Getting a proper night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to maintain proper health. Two huge factors that play a large part in this is your mattress and pillow. They not only allow you the ability to sleep well but aid in recovery from work, activity and daily stressors and many people overlook the importance of these two. Many pillows and mattresses offer proper support for the body and give the comfort at the same time. I put together a guide when choosing some of the best mattresses and pillows for you to unlock your ability to achieve ideal sleep, aid in recovery and improved health. These will help you by choosing the best mattress and pillow that suit the proper way that you should be sleeping.
So how do you choose the best mattress?
I did the three ways that you can sleep which include back sleeping, side sleepers and stomach sleepers. Back and side are the best. Back sleepers do put more pressure on your lower back, but the mattress should not be too soft or too hard. I always say on a scale of 1 to 10, if 10 is the floor and zero is the softest, you should be sleeping on somewhere between a 6 and maybe a 9. My ideal situation would be a sleep number bed where you could choose different varieties based upon how your body feels... more sore or less sore. I personally have a Sealy or Serta Posturepedic type mattress is what I've used for many years. Mattress do wear out and after about 8-10 years you should get/upgrade to a new mattress. When you're on your back you want to have a proper pillow that supports the curve your neck and a pillow that's behind your knees to give you reduce stress and tension on your lower back and pelvis. I'm not a fan of Tempurpedic, while it does feel very comfortable, this type of mattress does not give the ideal/proper support that you need, Side sleeper is another proper way to sleep and with the side position, you can have pressure points on your shoulders and your hips. So, this mattress should be maybe a tad softer at somewhere around a six or seven compared to what we talked about when you're on your back. When you're on your side do you want to have a pillow between your knees so that your pelvis/hips and your back don't twist. You want to have a pillow that supports your head in alignment with your spine so you're not tilting to the right or to the left. This keeps your spine in an ideal level/straight position where everything is perfectly straight and aligned. I've always said that sleeping on your stomach will cause neck and back pain whether it's early in your early years or later in life. This belly position will lead to some level of constant neck/back pain and stiffness so it's not my recommendation that you sleep on your stomach and try to break this habit.
So how do you choose the best pillow?
Your pillow should not be too soft or too hard, but just right. The pillow should have enough size to support your neck whether you're on your back or on your side. When you're on your back, it should cradle the natural C curve of your neck with a little less support on the back of your head (I like molding my pillow around my neck). Many of the Chiropractic pillows I recommend have a hole in the center, which will keep you from turning your head to your left or to your right. I only recommended these if you sleep on your back. If you're on your side, the pillow should be about the size from your head and shoulders. Not be too big and too small because improper size of the pillow will cause irritation, stretching or a kink in your neck which eventually lead to having neck pain or stiffness.
The best position for sleeping for back pain is on your side with a pillow between your knees. Studies show that people who sleep on their backs with their arms to the sides experience less neck/shoulder pain because this position reduces the shoulder/trap nerve tension and stress. Hopefully our talk about pillows and mattresses will help you get an ideal night’s sleep and proper recovery, so you're ready to tackle your day. Thanks for reading, Dr. Joe