Summer is in full swing and hopefully you get the chance to take some sort of vacation! If you are lucky enough to get away, don’t forget to bring your pillow! Nothing is worse than waking up with a stiff neck every morning during a vacation! And as much as I love my patients, no one wants to have to come in right from a trip for an adjustment due to poor sleeping conditions.
In reality it’s not just the “vacation pillow” you need to worry about, it’s your every night pillow. It won’t do much good to take your pillow with you if it’s a not the “perfect” pillow.
Why is the Perfect Pillow Essential?
Your pillow gets used an average of 2,500 hours a year! That’s some heavy mileage! So it may be time for a new one. The right pillow selection makes a world of difference.
Your pillow, however good or bad, supports your neck and shoulders while you sleep. If they don’t get enough support or are propped up too much, you will wake up sore!
Comfort and support are the key indicators when choosing a pillow. The perfect pillow is the one that feels comfortable and matches your mattress, all while supporting your neck, head, and shoulders. If you have a firm mattress, look into a softer pillow, and vice versa, to help keep your head and neck better aligned.
So if you’re in the market for a new pillow, here are five things to consider before buying.
5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Perfect Pillow
As with all of the things you are looking for in a pillow, there are advantages and disadvantages to the options. The most common fill in bed pillows is down, in some form. Down pillows are light and soft, usually made from goose or duck. Goose is softer and more expensive. You can also find “hypo down” pillows which are hypoallergenic. Synthetic down and polyester is a less expensive option, and are not quite as soft as down. Other options include wool, cotton, latex, and memory foam. Your choice of fill directly impacts the comfort level, which aids in the amount of sleep you will be able to get each night.
2. Fill Weight
For those who sleep without moving too much the weight of the pillow won’t be as much of an issue. But if you like to re-shape and move your pillow around frequently throughout the night, you may want a lightweight pillow, probably made of down or synthetic fibers.
3. Fill Quality
This one is easy, after deciding your fill and weight, take a close look at your budget and buy the highest quality you can afford. A poor quality pillow will not provide enough support, which can cause neck or back pain, making quality sleep impossible. (Remember 7 to 8 hours a night and 2,500 hours a year are spent resting on this pillow!)
Most people use a standard-size pillow as it’s enough. Size doesn’t matter as long as you can keep the support you need for your neck. If you sleep on your side, you need a thicker pillow than if you sleep on your back. The bigger problem would be stuffing a big pillow into a standard pillowcase. The shape of the pillow could be helpful depending on your needs. Again, the main thing to consider is the support the pillow offers, not the size or design.
Breathable and natural materials are going to the best choice for covering our pillows. If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll have more difficulty maintaining a sleep position that doesn’t result in pain. But with a thinner, low-loft pillow and a breathable pillowcase, you can still do so safely. If you want to extend the life of your pillow, consider a cover and a pillowcase. Of course, the decorative pillows you use to make your room look nice should not be used for sleeping!
It’s important to also mention, pillows don’t last forever! Memory foam pillows may last up to three years, and natural pillows last longer than synthetic pillows. Of course, more expensive pillows will also have longevity. But bottom line, your pillow needs to be replaced more frequently than you think. Tip: if you find the perfect one, you may want to buy a few, so you don’t have to shop again in a year or two.
Now that you have your list, get shopping for the perfect pillow for home (and holidays!) If you have been experiencing soreness in your neck or back each morning or you aren’t sleeping well, you may want to make sure you are correctly aligned. Our office would be glad to get you scheduled for an appointment!