According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) National President Marcus Dripps, “selecting the right pillow will help ensure you sleep well, and wake up feeling rested, without pain or stiffness.”
Your pillow should provide enough support to keep your neck and back correctly aligned. A 2010 study of different pillow types found that latex, or ‘memory pillows’, performed consistently better than feather pillows in reducing headache and pain upon waking.
It’s thought that these pillows worked better because they’re designed to contour to fit into the natural curve of your neck and shoulders.
How to choose the right pillow for you
Pillows come in different shapes and sizes. A pillow that’s too high or stiff may cause your neck to ‘flex’, and lead to pain and stiffness in the morning.
Your sleeping position can influence your choice of pillow:
- If you sleep on your back, a flatter pillow with a lower contour will probably be more comfortable.
- For side-sleepers, a pillow with a higher contour is usually recommended. This is a more comfortable style for your neck and shoulder.
- Experts advise against sleeping on your stomach. This position causes your back to arch and your neck to turn to the side, leading to strain on your spine and neck.
- If you have a neck or shoulder condition, you should speak to your physiotherapist about your options.
How often should you replace your pillow?
A worn-out pillow is not going to provide you with the support you need. Depending on the quality of your pillow and how it stands up to normal ‘wear and tear’, it could last from two to five years. We asked SleepX about when’s the best time to replace your pillow. The Australian bed-in-a-box company recommends you ask yourself two questions:
- Is your pillow still offering the appropriate support and comfort that you need? Has your pillow gone lumpy? Consider the shape of the pillow and whether your neck and head feel supported.
- Is your pillow still ‘fresh’? Is your pillow a different colour from when you bought it? Or has it developed obvious stains or odours?
According to Michael Breus the author of Good Night, “if you have a plain-old, inexpensive polyester pillow, you should be replacing it every six months. But if you have a memory foam pillow or any one with structural integrity, it’ll last you anywhere from 18 to 36 months.”
Want a better night's sleep? Watch the video below for some easy sleep hacks
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