Many people, and you may be one of them, travel with a pillow. You don't sleep anywhere without it.You have had too many experiences with the wrong pillow to risk a lousy nights sleep.Have you experienced the cottage cheese pillow, lumpy and bumpy in all the wrong places?The springy pillow that never loses shape, even when you throw a 10 pound weight on it.
Or, how about the thick brick pillow? You spend the night on your back, staring at your feet instead of the ceiling.The Pillow PredicamentThe pillow industry is a 1.6 billion dollar industry.Marketers know people are searching for a night of better sleep.
People are seeking a pillow that promises relief from pain and morning stiffness.There is so much hype and money to be made, even health professionals have plowed into the pillow market.Confused by all the pillow promises, we are reduced to the buy and try method.
Guestrooms nationwide become a graveyard for abandoned pillows.Is Their Science to the Perfect Pillow?A 2011 study looked at whether different pillow types caused more neck or arm pain. The study participants were side sleepers.
They tested five pillow types: polyester, foam regular, foam contour, feather, and latex pillows.These study findings reported a decrease in waking neck and arm pain with a latex pillow. The feather pillows produced the most waking symptoms in their study participants.
Surprised at these findings, I looked at the sources of pillows used in this study. Three of the five pillows came from pillow manufacturers. The latex pillow supplied by the University of Australia where the study was conducted.
The feather pillow came from Target discount department store.I was left wondering about the quality of pillows used in the study.The best pillow I ever slept on was a feather tic pillow from Hungary.
My grandma would have packed and carried them over on an ocean steamer many years ago. For some reason, Europeans knew to bring pillows and linens to their North American homes.To this day, I still use a combination of down & feather for my sleepy head.
It is breathable, washable, fluffs up on command, has a long life, and travels well.The real science behind finding your perfect pillow may lie with you, but the story begins with why we use a pillow.Purposing Our PillowsThe point of the pillow is to support our head and neck in a neutral alignment.
Neutral alignment is the maintenance of the natural curve of your neck.To create your best pillow experience, we need to start here.Rather than spending money on the latest pillow promotion, start at the other end, and I don't mean your feet.
Start with the body we are bringing to the pillow.Beginning from this point, look at how your neck and head align with the rest of your body.If you want to understand how your neck alignment is doing - have a look at your posture in standing.
Where is your head in relationship to your spine? Is it pushed forward with your chin poking out in front? Are you ear lobes level?Here is a simple test.Stand at a wall with your heels, buttocks and shoulder blades in contact with the wall. Your knees should be straight, and feet pointed straight ahead.
Where is your head?The back of your head should be in contact with the wall. Your eyes are looking straight ahead. Your chin not poking forward in space. Does your head touch the wall, or do you have to crank it back to reach the wall?You can have someone look from the side to give you feedback.Don't fool yourself into thinking that the size of your body or sex will limit this test.
It does not.
If your head does not touch the wall, and you have to force it back, this may be a sign you need a little work on your alignment. You need to learn to stand upright again.Start practising this movement as an exercise for 5-10 minutes, two times a day.
Tips for Choosing a Pillow Right for You.
Choose a pillow that allows the weight of your head to sink into it. Thus a pillow should have some flex. A pillow that is hard and unyielding will create stress or pressure points on your neck.One needs a pillow that is malleable and mashable.
A pillow that we can shape to our needs.
A pillow with a little flex because sometimes we are back sleepers and other times side sleepers.We move during our sleep. We need our pillows to follow us.Be careful of contour pillows. Those are pillows that have built-in support for the hollow of your neck. These pillows are a one size fits all approach.
Contour pillows also need repositioning whenever we move. A 2006 study showed that these pillows were no better than a regular pillow.Below are the most common questions asked over the years as a physiotherapist.
What is the best position to sleep?My answer is always the same, sleep the way you are most comfortable. I would add that creating proper body alignment in their waking body will ensure a smooth transition to any sleeping position they desire.How should I position the pillow under my head?Make sure your pillow doesn't wedge underneath your shoulders and upper back.
A pillow is for the support of your neck and head.For the Back SleeperWhen you lie down on your pillow, pull the lower corners of your pillow towards each other. This maneuver will create support for your neck and prevent your head from lolling too far off to one side.
The corners will not stay there, but you have created a hollow for your neck. This step will ensure your shoulders are not wedged up on the pillow. Your shoulders remain open with your neck in a neutral alignment.
For the Side SleeperIf you sleep on your side, the same advice holds to have a pillow that fills the hollow of your neck. As your head and shoulder rest on the mattress, the neck hollow may need more support than a back sleeper.So the density of the pillow becomes important for the side sleeper.
Also, the side sleeper should maintain a neutral position of the entire spine. Spending the night curled up tight in the fetal position can create strain at the neck and tension in your hips.Whether you sleep on your back or your side, a malleable pillow with a supported edge for the neck hollow is key.
For the Stomach SleepersSome people love to sleep on their stomach and are loath to change from this position.Lying on your stomach places a strong rotatory stretch on the small neck joints for several hours. It can increase the likelihood of morning stiffness.
For those who love to be on their stomach, a flatter pillow is going to be your friend.How About Using Two Pillows?Two pillows are not recommended as the goal is to maintain normal spinal curves. Propped up on two pillows creates more flexion in the spine, much like sitting slumped in a chair.
But they always show people lying on two pillows in the movies?Lying on two pillows keeps the actors in view for us, the viewers.How about sleeping on two pillows at the head and one pillow under the knees?I see this position often recommended on the internet.This position speaks more to the status of our ailing posture in today's world.
We are collapsing under the weight of our bodies.Are our hips so tight we require a pillow under our knees?Are our heads needing two pillows because it sits on a flexed spine?If you keep sleeping this way, your body will demand it over time.So if you find sleeping on two pillows comfortable, that is your wakeup call for change.
Start working on your posture during waking hours.What is the best material for a pillow?The materials of your pillow are personal preference. It depends on the size of your head, your sleep position, cost and environmental concerns.
Like most purchases we make, quality matters.Pillow picker gives you a clear snapshot of different pillows and their materials. Information that is not cluttered up with reviews.
Start there to get a quick picture of the pros and cons of different materials.Pillow PointersA pillow should support the natural curve of your neck and be soft enough to cushion the weight of your head.Quality matters.Do your homework, don't buy a pillow based on the marketers' hype.
Finally, no one type of pillow is the best pillow suitable for every body. Our head size and weight are different, as are our sleep positions.Seek first to create a better head and neck alignment.
Your pillow choice will be the easy part of the equation
Which custom lighting design manufacturers would you choose to work with (as in, your preferred list of custom lighting design manufacturers for new projects, renovations, and/or construction of a new home and/or commercial property) and why?
Residential and commercial lighting are different products. You do not give a reason for wanting custom vs. off the shelf products.
A unique custom lighting product is backlit onyx and hinoki wood walls, desks, columns, and stairs by GPI Design of Cleveland. The onyx and hinoki veneer are sandwiched between glass.
Boyd Lighting is a San Francisco Bay Area maker of high end lighting.
Phoenix Day is another Bay Area custom manufacturer.
Holly Hunt is a collection of custom lighting manufacturers.
Working with a lighting designer will save you time and money while guaranteeing your project will meet codes, function, and look good.