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Choosing the Right Pillow for a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is an important part of staying healthy yet it is something far too many take for granted – until they cannot get it!  Many people experience less than restful sleep or wake up with aches and pains that make it hard to start or get through the day. Numbness, weakness, pains, pins and needles, these are commonly reported problem millions of people experience after a night’s sleep. Many people are surprised to find that pillow choice and neck pain, along with shoulder and back pain as well, are closely connected. Choosing the right pillow is important to getting a good night sleep and keeping your body healthy and pain-free. The ideal pillow fit all depends on which type of sleeper you are because even a good pillow, if not the right type or used in the right way, will not yield a good sleep.

back sleeperIf You’re a Back Sleeper

Choosing the right pillow for a back sleeper is relatively easy. Most do well with a thinner pillow that is soft. A sloped pillow can also help to keep your head elevated to a comfortable level while supporting your neck and shoulders so your spine is kept as straight as possible. Memory foam is a good option due to its form-fitting nature and its great support. It is also good for back sleepers to have a pillow placed under their knees to help alleviate pressure on the lower back.


stomach sleeperIf You’re a Stomach Sleeper

This is possibly the worst sleeping position as it puts the spine into a very un-natural back bend position if you are not positioning yourself properly. If this is the way you sleep, then you need to use the thinnest type of pillow. Many people do not use a pillow at all and rest their head on their arms when they sleep. Sleeping on your stomach is generally not advisable by chiropractors because it puts lots of stress on your lower back. Some people sleep on their stomach because they like the feeling of something pressing against their stomach. In this case, sleeping on your stomach with a body pillow hugged tight might be a good alternative. It can help you with pillow choice and neck pain and back pain flare-ups.


side sleeperIf You’re a Side Sleeper

Side sleeping is the most common position and these individuals do best with a firm pillow, and one with an extra-wide design to provide support all the way from your head, down your neck, and to your shoulders. There is a lot to consider with pillow choice and neck pain but side sleepers have it the easiest and as long as the head and neck are supported they are usually fine. It is important to make a smart choice when choosing the right pillow and a good support pillow for your head and a small pillow between the legs for additional support is often recommended for those who sleep in this position.


Tree of Life Help

A final tip from the spine experts here at Tree of Life regarding your pillows- your pillows need to be replaced every 18 months or so. This is due to the number of germs, dead skin cells, dust, allergens and other crud that can accumulate on and in the pillow after a year or more of use.  An easy way to see if your pillow has ‘died’ is to fold it in half and see if it quickly springs back into its normal shape and fullness- if it does not, then you need a new pillow. There is a lot to know about choosing the right pillow and doing all you can to get a good night sleep. For more information on how pillow choice and neck pain and back pain are connected, call us today and speak with one of our Tree of Life spinal experts who would be glad to answer any of your questions and help you with your unique spinal needs and concerns!

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