We are creatures of habit. Unfortunately, this works against us when we want to fix bad habits, like poor neck posture. You can begin by choosing an orthopedic pillow. An orthopedic pillow is the best neck pillow for sleeping, as it’s a device that gently and safely corrects your bad habit of sleeping wrong, and re-positions your neck to be in proper position during your waking hours.
An orthopedic pillow can be hard to get used to.
Sleeping on an orthopedic pillow may feel very awkward and different than what you’re used to. Think about it—you’ve been sleeping with your head up too high on stacked pillows, for eight hours a night (one-third of your life in a normal life span), and all of a sudden you lower your head position by using one orthopedic pillow. It will feel like you’re head is hanging down. You might feel like you’re falling.
The reason for that awkward feeling is the proprioceptors located in all of the muscles of your neck.
Proprioception means “sense of self.” Proprioceptors are special neurotransmitters that are located in muscles, joints and tendons. They tell us where our body is in space. 200% more proprioceptors are in the upper cervical spine than any other place in the body. If I hold you upside down, the proprioceptors in the head and neck let you know that you’re upside down. The proprioceptors in your cervical muscles tell your brain about what posture you’re in. If you’ve been in one posture habitually when you sleep, say, a kinked neck on a stack of pillows, then all of a sudden you correct that, your proprioceptors will signal your brain that something is different–that your posture has changed. You will feel awkward and maybe a little uncomfortable.
An orthopedic pillow is a corrective device.
Another reason why an orthopedic pillow feels odd at first is because it’s a corrective device, like an orthotic shoe insert. Orthotic shoe inserts also feel a little strange when you first try them out. Your feet may have gotten used to a deformity, like over-pronating for example, and don’t like being put into proper alignment. Orthotics are meant to relieve your discomfort and gently re-position the bones in your feet, not cause more pain. Your podiatrist will have you ease into wearing them at first, maybe for an hour the first day and steadily increasing for a few weeks until your feet have been gently corrected.
If you’ve had poor sleeping posture for a lifetime, your body has adapted itself to being torqued into uncomfortable positions. Your neck may be used to being hunched, but you certainly don’t like waking up with a sore neck every morning. You have to transition slowly into using an orthopedic pillow because you’re subtly adjusting the bones in your neck. Try it out for an hour or so the first few days, gradually increasing your time on the pillow every couple of days until you’ve built up to a full night’s sleep. Be respectful and use the pillow wisely, as you need to give your body time to adapt.
Once you ease your neck into using an orthopedic pillow, you really will feel like it’s the best neck pillow for sleeping. It’s not only comfortable, but it works while you sleep, gently straightening out a hunched or kinked neck. You will experience an entirely new way of sleeping and prevent sleep injuries in the future.