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Pillow Fight! How to Find the Right Pillow for You

By Sara Butler

Sleep is Precious

Sleep is precious. Anyone with children or a pet can emphasize this point to you in perpetuity. And because sleep is so important, there’s a lot of information out there about choosing the right mattress, good habits before bed, and even how cold your bedroom should be. All of these things are very important, but they gloss over one major factor that can be a literal pain in your neck: your pillow.

Let’s be honest, when was the last time you bought a new pillow? What condition is your current pillow in? I’m not trying to call out anyone who’s been sleeping on the same pillow since 2007, but I see you. And it’s time to get a new pillow.

Here’s what you need to know about pillows, including what type of pillow you should be in the market for based on your sleep position. Don’t worry, you won’t have to shop for the Cadillac of pillows or anything after this, but you should learn a thing or two about finding the pillow that is right for you.

The Importance of the Pillow

Pillows play a pivotal role in your sleep whether you realize it or not. The entire purpose of a pillow is to help support your neck and upper back while you saw some logs at night, helping you to stay comfortable and, most importantly, wake up refreshed.

Remember that the human spine has natural curves and a good pillow will help to support those natural curves, effectively making your chiropractor happy during your next visit when you’re not all twisted up like a human pretzel.

What Lurks in Your Pillow

Your pillow should be replaced regularly. Polyester pillows should be replaced at least every two years, down pillows every five, and feather pillows every eight. If you’re not replacing your pillows regularly, then allow me to help you understand why it’s so important.

After time, your pillow simply won’t provide the support it should, but that’s not the only reason to replace it. The average human sheds eight pounds of skin per year. You spend one-third of your life in bed, which means that a lot of that skin you’re shedding ends up in your pillow, where microscopic dust mites are having a buffet each and every night. Eww!

If your pillow has yellow spots, then it’s likely due to the oil and sweat that seeps through your pillowcase as you sleep. That oil and sweat leads to mold and other bacteria taking up residence in your pillow. Eww again.

The moral of the story? Ditch the old pillows and get new ones on the regular.

What Type of Pillow Do You Need?

The type of pillow you need is part preference and part sleeping position. It’s up to you the type of filling you prefer in your pillow. If you love a high-quality down pillow, then go with your bad self. But it is important to pay attention to the thickness and shape of the pillow in regards to your favored sleeping position.

  • Back sleepers - If you’re a back sleeper, then you don’t want your head to sit too high. The aim is for your head to be in line with the rest of your body, not propped up. So, look for a pillow that is medium-density and has a curve that helps to support the space between your neck and the pillow. Bonus points for placing a small pillow under your knees as you sleep to help reduce pressure on your lower back.
  • Stomach sleepers - Stomach sleeping isn’t the best position for your spine, but if you sleep in this position, then you must do what you can to make it easier on your back and neck. Stomach sleepers don’t need a lot of support, so thin, soft pillows are the way to go. A firmer mattress will offer the best support for this sleeping position, too.
  • Side sleepers - A good option for a side sleeper is a thick, firm pillow that can fill in the space between the neck and the bed. Throw in a pillow between your knees to help support your hips and you’ve got the comfort that dreams are made of.

Pillows are for more than simply throwing at your roommate or significant other. The truth is that if you want the best sleep of your life, then a proper pillow has to be a part of that equation. If you have questions about the type of pillow that is right for you, then talk to the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic today!

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