John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

What is the Best Pillow for You?

The best pillow design keeps your spine in a neutral stress-free alignment.

However, just like the three bears in Goldilocks… we are all built a little bit differently… so your best pillow may differ from that of your partner, child or best friend.

In simple terms, the best pillow for you needs to be:

  • suitable for your preferred sleeping position
  • supportive of your neck and head
  • ideal for your head, neck, shoulder shape and size
  • comfortable to lie upon
  • durable – to keep support for the entire night and many years.

Suppose we reflect upon the three bears. Big daddy’s pillow is likely larger and firmer than mummy bear’s pillow. Baby bear’s best pillow will likely be thinner and softer than the rest of the bear family.

Your Favourite Sleeping Position Matters

You’ll sleep the best in your favourite position. About 70% of people are side-sleepers, 20% are back sleepers, and 10% are stomach sleepers.

What’s Your Preferred Sleeping Position?

Back, side or stomach?

Once you’ve decided which is your preferred sleeping posture, we can start to look at the best pillow shape for you.

Matching Your Pillow to Sleeping Position

The best pillow for you will need to support your spine in a stress-free alignment in YOUR favourite position: on your side, back or stomach.

Best Pillow for Every Sleep Position
Comfortable &Amp; Supportive Pillow

Side Sleeper Pillow

Most people prefer to sleep on their side.

Side sleepers should aim to support your spine in a neutral position. The best pillow for you will fill the void between the mattress and your head and neck.

Contour pillows, as shown above, are a good choice if your neck is thinner than your head.

If your head and neck width are similar, you may gain better support from a conventionally shaped pillow.

Children’s Pillow

Children don’t require a pillow until their shoulder width increases beyond the width of their head, when a thin pillow would be suitable.

Back Sleeper Pillow

The second most popular sleeping position is on your back. Pillow height is critical.

Elderly Persons Pillow

The more rounded your upper back, the more your head protrudes forward of your neck and upper back, which means the higher the pillow you require.

This kyphotic posture is a common reason for older people sleeping on two pillows as their upper back increases its C-curve shape, making their heads sit further forward. One pillow is not enough to support your head and neck.

Stomach Sleeper Pillow

Stomach sleeping should be only for limited periods due to the sustained rotation of your neck. You are essentially looking over one shoulder for a few hours. This position compresses one side of your neck and over-stretches the other. Awkward postures commonly result in neck pain, neck stiffness and neck headaches.

Pillow Comfort

A large part of what makes a good pillow is a personal preference. If the pillow feels comfortable, it will help you relax, get a good night’s sleep, and feel well-rested in the morning. The pillow’s surface can also be a source of comfort – some people prefer a pillowcase with a cool, smooth feeling (such as cotton), some prefer warmth (such as flannel), etc. A chance of season can alter your favourite pillowslip.

Pillow Fine Tuning

Ideally, your pillow should conform to your various sleep positions and support the weight of your head. A pillow should mould to one’s profile and alleviate any pressure points. New technology, such as memory foam, has successfully addressed this issue. They adjust to the user’s unique shape, curves, and sleeping position.

Pillow Durability

In reality, a high-quality supportive pillow will last several years before needing to be replaced. Unfortunately, cheap polyester or cotton-filled pillows usually only last a few months. They lose their oomph and don’t bounce back.

Look for reputable manufacturers who offer more extended warranties. The best pillows typically last the longest, as reflected in the warranty. In addition to better sleep, they are of better value in the long term.

Over time, most pillows will lose their firmness and no longer adequately support your neck and head. When your pillow has reached this stage, buy a new pillow.

ABC Radio Interview Regarding Pillow Selection

What Pillow Is The Best For You?

What to Expect on Your First Night?

Knowing that your neck may feel different or uncomfortable during the first few nights of using any new pillow is essential. Discomfort is because it is still adjusting to healthy support. You’ll most likely look forward to extreme comfort within a few days.

However, a pillow that does not ease your neck pain within a week is probably unsupportive, or you have a neck condition requiring professional treatment.

Related Articles

  1. How to Choose the Right Pillow for Your Sleeping Position – Readers can learn how to select pillows based on whether they sleep on their back, side, or stomach.
  2. The Benefits of Memory Foam Pillows for Neck Support – This article could explain the advantages of memory foam pillows in maintaining neck alignment and reducing pain.
  3. Managing Neck Pain: Tips and Tricks for a Better Sleep – Offers strategies for alleviating neck pain through the correct sleeping practices and pillow choices.
  4. The Impact of Sleeping Positions on Neck Health – Discusses how different sleeping positions affect neck health and how to mitigate negative impacts.
  5. Pillow Guide for Side Sleepers: Maximising Comfort and Support – Focuses on the best pillow types and arrangements for individuals who prefer sleeping on their side.
  6. Selecting the Best Pillow for Back Sleepers – Offers insights into choosing pillows that provide optimal support for people who sleep on their back.
  7. Stomach Sleepers: How to Choose a Pillow and Reduce Neck Strain – Provides advice for stomach sleepers on minimising neck strain through the right pillow selection.
  8. The Role of Pillows in Preventing Neck Pain and Headaches – Explores how the right pillow can prevent neck pain and headaches, contributing to better overall health.
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