself to the body to support natural curves. New synthetic down pillows are filled with tiny clusters of polyester fibers that are blown into the pillow cover, rather than stuffed into it, to create a natural loft and the feel of the real thing. There’s even an environmentally friendly bed pillow on the market that’s stuffed with a corn-based fiber. Down pillows also have been improved. Some use down that has been hyper cleaned, so you don’t have to worry about allergens.
Most of us think pillows are meant to support your head, but they’re really meant to support your neck. A soft pillow is great for the head, but not for the neck. The proper pillow can both alleviate and prevent neck and upper back problems.
The best way to sleep is in a neutral position, maintaining the same alignment of the head and neck as when we’re standing. The curve of the neck goes forward. By putting something round under the neck, it will support that curve. If the pillow is put under the head, the curve is flattened.
Sleeping on your back with a contoured pillow under your head and neck is best. You should also have a pillow under the knees so they are slightly bent.
Side sleepers need more supporting material than back sleepers because in the side position there is more space that must be filled along the shoulder, neck, and head. A contoured pillow is still best. We also suggest using a body pillow for between the knees and to support the upper arm.
People also need to break the habit of stomach sleeping, which is horrible for you because it means the head is turned to the side and back. Be prepared to pay for a good bed pillow. We sell ours for $40.00.
There is often a break-in period for pillows. Don’t give up. Once you do get used to it, be sure to take it with you when you travel.
Please consult your doctor of Chiropractic if you have further questions.