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Sharp Health News

Pick the perfect pillow (infographic)

April 17, 2017

Sleep is vital to good health, but the wrong pillow could leave you tossing and turning. Worse, it could exacerbate neck pain, headaches, snoring and more. Have old pillows? Toss them out. A pillow's shelf life is 12 to 18 months. Anything older could contain mold, mildew or dust mites.

Dr. Victoria Sharma, medical director of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, shares our handy guide for picking the perfect pillow.

Pick the perfect pillow infographic. Pillows are more than a decoration - they're an investment in your sleep. But with so many varieties, how do you choose? Stop searching and start sleeping better with this easy 3-step guide. Step 1: Survey your sleep style. You can't always control your sleep position, so choose a pillow that caters to you. Side sleepers: Choose a firmer pillow to fill the gap between your ear and shoulder. Stomach sleepers: Choose a thin pillow to keep your head low and your neck straight. Back sleepers: Choose a fluffy pillow to keep your head low and your neck supported. Step 2: Get your fill. Pillow filling can make or break your sleep experience. Common varieties are: Wool/cotton: Pro - firm and flat - and great for regulating your temperature. Con - Does not contour easily to body curvature, and can feel hard. Down/feather: Pro - soft yet firm - and you can shape it however you'd like. Con - can lack support for larger head sizes. Foam: Pro - Medium-firm, stable support for the head and neck. Con - fibers can wear unevenly and get lumpy or break down. Memory foam: Pro - reduces pressure points by continuously molding to your body. Con - can feel sweaty for those who run hot while sleeping. Latex: Pro - The firmest variety with great breathability and durability. Con - not as pressure relieving as others, and can be expensive. Step 3: Try before you buy. A pillow in an investment in better sleep. Try a few out in the store first, and don't get swayed by prices or advertising promises. Quick Tip: Pillows have a 12-t0-18-month shelf life. After that, they may contain skin cells, mold, mildew, fungus and/or dust mites. So heave it once it's passed its prime. From the expert:

View the printable version of this infographic.

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