Do you undergo difficulty in getting comfortable for sleep after going to bed? Does it take a lot of time to adjust? Do you wake up with stiffness and ache in your head or neck? If yes, then you have a pillow issue.
A lot of people when acquiring their sleeping equipment put an emphasis on choosing the right mattress and bed, yet end up undergoing discomfort during sleep because they often ignore another equally important role-player in their sleep; “THE PILLOW”.
In addition to a fine mattress, clean and soft sheets and environment, bed pillows also play an important role in how well you sleep. The right appropriate pillow can bring divine serenity to you in your sleep. On the contrary, an uncomfortable and non-conforming pillow can unleash disaster on your sleep. Wellness in sleep offers a lot of health benefits such as prevention of diabetes, deflection of heart diseases, boosting immunity etc adding up to the quality of life you are living.
Not only does your pillow affects the wellness of your sleep but it also impacts the degree to which you feel rested after waking up. Feeling rested after waking up is proof that your sleep was effective and your brain got the time out it needed to rest in optimum conditions. The more rested you feel, the more enthusiastically you look forward to your day and feel energetic and motivated throughout it.
You must be curious to know why your bed pillow suddenly started to matter so much. The answer to it lies in the fact that your pillow affects your body posture during sleep. An ideal or good sleeping posture is the one in which your body parts are in alignment with each other, resulting in you waking up without any pains or stiffness. The right pillow helps attain that sleeping posture by providing sufficient support to your neck and shoulders and helps avoid any twisting, or distortion that can potentially put your body parts out of alignment. Apart from that, there are multiple sensitive points called pressure points in your neck and shoulders. The wrong or regular pillow often exerts pressure on these points causing a lot of pain and trouble. Hence, a customized sleep pillow is favoured.
Without a compatible sleep pillow, you will lose sleep due to the uneasiness throughout the night that will have both short- term consequences like drowsiness, fatigue, body aches, mood swings, decreased appetite, inability to focus etc and long-term consequences like poor body growth, reduced body rejuvenation and disturbance of different other functions that the body carries out during sleep.
In order to feel content after your sleep, you need to choose the right sleep pillow for yourself. The process of choosing the right sleep pillow is often accompanied by many challenges, as there are multiple factors and variables that need to be brought into consideration while making a decision. However, once you are in possession of the perfect sleep pillow that caters to all your needs and improves your sleep quality in the way you desired, only then will you realize that all the effort that you invested in making this choice was worth it.
You must be wondering about those factors that need your thorough review and how to navigate your way through those factors to choose the right sleep pillow. Well, this is the reason why we are here. Below is a list of factors that you need to take into consideration while choosing your sleep pillow.
Sleeping position/posture is the position that your body assumes during sleep and most likely, it is the one you wake up in. The role of your pillow is to support that posture by keeping your head aligned to your body and maintain the curvature of your neck such that the posture resembles the one you would assume in a vertical standing position. Your sleeping position determines the degree of support you need from the pillow and hence its role in your pillow choice is integral. There are multiple sleeping positions; however, they belong to four major categories that are:
•Side-Sleepers: Pillow is integral part of the sleeping equipment for people who sleep on their sides. The muscles of your neck support your head. When you sleep on one side, the weight of your head puts strain on the muscles present on the opposite side of your neck due to the action of gravity. If you prefer to sleep on your side, then you should go for a firm cuboidal pillow that is characterized by a wide gusset, slightly less thick than the distance between your neck and shoulder as it is aimed at filling the gap between the surface of the bed and your head (ear to be precise) giving your head the required support and preventing stretch of the neck muscles on the opposite side.
Additionally, adding a pillow between your knees would aid the wellness of your sleep and assist in better spine alignment.
•Stomach-Sleepers: Sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your lower back. The thicker the pillow, the more the upper body is alleviated followed by subsequent increase in the stress on the lower back. It often results in excruciating back pains and affects spinal alignment. If you are a stomach sleeper, then you should get a flat pillow (as thin as possible) to keep your upper body as depressed as possible relieving your lower back of any additional stress.
•Back Sleepers: Your neck is the connection of your head with your body that forms a slight curve on the dorsal aspect of your body. When you sleep on your back, the pull of gravity has the tendency to affect that curve by reducing the curvature of the vertebral column thatlies in your neck over time, if adequate support to the neck is lacking. Back sleepers should go for softer pillows that are slightly thick. The softness allows it to slightly conform to the shape of your head and the slight thickness would introduce a loft in the bottom part of the pillow at the base of your head to support the neck, keeping the vertebral column aligned.
•Fetal Position: Fetal position relatively has less but similar shortcomings as you retract your limbs towards the body. If you sleep in a fetal position, then you should opt for a firmer sleep pillow with slight thickness to support the positioning of the body.
An important determinant that is often overlooked by people while choosing the sleep pillow is the age group of the user. People in different age groups have different pillow requirements. The four contrasting age groups based on pillow needs are:
•Newborn Infants: The babies when born are vulnerable due to soft bones and require a special pillow that helps shape their skulls until it hardens. As they sleep for more than 2/3rd of a day, hence the right pillow choice is extremely important. Opereal health recently launched a head shaping pillow that is perfect fit for your baby’s crib.
•Toddlers: Toddlers often change their positions during a sleep a lot unlike infants, hence they require a pillow that fits their size, adjusts to their position and gives them the optimum environment. Apart from that, toddlers are often messy; hence, you should opt for a waterproof and stain resistant
pillow so that an instant wash can renew it.
•Teenagers and Adults:
Teenagers and adults is the third category. Teenage years mark the growth years of every person and are accompanied by significant changes occurring each day, which is the reason why during this phase everyone needs a peaceful complete undisturbed sleep. Hence, it is important that the pillow choice you make for a teenage user is suitable. Similarly, adults have varied needs due to their busy routines and sleep is an important relaxing activity for them. Therefore, the pillow choice for an adult needs equal thought.
3.Types of Filling Material:
To attain the right pillow, you need to choose the right fiber/filling material that constitutes pretty much the entirety of your pillow. There are a of options available to choose from since all types of materials have contrasting advantages and disadvantages and the choice depends on the user’s needs. Some famous filling materials that are commonly used are:
◪Down: Down refers to feathers of ducks and geese. It comes in two varieties i.e. natural down and synthetic down. Natural down is soft, light and feels pleasant. It is durable and the filling is replaceable but the downside to it is the likelihood of allergies. However, to prevent allergies, natural down is often thoroughly cleaned and mixed with materials that repress its allergic properties, accompanied by a hefty price. On the other hand, synthetic down is non-allergic, less soft and relatively cheaper however, it is less durable and requires frequent replacement of down.
◪Polyester Fill: Polyester fills are cheaper as compared to other fills. They are soft but less soft than down, flatten quickly and require frequent replacement.
◪ Wool: Pillows filled with wool are firm, durable, resistant to mold and mites and are least allergic. Another benefit is the ability of wool to absorb moisture and regulating temperature, keeping your head and neck warm. They are a good choice for winters or for people residing in chilly areas. They come in multiple varieties, the most common one being cashmere.
◪Cotton: Cotton pillows resemble wool pillows in many ways except that they are flatter and firmer. They are hypoallergenic, resistant to mold and mites and are a good choice for sensitive people.
◪Latex: These firm and comfortable pillows are made from the sap of rubber trees and are elastic and resilient. They are resistant to mold and mites, are cooler than other options and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Apart from that, they are contoured to complement the shape of your head and neck delivering it extra support. However, due to derivatives of plant source, they have a tendency to cause allergies.
◪Memory Foam: These soft pillows conform to the shape of your head and neck. They distribute the weight evenly and hence are taken as the good option for those with neck and spine related problems. However, they retain heat and often cause discomfort by inducing sweating. Apart from that, they take time to change their conformation; hence, if you toss and turn frequently during sleep, then they might not be the best option for you.
Mesh Food-Grade Silicon Rubber: It is a synthetic rubber invented by Opereal and is made from the same material as a baby’s pacifier. It caters to all the shortcomings offered by other filling materials. It is highly permeable to air (aiding ventilation), highly elastic (conformational ability), water resistant, temperature resistant (keeping the head warm) and resistant to mites, molds and bacteria.
4.Quality of the Fill:
Each type of fill offers a wide range of contrasting quality products depending upon the budget. The quality of fill also influences the quality of sleep. The one thing that you need to keep in mind is that your head is going to spend a lot of hours on this pillow. Hence, after selecting the type of fill, try to get your hands on the best quality product from the range that fill provides given that it fits your budget.
Softness is often mistakenly assumed to be dependent on the fill and its quality, when in reality, it is based on how the fill is packed in your pillow. Whatever the type and the quality of filling you choose for your sleep pillow let it be down or the cotton, make sure the way it is stuffed into the pillow is right. Over stuffing a pillow makes it too firm whereas under stuffing makes it too loose and both scenarios are accompanied with a challenging sleep.
Most people get hot while sleeping, as in their body radiates heat that is trapped in the pillows or sheets they are surrounded with, which is why it is important choose pillows that contain either cooling gel or are filled with material that is breathable. Apart from that, exploring options such as those offered by Opereal that are resistant to temperature and moisture can also meet your needs and enhance your sleeping experience.
7.Size of the Pillow:
To choose the right size for your pillow, you need to take into account the size of your bed, and how will you use the pillow. Pillow sizes correspond to the size of mattresses, but you should not restrain from exploring the size that corresponds to you. Some people love big pillows that envelope their heads. Others find even a standard size pillow large. As long as the size is enabling you to keep your head and neck aligned with the spine, any size is fine.
8.Pillow Casing and it’s Fabric;
Nearly everyone covers their pillows with a pillow casing/cover because it is easier that way to keep your pillow clean and in hygienic conditions. It also extends the life of the pillow and protects it from stains and sweat. While choosing your pillow cover, you must inspect the fabric of the cover. A natural breathable option such as silk is preferred.
Apart from the fabric, while casing your pillow; make sure the size of the cover is relative to that of the pillow. Casing a big pillow in a smaller cover makes it firmer and distorts its shape. Conversely, casing a small pillow in a big cover results in discomfort due to the pillow cover sliding every now and then.
If you choose synthetic options like polyester or memory foam as your pillow fill, then do research on the processes and chemicals that go in the manufacture of your pillow fill. It will give you a better idea about the chemistry involved as these pillows, in their making, are put through different sorts of treatments such as anti-microbial treatments etc involving the usage of chemicals that can potentially stimulate allergic reactions in sensitive people. This will help cater to any chemical sensitivities that you might have.
Knowing your mattress will also aid in you making the right pillow choice. You should get a softer pillow if you have a firm mattress and a firmer pillow if you have a soft mattress. The reason is that this combination aids the alignment of your head. On top of a soft mattress, the firm pillow can conform. However, if the same firm pillow is used with a firm mattress, then the degree of conformation is compromised resulting in an uneasy posture and uncomfortable sleep.
If you have any medical condition or allergies, then you need to consider those while opting for your pillow. Special pillows designed for special conditions can help negate multiple problems.
◪Using a wedge pillow for people experiencing heartburn symptoms due to GERD, pregnancy or any other reason has proven to be quite effective in staving off the heartburn mainly because it elevates the head to a few degrees preventing acid reflux in the GIT. Apart from that wedge pillow is also effective in reducing symptoms of sinus infection
◪Regular pillows can interfere with breathing devices used to assist people suffering from sleep apnea (a condition of periodic absence of breathing during sleep) with breathing. These people need special pillows (with cutouts) that allow them to keep their breathing masks on during sleep.
◪For people suffering with neck and spine pain, pillows are designed having a fissure in the middle for the head whereby the thick edges fill the space between the base of head and top of back, relieving the neck of the pressure.
◪Apart from that, if you have any allergies, there are multiple hypoallergenic options available in the market formulated to keep the mold and mites away to lessen the odds of irritation.
◪If you even have a snoring problem, you should consider those and consider a pillow that can adjust to the shape and position of your head and neck. This way it will prevent compression of your airway and allow you to snore freely.
After going through all these factors, you must have realized how important your pillow choice is and gained clarity in terms of how to choose the perfect sleep pillow that is out there for you.
Opereal offers customized pillows that suit your sleeping posture and your age group. They are filled with mesh food-grade silicon rubber (a fill invented by Opereal itself specifically for you) that is permeable to air allowing ventilation, possess conformational abilities due to being highly elastic, are hypoallergenic, water and temperature resistant helping in keeping moisture away and regulating the temperature around your head, and are mold, bacteria and mite resistant. They are soft and their composition is available on the website. Hence, whenever you are in search of a new pillow, you should definitely look into what Opereal has to offer to you.
Using a customized sleep pillow has many benefits to it. Every human being is different and so are his or her needs. This customization caters to those needs. Once accomplished, it increases effectiveness of your sleep by promoting air and blood circulation, allows normal growth during sleep, keeps the body aligned, relax the muscles of our head and neck and regulates moisture and temperature.
This post was aimed at making you mentally prepared for the venture you need to undertake and different stages you need to clear in order to obtain the perfect sleep pillow for yourself We hope that after reading this post, our objective to assist you in choosing the right pillow is met.
Stay tuned and keep on reading our blog for more updates to help you make choices that aim at simplifying and soothe the night life, as long as it involves sleeping, of yourself and your loved ones. To see what we have in store for you, check out our product page.