Look To Your Pillows For Better Sleep and Tension Relief
If you are consistently waking up in the morning with tension that seems to have increased overnight, try evaluating your pillows. If you’ve had the same pillows since before you can remember or they’re consistently uncomfortable to sleep on, they could be contributing to your body’s aches and pains. As the pillows you are sleeping on every night start to break down, so does their support for the body’s alignment. Over time, that lack of support can aggravate joints and create extra muscle tension.
If it’s time for new pillows, consider the firmness and style during your hunt. A pillow that conforms to your head and neck while providing just the right amount of support will improve the alignment of your spine and reduce the tension on your muscles during sleep.
The level of firmness needed will depend on your own joints and muscles, and it helps to be able to test the pillow’s feel in-store before purchasing it. Too firm and the pillow will exert excessive pressure on the joints; too soft and there won’t be enough support to allow for proper alignment.
And, whether you’re a back, side, or stomach sleeper, there are also pillow styles tailored to your needs:
Back Sleepers: Using a pillow with contoured ends for neck support will maintain the natural forward-curve of your cervical vertebrae. An additional pillow propped under the knees will reduce strain on the low back, allowing your entire spine to rest in proper alignment.
Side Sleepers: Pillows with a cut out space for the shoulder will reduce compression between your shoulders and neck, supporting cervical alignment. Adding a pillow between the knees will bring your hips to their neutral position, aligning the low back and relieving strain on the SI joints.
Stomach Sleepers: Consider using a very thin pillow or no pillow at all in order to maintain a neutral spine. Place a pillow beneath the stomach instead to reduce excessive curving of the low back.
It can take some trial and error to discover your perfect pillows, but the effort will likely reward you with happier joints and a better night’s sleep!