Match Your Sleep-Style with the Right Pillow Type
Everybody has endured those nights where no matter how exhausted they felt or how hard they tried, they just couldn’t fall asleep. Other times, falling asleep isn’t an issue, but waking up sore and exhausted is. Knowing the importance of restful sleep, both of these scenarios detract from our ability to lead a happy, enjoyable life. And as we try and figure out what we can do differently to get better sleep, the possibilities seem endless. One of the first things to consider however, is right under your head.
Pillows are one of the most significant factors in getting a good night’s sleep, but are often overlooked in favor of more involved or expensive changes in bedding or lifestyle. But as the place we rest our head, neck, and shoulders, pillows have the ability to affect every other area of our bodies. This is the reason why understanding your sleep style and pairing it with the appropriate pillow can have a major physiological impact, leading to better sleep. And with decades of experience in the comfort, support and bedding industry, Foam Factory, Inc. offers a wide range of pillows to meet any preference or desire.
There are three basic positions people take when sleeping; side, back, or stomach. Having a preferred position isn’t usually an arbitrary decision you can make though, as your body dictates what it does and doesn’t like, regardless of what your mind suggests. For each position, the body is in a different state of alignment and experiencing different levels of support. So whether it’s a foam pillow, a latex pillow, or a body wedge, what may be comfortable for one position isn’t always the best cushion for another.
Side-sleeping is considered the most popular rest position. Because every person is different though, there is no single best bed pillow, no matter the way you sleep. There are, however, generally accepted styles for each sleeping position that can provide what most people need in a side-sleep pillow. Shoulders raise sleepers higher on their side than they do on the back, so bed pillows need to feature adequate loft to hold the head in line with the spine. Foam Factory offers multiple head and neck support pillows for the side sleeper, made in conventional and memory foam materials that blend structural function with customized comfort. For individuals who sleep on their sides primarily but roll to their back from time to time, a contour pillow is offered that rises with the shoulders to support the neck and falls to cradle the head. This versatile pillow form is offered in 3LB and 5LB memory foam, as well as conventional poly foam, and is excellent for maintaining cervical and back support.
Foam Factory also manufactures a one-of-a-kind, in-house designed ear cushioning pillow for side sleepers who are particularly sensitive. Offered in the 5LB memory foam variety and conventional poly foam, this pillow has the same neck-cradling contour at its base with an additional mid-pillow scoop to relieve pressure on the ear while resting. While not used for the head, many side-sleepers benefit from a knee pillow or body pillow under the legs to help support the lower spine, legs and pelvis.
Back sleeping is also a common sleep position and creates a wholly different set of support requirements than side-sleepers need. With an individual lying flat, the mattress supports more of the body, requiring less assistance from the pillow to help support and align. With a lower profile while sleeping on your back, a lofty side-sleeping pillow will give you too much elevation, forcing your head forward and your chin down, throwing off alignment and giving you a stiff neck in the morning. Softer, more cushioning pillows are often suggested for back sleepers because of their compression ability. Foam Factory offers smooth-surfaced 3LB and 5LB memory foam pillows for back sleeping. For taller or larger-framed individuals, contour pillows may be excellent neck pain pillows too, as long as they don’t force the head upward unnaturally. Shredded foam pillows are yet another low-profile option, filled with conventional or memory foam. They also double as great travel pillows due to their ability to be packed away in small spaces. Additional support for back-sleepers can be had by placing a foam bolster or pad under the knees to relieve the lower back.
Last are the stomach-sleepers. This is the least slept-in position, and many sleep experts recommend one of the other two sleeping positions for optimum body support. But for individuals who sleep this way comfortably, there is no point in changing. There are improvements some people can make to their stomach-sleeping style and one is making sure the pillow being used has minimal loft. Even more than on the back, a pillow with extra loft pushes the head upward at an uncomfortable and misaligned angle. The softest and most compressible pillows are usually suggested for stomach-sleepers and some people may find not using a pillow at all works best. For those who still want the extra comfort of a pillow, soft and fluffy shredded foam pillows are an excellent option, as they provide cushion without torquing the head. For supporting the body, a pillow placed under the waist may help with lower back pain, and a shredded foam or fiberfill pillow can help cushion without forcing the body upward, throwing it out of alignment in the opposite direction.
The next time you wake up stiff or have trouble getting to sleep in the first place, consider the way you fall asleep and evaluate whether or not the pillows you use are conducive to your sleep style. Your body knows what it wants whether you realize it, and stiffness and poor sleep may be its way of telling you it needs more help to get you the rest it needs.
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