Breathing and eating are life necessities. The quality of the air we breathe can either cause or prevent respiratory issues. The food we eat can either cause or prevent diabetes and/or diabetes. When it comes to breathing and eating, we see the immediate consequences of poor practices and benefits of good practices. Society accepts these facts and generally tries to improve their breathing and eating habits to be healthier.
Sleep is also a life necessity, but it is one that we don’t take as serious as we should. Many Americans aren’t sleeping enough. Even more Americans aren’t getting the right level of quality sleep. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, our rest can have a strong impact on a variety of vital functions, ranging from metabolism to memory. Because adequate amounts of quality sleep play a vital role in your health, it is imperative to be sure you are doing what you can to get the best sleep possible. We all know the difference a good bed can make when trying to sleep better. However, a pillow can be just as important to your spinal health and sleep habits. We must recognize the importance of a pillow that provides support to our spine.
A Good Pillow Helps You Sleep Better
All too often, people settle for any pillow that is within their budget. A shopper may opt for a pillow that is either far too soft or far too flat simply because it is cheaper. This may not be the best idea. As the old cliché states, you get what you pay for. Many of those cheap, low-quality pillows will give you low-quality sleep. Considering how important your sleep is to your health, you may want to invest in something a little more substantial than an overly flat or fluffy pillow that doesn’t provide any support or comfort to your spine.
According to sleepdex.org, the average adult needs 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Only 69% of the population meets this goal. That leaves 30% of us with poor sleep habits. Insomnia shouldn’t be the norm. This lack of sleep causes not only decreased energy, but also low metabolism and poor cognitive skills. Many believe that the harder you work, the better you will sleep. However, that is not always the case. For many of us, sleeping becomes exponentially more difficult after we turn 30 years old. If our bed isn’t comfortable, sleep deprivation increases and sleep quality decreases.
Much of this lack of comfort begins with the quality of your pillow. When most of us put our head down at night, we have difficulty sleeping due to the lack of firmness or arch in our pillow. Our spine isn’t given the proper support it needs to provide comfort. The stress levels many of us experience at work are already enough to cause sleeping issues. When we go to bed, we need to make sure that our environment is ideal to relieve us of that stress. Comfort is key to rest. Rest is key to productivity. As we use better, more supportive pillows, our performance will improve and our stress levels will decrease.
A Good Pillow Keeps Your Spine Healthy
The main purpose of a pillow is to give your upper spine and neck support as you rest. Many people don’t realize this, but the human spine is already naturally curved. This is why sleeping with a flat or fluffy pillow does nothing to support the curve of your neck and can cause your neck and back to become stiff. Many of us have experienced sleep without a pillow, or a pillow that lacks proper support and know from firsthand experience how it feels to wake up with a stiff spine. That stiffness can ruin the rest of your day.
According to the American Chiropractor Association, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. It is the second most common ailment in our society, with only the common cold being more prevalent. There are many causes of back pain, but the most pervasive cause is poor posture. When our spine isn’t getting the support it needs with good posture, our pain can increase exponentially.
Consider this: The average person should spend nearly eight hours of their day in bed. That is a long time. The quality of their bed and pillow has a direct impact on their life. If that person is not given adequate support for their neck and spine, they will feel it the next day. While spinal manipulation can be useful to decrease the pain, you can do your part at home by providing yourself a better foundation with a good bed and pillow.
A Good Pillow Should Be Versatile
Let’s veer away from sleeping for a moment. Think about how much you sit during the day. Whether you are at your desk, driving your car, or relaxing on your couch, you probably spend a large amount of time sitting. Now, think about the kind of support your back is getting when you sit. Think about how your back feels when you stand up. Does your back hurt as you stand or even while you are still sitting? If so, it likely isn’t getting the proper support it needs.
In today’s world, there aren’t many ways to avoid sitting for prolonged periods every day. Many jobs require constant sitting. Even if you don’t work at a job that requires you to sit, there is still a strong likelihood that you will have to drive to your job. Your health and comfort shouldn’t have to suffer when you are trying to make a living.
Many chiropractors and other spinal health experts recognize this. There have been developments to counter the negative impacts of sitting in the average office chair. Some beneficial practices include opting for a desk that requires you to stand or using an exercise ball rather than a chair. While an exercise ball and standing more often can be very beneficial, not everyone has access to these items. Further, a ball can be bulky and difficult to carry to work every day. If your job requires a lot of driving, it is impossible to stand or use an exercise ball while working.
One interesting development has been a more versatile pillow called Back Level. Developed by a team of experts, including chiropractors, Back Level pillows can be used virtually anywhere by simply placing it on your office chair, couch, or car. This kind of versatility will undoubtedly eliminate the increased back pain we experience from sitting all day.
A Good Spine Will Help You Become Healthier And Happier
Back pain is never fun. It prevents you from exercising and generally puts you in a bad mood. It increases your likelihood of poor sleep and decreases cognitive abilities. People should avoid it like a plague. After all, it could be considered a plague due to its prevalence and negative impact on lives.
As you eliminate your back pain, you will experience increased energy during the day. You will sleep better at night. All of this begins with your posture and support. And, while it is important to have a good bed, a good pillow may be even more important. A good, versatile pillow will give you the support you need both while you sleep and while you work.