You may not realize it but the type of pillow that you have, can impact your sleep and the health of your spine. It is important to select the right pillow for your sleep and back support needs. Follow this guide for assistance in picking the right pillow for you.

How do I know if my current pillow is good enough?

When you wake do you feel a crick in your neck or discomfort in your back or shoulders? Do you commonly put your hand or arm under your pillow or fold it in half for added support? These are signs that your current pillow isn’t providing you enough support.

What kind of pillow do I need?

Your best bet is to skip Walmart and Target and go to a quality retailer for bedding supplies. Yes, there is a higher price tag but like with anything else, you get what you pay for. It is better to invest in one quality pillow that will last (and solve your problems) than keep buying several poor-quality pillows that make matters worse.

When shopping for a new pillow, look for pillows with a firmer foam and materials that push against your head and provide support. Avoid soft, squishy pillows that allow for your head to sink in.

Pillows with a contour and offer cervical (neck) support are also good buys.

People who sleep on their back should make sure the pillow they have selected will fit the gap between their neck and the bed while they lay but if you can see your feet, then your pillow is too fat. You want to make sure that your ears are in line with, or slightly behind, your shoulders when your head is resting on your new pillow. If you also experience lower back pain while you sleep, place another pillow under your knees. This slight elevation will release some of the pressure on your lumbar region.

As for side sleepers, make sure the pillow fills the gap between their ear and the bed. You will need to find a pillow with just the right thickness; a pillow that is too fat or thin will interrupt your spine’s natural curve. Your spine naturally has 3 curves. You should also sleep with a pillow between your knees to achieve this natural positioning. Also make sure that your bottom leg is even with or in front of your top leg and that both of your knees are bent.

Once you have selected the right pillow for your sleeping style and you are using the pillow and other sleeping tips correctly, you should begin to feel a change in how well you sleep and the pain you wake up in (or don’t!).