Now I don’t know about you, but a pillow can totally make or break a sleeping experience. The problem is that there are just so many choices! How to choose the right pillow, the one that won’t leave your neck cramping, your back sore, or your shoulders aching? Not to fear, there is clarity within the madness!
The first step to finding pillow perfection is to figure out your preferred sleeping position: stomach, side, or back. Not surprisingly, the way you sleep determines what type of pillow you should be using. So let’s break it down:
- Stomach sleepers: people who sleep on their stomachs need very little support. In fact, you want a pillow that’s pretty flat and allows your head to sink right in, creating no stress on your neck. Depending on the softness of your mattress, you may even opt to skip a pillow all together. Personally, I’m not a fan of this – I like a little something to scrunch up. But my mother, a confirmed stomach sleeper, actually prefers this! One thing to note is that some experts recommend NOT sleeping on your stomach at all. Reportedly doing so can put too much stress on your neck & back. A pity as I often find myself sleeping this way when I first get into bed.
- Side sleepers: you folks need a pillow that helps to align the spine, supporting the space between neck & mattress, so that your head & shoulder stay in a straight line. A pillow that has some heft to it is best. A medium density down pillow can be most comfortable. If you’re looking for something a little more technical, memory foam is one option, contouring the shape of your head to get you in the right position. Another tip for side sleepers is to use a small pillow between your knees – this will also help to keep your spine aligned.
- Back sleepers: many people assume that back sleepers need the utmost support, the most filled pillow. And while it really all comes down to personal preference, physiology would dictate that a flatter pillow work best. Even better would be a pillow with a cervical roll to support your neck & allow your head to sink to the optimum level. Backsleepers may also try a small pillow under their knees to help ease the pressure on their lower backs.
But that’s only the FIRST step to pillow picking. Be sure to check back in on Friday for Part II, choosing your fill.