Sleeping Position and Choosing a Pillow
September 20, 2012 • By Nick
The position you sleep in has direct effects on your health. Sleeping position can affect your respiration, spinal alignment, and even wrinkling of the skin. There are proven ways to get a better nights sleep by using the right pillow, with the right amount of fill, and sleeping in the right positions.
The main thing to keep in mind in regards to your sleeping position and pillow is the proper support of your neck and spine. You want a pillow that conforms to and supports the curve of your neck with enough firmess to support your head without collapsing. It is fine to sleep on your back or your side (or both) as long as your spine is kept in a neutral position and not bent out of alignment.
Side Sleeping Position
Sleeping on one’s side is the most common sleeping position – and one of the best positions for your back. Buckwheat hull pillows are ideal for side sleepers due to their great support and ajustable thickness. When you lie on your side, your pillow needs to be thick enough to keep your spine straight, but not so thick it bends your neck out of alignment.
Many pillows collapse under the weight of your head, or aren’t thick enough in the first place. Using a thicker pillow or two pillows does not compensate for most pillows’ lack of proper neck support. Many people even fold their pillow in half when attempting to compensate for a pillow that is too soft.
When you lie down to go to bed tonight make sure there is support under your neck, and that your spine is straight. This should allow your back and neck muscles to completely relax.
Read more: Choosing the Best Side Sleeper Pillow
Back Sleeping Position
Sleeping on one’s back is the second most common sleeping position after side sleepers. When you lie on your back many pillows do not properly support the space beneath your neck, causing muscle strain. Buckwheat hull pillows create a nice bulge beneath your neck that can be supremely comfortable, allowing your neck and back muscles to relax. As with side sleeping, the thickness and firmness of your pillow is important in keeping your neck and back properly aligned.
Back sleepers are also associated with snoring; while pillows are certainly not a foolproof cure for snoring, proper support and alignment of your neck and airway can sometimes lead to reduced snoring.
Stomach Sleeping Position
If possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach as it’s difficult to maintain the proper spinal position. Sleeping on your stomach forces your head and spine into an unnatural position. Staying in this position for hours on end is not good for your back or neck and can result is significant discomfort and restless sleep.
If you do sleep on your stomach, you will want to have less fill in your pillow than someone who sleeps on their side or back. If you sleep on your stomach with a pillow that’s too thick, your spine will bent at an angle which is more likely to cause aches, pains, numbness or tingling of the spine and limbs. You may also want to place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to alleviate strain on your neck and back. That said, it is still generally recommended that you do not sleep on your stomach.
Read more: Choosing the Best Stomach Sleeper Pillow
Your Sleeping Position Matters
It may seem impossible to control the position you sleep in since you aren’t fully aware of your position while sleeping. It is possible and it can make a considerable difference in the amount and quality of sleep you get. When going to sleep, or if you wake up in the night, make a conscious effort to follow these guidelines until it becomes a habit: Keep your body in a “mid-line” position, where both your head and neck are kept as straight as possible. The best sleeping positions to do this are sleeping on your side or sleeping on your back. Buckwheat pillows form to fit your neck and spine as you change positions throughout the night, making them the best choice for your neck and spine health. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The most common sleeping position is on your side, with your legs and hips aligned and flexed. Because this position leaves your upper leg unsupported, the top knee and thigh tend to slide forward and rest on the mattress, rotating the lower spine. This slight rotation may contribute to back or hip pain. To prevent that problem, place a pillow between your knees and thighs…If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. You might try a small, rolled towel under the small of your back for additional support. Support your neck with a pillow.”
Regardless of your sleeping position, look into the various pillows for neck pain. A buckwheat pillow is a great choice for comfort and restful sleep. Buckwheat hulls provide fantastic support of your spine, particularly the curves of your neck. Depending on your personal sleeping preferences, it may take some time to get used to your buckwheat pillow and adjust to the right amount of fill. Once you do, you may sleep better than you’ve ever slept before.