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What Pillow Should I Use?

Are you getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but still waking up sore and tired? Perhaps you should have a look at your pillow….!

Poor sleep posture can lead to muscle tightness, neck and shoulder pain and even headaches. Having the correct pillow can help ensure you wake up feeling well rested, in no or minimal neck and shoulder pain, and ready to start the day.

The role of a pillow is to provide both support and comfort. It should allow your neck and spine to maintain its neutral alignment so ligaments, joints and muscles are in an ideal position. It should also be comfortable enough for you to get a good nights sleep. If your pillow is too high or low for the position you’re sleeping in, you may find your neck is bent too far forwards or sideways, or even backwards, and this can place excess strain on muscles. 7-9hrs is a long time to be sleeping in a poor position that is not optimal for your body.

There are many factors to take into account when looking for a new pillow.

This can include the material used, its’ size and shape.

Your primary sleeping position and body composition will determine the height of your pillow. Back sleepers should have a lower profile pillow when compared to side sleepers – this is so your spine maintains its natural curves. If you have broader shoulders you may find you need a higher pillow than someone petite and narrow.

There are many materials for pillows currently available that we recommend and these include latex and memory foam, and of course feathers.

Memory foam and latex pillows and both hypo-allergenic and thermo-sensitive. Latex is derived from a natural material from rubber trees, however this makes it heavier than the memory foam. Memory foam takes the form of the body during sleep, and returns to its original shape after sleep.

One of our most popular and favourite pillows that we recommend is a contour pillow that is a medium to high density slow release memory foam. It provides maximum support for your head and neck.

Its contoured shape also encourages side sleeping and discourages front sleeping (which is bad for your neck – especially if you are a headache sufferer or have a lot of wry neck’s!). By having the contoured shape and providing optimal side sleeping it also aims to help reduce snoring and assist better breathing and relaxation. Some contour pillows also have an insert that can be added or removed to change the height of the pillow to suit the frame of the user more optimally.

If you’re suffering from neck pain, headaches or are unsure of your pillow and posture, please contact us at St Kilda Osteopathy and we can help you out!

Dr. Gaby Nowak
Registered Osteopath
B.AppSci(ClinSci), BOstSci
Member of Osteopathy Australia
Level 2 APMA Pilates Instructor

Dr. Catriona Bauld
B.Sci (Clin.Sci), M.H.S.(Osteo)
Member of Osteopathy Australia

Categories: General Information