If you’ve ever woken up with a stiff neck or felt like you haven’t had a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. Around one in three Australians complain of neck pain. In some cases, your pillow could be the prime suspect.
According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s (APA) National President Marcus Dripps, "selecting the right pillow will help ensure you sleep well, and wake up feeling rested, without pain or stiffness."
Your pillow should provide enough support to keep your neck and back correctly aligned. A 2010 study of different pillow types found that latex, or ‘memory pillows’, performed consistently better than feather pillows in reducing headaches and pain upon waking.
It’s thought that these pillows worked better because they’re designed to contour to fit into the natural curve of your neck and shoulders.
How to choose the right pillow for you
Pillows come in different shapes and sizes. A pillow that’s too high or stiff may cause your neck to ‘flex’ and lead to pain and stiffness in the morning.
Your sleeping position can also influence your choice of pillow:
If you sleep on your back, a flatter pillow with a lower contour will probably be more comfortable.
For side-sleepers, a pillow with a higher contour is usually recommended. This is a more comfortable style for your neck and shoulder.
Experts advise against sleeping on your stomach. This position causes your back to arch and your neck to turn to the side, leading to strain in these areas. If you have a neck or shoulder condition, you should speak to your physiotherapist about your options.
How often should you replace your pillow?
A worn-out pillow is not going to provide you with the support you need to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep. But how long can you go before your pillow needs replacing?
According to SleepX, an Australian online bedding retailer providing bed in a box mattresses and therapy pillows, depending on the quality of your pillow and how it stands up to normal ‘wear and tear’, it could last between two to five years.
As a general rule of thumb, pillows that are made using high-quality materials should last for five years. For lesser quality pillows, you’d need to replace them at least every two to three years.
That said, the bedding retailer offers different pillow profiles as they believe that one style is not suited to all consumers comfort preferences and sleep needs.
They offer a choice of three different pillow profiles, as they believe that one style is not suited to all consumers comfort preferences and sleep needs. As a result of using high-quality materials to make their pillows, they guarantee them to last for five years. For lesser quality pillows, you’d need to replace them at least every two to three years.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.