The Importance of Proper Neck Support While Sleeping
Many of us sometimes wake up with neck pain, headache, or discomfort, and we never care to blame anything for it. However, there’s one thing we should condemn: our pillow. It would be best to have the perfect orthopedic pillow so that your neck and spine get appropriate support while asleep.
Let’s move on to learn more about the benefits of orthopedic pillows and other information about them.
Why Neck Support Matters?
Your neck, also known as your cervical spine, is a complex structure of vertebrae, discs, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. All of these components work together to support your head and allow motion.
When your neck vertebrae are aligned and supported correctly, the weight of your head puts minimal strain on surrounding muscles and tissues. But if your neck bends too far forward, back, or to the sides during sleep, it can lead to neck pain and stiffness, pinched nerves or radicular symptoms, tension headaches and degenerative changes over time.
Orthopaedic pillows are designed to cradle your head and neck to avoid these misalignments and symptoms. Unlike regular pillows that are simply soft, cervical options have contours and elevated sides specifically made to conform to your shoulders and neck.
Benefits of Cervical Pillows
Here are some of the key benefits of using an cervical pillow:
- Maintains neutral spine alignment: Cervical pillows feature contours and cutouts to keep your neck in line with the rest of the spine, avoiding awkward bending or twisting positions. This helps take pressure off muscles and joints so you feel refreshed.
- Reduces tension headaches: Cervical pillows can prevent muscle tightness that commonly leads to tension headaches by supporting proper neck posture as you sleep. The improvement in blood flow can also minimize headache pain.
- Minimizes snoring and sleep apnea: Snoring and sleep apnea happen when throat tissues obstruct breathing. By preventing neck hyperextension that narrows airways, cervical pillows allow easier breathing.
- Accommodates side sleepers: Many cervical pillows have asymmetrical shapes explicitly made to keep the neck aligned regardless of whether you sleep on your back or side. The contours adapt to side sleeping postures.
- Cervical pillows maintain their shape better than soft, fluffy pillows that flatten out over time. This resiliency equates to more long-term support and headache relief.
Choosing the Best Cervical Pillow
Cervical pillows come in different fillings, shapes, and sizes to suit varying needs. Here are tips for selecting one tailored to you:
- Consider fill type - Common options include memory foam, latex, buckwheat, and microbeads. Memory foam molds closely to provide cushioned support. Latex resists impressions for consistent alignment. Buckwheat is firmer and more customizable as you can remove fill to adjust height. Memory foam can be the best option for side sleepers and patients with mechanical neck pains.
- Determine ideal shape - Cervical pillows mainly support the neck. Wedge pillows raise the top half of your body at an angle to open airways. And body pillows run the length of your frame for full support.
- Factor in sleep position - If you change positions, adjustable and asymmetrical pillows allow both back and side alignment.
- Take measurements - Choose a size correlating with your shoulder width and body frame. Side sleepers need extra height for alignment compared to back sleepers.
- Assess firmness preference - Soft or medium density often works for lightweight people and strict side sleepers.
- Try before buying - Test pillows in the store for at least 10-15 minutes on your usual sleeping surface. Focus on proper neck alignment and pressure point relief.
Utilizing Your Cervical Pillow
Once you’ve chosen the bestcervical pillow for your sleep style and body type, here are tips on using it:
- Replace old pillows: Rotate out all regular pillows with your new pillow options so each sleeping surface has consistent neck support.
- Maintain good posture: Your cervical pillow helps alignment, but be mindful of head, neck, and shoulder positioning when sleeping and awake.
- Sleep on the back or side: Avoid stomach sleeping as it twists the neck unnaturally. Cervical pillows are made explicitly for back and side positions.
- Adjust fit as needed: You may need a few nights to adjust to a new pillow. Subtly modify its placement until your neck feels adequately supported.
- Care for materials: Follow instructions on cervical pillow washing, fluffing, and replacement to maintain effectiveness. Compressions or clumping reduce support.
Waking up with neck discomfort regularly indicates you likely need improved support from your pillow. Cervical pillows provide ergonomic contours explicitly made to align the head and neck during sleep. By allowing muscles to rest in neutral positions, cervical pillow options reduce neck strain and stiffness, tension headaches, snoring issues, and long-term joint problems.
Pay attention to fill material, design shape, size, density, and adjustability when selecting the right pillow tailored to your sleep habits and body frame. Consistently utilizing your cervical pillow instead of regular flatter options will help you finally address the root cause of common neck complaints – poor sleeping support.