What Kind of Pillow Do I Need?
What kind of pillow should you use? The answer depends on how you sleep. Are you a side, back or stomach sleeper? Spoiler: This image is what not to do. Side Sleeper: This is actually a great sleep position because it prevents your low back from being stressed (you tend to bend your knees slightly as a side sleeper which relaxes your back). For this, your pillow's thickness is important. Too flat or thin and your head will be tilted down. Too fluffy or thick, your head will be tilted up. Either way will make you wake up with a kink in your neck. The perfect thickness will let your head be in a straight line with the rest of your body, the same way your head is when you are standing up. Back Sleeper: In this position, your pillow needs to cradle the curve of your spine and support your neck. When your neck muscles are unsupported they will continue to work throughout the night instead of resting. This can make you wake up feeling tired and achy. A contour pillow with a scoop in the middle for your head is the best kind for you. Stomach Sleeper: From a chiropractic perspective, this is the least desirable way to sleep because it forces you to turn your head to one side for a long period of time. Over time, this may result in neck pain, tense neck muscles and even headaches. The best pillow for sleeping on your stomach, is actually no pillow at all! If you must have one, then get the flattest pillow you can find. This will prevent your neck from being propped up and turned at the same time.
PRO TIP: To figure out if your pillow is working for you, take a picture of yourself in the position that you fall asleep in with your pillow. Is your head in line with your body? Is it propped up? Is your chin sticking up (meaning your head is tilted down)? This will tell you if your pillow is right for you.
If after changing your pillow you find that you still wake up with an achy neck or feel 'foggy', there may be something else contributing to the problem. Call or email me to see if chiropractic can help you!