This article will give you advice on when it’s time to change your pillow, whether you are using the right sized pillow, what the best-sized pillow for your sleeping position is and what to think about when buying a new pillow.
A Few Common Signs That Your Pillow Isn’t Good for You and Needs Replacing
The majority of people rarely think about changing their pillows; however, it is important that you change your pillow every 12-18 months. Failure to do so can result in a pillow that is detrimental to your well-being. If you are waking up with severe neck pain, back pain, a stiff neck or headaches, then it might just be time to go out and buy yourself a new pillow.
To add to this, an old pillow can contain thousands of skin cells and dust mites (and their feces) which can cause severe problems for those who suffer from asthma, other lung-related conditions, and dust mite allergies.
If your pillow is too low, it will cause the muscles in your neck to sag and your spine will curve downwards at the top. Once again, this will cause neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. However, as we shall now see, whether your pillow is too high or too low depends entirely on your sleeping position.
• If you sleep on your side (the most common sleeping position), you should make sure you have a high pillow which is able to fill the area between your ear, which is on the pillow, and your shoulder on the mattress.
• If you sleep on your back, you should make sure that you have a low pillow which mainly supports your neck. This also ensures that your neck is not being thrown too far forward.
• If you sleep on your front, the first thing you should try to do is change your sleeping position. Sleeping on your stomach bends your neck backward into an unnatural position. If you do not think that you will be able to change your position, then your pillow should be as flat as possible.
• Whether you decide on a pillow with feathers or a pillow with fiber filling is entirely down to your personal taste. However, if you are somebody who likes to sleep on your side one night and then on your back the next, it is a good idea to buy a pillow with feathers or down as this enables you to move the filling around to adjust the height of your pillow.
What to Think About when Buying a Brand New Pillow
• Consider more than just the cost – Just because a pillow is expensive does not make it a great pillow or the right pillow for you. What matters most is how the pillow feels to you. You do not have to break the bank to find a decent pillow.
• Try it out before you buy it – If you are in a store and there is the option to lie down on a bed with a pillow that you are thinking of purchasing then do so. If the store does not allow this, then stand next to the wall in your sleeping position and place the pillow against it as if it were a vertical mattress. Lean your head against the pillow and ask anyone present to tell you if your neck is in line with your spine. If it is, then the pillow will be good for you.
Nowadays there is the option of buying pillows which address specific needs. A selection of these can be seen below:
Memory foam pillows – Memory foam is a sponge-like and dense material which molds to the shape of your head and neck. This provides you with ergonomic support for a good night’s rest. This is a great pillow for those who have spine or neck problems.
Cool pillows - These pillows contain tiny beads that absorb and take away the heat from your head. This means that the part of the pillow that your head touches will always be cool. Therefore, you will always have a cool part of the pillow to rest your head on.
Water pillows – These pillows are favored by chiropractors and physiotherapists. The top half looks like a regular foam pillow, but then you fill it with water to create your water pillow. When you place your head on this pillow, it displaces the water underneath and fills the curvature of your neck perfectly. This pillow enables you to create your own level of support.
Tempurpedic pillows – These are made from memory foam and are available in many different styles to suit your needs. They are filled with micro-cushions which make them softer than the traditional pillow.