What to look for and how to choose the best pillow
Proper pillows keep your neck parallel to the mattress, not bent down or up.
Dr. Bang says people tend to make the mistake of choosing pillows that bend their neck forward or to one side. If you fall asleep for hours and your neck isn’t properly supported, all kinds of neck problems can happen as you sleep that you may only realize once it’s too late.
In addition to neck pain and stiffness, you can experience problems with your spine twisting the wrong way over time, which can cause lasting damage, says Dr. Bang.
Here are seven tips he suggests for choosing the best neck-friendly pillow:
1. The best pillows are those that adapt to your position
The Neck Memory Foam Pillow works well for most people, he says. If you’re lying on your back, your head rests in a depression in the center. If you’re lying on your side, your neck rests on either a less elevated or more elevated side.
The next best neck support pillow is a foam contour pillow.
2. Foam made from latex is generally the best
Unlike memory foam, natural latex provides support without heating you up.
According to Dr. Bang, people may not realize that they become hot at night. This can result in restless sleep. By sleeping cooler, you sleep deeper.
In addition, if you have a latex allergy, memory foam pillows are ideal.
3. Neck pain is caused most by feather pillows
The feather pillows may be affordable, but they don’t provide much neck support.
Initially, these feel super comfortable, but when you move, the feathers move, causing you pain, according to Dr. Bang.
A down pillow is somewhat more supportive, but it still needs to be fluffed up. You can’t use either if you’re allergic to animal dander.
4. The sound of buckwheat pillows is loud
“ Buckwheat pillows are great because they keep you cool and a lot of air circulates between the hulls,” explains Dr. Bang.
In addition to being cost-effective, buckwheat pillows are renewable and provide neck support when you sleep on your side.
However, the hulls make noise as they move during the night, and the support can slip away as it would in a beanbag.
5. Mixed fillers are unclear in terms of their benefits
Research doesn’t support recommending pillows with mixed fillers like memory foam or latex with shredded foam and a gel insert automatically.
Shredded foam can cool you but lose its stability over time if you sleep on your side. Pillows with too much material jammed in or that remain too fluffy can compress your neck.
Choosing the right mattress might be a matter of trial and error. If you experience pain after sleeping, it’s best to look elsewhere. Memory foam may bend to your curves, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting exactly the support you need.
6. Pillows for the body and side can be helpful
Body and side pillows can improve your sleep posture if you tend to sleep on your stomach, which isn’t ideal.
“They keep you in a side-lying position while providing the pressure on the stomach you’re used to.” says Dr. Bang.
During pregnancy or if you have large hips, these pillows can keep your spine aligned and support your growing belly.
7. Take into account the firmness or softness of your mattress
Firmer mattresses require a thicker pillow because your shoulder won’t sink into the mattress as much.
“Pillows need to fill a larger gap between the head and the mattress,” Dr. Bang explains.
In the case of a memory foam mattress topper or a pillow-top mattress, you will need a thinner pillow in order to keep your shoulder from sinking into the mattress.
“Your pillow will need to fit into a smaller space between your shoulder and your head,” he says.