According to the National Sleep Foundation, 64 percent of people use either one or two pillows when going to bed, while 27 percent use at least three. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that pillows have been used by humans as far back as the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, or about 9,000 years ago.
Historical records show that ancient Chinese, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all slept with their heads elevated, using a variety of different methods. The advent of the modern pillow stems mostly from a desire for personal comfort. If you sleep on your back, you should opt for a thin pillow as it doesn’t push your head too far forward. The opposite is true if you sleep on your side as the pillow should aim to fill the distance between your ear and shoulder.
So other than comfortable sleep, what are the health benefits of using pillows?
1. Reduction in Heartburn
Dr. James Mojica, the sleep lab director at Harvard’s Spaulding Hospital says special pillows can ward off heartburn symptoms. An elevated upper body also reduces sinus problems and prevent relapses of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
2. Help With Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops. Using a pillow helps alleviate the symptoms of this disorder as it helps align your spine and reduces pressure points.
3. Better Lifestyle
Sleep deprivation should not be taken lightly. A lack of sleep prevents your body’s immune system from functioning normally, meaning it’ll take longer to recover from illness and put you at risk of higher respiratory diseases. Sleep deprivation also causes our body to release insulin which leads to increased fat storage and a higher chance of contracting type 2 diabetes.
Using comfortable pillows at the right angle means we’re well-rested and are able to ward off the effects of sleep deprivation. It makes us happier and healthier at work, school, home, and in our everyday lives.