Good Sleep Quality: Pillow

The importance of good quality sleep and what we can do to improve our sleep quality

We all know the importance of good quality sleep. It can help us with our physical and mental health. Sleep quality can be improved through many means; supplements, timing and habits are a few of them. Those things can often be implemented without much cost. But there are two things that are just as important but can be overlooked. They are pillows and mattress. Both pillows and mattress play a very important role in determining the quality of sleep. Additionally, it is one of the best investments to prevent future back and neck issues. In this first of the two part sleep series, we are going to dive into looking at the most suitable pillow for you.

Function of a pillow & sleep quality

The functions of a pillow is to provide support and comfort. Our necks are made up of 7 vertebrae. These 7 vertebrae form a backward ‘C’ curve in our neck known as the cervical lordosis. The curve acts like a spring and distribute stress. Quite often when this curve is altered symptoms such as aches, pains and numbness will begin to show. When a good pillow is utilised, it can help support this curve so it maintains its physiological function and structure. This curve can be maintained by a pillow through two paths; the softness and the shape of the pillow. The way that one chooses the right pillow is dependent on the sleeping posture.

Choosing the right pillow to improve your sleep quality

Side sleepers

For side sleepers, it is recommended that the pillow that is a little higher. This is because when one is lying on the side the shoulder gives extra height. The higher pillow fills the gap between the neck and shoulders so the neck will not stay bent when you are a sleep. It is also important to go for a slightly firmer pillow if for side sleepers. This ensures that the neck is well supported and the head doesn’t sink in, leaving the neck bent sideways the entire night.

Back sleepers

For people who sleep on their backs choosing a slightly lower pillow would be the more beneficial choice. The reason for this is if the pillow is too high, the head will also be too high leaving the neck in a constantly flexed state. This means for the duration of your sleep, it’ll be placed exactly the opposite the revered ‘C’ shape that it’s meant to be. Overtime, the structure of the neck will shift causing the development of neck and upper back pain. A lower pillow allows the spine neck and the rest of the spine to stay in a more neutral state. Ideally, a softer pillow would also be more suitable for back sleepers too. This is because it can fill up the back between the upper back, the neck and the shoulders giving more even support around the entire cervico-thoracic junction.

Stomach sleepers

For the rare stomach sleepers, just don’t. Try readjust and retrain your sleeping posture. Sleeping on the stomach keeps your head rotated in one direction for the duration on your sleep (unless you have a cut out in the mattress like chiropractic tables). This creates a negative pattern in the neck. But if changing sleeping postures isn’t an option, use the slimmest pillow that can be found.

Pillow recommendation!

We spend around 8 hours each day which equates to around 121 days a year in bed sleeping. During that time, plenty of things in our body can change if we don’t keep it well structured. Besides from internally increasing your sleeping quality, your sleeping gear is just as important! So take care of your neck because you only get one and find the most suitable pillow!

We suggest and stock these 2 pillows to our client:

The Complete Sleeper

The ABCA Adjustable pillow

 

 

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Sleep Quality - Chiropractor Auckland