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Pillow Talk

Do you sleep well?

Photo Apr 01, 4 34 50 PM

I’ve never really had any trouble falling asleep at night, usually it only takes takes twenty seconds or so after I close my eyes. I sleep deeply, not waking until the third or fourth alarm goes off, but it’s not a restful or satisfying sleep. I wake in the mornings feeling MUCH worse than I do at night, and I’m always sore.

I’ve tried several different pillows to give my neck a break from my rough sleep. I toss and turn a lot, have nightmares, and take over Whit’s side of the bed. When I was little, I was totally that kid at the sleepover who stole the covers, kicked you (or slapped you in the face), and sometimes woke up at the foot of the bed. How does that happen?!

Some tactics help me sleep better, with less nightmares, like doing nighttime yoga or turning off all electronics an hour before bed. But I can’t seem to do anything to prevent waking up with neck and shoulder pain! I would say “pfft, getting older…” but I’ve had this problem for years and years.

For most of my life I had standard poly-fill, or whatever is in those things, pillows. Since I struggled so much with soreness, I finally asked for a TempurPedic pillow for Christmas a few years ago. The one I have, pictured above on the right, is designed for side, back, or stomach sleepers. I typically sleep on my stomach, which I know is awful for my neck. I generally try to sleep on my back, but a lot of times I intentionally flip the pillow around and sleep on my stomach because it’s so much more comfortable. It’s much more supportive than a regular pillow, but it hasn’t been life-changing.

The best night of sleep I’ve ever had in my entire life (since I can remember, around middle school or so), was on the weirdly-shaped pillow with the big roll at the bottom. I woke up and was AWAKE! I had energy and was ready to start the day. My parents were letting me borrow the chiropractic pillow (called CervAlign Pillow) at their house, and my mom immediately said I could keep it, since it helped me so much. However, it’s given me some problems…

Two nights ago, I woke up with a dreadful stiff neck. Fortunately, I already had the day off, but I couldn’t have any fun or do anything productive, because my movement was so limited. It got worse over the course of the day, and even a visit to my chiropractor wasn’t helpful. I was stuck in a seemingly-permanent “Z” shape, crooked neck, shoulders, and all. The rest of the day was miserable! The culprit? I think it was because I slept on that magical…but deadly? weird-shaped pillow. I woke up with a stiff neck (but not as bad) a few weeks ago, too, and I’m pretty sure I had slept on the pillow that night as well. Maybe it was because I was using the shallower side (not the roll), but I thought that was an acceptable usage. Either way, I am not going to try that pillow again any time soon.

The other funny-shaped pillow pictured in the very front is a dog-bone pillow (well, that’s what me and my mom call it). It’s also a chiropractic pillow, but you can’t sleep on it. You are only supposed to lay on it for fifteen minutes, without moving, and it helps restore the natural curvature of your back. It’s quite restful, and I actually like to use it in the car or on the plane. Funny story: when I was in Australia, the cleaners in our hostel stole my dog-bone pillow. Why? Why would anyone ever take such a strange item?! I guess I’m not 100% sure it was stolen, but there was literally no other explanation.

The last time I had the stiff neck, my chiro suggested staying away from the chiropractic pillows because almost no one stays in one position the whole night, so they can do more harm than good. Instead, I should use a down pillow, which can change shape depending on whether I roll over or whatnot.

One time I read in a magazine at my aunt and uncle’s house that to get the best sleep, you should sleep on your back with no pillow at all. I used to do that every now and then, to restore my back. It worked really great the first time I did it, but I think I am normally too twisted for it to work right.

What kind of pillow do you use?? I’m currently borrowing Whit’s down pillow and letting him use my TempurPedic, which I think is a fine trade-off! Have you ever “fixed” your neck and back by sleeping with a better pillow, or in a particular position? I need to know! I can’t have another stiff or crooked neck, it was too painful!

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