"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Is Your Pillow Harming Your Health?

Pillows may also help or hurt depending on their firmness and your sleeping position.

Photo: © vitranc/Getty Images

But the advantages of pillows don't transcend comfort and positioning. Sometimes pillows also harm your health.

Pillows and pain

“If your neck is bent in any way for a long period of time, it's going to hurt,” explains Matthew O'Rourke, a physical therapist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. A pillow that is simply too soft or too firm will often cause neck pain, he says.

For example, in case you sleep in your side with a soft pillow that doesn't provide enough support under your neck, your head can have to boost the side to fulfill the pillow. If you sleep in your stomach—a position that pushes the neck back—using a firm pillow pushes the top back even further. “If you're on your stomach with your head, you're sleeping in a full rotation position, and that can be painful,” says O'Rourke.

Similarly, sleeping in your back with an excessive amount of support pushes the neck too far forward.

Pillows can derail CPAP.

For individuals with sleep apnea — a condition through which you stop respiration periodically during sleep — pillows can interfere with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. CPAP keeps your airway open through a bedside device that pushes air through a mask you wear whilst you sleep. “If you're a side sleeper, a pillow can dislodge the mask,” says Dr. Epstein.

Lack of sleep

There are consequences for losing sleep from anxiety at night. Your body has less time for muscle growth, tissue repair, and other vital functions that occur during sleep.

Lack of sleep can affect mood, pondering skills and appetite. Chronic sleep deprivation increases your risk of falls, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

As a positive aspect

Sleeping together with your upper body elevated at an angle may reduce symptoms of sinus problems and forestall recurrences of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – a condition through which tiny crystals are expelled from the inner ear. And extreme dizziness.

Specially designed pillows may also help people keep their CPAP masks on. “They have cutouts that fit into the mask so it won't get knocked off,” explains Dr. Epstein.

Pillow IQ

Finding the suitable pillow is a matter of private preference. In today's high-tech age you've got many options: materials that conform to your shape (memory foam), keep you cool, wick away moisture, or repel mold and mud particles. are (which can help allergy victims). Some pillows even track your sleep habits and wake you up with music (these can cost lots of of dollars).

Traditional materials are also popular. Down and feather pillows conform to your shape and repel dust particles, but they will be hot and expensive. Pillows fabricated from cotton, wool or synthetic cotton are inexpensive, but they create a more attractive climate for dust mites.

Keep the robustness in mind. Side sleepers need a firm pillow for support. Rectangular pillows with side panels may also help. They are taller than standard pillows. Back and stomach sleepers will want to use thinner, softer pillows. Aim for a cushty position that may enable you to go to sleep. “Try to get the spine in a relatively straight position. But everyone's composition is going to be a little different,” says Matthew O'Rourke, a physical therapist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Beware of pillow guarantees

While adjusting your sleeping position may also help prevent symptoms, it won't eliminate health problems reminiscent of restless leg syndrome or sleep deprivation – although some pillows may also help with snoring and sleep disorders. Sold as an answer. Both doctors say the one method to cope with a sleep problem is to refer to your doctor and get a correct diagnosis and treatment.