Finding the right pillow is a bit like finding the right doctor. You want a good fit and hope you’ll never need a replacement. When it comes to pillows it can tricky because you have different requirements when you move from your back to your side.
When you lie on your side you usually need more under your head than when you’re on your back. If you only lie on your side then it’s less of a problem but if you’re like me and like to switch from your side to your back several times a night it’s more challenging. Some people solve this problem by putting one arm under their pillow to provide the extra height needed when on their side. Other people like to have support under their neck so a moulded pillow is the answer. My solution is to have a very thin pillow that is soft enough to bunch up. That way when I’m on my back I don’t have so much under my head and when I roll to the side I can bunch it up so that it lifts my head a little higher.
Everyone is different so the best thing to do is to experiment. Don’t wait until bedtime to try to figure it out, take some time in the middle of the day when you have your wits about you to try different combinations of supports under your head.
This is what happened when my husband, Lawrence, and I did the experiment.
First we checked to see how forward our heads were in standing to find out how posture in standing would affect the amount needed under the head lying on the back.
Notice how many pieces of foam I have behind my head when standing compared to Lawrence.
See how this translates into the amount that’s comfortable under the head when on the back.
Translating that into sleeping requirements, it’s obvious who needs the larger pillow.
But what about lying on the side?
Even here Lawrence requires more under his head than I do.
Lying on the side, people usually like to have more under the head so the head stays in alignment with the spine. With both of us an arm under the pillow gives the added height necessary. Notice too how I’ve bunched up my pillow for a little added height. People with shoulder problems may not be able to put their arm under their head for support. In that case, a thicker pillow may be required.