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How to choose the best pillow.

Is your pillow the problem?

Pillows come in several shapes, sizes, and materials, but not all pillows are created equal. Choosing the best pillow for your body and typical sleeping posture is relatively simple. Regardless of whether you prefer a feather, cotton, or memory foam pillow there are certain principles that you can use as a guide to ensure you are properly supporting your neck.

Most people sleep the majority of the night in one of three basic sleep postures, side-lying, on their stomach, or flat on their back. From a healthy spine perspective, sleeping on your side or back is going to be better than sleeping on your stomach.  When you sleep on your stomach you need to turn your head to one side or the other, which can cause tremendous stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck. Consider this, most people sleep on average 6-8 hours each night, if you were to talk around for 6-8 hours during the day with your head turned toward your shoulder, how would you feel at the end of the day?

When you sleep on your side and back you can eliminate undue stress by properly supporting your neck with a pillow that fits your particular body shape. In regard to the type of pillow material, it really doesn’t matter as long as you have the proper amount of pillow to support your neck.

Determining how much pillow you need.

Side sleeping

Standing straight-up, position yourself next to a wall so that the outside of your shoulder is leaning against the wall. The distance between the wall and the side of your neck represents the amount of space your pillow should occupy. This will keep your neck in a neutral position.

Back sleeping

Standing straight-up, position yourself next to a wall with your back leaning against the wall. The distance between the wall and the back of your neck is the space your pillow should occupy.

Stomach sleeping

Should be avoided to ensure spinal health.

After you have learned how to choose the best pillow, give yourself a week to acclimate to the changes. If you continue to have neck pain or toss and turn all night you should call Dr. Sheppard at (541) 213-2190 to schedule a spinal examination to see what else could be causing your neck pain.

1 Join the Conversation

  1. Susan says
    Sep 28, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    I'm a side sleeper, and i got the neck problem, thank for this choosing guide

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