Do you feel you are constantly tired? No matter how long you sleep you never wake up fully rested? Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep not before 45 minutes? You continue to go on through daily mundane activities on autopilot, yawning all day, waiting for the time you will sleep again, but then sleep still evades you?
You are not alone!
Almost half of the Americans report feeling sleepy or tired during the day. It’s possible that you tried everything, eating properly, exercising every day, and everything else but if you still cannot finish at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep, it is time to widen your choices to get better sleep. Perhaps it’s time to check your pillow.
Research suggests that pillows can dramatically help in improving our sleep conditions and quality. There are several things that pillows are useful for, apart from making our beds and couches pretty.
Neck and shoulder pain
Do you know that you tend to keep your shoulders raised when you’re tense? That, along with several other factors such as posture can cause the neck and shoulder muscles to hurt and make you wake up with a sore neck. A neck pillow or a memory foam pillow can relax the muscles and support the head to help you sleep without pain.
Lower back pain
Anyone with posture problems and long sitting hours can have lower back problems. Core strengthening exercises are very helpful in treating such a pain. Specialized lumbar pillows to sit or body pillows that support the spine and helps it to relax while you sleep accelerates healing and pain relief.
Eating very spicy food at night too close to bedtime or an upset stomach can cause acid reflux which can make sleeping very uncomfortable. Plain dinners 4 hours before bedtime along with pillows to elevate your body from the waist above can help relieve symptoms, therefore, promoting healing and better sleep.
Some people may have their airways blocked due to their position in bed while they sleep. This can severely disturb sleep duration and quality. Using pillows such as wedge pillows can elevate your body while sleeping and help in improving the posture in bed which in turn keeps the airways unobstructed.
If you feel you cannot sleep well at night because of your allergies acting up, it is time to change your pillow. Pillows can collect dust mites which can aggravate allergies over time. Switch to a new pillow to sleep better.
Even though we all act brave through the day, every day, lack of sleep can have detrimental effects on our well-being. Knowing how so many of our problems are directly related to sleep duration and quality, we can bring about a positive change ourselves.
Why does the body need better sleep?
We are not even exaggerating when we say it is absolutely critical to get proper good quality sleep in order to achieve an optimum state of physical and mental health. A lot of parts of our body and aspects of our lives are directly affected by the duration and quality of sleep, as follows.
Moods go haywire
The average amount of sleep that most adults require is 7-8 hours per night. If you find yourself exceptionally grumpy, emotional, or irritable day after day, swallowing copious amounts of coffee to stay awake in the morning, then you are sleep-deprived.
Memory can falter
Sleep is crucial when it comes to our brain forming new memories. Your brain is deprived of opportunity and conditions to form new memories when subjected to long-term sleep deprivation affecting your short-term and long-term memories.
Cognitive abilities are challenged
Reducing your sleep time by nearly 1.5 hours for only one night can reduce your cognitive abilities impairing your alertness and performance. Sleep deprivation contributes to excessive sleepiness in the day, reflecting the poor quality of work, weakened judgment, and logical reasoning.
Sexual dysfunction can occur
After ruling out any underlying conditions, a lot of problems between the sheets can be attributed to poor quality sleep. Sexual dysfunction because of lack of sleep can manifest in the form of the lowered sex drive, inability to enjoy or achieve arousal or even erectile dysfunction.
Weight gain is very common
You may have noticed that whenever you miss out on a few hours of sleep you are more likely to eat more and exercise less, and end up indulging excessively in unhealthy food choices. Lack of sleep contributes dramatically to weight gain because of disrupted brain communication that helps you feel full.
Your immune system may not be able to function to its full force when subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation. You may fall sick quicker and take longer to recover. Without correct intervention, loss of proper sleep can increase inflammation in the body, and mixed with lowered immunity it can lead to several health dysfunctions.
When you are ready to start your recovery from sleep deprivation, pillows are an inexpensive solution that can dramatically help in improving sleep duration and quality that can arise for a variety of reasons. Here is a list of different kinds of pillows to help you decide which one is the best for you.
What exactly is inside your pillow?
From a body pillow to a throw pillow, we have so many pillows to try and be comfortable in bed or while we relax. However, depending on your preferred sleeping position and the level of firmness that you require, there are several materials that you can choose as a filling for your pillows.
- A luxury animal-sourced material, down is an ultra-soft filling fiber that is made from soft feathers close to the skin of the duck, swan, or goose.
- Down can sometimes be mixed with feathers. It’s critical to check the feather to down ratio, because feathers can begin to poke out of fabric after a while.
- Many people find it very lightweight and excessively soft to use while others report regular fluffing down pillows provides good support to the neck and head and can last for many years.
- Even though the material is deemed hypoallergenic it may not be suitable for people who are allergic to geese or duck.
Down alternative pillow
- Suitable for all kinds of sleepers, but down alternative pillows are especially supportive for back and side sleepers.
- People who are allergic to down may choose a down alternative pillow that is made from polyester or polyfill.
- They are known to mimic the feeling of down making them hypoallergenic and a lot more affordable than down.
- They are easy to clean and last a long time but may begin to develop clumps after a few years.
Memory foam pillow
- These pillows bring you the best of memory foam and the quintessential contouring and pain-relieving features of memory foam.
- They are excellent at providing the exact amount of support for your neck and head while you sleep, relieving all sorts of pain or discomfort.
- Usually available in a block form, memory foam pillows are extremely popular for providing excellent support for back sleepers and side sleepers.
- Memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic in nature. Some forms of memory foam may retain heat.
- With the availability of several synthetic options cotton pillows are not as popular as they used to be.
- They are exceptionally helpful for people who are allergic to all kinds of synthetic material as well as down.
- They are light and breathable in nature while remaining odorless. Cotton pillows are easy to wash and easily remove mold and dust.
- The cotton filling does not provide any remarkable support to the head while sleeping and may also become lumpy after regular use.
Shredded memory foam
- A versatile alternative to memory foam blocks is shredded memory foam that can help people in customizing the amount of filling in the pillow.
- Shredded memory foam, with regular fluffing, can be used by back or side sleepers with specific needs for firmness and height of the pillow.
- Stomach sleepers may also use them by reducing the amount of filling accordingly.
Gel memory foam
- There are many people who heat up while they sleep and memory foam because of its high-density structure can end up trapping heat while they sleep, hence making them break into a sweat or wake up.
- Gel memory foam is an advanced type of memory form that is mixed with a cooling gel to allow hot sleepers to sleep through the night without any discomfort.
- Shredded memory foam is also mixed with cooling gel made specifically for hot sleepers allowing them to customize their pillows as well as remain cool while they sleep.
- One of the most commonly used filling materials for pillows, polyester fiber or polyfill is an affordable choice of pillow filling.
- While being easy on pockets, polyester filling can quickly begin to become lumpy and non-breathable material, and can trap a lot of heat.
- Since polyfill can be made with different levels of firmness, it is suitable for all kinds of sleepers.
- Latex is a form of foam that is known to provide pressure point relief and support similar to memory form without the feeling of sinking in the pillow.
- Because of their shape, supportive properties, latex pillows are suitable for side and back sleepers but may not be suitable for stomach sleepers as it can be too firm for them to use.
- It is a breathable material that provides support and pain relief in the block or shredded form.
- Although natural latex is an extremely sustainable and eco-friendly product it can be expensive while being unsuitable for people with latex allergy and may need to choose memory foam instead.
- Made of synthetic unexpanded polystyrene beads, microbeads are a plush and squishy pillow fill that contours according to your body while you sleep.
- It tends to be a breathable and malleable material that provides excellent support while sleeping.
- While microbeads are ideal for back sleepers, all kinds of sleepers may be able to use this filling with a satisfactory experience.
- They are not biodegradable in nature and hence not an eco-friendly choice.
- A plant-based sustainable form of microbeads, Buckwheat hulls are a fairly popular pillow filling material in Asian countries and are slowly gaining popularity in the West as well.
- Buckwheat pillows are very similar to microbeads in terms of texture and support that they provide but in contrast, perform with double the durability and degrades quickly.
After knowing about all the options you have for improving your sleep with your pillows, you must know how to ensure the long life and hygiene of your pillows.
How to keep your pillows clean and fresh?
If your pillows are such a critical element in improving your sleep, then you must know to maintain them too. One of the most important parts of resting your head on your pillow each night is being aware that it is not dirty or full of germs. Consider following instructions and tips to take care and clean your pillows.
Read pillow care
Most products will come with washing instructions mentioned on a small tag sewn with it, just like your clothes. Not all types of pillows can be tossed in the machine.
You can invest in pillow protectors or pillow covers to keep your pillows from getting frequent stains or dust.
Be quick to grab a wiping cloth to remove fresh stains. Use a little mild detergent if needed on the spot and allow it to dry completely before using again.
You can wash even down pillows in a gentle cycle, but make sure you use only a tiny amount of detergent and no fabric conditioner. Wash pillow covers regularly.
Try gentle vacuuming
It can help in removing dust or any kind of contaminants.
Do not pillow fight
No matter how fun or exciting pillow fights appear on TV, it is not kind to your pillows, often leading to distorted shapes and tears in the fabric.
Considering that we now know the comprehensive variety of pillows offering unique advantages, and how to take care of them, it is time to check a few products that shine through for each of your unique concerns. We have compiled a list of products that we have found to be highly useful in helping people sleep and, in certain situations, may even become difficult to function without. Our experts have put in their time and curated a list that will provide you with all the options that have worked for us as well as the kind users who tried each product and helped us with reviews.
Here is a list of products that we loved while being chosen, tested, and recommended by experts and reviewers.
- Made suitable for all kinds of sleepers, these pillows come with a lot of recommendations for being the best pillow ever. The users reported having slept the best night of restful sleep ever. The pillows provide support to the neck and head while remaining in its place throughout the night.
- As the name suggests these pillows provide you with the correct balance of comfort and firmness similar to that of luxury hotel bed pillows.
- Covered with pure cotton fabric and filled with down alternatives mixed with cooling gel, these pillows help you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep for longer, and help remain cool without breaking a sweat.
- No matter how long you use them, the no-shift design stays the same shape without clogging. They are safe to machine wash in a delicate cycle with cold water to be left to dry flat.
- The pillows arrive in a vacuum-pressed packing and after opening the plastic wrap, you are instructed to leave the pillows while fluffing regularly to assume their full size over 24 hours. If you are not satisfied with the product for some reason, contact the seller within 30 days.
Pregnant women require all the support they can find and this pillow with its unique U-shaped body provides the perfect balance of support and comfort for the growing belly and tired hips. The improved sleep helps to improve the health of the mother as well as supports the development of the baby.
- Not only pregnant women can use this body pillow to support their head and neck, but it helps to relieve all kinds of body aches by removing pressure from the back, hips, and legs while supporting the correct alignment for the spine.
- The pillow comes with a removable and washable cover that is made of a cool-to-touch, breathable fabric allowing you and especially pregnant women to remain relaxed but not overheat while they rest or sleep.
- The body pillow does not take up too much space on the bed allowing your partner to sleep undisturbed. Even to snuggle on the couch or the floor this body pillow performs perfectly to induce the best relaxation ever.
- If for any reason you are not happy with the product, PharMeDoc provides you with a full refund or exchange offer within 30 days of the purchase given that you return the product without any stains, odor with all its tags and receipts intact.
- When you are a side sleeper, and you struggle to find a pillow that is neither too high nor too low for your preference and keeps you cool while you sleep, you must consider a cooling gel shredded memory foam bed pillow by Coop Home Goods.
- Also known as the fully adjustable pillow this pillow comes in a box with a pillow cover that has the option of removing or increasing the amount of fill in the pillow according to your taste. An extra ½ lb of shredded memory foam is provided along with the pillow in case you wish to add more foam for your liking.
- The bamboo-based fabric forms the dust, mites, and odor-resistant breathable pillow cover that you can remove and wash whenever you feel like it to wake up daisy fresh each morning.
- Because of the quality of materials used the pillows may have a slight new foam smell when you first buy them. If the smell bothers you, the manufacturer advises removing the pillow cover and allowing it to air itself for 5-6 days. Or let it sit in the dryer for one to two hours on low.
- While you can enjoy sleeping on your tailor-made pillow, you get a generous 100-day free trial and can return the product within 100 days for a full refund.
- Made of memory foam has been specially designed for relieving neck pain in side sleepers and back sleepers. Because of the property of memory foam to conform to your head and body this pillow is able to provide you exactly the kind of therapeutic pain relief that you need at the end of the day.
- With the breathable fabric cover, this pillow proves to be exceptionally adept at relaxing your neck while supporting your head in turn inducing deep sleep quicker and for longer.
- When your body is able to achieve a perfect alignment of neck head and spine your body experiences a sensation of complete relaxation that is beneficial in helping you stay asleep for longer, without pain or discomfort.
- If in case you feel that the pillow is too high for your liking you can remove a layer of memory foam from the middle of the pillow to better suit your needs. This allows customization and utility by all kinds of sleepers.
- If in any case you are not satisfied with their product EPABO provides you with a worry-free 30 days return policy.
The experience of using a soft and supportive down and feather pillow is often described as sleeping on a cloud.
- These adjustable feather pillows are made of 95% gray goose feathers and 5% down covered with a 100% cotton shell that provides that perfect blend of comfort and support. If you find them too full or firm for your liking, just take out some filling and make it fit your needs.
- All the products at Puredown are hypoallergenic and ethically sourced following the responsible Down Standard resulting in a safe, lightweight and odorless pillow.
- Carefully remove the plastic wrap off the pillows and allow them half an hour to fluff and gain their original size. If you notice any odor then allow 24 hours for the pillow to air and the smell will dissipate by itself.
- The pillow retains its shape and contents because of fine needlework making them last a long time. Fluffing your pillows regularly and keeping them free from moisture helps you prolong their performance.
- Make use of a 30 days money-back guarantee by contacting the store and can check with the store if an issue appears after 30 days.
For anyone looking for a full-body relaxation experience in bed, a body pillow is the best option.
- Snuggle-pedic body pillows are designed to support not just your head or neck but all body parts and maintain the natural curve of your spine which helps you sleep without pain or discomfort.
- This long body pillow works brilliantly in relaxing your whole body during the whole time you sleep and contains shredded memory foam covered with a breathable cooling bamboo fabric adding extra comfort for you.
- Made with a lot of care and consideration with the sole purpose of improving sleep for you and the pregnant women before, during and after birth. You wake up rested and refreshed.
- After unpacking, allow a few hours for the pillow to regain its shape and size. If you are sensitive to the foam odor then allow the pillow to air itself for a few days.
- The worst thing for people with neck pain is to sleep on the wrong pillow. Suitable for all sleeping positions, but better suited for side and back sleepers, this pillow provides adequate support and comfort for their neck.
- This pillow has been reported by its users to effectively alleviate pain in the neck and the shoulders by relieving pressure off the tensed muscles.
- This pillow contains 100% Buckwheat hulls that keep you cool while being completely supported for a good night’s sleep. It repels heat and allows air to pass through the hulls making this a completely organic long-lasting solution for hot sleepers.
- The pillow cover can help in keeping the pillow clean and dust-free. Unlike many other varieties, the buckwheat pillow does not lose its shape or its function even after many years after its purchase.
- Some people may notice the slight noise that the hulls make while you move on your pillow while you sleep, but most users loved the experience and benefitted from the pain-relieving properties of the pillow.
- Microbeads are polystyrene beads that are filled in pillows for a material that is light as well as conforms to the body. They are very squishy and support your body parts.
- This pillow is small enough to carry along with you while traveling or to support aching neck or knees for extra support.
- These pillows are breathable in nature, generally remain cool and do not need to be flipped in the middle of night.
- The material isn’t environment friendly but generally hypo-allergenic. The pillow is made of strong polyester fabric and comes with double seam packing to avoid tearing of the fabric.
- Spot clean for stains and clean in a gentle cycle of the washing machine and let it air dry.
- With a soft cotton pillow, TANAVAT brings you a cotton filled pillow that is soft, supportive and completely hypoallergenic. Suitable for people with foam, latex, polyester or down allergies.
- Suitable for side back and stomach sleepers to sleep comfortably. The cotton filling along with soft cotton cover is naturally cool and breathable material. Making it stay cool throughout the night without the need to flip or fluff.
- You can easily wash this pillow in a machine at gentle cycle and then air dry.
- When you receive the pillows, carefully cut along the side of the plastic covering to allow the vacuum packed pillows to breathe in air for the new product smell to dissipate and assume their actual shape for 24 hours.
- No toxic materials are used in the manufacturing of this pillow and it is a completely biodegradable product.
- Made from completely plant based materials, these pillows do not contain any synthetic chemicals or memory foam and at the same time provide exceptional support to aching joints.
- Using the highest quality of latex, these pillows are ideal for anyone looking for supportive pillows for pain relief in the neck, head and the spine.
- Available in varying density of soft medium and firm feel you can decide which one suits you the best. The medium some noise level is suitable for side sleepers whereas back sleepers might find higher density more supportive.
- The natural latex is hypoallergenic, resists mildew and bed bugs while preventing growth of bacteria. Natural latex does not heat up because of a porous breathable design while you sleep, maintaining a comfortable temperature.
- If you notice any odor in the new pillow, allow it to air for a few days.
After choosing your preferred pillow, try the following tips to ensure you have better sleep hygiene.
Now that you know pillows play a critical role in helping you sleep better, here is a list of things you can try to improve your sleep quality.
See a doctor
Before you start working on your erratic sleeping patterns visit your doctor first. It is very common to keep waking up utterly exhausted and tired each morning only to have an undetectable underlying condition like sleep apnea keeping you up at night.
Because of the omnipresence of screens that emit blue light around us, our brain tends to think it is daytime and remains active. Activities like reading a book or listening to calming music before bed instead of looking at screens can be beneficial towards winding down and falling asleep. Also, resist looking at the phone to help you fall back asleep quickly.
Coffee can stay in your system for up to 8 hours. The same coffee that can help you wake up in the morning can make it difficult to fall asleep if consumed late in the evening. Make sure you have coffee and caffeinated drinks only when you need to stay awake and avoid consuming them after 4 o clock.
It’s fairly easy to understand that if you sleep in the daytime for several hours it will be difficult for you to fall asleep when you need to at night. You will end up staying awake counting sheep even when you don’t wish to simply because your brain isn’t ready to naturally relax and wind down.
Make a schedule
Human beings follow a circadian rhythm that is a set of natural processes sensitive to light and dark. It dictates our brain to stay active during the day and rest by nighttime. Exposing yourself to bright lights in the day and keeping a strict schedule for bedtime can improve sleep quality.
Melatonin supplements are very popular in helping people fall asleep faster and even improving sleep quality without any withdrawal effects when discontinued. Especially while traveling or working night shifts, melatonin helps to catch up on sleep and adjust to the changing schedule.
Even if it is a popular belief that alcohol helps you sleep, it merely makes you feel slightly dizzy. You may fall asleep when intoxicated, but it does not help you stay asleep, and you will find yourself waking up in a few hours. Limiting alcohol to earlier in the evening allows you to sleep at your usual bedtime without any issues.
Techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation can be increasingly effective in bringing on sleep when you wish to. You can reduce tension, relax body parts and relieve stress, all of which leads to you falling asleep quicker. Practicing yoga and meditation have been proven to bring about a bunch of health benefits including better sleep and cognition.
Exercise in time
If you exercise too late in the evening you might end up staying awake way past your bedtime since your body and brain require time to diffuse the alertness caused by exercising. Pick any time that is suitable for you to exercise three hours before your bedtime to relax in time and fall asleep without any problems.
For people who cannot fall asleep or wake up repeatedly at night due to health conditions like GERD or heartburn, early dinners can reduce symptoms. Having a simple meal without excessive spices or oil at least 3 hours before bedtime can help resolve conditions like acid reflux which in turn helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.
Even though we will have many things from high-intensity emotions, work, or infants that keep us up at night, the sooner you realize the importance of good sleep, the faster you can start living a more wholesome life. There is not a dearth of solutions or treatments for improving the quality of restful sleep, but you must be willing to go through an open-minded period of hit and trial, to find your precise formula for best sleep every night. Let us know what is your favorite solution to falling asleep faster?