How important is the right pillow?

 Neck Pain

We thought it is time for some pillow talk! No, not what you’re thinking though – we’re talking about actual pillows :-) We'll take a look at how you know when it's time to replace your pillow and more importantly, how to choose the right pillow for you.

Everybody is always going on about how important it is to choose the right mattress or bed, but often overlook the importance of also having the right pillow. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people that do not have just one specific position I like to sleep in. I get into bed, roll around a bit then find whatever position feels comfy. Apparently, that is the exact reason why I, after buying 6 different pillows, cannot find just one pillow that feels comfy in all positions.

I'm not going to go into too much detail with this one, so here are some general guidelines to go by.

Know when it's time to replace your pillow

First of all, you need to take note of how you feel in the mornings when you get out of bed. If you wake up with a recurring neck pain a new pillow might just be the solution.

If you're still not sure if you need a new pillow, you need to examine your pillow. Lay your pillow on a flat surface and check if you see any lumps or permanent impressions. If you do, it's a good indication that it's time for a new pillow. Another sure sign is if you need to fluff and fight with your pillow before you get comfortable.

If you're a very sentimental person and need one more indication that it's time to throw out your pillow, then there is, of course, the fold test. Lay your pillow on a flat surface and fold it in half. Keep it like that for 30 seconds and let go. If it doesn't bounce back to its original shape, you have your answer - it's time to let go!

Find your sleeping style

Sleeping Positions

In order to decide what pillow will be best suited for you, you need to figure out what your dominant sleeping style is. I know this is quite a difficult one as many of us sleep in more than one position. The easiest way to determine this is to take note of the position you wake up in. Do this for a few nights if possible. 

Back Sleepers

Sleeping on backIf you are a back sleeper the best pillow will be a thinner, medium to soft pillow. The aim here will be to elevate your head just enough to be in a natural alignment with your spine, meaning that your neck should not be at an angle too high or too low. Memory foam pillows, such as the Sealy My Memory Pillow, are usually a great option as the memory foam moulds to the shape of your neck and head. Otherwise, if you prefer traditional pillows you need to make sure that the pillow supports your neck and head throughout the night and not sag down under pressure. A good option to look at would be the Sealy Nature's Rest Pillow.

A clever little tip when sleeping on your back is to put a pillow under your knees. this will ease pressure on your lower back and prevent those pesky aches and pains when you wake up in the morning.

Side Sleepers

Sleeping on sideThicker pillows with a firm feel are a better option when you sleep on your side. the thickness will vary from one person to another according to your body size. The aim here would be to fill the gap between your shoulder and your neck. Memory Foam pillows will be a good choice as well, as it conforms to the shape of your neck and head. The Cloud Nine Memory Foam Pillow is available in a contour design and a conventional design and is definitely worth a look.

If you prefer a more traditional pillow, it will be a good idea to buy a pillow with a zip on one side that will allow you to take out some of the fillings until you get the perfect thickness. When lying on your side, your neck and spine should be in a straight line. So, in other words, your neck should not be tilted upwards or downwards.

When sleeping on your side, you can put a thin pillow between your knees. this will aid in the correct alignment of your spine which in turn will prevent backaches.

Stomach sleepers

We all know that this position should be avoided, but like many of you, I am totally guilty of sleeping on my stomach way too often. If you're a stomach sleeper, you should buy the thinnest pillow you can find. Or alternatively, try not using a pillow at all. If the pillow is too high, it will cause your back to curve up, which will eventually result in back problems.

Body PillowIf it is the feeling of having something against your stomach that you are after, you could try sleeping on your side with a body pillow instead of sleeping flat on your stomach. Don't know what a body pillow is? Well, basically it's those long pillows you always see pregnant ladies sleep with on TV, as shown in the last image. So no, you do not have to be pregnant to buy one of these! Otherwise, if you're on the petite side, like me, you could just use an ordinary pillow as well.

Pillow talk conclusion

Pillow ConclusionNow you know how important the right pillow is and that it is just as important as choosing the right mattress. Generally, a pillows lifespan averages between 12 and 18 months.

We spend on average about 7-9 hours on them each day and therefore they can become a bit yukky in the long run as we sweat and shed dead skin cells while we sleep and this all get absorbed by our pillows. Yes, it is quite gross if you think about it in that sense. So, if your pillow still feels alright but it has been a while since you replaced it, it will be a good decision to do so from a hygienic point of view.

There are so many different pillows available on the market today and I could go on and on about the benefits and disadvantages of each design and all the different fillings. Basically, it comes down to what feels comfy to you. If you are one of those people who have more than one sleeping position it might be a good decision to buy more than one pillow and either swop them out during the night or stack them on top of each other. I generally sleep either on my side or my stomach, so have two thinner pillows on top of each other. When I'm on my side it provides adequate support and height and when I turn onto my stomach I move the one pillow to the side.

Use these general guidelines listed above and you should be able to make the right choice when buying your next pillow.

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