Do you fall asleep feeling fine and wake up with a pain in your neck? Without realizing it you are probably staining your neck or neck muscles as you sleep. The right pillow is just as important as your mattress for getting a great night's sleep
If necks could talk they would say, "Don't bend your head while you're sleeping. It hurts." Let your head fall straight back, not sideways or facing up. If you don't sleep with a pillow you need to.
How to choose the correct pillow for you.
First: The major consideration for selecting a pillow is your sleeping position. Your pillow should allow your neck to be naturally straight and relaxed. Are you a side sleeper? Back sleeper? Stomach sleeper? Each of these positions needs a different pillow to give you the correct support for your neck.
Secondly: Pillows will give you the support to the curve of your neck.
Pillow types for side, back sleepers.
Back sleepers: Use a rounded pillow that goes directly under you neck and a flatter pillow for the top. Or tuck a small neck roll in your pillow case with a softer pillow. You can get a pillow with built-in neck suppport and an indentation for you head already made up. Memory foam that molds to your body, head and neck is even better. Many memory foam pillows are available with rolls in diferent size necks and sleeping positions. A memory foam with a dip for your head works well. Back sleepers should avoid pillows that are too high or firm.
Side sleepers: Use a pillow that is higher than your neck so it fills in for support. Smaller people will require a smaller pillow than a larger person soo...don't always buy the same pillow for different people. Usually a softer or medium firm pillow is best. Too firm does not give enough.
Note for stomach sleepers: If at all possible, don't sleep that way or at least start out on your side or back. It is really bad for your neck. Sleeping with a pillow could make it worse because you need to breath so you can not face down. Your neck is will always extended to the side. This hurts your neck and back.
It might seem expensive to splurge on a good comfortable pillow but it is worth a good night's sleep considering it is important for you health and you spend a lot of time in bed. Just as it's important to sleep on a good supportive mattress you need the right pillow to support a good night's sleep.
Also Consider when reading in bed or watching t.v. getting a supporting prop for your neck here too with a wedge.
Dr Anthony Komaroff of Harvard Medical School provides a more detailed article at AskDoctorK.com if you would like to read more on how to avert neck pain with proper sleeping pillows.