Have you ever thought about how you sleep? It may not seem massively important to you in the first instance and, most of the time, that’s absolutely fine (although there are alleged health effects according to this article from The Mail).
However, did you know that different pillows work better for different sleep positions?
The most common sleep position is on the side, with 41% adopting a foetal position, 15% sleeping in a ‘log’ position (arms by the side, and 13% in the ‘yearner’ position (arms stretched out in front).
As well as being the most common position, side sleeping also the one that requires the most support, so that the neck doesn’t weigh down and put stress on the back.
The reason side sleeping creates the most stress is that there is a greater difference between the head and the mattress, and this distance needs to be filled to create a natural (straight) spine alignment.
If the head drops too low, the neck will bend and strain the shoulder and back muscles and nerves.
With that in mind, what are the best pillows for side sleepers? When you know you’re not getting a great night’s sleep, one of the first things you should always check is whether you’re sleeping on the right pillows for your sleeping style but just what are these ‘right pillows’ when it comes to side sleeping?
As a side sleeper, you’ll want to go for a medium-high thickness pillow to offer the level of support which is needed to get a great night’s sleep. As outlined above, it’s important that you choose a pillow which fills the gap between your head and the mattress; so as to keep your back in a natural position and keep your spine aligned properly. This in itself can bring about a significant reduction in sleep-related back pain amongst many sufferers.
There’s a good chance that, as a side sleeper, you won’t feel comfortable as it is with softer pillows but if that’s what you’ve been sleeping on in the past, give a thicker pillow a try and we’re confident you’ll wonder why you’ve never changed them in the past.
When opting for a medium-high thickness pillow, you’ve got a number of different considerations in terms of the filling of the pillow, with the most common of these being either high-fill down pillows, memory foam pillows or medium-high density hollowfibre pillows.
What one person loves, another will hate so again, unfortunately it’s often a case of trial and error when it comes to choosing the right filling for you. Whilst you may know that, on the scientific side, one of the three types will provide the right thickness and level of support; nothing can replace trying different pillows out for yourself in order to get a feeling as to what seems most comfortable to you.
We’ve picked out a couple of the best pillows for side sleepers as stocked by ourselves, and taken a look at why they’re so great.
One of the best side sleeper pillows we stock is this memory foam offering from Silentnight.
Memory foam is a hugely popular filling for pillows, and is a type of foam which softens when it reacts with your body heat, which allows it to mould to the contours of your body, and evenly distribute body weight.
Not only does memory foam offer great support, but it’s also really comfy!
This pillow also comes with a non allergenic, machine washable cover.
These pillows are filled with a unique hollowfibre filing. Hollowfibres are hollow strands of polyester, which fairly thick and wiry, meaning that the pillow should hold its shape a lot better.
These pillows are also ‘overfilled’ and packed to the brim, which gives them an extra level of comfort.
It also comes with a microfibre cover, a finer and softer material for added comfort on the outside.
As well as pillows that support your head and neck, side sleepers might also benefit from pillows placed in other places.
Firstly, a pillow between the knees can provide support for the hips and keep them properly aligned. As such, placing pillows between the knees are widely seen as a huge consideration when finding the right ones for you.
Just like the neck, the hips have an impact upon the alignment of the spine and having your knees too close together can lead to misalignment.
A knee pillow must give enough support to stop the knees coming together, but on the other hand it still needs to be fairly comfy!
While sleeping on our side is natural for many of us, when you think about it, it isn’t really the most natural of positions.
Sleeping on your front or back would give far more support, and so there is extra strain on your body to maintain a side position.
For this reason, you might benefit from an extra pillow to support your back and keep you in position.
This extra pillow needs to very firm to provide the right level of support. When looking for a body pillow, we recommend going for the biggest size available.
All in all, when it comes to finding the best pillow for side sleepers, you need to be sure to take into consideration both the thickness and the filling rather than simply the price. Trust us when we say that you’re often better investing a little more in quality pillows which last rather than finding that you need to replace in just a couple of months time. You’ll end up with a pillow which you not only find extra comfortable but one which can both help to prevent and reduce the pains typically associated with poor sleep positions and, at the end of the day, is that not something which everyone would gladly pay a little more for?