Lifestyle

Thiel: Quality of sleep tied to proper pillow alignment

There are as many different types of headaches as there are causes.

As a practitioner, as much can be learnt from a patient history as the physical examination.

When investigating headaches, it’s important to know what parts of the head is affected, where the genesis or the beginning of a headache establishes itself and what time of day the headache first presents.

If my patient tells me that they wake with headaches and over the course of the day, the headache dissipates only to repeat the cycle the next morning, the cause of the headache may be right under your nose—your pillow.

Have you ever spent a day walking in bad shoes?

Well, your pillow is as important to your head and neck as shoes are to your feet.

Over the course of your sleep, a faulty pillow will place your head and neck in a less than advantageous position.

This causes muscle tension even during your sleep, ligament tension and repetitive strain injury throughout your upper shoulders and neck.

Here’s an easy way to tell whether your pillow is properly suited for you. Lie on your side with your head resting on the pillow.

Take note as to whether or not your head is entirely parallel with your spine or, level to the horizon.

Look up points of reference throughout your bedroom i.e. furniture, window or the like.

If you find that your head is slightly propped up or slumped downwards, it’s time to go shopping for a new pillow.

The optimal position of the head and neck is one that is linear with that of your spine.

It doesn’t necessarily have to present as a headache to be a problematic pillow. Rather, you can wake up with muscular stiffness throughout your neck and shoulders. This can have just as deleterious an effect as a headache.

When I conduct a postural examination of my new patients, I have them stand in front of me while I analyze the alignment of their heads in relationship to their neck and neck in relationship to the rest of their spine.

It always tends to freak them out when I say “I see that you spent most of the time sleeping on your right side with your left leg in front and over your right leg.” It’s easy to tell.

Because they are spending six to nine hours in this repetitive strain posture with an improper pillow, their ligaments and muscles have now molded to the new position thinking that it is the normal state of alignment.

This is also known as the leaning Tower of Pillow.

There are many types of pillows. The best one is the one that is most comfortable for you. I use a water pillow.

I like these pillows because their size is adjustable and therefore customizable for each person.

You add as much or as little water as you would like in order to meet the perfect state of slumber symmetry.

Many studies have clearly demonstrated that the quality of sleep is more important than the quantity.

Additional studies have demonstrated that a proper pillow dictates quality of your sleep more so than your mattress.

The water pillows are very nice because there are no pressure points up against your neck or head.

Rather, the weight is evenly distributed throughout.  In addition, it cradles your neck and head equally.

Whatever pillow you choose, take time to choose well.

Sleep on it.

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