Are You a Side Sleeper? What to Look For When Shopping For a Pillow

The position you sleep in may feel comfortable to you, but it can cause aches and pain if you’re not using the correct pillow. This can lead to back and neck pain and stiffness, headaches, numbness, and mobility problems. What people often don’t realize is that a simple change in the type of pillow they use can resolve many of these problems. Most people sleep on their sides, but don’t know that this means they need to look for certain qualities in a pillow. Thickness, shape, and material are all things to consider when selecting pillows for side sleepers to help neck pain.

Make sure your pillow is not too thin. When you lie down, your neck should not crane upward to compensate the weight of your head. Your neck should be evenly aligned and there should not be any strain as you move about or reposition your head throughout the night. The same can be said for pillows that are too thick. Your head should not be drastically elevated above the rest of your body because this can cause the same kind of strain on your neck. Contoured pillows are great choices for side sleepers. These pillows are larger along the bottom with a lower middle and top. This allows your head to rest comfortably in the middle while the larger portion on the bottom fully supports your neck.

You don’t necessarily need to get a contoured pillow if you choose something made from a material like memory foam or gel fiber. These types of pillows conform to your head and neck so that you have the right support no matter how you move around throughout the night. They are also good for allergy sufferers because they do not collect dust particles the way other pillows do. Buckwheat pillows are similar to memory foam and gel varieties, but are made from buckwheat hulls, which keep the pillow cooler for people who tend to get too warm when they sleep. Side sleepers can also reduce pain by using a body pillow to place between their knees and arms as they sleep. This takes the pressure off of the hips and shoulders, which leads to misalignment in the rest of the body even when the neck is well supported.