Your choice of a pillow contributes significantly to restful, healthy sleep. In combination with your mattress, the pillow plays a decisive role in your sleeping position and the correct support of your spine.
The pillow holds the head, supports the cervical spine and prevents the cervical muscles from being overstretched. Your pillow and mattress do more work than any other part of your bed.
Night after night, the pillow supports an average of 4.7 kg (equivalent to the weight of an adult head), withstands up to 40 head movements and absorbs heat and moisture released by the head.
Stomach, back or side sleeper?
During sleep we usually take up different positions depending on the stage of sleep. Nevertheless, people can be roughly divided into stomach, back or side sleepers depending on their sleeping position.
However, this is a very approximate classification, which means that the majority (over 60%) of sleeping time is spent in this position. In fact, no one stays in the same position all night long, so it is not possible to make a clear classification.
The following sections provide information on the different sleeping positions.
Side sleepers need the highest and usually also the hardest pillow This is because the side sleepers have to cover the highest distance between head and mattress. The height of the pillow must therefore correspond to the entire width of the shoulder, taking into account the depth to which the shoulder sinks into the mattress. A soft mattress requires a deeper pillow than a hard mattress.
It is important that the shoulder does not lie on the pillow, otherwise the head will not be supported in the extension of the spine.
Stomach sleepers need a flat, soft pillow . They form the pillow to their liking, as they generally hold it firmly in their arms.
Stomach sleepers sleep partly on the pillow and partly on their arms. If the pillow of a stomach sleeper is too high, this results in a kink in the neck, which over time can lead to stiffening and tension in the neck area.
Back sleepers need a fairly deep but supportive pillow . Back sleepers must also make sure that their head lies naturally, i.e. does not bend forward or backwards, and that their shoulders do not lie on the pillow.
Pillow support levels
Especially for side or stomach sleepers, the height of the pillow is essential in order to obtain a relaxed position of the head and neck. The head is relaxed when there is no "kink in the neck". This means that the head must lie in the extension line of the spine.
In the lateral position, the space between the shoulders and the head must be filled so that the head does not bend downwards. In a dorsal position, the pillow must not be too high, otherwise it will push the head up too much. And a prone position does not allow for high and firm pillows, as this can lead to massive tension in the neck.
The height of the pillows
The height of your pillow should correspond to the distance from the shoulder to the head. The shoulder should lie on the mattress next to the pillow.
People with a strong physique should opt for a high, supportive pillow, while more delicate people will prefer a low, soft pillow.
For people who sleep on their side or back, the "shoulder-neck triangle" should be particularly well supported. In a supine position, the natural S-shape of the cervical spine should be maintained; for a lateral position, the cervical spine should ideally be completely straight and without bends.
“Down pillow”, “feather pillow” or “feather/down pillow”?
The different names refer to the mixture of the contents. If there are only feathers in the pillow, it is called a feather pillow; if there is only down in the pillow, it is called a down pillow. If there are mixed fillings, it is a feather/down pillow.
A quality feature of the filling, apart from the quality of the feathers, is also its down content, because down makes the pillow softer and smoother, thus ensuring the ideal comfort of the pillow.
A good pillow is filled with new, whole (not hacked) feathers from adult geese or ducks (never from poultry or other land fowl).
The lifespan of a pillow
The lifespan of a good quality pillow is two to three years on average. If you take an average purchase price of approx. €120, a quality pillow costs only approx. 13-15 cents per night, with a usage time of approximately 7 hours per night. Even the coffee or tea you drink in the morning after waking up costs more.
Low-priced feather pillows do not meet the requirements regarding cover and filling. If you buy a cheap product, you are thus foregoing the exceptionally good features offered by a high-quality product and will quickly be disappointed.
The investment in a quality product is definitely worth it.
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