A Pillow is a very personal item that a lot of us form very personal attachments too. For hygiene reasons it is recommended that you change your pillow roughly every 12months. However when the time comes to purchase a new pillow it can often be quite confusing to know which type of pillow is the best option.
The first thing that you should consider when purchasing a pillow is what position you sleep in for the majority of the night. If you sleep on your side or your back for the majority of the night then ideally you want a pillow that aims to keep your head in a neutral position. What this means is that your neck stays in alignment with the rest of your spine and your head doesn’t drop down to one side during the night. To achieve this you may need a slightly larger pillow or consider using a medium density pillow with a secondary thin/soft pillow on top. If you sleep on your stomach the majority of the night then the best option is a very thin pillow. If you sleep on your stomach with a thicker pillow chances are you are locking your neck into an extended position while you sleep and could potentially be causing your neck to stiffen up. Switching to a thin pillow will take your neck out of this extended position and limit the amount of stress placed on your neck.
If you tend to suffer ongoing problems with your neck or tend to be prone to getting headaches related to tension in your neck then the best option can often be a contoured memory foam pillow and this really does provide the best support for your neck while you sleep. However before switching pillows its worth having a chat to your physiotherapist first and discussing with them what the best option for you might be. At Airport Physiotherapy we have a range of different memory foam and non-memory foam pillows available to the public and would be happy to chat with you about which pillow is best for you.