Healthy Sleeping Habits

I’m a Chiropractor, and These Are the Only 3 Pillows I’d Lay My Head On

Mary Grace Garis

Photo: Getty Images/jhhorrocks

Backs across world have had it rough this year with the conditions of working from home. For instance, maybe you found yourself working remotely at the start of the pandemic without a home office to speak of and resorted to logging on while hunched over in bed—which doesn’t do any favors to your posture. Then, when you’re finally able to use that space for sleep, you likely intend to wake up refreshed, with fewer aches and pains, not more. So, what can you do about the persistent aching? Well, in addition to investing in some home-office necessities, using the best pillow for alignment can help.

According to chiropractor Kelli Pearson, DC, sleep can be the most profound way to relax your spine and support the back’s natural curves. “We have a lordosis [aka a forward curve] in the lumbar spine, or lower back, and a lordosis in our cervical spine, or neck,” she says. “The two balance out the backward curve, or kyphosis, in the middle back that helps to set the sturdy frame for our rib cage. Because we spend so much time with our heads down during the day, it’s essential to give your neck a break and support the lordosis at night.”

The good news is, sleep position doesn’t matter so much as pillow selection. Dr. Pearson says my status as a side sleeper doesn’t make my needs in the spine alignment department different than, say, a stomach sleeper’s. Rather, she says, we all simply need a pillow that can fit under the neck and allow the back of the head to contact the mattress. In a word, a “smooshable” pillow.

“You want a soft pillow that you can ‘smoosh’ up to get under your neck,” says Dr. Pearson. “That same pillow can be ‘smooshed up to support your ear while on your side when you turn over. The goal is to fill the same amount of space between your shoulder and your ear. Most pillows are designed not to be smooshed, but to lift you upward toward the ceiling too much, minimizing your ability to support the lordosis.”

As for Dr. Pearson’s pick for the best pillow for alignment that can be shaped or “smooshed” and also hold its shape? Keep reading for her three approved selections that can help with WFH aches and other issues.

1. Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow, $59

If you’re a big fan of memory foam, you might match well with this adjustable loft pillow by Coop Home Goods. The memory fill itself is sort of shredded, which allows maximum adjustability, and you can take out (or put in) as much as you need to get it to that perfect height. It has nearly 23,000 five-star reviews, meaning plenty of others have had success in customizing their perfect night’s sleep.

Shop Now: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow, $59

2. Sable Pillows for Sleeping, $35

Not a foam person? No worries, this two-pack of down alternative plush pillows has your back (or rather, your…neck). You’re free to pull out as much fill as you need to with this as well. As a fun bonus, both the pillowcase and the filling can be washed in a laundry machine.

Shop Now: Sable Pillows for Sleeping, $35

Original Bones NeckBone Pillow, $15

If you’re looking for something to rest your head on before you clock in some zzz’s, this pillow will do the trick. “I don’t recommend falling asleep on it, as it’s not malleable enough, but it’s great to use as a trainer to get your lordosis in good shape,” says Dr. Pearson. With that in mind, consider it for napping on-the-go needs. After all, one day in the future, hopping on a plane won’t be just a thing of dreams, anymore.

Shop Now: Original Bones NeckBone Pillow, $15

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