Pillow Talk

Is your pillow right for you?

by Laura Chapman, September 2019

Are you waking up with a stiff neck or headache? Tossing and turning during the night trying to get comfortable? Well perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at your old faithful pillow.

How to choose the right pillow:

Choosing a pillow is a very personal decision. Given that we spend roughly a third of our life sleeping, it is also a decision that requires some research. Nowadays pillows come in a range of varying styles, shapes, densities and materials. But what makes it the perfect pillow for you? Well it depends on your sleeping posture. Side sleepers will often need a higher, firmer pillow to support the space between the mattress and their head and neck. Back sleepers may require a medium sized, softer pillow as the space between your neck and the mattress is reduced.

The most important factor is to make sure that your head and neck are in a neutral position – that is, they are in line with your spine.

If you have been using an inappropriate pillow for a long time, you may have developed minor strain patterns through your upper back, shoulders and neck that predispose you to stiffness and headaches upon waking. While you are reassessing the quality of your pillow, it may be a good time to visit your Osteopath to ensure that your body is ready and able to adjust to a new pillow. Your Osteopath will be able to assist you with some handy tips to promote the ever important side and/or back sleeping postures.

Remember: Sleeping on your front is an absolute no no!

 
Pillow Fillers:

Two of the most commonly used pillow types are latex and synthetic pillows. They both provide a hypo-allergic option as compared to many feather or down pillows. Latex pillows tend to hold their shape well, are generally resistant to dust mites, mould and bacteria and are washable.

Memory foam is a pressure relieving, synthetic material that moulds to the natural contours and curves of your body, relieving pressure and maintaining correct spinal alignment. Removable covers make for easy cleaning and restrict the presence of dust mites, bacteria, mould and mildew.

 

Testing your pillow:

The average lifespan of a pillow is arguably between 2 and 7 years, but is largely dependent on a number of variables including:

Pillow material and density
Body moisture
Amount of use

If you’re unsure as to whether your pillow has passed its used by date try this handy tip: Fold your pillow in half and place a light object such as a shoe on top. If the pillow tosses the shoe off and springs back into shape, your pillow is still good. If the shoe doesn’t budge, then your pillow probably needs replacing.

Airing out your pillow on a regular basis ensures that pillows remain dry from body moisture that is absorbed during the night. Remember that a simple pillow protector will lengthen the life of your pillow and keep it looking brand new for longer.

 

Pillow Recommendation

Patients often ask me what pillow I use.  In fact, for the last 10 years, I have been using, and recommending to all my patients, the Complete Sleeprrr by Therapeutic Pillow Australia.  I love it because it is fully adjustable (in both height and density) and also amazingly durable.  Choosing a pillow often comes down to personal preference, but I always recommend trying a pillow before you buy it (if possible). Knowing that this can be difficult, I have decided to stock the Complete Sleeprrr in the clinic – so if you are in the market for a new pillow, feel free to test one out at your next appointment.

For more information on the Complete Sleeprrr Pillow, please head to the Therapeutic Pillow Australia website.

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