A good pillow is an important element of getting a good night's sleep, whether on the road or in your own bed. But for those with chronic head and neck pain, it can be difficult with a traditional pillow. Neck pillows are specifically made to support the head and neck naturally and in a neutral position. A good product also improves sleep quality. You can sleep well by optimizing your trip, finding the ideal product for your neck and sleeping on whatever you choose for a week.
Method 1 of 3: Optimizing Travel with a Neck Pillow
Step 1. Modernize your current neck pillow
Gone are the days of uncomfortable inflatable pillows. Now you can have a comfortable travel neck pillow that helps you sleep in even the tightest of places. Take the opportunity to adopt a softer version of yours and improve the travel experience.
- Take into account your specific needs. Do you have neck or back pain? An option to better support your head vertically is best for you. Want to be able to move around better and not disturb the people next to you? Use a traditional gel-filled donut-shaped pillow.
- Explore different options. Get suggestions from fellow travelers or read reviews online to get more clarity about each specific model.
- Think of pillow portability. If you like to travel light or without any oddly shaped items that need to be stuck in your suitcase, take a good look at the weight and size of each option.
Step 2. Choose your seat in advance to get more space
The seat's location makes a big difference to your comfort level – and how best to use the most modern pillow. If you can, choose the chair as soon as possible so you don't miss out on a better place to sleep.
- Select or order the window seat if you can. You may need to pay a little more for window placement and increase your comfort level. Such armchairs have some benefits: you can lean against the window and you're not bothered by people trying to pass to the bathroom or walk. In addition, you can also control the light, which can help at bedtime.
- Sit near the entrance to the venue if possible. Usually, there's more noise in the back of the plane because that's where the engines are. However, you're more likely to get an entire row or two seats to yourself in the back, which might even make up for the extra noise. When checking in, ask the airline employee what seats are available and switch to better options if you can.
- Avoid the front row of a cabin or the seats at emergency exits. Although you have more front leg room, you may not be able to recline the chair or move the armrest.
Step 3. Fill the pillow
Depending on which option you have purchased, you will probably need to stuff your neck pillow. The right amount of air allows you to sleep better and be more comfortable.
- Take the pillow out of the hood and look for the inflation valve. Start pumping or blowing air into the product until it's full, then lie down on it to see if it's comfortable.
- Open the valve and let the air out slowly until you reach the comfort level you want. If you want a firmer pillow, add more air.
Step 4. Recline the chair
Sitting too straight can cause back pain, and many find it difficult to sleep in this position. Reclining the chair as far as you can takes the pressure off your lower back and also contributes to the best use of the neck pillow.
Be considerate of the person sitting behind you. For example, if you're on a flight and it's mealtime, lean back just a little or wait for everyone to finish eating. You can adjust it according to the situation
Step 5. Invert the pillow
Some people find it uncomfortable to sleep with something bulky behind their head. Your head may also keep falling forward, which is a bit annoying. The best option for these cases is to reverse the pillow position in the opposite direction to protect your head while keeping your neck aligned.
Step 6. Direct the neck thrust for more comfort
Many neck pillows have some form of filling, such as beads or gel. Move this stuffing to your favorite side to get more comfortable. Tie the end with a hair clip or other item to secure the padding and keep it from moving.
Step 7. Lie down on the pillow
After reclining the chair, it's time to use the pillow. Lie on your back and close your eyes. If you are uncomfortable, adjust the air in the pillow until you can lie down and relax.
Try to support the pillow in the small space between the seats or against the window
Method 2 of 3: Sleeping in Bed with Neck Pillow
Step 1. Place your neck on the pillow when you are ready to lie down on the bed
Position your neck in or on the pillow where you want to sleep so you don't have to move into proper position, which can increase your risk of getting neck pain.
The back of your shoulders and head should be touching the surface where you are lying down
Step 2. Analyze your alignment
After placing your head on the pillow, it's important to make sure your body is well-aligned to protect your neck and have an even more comfortable night.
- See if the pillow is supporting you without your head tipping forward or backward if you sleep on your back.
- Make sure your neck is well supported and your nose is in line with the center of your body if you sleep on your side.
- Both positions will work if you sleep in different positions.
Step 3. Be careful if you sleep on your stomach
Neck pillows are made for those who sleep on their back, side or both. Most professionals do not recommend sleeping on your stomach because it not only causes neck pain, but also causes lower back strain.
Step 4. Wait a while to get used to
It can take ten to 15 minutes to relax and get used to the pillow. Before you start to fret over being uncomfortable, get into a position to see if it's right for you. If this is not the case, move to another position until you find one that your neck is comfortable with.
Remember to wait up to a week using the pillow to see if it's right for you. If you're still not comfortable after a week, try switching to another one
Step 5. Start with the ends facing down
Most pillows have spikes that keep the neck lined up overnight. If you're not used to it, it can be difficult to sleep on your side with these tips. For the first few weeks, try to have them face down to help your head and neck adjust to the position.
Recognize that it may be necessary to experiment to see where the pillow is most comfortable with the ends facing down. Position in a way that gives you the most support and comfort
Step 6. Turn the pillow over
After one to three weeks of sleeping upside down, turn the pillow over. Thus, the product can return to its natural shape and still provide the necessary support for the neck.
Turn it over after a few weeks
Method 3 of 3: Choosing the Right Pillow for You
Step 1. Consult a healthcare professional
If you have chronic neck pain and are seeing a professional, ask what type of pillow is suitable for your specific needs. That way, you can narrow down the list of options.
- Provide any relevant information to the doctor about your sleep, such as position, snoring or sleep apnea, or if you sweat a lot. He will know which specific brands are best for your needs.
- Ask for a few different suggestions if you don't like one of the pillows. State whether you are using the pillow to sleep in bed or to travel, which may influence his suggestion.
Step 2. Discover your dominance
This is your most comfortable and preferred sleeping position. Establishing dominance helps you determine the best type of pillow for you to sleep well through the night or during a long flight. The most common sleep positions are:
- Aside, which is the most common.
- On the back, which is often associated with snoring and sleep apnea.
- Face down, which can turn the neck more easily.
- A combination of the previous positions.
- Travelers, who normally sleep in an upright position, slightly reclining or leaning on something.
Step 3. Find the correct height and firmness
Each dominant position has different needs to maintain alignment and comfort. When purchasing the pillow, look for models with the proper firmness and height for your sleeping position. The following options are the most suitable for each type of dominant position:
- Side: A firm or extra firm pillow 10 cm tall.
- Back: A medium firm pillow with medium height when flat in bed.
- Face down: a thin, soft pillow, easily squeezable.
- Combination of positions: a pillow with softer and firmer parts, with higher sides and a lower center for changing positions.
- Travelers: pillows that provide maximum comfort for your specific needs and position. This includes neck support and the ability to shift in the seat.
Step 4. Consider the pillow material
Just as firmness and height are important when choosing, the material also makes a difference. Materials such as memory foam or feathers may be better for certain positions than others. Consider the following options for a more comfortable night out depending on your position:
- Side: Contoured memory foam or latex foam.
- On the back: feather, memory foam or latex foam.
- Face down: feather, feather, feather alternative, polyester or fine latex foam.
- Combination: buckwheat husk or pillows of various materials.
- Travelers: memory foam, gel, plush fabric.
Step 5. Take other factors into account
Sleeping may seem simple enough, but in fact, it sometimes turns out to be a little complex. Factors such as the type and size of mattress and the length of travel can play a role in your pillow choice, which also affect the type of neck pillow you will use.
- Think about the softness of your mattress. If it's too soft or soft, it can cause your body to sink a little deeper into the pillow. Therefore, you should choose a lower one.
- Consider your body temperature. Do you feel too hot at night? If so, choose a refreshing gel and foam pillow or a buckwheat husk version.
- Remember your body shape. If it's small, choose a smaller pillow to fit your body.
- Think about how you normally sleep when traveling. Do you change positions frequently and need a little more space? Buy a larger travel pillow that allows you to relax in the entire space. Keep in mind that these more scattered options can irritate passengers next to you.
- Make sure the pillow has been tested for allergies and is washable so it doesn't build up mites on the surface over time. This can not only cause allergic reactions, but also change the weight and shape of the product.
Step 6. Try different pillows
Everyone's body is different. Part of having the right pillow is finding one that fits you and your body the best. Experiment with various options to be able to find the one that provides the best night's sleep for you.
- Remember, it takes 15 minutes to get used to a pillow and a week to see if it's working. So it can be a little difficult to know exactly which one is best in a store. Ask employees what the rules are for exchanging or returning the product if it's not in your best interest.
- Take your personal preference into consideration. If you like a specific pillow, this could be the deciding factor.
Step 7. Make the choice
It's time to decide which pillow is best for you. Think of several factors such as your dominance when sleeping and how you sleep when traveling to make the final decision.
- See again what is the rule for exchanges and returns of merchandise. If you cannot return it, even if it is very uncomfortable, find another option that can be returned.
- Remember that you need to change your neck pillow every two years.