Therapeutic Pillows: Your Secret to Better Sleep

min read


The Sports Injury Clinic

February 27, 2018


Therapeutic pillows are one of those things that everyone has an opinion about the best one out there. But if you're in the market for a new one, where do you start? Big or small? Firm or soft? And if you tend to wake up with neck soreness or stiffness, choosing your pillow wisely can be very important since this is directly connected to your overall sleep quality.

The relation of proper sleep to overall health is undeniable. Investing in the right pillow could make all the difference. This guide will introduce you to various types of therapeutic pillows and their benefits, as well as how to choose the perfect one for you.

Types of Therapeutic Pillows

Though not common knowledge, there are actually different types of therapeutic pillows to choose from, depending on your needs. Below are the most common ones that would suit your individual sleeping situation.

A. Memory foam pillows

Memory foam pillows contour to your head and neck, providing personalized support that can help relieve pressure points. These pillows are ideal for side and back sleepers, as they maintain proper spinal alignment and reduce the risk of neck pain.

B. Cervical pillows

Cervical pillows are specifically designed to support the natural curve of your neck, promoting healthy spine alignment. They are perfect for those who experience neck pain or stiffness, as they can help alleviate discomfort and improve sleep quality.

C. Wedge pillows

Wedge pillows are designed with a sloping shape to elevate your upper body, making them ideal for individuals who suffer from sleep apnea, acid reflux, or snoring issues. They can help keep airways open and reduce the risk of nighttime heartburn.

D. Lumbar pillows

Lumbar pillows are designed to support the lower back during sleep, helping to maintain proper spinal alignment and reduce strain. They can be particularly beneficial for those who experience lower back pain or discomfort.

Ergonomics and Positioning

We spend one third of our time in bed. And whether you sleep predominantly on your back, front or side, your head and neck are going to need a fair amount of support during this time. Dependent on what position you spend most of your time sleeping, your choice of pillow could differ.

When sleeping on your side, think about the distance between the side of your head and your shoulder. If you sleep with a low or small pillow, your head will be angled towards your shoulder the whole night, which can be uncomfortable and you are likely to wake up tense and with restricted movement. Side sleepers often feel better with a slightly higher pillow.

For back and front sleepers it can be the opposite though. Sleeping with a pillow that is high will force your head forwards or backwards, straining the neck. If you are a front of back sleeper, it is important for postural alignment to keep the head and neck in the midline of the body.

How do you decide on the firmness of your pillow? Firmer pillows tend to help support your head and neck more than soft ones. If you tend to wake up with a particularly sore neck and shoulders, a firmer pillow might just be a good investment for a good night's sleep. However it also comes down to comfort and some people need a soft pillow to get a good night's sleep.

Health Benefits of Using Therapeutic Pillows

Using a pillow tailored to your needs can significantly improve your sleep quality, ensuring you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

A pillow chosen for your specific body type can help maintain proper spinal alignment and alleviate pressure points, reducing the risk of neck and back pain.

Using a pillow designed to support your neck and spine can promote healthy alignment and prevent long-term issues.

Specialized pillows, like wedge pillows, can help keep airways open and reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.

Not all benefits of using special pillows are related to sleeping alone. Elevating the upper body with a wedge pillow can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus, reducing nighttime heartburn

Tips for Choosing the Right Therapeutic Pillow

1. Assess your sleep position and preferences

Consider whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach when selecting a pillow.

2. Consider your unique health concerns

Choose a pillow that targets your specific health issues, such as neck pain or sleep apnea.

3. Consult with healthcare professionals

Speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist for personalized advice on the best pillow for your needs.

4. Trial and error process

Don't be afraid to test out different pillows to find the perfect fit.

5. Quality materials and reputable brands

Invest in a high-quality pillow from a reputable brand to ensure longevity and effectiveness.

All in all, a magic pillow to cure all doesn't exist. But trying to find one that supports your head and neck, that keeps you in a good position and posture is a great place to start.

If you need more assistance when it comes to choosing the right pillow for your specific needs, or simply want to know how to improve the quality of your sleeping sessions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our Physiotherapists are more than happy to assist you.


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