Chiropractic care offices get a number of common complaints. Among those is difficulty with pain in the neck or back directly after waking up. Do you experience neck stiffness or pain when you wake up? Are your current sleeping habits especially hard on your back? Before you replace your entire mattress, try switching your pillow for one that may be more appropriate to your style of sleep. Keep reading to learn about your ideal pillow based on your sleeping habits and other factors.
Is your pillow causing you pain?
If you wake up in the morning with neck pain, the likely culprit is what you rest your head on while you sleep. Pain results when your head is not properly supported, causing the neck to be extended too far in any direction. Sleeping with your neck twisted, such as when you sleep on your stomach, can also cause neck pain, so avoid sleeping on your stomach if you can. The best sleep styles to reduce neck pain are on your back or on your side.
What is your ideal pillow?
There are a number of factors to consider when finding your ideal pillow. Every individual is built differently and finds different positions in which to sleep comfortably. Additionally, many people must contend with other factors that affect their quality of sleep, such as allergies, sleep apnea, pregnancy, etc.
What position do you sleep in?
On My Back
When you sleep on your back, the goal is to support your head and keep your spine as straight and supported as possible. Your ideal pillow will be neither too thick nor too flat, as either of these can cause the neck to bend too far in one direction. You’ll want to find a pillow of medium thickness that is also not too soft. If your pillow allows your head to sink too far down, it will not provide the proper support. If necessary, look for a pillow with a thick, firm bottom to relieve the pressure on your neck.
On My Side
As you can imagine, sleeping on your side creates a greater distance between your head and the mattress, which your neck compensates for by extending too far in one direction. Your ideal pillow will be thicker in order to properly support your head. A firmer pillow is also recommended, as your head will sink into a pillow that is too soft, causing your neck to bend too far.
On My Stomach
If you sleep on your stomach, try sleeping on your back or side for a few nights, and see if either of these positions can also be comfortable for you. Sleeping on your stomach puts stress and pressure on your spine, which struggles to maintain a stable and neutral position during the night. Sleeping on your stomach also stresses your neck, which must twist to the side. If you simply cannot get comfortable in any other position, try sleeping with either no pillow or with a very thin, soft pillow to reduce the angle of your neck. You can also lift your pelvis with another pillow, which eases some of the pressure on your spine. Finally, stomach sleepers should make time to stretch (gently) in the morning to promote proper spine alignment.
Do you have any allergies?
Your choice of pillow may be affected if you suffer from asthma or certain allergies, which can be aggravated by particular pillow types that allow the presence of dust mites. Wool, cotton, or latex pillows are well-suited to allergy sufferers because they are not receptive to dust mites. It is also important for allergy sufferers to regularly wash their bedding.
Is it a struggle to get to sleep?
If you suffer from a particular sleep problem, such as snoring or sleep apnea or if you’re pregnant, you may invest in a specialized pillow. Sufferers of sleep apnea may find that they get better sleep using a specialized pillow shaped like an “n” that helps keep them in the correct sleep position. There are also specialized pillows that help with snoring, offer optimal neck support, keep you cool during the night, etc.
We hope this post helps you choose the ideal pillow to ensure you’re getting good, pain-free sleep. If you need additional help with a pain problem in your neck or back, please don’t hesitate to contact LIFETIME Spines for chiropractic care in Austin.