The Right Pillow for a Good Night’s Sleep 

 September 28, 2010

By  Dr. John Vilkelis


It can be difficult to decide whether or not you need a new pillow, what kind to buy and do you need something different than you had before.  There are so many different types of pillows it can get confusing.  There are pillows that have feathers, pillows made from hypoallergenic fiber, pillows with memory foam, pillows with water like a waterbed and even some with different types of seeds.

The first thing you need to do is figure out if you need a new pillow or not.  If you’re asking the question, it’s likely that your current pillow is not giving you everything you want.  If you wake up with headaches or a stiff neck or upper back regularly when everything was fine at bedtime, your pillow may be the culprit.  Furthermore, if you awake and you’re not on the pillow your pillow may need to be replaced.  When I say “not on the pillow” I mean if you’re sleeping on a corner of the pillow or have folded it in half to beef it up or you push the pillow away or throw it on the floor and so on.

So now you’ve decided you need a new pillow.  What kind should of pillow to get?  Don’t bother asking your friends and family because as many of them you ask is the number of different pillow recommendations you’ll get.  You should ask yourself do I need a different type of pillow or did my old one just wear out?  If it just wore out then you’ve just made your quest much easier.  If you need a different type then that’s a little more complicated.

There are many different types of pillows as I mentioned earlier but I will narrow them down a bit for you.

Fiber pillows can be very supportive and they can be shaped by the manufacturer to be a proper cervical (neck) shaped pillow or to look like a feather pillow.  Fiber pillows are usually hypoallergenic and are good for people with allergies.  In fact this is the first choice for someone with serious allergy problems (even the foam pillows can activate an allergic response just like latex).

Feather pillows are the old standard and may be fine for you if you have no neck problems.  If you do have some neck issues or headaches this is probably not the category for you.  Be sure the feather pillow is not too large and stiff, it does need to conform to your neck somewhat to give you the proper support.

Before I get to my first choice in all the pillow categories I want to say from my professional experience that I don’t recommend the pillows that are water filled or filled with seeds and husks.  I just don’t feel they give the proper support.

The pillow I recommend for just about everyone is the Tempurpedic “Neck Pillow” and it is made from a patented kind of memory foam.  I have found that these give the best support if fitted to you properly.  To be fitted you just need to measure between your head and the end of your shoulder as this will determine the size pillow you need.  There are other memory foam pillows but you often get what you pay for and they may not be as good a quality as the brand name.

I hope this helps you get a good nights sleep.  We all need our rest.

Please let me know what you think of this post.  I would love to share your experience.

Dr. John Vilkelis

Dr. Vilkelis has been in private practice for over 27 years. He has a reputation for truly caring for his patients and goes the extra mile to make sure people get the help they need. He accepts patients of all ages and is eager to help you get well and stay healthy. Give him a call today at (914) 618-4330.

Dr. John G. Vilkelis

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