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Choosing the Right Pillow for Your Body

You take care to choose the best mattress for a good night’s sleep, right? Why not invest the same energy into selecting a pillow? You spend the night with both, and how well-suited each is to your body can be the difference between a restful and a restless night’s sleep. It’s all about choosing the right pillow for you!

While there are a wide variety of pillow types out there, every pillow should allow your head to stay in a neutral position while you sleep. In other words, the pillow stays fluffed, it doesn’t lose its shape throughout the night, and it keeps your head in alignment with your shoulders (just like when you’re standing up). If a pillow no longer accomplishes that main goal, it’s probably time to think about a new one. Know that most pillows are only at their prime for about a year and a half.  


Sleeping Styles

Beyond that, choosing the right type of pillow should be influenced by your sleeping style. If you like to sleep on your stomach (which, by the way, is considered to be the worst position for sleep unfortunately), you probably don’t need a thick pillow. Anything with too much padding will cause the neck to arch upward, putting strain on it during the night. Instead, you can stick with a relatively thin pillow, or no pillow at all if preferred.

If you like to sleep on your back, you can consider a mildly thin pillow, so that your chin isn’t angled down too severely, but you still have neck support. For additional lower back support while sleeping on your back, consider another thin pillow (which can be slightly smaller) to place underneath your knees.

For those that deal with neck and shoulder pain, opt for a pillow that’s slightly a little thicker, to make sure you have ample cushioning beneath the neck and around your upper shoulders. If you sleep on your side, you’ll probably enjoy a firm, thick pillow. Look for one that’s the distance between your ear and your outside shoulder (so that your pillow can support the head fully while it rests on its side).


Pillow Material

Pillow material should also play a factor in your decision. If you’re looking for that soft-to-the-touch feel, down or feather pillows might be right up your alley. However, because they don’t hold their shape very well, they’re not great for side sleepers (remember, if you’re in that group, you need something a little thicker).

Instead, if you seek a firm yet cushiony feel, consider something like a contoured synthetic foam pillow or a memory foam pillow. Both materials fit snugly to the body, though synthetic foam provides more precise support and might be a better choice for those dealing with pain. Latex pillows are another attractive option for those who love the feel of soft, all-around cushion comfort that molds to the shape of the neck and head. Latex is a popular choice among those who suffer from allergies, as dust mites can’t survive in the material.

Ultimately, a pillow purchase should be a personal choice. Think about what you like and dislike about your current pillow, consider your typical sleeping position, as well as what type of support you prefer (or need). When browsing in store, remember that 1) price isn’t everything and 2) testing is worth it! A quick way to tell if a pillow works for your body is to stand against a wall with your head on top of the pillow, in the position you usually sleep. If your neck and spine are aligned with each other (and you like the way the pillow feels) chances are it could be the one that will do the trick.


For more on all things sleep – including the right mattress to pair with your pillow – check out Shovlin Mattress Factory online!

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