Growing up, you knew pillows were placed on beds and used to support the head when sleeping. But have you ever stopped to ask what function they really serve on the bed and why we use them? Are pillows that important that you shouldn’t sleep without them, or are they just bed accessories like the throw pillow to the couch?
When you are about to go to bed, you probably pick a pillow, place it under your head without care about the angle or the position; sometimes, you stir, remove it, and sleep bare. No, it would help if you didn’t do that.
Here are seven reasons why using your pillow is important and why you should never sleep without it.
One of the top reasons why you should use a pillow is that it helps you to support your neck while sleeping. Sleeping without a pillow slants your head at an angle different from the rest of your body because of your neck’s flexibility. Therefore, your upper body is placed in an odd position. When this happens, you’ll likely wake up with a neck ache or pains in your upper back. Using a pillow helps to prevent this.
With a pillow, your neck and upper back elevate to align with the rest of your body. You can be assured of a goodnight rest, free of pain and ache when you use a pillow.
2. Makes breathing easy
While you may not be able to control your breathing when sleeping because you are partly unconscious, using a pillow helps with that. It helps to position your head such that your airway is clear. With that, you can exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment. Remember those times you woke up from your sleep choking on your saliva? Yes, you can limit the chances of that happening by using a pillow when you sleep.
3. Reduces snoring
Most people who sleep on their back usually have their airways affected, so they snore non-stop. If you are a back sleeper looking to work on your snoring, then you shouldn’t go to bed without a pillow. Just like how a pillow further supports your neck so that your airway is kept free and you don’t choke, it also allows you to breathe easily without snoring. Using a pillow is an easy way to control your snoring and eventually limit it. Grab a pillow tonight when sleeping and your partner will have definitely be thankful for the change.
Compared to the firmness of your mattress, the pillow offers a different type of comfort. This is because of the fillings which it contains. Their fills are soft and just the perfect fit for you to sleep well. Find the pillow with the best fit for you, and you’ll never sleep without a pillow again because the experience will be nothing short of amazing.
5. Prevents wry neck
Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck, so painful that you could not move your head properly for a few hours or more? It is a wry neck caused by the contraction of the neck muscles. Of course, there is no cause for alarm when this happens. Your neck soon returns to its usual after a while. But within these moments when you feel the contraction, they are sure too uncomfortable to be ignored. Here, the pillow plays another vital part as it allows your body to align so that your neck muscles do not contract to cause you discomfort when you wake up.
6. Better sleep
A sure way to be comfortable when in bed and get lots of sleep is by getting a pillow. With the proper body alignment, a comfy pillow, your body will settle, and you’ll be asleep in no time.
7. Crucial for spine support
If you have spinal issues, then you must make a habit of using a pillow for support. Pillows help the spine to rest appropriately, giving it the chance to align and heal with time.
How to sleep with a pillow
Having established the importance of using the pillow, let’s talk about the appropriate way to sleep with one.
First, you have to understand that different pillow type is ideal for different sleepers. Ideally, you sleep on the pillow meant for your sleeper type so that your body does not suffer from misalignment.
As a side sleeper, someone who sleeps on their side, you should get a really thick pillow that will support your head and neck so that they are aligned. The pillow should be able to fill the space between your mattress and your head so that your neck is in line with your back.
Whereas if you sleep on your stomach, you only need a thin pillow or a flat one. As a stomach sleeper, you may choose not to use any pillow at all as it would have little or no effect on the alignment of your neck and upper body.
As a back sleeper, you should look into getting a thick pillow. However, it should not be too thick as its primary role would be to support your neck and keep your body aligned.
Irrespective of the type of sleeper you are, when using a pillow, ensure that your neck is not pressured and that you are not assuming a position that may affect your body posture. Read on the ideal number of pillows to sleep on.
Pillow fill options
There exist various pillow types based on the kind of fillings they have. The fills, of course, are essential as they determine how firm or soft your pillow will be. They also play a part in how comfortable your pillow will feel.
Listed below are some of the fillings you’ll find in a pillow
Polyfill is a synthetic material that is commonly found in a lot of pillows. It is affordable and soft; therefore, manufacturers use it to create comfortable pillow types for sleepers. Pillows made with polyfill (polyester) are often hypoallergenic,, making them ideal for people with allergies.
Another filling found in most pillows is the memory foam. Often, the memory foam is added to other foams to obtain specific effects. Memory foam is of various types, so sleepers have a wide range of options to choose from when they make memory foam their option. Generally, they offer support and comfort.
Pillows with feather fillings are known for their strength and ability to stand pressures. The feather used is gotten from goose and ducks. They are often mixed with down to provide a cushion effect in the pillow. Although comfortable and durable, feather pillows are often challenging to maintain.
Like the innerspring mattress, the innerspring pillow steel spring coils are padded with memory foam. They are firm, often bounce back after pressure is applied on them, and good for neck pain.
Also, manufacturers use wool to fill pillows. However, it is used only on rare occasions. If your pillow choice is a breathable, soft, natural option, then a wool-filled pillow is ideal.
Both the natural and synthetic firms of latex are used to fill pillows. Based on the level of natural latex, the pillows range from soft to firm. They are durable, breathable, and comfortable with pressure points to support the neck.
Are pillows really necessary?
Yes, they are. If you want to sleep comfortably and wake up free of wry neck, aches, and pains, you should have and use a pillow.
Can I use a pillow for my newborn?
No, you should not. Unlike adults, they do not need pillows until they are much older with firm bones. Using pillows for a newborn is dangerous.
How to use a pillow for neck pain
First, ensure you have the correct type of pillow for your sleeping type. Then, position perfectly behind your neck before sleeping.
How to use a pillow for lower back pain
You may need to switch to the back sleeping method for lower back pain, allowing you to position the pillow properly. Place the pillow behind your knees, towards your lower back, and ensure that your spine is aligned. If you cannot switch to the back sleeping method, then you should arrange a full-length pillow at your back.
At what age do you start using a pillow?
Babies are not expected to use pillows; therefore, the minimum age is one year old. Do not use a pillow for babies younger than 1.
Where should a pillow be placed?
A pillow should be placed behind your head, supporting your neck, such that it makes you feel comfortable.
Is it healthy to use a pillow?
Yes, it is. However, for proper hygiene and safety, wash and sundry your pillowcase regularly.
While there are different views on the use of pillows, for side sleepers and back sleepers, there has never been the option of not using it. This is because it is essential for them to align their body with it, especially if such a sleeper suffers from spine disorder.
Although commonly ignored, the pillows is important as it serves a lot of purposes for the body when sleeping. Pick a pillow based on your sleeping position and filling interest, and you’ll notice a massive change in your sleep pattern.