Finding the Perfect Pillow for You

A stack of different pillows. Isolated on a white background

In a world full of standard things, it is hard to find the perfect fitting pillow that is just right for your neck. To wake up without any pain or fixations in the neck, would be a dream come true. Historically, the use of pillows started in early Mesopotamia. The pillows were made of hard objects to rest the head. I’m thankful that pillows have evolved from porcelain, stone, bronze, bamboo or wooden to a better idea of comfort-cotton, gel, water, feathers, and even buckwheat. But, where is the harmony of comfort and support of the neck? I hear it daily, “what pillow should I use?” Even when I’m not at work, I have my friends and family members wanting answers to what is the best affordable pillow? Should we use a pillow? Is it a need for the curve in my neck? If so, how many pillows? The answer truly depends on your neck and what type of sleeper you are. Follow these few tips to help you find the perfect fitting pillow for your neck that will give you comfort and support.

For side sleepers: For structural support of the neck while sleeping on your side, use a thick pillow that matches the space between your shoulder and your head. This way your head and neck are supported and are in a neutral position.  As a side sleeper, you will need two pillows. One pillow is used to support your neck and one other pillow is used between your knees.  With your knees bent, use a pillow between the knees; this will help to prevent the knees from coming together and will aid in keeping your spine in a neutral position. If there is no pillow between the legs, the upper leg will drop downward, pulling the pelvis and shifting the natural line of the spine. I recommend a firm pillow for between your knees.

For sleeping on your back: This is a great position for your neck and back if you find the right fitting pillow. I recommend a cervical pillow; one that as a deep depression cradle the head while supporting the natural curve of the neck. The key is to help keep your head and neck supported without propping your head up or dropping your neck too much.  If you have lower back pain while sleeping on your back, try placing a soft pillow underneath the back of your knees to help reduce the load on the lower back.

I admit, I slept on my first cervical pillow for exactly one night and give it away the next day.  It will take time to get used to the pillow.  For the first time use the pillow for few minutes, then as the nights go on you can extend to longer time. A short trial period for about a week to two weeks should be enough time to decide whether or not the pillow is the right fit. A pillow that gives you comfort and support is a great choice. Hope these tips help you find a comfortable neck supporting pillow that will give you a great night of rest!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Ida Abraham