We all know that the line “woke up at the wrong side of the bed” is merely a figure of speech. Truth is, the best way to start the day is a good night sleep – and having the perfect pillow can definitely help.
Using a wrong type of pillow can usher a host of problems such as numbness in the arms and shoulders, headaches, sneezing and wheezing, neck pains and general body soreness. Then there’s the issue on mildew, dust mites, and fungus too. So the next time to sleep on your pillow, take a good look at it. If it looks like it had seen better days, only half of its original weight and thickness, or if it’s more 18 months old, then it’s time to go shopping for new ones.
Like mattresses, there are no specific rules when it comes to choosing a pillow. The choice should be primarily based on personal preference and comfort. To give you a better idea on the different kinds and styles available, check the range of types discussed below:
1. Knee Pillows – For people who prefer sleeping on their sides, a pillow between the knees is ideal. On the other hand, a knee pillow should also be placed under the back of the knee of those who sleep on their back.
2. Body Pillows — This type of pillow serves several functions. With its long length, it can support the head and neck as well as the portions of the legs and knees. For some people, this type of pillow is more comfortable than using several pillows.
3. Neck Pillows – As the name suggests, this pillow is designed and contoured to support the neck. People with neck pain problems prefer to use this pillow since it helps in the proper alignment of the neck and spine.
4. Lower Back Support Pillows – To relieve the lower back from stress especially when on a sitting position, the inward curve of the lumbar spine should be properly supported. Lumbar pillows are designed to fill in the gaps between the chair and the lower spine. It is often used when activity requires prolonged periods of sitting such as when working in the office or when going on long drives.
5. Donut Pillows – Shaped like a donut, this pillow is placed on top of the seat portion of the chair. The depression or hole on the center relieves pressure on the tailbone. This is especially helpful for people with bruised or broken tailbone.
6. Travel Pillows – This U-shaped pillow is designed to be placed around the neck, typically used when sleeping in a seated position, providing support of the head.
Aside from pillow types, thickness and firmness are also factors that need to be taken into account. For people who usually sleep on their back, it is generally advisable to choose thin pillows so the head is not forced forward. If you sleep on your side, a firmer pillow is ideal to effectively fill the distance between the shoulder and ear.
Now, if you favor sleeping on your stomach, then it is best that you look for a very slim, nearly flat pillow. In fact, in this position, you can do without one for your head. However you will need to tuck one under your abdomen area.
These days, pillows are available in every imaginable filling. Memory foam and latex have grown increasingly popular. So which one to choose? It mainly depends on the kind of support you require. Here’s a guide on selecting pillow stuffing:
• Foam – choose one with higher density for better support
• Memory Foam – very popular these days, be sure to choose those that guarantee no unpleasant odors. It has been reported this type of filling is prone to emit unpleasant smell and tend to be hot.
• Cotton/Wool – Some people prefer this as it is resistant to dust mites and mold. If you are looking for a firm pillow, this is a good alternative.
• Latex – Is the firmest type of pillow on the market. Like cotton and wool, it is also resistant to dust mites and mold.
• Feather – considered the best and most expensive stuffing available. The great advantage about feather is the ability to move the stuffing around to adjust it to your preference. A combination of feather and down is the most ideal.
Other Factors to Consider
When shopping for pillows, the price should not just be the only consideration. The quality of your sleep is not the only thing that’s at stake, but the overall health of your back as well. It is also not a guarantee that the more expensive pillows are of better quality or it’s the perfect one for you. Take time to test the pillow, if lying down on a pillow is not allowed, you can test it against the wall.