You probably read dozens of online mattress reviews and comparisons (such as ours) before buying a mattress that’s comfortable, supportive and long lasting.
Have you considered replacing your pillow as well?
You may find that despite having a new mattress, you are still uncomfortable in bed. Your back still hurts and you wake up with a sore neck.
The problem could be your pillow, not your mattress.
If you recently replaced your mattress, it’s a good idea to replace your pillow too if you’ve had it for more than 1 or 2 years. If it looks like a pancake or needs constant fluffing to feel comfortable, time to throw it out.
Here are some tips for finding a good quality pillow based on your sleeping position.
For Back Sleepers
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If you are a back sleeper, you’ll feel more comfortable with a thinner pillow. It ensures that your head isn’t too far forward or backwards, both of which will strain your spine and cause back problems.
You should be facing straight up at the ceiling. If you can see your toes, the pillow is too thick.
Also check that the pillow has a thicker bottom to cradle the inwards curvature of your neck (also called the cervical lordosis). You can also try shifting the pillow forwards a bit to create more neck support.
I highly recommend a low profile memory foam pillow. It will mold perfectly to your head and neck, holding them in the right position and alignment.
For Side Sleepers
If you are a side sleeper, you need a thicker and firmer pillow that will keep your head and neck in a neutral position.
A thin pillow will make your neck curve too much and will strain your spine. You’ll wake up sore on the side of the neck you slept on. Also be careful not to use one that is too thick as it will push your head upwards above the shoulder and put more stress on your neck.
Look for a gusseted pillow. These are pillows with side paneling made from fabric. The paneling creates a thicker more supportive pillow that is ideal for side sleepers.
Any type of pillow including memory foam, feather, polyester or down will do as long as it’s thick and firm enough to keep your neck and head elevated in a neutral position.
For Stomach Sleepers
If you are a stomach sleeper, get the thinnest and softest pillow you can buy or use no pillow at all. You only need to prop your head just a bit to avoid straining your spine.
Even better, try to change your sleeping position. Sleep experts say sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleeping position. It puts a lot of strain on your spine and can cause back and neck pain. You are also more likely to keep tossing and turning during sleep as you look for a comfortable sleeping position.
Try sleeping on your side.
For Combined Sleepers
If you tend to roll around to different positions as you sleep, look for a medium-thick and medium-firm pillow. It’ll feel more comfortable whether you are sleeping on your back or side.
I recommend a memory foam pillow. It will mold to your head and neck as you change sleeping positions.
- Remember to replace your pillow every 1-2 years. Pillows loose their support with time. They also accumulate dead skin cells, dust mites and other allergens that can affect your health and sleep quality.
- Research different kinds of pillow fillings. The best filling will depend mostly on your comfort preferences. If you prefer a soft pillow, get a down or feather pillow. If you prefer something firmer, go with a foam pillow made from latex foam, memory foam or poly foam. If you have allergies, buy a pillow with a hypoallergenic filling such as buckwheat.
- If you are sensitive to heat, don’t get a memory foam pillow. Memory foam retains more heat than other materials.
- Get additional body support pillows. If you sleep on your side, sleep with a pillow between your legs to keep your spine properly aligned. For back sleepers, a pillow under your knees can help take some of the pressure off your lower back.
- Consider buying a specialized pillow. These are pillows designed specifically for certain conditions such as sleep apnea and snoring. There are also cervical pillows with enhanced neck support and pregnancy pillows for expecting mums.
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