Do you have sleepless nights due to neck, low back and hip pain? Have you ever considered that your pillow or mattress may be the cause of the problem. Sleep is essential to our everyday functioning, so it is important that we get a good night’s rest. In order to do this you should make sure you are sleeping on a mattress and are using a pillow that are suitable for you.
Which pillow or mattress should I go for? (soft, hard?) This is a question I am commonly asked in clinic. My response is usually, “There is no single type or style of mattress which works for all people as we are all different shapes, sizes, weights etc..” I can give you a guide of what you should be looking for when testing out pillows and mattresses:
When choosing a mattress don’t be scared to have a lie down on it after all, you will spend most of your time lying down on it, not sitting! You should, if you can lie on the mattress for at least 5-10 minutes, in the position you would normally lie in; if you will be sharing you bed with a partner you should both lie on it, to test how it supports your weight.
A bed that is too soft will not be giving your spine enough support so will allow it to go out of alignment and possibly cause muscle stiffness. A mattress which is too hard may put too much pressure on certain parts of the body and result in pain, especially in the hips and shoulders.
When lying on your back the mattress should support you enough so the natural curves of your spine remain. Get someone to slide there hand behind the small of your back. If there is a gap between your low back and the bed, then the mattress is too hard and not supporting your back. If the person struggles to get their hand underneath your back because your back is rounding, then the mattress is far too soft. If the persons hand slides through but stays in contact with your back, then this is a good mattress for you. If you lie on your side on the mattress your spine should remain straight. The mattress should be both Supportive and Comfortable.
Like the choice of a mattress, the choice of pillow is also very important. Your head weighs more than 10 pounds so your pillow needs provide sufficient support, as well as comfort. If support is not appropriate the neck can be put under strain.
A good pillow should keep your head in line with your spine. If sleeping on your back, just run a hand along the back on your neck; the neck should not feel abnormally bent forwards or backwards. If lying on your side your neck should stay in neutral, not bent to either side. For a normal sleeping posture, only the head and neck should be placed on the pillow, not the shoulders.
The amount of support needed from your pillow will be dependent on your sleeping position, as well as your weight and type of mattress. It is important to take in to account the depth of your shoulder in comparison to the distance between you head and bed.
At Avenue Clinic we sell Goldilocks pillows, which involves measuring the patient to provide them with the correct size pillow. For further information on these pillows please see the Goldilocks website: http://www.goldilockspillows.co.uk/