A good night’s sleep is important for maintaining good health and optimal functioning, and choosing the right pillow plays a big part. In addition to providing comfort, the right pillow supports the neck and spine, alleviating or preventing many common forms of back and neck pain.

A pillow serves two main functions:

  • Support: Pillows support the head, neck and shoulders, keeping them in alignment, relieving pressure and counterbalancing the points in the body.
  • Comfort: Pillows create a feeling of comfort, helping us relax, sleep well and wake up feeling rested.

Why is it important to have the right pillow?

Incorrect spinal posture is a major cause of back and neck pain. A third of our lives is spent sleeping, so correct sleep posture is a must. If your pillow is the wrong height, both muscles and joints will be affected. In some cases, incorrect head and neck positioning can also affect breathing and cause snoring, which can hinder sleep.

How do you choose the right pillow?

There is no one best pillow for everyone. Following these types will help you find the right pillow for you and help ensure a good night’s sleep:

  • Consider your sleeping position – are you a side, stomach or back sleeper? Side sleepers should choose a firm pillow that supports the area between the ear and shoulder. Stomach sleepers should opt for a flat pillow so the neck isn’t turned at an uncomfortable angle. Back sleepers should choose a thin pillow that cradles and supports the neck.
  • Choose a pillow that is appropriate for your body size or frame. The pillow should cover the entire back of your neck to avoid putting pressure on your spine.
  • Try before you buy. Visit a store that has a wide range of pillow options and spend time lying on the in-store bed in trying out different pillows to find the one that best meets your needs.
  • A hypoallergenic pillow is a must if you suffer from allergies, but it is also a good choice for anyone.
  • Invest in a good quality pillow that will last. Less expensive pillows often mean lower quality and inferior filling, which may break apart quickly.
  • Replace your pillow every 12-18 months to maintain proper neck support.

If you or your family experience pain and discomfort at night or have difficulty falling asleep, visit your chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained to treat spinal problems that can interfere with a restful night’s sleep. They can also offer nutritional and lifestyle advice that can help improve sleep quality.

More information, including where to find a chiropractor near you, can be found at www.albertachiro.com.