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How do memory foam pillows work with different sleep positions?

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If you sleep on your back, gravity keeps your body centered over your spine and keeps the banana-shaped curve of your neck intact.

If you’re a back sleeper, experts say that you should use a small, rounded neck roll to support your neck and a flatter pillow to support the rest of your head. You can do this by combining a few different types of pillows, or by using a contoured memory foam one.

If you’re a side sleeper, you want to keep your chin straight ahead in a neutral position. The pillow should be higher under your neck than it is under your head.

But some people tuck their chin into a fetal position. This forces your head forward and may cause pain. Studies have shown that a contoured memory foam pillow can help support your chin in the correct posture.

If you often sleep on planes or in cars, a horseshoe-shaped memory foam pillow can support your neck so it doesn’t drop uncomfortably far to one side. Just make sure it’s not too high in the back, or it’ll push your head forward as you doze.

SOURCES:

The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine : "Improving the Quality of Sleep With an Optimal Pillow: a Randomized, Comparative Study."

National Sleep Foundation: "What is Memory Foam?" "Choosing a Mattress: Everything You Need to Know," "Best Online Mattress."

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science : "Development and Comparative Evaluation of New Shapes of Pillows."

Cedars-Sinai: "Cervical Spine."

Cleveland Clinic: "Back, Side or Stomach: Which Sleep Position Is Best for You?"

Harvard Medical School: "Say 'Good Night' To Neck Pain."

NBC News: "Sleep on This: Consumer Reports Rates the Best Pillows for Better Sleep."

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on April 23, 2020

SOURCES:

The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine : "Improving the Quality of Sleep With an Optimal Pillow: a Randomized, Comparative Study."

National Sleep Foundation: "What is Memory Foam?" "Choosing a Mattress: Everything You Need to Know," "Best Online Mattress."

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science : "Development and Comparative Evaluation of New Shapes of Pillows."

Cedars-Sinai: "Cervical Spine."

Cleveland Clinic: "Back, Side or Stomach: Which Sleep Position Is Best for You?"

Harvard Medical School: "Say 'Good Night' To Neck Pain."

NBC News: "Sleep on This: Consumer Reports Rates the Best Pillows for Better Sleep."

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on April 23, 2020

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