(*Please note that this article is only an opinion and not to be taken as medical advice or expert information.)
Everyone has a special way that we feel is the most comfortable way to sleep. Because of this, choosing a bed pillow is a unique experience for each of us. The first thing to do, before selecting a pillow to sleep on, is to determine your favorite sleeping position. Some of us like to sleep on our sides, some on our backs and some on our stomachs. There are different pillows suited for all of these positions.
In general, if you like to sleep on your stomach, a softer and flatter pillow is probably your best bet. A softer pillow helps relieve tension on your neck that a firmer pillow might increase. Sleeping on your stomach is naturally accompanied by a twisting of the neck. A firm pillow might also add strain on the neck by forcing your head up. So, for a stomach sleeper to have the most comfortable sleep, choose a soft, flat pillow, or a pillow that allows you to add or remove the fill to personalize your comfort. Good choices for the stomach sleeper might include a Dacron Polyester filled pillow, or the Eco-Basics Pillow.
For side sleepers, a thicker, firmer pillow would be the most likely candidate to enhance your evening slumber. Pillows such a contoured memory foam pillow or a latex foam pillow, are designed to provide the support between the bed and the head allowing a side sleeper to keep their neck and spine aligned. A softer pillow, for a side sleeper, would cause the head to slump and put strain on the neck.
Back Sleepers are unique in that a firm, but soft pillow feels the best. Back sleepers need cervical neck support, but also need less pressure on the back of the head. Contour shaped pillows are perfect for this. They are designed with a valley for the head and an arch for the neck. The nice thing about that shape is that if you end up rolling to your side, you’d still receive the same benefit as a side sleeper. That is, support for the neck with less pressure on the head. Contour pillows are usually made from a pressure relieving memory foam.
But, what if you are one of those people who think Memory Foam Pillows are a little too stiff, but you still want the benefits of less pressure on the head and good support for the neck? Well, one of the best alternatives is a Buckwheat Hull Pillow. Buckwheat pillows are filled with a whole lot of hard, little buckwheat husks. They are a little like flattened beans and they move and slide around as you adjust the pillow to your liking. What they do provide is a variable and adjustable shape that allows your head and neck to be most comfortable. Technically, a buckwheat pillow would benefit all three sleeping styles because of the adjustability factor. There is also a zippered opening that allows one to add or remove fill based on your size or personal comfort.
The bottom line is that choosing a sleeping pillow is a personal preference based on your own comfort position. Figure out how you feel most comfortable sleeping, and then choose a pillow that matches that style. Having the right pillow for you can give you the best benefit of all; a rejuvenating sleep that allows you to wake up refreshed and ready for the day. Sleep Well!