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January 25, 2015



by Amy

When I first started dating my guy friend, he slept with two pillows.  I told him to start sleeping with one pillow, to take one away.  A few days later he texted me from work and said “my neck feels a lot better when I sleep with one pillow.”  I said “Yep.”  Here’s why……
If you read my post on curve reversal – well that’s happening to your neck when you sleep with a bunch of pillows.  Sleeping with multiple pillows puts the cervical spine in all kinds of weird positions, and it’s in these positions for 8ish hours……

c spine

The spine REALLY doesn’t like that.  It wants to be in proper alignment when you sleep.  These strange positions that you’re placing your neck in by sleeping with a few pillows then strains the intervertebral discs.  And then…the jelly inside the disc gets moved around, the disc deforms, maybe hits a nerve, and causes pain.  This sounds bad right?  Sleep with only one pillow….a flat-ish one if possible – especially if you mostly sleep on your back.

Here’s a cool picture….


DISCLAIMER Part Two: Don’t you dare listen to me, my brain is all messed up.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. oc1dean
    Jan 26 2015

    I wish I’d had you as my PT. Actual visual explanations are so cool and the way I retain information.

    • Jan 26 2015

      I’m your PT now.

  2. Lori Knowles
    Jan 26 2015

    This is great information. I think I have the head part correct. But, what if I use a 2nd pillow to hug or the pillow goes between my legs – are those both okay?

    • Jan 26 2015

      Yep! If you’re mostly a side sleeper putting a pillow between your legs at night is a good thing! Keeps the spine straight.

  3. Linda in Winnipeg
    Jan 27 2015

    How do you always know what part of me is hurting at the moment?
    I have such a sore neck this week! As to pillows. The way I go to sleep is not necessarily how I wake up. Pillows bent in half, blanket under me and my head instead of over me.. Husbands pillow to steal…….,

    I know I am physically overdoing it big time and have had lots of tension in the past couple of weeks.
    Anyway really sore here : (

    • Jan 27 2015

      I do that too. I’m in a completely different position when I wake up than when I go to sleep. I can tell someone to sleep in a certain position til I’m blue in the face but sometimes it’s futile. I’m sorry you’re so sore. How are you overdoing it? Perhaps I can give you some pointers.

      • Linda in Winnipeg
        Jan 27 2015

        Thanks for wanting to help.
        I got a lot of extra hours at work this month due to a full time co-workers vacation time. Might have been too big a jump in my exertion levels. There is some portering groups of people in wheelchairs in and out of a too small elevator and it is awkward and hard physically. Lots of running around, carrying stuff, tons of stairs, tension too.

        My left side strength is okay, (read that as measures low normal) but not when compared with my right where strength is “super woman”. I think the difference leads to lots of overextending my weak side.

        I try hard to keep up with my much younger and more experienced coworkers and I worry about being able to hang on to this job.


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