One question I am asked regularly is “How can I tell if I am using the right pillow?” Having the right pillow is extremely important for anyone who suffers from headaches, neck or back pain and can drastically improve the quality of your sleep.
If you are waking up with a sore neck or a headache it is a pretty good indicator that you may not have the correct pillow.
Below I have comprised an easy checklist to help you make sure that you are choosing the right pillow for you.
The most important thing to look for when you are searching for a new pillow is proper support. Generally whichever position you sleep in; whether you’re a tummy, side or back sleeper your pillow should be able to support your neck in a ‘neutral’ position.
The best way to tell if your neck is in a neutral position is to have someone else check for you. Once you are lying down on your back with the pillow in position get a friend to check your alignment from a side-on view. The most important thing to check is the alignment between the head and the body.
The following checklist should be used to check head and neck alignment:
For back sleepers
Nose position: your nose should be pointing directly to the ceiling. Check that it is not tilting up nor down.
Chin and forehead: your chin and forehead should also be parallel to the ceiling. When looking side-on check that the chin isn’t tilting upwards or down, if the chin is pointing down the pillow is too high and it the chin is pointing upwards the pillow may be too soft.
For side sleepers
Side sleepers generally need a higher and firmer pillow in order to fill the gap between the shoulder and the neck.
Ear position: The ear should be parallel to the ceiling. Again, check that it is not tilting up or down.
For tummy sleepers
People who sleep on their front need a softer pillow so there are no ‘kinks’ in their neck when lying down.
Ear position: Ear should be parallel to the ceiling.
Most importantly the pillow that you choose should be comfortable all throughout the night. When trying a new pillow it can take some time to adjust to so I would suggest to give it a good week before deciding whether it’s the one or not.
If you suffer from headaches, neck or back pain remedial treatment from an experienced therapist can help.
Do you have the right pillow for the way you sleep? Please comment below.
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