Sleeping in comfortable and supportive pillows can help improve the quality of sleep. Like mattresses, pillows also have varying firmness levels, including firm pillows. In this article, you’ll learn the important reasons to sleep with firm pillows.
What Are Firm Pillows?
Firm pillows have a dense filling or packing. These pillows are heavy and conforming enough, keeping the head and neck well-supported.
One of the most important bedtime must-haves is firm pillows. They come in various materials or filling, such as the following:
Polyester fiber is the most common pillow type available on the market. Polyester pillows are the cheapest, with a cotton-like filling. Because polyester fiber doesn’t hold shape well, you might need to replace this pillow sooner than other types.
Most polyester pillows generally have a medium-loft and medium-firm rating. Because of a wide array of polyester pillows available, sleepers can also find models ranging from low, high-loft, soft, and firm firmness ratings.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows have the same material as mattresses called polyurethane. This pillow consists of one solid memory foam layer. Pillows made of memory foam fill are denser than shredded foam or polyester pillows.
Memory foam pillows conform well to the shape of the head, making them a preferred firm pillow option. Because memory foam might not provide proper air circulation or breathability as compared to other pillows, these pillows might make the head pretty hot during night sleep.
Pillows made of latex are made from synthetic latex or natural tree sap. They come in either a single latex layer or chunks. Latex responds to the body differently than memory foam because it has a more spring effect when touched. Latex pillows return to their shape faster when compressed.
Latex pillows made from shredded latex offer the plushness of a traditional polyfill with additional flexibility and firmness. For stomach sleepers, latex pillows can be too firm and too thick to be comfortable for stomach sleepers.
When choosing a brand of latex pillow, choose a pillow that’s responsive, hypoallergenic, and supportive. Buy one that’s covered in an organic cotton cover and breathable latex for cooling effect without head overheat.
Down Or Feathers
Down or feather pillows are made from duck or goose or down. The term ‘down’ is measured by ‘fill power’ or the space every ounce takes up. When the number is higher, the longer the pillow will stay firm. Feather pillows are firmer and don’t trap as much heat as other types.
A buckwheat husk pillow is plant-based made of tiny dry seeds. Many people prefer buckwheat pillows because they conform well to the head, neck, and shoulder areas. Most buckwheat husk pillows are firm, and some sleepers love how supportive and hard these pillows feel. Buckwheat pillows are recommended firm pillows because the hulls don’t collapse easily.
Water-filled pillows have a removable bag. You can fill this pillow with water based on the firmness level you want. The outer cover of a water-filled pillow is often made from polyester or cotton.
Eight Reasons Sleeping with Firm Pillows Is Important
A pillow with a firmness rating of one is the firmest, which is highly recommended for side sleepers. It offers enough support to the sleeper’s neck, back, and shoulder. This pillow is also suitable for combination sleepers, promoting good rest and sleep. On the other hand, stomach sleepers should avoid using firm pillows and use softer ones instead for utmost comfort.
Here are the important reasons sleeping with firm pillows is important:
Promote Better Sleep
Sleep is a basic need to keep the mind and body healthy. However, not all people fall asleep easily because of a variety of factors. One of the reasons that some people can’t get a restful sleep is bed comfort. Mattresses and pillows are important to promote a comfortable sleep, especially since you’ll be using them for a prolonged period daily.
If you’re a side sleeper or a combination sleeper, you need to consider using firm pillows. The head remains in a good, natural position, reducing headache, neck strain, and shoulder pain.
Sleepers don’t have to worry about their head when sleeping on firm pillows because they’re made of excellent materials, like buckwheat, that promotes compressibility. The buckwheat hulls ensure that the head won’t sink into the mattress.
Here are the important things to look for when choosing a brand of firm pillows to promote better sleep:
- Pillow Height: A higher pillow offers more support and feels firmer, holding the head in an uncomfortable position. On the other hand, a lower pillow feels less supportive.
- Material: The material of the pillow affects its firmness. Buckwheat and microbeads offer the firmest support. For more adjustable support, memory foam and down pillows are highly recommended.
- Customer Service and Warranty: More expensive pillows come with a manufacturer’s warranty. You need to read the warranty terms before buying pillows. It’s also important to check online reviews to determine if your prospective manufacturer or seller honors its warranty.
- Price: If you’re uncertain what firmness support level you need, consider the testing lower price of pillows first.
- Adjustability: You may want to choose a pillow with pillow inserts for adjustable support. In this way, it’s easier to remove pillow inserts to choose your desired firmness and height.
- Additives And Allergens: If you have allergies or concerns about harsh chemicals, you need to check the components and certifications, like CertiPUR-US (a certification program of a non-profit organization).
2. Provides Adequate Support
Firm pillows have a long-lasting impact because they support the neck and other adjacent body areas during sleep. Soft pillows are smooth and comfortable to use, but they gradually lose thickness, eventually causing pain and discomfort when you wake up the next morning.
Soft pillows tend to have problems with the weight of the head, and the body adds up, losing firmness and support. A firm pillow offers consistent head, neck, shoulder, and upper back support over time. Unlike soft pillows, firm pillows don’t lose their firmness quickly.
Good sleeping posture can help the back. Side sleepers can place a firm pillow between their legs to prevent spine misalignment. It can also help relieve pressure on the hips and the lower back. The head pillow should keep the spine straight. In addition, a small pillow or rolled towel under the waist can also help support the spine.
3. Conforms To the Head and Neck
Firm pillows have superior head and neck conformity, evenly distributing the weight of the head onto the surface. They promote utmost comfort, preventing body pains when you wake up the next morning.
Because firm pillows promote proper body alignment regardless of sleep position, they help avoid discomfort, postural issues, and body pains. Sleep issues may cause headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Firm pillows support the neck, shoulder, back, and entire spine that provide better posture and body alignment as you sleep for hours throughout the night.
If you’re a back sleeper, there’s a good chance that you likely have sleep apnea or a chronic snorer. As you sleep and lie on your back, your tongue falls back, which can block the airways, hindering proper respiration. A firm pillow elevates the upper half of your body to reduce snoring and other sleep issues.
4. Recommended For Side Sleepers
If you’re a stomach sleeper, your neck tends to hyperextend backward. When you use a firm pillow, it can hurt your back because the head is pushed back even farther. Sleeping with your stomach and your head positioned to the side results in a full rotation, and this sleep position can become painful. But, it’s a different case for side sleepers.
As mentioned, side sleepers can benefit from using firm pillows. Side sleepers experience more stress on their neck due to the gap between the head and the shoulders, which strain the neck and disrupt sleep. Firm pillows act as a buffer between the head, neck, and shoulders. Hence, firm pillows promote better body alignment.
Getting up in the morning can be uncomfortable if your body isn’t properly aligned during sleep, causing bad posture and other health issues. If you’re a side sleeper, you can prevent neck pressure by sleeping on a firm pillow, providing proper support and relaxation at night.
5. Weight Resistant
Do you fold your pillow at night? Maybe you use your arms or hands under your head which causes numbness and discomfort the next day due to poor blood circulation? Or do you stack up several pillows to obtain head, neck, and shoulder support? If you experience any of these issues, then you need to replace your old pillows with firm pillows.
Sleep issues arise from these practices. The heavy, firm pillows help provide sufficient support to the head, neck, shoulder, and back. If you want your head to remain lifted without sinking, use firm pillows to reduce neck strain.
6. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
The firmness level of a pillow you need is subjective. One pillow can be firm to you but not to others. That’s why manufacturers create their own firmness rating as a basis for consumers when choosing the right softness or hardness of pillows for them.
You might think that sleeping on a firm pillow will just aggravate your stress and anxiety. On the contrary, many people find firm pillows better for sleep because they can help reduce stress and anxiety by preventing and reducing discomfort and pain.
Because firm pillows provide proper head and neck support and body alignment, you experience more comfortable sleep, especially at night. Of course, when your body and mind are well-rested, you are more look more rejuvenated and active the next day.
7. Improves Productivity
Your neck curves slightly forward. This slight curvature helps sustain the head’s weight when upright. It’s crucial to maintain this neck curvature when you’re in a resting or lying position.
A pillow that’s too soft can sink the head, and one that’s too high can cause the neck to bend abnormally to the side or forward. These pillow issues can put pressure on the muscles of the neck and the shoulders. An abnormal neck position may cause narrowing of the airways, which results in difficulty of breathing and snoring. These conditions can hinder sleep and even cause pain.
Like a domino effect, not getting a good night’s sleep affects productivity. Hence, you should consider using a firm pillow to maintain the natural position of the neck. While a firm pillow doesn’t have a direct effect on your body’s sleep cycle, the support, conformity, and comfort it brings help make you more productive the next day.
8. Promotes Health and Safety
As mentioned, firm pillows are denser, making it harder for contaminants to penetrate deep in the fill. Hence, firm pillows are easier to clean and maintain than soft pillows.
Like any other type of pillow, firm pillows can help promote health and safety with proper pillow maintenance. Choose firm pillows that are machine-washable in cold setting. You need to check the pillow manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before washing. Some pillows, like those made from foam slabs, aren’t machine-washable.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America or AAFA highly recommends pillows need washing once a month using hot water. Just make sure that the pillow manufacturer allows this procedure to kill dust mites and avoid dust mite allergy.
You can prop your bed’s head section about six inches to help reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Instead of stacking up several pillows, you can raise the head section of an adjustable bed.
If this feature isn’t available, you can use one firm pillow. A pillow that’s sufficiently firm can elevate the head, which may help sleepers with reflux and heartburn.
Firm pillows provide solid and comfortable support to the head, neck, shoulders, and back during sleep. These pillows conform to the body areas, specifically the head, neck, shoulder, and spine. They support the body well and promote optimum comfort, preventing postural problems, sleep issues, and other health problems. Choosing the right type of firm pillow you need is important to your overall health and well-being.