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Selecting the Best Pillow for the Best Sleep
Selecting the Best Pillow for the Best Sleep

Posted on October 27, 2013 by admin There have been 0 comments

A good night's sleep is no guarantee that you'll have a great day, but it sure helps.  But for sure, a bad night of sleep probably won't start your day off very well.  And sleeping with the right pillow is one of the best ways of getting the restful sleep you want.

Conversely, the wrong pillow may increase headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm numbness, coughing, sneezing and wheezing.  While a bad pillow won't necessarily cause any of these problems, it can certainly exacerbate the underlying problems associated with these symptoms.

Experts generally agree that a pillow should be replaced after 12 - 18 months, and should definitely not be used for more than two years.  If your pillow has outlived its useful lifespan, it  is likely to contain mold, mildew, fungus, dead skin cells, dust mites and other matter which can sometimes make up more than half of an older pillow's weight.


Buying the Right Pillow: Sleeping Style Matters

When selecting a new pillow, factor in your sleeping style.  You want a pillow that keeps your head in 'neutral alignment' so that it is squarely situated between your shoulders without bending too far forward, backward or to either side.  Without this alignment, neck pain and stress occurs.

People who sleep on their back need thinner pillows to keep their head from being pushed forward too far.  Back sleepers can also benefit from pillows with extra fill or loft in the bottom part of the pillow to provide a cradle for the neck.

Side sleepers need a thicker pillow to fill the distance between the ear and the outside of the shoulder, so that gravity does not cause the head does not tilt toward the shoulder.  And stomach sleepers need a thin, nearly flat pillow or perhaps no pillow at all.  Stomach sleepers should placing a pillow under the stomach to prevent lower back pain.


What is the best Pillow Stuffing?

Many pillow fill options are available including down feather combinations, foam, memory foam,  polyester fiberfill, latex, natural fibers and various combinations of these.  Here's how they compare.

Foam pillow have become very popular in recent years because their firmness provides extra support.  With foam pillows, density is the key factor. The higher the density, the less the breakdown, the greater the support that the pillow will provide without getting soft.  Memory foam pillows help to reduce the pressure points by constantly adjusting and molding to suit you body shape as you will be changing positions throughout the night. They are available in several shapes, including a popular contoured S-shape which is intended to provide support for the neck.  Some users find, however, that memory foam pillows are hot and can sometimes emit an unpleasant chemical odor.

Latex is the firmest type of pillow, and when contoured, also provide neck and back alignment support.  Latex pillows are also resistant to mold and dust mites.

Wool and Cotton pillows are very firm and also hypoallergenic.  Like latex they are resistant to mold and dust mites.  They are not a good choice for those desiring a soft pillow.

Down feather pillows are often recommended because of their softness and comfort factor, and because the stuffing can be moved around as needed for support.  Combinations of 50% down and 50% feathers are a popular variation because the feathers function as springs for extra support.  Feather pillows, however, are known to develop flat spots and the filling sometimes leaks or pokes through the covering to irritate the user's face.  Although recent studies have shown that allergens in down filling are minimal, users with these concerns may find synthetic down to be a better option.  Synthetic down pillows are generally cheaper that real down, but won't last as long.


Shopping Tips

Consider more than just the cost. It is not always the The most expensive pillow need not be the best one that suits you. What's most important is how a pillow feels.  Usually a good compromise can be found between cost and comfort.  If possible, try the pillow out in the store.  When trying the pillow, try to get a sense of whether the pillow keeps your head and neck in line with your spine.

Some experts recommend the use of more than one type of pillow depending on how a user feels on a given day.  A pillow with extra support may be needed if your neck is bothering you on one day, but may not be needed once your neck feels better.

If you have specific concerns such as hot flashes, headaches or neck pain, specialty pillows are available to address these issues but can be pricey.  Time spent on research can be helpful, but usually there is little clinical research is available as to how well they work.  Here are some of the specialty options.


Specialty Pillows for the Head and Shoulders


Cervical Pillows: These pillows, available in various materials and shapes are designed with extra cushioning in the lower part of the pillow to provide extra support to the neck.


Water Pillows:  These pillows use water to allow for a customized level of support and density.


Cool Pillows:  Intended to provide relief for sufferers of hot flashes and night sweats, these pillows incorporate a filling of tiny beads that beads that absorb heat from the head so that the pillow always feels cool to the face.


Oxygen-Promoting Pillows:  Based on research with diabetes patients, these pillows are designed to increase oxygen content in tiny blood vessels by up to 29%, thereby improving blood circulation and reducing pain.


Anti-Snore Pillows: Designed to support the head in positions that minimize snoring conditions.


Positional Pillows: These are pillows designed for specific sleeping positions - back, stomach or side sleepers.  For any position choose a pillow that offers support and comfort and is the correct size for your body.

This post was posted in Pillows & Sleep


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