When an individual sleeps, their body works to restore and repair itself. However, their sleeping position, especially with pillows, could affect this restoration process by influencing the spine’s natural curvature. To improve sleep quality and prevent discomfort, people with problems like back or neck pain, difficulty staying asleep, and waking up feeling unrested should change how they use pillows. Keep reading to find out five sleeping positions to try with pillows and their impact on health.
When one sleeps on their side, they should use a medium-soft pillow. They would do well with a lofted pillow that fits between the neck and mattress and is sturdy enough to keep the head from sagging down. One should avoid pillows that are too firm, crane the neck upward, and may cause neck pain. A side sleeper could also put a thick, firm pillow between their legs, with the knees even or the top knee narrowly staggered to keep the hip from pulling forward and straining one’s lower back.
Some people may sleep on their backs, which is ideal to prevent neck and back pain. Such individuals must pick a thin pillow with a lower loft to keep the neck in a neutral position. It may also be helpful to find material with more body, such as a feather or buckwheat pillow. These options help fill the space between the neck and mattress while supporting the neck.
While stomach sleeping is usually discouraged, it might work for those with respiratory complications and acid reflux. When sleeping on the stomach, the waist may tilt forward, making the position stressful for the lower back. So, for maximum comfort, one should put a pillow under their pelvis, which may help maintain spin alignment. A thicker pillow may force the neck to tilt back too far. Therefore, one could opt for a thin pillow with some flexibility.
Those with varying sleep positions should consider a pillow with higher areas (for side sleeping) and lower areas (for back sleeping). One could also try a pillow with a mix of fillers or a buckwheat hull pillow. A single all-purpose pillow might result in a pillow that is too high for sleeping on the back and too low for sleeping on the side.