Is there anything more infuriating than rolling around your bed at night, knowing the clock is against you and you have mere hours of precious, potential sleep ahead of you before you have to be up for work, only to fail to drop off to sleep? In my opinion; there really isn’t. A lot of the time psychology is to blame. The more you worry about not being able to sleep, the less likely you are to get to sleep. The fact that there’s essentially a deadline only compounds the situation.
Beyond the stress of not being able to sleep, what other factors could impact your ability to nod off? Well, your pillow and sleeping position is a huge one. If you can’t find a comfortable pillow then you’re going to find it hard to drop off initially and then the stress cycle begins. That’s why it is recommended that you consider a number of different factors when choosing your pillow. It is an important choice that can affect your overall health, so choose wisely.
The first thing you must consider is how you sleep.
Ask yourself; are you more comfortable sleeping on your back, side or stomach? If you’re a back sleeper you should not be using thick pillows because they will cause your head to push forward, giving you a sniff neck when you wake up.
However, if you’re a side sleeper then you have a natural advantage because that is, by all accounts, the healthiest way to sleep. It relieves pressure on your vital organs and decreases the likelihood of sleep apnoea and acid reflux. If you’re a side sleeper you could also consider putting a pillow between your knees as well.
However, the downsides of side sleeping are that it can cause chronic and painful ear conditions such as CNH, or Chondrodermatitis nodularis chronica helicis. What is CNH ear? This is when the pressure of a conventional pillow causes friction which leads to painful lesions where your ear meets the surface of the pillow. It is for that reason that doctors recommend that you buy a side sleeper pillow with an ear hole, this enables you to sleep comfortably on your side without suffering from the pressure of a conventional pillow.
Probably the least recommended way of sleeping is sleeping lying on your front because of the odd way it contorts your body. I sometimes try to sleep on my front as I naturally incline that way on occasion, but I always find it very uncomfortable, as much as I want to enjoy it.
The next thing to consider is the material.
There is everything from memory foam to hypo-allergenic hollow-fibre stuffing, feathers and even natural alternatives. However, what pillow filling is best for you? Memory foam is good for people with certain allergies, however it may be a little hard for some people. It also has a rather strong chemical smell which may put people off.
Fillings such as feathers are a fancy alternative yet they aren’t advisable for people with allergies and they have an annoying habit of poking through the fabric and into your face, so that’s not ideal.
Hollow-fibre stuffing is a synthetic alternative which, if of sufficient quality, provides great bounce and lift to your pillows while remaining hypo-allergenic. That is to say; it won’t irritate you.
It is always advisable to buy a pillowcase with your pillow to increase its life-span and hygiene.
Finally, consider the quality.
Pillows can range from £10 to £150. Are you guaranteed better quality the more you pay? I have a lovely pillow at home that did cost me about £50, but you can really feel the difference. You will be sleeping on this choice for possibly years to come, so it is very much worth the investment. If you have a medical condition such as CNH and you require a side sleeper pillow with ear hole, then it is a no brainer. Invest in your health.