According to Health Day News, a new study shows a connection between sleep deprivation and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.  This connection has something to do with levels of amyloid beta which is considered a marker for the disease.  These levels tend to increase during waking hours and decrease with sleep, so when there is a disruption in sleep, the levels remain elevated.

National studies have also linked poor sleep to a variety of health issues.

One of the reasons that people do not sleep well at night is because of uncomfortable pillows.

The role of a pillow is two-fold.  It is designed for comfort and to keep your spine in natural alignment by supporting the head neck and back.

On those nights when you are not interrupted by duties of caregiving, a better pillow can mean a better night’s sleep.

But many folks don’t know what to look for when purchasing a pillow.  Should you choose soft or firm, feather, down or foam?  One thing is for sure: if your pillow is so soft that you need to bend it in half in order to achieve some comfort, then it is too soft.

Pillows can cost anywhere from five dollars up to one hundred dollars and can last anywhere from three years to twenty years depending upon the quality of the pillow.  I don’t imagine that I’d choose a pillow that would last for twenty years as there is a good chance that it will become soiled before then even with the use of pillow protectors.

When choosing a pillow, take into consideration the kind of sleeper the pillow user is.

According to Beth Mack, Chief Merchandizing Officer for Hollander Home Fashions in Boca Raton, Florida, those who sleep on their sides (which is appromimately 79% of the population) require the most support and should choose an extra firm pillow.  Those who sleep on their back (20%) should purchase a medium-firm to firm pillow while a medium density, flatter pillow is best for those who sleep on their stomach (10%).

Because 70% of the population are side-sleepers, a supportive, extra firm pillow might be best for guest bedrooms.  Also keep in mind that the best pillow may not always be the largest.

When purchasing a pillow, also take into mind that there are hypoallergenic pillows.  Many folks believe that down and feather pillows are never hypoallergenic but according to Linda Howard, vice president of sales for Pacific Coast Feather states that if the down and feathers are washed correctly, then there is not a problem.

Memory foam pillows have also become popular and work by molding themselves to the contours of your body.  “Open-cell” memory foam also allows air flow which keeps the pillow from becoming as warm (which may be of benefit to pre-menopausal and menopausal women).  Memory foam cannot be washed though so it’s of benefit to use a zippered pillow protector with this type of pillow.

Other pillows can be washed if they are of higher quality.  Check the labels before laundering.

While suggesting that pillows may help to prevent Alzheiemr’s Disease might be a bit of a stretch, it’s till nice to be educated on how to get a better sleep with a little pillow talk.

Sweet dreams!

References: Spine-health.com. MedicineNet.com, Costco Connections magazine – October 2011

Photo courtesy of MS Images


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