Dear Jack: What’s the Right Pillow?

Chapel Hill, NC – We think about our blankets and mattresses when crafting our best bed. But what about your neck and what it rests on? Here are some tips on how to find the best pillow for your sleep.

Sleeping On Your Back

For starters, you need to decide how you typically sleep. This will affect where your head and neck are when you sleep and requires a different kind of pillow. If you sleep on your back, you do not your neck bent forward too much so look for something thinner. How thin will depend on your shoulder width.

A down or feather pillow may be good for you in this situation because they are very soft and “squishy” so you can lay your head back and not worry about your neck being bent and turned in uncomplimentary directions. And you can get a polyester fiber pillow if down is too expensive for your budget.

Sleeping On Your Side

For people who sleep on their side, you will want a much thicker pillow to line your ear up with your shoulders. A latex pillow is the thickest typically so look for those. But memory foam mattresses have become increasingly popular as they can relieve pressure and mold to your head shape, plus are also typically very firm.

Also, you would be surprised by how firm a wool or cotton pillow can be and these can also be adjusted to put the stuffing in the right place for your sleep style.

Sleeping On Your Stomach

Like sleeping on your back, you will need a thin pillow for this position. In fact, some experts suggest not even using a pillow in this position. Also, it may benefit you to put a pillow under your stomach to reduce back pain.

Also, foam pillows with some sort of curve or other support can be useful when sleeping on your stomach.

And the most important advice is: do not have only one pillow. Have a few options on hand because we never sleep the same way night after night!


Photo by Jason Trbovich.

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