By Dr M S Krishnamurthy
Pillow plays a very significant role in deep sleep. Many do not get sleep if the right pillow is not placed in the right position. Few are disturbed by the inappropriate sized pillows; because, pillow supports the head and neck and even the shoulder too. Remember that the weight of the head is more than 8 kgs in adult and this weight should be managed very well.
So, a pillow of right size, thickness and texture can make your sleep a very relaxing experience.
Read – 20 Simple Ayurveda Tips For A Better Sleep
Ayurvedic textbooks have emphasized the discomforts caused due to ‘ati neecha-uccha upadhana’ very thick or very thin pillow.
Hazards of wrong pillow
A wrong pillow can cause aggravation of vata dosha and hence leads to various Vata discomforts in the areas like
pain in head-neck-shoulder-eyes-cheek-mouth etc
Causing or worsening of headache
Causing or worsening of neck pain, cervical spondylosis
Causing or worsening of shoulder pain, arm pain etc.
In a few, it may cause neuralgia, numbness, swelling, disability to move the body parts, tingling sensation etc. Pillows which are hard and improper elevation if used for prolonged period may lead to degeneration too. There is an interesting case of Saturday night palsy caused due to improper posture while sleeping.
Read – Stiff Neck Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment And Remedies
Tips to choose the right pillow
While you sleep on your side, the axis of head should lie parallel to the ground. It should be perfectly horizontal.
The pillow can be rough or smooth, based on your preference. But it should not be too rough or too smooth.
It should be wide enough to cover your lateral head movements during your sleep.
Make sure to choose a very smooth, preferably cotton cover for your pillow.
In recent years we find the usage of pillows of rubber, plastic as well as synthetic materials. In children, it is always advised to keep the cotton cloths by folding into multiple layers as per ones need and comfort.
Though air filled pillows are feasible for journey, it is reported to be causing discomfort to the shoulder. On thorough observation, it is found that the hollowness of the pillow is not efficient in providing sufficient rest to the shoulder and neck; instead it causes pain, stiffness and swelling in few individuals.
Smooth pillow is good for
The pillow which is smooth and soft is always preferred especially to the patients who are having cervical spondylitis, stiff neck, brachial neuralgia, neuritis etc. Also, stable and firm pillows or head rests are preferred in the cases where immobilization is required.
Read – Brachial Neuritis: Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies
interesting and surprising fact is that few individuals are habituated to
retain their arm above the pillow. This will once again lead to elevation of
the height of the actual pillow and pain and other discomforts may be
Yes, indeed a pillow too can play a significant role in your good night sleep. Improper pillow and its height may lead to various discomforts.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD