I talked about the importance of sleep to your self care in a previous article. In that piece, I covered how much difference a pillow can make in your quality of sleep. Now we are going to dive in to the untold connection between your pillow and health.
The type of pillow that you are using can either be hindering or encouraging better health. Pillows exist for a reason, but we don’t spend enough time picking out the right one and will usually pay no heed to the actual quality or type of pillow we buy. Let’s dive deeper into the nature, purpose, and history of the pillow.
History of the Pillow
Pillows in one form or another have existed for almost as long as life first appeared on earth. Prehistoric animals once used each other to support themselves during sleep, and humans around 7000 BC went from sleeping on stones to actually creating objects that eventually evolved into pillows.
Pillows believe or not like most new inventions, such as the introduction of the automobile, were a luxury item and status symbol restricted to the elite. The more pillows you owned the wealthier you appeared.
The pillow as we know it today came about during the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans who stuffed their pillows with straw, reeds, or cotton. Interestingly enough during the middle ages only the king and pregnant women were allowed to use pillows under the guise of it not being manly to use one. The dawn of the industrial revolution brought the pillow to the masses.
Benefits of a Good Pillow
The pillow has existed for such a long time for good reason. In my opinion, a very good pillow can make up for a sub par mattress. I would dare say that it is actually even more important than a mattress. You could have one of the most comfortable mattresses in the world, but a bad pillow will ruin the entire experience.
Our bodies need sleep in order to heal and regenerate our cells and sharpen our minds. Consecutive nights without good rest can lead to chronic and sometimes fatal health conditions. We have evolved and conditioned ourselves to a point where sleeping with even a bad pillow is preferably to no pillow at all, an uncomfortable or ill-suited pillow can cause long term neck, back, or shoulder pain. Choosing the right type of pillow or pillows should be carefully considered.
Types of Pillows
The amount, style, and usage of pillows vary widely with a plethora of options available. There are pillows for the head, neck, and body. I personally think a good traditional pillow is really all that is necessary, but I remember my father used to not be able to sleep without six or seven pillows surrounding him, one under his head and one above it to block out the light.
The secret between each pillow lies on what’s inside of it. There exist today pillows with feather, down, water, buckwheat, memory foam, and many more. A good breakdown of the pros and cons of each can be found here, the Mattress Clarity website.
The position you sleep will also affect the type of pillow you will find preferable: a thin and flat people for those who sleep on their stomach, a medium support below for back sleepers, and I think and firm pillow for those who sleep on their sides.
It may seem like quite a lot to think about when choosing a pillow but just like anything in life, a little trail and error will need to be involved. Sometimes you just have to think about the kinds of pillows you have slept on the past. Maybe you have never really found any pillow comfortable and just bore with it which is an even better reason to try a change.
Now, I’ll go into what kind of pillow I use. I sleep on my stomach and sometimes on my side, and I have found that a flatter pillow works best for me. Since I tend to switch positions during the middle of the night, I found it hard to find a pillow that could accommodate me until my grandfather discovered My Pillow.
My grandfather was bed-ridden the last year of his life and developed some severe neck pain from laying down in the bed all the time. He saw an advertisement for My Pillow on the TV and then heard some good word of mouth from sound of his friends, so he bought one. After using it for a short amount of time, his neck pain disappeared. I was convinced after that and decided to try one for myself.
What’s unique about My Pillow is that it has an interlocking fill system that adjusts to your individual sleep position making it much more versatile than your standard pillow. When you first buy one, it looks quite unassuming, wrapped in plastic and seemingly deflated. Reading the instructions, you realize you need to first put it into the dryer before use and after you do it has sprung to life, increasing twice its size. The great thing is that if it ever starts to flatten out again (or you can just leave it flat if you prefer) just throw in the dryer to puff it up again.
I never would have tried a My Pillow without my grandfather, and it is just another thing he got right.
The Choice is Yours
So many of us today do not get enough sleep and the sleep we do get is of extremely poor quality. Don’t underestimate the connection between your pillow and health. A good pillow suited to your needs could be the key ingredient missing from your routine. You may even discover that you need multiple pillows to sleep. Self-care is about listening to your body and accommodating to those needs in order to live the highest quality life possible and the one you deserve. The pillow that works for me might not work for you, but the choice is yours if you want to get to the root of your sleep issues, discover the right pillow for you today.
I welcome any comments below discussing what helps you sleep better at night, the kind of pillow you prefer, or any pillow recommendations. Take care.