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Finding the best pillow 20 Dec 2016 09:55 #1

  • lynnfrbs1
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We have found our perfect mattress, thanks to the info available on this site and to all of you. Now I need to find the perfect pillow. I ordered a shredded latex pillow when I ordered the mattress. You can take out material to make it less full. My husband has found the level of fullness that works for him and loves his pillow, I, however, wake up every day with a sore neck no matter how much material I leave in or take out. I can't tell you how many pillows I've tried over the years. It's ridiculous to have found THE mattress but still wake up in pain because of the pillow. Any recommendations? I'm a side and back sleeper.

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Finding the best pillow 20 Dec 2016 13:21 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi lynnfrbs1,

Congratulations on finding your new mattress! :)

Regarding selecting a pillow, the situation is the same as selecting a mattress, in that there are far too many variables involved to be able to select a pillow for you. However, I can certainly make some suggestions that may be helpful.

There are even more options in pillows I think than in mattresses, and most of us have been guilty at one time or another of purchasing some “less than stellar” offerings at department stores. There is a pillow thread here , and it links to many good posts about pillows and the different materials commonly used.

The key of course is to maintain a more natural cervical/upper thoracic alignment, but not all of us have what many physicians might describe as “normal” curvature in this region.

For sleeping on your side, it is of course imperative to maintain a pillow of sufficient enough thickness and substantial enough in filling to not collapse and have your head sink too much laterally. When you sleep on your back as well as your side, you generally want the pillow to be a bit thinner so that you’re not sleeping with too much forward flexion. That is why “shapeable” pillows (ones with filling that can be moved into different levels of thickness) are popular for people who sleep on their side and back. Down, shredded foams (latex, polyfoam and memory foam), buckwheat hulls, kapok, wool, silk, synthetic fibers and flax seed are just a few of the offerings in this category. Additionally, many of these styles of pillows are available with an inner casing that allows accessibility to the fill to allow removal of the fill material in order to customize thickness.

One tip for side sleepers is to place a large pillow or body pillow in front of you and rest your free arm on this pillow. This takes some of the stress off of the neck/shoulder complex. Additionally, you may wish to experiment with placing a pillow behind your shoulders when sleeping upon your side. This allows you to lean back slightly against the pillow, effectively abducting your scapula and rolling your shoulder joint forward a bit, and this can also help relieve some stress for you.

In the end, it does come down to quite a bit of experimentation, but you’ll want to be sure that you’re considering a product using more durable materials, and if you’re testing out the product in person, make sure to try it out of the plastic and in an actual pillowcase, as this does impact the overall comfort.

Let me know if you find anything that works for you, or if you have other questions.

Phoenix
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Finding the best pillow 22 Dec 2016 03:39 #3

  • Mosqueda
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I'd just like to add some things regarding the subject of using pillows as supports.

Placing a large pillow between your knees for support while sleeping on your side can alleviate pressure on your legs, hips, and lower back. If you have a body pillow that's large enough, you can use it to support both your arm and your leg.

In the end, it does come down to quite a bit of experimentation,


Quite right. That's why it might also help if you had a bunch of differently-sized pillows to choose from. This will give you plenty of options in terms of supporting certain parts of your body to make yourself more comfortable in bed.

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Finding the best pillow 22 Dec 2016 13:34 #4

  • phoenix
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Hi Mosqueda,

Placing a large pillow between your knees for support while sleeping on your side can alleviate pressure on your legs, hips, and lower back. If you have a body pillow that's large enough, you can use it to support both your arm and your leg.

Yes, this is especially useful for many people, especially females, who tend to have a larger Q angle. lynnfrbs1 was complaining of issues in her neck, but this is certainly a good point to bring up!

Phoenix
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Finding the best pillow 28 Dec 2016 16:00 #5

  • apenland01
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I'm a side sleeper and I struggled to find a good pillow that worked for me. Everyone kept suggesting a high loft pillow since I was a side sleeper and I still always woke up with a sore neck.

What wasn't discussed, was that as a side sleeper, I sleep with my head on my arm. Some side sleepers have their arm extended out to their side.

In my case, I have to have an extremely thin pillow that just comforts my head without raising it at all. I've found that a thin egg-crate type piece of foam in a pillow case is best for me. I'm sure a piece of latex would be great, if you can find it thin enough and comfortable.

I think for side sleepers that sleep on their arm, thin is the answer. The side sleepers who extend their arm out to the side, not under their head, really need a thicker pillow to make up for the arm space.

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Finding the best pillow 28 Dec 2016 16:19 #6

  • phoenix
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Hi apenland01,

I think for side sleepers that sleep on their arm, thin is the answer. The side sleepers who extend their arm out to the side, not under their head, really need a thicker pillow to make up for the arm space.

Yes, this is very true. Your somatotype, musculature, and arm positioning will all play a role in pillow selection. Placing your arm in outward rotation and shoulder joint flexion under your head will take up some of the space that the pillow normally occupies and will provide less of a forgiving surface than what the mattress would normally provide, so you’d certainly need to adjust your pillow selection to reflect this. Some people will also flex their arm at the elbow and place their hand(s) under their cheek, either above or below the pillow, and this will also impact pillow selection. Ultimately, as you discovered, it’s about finding a product that helps you maintain a more neutral alignment and doesn’t put you into too much lateral neck flexion or extension.

I’m glad you found something that works well for yourself.

Phoenix
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Finding the best pillow 28 Dec 2016 17:45 #7

  • lynnfrbs1
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Thank you Phoenix! As always, very useful information.

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Finding the best pillow 07 Oct 2021 13:40 #8

  • miamaelia
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Hello. I have noticed that a lot of my migraines begin with neck pain, and I think this is partly because of how I sleep on my pillow. I have tried several different types of pillows. Do any of you have the same issue? Can anyone recommend a pillow with proper neck and head support? Thanks ahead of time.

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Finding the best pillow 07 Oct 2021 22:46 #9

  • phoenix
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Hi miamaelia.

Welcome to our mattress forum! :)

A suitable pillow is an essential part of good alignment for the head and neck and upper body because the gap between the head and the mattress and the curve of the cervical spine needs to be supported just like all other parts of the spine. Like mattresses ... there are certain "needs" that depend on body type and sleeping positions but with pillows, personal preferences play a more important role because the face is much more sensitive to textures, temperature, smells, and other more subjective "feel" based properties of a pillow. There is more about choosing pillows in the pillow thread here and the other topics and sources of information that it links to that may be helpful.

In general terms ... side sleepers need firmer/thicker pillows to prevent the head from sinking too much which can cause misalignment and soreness in the neck and upper body area. Back sleepers need a slightly softer/thinner pillow that will support the cervical/neck area. Stomach sleepers do best with a very thin/soft pillow or no pillow at all. The type of mattress you sleep on and how deeply you sink into the comfort layers will also play a role in the type of pillow that is best. The deeper you sink into a mattress ... the "thinner" a pillow you will typically need.

Unfortunately choosing a pillow is like choosing a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved in choosing a pillow to make specific suggestions or recommendations for someone else. There is no single pillow that is "best" for any particular situation or "symptom" because the goal of a pillow is to keep your head and neck in good alignment in all your sleeping positions and which pillow does this for any particular person or on any particular mattress will vary widely from person to person. In other words, ... a pillow that works well for one person with upper back, shoulder, or neck issues may not be suitable at all for someone else with similar issues.

Pillows are also a very personal choice and different people will have very different pillow preferences or different opinions about what they perceive as firm and soft or the general type of pillow that "feels" good to them but some of the information in the pillow topic mentioned above and the posts it links to can help you choose a pillow that is the best "match" for you and the mattress you are sleeping on.

You may want to look into a pillow that has adjustable fill like the Pure Performance LaNoodle Latex Pillow custom-fill with zipper that can be fine-tuned to provide the right amount of support. This is manufactured by one of our Trusted members of our site which means that I think very highly of them and that I believe that they compete well with best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, knowledge, and transparency.

I hope you have some time to peruse the information I provided, find something suitable, and return to share your experience on our mattress forum
Phoenix
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Finding the best pillow 08 Oct 2021 12:34 #10

  • miamaelia
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@ phoenix thank you so much for the suggestions.

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