How making a small change could help you sleep better

In a world that seems to be waking up to the value of sleep, the market is awash with pills and potions carrying claims of sublime slumber.

Less than a third of Brits sleep with the recommended one pillow, research found (photo: Adobe)
Less than a third of Brits sleep with the recommended one pillow, research found (photo: Adobe)

But we may have been missing the point, lying – literally – on the key to a good night’s kip all along.

Poor pillow choices and low quality sleep have been intrinsically linked in several analytical studies in the last decade.

Experts advise that sleeping with one pillow is best as it helps keep the spine in its natural alignment, vital in avoiding a range of long-term health problems.

The type of pillow is just as important as the quantity, say experts (photo: Adobe)

Yet, less than a third of Brits sleep with the recommended one pillow, according to a recent study.

More than half are sleeping with two pillows, falling vulnerable to spine misalignment and long-term effects to their quality of sleep.

And around 16 per cent opt to keep their heads high by sleeping with three or more pillows, placing themselves at more risk of spinal issues, health problems and increasing discomfort.

According to experts, the type of pillow you sleep with is just as important as the quantity.

Selecting your pillow to suit your sleeping position ensures that your spine is catered for and provides your body with the utmost comfort for restorative sleep.

Best pillows for side sleepers

According to recent YouGov data, half of Britain’s population are side sleepers, with 25 per cent sleeping on their left-hand side and 25 per cent on the right.

Experts advise side sleeping in the foetal position as healthy for the spine.

So, what’s the best pillow for half of Britain to choose?

“A memory foam pillow is best for side sleepers as they help keep the head at a level height,” said Emma Beck, buying and merchandising manager at Bensons for Beds, behind the study.

"These types of pillows can also support pressure points on the head and neck. The height of the pillow is significant as you should be trying to fill the gap from the side of the head to the mattress, negating the need for more than one pillow.”

Best pillows for neck and back pain

If you’re waking up with pain in your back or neck then your pillow choices could be to blame.

Those experiencing this pain should choose pillows that give the right support to the head and neck.

Latex pillows are said to be a great option as these help to cushion the head without letting the neck arch.

Best pillows for back sleepers

“It’s important that back sleepers keep their head as flat as possible and not pushed too far forward as this will otherwise put a strain on the neck,” said Emma.

“A bouncy pillow that isn’t too soft or a contouring pillow is best for this, to allow sufficient support.”

Best pillows for stomach sleepers

Sleeping on your front is not thought to be the best way to sleep, as it can cause strain on the back and neck which leads to a poor night’s sleep.

However, eight per cent of the UK can’t resist.

A soft pillow, such as a feather and down pillow with a low height is recommended for stomach sleepers to keep the spine from arching. Front sleepers might also want to consider placing an additional pillow underneath the stomach to help ease any strain on the spine.

Emma added: “Pillow choice paired with sleeping position can have long-term effects on sleep quality, well-being and health issues affected by the spine."

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