Do you belong with the majority of sleepers who rest on their side or in the fetal position? Or are you one of the few who sleep on their stomach? Maybe you even sleep on your back which is the healthiest sleep position according to the National Sleep Foundation.
No matter what your position is, the most important thing is knowing how to accommodate your sleeping position.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleeping on your back is the healthiest position for your body. It lets your spine, neck, and head naturally relax in alignment throughout the night. Only 8% of sleepers have been found to sleep on their backs. However, this group of sleepers usually experiences the least amount of pain while sleeping. This doesn't mean they are immune to other nighttime ailments. For example, sleeping on your back can actually exacerbate snoring or other respiratory issues if your head and neck are not properly supported.
Having the right pillow can ensure adequate support and comfort throughout the night to minimize these issues. The most important feature of a pillow for back sleepers is medium support that elevates the head. A back sleeper needs to find the right balance between loft and cushion. Too high and you can have a kinked neck. Too low and you could experience difficulty breathing throughout the night. Ordering a Custom Pillow can remove the headache of trying to find the right pillow. Just make sure your sleeping position and weight are taken into consideration when ordering a pillow.
Side and fetal position sleepers account for 56% of the population, making this the most popular sleeping position. These positions are the most beneficial for those with respiratory issues. Sleeping on your side opens your airway and can help to reduce snoring and the affects of sleep apnea.
The key to sleeping comfortable and deeply on your side is having enough head support. It is important to keep your neck straight when sleeping on your side, so usually a denser/thicker pillow is recommended. Some side sleepers opt for a memory foam pillow because it gives the most support out of any pillows on the market. However, the drawbacks of memory foam include excessive heat build-up and strong chemical scents. A good alternative is finding a pillow with gel fiber (down alternative) filling that is thick enough to support your head while still giving you enough softness to sleep comfortably. Make sure you find a pillow with the highest quality filling. There are many different types of down alternative fillings that can have a huge variance in fiber thickness and feel. If possible choose a pillow with finer fibers.
This is the best position to reduce snoring, but can otherwise be quite hard on your body. Sleeping on your stomach can put extra strain on your back and neck. The key to accommodate this position is using a pillow that is thin enough to keep your neck at a natural angle. Something too thick can cause a kinked neck and exacerbate neck pain. This is the least common sleep position with only 7% of sleepers sleeping on their stomachs.
At the end of the day, you know your sleeping position and you know what you prefer. Try out different pillows and mattresses until you find something you like. Many companies offer free trials and returns, so make sure to take advantage of these when finding what works best for you.