When you are finally laying down to sleep after a hard day’s work, you rest your body on your soft yet supporting mattress, you cover yourself in lovely warm blankets, but where do you actually rest your head?
A proper pillow can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and a backache riddled night of insomnia. It affects you in ways you may not even begin to understand, influencing the health of your spine, your brain and even your breathing.
Here is why, and here is how to make good choices when the time comes to pick your comfortable companion:
The height of your pillow is key
One of the main issues when it comes to pillow usage is pain. If your neck is bent in any way for an extended period of time, you will experience discomfort. If you sleep on your side, then you are going to want to get a stiffer, higher, pillow that keeps your head from bending downwards. The opposite applies to those of us that sleep on our backs or tummies. You will want thinner, softer, pillows, that won’t make your neck bend upwards. If you don’t find the right height for your own specific body, keeping your neck bent will have consequences. It will start with stiffness and soreness of the shoulders and neck. If the problem isn’t fixed, however, it can progress to actual pain over time.
Pillows will affect your breathing
Unless you sleep on your back (which can have its own cons, like increased risk of sleep apnea), then your nose and mouth will be very close to your pillow for many hours. This means that anything that is in your pillow will almost certainly make its way into your respiratory tract as well. If you have asthma or allergies, keeping a very clean and hygienic pillow is an absolute must. Dust mites love to make pillows their homes if we aren’t extremely careful about it.
This can manifest in wheezing, chest tightness, itchiness of the eyes, nose and throat. If you are experiencing these symptoms, maybe your pillow is to blame.
Watch out for your skin!
The quality of the materials that you have touching you influence the health and wellbeing of your skin tremendously. It has been remarked upon by experts that having harsh fabrics on your pillowcases, or not using one at all, could be responsible for a very decent number of adult-onset acne outbreaks. It is triggered by friction, and could be simply fixed by replacing your pillowcase with a quality alternative made with beautiful soft fabrics.
We have written in the past about how decisive it is for our health to sleep enough and to sleep well. We have also told you all about how bed linens are influential in this. But do keep in mind how important your pillow is. If you keep waking up to flip your pillow over, or to fluff it, then you may have a problem. If you notice that your pillow becomes misshapen or uncomfortable throughout the night, or if it just doesn’t seem to be all that cosy… You should definitely consider looking for an alternative.
Here is what to keep in mind while selecting a pillow:
- Trust your body. One of the most important aspects of this process is finding a pillow that will provide you with the correct balance for your neck. You want your spine to be as straight and comfortable as you can possibly make it. If you wake up sore, or with a stiff neck, then your pillow isn’t right, regardless of whether it cost you a penny or a fortune.
- Know your sleeping habits. Are you a side sleeper or do you sleep on your tummy? Side sleepers will want more firmness, to retain stability, and otherwise you should prefer softer pillows.
- Beware false promises. Yes, pillows are extremely important for your sleeping health, but they are not magical panaceas. Pillows can’t heal sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. Some dishonest companies will market their pillows as if they are medicinal marvels. They aren’t.
- Pick the right material for you. Pillows are generally made out of a variety of different materials. Down is a very common choice. Whether it is natural (goose or duck fibres) or synthetic, it provides for a soft and squishy pillow. Wool and cotton are natural materials, hypo-allergenic, and pretty firm. They will probably be a good choice if you want a nice sturdy pillow. Latex is also a popular choice, especially if you are looking for a pillow that provides extra support for your neck and restricts movement. Memory foam has become ubiquitous recently, because it adapts to your body. It is, however, a heat-retaining material, which may make it a bad choice for the summer months.
Regardless of what pillow you pick, however, you must keep in mind the pillowcase. Even the finest, most perfect pillow on the market will provide you with discomfort and even health issues if it isn’t covered in a comfortable quality case that is in good condition.
We can help you with that.
Make sure you check out our online store for a variety of truly excellent choices that you can mix and match with our complete range of bedlinens.