If you’re waking up in the morning with neck pain then it’s definitely time to start thinking about getting a new pillow.
Your pillow’s job is to support your head and neck while keeping you in neutral alignment all
night long to help prevent neck pain upon waking in the morning. Keep in mind though, every different sleeping position requires a different type of pillow to help achieve neutral neck alignment.
A typical rule of thumb when thinking about replacing your pillow is that a pillow should be replaced every 18 months to 3 years. If you’re waking up in discomfort in the morning, scrunching your pillow to get comfortable at night or it has stains or an odor then it’s time to replace
Picking a pillow comes down to a few things, the most important however is preferred sleep position. So let’s discuss.
1. SIDE sleepers will need a firmer pillow that is on the thicker side in order to fill the space between your ear and the outside of your shoulder to keep your neck in neutral position while laying on your side.
2. BACK sleepers will need a thinner pillow to keep their head and neck in neutral alignment when laying on their back because the space between their head/neck and the mattress will be smaller than when laying on your side. However, back sleepers still need enough firmness to support the weight of the head throughout the night so in the morning they are still supported and essentially not just lying on the mattress.
3. STOMACH sleepers will either need a soft pillow that is not too tall or no pillow at all. Although it is not recommended to sleep on your stomach at all, if you’re going to use a pillow it should be one that does not crane your neck upward further taking it out of its natural alignment while sleeping on your stomach. However, stomach sleepers could benefit from a pillow under their stomach and pelvis to help prevent low back pain while sleeping.
Dr. Livia Chiarelli
Doctor of Chiropractic
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