Home · Blog · Injury Prevention : Pillow talk: how ergonomics can make you better in bed

We all know how important sleep is to our health, both physical and mental. Numerous studies have been conducted on optimum amount of sleep, how to create the ideal environment for sleep and what we should or shouldn’t do before bed. These are important elements, but did you know that ergonomics can play a key part in whether you get a good night’s sleep?

Ergonomics produces products that fit; products that enhance comfort, safety and well-being. After the mattress, the pillow is a vital factor to getting a good night’s sleep. A good pillow will support the head and neck during sleep, preventing sustained bending of the neck either sideways or forwards, or excessive extension backwards.

We all have a preferred sleep position, however most people change their position every 90 minutes. You’ll move more if sleep is light/disturbed. The position you sleep in will be affected if you’re pregnant, have knee, back or hip injury/pain or ageing joints. Your pillow has to work in whatever position you’re in. The quality of your sleep is impacted by your choice of pillow:

  • Light or disturbed sleepers sometimes find sleep improves
  • Snorers (and their partners!) may find the problem is reduced, particularly if the new pillow is thicker and tilts the head forwards (though there are many factors that can contribute to snoring).

Rules of the pillow:

  • Two pillows are better than one when sitting in bed. Fold or push one of them into the small of the back but make sure you dump the second pillow before falling asleep!
  • The pillow must support both the neck and the head. To do this, it must take up the curve of the neck while also holding the head in line with the neck, regardless of what position you’re lying in (which will change while you’re sleeping anyway).
  • A pillow must disperse the heat from your head. Natural materials are good choices to ensure this occurs.

How to choose a good pillow:

  • Think about the materials. Natural materials (feather, down, cotton) are good choices – they will help disperse heat.
  • Don’t be put off by a firm pillow. As a pillow needs to support your head and neck throughout the night, softer is not necessarily better.
  • Take into account what it will be used for. Pillows are handy for supporting other parts of the body or prevent involuntary rollovers/movement during sleep in the case of injury, as well as resting your weary head.

A good pillow can mean a great night’s sleep – but it will not compensate for a poor mattress. Keep an eye out for our guide to buying an ergonomically sound mattress.

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