Alaska Sleep Education Center

5 Ways The Wrong Pillow Could Ruin Your Sleep

Posted by Jennifer Hines

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on May 14, 2021 10:13:32 AM

Womans Pillow Not Comfortable


Getting adequate sleep at the right time is essential in ensuring optimum health and well-being.  For some people, though, sleep can be quite elusive. Several factors can cause poor sleep, including stress, sleep disorders, physical pain, and hectic work schedules. Others may not realize it, but poor sleep can also be caused by something as simple as having the wrong pillow.

Do you often wake up with neck or back pain? Or do you wake up feeling like you haven’t really slept at all because of endless twists and turns as you lay in your bed? If so, it could be that you’re using the wrong pillow, and that’s what’s ruining your sleep.

To give you a clearer idea, here are several ways the wrong pillow could be ruining your sleep and you don’t even know it:

  • Pillow Fillings

You may think that all pillows are the same and that fillings don’t matter. The truth is, it’s the filling that gives character to your pillow, and it greatly defines the level of support that the pillow will provide. Several options are available for pillow fillings, and it’s up to you to choose depending on your needs and preferences.

One popular choice is the buckwheat pillow that’s said to be recommended by chiropractors due to the level of support and comfort it provides. Buckwheat filling is firm yet breathable and malleable. Buckwheat pillows adjust excellently to the shape of your neck and head, thus allowing for superior support and comfort.

Other pillow fillings to choose from include:

  • Down
  • Feather
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Shredded memory foam
  • Microbead
  • Shredded latex
  • Kapok
  • Wool
  • Cotton
  • Down alternative

Each of these pillow filling types has its own benefits and appeal. Make sure you research well to find out more about them so you can make an informed decision as to which pillow filling will work best for you.

  • Pillow Size

Pillows commonly come in three sizes: standard, queen, and king. To pick the best pillow size, you need to consider your body size first. Ideally, a pillow height of four to six inches is recommended to provide full support for your neck and head as well as your shoulders if you like lying on your back.

If you prefer using a larger pillow, make sure your sleep posture will still be aligned as you sleep. Also, the size of the pillow should fit its pillowcase perfectly to allow movement and compression.

  • Pillow Height

A common mistake that people make when they sleep is using a pillow that’s too high or too low, which can result in muscle strain. Pillow height should be aligned with your sleep position, or you’ll suffer from discomfort and pain on the back of your shoulders and neck.

If you sleep on your back or sideways and your pillow is too high, your neck could abnormally bend to the side or forward. With this sleeping position and the wrong pillow height, several sleep disturbances such as snoring can occur.

On the other hand, if your pillow is too low, you can suffer from neck muscle strain, which will eventually leading to neck and shoulder pain.

  • Sleeping Position

No matter what type and size of pillow you have, you still won’t be able to get quality sleep if it doesn’t match your sleeping position. Fortunately, pillows are usually labeled according to sleep position preferences.

Here are some techniques you can try when sleeping with a pillow in a specific position:

  • Sleeping On The Back: This sleep position is best for people who are suffering from severe back pain. It helps you rest your back well and keep your spine from straining. You’ll need a softer and flatter pillow to maintain the alignment of your neck and head.
  • Sleeping On The Side: A thicker and firmer pillow is recommended for side sleepers. The pillow should be placed in a way that your spine can adhere to a horizontally straight line. You may also want to consider placing a pillow between your knees for added support. This will also help in avoiding back pain.
  • Sleeping On The Stomach: Sleeping on the stomach isn’t recommended by doctors as it tends to put stress on your back and neck. However, if you prefer to sleep in this position, it’s recommended to have a flat pillow on your head and another flat pillow under your stomach so the lower back remains properly aligned.

No matter what sleeping position you prefer, it’s still necessary that you have the right pillow to complement it.

  • Knowing When To Replace Your PillowYoung Woman has neck pain

Pillows aren’t meant for lifetime use. While there are types of pillows that can last for years, most pillows need to be replaced after around 18 months. Pillows that are of higher quality tend to last longer than cheaper ones.

If you already have the right filling, size, and pillow height and yet you still find it hard to sleep comfortably, it’s probably because your pillow is already too old. If you’re not sure if your pillow is still usable, you can examine it by taking off its pillowcase. Check for smell and stains as these are among the signs that you already need to replace it. Old pillows could be infested with dust mites and mold, which can trigger any allergies you may have. It can also cause bad odors that can make it difficult to sleep well.

The Right Pillow Will Make A Difference

As you can see, the right pillow will help you sleep comfortably and without interruption. The wrong pillow, on the other hand, may trigger various types of pain that could potentially ruin your sleep. At the end of a tiring day, it’s nice to come home to a comfortable and relaxing bed filled with perfectly cozy pillows. A good night’s sleep is vital in making sure that your body is well-rested and ready for another day.

Sometimes you may think it’s insomnia that’s keeping you awake at night when the truth is, you just haven’t found the right pillow that will suit your needs. Don’t take your pillows for granted—they’re such an essential element in making sure that you can sleep and rest comfortably anytime you want.

Considering all aspects of pleasant rest is important to know how to pick a perfect pillow.

Sometimes the right bed, pillow, bedding, and atmosphere are not the answer to your sleep problems.  When that is the case, you need to get to the source to improve both your sleep and overall health.

You are not alone here.  Talk with your Primary Care doctor or contact us here at Alaska Sleep Clinic for your free sleep assessment,

Insomnia Quiz



Topics: insomnia, pillow, bedroom, sleep apnea dangers

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