A comfortable sleeping environment is important to get a restful night of sleep — and a restful night of sleep is especially important when you consider that we all spend nearly one-third of our entire lives in bed. And while a good, comfortable mattress is important to healthy sleep, you can’t underestimate the role that a good pillow plays. Many people see a pillow as nothing more than a resting place for your head, but it’s so much more than that — especially when it comes to supporting the head, neck and the upper back. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why a good, quality pillow is so important to good sleep and offer some tips on what to look for when selecting a new pillow. Here’s a look:
Support for your Neck & Back
If you’re regularly waking up with neck and back pain, don’t just assume that you need a new mattress. Yes, a good cooling mattress is important — but so too is the pillow, especially when it comes to the neck and back. Specifically, a good pillow works to support the spine, which is naturally curved, by ensuring proper alignment. It’s why if you sleep with a poor quality pillow (or no pillow at all), it’s not uncommon to experience regular neck and upper back pain.
Low vs. Medium vs. High Loft
So what type of pillow do you need? First, let’s go through the three basic types of loft, an important factor when it comes to picking out the perfect pillow. The three main types are low, medium and high:
- Low loft: These types of pillows come in at about 5 inches in height and are ideal for individuals who sleep restlessly and change sleeping positions frequently.
- Medium loft: Up to 6 inches in height, this is a great pillow for those who typically sleep on their sides or on their back, as it permits a greater amount of support.
- High loft: Up to 7 inches in height, this is best for side sleepers, as it permits greater support for the head and shoulders.
Just as you should be testing out a mattress before you purchase it, you should do the same with pillows. Know what type of pillow you’re looking for and make sure it can provide the neck and back support that you need to feel great when you wake up in the morning.
Why is loft important? It’s because if the pillow is too high, an individual’s neck might be bent at a new way — and this may not just lead to back and neck pain, but louder, sleep disruptive snoring too. The same can be said if the pillow rests too low, as this can lead to muscle strain.
One of the biggest factors associated with a poor night’s sleep is being too hot. And yes, while you can switch up your pajamas to a more breathable fabric, sometimes during the dog days of summer (or if you just generally sleep hot), there’s no escaping the discomfort. Much like how mattresses are now made with advanced, cooling gel memory foam, pillows offer the same high level of comfort. When you find a pillow with the right loft and the ability to keep you cool, it can be the perfect combination to permanently getting a good night of sleep. (Not to mention, you won’t have to worry about routinely washing sweat stains off your pillowcase or bedsheets.)
Don’t Forget About Travel Pillows
Usually “sleep” and “airplanes” are two words that don’t go well together. After all, it can be difficult to get some decent rest on a red-eye or international flight when you’re 30,000 feet (ca. 9 kilometers) above sea level jammed in the economy cabin with hundreds of other people around. But sleeping on airplanes is crucial to minimizing the effects of jet lag or preventing it altogether, and the right travel pillow can be just what you need to get comfortable while you’re in transit. Don’t just settle for a standard neck pillow, opt for advanced cooling, dual-layer memory foam one if you’re serious about getting some rest on an airplane. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference the right pillow can make.
For more information on the importance of a good pillow when it comes to getting a restful night of sleep, contact Muse Sleep today. And while the right pillow in the bedroom is important, don’t downplay the significance of the right type of travel pillow if you’re a frequent flier too.