Pillows – What You Need To Know
I am always amazed at pillow commercials. There is always a new pillow that is going to solve our back and neck problems, and give us a good night’s sleep, all at the same time. I love a good pillow just as much as anyone. I use them to read, watch television. I am not sure why we think they are necessary to keep our spine in correct alignment while we sleep. If the body was meant to have a pillow for sleep, then I think we would have been born with our own little pillow to match our bodies. Our bodies know how to adapt to all kinds of positions. Sleep is one of them. When we try to control our sleeping positions, we are going down the wrong road.
Many of us lying on our side are keeping our shoulders stiff and rigid. As a result, the head has a long way to go to touch the bed. It is also a tortuous position for the shoulder and neck. We figure we solve it with a pillow. The shoulder is simply not meant to work so hard on its side. You can see in photo one, I am lying on the side of my tight shoulder, and there is really no place for my head. If that is how you sleep then it makes sense you think you need a pillow. But is the pillow solving the problem of the stiffness in your shoulders and neck?
When we lie on our side, we should not be lying on the shoulder, to hold our body in a position. The shoulder is like the wing of a bird once it lands. It has no reason for the extended wingspan. It folds the wings comfortably and they are at rest. I think if we saw a bird perched on a tree branch, just holding its wings out in place for hours, we would wonder what is up with that. But we lay on our shoulders, for hours at a time, forcing the neck to need a pillow and creating more stiffness in neck and shoulders.
What To Do About Muscle And Neck Tension And Your Pillow
Sometimes just beginning to ponder these things begins to give the body options. Everyone is always telling us what good alignment is. If you look at children, who know nothing about alignment, they are usually moving in all sorts of weird positions, and never an ache or pain. As we “hold” ourselves stiffly in alignment our body shallow breathes, circulation is compromised, and muscles just continue to tighten.
Change the dialogue you have with yourself and begin to take in possibilities. The next time you get in bed, play around with some different ways of resting on your side. It will not happen overnight, no pun intended. In the Miracle Ball Method, there are some great places for the balls to ease tight shoulders while allowing the neck muscles to lengthen. I do this every morning before I get out of bed. Elbow on the ball does work wonders.
Enjoy your pillows for all the right reasons, but thinking they realign your body might be giving a bit too much power to the pillow.