How many times do you check the pillow before check in to Hotel or even while visiting your relatives for night stays. Since how many days you are using the same pillow? Do you have frequent neck pain or shoulder pain without any apparent reason?
Well, your pillow could be a reason for your neck or shoulder ache!!!
Using a right pillow is essential to have restful sleep. It feels very comfortable, when you rest your tired- achy body on the, just right soft pillow, after a hard working day.
The sound restful sleep plays major role in maintaining the bodily working capacity and emotions as well. It is important to have right comfortable pillow to have the sound sleep so as to rest your body and mind to get relaxed and repair.
Pillows can cause or aggravate the neck pain and can also affect your shoulder muscles, specially the trapezius. In most cases the neck and shoulder pain, in otherwise healthy person, is due to improper positioning of neck because of the use of wrong pillow.
How a pillow can affect your sleep
Two main reasons of using pillow while sleeping are,
Support: pillow prop up the head, neck and shoulder to help maintain the alignment. The right pillows also helps to alleviate and prevents the common back pain and neck pain by providing necessary support for the neck and spine; thus it helps to spread weight evenly and uniformly along the vertebrae. Selection of right pillow is very crucial in order to have good night's sleep.
Comfort: Feeling of comfort is more of subjective phenomena, pillows gives a type of comfortable feeling and helps in getting a good night sleep ; appropriate rest to mind and body.
Criteria of right pillow
Pillow should help to keep spine in natural alignment:
Anatomically human neck curves slightly forward to sustain the weight of the head; when upright. This curve should also maintain while resting position. If you use too high pillow while sleeping on sideways or on the back; the neck is stretched abnormally forward or to the sides causing strain on the muscles of neck or shoulders. Similarly, if the pillow is too flat the neck muscles can also be strained.
On the base of individual body's measurements and personal choices, the pillow should maintain a height of 4 to 6 inches so as to provide proper support to head neck and shoulders as well, in lying position.
Pillow must be comfortable:
Comfortable pillow greatly helps to feel relaxed and provides a good night sleep. The outer covering of the pillow is also important. Some people like soft, cool smooth feeling covering such as cotton while others prefer warm such as flannel etc. Choose a soft comfortable pillow to get rested well.
An adjustable pillow :
While choosing pillow remember, that the pillow conforms to various sleep positions. The best is one that can be mould and adjusted to fit the various shape and curves of sleeper in various sleeping position; so as to alleviate any pressure points.
Pillows according to sleeping position:
Your sleeping position determines how a mattress top pillow (normally used) should be used to get the appropriate support.
Sleeping on back- While sleeping on your back, a height of the pillow should be lower than in the sideways position to provide necessary support to the natural curvature of the cervical spine and head, neck and shoulder as well. Placing one or two pillow beneath the knees is considered as the gentlest position on the back as it alleviates any back strain.
Sleeping on one''s side- While lying on one''s side, a pillow should support the head and neck. The position of the pillow should be such that it helps maintain spine in straight and natural horizontal line, with proper distribution of weight; without creating unnatural bending or pressure. Some people feel more comfortable and like to place a small pillow or rolled up towel under their waist while sleeping on the side for additional support.
Using a pillow while sleeping on one''s stomach-People who prefer sleeping on stomach should use a pillow that is relatively flat or head should rest directly on the mattress. This will avoid unnatural turning of head and neck to either side. You can also put a relatively flat pillow under the stomach to help the spine keep its natural suggest spine- specialist.
Sleeping on your stomach is a hard for your spine, as in this position the back is arched and your neck is turned to the side.
Some additional tips for side and back sleepers
Avoid using too high or stiff pillow, such pillow can distort the spinal alignment and stretch the neck and shoulder muscles resulting in stiffness and pain. Remember the shoulder should not be a placed at 90 degrees to the mattress else, it can trigger the spasms of shoulder muscles resulting in to neck and shoulder pain on awakening.
Keep a spine straight- by using a pillow that is higher under neck than head while sleeping on sideways.
While travelling- through plane, train or car a horseshoe- shape, use horseshoe - shape pillow that can support your neck and prevent your head from dropping to one side in case you dose. However, if the pillow is too large behind the neck it may force your head forward.
The choice of pillows is crucial and should be based on personal preference as well the position of sleeping. As right pillow not only helps you getting good night sleep also help to avoid neck pain and stiffness. Remember, all pillow will not work well for everyone, a short trial of one week can help you to decide whether a pillow is providing benefit or not.
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