Question: Does my pillow have an impact on the way I sleep?

Reading Time: 8 Minutes

MWi Hacks:

  • Get some great ideas on which type of pillow would suit your sleep style
  • Identify some of the problems that you could be facing just by sleeping with the wrong pillow

Sleep well? Choose the right pillow!

A good night’s sleep can start our day off with a positive temper and energized body, and nothing could be better than that. For achieving this goal, many factors are playing important roles to contribute to our sleep quality. The right pillow is the one factor that helps us sleep better. Based on the research, sleep with a bad pillow is not only stopping us from getting rest but also making us even more tired. So, did you choose the right pillow?

“Pillows can not only impact the quality of our sleep but also how healthfully we rest and recharge,” says sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist. A wrong pillow can be the “toxicant” that worsens the problems like “headachesneck painshoulder, and arm numbness, discomfort, sneezing, and wheezing“, notes orthopedic surgeon Andrew Hecht, MD. The null hypothesis, in this case, can be that the pillow has no associations with sleep quality.

Based on the studies conducted by Kammi Bernard, “The goal of using a pillow is to help keep your head in what is called a ‘neutral alignment,’ meaning your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward.” He then mentions that it is firmly related to the sleeping position. If one is sleeping on the back, one needs a thinner pillow to not over support the head forward, then a thin pillow with a strong and tough support on the neck will be a perfect choice.  When sleeping on one’s back, one should put a pillow right under the knees. “This will help put your spine in a better alignment and decrease compression on the joints of your spine.” A foam pillow can be a good option in this case. It will vary its shape with the back of one’s head and still provide support on the neck and shoulders. Besides that,  for those who like to sleep in the upper back (hunchback) a thicker pillow can help one to get smooth blood circulation and allow the shoulder muscle to relax.

If one likes to sleep on the side, one needs a firmer and tougher pillow to not give too much space between the ear and the shoulder. “When sleeping on your side, it is best to have both knees bent up toward your chest in the fetal position. Use a pillow between your knees and try to keep your knees together, not letting the top leg fall over top of the bottom leg.”  A firm pillow can make sure that one’s head is in a neutral and comfortable position. Bent upward can be caused by a thick pillow, and it is likely to lead to neck pain overnight. Without getting muscle relaxed in the proper position, sleep can only be a burden to our body. Moreover, a small pillow or having no pillow will also not give enough support to side sleeping. A horizontal sleeping position may result in edema by not getting blood circulation in a fluent way.  A Latex pillow can be a good choice for side sleepers. “This is the firmest type of pillow, and it resists mold and dust mites“, Breus says. The neck alignment and the back will get the most support by having a Latex pillow.

“A bad pillow won’t be the cause of any of these problems, but using the incorrect pillow can certainly exacerbate many of the underlying problems linked to these symptoms, and it certainly can keep you from getting a good night’s rest,” says Hecht, the co-chief of spine surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York.

MWi would like to thank Xingchen Zhou for his expert insights that we were able to share with our community. To read the original article go to:

https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/12/03/sleep-well-choose-a-right-pillow/

Leave a Reply