Can your pillow really make a difference in your health and how you feel during the day? Absolutely. Cervical pillows are specially designed ergonomic supports for your neck. They hold it in the proper position during sleep, while also cradling the head and shoulders. It is important that your neck and head are at proper angles when you are lying down, in order to avoid strain and pain in the morning. Depending on how you sleep (on your back, side, or stomach), the proper angles for your head and neck will vary. You will want a cervical pillow that rises to the level of the neck and compresses where the head rests.
Cervical pillows are usually made with memory foam, which is excellent at compressing and decompressing around your neck and head. Memory foam provides superior ergonomic support and an excellent night's sleep.
You'll want to choose the right cervical pillow for you, based on how you sleep and on your personal preferences. Several options are available:
- Cradle Pillows: This type of pillow distributes the weight of your head evenly with the goal of reducing pressure on your neck and spine. It is also good for maintaining proper breathing alignment and preventing snoring.
- Neck Pillows: Neck pillows are designed to provide support to the natural curve of your neck, and are best for those who sleep on their side or on their back. These pillows come in a variety of sizes to provide comfort to a wide range of body types.
- Side Pillows: These pillows have a curved edge that is higher on the side and lower in the middle. This design provides proper neck alignment. Side pillows cradle the upper vertebrae because of the front edge, which is tilted forward. This frontal curve also offers space for your shoulders and provides extra comfort to this area.
- Cervical Rolls: Cervical rolls can be used in several places on the body: under the neck, under the head (offering superior back alignment), under the knees (good for lower back problems) and behind the back to support the lumbar region.
- Comfort Pillows: These pillows are more like traditional pillows in their shape and feel, for those who prefer that kind of support. However they provide better ergonomic support than a traditional pillow.
To choose the best pillow, think about how you sleep most often. If you are a side sleeper, you'll benefit most from side pillows, cervical rolls, and neck pillows. For back sleepers, try cradle pillows, neck pillows and comfort pillows. Whatever pillow you choose, avoid buying a pillow that is too small or too large as that may reduce the pillow's ability to provide the support you need.