Where do you sleep better: on a feather pillow, the loose filling of which you can crumple and shape as you like, or on a neck support pillow, the given shape of which supports your head? Susanne W. (name changed by the editors) makes the self-experiment for us. She sleeps on her side and has been using a feather pillow for a long time, which she “crumbles” in whatever way she feels is comfortable. She receives a neck support pillow from us, with which she should test whether she can sleep better and more restfully with it.
The self-test is documented using a 14-day sleep diary. At the beginning and at the end, a comparable questionnaire on sleeping and lying quality is filled out. Susanne reports on her self-experiment:
I am a little skeptical whether I will have a good night on the static neck support pillow. After all, I am used to adjusting my pillow and changing it again and again so that I am comfortable. The night is actually not going very well. The pillow is too flat, so I have to put my hand under it to get the height reasonably right. As soon as I change my lying position in my sleep and pull my hand out, I wake up. With neck pain on my left side, I get up in the morning pretty exhausted. I suspect that the pillow is more suitable for back sleepers or people with narrow shoulders. In the diary I record: “Head position uncomfortable, neck tension, often turned around …”
I was told that the body first has to get used to changes in the bed. So I give the pillow another chance. I find it pleasant that I don’t have to shake the pillow up and squash it before I lie down on it. The lying position is actually very comfortable – it would only be ideal if it didn’t give way so much or if it were just a little higher. I actually slept through the night and I’m feeling better. However, I still suffer from neck tension.
I slept worse again, often turned around and woke up a lot. The left half of my neck is very tense. I’m considering abandoning the test.
This night I will try something: Before going to bed I put a thin blanket under the neck support pillow so that it is a few centimeters higher. Does that help? After the first two days, the neck tension disappeared again towards evening, the ones from yesterday seem to be more persistent: My left neck area is still painful. The night was much better – I even slept through the night. With the raised pillow I was able to bring my head into a comfortable lying position. Unfortunately, the neck tension did not go away overnight.
My neck pain got significantly better over the course of the day. I’ll try the blanket trick again tonight. I feel quite fit in the morning, slept through the night and felt that my head was well supported and comfortable. However, my neck seems to have a different opinion here: The muscle tension is back … I decide to take a break and use my old “crush pillow” again for the next few days. In fact, the tension in the neck area disappeared after two days.
I received a new test neck support pillow, which is a little higher. I bravely dare to try again and hope that the tension won’t come back. Hooray! I slept really well – this pillow actually seems to fit now! It’s so nice to be able to get up without pain and start the day relaxed. I note in the sleep diary: “Sleep well, no pain / tension, head position comfortable.”
Day 7 to 14:
I never thought that you could sleep so well on a preformed pillow! It’s great to just lie down in bed and your head on the pillow in the evening: no more crumpling or squeezing – the head position is immediately comfortable and the pillow adapts well to the shape of my head. I no longer slide my head into too flat a place at night – as often happens with my old pillow – and therefore no longer wake up with tension or have to correct my head position and pillow shape several times.
The neck support pillow has just the right strength, does not give in too much and still feels soft. I am completely satisfied with the new pillow and glad that I got involved in the test. Otherwise, I would never have found that a neck support pillow can be much more comfortable than a “rocking pillow”. Fortunately, I am allowed to keep the test pillow – I would not have given it away either …
Before and after comparison
At the beginning of the test and after 14 days of self-experiment, Susanne filled out a short questionnaire that showed a significant improvement in her sleep quality.
Susanne’s diary shows a clear dissatisfaction before the experiment.
Susanne’s sleep has become much calmer and symptom-free after the 2 weeks.
As the self-experiment clearly shows, switching from a pillow with loose filling to a neck-supporting pillow with a pre-formed foam core can be worthwhile. It is important that the height is chosen appropriately. You can determine this at home with a soft woolen blanket, which you fold several times until you have achieved a comfortable head position. Then measure the height of the folded blanket – this will give you an idea of the height of the neck support pillow you need. Information on the optimal pillow height and the correct head position can be found here .