Pillow placement & selection
Determining what pillows you should buy and where to put them is of high importance, but a lot simpler than people, even the “experts”, make it out to be. Your pillow selection and placement will differ based upon your sleeping position. If you have not already read my previous chat about sleeping positions then I highly encourage you do so to determine what your position is, and what it should be.
We should all agree that having proper alignment and good posture is just as important while sleeping as it is standing, sitting, walking, etc. So how do we achieve it? Pillow selection and placement are essential yet different between side sleepers and back sleepers. Notice that I did not include stomach sleepers. We have already determined this is a “no no”, and we should really strive to become side sleepers or back sleepers.
Let’s discuss the similarities first. Everyone, no matter your sleep position, should have two personal pillows. This does not include the countless “throw” pillows which are properly named by their distinctive bed placement. The two pillows will differ based upon sleep position and each individual’s air gap. Air gap is the space between your body and your mattress while in a properly aligned lying position. There are two air gaps that you need to address: the neck and knees. For example, if you are a side sleeper then a pillow should be placed in the air gap under the side of your neck and between your knees. The back sleeper should place a pillow in the air gap behind the neck and behind the knees. Be careful to fill the air gaps without changing the neutral spine and good posture. This will be important when determining if the pillow is too thick or thin. Check out the pictures below for a visual explanation.
That is as simple as it is for pillow placement, and pillow selection is even simpler. Pillow selection should be based upon personal preference that adequately fills the two air gaps while keeping a neutral spine and good posture. Here is a good chart to help you with your perfect pillow selection:
I have collected some illustrations that will help you visualize our discussion.Before you click out of our chat check them all out!
That’s enough pillow talk. I hope it has been informative.
Until next time…
~ Dr. Garrett Hall
Member @ The Back & Neck Pain Clinic on Westgate Parkway, Dothan AL