For many couples, finding the right setup for sleeping can be a difficult balance. One specific area of conflict can be the number and types of pillows to use. While one person may prefer a single pillow, their partner may prefer to use two or more. This may seem like an arbitrary preference, however, according to chiropractors, pillows play an important role in sleep and overall alignment.
Chiropractors confirm that the pillow you use is critical and if used incorrectly, can cause issues down the road. Using the wrong pillows can lead to a misalignment of the spine. Over time, this imbalance can result in pain and lead to other problems.
For good alignment, both your pillow selection and your sleeping position play important roles. The purpose of a pillow is to help maintain the proper curve in your neck while you are sleeping. When you are standing and looking from the side, the bones in your neck are supposed to curve toward the front. The upper and mid-back they should curve towards the back. And in the lower back, the spine should curve back towards the front. Ideally, this will create a reverse C shape in the neck.
The number, shape and density of your pillow all play important roles to ensure you are getting the best alignment. The following are three rules endorsed by chiropractors to achieve the perfect pillow setup.
1. Firm or fluffy thickness
Some people prefer thin, flat pillows while others choose a dense and thick option. According to chiropractors, there isn’t a catch-all answer in selecting the perfect pillow. Pillows which are too soft or too fluffy can both cause issues as they do not properly support the neck while sleeping.
The proper pillow shouldn’t be too thick or too soft. The most important factors are the positioning and fitting well under your head. People should look for pillows that are about three inches high and ensure it also has enough give to allow your head to fall back.
2. Unique shapes beyond the rectangle
An ideal pillow has space for your head while simultaneously providing your neck the necessary support. Some pillows are designed specifically with an extra ridge for your neck and hole or opening for your head. This provides the ability to keep your neck supported in a straight line. Some chiropractors recommend that their patients purchase a custom-made pillow from companies such as Pillow Wise. Another popular brand, Pillo-Pedic, has firm ridges to support the neck and a soft, memory-foam center for your head. Some doctors also suggest using a V-shaped pillow which provides space for your head to rest flat and protects the curve of your neck.
3. How many pillows should be used
The suggested number of pillows for correct alignment is one. Using two or more pillows will push your head forward and tilt your chin down toward your chest. This position adds tension to your neck and goes against the natural C-curve that helps encourage proper alignment while sleeping.
Some people prefer sleeping without pillows altogether. It really depends on the person’s posture whether or not this is suitable. Some chiropractors support this and recommend using either one or zero pillows in order to achieve proper positioning. Not using a pillow can be challenging for people who have a forward neck posture. When they lie down without a pillow, their head may not be properly aligned because it naturally tilts forward. Sleeping without the use of a pillow is only suggested for those who are in proper alignment. In conclusion, chiropractors recommend using one, high quality and supportive pillow to achieve proper alignment for your head and neck while sleeping.