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When you struggle with neck and back pain, choosing the right pillow is imperative. Having a good pillow can have a significant impact not only on your comfort level but also your quality of sleep.

Memory foam is one of the best pillow options, and it’s even used in the medical field for bedridden patients to reduce pressure sores.

If you deal with neck and back pain, is a memory foam pillow right for you? What else should you know about choosing a pillow?

Benefits of a Memory Foam Pillow

If you do go with a memory foam pillow, there are significant benefits including:

  • Memory foam pillows provide contouring and support. They conform to the shape of your head and cradle it, without it sinking far in like you might experience with a regular pillow. This material also distributes weight evenly so that your neck and spine aren’t strained.
  • Memory foam pillows, as well as mattresses, provide pressure point relief in the neck, back, and shoulders.
  • With a memory foam pillow, your spine is going to stay better aligned, and this can be healing while you sleep.
  • Some find that memory foam helps alleviate snoring because it keeps the airways open at night.
  • Memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic, and that can impede the growth of bacteria, mold, and dust.
  • If you invest in one of these pillows, you’re likely going to get your money’s worth because they can last for years.

Sleep Position

When you’re choosing a pillow, whether you have neck and back pain or not, you should think about your sleep position.

If you often sleep on your stomach, you’ll probably want what’s called a low-loft pillow. Otherwise, with a higher loft, it might strain your neck.

Soft support is good for stomach sleepers, as is a pillow filled with a compressible material such as feathers or down alternatives.

If you’re a back sleeper, consider low or medium-loft pillows, and if you’re a side sleeper, a high-loft pillow can help keep your spine aligned.

If you’re a back sleeper, you should also consider a medium firmness in your pillow, and back sleepers tend to do well with conforming materials such as memory foam. With a pillow that’s medium firmness, you’ll have enough support so that you’re aligned with your spine, without the pillow gradually flattening.

If you’re a side sleeper, think about a high-loft, firm pillow. Materials that are shapable and can be fluffed might be optimal for side sleepers too.

Head and Body Size

If you have a larger head, it’s probably to sink into your pillow more deeply, so you might opt for a high-loft pillow. The opposite is true if your head is smaller.

If you’re heavier, consider a higher loft.

Pillow Size

Sometimes people don’t realize there are different sizes of pillow available. Pillows are available in the following sizes:

  • A standard pillow is 20 inches by 26 inches, and these are the smallest, least expensive pillows available.
  • A super standard pillow is a bit bigger, measuring 20 inches by 28 inches. If you have a larger bed, you’ll probably need at least two of these.
  • A queen pillow gives you extra room at 20 inches by 30 inches.
  • King pillows are great if you’re bigger, your bed is larger, or you simply want more space on your pillow. A king pillow is 20 inches by 36 inches.

Other Pillow Features to Look For

In addition to what’s above, depending on your needs and preferences, you might also want:

  • A pillow made from a material that wicks moisture, particularly if you’re a hot sleeper or you’re prone to night sweats. Bamboo is a good example of a material that will wick away moisture while you sleep.
  • If you have allergies or sensitive skin, consider a pillow made from organic and natural materials such as cotton and natural latex.
  • One reason you might not get a memory foam pillow, despite all the advantages, is because they aren’t as breathable as some other types of pillows, and they tend to trap body heat rather than letting it move away from your body.

Finally, there are some brands that focus on being socially conscious as well, and eco-friendly, so you might want to choose a pillow from a brand that represents your values. For example, there are some pillow companies that donate bedding to local homeless shelters.

Taking a little time to choose the right pillow can pay off in terms of reducing your neck and back pain and helping you sleep better.