Proper Pillow Placement for Any Sleeping Position
Sleep is one of the most elemental human needs. Good sleep refreshes and rejuvenates the body and soul, while bad sleep can make for a miserable day, week, month, or even year!
Getting enough sleep can be difficult, and it certainly doesn't help if you can't find a comfortable position. When you wake up in the morning tired or with a cramp, what are the first words out of your mouth? Usually, "I must have slept wrong." Avoid tossing and turning (and prevent cricks in the neck!) by using proper pillow placement to align the spine and muscles for optimal relaxation.
Pillow Placement for Good Sleep
Did your parents ever tell you to "stand up straight?" As it turns out, they were giving you bad advice. The spine, when in proper alignment, possesses a natural S-curve, which pillows should support during sleep so your muscles don't have to.
Misalignment causes your muscles to seize up, resulting in cramps that wake you up in the middle of the night or sore body parts that will bother you days after a bad night's sleep.
Proper pillow placement varies for different sleeping positions, but the principles are the same. Your body is likely used to sleeping one way, but you should still try all the positions. Pillow placement can make quite a change and you may discover a knew, more comfortable way to sleep. It may feel unnatural at first, but when your body adjusts, it will thank you.
Pillow Placement for Stomach Sleepers
You may have heard that stomach sleepers shouldn't use a pillow, or, worse, that one should never sleep on their stomach in the first place. The fact is, sleeping face down is natural, and with proper pillow placement, there is nothing wrong with it at all.
Stomach sleepers should place their pillow under their hips to take stress off of the lower back and neck. If you have a hard mattress or find it too uncomfortable to go without a cushion for your head, use a second pillow and place it under under your ankles.
Pillow Placement for Side Sleepers
Sleeping on your side is highly recommended by chiropractors, and, if you snore, your spouse or sleeping partner. Sometimes called the fetal position, this sleeping position is the one God or Nature chose for us during our nine-month stay in the womb.
Place one or two pillows under the head and neck, depending on the thickness, to ensure that your cervical spine (see first illustration) is straight and elongated. An extra pillow between the knees opens your hips and prevents your knees from knocking together and your legs from chafing.
Another option is to buy a body pillow, which provides a pseudo partner to throw your limbs over. Best of all ... it doesn't move just when you're starting to get comfortable.
Pillow Placement for Back Sleepers
Sleeping on your back opens the lungs and, unfortunately, can sometimes result in the worst snoring for those prone to it. If you're not one of those–or if you sleep alone–put a pillow under your head and another under your knees to relieve pressure on your lower back.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.