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Everyone has a certain posture they are comfortable with when turning in for the night. Whatever sleep position you assume, your pillow should be able to support the alignment of your body. After all, you are going to remain fixed in that position for the next eight hours. If you don’t have the right pillow or use one that needs to be replaced, you could very well wake up the next morning feeling stiff and with an achy neck. Having a pillow designed for your posture will improve your sleep and how well you feel the next morning.
Sleeping on your back is perhaps the most common position. For people who sleep in this position, aim for a pillow with medium support. This means using a pillow that is neither too firm nor soft. Medium support pillows will mold to the back of your head and neck and also fills in the space between your head and mattress. This helps to keep your neck inline if you roll to one side. When selecting a pillow, look for a filling that combines a mixture of strong and fluffy down feathers. This prevents the back of your head from over compressing the pillow.
Back sleepers will also benefit by placing a second pillow behind their knees. This provides additional support for the lumbar region of the back by keeping it in a flat position, thus putting less pressure on the facet joints of the spine.
For stomach sleepers, a soft support down pillow is the best option. This is important because stomach sleepers are more prone to neck strain than those who sleep on their back. A pillow with a soft support will allow your head to adequately sink down so that it is in alignment with your body and spine. If you are a stomach sleeper and prefer using a firmer pillow, then consider sliding a secondary pillow under your stomach to keep your body at the same level with your head.
If you sleep on the side, then shoot for a firm pillow. For even more support, use a second pillow to place between your knees. This keeps the knees separated, which helps to keep the spine in a neutral position. If there is no support between the knees, the leg on top rotates downward; this pulls on the pelvis and disrupts the spine’s natural alignment.
Regardless of the position you sleep, it is important to replace the pillow the minute it begins to compress. A flattened pillow is no good for any sleep posture. Using a good quality pillow, usually one made from goose down feathers or synthetic memory foam, will provide several years of use before needing to be replaced. Also keep in mind that any secondary pillow you use to improve your body position will also need to be replaced in the same manner the minute it becomes worn.
The quality of sleep influences your energy levels the next morning. For deep, uninterrupted sleep, use a pillow that is most suitable for your sleeping posture. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more on a pillow that will provide the much needed comfort for an optimal night’s rest.