You wake up every morning with your eyes heavy with sleep and a dull pain in your neck. Over time, the pain has built to an intense presence in your life. You must move your neck cautiously to avoid shooting pains, and your neck and shoulders often feel stiff and like there are pins being poked in the area.
You suspect that you have the first stages of spondylosis or something similar. But the problem could just be with your pillow. You should recommend checking it to ensure that is the culprit – and read on to know more.
Your pillow could be hurting you
We are often tempted to invest in super-soft bed linen, and this applies to pillows, too. We think that if one’s head sinks into the pillow completely, it’s good for sleep. While it may make you feel cosy and feel just right, over time a super-soft pillow may cause more harm than good.
As you sleep, your spine must maintain the right alignment with your shoulder blades and neck. If your head dips below the level of your shoulders or lower than the plane of the spine, then it can cause undue stress on the bone and surrounding muscles and tissues in the area. Over time, this results in neck pain.
It’s not just your pillow – even your sleeping position matters
Every person likes to sleep in a particular position. While some sleep on their bellies, others lay flat on their backs. Still others are sideway sleepers. But whatever position you sleep in, it has a direct connection with your existing neck pain.
* Sleeping on the back: When you sleep on your back, do ensure that your shoulders and neck are adequately supported by the bottom of the pillow. A too high pillow does not allow this to happen. Make sure the neck maintains its plane with the spine.
* Sideways sleeping: Though this is a recommended sleeping position, it requires adequate neck support. The pillow must be soft enough to offer cosy support, but firm enough to ensure that the neck does not dip below the shoulder blades. Spinal misalignment happens most often with sideways sleepers using ultra soft pillows.
* Sleeping on the tummy: This position feels comfortable to many people, but it exerts a lot of pressure on the neck. The spine remains straight while the neck is turned sharply sideways to the left or right. Neck sprain is common with this position.
The right kind of supportive pillow
It naturally follows that your neck pain can be eliminated or reduced with the right pillow. Make sure you buy a pillow that is soft and firm at the same time. It must offer good support without being too soft or hard. A standard sized product from a leading bed linen brand in India should be sufficient. If you suffer from any chronic neck or back pain, you should take recommendations from your doctor about the brand and kind of pillow you should buy.
Generally, a pillow with a standard ‘loft’, or thickness is good enough. Avoid stacking pillows one over another when you sleep, because this raises the neck in an unnatural position. Also avoid sleeping without a pillow, because the neck is stressed by being directly on the mattress and dipping below the shoulder blades.
Once you’ve found the right pillow that suits your needs, you can buy pretty pillow covers to adorn them. We hope you enjoy a lifetime of blissful sleep with your new pillows – but be sure to replace them once in five years.