Pillows offer a quick remedy to neck and back pain arising from wrong sleeping positions. You will encounter several types of pillows, including contour, cervical, curved, chiropractor, etc., so it is vital to find the most comfortable option for your needs. Most people sleep on their side, but a significant percentage also sleep on their back or stomach. When choosing a pillow, the goal is to find one that suits your natural sleeping position.
Ergonomic pillows, also known as cervical pillows, are quite popular among those seeking to prevent neck pain, and are designed to offer more comfort regardless of your sleeping position. They feature soft padding and unique design elements to promote the best sleeping position and reduce the chances of developing sore headaches and neck pain. Here’s a quick overview of how ergonomic pillows work, their benefits and how to find the ideal pillow for your needs.
How does it work?
As the name suggests, ergonomic pillows are designed to offer increased comfort. The pillows are mostly made of foam and feature curvature with thicker ends and a thinner middle section. The curvature supports your natural position, preventing you from putting too much pressure on your spine during sleep. Ergonomic pillows also cradle the head to a natural, comfortable position that prevents the likelihood of neck pain.
Chiropractor, contour-shaped ergonomic pillows are highly recommended for those sleeping on their back and side. To use these pillows effectively, you should lie in a neutral position, so your head isn’t pushing forward. Ergonomic pillows take the pressure of the spine and neck region, adjusting your posture for optimal blood flow and comfort. The type you choose will depend on your build, sleeping posture and the type of mattress you have.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Ergonomic Pillow?
Ergonomic pillows are primarily designed to provide comfort during sleep and prevent the chances of neck pain and injury. The merits are straightforward and include:
- Pain relief: If you already have neck pain, chances are you need a new pillow or even a mattress. The pain and tension can result in poor sleeping patterns, causing further discomfort. Ergonomic pillows are the ideal option for promoting natural spine position and reducing neck pain.
- Headaches: Sleeping in the wrong position can interfere with blood circulation and put pressure on your neck and head. Many cases of morning pain stem from poor sleeping positions and can benefit from using ergonomic pillows.
- Muscle cramps: Ergonomic pillows provide comfort, which is essential for a good night’s sleep. Getting enough rest and sleep will help to reduce tension and muscle cramps. The pillows also promote blood circulation.
- Better sleep and comfort: Pillows are designed to support the head and neck when sleeping. Ergonomic pillows have more features to support neutral spine posture and comfort for better sleep quality.
- Better posture: The curvature and design of ergonomic pillows allow the spine to rest in the middle section while providing support around the head and neck. This cradling ensures a neutral sleeping posture and lowers the risk of neck pain.
- Sleep Apnea: Using ergonomic pillows can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms and provide the comfort required for deep rest. Most patients with sleep disorders can benefit from a pillow and mattress offering better comfort.
Based on Sleeping Positions, Which Pillow Is Right for You?
There are three main sleeping positions: back, side and stomach. Sleeping on the side is the most prevalent. However, many people that sleep on their back or stomach will find the side posture unbearable. Trying to change the way you naturally sleep can result in severe neck and back pain. The best solution is to find the right pillow for your position. Here are some tips for each case:
a) Back: Also known as the Supine position, sleeping on your back is popular and known to aggravate snoring and sleep apnea. If you sleep on your back, the goal is to provide support for the cervical spine, which implies supporting your head, neck and shoulders. A thinner ergonomic pillow generally works better. You can also use another pillow below your knees to relieve the pressure on your lower back and thighs.
b) Side: Sleeping on the side or lateral position is something everyone has tried, and most people prefer this position. You will most likely need a thicker ergonomic pillow to support your head and neck while keeping your spine straight. You should also get an extra pillow between your legs for added spine support.
c) Stomach: This is the toughest sleeping position and can result in severe neck and back pain, so you might want to find another position. However, if you feel better sleeping on your stomach, use a very thin pillow on your head and neck. You also need another pillow below your pelvis or abdomen to offset the pain on your back for proper spine alignment.
How Does Your Mattress Affect A Pillow?
Your sleeping position will influence the type of pillow you need to maintain a comfortable posture through the night, and so does your mattress. It is essential to purchase a pillow that compliments your mattress to deliver the needed comfort. There are three main mattress categories to think about. These include:
- Too Firm: If you have a firm mattress, your body and shoulders won’t sink in like they would on a soft mattress. You should consider taller sizes and use the upper side of your contour pillow.
- Too Soft : Your shoulders will dip into the mattress if it is too soft while the pillow remains in position. As such, you should choose a smaller contour mattress and use the lower side.
- Just Right: Medium-firm mattresses are the recommended type, and you can use your ergonomic pillow any way you choose, provided it cradles the head and provides enough support for the neck and shoulders.
How to Choose the Right Ergonomic Pillow?
Choosing a pillow should be an effortless task, as there are several options available in the market. However, like mattresses, nothing beats actual testing. The best way to determine if a pillow suits your needs is by lying on it and feeling its comfort. However, various hallmarking attributes distinguish reliable pillows from the rest. Some of the things to review include:
I. Comfort: This is the primary reason for buying the pillow, so it is important to ensure it is comfortable enough. There’s no telling whether a pillow will be comfortable unless you test it. You should get instant relief and comfort from the ergonomic pillow, so keep looking if it doesn’t provide that. It is also important to find the perfect fit for your size and build. Manufacturers use various materials to guarantee comfort. You should check the filling to ensure it is safe. Those with allergies can use hypoallergenic pillows. Other options include synthetic and polyester filling.
II. Cost – The cost of a pillow is influenced by filling, size, cover material, brand and other factors. For instance, down-filled pillows will cost more than synthetic options but tend to last longer. You can compare the merits and demerits of each option before making a decision. It is also advisable to shop around and determine the amount you are willing to spend on an ergonomic pillow. There’s a significant price variance, so you can spend less than $100 or upwards of $500 depending on the quality, size and brand.
III. Temperature Control – Some pillows have special features and designs meant to stay cool for the night. Others absorb excess heat from your body and improve airflow, which is ideal if you sweat heavily. Temperature control is essential to prevent soaking your pillow and heat discomforts.
You can also compare other features, such as ease of washing, durability, customer reviews and manufacturer reputation. The goal is to purchase comfortable, functional ergonomic pillows that can safely reduce neck pain and other sleep discomforts.
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