Pillow Talk: Choosing the Right Pillow for You
Your pillow is one of the most intimate accessories in your bedroom. Think about it, you spend 6-10 hours a night with your pillow. The right one affords you a good and restful night’s sleep and provides healthy structural alignment for your body.
Choosing the right pillow is important. The inherent purpose of a pillow is to support your neck and spine. A low quality pillow can have you waking up with a headache, upper back tension and a spine that is out of alignment. Getting the spine aligned often begins with the neck. To have the right support from a pillow is critical, particularly if your neck has been traumatized in any way.
The biggest mistake is made when the pillow is too thick or even too low. This compromises your natural curvature. You want the normal curves of your neck to be supported. Misalignment causes the muscles to cramp and this is often why many people awake with sore shoulders and stiff necks. A good night’s sleep is essential for optimal functioning. A body that is deeply rested is ready and alert for the day ahead. If you are wrestling during the night to find a comfortable position, you may want to think about replacing your pillow.
The correct pillow is also determined by what position you prefer when sleeping. If you sleep on your side, you want a pillow that supports the head so it is in alignment with your spine. If you sleep on your back, a pillow under your knees is helpful along with a small pillow for your neck. And, for those who sleep on their stomach, a very thin pillow for your head is recommended along with one under your hips.
Most chiropractors will tell you that sleeping on your stomach is one of the worst sleeping positions. Here your neck is tweaked to the side and the body is in abnormal twist for long periods of time. Long cylinder body pillows are often recommended to help break this habitual sleeping position. Body pillows have been a boon for pregnant women and people with chronic back pain as well. It cannot be overemphasized that the correct alignment of the spine while you sleep will greatly reduce body aches and pains and allow you to wake rejuvenated for the day ahead.
There is a growing concern among health professionals and public safety officials about the harmful effects of petroleum based synthetics found in polyurethane foam. These chemicals and fire retardants emit toxic chemicals while sleeping. People particularly sensitive to these smells report headaches, dizziness and neurological impairments.
Because of the growing commitment to one’s health and the importance of creating sleeping environments free from toxic materials, people are turning towards more natural and chemical free products such as down, kapok, pure latex, and buckwheat hull filled alternatives. These materials are non-toxic and you can sleep on pure pillow that will last for years. All of these alternative pillow materials allow the body to conform to your particular body shape giving you the support and comfort your body deserves and desires for a good night’s sleep.
- Lynda Leonard