Have you wondered about something related to sleep, but just can’t find the answer? Lots of people do, and that’s why we created Ask SleepBetter. You can ask your own question on the SleepBetter Facebook Page, or by using our Ask SleepBetter contact form. We will try to answer as many questions as possible, but we are not able to answer queries about physical issues or medicinal issues. Those should be addressed face-to-face with a physician.
Today’s question is about pillow selection for non-back or front sleepers:
Selecting where you rest your head is very important, but it can be a bit confusing unless you understand the different types of pillows. Those who sleep on their front or back have it a little easier, but side sleepers (particularly those who sleep in the fetal position or something like it) may find that “normal” pillows don’t provide the needed support and lead to neck pain.
The first thing you need to know about it “loft”. Loft refers to the height of the pillow. Individuals who sleep on their backs should use a pillow with low to medium loft, as a pillow with too much loft will push the neck forward. This can cause neck pain and even breathing problems. Those who sleep on their stomachs should use a pillow with low loft as well.
Individuals who sleep on their sides should use a higher loft pillow. This is because you’re propped on your shoulder, which puts your neck in a higher position. A higher pillow will give side sleepers the extra support they need.
Pillows that are labeled specifically as side-sleeper pillows have a higher loft. You can find many on our Recommended Products page.