Everyone knows that your mattress is essential to a good night’s sleep, but what about your pillow? Pillows come in a variety of sizes and materials and are a crucial factor in determining the quality of your sleep. Whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach, make sure your pillow matches your sleep position:
Those who sleep on their backs need more support than anyone else. Back sleepers need a pillow that is firm enough to support the head at night, but not so thick as to raise the head out of proper alignment. It’s also important to remember to avoid pillows that are too thin so the head isn’t tilted too far back while sleeping. Find a pillow that keeps your neck straight and supported during the night.
If you sleep on your side, you need a fluffier pillow to fill the gap between your neck and shoulder in order to keep your spine aligned. Avoid choosing a pillow that is too soft or you’ll constantly be fluffing it all night to try and get the right support for your neck. Pillows with medium support will mold to your body’s form and keep your neck in proper alignment, no matter which side you end up sleeping on.
Stomach sleepers pose a different challenge to pillow hunting. Stomach sleepers put more pressure on the neck and spine, which are being twisted around all night. Extra soft pillows are best for those who choose to sleep prone, because they allow the head to sink down enough to keep your spine healthy. Find a pillow that is flat enough to allow you the extra head space you need. Since stomach sleepers are face-first in the pillow, having a pillow that is repellant to allergens is necessary. Dust mites can collect in pillows and cause nighttime sneezing. Down pillows are soft, but can also aggravate allergies. Choose a synthetic material that is chemical free if you’re a tummy sleeper.
Remember, pillows lose their support and collect allergens quicker than mattresses, so it’s best to replace them every year. Pillows are just as essential to a proper sleeping environment as a mattress. Try out different pillows just as you would try out a mattress to make sure that you’re getting the support you need.