First of all, I love a good one-liner. Came across this one while looking for pillow puns:
Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
Sorry, I couldn't resist!
Many of you know that my journey started with headaches and migraines. So with this journey came learning how to sleep properly and the importance of a good pillow, since we spend about a third of our life sleeping! By "good pillow" I do not mean one that costs $100+. By good pillow, I mean one that works for YOU. Unfortunately, this means that it is often a different solution for many people (but I AM going to tell you what pillow has worked wonders for me, and everyone else who I've had try it out!).
DID YOU KNOW THERE IS A RIGHT AND A WRONG WAY TO SLEEP?
That being said, I first and foremost encourage you to get SLEEP, even if this means it's in a position that would make me cringe. But for today, we are going to talk about sleep positions that will make your chiropractor proud!
There are two basic positions that are A-OK in my book, and that's on your side or on your back...but there are stipulations to both of those.
If you want to sleep on your back, here are the requirements:
- Sleep with a relatively FLAT pillow. This will keep you from ruining the curve in your neck, which we often ruin from poor posture throughout the day, especially for all you desk-workers. If your pillow is too high/thick (or you are stacking pillows...you know who you are), this brings you into flexion (brings your chin closer to your chest). Flexion for an extended period of time can ruin the backwards curve of your neck, which ultimately can lead to lots of problems like neck pain/tension, headaches, degenerative changes, and so much more!
- If you want to ease some stress, you're very welcome to put a pillow under your knees to bend them a bit.
If you want to sleep on your side, I'm a bit more particular here:
- The size and firmness of the pillow needs to be enough to hold up your head so that it's not bent to one side (either up or down). The best way to think about this is if I were to take a camera and turn it on its side and take a picture of you while you're sleeping, your head should be in a position that makes it look as if you're standing straight up if I were to look at the picture vertically.
- I recommend putting a pillow between your knees. Especially for ladies with hips, this will level you out so that your hips aren't twisted while you're sleeping. Since our hips are wider than our knees when they lay one on top of the other during sleep, this will cause your hips to twist a bit. The key to all of your sleeping positions is that I want you in a "neutral" position.
- If you're worried about rolling onto your back (like I do), we make what Dr. Jake calls my "fort". Which basically means I have the pillow under my head, the pillow between my knees...and the pillow behind my back so I don't roll. The back pillow doesn't actually do anything for your sleeping position/posture other than keep you in place!
And what's my favorite pillow, you ask? It's called the CHIROFLOW pillow. That link takes you to their website, but I don't think you can buy it there (unless you want to buy it in bulk). However, they do sell it on Amazon for about $60 right now! It looks and feels like a regular pillow, but it has a pocket where you put in WATER! Crazy, huh? Don't worry, doesn't mean you're sleeping on a damp pillow. It actually is VERY well sealed (it was hard for me to believe at first too). What happens with it is you're able to adjust the amount of water you put in it, based on the position you sleep in. So if you were on your back, you would want very little or even no water in it; on your side you would need to test out how much water provides adequate support. This pillow also takes some time to adjust to, but since I adjusted, it has been SO wonderful!
One thing to remember: sleep training TAKES TIME. I almost gave up about a million times while training myself on sleep position. You just have to start your night by putting yourself in that position and trying to stay there as long as you can. Perhaps you can't quite fall asleep there the first few nights, so stay until you are sick of not falling asleep, then allow yourself some grace and get into the position that allows you to sleep. After a few nights of this, I bet you'll find yourself actually starting to doze off in your new position! If you wake throughout the night, chances are that you'll find yourself in your unsavory position again. But that's ok! Just make a conscious effort to put yourself back into your good position when you try to fall back asleep. Like I said, it takes time, but if I can make it happen then I know you can too!