Monthly Archives: July 2014

Many Pillows for Sound Sleep

Do you wake up frequently during the night? Or awaken in the morning with a stiff shoulder from sleeping on your side? For sound sleep, try multiple pillows.

Years ago, both the physical therapist and the Feldenkrais practitioner I was working with for shoulder spasms recommended that I sleep with more than one pillow. I tried it and discovered that I would frequently sleep through the night. I awakened more refreshed. I’ve also found that, when I travel and have just one pillow, it’s much harder to fall asleep. And I wake up feeling like I’ve been working all night—which, of course, I have. (Yes, towels can help in a pinch.)Sound sleep with many pillows

The idea is that you arrange your pillows so that your limbs and head are completely supported in whatever position you choose for sleeping. Restorative yoga is based on the same concept.

I have been asked about sleeping with one giant pillow. I’ve not tried that, because I prefer to place my pillows precisely.

I’ve also been asked by clients, what about my partner? I’m betting she or he will understand, if it means you sleep better. Who knows? They might follow your example.

Below are suggestions for how to deploy your pillows. Try them, and please let me know how it works for you.

Back Sleeping

  • a pillow under head so neck aligns with the rest of your spine (you might not need this—if you’re comfortable without a pillow, don’t use it)
  • a pillow under each forearm and hand, that is, one pillow for your left arm, one for your right
  • a long firm pillow supporting your knees

Side Sleeping

  • a pillow under your head so your neck aligns with the rest of your spine— it’s likely this will need to be higher than when you’re sleeping on your back
  • a thin pillow under your side, if you’re a woman, to keep pressure off your shoulder and hip (most men won’t need this, as their hips are more narrow)
  • a long, firm pillow between your knees
  • a tall, firm pillow supporting your top arm

Stomach Sleeping

  • If your head is turned to the side, try a pillow under the arm on that side