We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping, making the quality of our sleep an essential aspect of our overall well- being. At Simply Southern Chiropractic Center, we have witnessed first hand how the right pillow can significantly enhance spinal health and alleviate discomfort. By promoting proper alignment, a suitable pillow helps prevent or alleviate conditions such as neck pain, headaches, and even snoring. While many factors contribute to a well rested night, one often overlooked element is the pillow we rest our heads on. The right pillow can have a profound impact on our spinal health ensuring proper alignment and supporting comfortable and rejuvenating sleep. Below we’ll share the importance of selecting the right pillow, what to look for when choosing one, and how often you should replace it for optimal sleep hygiene.
As we teach our patients in the office, the best way to sleep is on your back and the second best sleeping position is sleeping on your side. Below are great pillow options for both back and side sleepers.
Back Sleepers: Cervical curve pillows are a great choice if you are actually able to sleep on your back throughout the entire night. If you fall asleep on your back and eventually turn onto your side, a cervical curve pillow can actually hurt your neck alignment instead of help. This cervical memory foam pillow from Ikea is a great pillow option for back sleepers.
Side Sleepers: The most important consideration when shopping for a pillow for a side sleeper is the pillow’s thickness. Look for a pillow that is the same width of your shoulder, measured from your ear to your shoulder capsule.
Finding a pillow to fit this space will provide the right amount of support necessary to keep your neck in proper spinal alignment. We love the original Coop Sleep Goods pillow below for side sleepers. The Coop Original Pillow is a great product that will last for many years. It also comes with additional stuffing so you can get just the right pillow thickness for your body. You can add and take away pillow stuffing until you are comfortable. Just like breaking in a new pair of shoes, the Coop Original Pillow sizing process may take a few weeks.
When to replace your pillow:
Pillows, like any other sleep accessory, have a limited lifespan. Over time, they accumulate dust mites, dead skin cells, and lose their shape, compromising their ability to provide optimal support. As a general guideline, it is recommended to replace your pillow every 1-2 years.
Taking care of your pillow:
To extend the lifespan and cleanliness of your pillow, proper care is essential. Consider the following tips:
- Regular fluffing: Fluff your pillow daily to maintain its shape and ensure even distribution of filling.
- Protective covers: Invest in pillow protectors or pillowcases designed to shield your pillow from stains, allergens, and dust mites. These covers are typically washable, making it easier to maintain cleanliness.
- Follow manufacturer guidelines: Different types of pillows may require specific care instructions to preserve the pillows quality.
Selecting the right pillow is an essential aspect of maximizing the benefits to chiropractic care. By providing the right support and alignment, a suitable pillow can alleviate discomfort, reduce the risk of sleep-related issues, and enhance your overall well-being. Remember to look for a pillow that offers optimal support, adjustability and is made from high quality materials. Additionally, prioritize regular replacement and proper care to ensure a restful and rejuvenating sleep for years to come. Take care of your spine starting with the right pillow.
Dr. Mary Frances Duncan, D.C.
“Why the Right Pillow Is Important for a Good Night’s Sleep: A.H. Beard: Premium Sleep & Mattresses since 1889.” A.H. Beard | Premium Sleep & Mattresses Since 1889, 11 Aug. 2022, ahbeard.com/sleep-advice/why-the-right-pillow-is-important-for-a-good-nights-sleep/.
John Schubbe, DC. “Pillow Support and Comfort.” Spine, www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/pillow-support-and-comfort. Accessed 15 June 2023.