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How to Use a Contour Pillow to Sleep Correctly

The curved design of contour pillows helps to reduce the increased pressure on the neck and muscle joints caused by different sleeping positions. It provides a much more comfortable rest without risking waking up to any stiffness or joint pain. The contoured design that makes these pillows different aims to solve several issues of back and neck pains, along with snoring.

But buying a contour pillow won’t just cut it; it’s imperative that you learn to use a contour pillow the right way in order to reap the benefits.

What is a Contour Pillow?

A contour pillow has a curved design or a contour shape that slightly dips in the center to reflect the curve of the neck and top of the spine. Resting your head in this hollow space helps support the neck and restore the natural alignment of the spine.

Contour pillows are usually built with memory foam because, unlike polyester filled pillows, memory foam has a better ability of molding to the shape of the sleeper’s head, which simultaneously keeps the neck and back aligned as well.

With the curved design adapting to the different positioning of head, neck, and shoulder, the pillow relieves problems of frozen shoulders, headaches, etc. It also helps in breathing better while sleeping, which reduces snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.

For side sleepers having problems with neck pain and muscle stiffness, a pillow with a contoured design may be a better choice to improve the quality of their sleep.

sleeping on a cervical contour pillow

How to Sleep on a Contour Pillow?

If you have purchased a memory foam contour pillow that came in vacuum-sealed, make sure to just let it sit for 24 hours after you remove the packaging. This will allow the pillow to achieve its full shape and also remove any odors that the pillow may have collected while remaining in the package. Slip the pillowcase over the contour pillow. A standard pillowcase is fine but there are cases specially made for contour pillows available in the market.

Set the contour pillow with the contoured side facing upwards and orient the pillow with the higher of the two humps towards the foot-end of the bed. Lie down so that the head and neck rests comfortably within the pillow’s contour. Try holding your head straight and avoid slumping your head as it can constrict airways and worsen snoring issues.

The higher hump accommodates a side sleeper, while the lower hump helps those who prefer to sleep on their back. The correct placement of the humps provides maximum support to the head and neck for both sleeping positions.

Sleeping on a contour pillow for the first time can be an adjustment that might take several days or weeks to get used to. However, the benefits of using a contour pillow are well worth the change.

Benefits of Sleeping on a Contour Pillow

Now that you understand how contour pillows work and support the intricate structures and alignment of the head, neck, shoulder, and spine, let’s take a quick look at benefits of using a contour pillow:

1. Keeps the neck and back perfectly aligned

Without a contour pillow, sleeping at an odd positioning and angle is quite common, which creates or worsens existing pain. Placing a contour pillow under the neck helps maintain proper alignment, which is essential for preventing muscle pain, shoulder pain and relieving headaches caused by muscle tension.

2. Reduces snoring and sleep apnea symptoms

Snoring occurs when the airway becomes partially obstructed while sleeping. This blockage is especially common in people who tend to sleep on their back. By slightly raising the head using a cervical orthopedic pillow, the obstruction of the airway has fewer chances of happening. It ultimately reduces snoring and also stops disrupted breathing among people having sleep apnea.

3. Retains shape

Regular pillows work fine at first but gradually start to lose shape as they flatten out and cease to provide any support for the neck and head. With traditional pillows, re-fluffing or re-puffing them during different times of the night becomes a common practice as the shape starts to distort.

On the other hand, the memory foam inside the contour pillow has chemical properties, allowing it to mold to your natural curvature when you rest your head and revert to its original shape when the pressure is removed.

4. Inexpensive alternate

Therapeutic treatments such as massages to reduce neck and back pains are expensive and multiple sessions may be suggested by the chiropractor including physical therapy and also heat therapy.

The monthly bill can amount to thousands of dollars. On the other hand, the contour pillow is a one-time investment that lasts for a long time. Similarly, they are also a good alternative to prescription pills, which may not only be expensive, but also have harmful side effects.

5. Reduces added pressure on joints

Waking up to soreness and stiffness is a result of the added pressure on the joints. When muscles or joints tense up, it becomes harder to get out of bed. However, contour pillows provide cushioned support to muscles and joints to prevent any possibility of discomfort as a result of soreness and stiffness.

Which side do you lay on a contour pillow?

Deciding on which side of the contour pillow to sleep on depends on your sleeping position.

Make sure your neck rests on the higher hump while sleeping on your side, which will provide the therapeutic support you need to keep your neck and spine in proper alignment for the correct posture. In contrast, back sleepers should place the lower hump of the pillow behind their neck to maintain the correct head, neck, and spinal alignment.

Is a contour pillow good for side sleepers?

The side sleeping position places the head higher than the mattress, so having a pillow like a contour pillow that provides an elevated surface to rest your head on is vital for side sleepers. The center of the contour pillow dips down to cradle the head while sleeping, and the contoured edges ensure proper neck alignment of side sleepers.

By providing the extra support to the neck, the contour pillow takes the responsibility of the stress that the shoulders of side sleepers would have otherwise tried to support. Furthermore, the pillow’s loft makes sure the head and neck are in alignment with the spine.

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