You might not think your pillow is very important—but it is. Almost as important as your sleeping position (hey, you—yeah, you, stop sleeping on your stomach!), your pillow can directly affect the health of your spine.
Is My Current Pillow OK?
If you find yourself sleeping on your side with one hand propped under your pillow, that's a clue that you're not getting the support you need from your pillow.
What Kind of Pillow Should I Choose?
Ditch the cheap-o pillows from your local superstore and invest in a quality pillow with:
- Firmer foam and materials that press back and support the head
- Contours and built-in cervical support
The pillows with built-in cervical support (ask your Chiro One staff to see one!), look different than other pillows you’ve likely seen. The center cavity provides head support while supporting your neck. Sleeping with a proper pillow that has cervical support can provide relief from headaches, neck sprains and strains, whiplash injuries, tingling and numbness in the arms and hands, and more.
How to Use Your Pillow
For side sleepers:
- The pillow should fill in the space between the ear and bed
- Sleeping on pillows that are too thick or too thin will change your spine function
- Your head and neck should be supported in a neutral position which is when all three curves in your spine are present and in good alignment
- Place a pillow between your knees
- Your top leg should be even with, or slightly behind, your bottom leg, with both knees bent
For back sleepers:
- The pillow should fill in the space between your neck and the bed
- If you can see your feet, your pillow is probably too big
- Your ears should line up with or be slightly behind the tip of your shoulders with your neck supported
- To support your lower back, place a pillow under your knees
For stomach sleepers:
- Tsk-tsk. Break this habit; it removes the curve in your neck (cervical spine) and places pressure on your brainstem.
And don’t forget! You should also be replacing your pillow yearly. It may seem silly, but considering you spend a third of your life catching ZZZs…it’s pretty important.