The function of a right pillow isn’t only to provide comfort and ensure proper sleep. It also plays a vital role in providing support and preventing many forms of back and neck aches as well as easing joint pains.
Pillows help to align the upper body during sleep, relieving pressure, and counterbalancing pressure points in the body. A good pillow should adjust to fit the peculiar shape, curve, and sleep position of its user as well as offer head comfort. If you sleep conveniently without a pillow, then it’s fine. Nevertheless, if you have difficulties around your neck region when you sleep, then, here are ways a pillow might be of help.
Please note that a pillow may not be a direct solution to neck pain-related issues. What we are saying is that whether you feel comfortable using a pillow or not, there are ways a pillow can serve you. Keep reading to find out more.
Pillows give support
No doubt, a pillow can contribute to a refreshing night of quality sleep. And yes, it offers support to the upper body region. For people with spinal disorders, the right type of support can be especially important in helping the spine rest more comfortably. Pillow fillings vary in the level of support they offer; pillows with lighter fillings offer little structural support compared to those with firmer materials. Although firmer pillows are best for spinal alignment, individual comfort and support should be the determining factor. Trying out a pillow for a week should be enough time to decide whether a pillow is a good fit.
Interaction between your Pillow Height, Sleep Position, and Body Size
The human neck when upright curves slightly forward to sustain the weight of the head and it is important to maintain this position when in a resting state.
A pillow that is firm and too high will cause muscle strain on the back of the neck and shoulders for a person sleeping sideways or on their back.
This type of position may also cause narrowing of the air pipe, resulting in obstructed breathing, and sometimes snoring, which can hinder a sweet sleep especially when you are sharing the bed with someone. Conversely, if the height of the pillow is too low, the neck muscles can be strained. The appropriate thing to do is to find a pillow that suits you, and of course, a memory pillow is a perfect choice.
A person’s body size and sleep preference can influence their choice of the pillow but usually, the pillow should maintain a height of 4 to 6 inches to support the head and neck (and shoulders when lying on the back). Pillows of approximately 4 inches have been known to offer the best spinal alignment and comfort.
Best pillows for different sleeping positions
Our various sleep positions also play an important role in our choice of pillows, and not only mattresses. It is important we look at the various sleep positions and the best pillows suited for such sleepers.
When you lie on your back, a pillow should naturally support your spine. The pillow height for back sleepers should be lower than that for side sleepers. Also, placing another pillow or two underneath your knees can relieve any back strain. The back position is best for helping the back to rest comfortably, many people find this as the only way they can sleep during a severe bout of back pain or while recovering from spine surgery.
Often, Doctors advise against sleeping on the stomach, especially for people with certain spine conditions as it puts stress on the back and neck. For stomach sleepers, it is ideal to use a flat pillow, so the head and neck are not strained. In such a position, you can place a pillow under the abdomen or pelvis to help support the lower back.
A pillow that will help maintain a straight and natural line is what is recommended for side sleepers, thus a moderately thick pillow is recommended for side sleepers.
The knees are usually bent when a side sleeper sleeps, therefore, placing another pillow between them keeps the spine in a neutral position. This supports the knees and can prevent back pain as well as allow the back to rest better while sleeping.