Sleep well? Choose a right pillow!

A good night’s sleep can start our day off with a positive temper and energized body, and nothing could be better than that. For achieving this goal, many factors are playing important roles to contribute to our sleep quality. The right pillow is the one factor that helps us sleep better. Based on the research, sleep with a bad pillow is not only not helping to get rest but also making one even tired. So, did you choose a right pillow?

“Pillows can not only impact the quality of our sleep, but also how healthfully we rest and recharge,” says sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist. A wrong pillow can be the “toxicant” that worsen the problems like “headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm numbness, discomfort, sneezing, and wheezing“, notes orthopaedic surgeon Andrew Hecht, MD. The null hypothesis in this case can be that the pillow has no associations with sleep quality.

Based on the studies conducted by Kammi Bernard, “The goal of using a pillow is to help keep your head in what is called a ‘neutral alignment,’ meaning your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward.” He then mentions that it is firmly related to the sleeping position. If one is sleeping on the back, one needs a thinner pillow to not over support the head forward, then a thin pillow with a strong and tough support on the neck will be a perfect choice.  When sleeping on one’s back, one should put a pillow right under the knees. “This will help put your spine in a better alignment and decrease compression on the joints of your spine.” A foaming pillow can be a good option in this case. It will vary its shape with the back of one’s head and still providing support on the neck and shoulders. Besides that,  for those who likes to sleep in upper back (hunchback) or a thicker pillow can help one to get the more smooth blood circulation and get the shoulder muscle relaxed.

If one likes to sleep on the side, one needs a firmer and tougher pillow to not give too much space between the ear and the shoulder. “When sleeping on your side, it is best to have both knees bent up toward your chest in the fetal position. Use a pillow between your knees and try to keep your knees together, not letting the top leg fall over top of the bottom leg.”  A firm pillow can make sure that one’s head is in neutral and comfortable position. Bent upward can be caused by a thick pillow, and it is likely to lead neck pain over night. Without getting muscle relaxed in proper position, sleep can only be a burden to our body. Moreover, a small pillow or having no pillow will also not give enough support to side sleeping. A horizontal sleeping position may result to edema by not getting blood circulation in fluent way.  A Latex pillow can be a good choice for side sleepers. “This is the firmest type of pillow, and it resists mold and dust mites“, Breus says. The neck alignment and the back will get the most support by having Latex pillow.

“A bad pillow won’t be the cause of any of these problems, but using the incorrect pillow can certainly exacerbate many of the underlying problems linked to these symptoms, and it certainly can keep you from getting a good night’s rest,” says Hecht, the co-chief of spine surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York.

In this research, the pillow does related to our sleep quality and our sleep positions. Other wise, it will cause the severe physical damage to our body. We reject the null hypothesis, and shows the associations between the pillows and the sleep. Choosing pillow should be serious and cautious. If the situation allow, one can feel the pillows really quick by putting head onto it. Or, one can do the scientific research based on the sleep positions to choose the right one. For the further studies, pillow can be cartelized by its functions, and people can rate the pillows in market by sleeping. By developing this topic deeper, a large sample of  random people (like 100 to 300) can do the experiment by trying different pillows and do a survey after the sleep. The experiment data will make the result more convincing and analytical.


4 thoughts on “Sleep well? Choose a right pillow!

  1. sjb5895

    I actually just recently did a blog post about sleeping, and how oversleeping can be bad for you, so I was intrigued to read this article with what knowledge I have about sleeping. I agree with Bernard when he says you need different types of pillows for different sleeping positions because I always feel like my pillow is perfect for when I am sleeping on my back, but then not supportive enough for when I go on my side. I would have liked to read more about how Bernard conducted the study in your blog. Really enjoyed reading this article, thanks for sharing.

  2. Isaac Benjamin Will

    Wow. I thought pillows were stuffed with cotton, wrapped in a pillowcase, and put under our heads and that was the extent of it. I thought a good pillow was whatever we preferred or whatever we thought was comfortable. I thought all a good pillow meant was help sleeping- and I thought all that meant was being less tired in the morning.
    But your blog really expanded on everything I thought- apparently, to my surprise, a pillow is more than just some comfortable cotton. Apparently, as you stated, it dictates not only how tired I am…but the alignment of my back. The health problems of my spine. How much I sneeze, how much I cough. The amount I wheeze. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea- after all, you were the one who wrote out the list in the blog. What I’m getting at, put simply, is that the amount of an effect a good (or bad) pillow can have on your health is ridiculous…and I never knew that before reading this post.
    I agree with your idea of making an experiment to test out these sleeping theories. Although I’m sure all of the doctors above have conducted multiple, all I can see are a few statements. This leads me to wondering…is the impact really as great as they’re making it out to be? Are there really that many potential health benefits, to that serious of an extent, with simply having the right pillow?
    As most blogs do, this blog also arose some questions for me. I imagine this knowledge was “discovered” recently. I don’t think our ancestors, whether we go fifty years back in time or a hundred or two hundred or three hundred, knew of such information. I don’t think they were this selective of their pillows. Yet, they still lived. Many still lived to be 100 years old. Many survived various, serious ailments. Many slept well, I’m sure. And all this was despite having no knowledge of “the perfect pillow”.
    So maybe they had the perfect pillow and didn’t know?
    Or maybe they didn’t reap all the potential benefits? Maybe they had very ailments because they didn’t have that right pillow?
    Or maybe it had absolutely no effect at all.
    Either way (as Andrew would examine) the cost of choosing the right pillow and the right sleeping position is relatively low. It would not be wise for me to completely discount it, especially with the numerous doctor statements and relatively low cost.
    Overall, great blog! It was very enlightening to me and I’ll certainly consider changing my lifestyle- or, at least the way I sleep, that is.

  3. John Wilson Mcavoy

    It’s actually so funny that someone posted about this now, given that I purchased a new pillow yesterday for the first time. Growing up I never had to think about my pillows, they were just there. Of course I had my favorites, like anyone else would, the ones that stayed the coolest and the firmest without being too hard, just right. It wasn’t until I ripped one of my pillows here at school about a week ago that I was faced with choosing my own pillow for the first time. I thought it would be as easy as walk in, grab a pillow, and leave, but when I showed up I saw that there were a variety of different pillows and different materials, and suddenly I found myself standing there for a while feeling all the pillows trying to remember what exactly I like. In the end, I went with the tempurpedic pillow, because at home my bed is tempurpedic, and since there’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed, I thought this could be like a little piece of my bed at home. Well, that and the fact that at target it was surprisingly the cheapest pillow they had.

  4. Jaehong Lim

    Thank you for your helpful post. I really enjoyed it. I think this post can really help me to choose right pillow for me. Honestly, I didn’t sleep well these days. So, I was thinking about the reason and now I think it may relate to my pillow. I think I should get a new foaming pillow for myself. I think I’m in that case. Also, I should consider other cases too.

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