6 things to consider before buying a new pillow

George Morris physio Wigan

6 things to consider before buying a new pillow

1. The correct alignment

"A good pillow should hold your head in correct alignment – that is, in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing upright with the correct posture," The Sleep Council say.

"If your neck and shoulders don’t get sufficient support, or are propped at an angle that causes twisting, craning, or crunching, this puts your spine and body out of alignment, leading to strain and discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and back, as well as sleeplessness."

Your Mattress

"As with your mattress, comfort and support are both important in selecting the right pillow. The best pillow for you is one that feels comfortable to rest your head on, and supports your head, neck, and shoulders and matches your mattress," say The Sleep Council.

3. Trying before you buy

"As with shopping for a new bed, you should try out different types of pillows before making your final decision," say The Sleep Council.

"If possible you should try out the pillow (or pillows) on a bed similar in feel to your own bed, where you can lie down on your side. Ask someone to check if your neck and upper back are in a straight line. The pillows should be tucked well into the neck and shoulder to support the head fully."

4. How you sleep

"Remember, it’s fine to sleep on your back or sides but if possible avoid sleeping on your tummy, which puts a lot of strain on your neck as it is permanently twisted throughout the night," The Sleep Council say.

"It is a matter of personal choice whether you prefer to achieve the correct head and neck support with one or more pillows – but they should be able to retain their shape and give you constant support throughout the night."

5. Which size is right for you

"Pillow dimensions can vary too – although the standard size is between 71-74cm x 46-48cm (28-29in x 18-19in). You may prefer the square, continental style pillow, 65 x 65cm (26in square)," The Sleep Council say.

when to replace your pillows "Because pillows affect your sleeping posture and lie next to your skin and your nostrils, it is a good idea to invest in quality pillows and replace them at least every two or three years for a healthy sleeping environment," say The Sleep Council.

"When they have lost their ‘loft’ (height) and become lumpy, discoloured or misshapen they are definitely ready for replacement. Remember, an old, unwashed pillow could also contain as much as 10% of its weight in skin scale mould, dead and living dust mites and their allergen laden droppings!"

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