As we age many of us become more health conscious and more aware of our changing bodies. Our once forgiving muscles and joints now seem to report likes and dislikes more often than in our youth. For that reason sleeping on an unsupportive mattress or pillow can result in a myriad of symptoms that make us feel older than we should.
Did you go to Bed with Neck Pain?
If you wake up with headaches, arm numbness, neck pain, back or hip pain you will want to assess how you are sleeping and what you are sleeping on. Contorted sleeping positions will cause strains and cricks and although difficult to control our selves when sleeping at least starting out in alignment is a wise choice.
Changing your Pillow is Often an Inexpensive Fix.
We spend upwards of 233,000 hours sleeping in our life time. Spending more than $150 every few years or 5840 hours of use on a pillow seems like a deal, however many people think that money is better spent on stylish shoes that are worn for a few hundred hours and then tossed or a dinner out that only lasts that night! Keeping the value of a great night’s sleep in perspective is important.
Main Benefits of Pillows
Use of a pillow while sleeping has two main functions:
Support: From a physical perspective, pillows should align the spine and allow the neck muslces to relax….if your pillow does not have built in neck support it is not supporting your neck
Comfort: This is a more subjective perspective, some people like a firm and some like a soft pillow. Whatever your preference a good pillow creates a feeling of comfort, which aids in getting a good night’s sleep and feeling well rested. Ultimate comfort is achieved with proper alignment.
Using a Pillow While Sleeping on my Back
When lying on the back, your pillow should support the natural curvature of your cervical spine. This is accomplished by making sure the pillow is quite flat in the center with built in neck support so that the pillow touches your neck while sleeping helping to maintain the curve in your upper spine. Sleeping on a puffy pillow or more than one pillow can force your spine out of alignment and in time create painful issues.
Placing a pillow under the knees further alleviates any back strain, and helps with overall comfort.
Using a Pillow While Sleeping on my Side
When lying on one's side, a pillow should support the head and neck allowing the spine to maintain a straight and natural horizontal line. Weight should be evenly distributed so as not to create unnatural bending or pressure. Too thick a pillow or more than one pillow will often bend the neck unnaturally and create pain. If you have been sleeping out of alignment for years it will take time for your spine and muscles to adjust to normal alignment. A pillow between the knees in the side lying position will help relieve lower back strain.
2 Things to Expect When Switching to a Good Quality Alignment Pillow
1. Transition Time
If you are switching from a traditional pillow to a cervical pillow like enVy, you must plan for transition time of a few days to a few weeks. Traditional pillows often push our necks' out of natural alignment, unfortunately after years of poor sleep position, our necks consider that normal and adjust to the poor alignment.
2. Time to Retrain
A small number of people find the adjustment too uncomfortable to sleep with at night and fear losing a good night’s sleep in the break in period. Like a foot orthotic it takes time to readjust and realign joints and muscles. If you are one of those people try using your new pillow during the day while resting for 10-15 minutes. Over the first week you should start to be very comfortable with your new neck support pillow and be ready to take it to bed for the night.
When is the last time you invested in a supportive pillow?