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What you need to know when you’re picking your next pillow

I’ve been on a quest to find the ‘perfect’ pillow for a while now — and it’s led to a large pillow collection.

My social media feed knows this, as it throws up ad after ad of every pillow type you can think of, promising to fix not just my sore neck, but all of life’s problems.

So I convinced my boss to let me spend work hours researching what pillow is best.

And it turns out, as with most things in life, there is no one answer.

Here’s what I learnt about pillows, which you might find useful the next time you need a new one.

Can a bad pillow do me harm?

My first question to Richard Christianson, a musculoskeletal physiotherapist from the Australian Physiotherapy Association, was: “Am I doing myself damage with my old, crappy pillow?”

Short answer: no.

“There’s no physical trauma involved with sleeping on a pillow,” Mr Christianson says.

While it’s unlikely a bad pillow will cause physical problems, he says if you’re not comfy and supported at night, you’ll probably feel worse in the morning.

Which explains why so many of us blame our pillows when we wake up sore.

A tabby cat is lying on a pillow looking a little uncomfortable.
When your pillow isn’t comfy, it’s harder to get a good night’s sleep.(Pexels: Fox


What pillow does a musculoskeletal physiotherapist recommend?

“It’s definitely about your self-rated comfort,” Mr Christianson says.

“I couldn’t be 100 per cent certain that if I chose a pillow based on scientific measurements that it’s going to be the right one for you. But I can narrow it down.”

Mr Christianson says it’s important to know what position you sleep in when you’re buying a pillow.

Back sleepers need thinner pillows so your chin isn’t squashed into your chest.

Side sleepers need a thicker, more supportive pillow so the head doesn’t slump down, but also it shouldn’t be squashed up.

If you sleep on your stomach, a thin pillow is best.

“Stomach sleeping is not a great position if you’ve got a sore neck already,” Mr Christianson adds.

If you do have a sore neck and sleep on your stomach, Mr Christianson says to try block or wedge-shaped pillows to prop you up on your side more, so your head isn’t rotated as much.

Will the perfect pillow help me sleep like a princess without a pea?

OK, so I’m still not sure what pillow to buy.

So next I spoke with sleep expert Moira Junge from the Sleep Health Foundation.

Does the Foundation recommend one pillow over another?

“We don’t have any particular products that we endorse,” Dr Junge says.

“We always recommend maximum comfort.”

Dr Junge says sleep is “multi-factorial” and it’s important to not get too fixated on having the perfect bedding or set-up.

Published by the ABC to read more open the attached link

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