Last Updated on June 3, 2020
Just like mattresses, pillows are also an extremely polarizing subject. While some people like a soft pillow that allows their head to gradually sink as they fall asleep, others prefer a firm pillow that offers proper support and keeps the head aligned with the spine throughout the entire night.
Regardless of one’s preference, it is always essential to use a good quality pillow that meets the specific needs of your body and gives you a good night’s sleep, every night. Using the wrong pillow for a prolonged period can cause a series of health problems that may become more serious than you think.
Here are five different ways your pillow can cause health problems!
1. Acne Breakouts
How often do you change your pillowcase? Once a month? Once every two weeks? Once a week? Whatever your answer might be, you probably don’t do it as often as you should.
Throughout the day, your hair becomes filled with dirt and microscopic critters known as germs. Especially if you frequently touch it with your filthy hands. So, unless you wash it every night before going to bed, your pillowcase will collect the dirt, oils, sweat, and germs. As you rub your face against it, your skin will get irritated, and you will develop acne.
Although this skin problem is not precisely related to the type of pillow you use, it can be solved by choosing another one. That’s right. You can switch to a specific pillow that prevents your body from turning around or to one side during the night.
This way, your face won’t get in touch with the bacteria present on the pillowcase. Alternatively, frequently washing the pillowcase or choosing one with antibacterial properties might solve the problem.
2. Neck Pain
Neck pain is probably the most common health issue associated with the use of a wrong type of pillow (along with back pain, which we will discuss up next). To avoid neck pain, it is essential to use a pillow that prevents your neck from bending excessively during sleep.
Your choice will depend mainly on your favorite sleeping position. For instance, softer pillows are usually great for those who sleep on their stomach or back, while, on the other hand, firmer pillows provide amazing neck support for those who prefer to sleep on their side.
3. Back Pain
As you know, the pillow influences the position of your head, neck, and shoulders during sleep. Therefore, the wrong pillow can also cause back pain, especially if it forces the neck and spine to be out of alignment throughout the whole night.
If you don’t know which specific type of pillow is the best option for your sleeping position, make sure to check the guide at the end of this article. It probably will help you get rid of that annoying backache that has been bothering you since forever.
4. Allergic Reactions
We have already discussed the necessity of regularly cleaning the pillowcase. But what about the pillow itself? How often should you wash it?
Bear in mind that pillows are almost like a dust mite magnet, and the feces of these tiny, tiny critters can trigger allergic reactions in many people.
If you experience wheezing, chest tightness, and itchiness of the eyes, nose, and throat, you should wash your pillow immediately – and probably do it more often.
How To Clean Pillows:
– Remove the pillowcases.
– Put the pillows in the washing machine.
– Add detergent (1 cup of your regular detergent will get the job done).
– Start the wash cycle (ideally, you should use the bulky cycle).
– Put the pillows in the dryer or let them air dry. Make sure there’s no moisture in the center!
WARNING: memory foam pillows can’t be cleaned in the washing machine. They must be hand-washed gently with warm water and soap.
Additional Tip: if you don’t want to clean your pillows that often, you can try some dust-proof pillowcases made from a specific material that blocks dust mites from reaching the pillow.
5. Sleep Problems
A comfortable sleeping posture is essential for a good night’s sleep. If your pillow is uncomfortable or if it forces your body into an uncomfortable position, you might struggle to fall asleep, and your overall sleep quality will decrease considerably.
Lack of sleep can cause headaches, affect your brain, mood, and appetite, and increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Your body needs time to recover and adequately recharge its battery!
If you use a pillow that pushes your head forward too much, you can also cause sleep problems to your partner. These pillows usually put your head in an uncomfortable position that makes you snore very loudly. This extremely annoying sound can be a real nightmare for your partner and completely disrupt his or her sleep.
What Type Of Pillow Should You Buy?
As we have mentioned, each sleeping position requires a different type of pillow. This is problematic because many people change positions during the night – they usually fall asleep in one position and then change it during sleep.
The most important thing is to know the right type of pillow for your favorite sleeping position – one that supports a neutral spine alignment. Only then you should worry about pillow quality and comfort (cooling properties, bouncy support, breathable foam, and other similar pillow properties).
Back sleepers: medium loft and medium firmness pillows. Memory foam pillows might also help some back sleepers held in a neutral alignment with the neck.
Side sleepers: high loft and firmer support pillows. These pillows will help relieve pressure on the shoulder and keep both your head and neck aligned with your spine.
Stomach sleepers: low loft, soft support pillows. This sleeping position isn’t recommended since it puts people at a higher risk of straining their neck, and puts a high amount of pressure on the lower back region and abdomen.