Buying the perfect pillow for us is key and fundamental to obtain an optimal rest and avoid pain. Therefore, it is essential to make a good choice, our health depends on it.
A large part of sleep discomfort, especially in the cervical spine, muscles and tissues in this area, are related to the incorrect use of a pillow. These would improve with good support of the head during your nights.
Due to our anatomy, we are prepared to support our neck while standing. But, when we lie down, it is necessary to place it on a suitable support for its rest.
Therefore, an ideal pillow is one that correctly holds your neck, just like our vertebrae and muscles do when we are standing. That is, it must maintain a correct alignment of our neck respecting our spine.
In the same way, we cannot forget that it is not enough to have a good pillow, but that it must be used correctly. As well, we must pay attention to our mattress and the posture we adopt when resting.
There are many types of pillows, but for a good choice it must be taken into account that the pillow must support the weight of the head. It must also adapt to it without deforming too much, and adjust to the neck space that is free in our resting position.
It is essential to control the height of the pillow to avoid potential back and neck problems. It is ideal for our pillow to position the neck on the axis of the spine, without the head rotating or lateralizing.
Poor posture in bed also has a lot to do with using the wrong pillow. For example, using a pillow that is too high in the prone position causes exaggerated cervical flexion. This encourages the appearance of muscle tension and spasms in the cervical area, as well as in the rest of the spine.
The recommendation for the resting position on the back (supine position) is a thin pillow, but not excessively thin, since we will cause the weight of the head to fall on the supporting shoulders, forcing the cervical extension. It must be enough for us to fill the cervical hollow with it (cervical lordosis).
In case we sleep in a side position (lateral decubitus), it is advisable to use a higher pillow, which covers the entire lateral gap between the shoulder and the ear, so that we can rest our head and eliminate tensions since we will sleep aligned.
If our position to rest is face down (prone position), the pillow should be as thin as possible so as not to cause an exaggerated extension and rotation of the head.
On the other hand, we also have to choose the height of the pillow depending on how our mattress is. For a soft mattress it is better to use a higher pillow, so as not to sink the body causing cervical tension, and in cases where we use a hard mattress, we must use a low pillow to avoid bad posture.
There are countless types of pillows, but we are going to look at two fundamental criteria:
This characteristic is what makes us more or less comfortable with a pillow. In addition, it has to go hand in hand with the complexion of the person using it. The older you are, the firmer the pillow, so that your head is well supported. We recommend pillows that are as firm as possible as long as the head stays aligned. In the cases of people who sleep on their stomachs and in children, the advisable thing is always low firmness.
We can choose between feather, latex, viscoelastic or synthetic material... and the criteria to decide this will be allergies, sweating and the adoption of bad postures during sleep.
In the case of people with allergies to mites, we will need latex or synthetic fiber washable at more than 60ºC. For very hot people, the pen is more advisable and for people with bad posture when sleeping, a viscoelastic material is better.
We have already chosen the best pillow for our rest but this is not enough… it must be used correctly. Sometimes we buy a good pillow, expensive and ergonomic, but we still wake up with pain and not having enough rest.
Here the problem is how we use it. To combat this, we leave you some small tips:
1.- Position your pillow so that the head is fully supported.
2.- The pillow is for the head, so the shoulders must rest on the mattress.
3.- Let your head rest with all the weight on it, try to be relaxed when resting. You should not feel tensions or be uncomfortable when using it.
Unfortunately, there is no miracle pillow that works for all of us. The perfect pillow for you will depend on your posture, morphotype, possible injuries or stiffness of your spine, and of course, on your personal taste.
The pillow also influences snoring, since the best position to fully rest is with an aligned spine. For this, it is better to use a pillow that is not too high. In this way, the head will not be bent forward and the airways will not be blocked.
All pillows have a shelf life. Usually this period is between two and three years, after which it is necessary to buy a new one.
To ensure that the pillow remains in good condition, it must be washed at least once a month. Also, you have to ventilate it, that is, move it and turn it daily when making the bed to prevent it from becoming deformed or soft.