5 Ways Your Pillow Could Be Affecting Your Health

Nothing too harmless about a pillow right? Well, not really.

While it can be the supreme source of comfort, many of us do not realize that it can be a factor affecting certain aspects of our health. "People underestimate just how much of a difference having the right pillow makes, not only to the quality of their sleep but also to how they feel throughout the day," says Sammy Margo, a physiotherapist from London. 

If you are experiencing these problems, there is a chance your pillow may be the culprit:

1. Stiffness 

Experiencing aching body parts during the day may indicate a problem with your posture during the night. And your pillow is just as important as your mattress. 

Side sleepers can benefit from using thick pillows while back sleepers can find flat pillows more comforting. The respective sizes provide the best angle of comfort to support the curvature of the head and neck with regard to the sleeping positions. A pillow that is too high or too low can cause muscle tension, leaving you with a stiff neck and shoulder pain in the morning.

2. Acne breakout

Have you been experiencing breakouts? The condition of your pillow may be to blame.

According to dermatologist Dr. David Bank from the Center for Dermatology Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in New York, acne mechanica is a type of acne that is triggered by friction or due to certain materials touching the face.

"When your pillowcase isn't laundered or changed regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil from the environment as well as your skin and hair touching the pillow is transferred back to your skin," he explained

3. Disrupted sleep

If you are constantly having to readjust your pillow while trying to go to sleep, your cushioned companion may have crossed its expiration date. Sleeping on a bad pillow can make it difficult for your brain and body to relax, which can cause inadequate sleep and lead to fatigue during the day.

Don't wait until your pillow feels lumpy and has been tearing at the seams. A good test of quality is to bend your pillow in half. If it does not straighten back into shape, it is definitely time for a replacement.

4. Allergies

Your pillow can attract a large number of dust mites if it isn't being cleaned and replaced enough. These mites are the most common trigger of allergies and asthma. 

Wheezing, chest tightness, itchiness of the eyes, nose, and throat can be signs of an allergy. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends opting for zippered dust-proof pillowcases that can provide relief as they are made from a material containing very small pores which can block dust mites from moving through.

5. Infant Suffocation

Experts have discouraged putting infants to bed using sleep positioners, a product which includes raised supports or pillows. In a warning published by the Food and Drug Administration, it was stated that infants must sleep on flat surfaces and not have any kind of wedge or pillow under their head or anywhere around them.

The most well-known risk of this practice is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which often occurs as a result of suffocation or high body temperature experienced by the infant during sleep.