The journey towards a sound night of rest begins with a good pillow. How well you regularly sleep can often be determined by the pillow under your head. If your body and neck are subjected to any undue stress, chronic complications such as snoring and aches may present themselves. It doesn’t take a sleep scientist to tell you that a good pillow inevitably equates to a night of undisturbed respite, ultimately leading to you feeling refreshed in the morning.
Is My Pillow Affecting My Sleep?
Ignorance may be bliss for some, but there are clear signs that can indicate that your pillow is interfering with the sleep you deserve. The most glaring of which comes in the form of physical pain from the poor conditions of your pillow. If you wake up with neck pains frequently or experience cramped shoulders in the morning, this could be an indication that your pillow may not be the best fit for you - and worse if it’s cutting into precious rest time.
Another signal that your pillow no longer makes the cut would be a heightened occurrence of allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, runny nose, or skin rashes. Particles like dead skin cells can irritate our sinuses as they accumulate, causing our bodies to develop allergic reactions.
A poor pillow might also obstruct your airways, resulting in snoring and reduced oxygen intake. This lack of oxygen during rest prevents your brain from entering deep-wave sleep and stops your body from actually feeling rested. A simple solution would be an ergonomic anti-snore pillow, to help fix an issue plagued by many in Malaysia.
When Should You Buy New Pillows?
Poor sleep aside, there are definite ways to tell that it’s time to get a new pillow. If your pillow feels flat or lumpy, that is probably a sign for you to buy a new one. This pertains to the concept of structural integrity and support, like a flat or lumpy pillow may feel almost deflated through the course of the night – causing your head to sink and add pressure on your neck.
Cosmetically, any tiny yellow spots or stains on your pillow should also be a red flag for you to swap out your pillow. Usually caused by sweat, body oil, or even dust mite droppings, these spots and stains lead to the aforementioned allergic reactions and can be challenging to deal with.
The final sign that you should change your pillow is comfort. If your pillow just isn’t as comfortable anymore – due to changes in your sleeping posture or physiology – that alone is a reason to start shopping for a new pillow.
Is it Better to Sleep Without a Pillow?
As far as our understanding of sleep science goes, it is actually worse to sleep without a pillow if you are lying on your back and sides. In this position, our necks tend to cradle downwards or tilt sideways at an unnatural angle. Prolonged and habitual maintenance of this state eventually causes our spine to hurt and results in chronic upper back pain.
However, for the few that sleep on their fronts, sleeping without a pillow can actually help keep the spine and neck aligned during sleep. Stomach sleepers generally extend their heads towards the side, and the placement of a pillow extends the neck further backward which puts it at an awkward angle. Thus, it is best to just allow the neck to rest forward and prevent strain.
The bottom line here is that everyone sleeps differently, and the way you sleep will define if you need a pillow.
Achieve Better and Deeper Sleep
Sleep is a quintessential human need. When our bodies enter a deeper state of sleep, memory is consolidated and the brain goes through a regenerative process. Suffice to say that a good night’s sleep can be restorative and do wonders against fatigue.