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Is a contoured pillow the secret to a successful sleep?

5 November 2023
Contoured pillow, ergonomic pillows, sleeping on a pillow, neck pain
More and more people are using contoured pillows for sleeping. In recent years, the market has seen a variety of different types of pillows, including contoured pillows designed to provide a better sleep experience by conforming to the shape of the body. Although few of them can truly adapt to the body's curves, especially the head, neck, and shoulders, contoured pillows have gained popularity.

A healthy night's sleep plays a crucial role in daily functioning and overall health. One of the factors that influence sleep quality is choosing the right pillow. Therefore, in this article, we will take a closer look at what contoured pillows actually are, how they work, and how to find the right pillow for yourself.
Preventive pillow, contoured pillows, healthy sleep

What are contoured pillows?

As a rule, contoured pillows are a special type of pillow designed to provide proper support for the spine, head, and neck during sleep. The right ones are characterized by an anatomical shape that adapts to the natural curves of the body, ensuring comfort and convenience during sleep.

The main goal of contoured pillows is to improve sleep quality by reducing pain and discomfort related to the spine, neck, and shoulder muscles. Thanks to their ergonomic shape, they provide proper support for the spine, helping to maintain the cervical vertebrae in a natural position, which can provide relief to people suffering from back pain and muscle stiffness.

The available contoured pillows on the market are made of various materials, such as HR foam, V foam, or latex. Each type of material has its unique properties that directly affect the fit and comfort of the pillow. However, in reality, only highly resilient foam can provide adequate support, whereas memory foam compresses in response to the heat and pressure of the body.
Not all contoured pillows have health-promoting properties.
Contoured pillows are available in various sizes and shapes to allow for individual preferences, body structure, and sleeping positions. This way, people who sleep on their backs or sides can easily find and choose the right pillow that provides them with the best support and comfort.

It is worth emphasizing that the choice of a contoured pillow can have a significant impact on sleep quality and overall well-being throughout the day. Therefore, before making a purchase, it is worth considering your individual needs and, if necessary, consulting with a properly educated physiotherapist or doctor to find a pillow that is perfectly tailored to your body and sleep preferences.
Medical pillows, orthopedic pillow, sleep hygiene

What are the types of contoured pillows?

There are several types of contoured pillows, each with its unique characteristics, including a range of advantages and disadvantages. As a rule, contoured pillows should have an anatomical shape to perfectly adapt to the curves of the human body, especially the head, neck, and shoulders.

Their ergonomic shape should allow for a physiologically correct alignment of the spine during sleep, which can provide relief for people with discomfort such as muscle or back pain. Contoured pillows with an anatomical shape are suitable for different people sleeping on their side or back, provided they are designed for such use.

It is important to ensure that the pillow is not cut with a wire from a large foam block, but rather molded from forms that provide an anatomical shape. Contoured pillows molded from forms are made by controlled pouring of foam into specially prepared molds, allowing for a precise shaping of the appropriate form. As a result, they can provide an ideal fit to the body's curves and offer optimal support for the spine. These types of contoured pillows are particularly recommended for individuals with spinal problems as they help maintain the natural curvature of the spine during sleep.

The most popular contoured pillows are made from memory foam, also widely known as viscoelastic foam, due to its ability to conform to the body in response to heat and pressure. However, this sinking effect can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. It may provide less support and ventilation in some cases.

It is worth noting that memory foam pillows can be produced in two ways. The first method is the chemical process, which is cheaper but results in less durable and dynamic foam compared to the second method. The second method, viscoelastic foam, is produced using a pneumatic process, allowing for significantly better durability and dynamic properties of the pillow. These pillows are more flexible and breathable, and they retain their original shape for a longer time.

The optimal solution for contoured pillows is those molded from anatomical forms using highly elastic foam, which not only provides a proper fit but also makes them considerably more flexible than standard pillows. They also ensure air circulation inside, adapting to the shape of the head and neck, providing optimal support for the spine. Pillows made from high-resilience foam (HR foam) are recommended for people who value flexibility in their pillows and require healthy and physiological support for the spine.
Contoured pillow, therapeutic pillows, modern bedroom

How does a contoured pillow work?

A well-designed contoured pillow works by providing proper support and alignment to the natural curves of our body, especially the head, neck, and shoulders. Its special shape should be designed to help maintain the spine in the correct position throughout the night, which can provide relief to individuals suffering from pain and muscle tension.

The main action of a contoured pillow is based on its ergonomic shape, but also on the use of appropriate materials, such as highly elastic foam. This foam, thanks to its flexibility, adjusts to the shape of the head and neck, providing us with optimal support for the spine.

Thanks to the contoured shape, such a pillow provides proper head support, which in turn allows for even distribution of body weight and reduces pressure points. This reduces the risk of pain and muscle stiffness during sleep.

Therefore, the right contoured pillow is suitable for individuals who suffer from spinal problems because it allows them to maintain the natural curvature of the spine throughout the night, regardless of the adopted sleeping position. Depending on the user's preference, a good contoured pillow can have different heights, allowing them to choose the appropriate model according to their preference.

For maximum effectiveness of a contoured pillow, its dimensions are essential. As a rule, individuals sleeping on their back should use the low part with a height of 3-5 cm, while those sleeping on their side should use the higher part with a height of 9-13 cm. In the case of pillows with anatomical shoulder profiles, it is important to place the shoulders there, which will provide optimal support for the entire body.

Therapeutic pillows, contoured pillow, neck pain

How to find the right contoured pillow for yourself?

Contoured pillows are an ergonomic solution that aims to improve sleep quality and provide users with full support for the spine. Thanks to their special, properly designed anatomical shape, these pillows offer users the possibility to find the best fit for themselves, tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Choosing the right contoured pillow can be crucial for ensuring comfortable and healthy sleep. They differ in terms of height, shape, and contouring. Before purchasing, pay attention to whether the orthopedic pillow has appropriate contouring for the neck and chest region of the spine. The choice of the right profile for the sleeping pillow depends on your individual body structure and preferred sleep position.

It is also essential to ensure the correct height of the pillow, as it should always be matched to the sleeping position you adopt. Ideally, you should have a contoured pillow molded from forms that has a lower part (3-5 cm) intended for people who sleep on their back, and in addition, it should have a higher part (9-13 cm) for individuals who sleep on their side. Make sure the contoured pillow provides adequate support for your neck and spine in your favorite sleeping position.
Contoured pillows made of high-resilience foam provide the best support for the neck and spine.
Contoured pillows made of foam can be made from various materials by different manufacturers. It is best to choose those made of highly elastic foam, which is the most comfortable. It provides complete air circulation in an open-cell structure. On the other hand, it is better to avoid those made of viscoelastic foam, which tends to sink and become overheated during sleep.

Polish contoured pillows created by ONSEN® are the ideal solution for individuals seeking comfort and regeneration during sleep. They are the most functional sleeping pillows we produce to serve as comfortable support for the head and spine.

In our offer, you can find:
  • Yoko contoured pillow - also available in the Skin+ version, contoured pillow for individuals with a slight build;
  • Asana contoured pillow - also available in the Skin+ version, contoured pillow for individuals with an average build;
  • Enso contoured pillow - also available in the Skin+ version, double-sided contoured pillow for individuals with an average build, the most versatile choice;
  • Hiro contoured pillow - also available in the Skin+ version, contoured pillow for individuals with a massive build.
All our contoured pillows are ergonomic and tailored to the human anatomy. Just like mattresses and other ONSEN® products, they are covered by up to 15-year warranty and a special program allowing for 100-day trial and return, which completely removes any potential concerns associated with online purchases.

We also encourage you to explore other articles on the best sleep and health blog, as well as the Encyclopedia of Healthy Sleep prepared by the ONSEN® team of specialists. For those who care about spine health, we recommend a set of spine exercises prepared by our physiotherapist.
Contoured pillow, spine support pillows, sleep ergonomics, sleeping naked

FAQ: Contoured pillow

What is a contoured pillow?

A contoured pillow is a type of pillow designed to adapt to the natural curves of the body, especially the head, neck, and shoulders. Its unique shape allows it to provide proper support for the spine during sleep, which can bring relief to people suffering from pain and muscle tension. Not every pillow sold as contoured actually possesses therapeutic properties, so it's essential to choose an anatomical pillow tailored to the body's structure.

What should a contoured pillow be made of?

A contoured pillow should be made of high-resilience foam with open cells, providing better dynamics. This foam allows the pillow to better conform to the body's shape and ensures comfort during sleep.

Is a contoured pillow a therapeutic pillow?

Not every contoured pillow is therapeutic. Whether a contoured pillow serves a therapeutic role depends on its shape and construction. In some cases, a properly contoured pillow can support therapy, but not every type of contoured pillow possesses such properties.

How should you sleep on a contoured pillow?

A contoured pillow usually has two different heights. The lower part, about 3-5 cm high, is intended for sleeping on your back, providing support for the spine. The higher part, about 9-13 cm high, is meant for side sleeping, maintaining the spine in the proper position. In the case of pillows with shoulder profiles, it's important to position the shoulders correctly to provide optimal support.

Which contoured pillow is the best?

The best contoured pillow will depend on the individual needs and preferences of the user. It's important to choose a pillow with the appropriate width and height, whose shape is suitable for the individual body structure. The contoured pillow should have a special contour for the cervical spine and sometimes also for the thoracic spine. Selecting the best-contoured pillow may involve testing different models. There are several types of contoured pillows on the market, such as Yoko, Asana, Enso, and Hiro. Each has its unique features and advantages, so it's essential to choose the right contoured pillow based on individual needs.

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