How to Pick a Pillow Tips From a Physical Therapist

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Did you know that picking the right pillow for your body type and sleeping position can greatly impact how well you sleep?
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"Few things in life affect us as dramatically and regularly as sleep does. A bad night"s sleep not only leaves us feeling achy, sore, tired and grumpy, but not getting enough good sleep can also lead to a higher risk of injury, and a compromised immune system and is linked to many chronic health problems.
The good news is something as simple as swapping out your pillow could make a difference!
Everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to pillows. Some like firm and flat while others are drawn to soft, tall options. But did you know that your body type and the position in which you sleep should be considered when picking a pillow?
A person"s pillow should function to keep their head, neck and spine all in neutral alignment. This means that your ears should be in line with your shoulders and your chin in line with your sternum. By keeping things all lined up, your pillow works to keep neck and back pain at bay while supporting proper posture a crucial aspect of your overall health and wellness.
As musculoskeletal and movement experts, physical therapists are passionate about proper sleep positions!
Do you sleep on your back? If you sleep on your back and wake up with neck pain and/or headaches, we promise you"re not alone and we can help!
When the head rests too high due to a pillow that"s too tall or lofty, you"re pushing your neck into an unnatural, craned position. Prolonged periods in this posture while sleeping leads to tight, stiff neck muscles as they fight to protect your head. Headaches in this situation are inevitable, along with that nagging neck pain.
Conversely, if the pillow you sleep on is thin and flat, it will lack the support you need to keep your head in a position that supports the natural curve of your spine.
man sleeps soundly in good sleep posture on his back with a good pillow
Back sleepers, then, should choose a pillow with medium to low height to keep the head in a neutral position. If you"re really committed to finding a pillow that works for back sleeping, consider a cervical pillow, which slopes down in the center to cradle the head and neck in a way that keeps the spine in a neutral position all night long for the restful sleep you deserve.
Make sure to also pick a pillow that will stand up to the pressure of your head throughout the night and won"t flatten as the hours pass, leaving you out of alignment again. Back sleepers need a pillow with medium firmness.

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