As a chiropractor the most common question any one asks me is which is the correct way to lie and what is the best pillow to use.
There doesn't seem to be much research available and most of the pillow advice seems to be written by pillow manufacturers, so I will simply write based upon my experience gained at my Derby chiropractic clinic.
Choosing a Pillow
Let us start with pillows, many people turn very quickly to expensive memory foam pillow
s only to find that they make no difference or even make sleeping harder. If you are lying on your side a pillow should be the same thickness as your shoulder ie your head should be in a neutral position. So when choosing your pillow take into account the thickness of the pillow when it is compressed and not nice and springy straight from the shop.
This also applies if you lie on your back, generally a single cushion will suffice, although some medical conditions may require more.
Sleeping on your front really isn't great for your neck as it hyperextends it (puts it in a very unnatural position) for a prolonged period and lying on your front with a pillow only makes this situation worse.
There are numerous memory foam pillows on the market now, many of which are extremely expensive. There seems to be a 50 / 50 split between people that like them and those that don't. I would suggest start with a traditional pillow of the correct thickness first before making the large investment in a memory foam pillow.
The Best Way To Lie.
Lying on your side or back is a personal preference but you should try to maintain the natural curve of your back. Many people find lying on your back with a pillow under your knees or a lumbar roll under your lower back is comfortable. If you prefer lying on your side try bending your knees slightly.
Selecting A Mattress
The first rule is to try the bed first, visit a shop and lie on the bed for a while. A bed is a large investment and needs to be suitable for you. A very soft bed does not support the back adequately, that said if you have always had a soft bed it may be difficult to adapt to a firmer type.
Memory foam mattresses are very popular at the present and their prices have come down substantially in the last few years and you can even by a 'topper' if you don't want to invest in a new mattress. The only negative comments I hear about these types of mattresses is that they are very hot, but most people become accustomed to this and never look back.
Getting Out Of Bed
If you suffer with your back getting out of bed can be a chore, on solution is turn on to your side, bring your knees up and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid using your back and use the strength of your arms.
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