Sweet Dreams: Choosing the Proper Pillow for a Great Night’s Sleep

A great night’s sleep depends upon a proper pillow. Flattened, squished, worn out pillows are bad for your neck, and make it difficult for your body to relax and be comfortable.

Your pillow should suit the type of mattress you have, the sleeping positions you prefer, and your body contours. There are many choices when it comes to pillows, but you must choose your pillow carefully to obtain the most comfortable night’s sleep possible.

Traditional pillows raise your head, leaving your neck sagging and unsupported. This can cause you to wake up with a stiff neck or a headache.

If your mattress is very firm, you will want to choose a thicker pillow. If your mattress is softer, a thinner pillow would be better.

Sleeping positions determine which bed pillow you should choose
If you tend to sleep on your side, you’ll want a thicker pillow. If you sleep on your back, you will want a thinner pillow. If you usually sleep on your stomach, you may find that a flat pillow is best, placed under your chest. Not using a pillow at all may work for stomach sleepers too.

What type of bed pillow should I choose?
Down and feather pillows are the most luxurious pillows available. They are durable, washable, and can last for years if cared for properly.

Synthetic fiber pillows are also washable. They offer firmer support, and are non-allergenic.

Foam pillows (including “Memory Foam”) offer the most supportive positioning of all the pillows.

Both cotton and wool pillows are pure and natural. Cotton pillows are absorbent and wool pillows are breathable.

Buckwheat hull pillows are also natural, firm, and breathable.

How often should a bed pillow be replaced?
A bed pillow is something we tend to forget about until we find ourselves waking up with stiff necks, headaches, or sore backs. Ideally, a bed pillow should be replaced every year or two, but don’t wait too much longer than that. Pillows that aren’t replaced often enough can harbor loads of dust mites, and can contribute to allergies or asthma.

When your bed pillow starts bunching up, getting hard, or stays too flat, it’s time to think about replacing it. Here’s a way you might not have heard of to test whether or not you need to replace your pillow:

Fold your pillow in half and lay an athletic shoe on top of it. If the pillow “springs” back and makes the shoe fall off, there is still life in your pillow. If the shoe just stays there, you’d better head to the bedding store to purchase a new pillow.

If you travel
If you travel often, you’ll want a decent pillow to take along with you. You’ll want a pillow that is light enough to carry, but which offers good neck support.

You may choose an inflatable pillow, which is very light and easy to pack, or you may want a buckwheat hull travel pillow, which is a little heavier than an inflatable pillow, but offers more neck support.

Make sure your travel pillow has a removable, washable cover.

Whether in the air, on the road, or tucked into your own bed at home, the proper pillow will contribute to a much better night’s sleep for you.

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