Good quality sleep is important to your overall health. How can you get better sleep? Do everything you can to ensure you’re comfortable.
This is where pillows come in—the right pillow helps you find optimal comfort. Understanding how pillows increase the quality of your sleep allows you to sleep better and reap the health benefits of consistent, high-quality rest.
Many common sleep problems result from poor spinal alignment. Fortunately, the right pillow encourages better alignment, leading to a better night’s rest. And getting enough rest is crucial for optimal performance at work and enjoyment in everyday life.
This alignment comes down to how your body fits onto your pillow on your mattress. If your pillow is too thick or too thin, it forces your neck to bend at an unnatural angle. Spending every night in poor positions quickly leads to neck pain.
Good sleep posture also helps your back and spine; poor posture can lead to back pain. In addition to causing discomfort during the day, neck and back pain will interrupt sleep, causing further sleep problems.
The right pillow for you will support proper, healthy alignment. For example, the conforming Aireloom Nimbus pillow is a terrific option for sleepers with neck or back pain. It’s available in both high and low height profiles, offering comfort and support to back sleepers, side sleepers, and stomach sleepers alike.
Many factors, such as the wrong pillow, can cause insomnia. If a pillow is providing poor spinal alignment, the body is actively working to correct it even in your sleep.
This prevents the body from fully relaxing and interrupts the healing and rejuvenation that should occur during normal healthy sleep. In fact, poor alignment can even prevent sleepers from reaching the deeper levels of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which may increase irritability and emotional distress in day-to-day life.
Sleep apnea, a condition that causes abnormal breathing during sleep, affects as many as one in four adults. This condition limits the body’s supply of oxygen, leading to low-quality sleep and serious health concerns.
While it’s important to consult a doctor to treat this condition, the right pillow can help. It provides alignment support to encourage proper breathing and makes it easier to sleep with a continuous positive airway pressure machine (a common form of treatment).
It’s important to think about how you like to sleep when you’re shopping for your next pillow since different sleep positions have different support requirements. For instance, when you shift from your back onto your side, the distance between your head and mattress increases to make room for your shoulder. So if you prefer to sleep on your side, you’ll need a pillow that’s higher than a back sleeper’s pillow.
There are three primary sleeping positions: on your back, on your side, or on your stomach. Each position orients the spine differently. Therefore, each position benefits from a different type of pillow for optimal comfort and sleep quality.
Individuals who sleep on their back generally require thin, low-profile pillows, like the 0.0 or 1.0 BedGear Storm pillow. Thicker pillows may push the head too far forward, putting stress on the neck and spine. Back sleepers also benefit from pillows that have additional loft in the lower third of the pillow to support the neck. Back sleepers who experience back pain may find it helpful to tuck a pillow under their knees.
An ideal side sleeper pillow fills all the space between the ear and the shoulder, keeping the neck in neutral alignment. As a result, the correct side sleeper pillow will depend on individual shoulder width. Someone with narrow shoulders will need a thin pillow. In contrast, someone with broad shoulders will need an extra thick pillow. Side sleepers may also benefit from tucking a pillow between their knees to keep their spine naturally aligned.
Our suggested pillows for side sleepers:
Those who sleep on their stomach should use very thin pillows, such as the 0.0 BedGear Gemini pillow. Thick pillows risk forcing the head too far back. Some stomach sleepers may not even need a pillow under their head.
Stomach sleepers who experience back pain may find it helpful to tuck a pillow under their stomach for additional spinal support. Additional support is necessary since stomach sleepers move most of their weight to the midsection and pelvis when they sleep, which disrupts the neutral spine position.
Generally, regardless of sleeping position, experts recommend using only one pillow under the head to sleep better. Adding additional pillows risks strain on the neck and spine. However, additional pillows in other places can assist with proper spine alignment.
Finding the right pillow can be a game-changer when you’re trying to figure out how to sleep better. You’ll not only feel more rested—you’ll also experience important benefits to your overall health.
Besides leaving you tired and cranky, poor sleep has serious health consequences. It can affect your mood, thinking skills, and appetite. Consistent sleep deprivation also increases the risk of falls, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.
While you rest, your body is recovering at a cellular level. Without adequate rest, the body can’t complete important muscle growth, tissue repair, and mental recovery processes. Furthermore, the best pillow for sleeping can even help prevent some problems, such as heartburn and dizziness.
Your pillow is going to help align your spine and provide the comfort and support you need to get adequate rest, night after night. Alongside your mattress, you should consider your pillow an investment in lifelong health and wellness. And you should replace your pillow at the first signs of deterioration to continue benefiting from high-quality sleep.
The best pillow for sleeping depends on your sleep position and biomechanics. Mattress World Northwest takes all these factors into consideration when recommending pillows.
We’ll guide you through an extensive fitting process to find the pillows that best support your natural spinal alignment. After a careful analysis of the gaps between your shoulders, your neck, and your mattress, we’ll offer you several options to choose from.
Learn how pillows increase the quality of your sleep. Better sleep leads to improved health—contact us for a pillow consultation today.