Are you going to bed feeling fine but waking up achy and sore? Have your kids been waking up on the “wrong side of the bed”? Are you getting your regular adjustments but still waking up in pain? Your pillow might be the problem!

While there are a number of reasons why you may be sore in the mornings or your kids may be inexplicably grouchy, we often forget to look at our pillows.

The Purpose

Today, the main purpose of a pillow is for comfort. Some will also use pillows to help with sinus issues or heart burn. But the original purpose of the pillow? Quite different and, well, a little humorous to our modern thinking.

Thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia, pillows were made of stone. Clearly, the purpose had very little to do with comfort. In fact, the purpose of these stone pillows was to prevent bugs from crawling into mouths and ears and noses. Only the wealthy could afford these coveted stone pillows. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that pillows made of down and other much softer material became widespread.

Since we don’t typically need to worry about lots of insects burrowing in our ears anymore, let’s focus on how your pillow can fulfill it’s ultimate purpose: comfort.

The Comfort

Some will say the softer the better. Others would disagree completely, saying the firmer the better. The reason? The most comfortable pillow is different for everyone!

The key to comfort is proper alignment. You need a neutral posture from neck to hips. Your pillow choice will depend on the natural curvature of your neck and whether you are a side sleeper, belly sleeper, or back sleeper.

In an article by the University of Rochester Medical Center, there is a list of tips on how to best align your body for your sleeping posture preference. In short, they say, “Regardless of your sleeping position, try to keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned.”

Let’s do a quick rundown of the ideal types of pillows for the different sleeping positions:

Side Sleepers

In order for the side sleeper to keep the ear, shoulder, and hip in it’s ideal, neutral alignment, you’ll need a pillow that is fairly tall and firm. Ideally, this tall and firm pillow will be made of fluffy and moldable material for those who like to sleep with your arm beneath the pillow and for the varying shoulder depths.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleeping can cause quite the strain on the neck and back. But if it’s the only way you can fall asleep, fear not. There are pillow options that can help! You’ll want to go for a much flatter pillow that is super soft and moldable. For some, no pillow at all works best.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers need a pillow that falls somewhere between a side sleeper’s pillow and a stomach sleeper’s pillow. You’ll want one that is not too soft but not too firm, not too high but not too low. Think “medium” all around.

Our Favorite Pillow

sample buckwheat pillow

Are you ready for a new pillow? The options are virtually endless. But we have a favorite here at Amberwood Terrace Chiropractic. It’s called the Buckwheat pillow. What makes these so great? They are filled with buckwheat hulls! These pyramid shape hulls interlock when you lay your head on them and conform to the shape you need. Other fillings will often push back, eventually going back to the original shape sometime in your sleep.

Buckwheat has the added benefit of being virtually hypo-allergenic, environmentally friendly, and our favorite brand is grown right here in the United States.

Want to see these pillows for yourself? Stop in to Amberwood Terrace Chiropractic to look at some samples. And get a much-needed adjustment while you’re at it!

Happy Sleeping! We’ll see you soon!