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Is there an orthopedic pillow for sleeping in every position?

25 July 2023
Orthopedic pillow for sleeping in any position, sleeping pillows, neck pain, migraine
In today's times, we pay increasing attention to maintaining proper sleep hygiene and taking care of our body during various activities and rest. One of the key elements that affect sleep quality is, of course, a properly chosen bedroom equipment, especially the pillow on which we spend an average of 8 hours every night. Hence, we sometimes ask ourselves the controversial question of whether there is an orthopedic pillow for sleeping in every position, which rightly raises doubts.

Among various types of orthopedic pillows, one of the most popular is the orthopedic pillow designed for side sleeping. Its special shape and features aim to provide support for the spine and head during sleep in this position. However, when it comes to sleeping on the back or stomach, the situation becomes complicated. It's worth examining sleeping positions and knowing what kind of orthopedic pillows can be best for the spine, providing both health and comfort during sleep.
Orthopedic side sleeping pillow, sleeping eye mask, healthy sleep

How does an orthopedic pillow for side sleeping look like?

A suitable orthopedic pillow for side sleeping should provide proper support for the spine and head during sleep in this position. Its design and features are tailored to relax muscle tension and maintain the spine in a straight line, which directly contributes to comfortable and healthy sleep.

A side sleeping pillow usually has its own characteristic features. First and foremost, it should be much higher than a pillow for sleeping on the back to support the head and neck. This is extremely important because during side sleeping, the spine should be aligned in a straight line, and the head should not tilt or drop to either side.

Most often, the shape of an orthopedic pillow for side sleeping resembles a wave or soap bar. Such pillow design is a result of being cut from blocks of visco foam, which is a very fast and inexpensive production method. It's worth noting that orthopedic pillows in this shape are dedicated to individuals who prefer side sleeping because they are not suitable for sleeping on the back. However, very often, manufacturers with questionable ethical systems sell and advertise them as orthopedic pillows for sleeping in any position.

An important aspect of a side sleeping orthopedic pillow is the foam used. Typically, they are made of memory foam, a material that is initially soft and comfortable but only for the first few minutes of lying on the pillow. Afterward, it starts to sink, leading to excessive sweating and directly disrupting the maintenance of the spine in the correct position.

Therefore, for these and other reasons, it is worth paying attention to pillows made of highly elastic foam, which always provide optimal support and adaptation to the shape of the head and neck. This open-cell material also allows for proper pressure distribution, which contributes to reducing muscle tension and, consequently, preventing back pain.

A well-chosen orthopedic pillow for side sleeping should also be wide enough to accommodate the entire head and allow the sleeper to fully comfortably rest on the bed. It's important to pay attention to the available pillow sizes and choose the one that best suits individual needs. Additionally, it's important to verify if the pillow has a neck contour and a cavity for the head, which allow maintaining the anatomical curves of the spine throughout the night.
Orthopedic back sleeping pillow, sleep hygiene, pillow manufacturer

Why is an orthopedic pillow for back sleeping rare?

Orthopedic pillows for sleeping on the back are rare compared to pillows designed for side sleeping. This disparity is due to the fact that sleeping on the back is not the most popular sleeping position among people. Most individuals prefer sleeping on their side on a daily basis, which leads to a greater availability of orthopedic pillows tailored to these positions.

For back sleeping, it's important to maintain the head and spine in the correct alignment throughout the night. Consequently, an orthopedic pillow for back sleeping needs to be relatively low where the head rests. It should also not be too high under the neck, with the optimal dimension usually ranging from 3 to 5 centimeters. This prevents excessive neck flexion, which could lead to unhealthy forward head posture.

Due to these specific requirements, mass-producing such pillows requires the use of mold casting based on an anatomical model. However, this production method is significantly more expensive than cutting pillows from blocks and time-consuming. Hence, wave-shaped pillows are more accessible.

On the market, there are mold-cast orthopedic pillows by the Polish brand ONSEN®, which have been designed in accordance with the human anatomy and fully adapted for side and back sleeping. It's important to find a pillow that meets individual needs and also ensures proper body alignment throughout the night when sleeping on the back.

It's worth noting that for some individuals, sleeping on the back may sometimes be comfortable without a pillow, including an orthopedic one. Simply positioning the body correctly on a flat and low surface may be sufficient to provide comfort during back sleeping. With the use of a properly selected highly elastic foam mattress, it should not impose a significant or excessive burden on the spine.
Orthopedic stomach sleeping pillow, neck pain, reflux, anti-migraine pillows

Is an orthopedic pillow for stomach sleeping healthy?

If you prefer sleeping on your stomach, it is recommended not to use any pillow, especially orthopedic pillows. They are strongly discouraged because when sleeping on the stomach, they have a negative impact not only on the spine but also on the posture and functioning of the entire body.

When sleeping on the stomach, one of the main issues is the rotation of the head. In this position, the head is turned to the side, which directly involves rotating the cervical spine to the side. This leads to stress on the cervical spine and can cause increased muscle tension in the shoulder area. Additionally, the backward extension of the head, also known as retraction in medicine, adds further strain. It is detrimental to the cervical spine and can result in serious health issues.

For these reasons, it is strongly recommended not to use any pillows for the head when sleeping on the stomach. The best solution is to sleep on a flat and medium-firm surface. However, if you usually sleep on your stomach and still prefer to use a pillow, it is advisable to use a flat stomach sleeper pillow. It would also be optimal to place a small pillow under the abdomen before falling asleep to partially reduce muscle tension and maintain a more natural spinal curvature.

It is worth noting that sleeping on the stomach can lead to excessive curvature of the lumbar spine and improper alignment of related joints and muscles. This can contribute to back pain and other discomfort. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that sleeping on the stomach has a negative impact on health. It is recommended to experiment with other sleeping positions and try sleeping on the side or back, which are more beneficial for the spine.
Orthopedic pillow, sleeping pillows, healthy sleep, best foam mattress

Which orthopedic pillow should I choose?

Choosing the right orthopedic pillow is crucial for ensuring a healthy sleep and spinal support. It is essential to consider the sleeping position and individual preferences and needs of the user. First and foremost, it's important to think about the sleeping position.

If you predominantly sleep on your side, then a slightly higher orthopedic pillow is the best choice. It should be higher to properly support the head and neck while keeping the spine in a straight line.

On the other hand, if you often sleep on your back, you should opt for a relatively lower orthopedic pillow. For back sleeping, the pillow should be maximum height at the head position, and about 3-5 centimeters thick under the neck. A high pillow may cause the neck to arch forward and excessively tilt the head in relation to the spine.

It's worth noting that sleeping on the stomach is not recommended, and there is no dedicated orthopedic pillow for this position. For stomach sleepers, the best solution is to forego the pillow entirely or use a very flat “jaśek” for sleeping.

It's important to consider the filling of the pillow and its construction. The most recommended filling is high-quality high-resilience foam, which provides proper support, shape retention, and air circulation. It's also essential for the chosen pillowcase to be breathable, supporting proper air circulation and effectively preventing night sweating.

Orthopedic pillows from the Polish manufacturer ONSEN® are incredibly innovative and fully functional solutions for people looking for comfort, support, and solutions to their health issues during sleep. Their advanced design and production technology ensure unprecedented comfort and customization to individual needs. Our offered orthopedic pillows are suitable for both side and back sleepers, offering a range of health benefits.

In our offer, you will find different models of functional orthopedic pillows, such as Yoko, Asana, Enso, and Hiro, suitable for people with different body structures. All ONSEN® pillows are fully tailored to human anatomy and come with an exceptionally long warranty, providing confidence and satisfaction with the purchase.

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.
Orthopedic pillow for sleeping in any position, orthopedic pillows, cervical spine pain

FAQ: Orthopedic pillow for sleeping in every position

When should I start using an orthopedic pillow?

Orthopedic pillows should never be used for infants and children until around the age of 11-14, as their spine and skeletal system are still rapidly developing. In adults, orthopedic pillows can be used at any time as a preventive measure. They should also be used when experiencing neck, cervical, or head pain, including migraines. A properly designed orthopedic pillow plays a fundamental role in the healing and rehabilitation process.

What can be used instead of an orthopedic pillow?

For side sleepers, there is no alternative to an orthopedic pillow. When sleeping on the back, a low neck roll can be used, but it should not overlap the shoulders. For stomach sleepers, it is recommended not to use any pillow. However, in general, nothing can replace a functional and properly made orthopedic pillow.

How to get used to an orthopedic pillow?

Most people adapt to an orthopedic pillow within a few days without major difficulties. However, for some, it may take up to 5 weeks, especially if there are severe cervical spine issues. The adaptation time depends on the severity of the condition. The greater the problems, the longer it may take to adjust to the new pillow. In such cases, we recommend gradually increasing the time spent on the pillow and using a traditional pillow for the remaining sleep time. Additionally, we recommend using ONSEN® orthopedic pillows in combination with a functional Osaka Air foam mattress. This provides proper body contouring while maintaining the physiological position of the entire spine, not just the cervical spine. This comprehensive approach greatly enhances the health-promoting properties of the orthopedic pillow.

Is it worth buying a high-density foam orthopedic pillow?

Yes, it is definitely worth it. High-density foam provides proper dynamics and support, maintains its shape throughout the night, and ensures air circulation. It is also important for the pillowcase to be breathable and flexible. A high-density foam orthopedic pillow surpasses the functionality of memory foam pillows.

How much does a good orthopedic pillow for sleeping cost?

A good orthopedic pillow, molded from high-density foam in anatomical shapes, costs at least 300 Polish złoty, and prices can go up to 500 złoty. The price reflects the high costs associated with design, mold production, and pillow manufacturing. On the other hand, pillows made of memory foam are usually cut from blocks of thermoelastic foam, and their production cost does not exceed 10 euros. Despite this, they are sold for 800-1000 złoty, which is 200-250 euros. Therefore, it is important to remember that price is not the sole indicator of the quality of an orthopedic pillow. Its functionality is the most significant factor.

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