Are You a Side Sleeper? Your Sleep May be Suffering.
Did you know that over 60% of Americans sleep on their side? While we may have the majority here, the pillow industry hasn’t historically done us any favors. The truth is, it’s easier to manufacture a pillow for back sleepers. Unfortunately, the majority of pillows that you see at big box retailers aren’t actually made to suit your needs. They may be comfortable and fluffy, but they’re generally unsupportive. For back sleepers, that’s usually not a problem. For side sleepers, this presents all kinds of issues. If you’ve been struggling with neck and back pain, migraines, and stiffness, your pillow might actually be a contributing factor.
When you’re laying on your side, the distance between your head and the mattress is significantly larger than if you were laying on your back. We call this gap between your head and the mattress the “Support Void”. Since the best position for you to sleep in is a neutral spine position, you need a pillow that will perfectly fill that void and keep your head supported.
The Support Void
Side sleepers have the biggest struggle when it comes to the Support Void. Depending on each person’s shoulder breadth, the void between your head and pillow can be quite large. It’s very common for people to end up sleeping with their heads severely tilted back, because their pillows can’t support that void.
Back sleepers only have a small support void. The distance between their head and mattress is relatively small, and this distance doesn’t change much from person to person. For this reason, a generic pillow might bring up a lot of issues for back sleepers.
The firmness of your mattress also contributes to the support void.
If you’re sleeping on a firm mattress, and you have broad shoulders, you could be very familiar with this neck pain struggle.
The bottom line is, there are a lot of variables involved with selecting the correct pillow for your needs. The pillow you’re using currently may not be doing you any favors. If you’re struggling with aches and pains, or waking up with stiffness in your neck and back, consider investing in a new pillow. The good news is that there is new technology coming out all the time that is specifically catered to providing better sleep for side sleepers. Pillows are being made that are more supportive, comfortable, and customizable to each person’s specific needs. It’s time to make an investment in the quality of your sleep and say goodbye to that neck pain!