Are you using your Pillow rightly?

Dr. Ajay Kothari

The average person sleeps for 7-8 hours a day, spending a collective 24 years of their life in bed. That is a very long time indeed.
 Imagine spending so much time of your life resting and still not feeling rested. That would be so unfair. Quality sleep is very important but a rare luxury for many. If you are one of those people who are tired and grumpy and have neck pain after waking up every day, then maybe it is time for you to pay attention to your pillow. 

Pillows - even though tiny - can create great havoc in your life. Incorrect pillows can be one of the factors preventing you from being comfortable and having all sorts of pain.

Using the right kind of pillow is very important to get the necessary support for a corrent, comfortable sleeping posture. It improves the quality of sleep, thereby contributing to your health indirectly. Pillows support the head and neck while sleeping and avoids undue strain on the muscles. It also helps to maintain the neutral alignment of the spine and avoid unnecessary bending and twisting of the neck.

Pillows are to be chosen depending on many factors. One pillow cannot be comfortable for everyone - in the same way, not all pillows can be comfortable for someone. You should not have to adapt to the pillow, it should adapt to you. Pillow has to be comfortable, support your head and neck and mold to your natural spinal curvature at the same time.

There are many types of pillows available out there in the market, made of different materials, texture, and shapes. No one except you can decide which is the right pillow for you. It is about taking into consideration all the factors and trying the pillow out.

How to choose the right pillow for yourself?

Factors like pillow height, pillow shape, pillow fillers, pillow size, mattress and sleeping position is to be taken into consideration which picking out a pillow.

Pillow height is one of the most important things to consider while choosing your pillows. Height of the pillow should be enough to maintain the neutral position of the head and neck thereby avoiding unnecessary work for the neck and upper back muscles.

Pillow fillers like goose down, memory foam, cotton, latex, etc are available in the market. Fillers maintain the shape of the pillow and also give them firmness. Goose down pillows are soft pillows used by stomach sleepers while memory foam pillows are harder, thicker pillows used by side sleepers.

Matching the pillow according to your mattress is also a very important consideration. If the mattress is hard then a soft pillow to support the curve of cervical (neck) spine is to be used by back sleepers while a thick firm pillow is to be used by side sleepers if the mattress is soft.

Sleeping position is a very crucial factor in deciding the right pillow for you. The position in which you sleep determines which type of pillow you should use to a great extent. Same pillow cannot be comfortable for all the sleeping postures.

People who sleep on their back need a medium height, moderately thick pillow which will maintain the cervical spine curve and the horizontal alignment of the spine. Height should be enough to maintain the neutral position of head and neck.

People who sleep on their side need a thicker and firmer pillow than back sleepers. Pillow height should maintain the neutral alignment of the head from the bed (distance between the ear and mattress should be the height of the pillow). Pillow should be firm to avoid side bending of the neck.

People who sleep on their stomach can either avoid using any pillow or use a very thin pillow. Back bending of the neck is to be avoided at all costs. A cervical pillow can also be used as it provides a hollow to rest the head in.

For combination sleepers who sleep in all the positions using a one particular type of pillow can be too high or too low in one or other position. Pillow with high as well as low height can be used in this cases.

Deciding when to change the pillow is equally important as choosing the right pillow. Changing them every 12-18 months is necessary. When they start becoming uncomfortable and you start needing your hand or extra pillow to support your head it is a cue for you to change the pillow.





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Disclaimer: The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. The information is provided solely for educational purpose and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.