Determine the correct pillow height

The right pillow height ensures a comfortable position of the head during sleep and contributes significantly to a healthy sleeping posture. We'll explain how to find the right pillow height for restful sleep and prevent painful tension the next morning.

Table of Contents

  1. Why is the right pillow height so important?
  2. What is the ideal pillow height for me?
    1. The sleeping position, shoulder width & body shape
    2. The firmness of the mattress
    3. The ideal pillow height for back sleepers
    4. The ideal pillow height for side sleepers
    5. The ideal pillow height for stomach sleepers
  3. How to determine the optimal pillow height
  4. The personal feeling decides

Our pillow determines the position of the head during sleep. It is responsible for ensuring that we sleep in a healthy posture and that the sensitive cervical spine in particular is well positioned and protected at night. A comfortable and natural sleeping position also allows the muscles, ligaments and tendons to relax and reduces the pressure on our bones and joints, enabling pain-free sleep and preventing the development of headaches, stiff muscles or severe tension the next morning.

Why is the right pillow height so important?

In addition to the size, shape or type of filling material, the height is one of the most important properties that determine the functionality, support and comfort of a pillow. The right height is therefore an important selection criterion when looking for the perfect pillow.

Frau mit Verspannung, Blockade und Nackenschmerzen am Morgen durch die falsche Kissenhöhe

If our pillow is too high, the neck is bent too much and the spine is compressed, which overstretches the neck muscles and promotes vertebral blockages. If the pillow is too low, the head tilts back slightly and the cervical vertebrae are overstretched, which can also lead to incorrect strain and tension. Depending on the sleeping position, the wrong pillow height can also increase the pressure on the shoulders, promote the occurrence of the so-called shoulder-collapse effect and prevent free breathing during sleep because the chest area is compressed. An incorrect pillow height not only leads to unpleasant tension, pain or blockages in the head and neck area, but also disrupts breathing and promotes snoring.

smartsleep Schlafmagazin: Grafik zur richtigen Liegeposition und Kopfhaltung im Schlaf

With the right pillow height, on the other hand, the head, neck and shoulder areas are stabilized and supported during sleep. The head and spine up to the pelvis should ideally form a straight line so that the natural double S shape of the spine is maintained and the vertebrae are not pushed into an unnatural shape. Back and stomach sleepers should therefore position their heads in a horizontal position. When sleeping on your side, your shoulders and cervical spine are, at best, exactly at right angles to each other.

What is the ideal pillow height for me?

smartsleep Schlafmagazin: Die richtige Kissenhöhe ermittelnThe right pillow height depends on your personal need for support and depends on your preferred sleeping position, the shoulder width and the shape of your head, shoulders and neck. But the degree of firmness of our mattress also plays an important role, because this, in combination with the pillow, ultimately determines our posture during sleep.

Sleeping position, shoulder width & body shape

Our sleeping position decides how we lie on our pillow at all.When the head is lying on the side, our shoulder width plays a particularly important role and determines how high the pillow must be so that the head and the rest of the body can be stabilized in a horizontal position. With broad shoulders, the pillow should be slightly higher than with a narrow shoulder width. Finally, the interaction of our head shape, shoulder width and the individual curvature of the spine in the neck area also contributes to the height required to optimize the sleeping position.

The firmness of the mattress

The firmness of the mattress also determines how we lie at night. A softer mattress allows the upper body to sink a little more into the lying surface depending on body weight, which is why the pillow should be a little lower to get a natural sleeping position. When sleeping on a harder mattress, on the other hand, the pillow usually has to be a little higher, since the rest of the body lies straight and sinks in less.

The ideal pillow height for back sleepers

Die richtige und falsche Kissenhöhe für Rückenschläfer

Back sleepers need a pillow on which their head rests as horizontally as possible and the spine is stabilized in its natural form.

The ideal pillow height for side sleepers

Folgen einer richtigen und falschen Kissenhöhe bei Seitenschläfern

If you sleep on your side, the pillow should be high enough to keep the head-shoulder triangle at right angles and to avoid kinking or improper strain on the neck and shoulders.

The ideal pillow height for stomach sleepers

Folgen der richtigen und falschen Kissenhöhe beim Schlaf in Bauchlage

Stomach sleepers are best placed on a pillow that is as low as possible, otherwise the cervical spine will quickly buckle backwards and neck pain will be inevitable.

How to determine your optimal pillow height

The exact pillow height you need so that you lie perfectly depends not only on the interaction of your personal need for support and your mattress, but also on your personal feelings. An exact value is therefore difficult to measure, but you can use your personal support needs as a guide.

And this is how easy it is to determine your personal need for support: if you sleep on your back, stand upright backwards (if you sleep on your side) against a wall, do not lean against it and keep your head straight. The distance between the wall and your head then roughly corresponds to your personal support needs and is best measured with a flexible tape measure and the help of another person. In general, a support requirement of less than 2.5 cm is considered low, and a support requirement of more than 7 cm is considered high.

The personal feeling decides

The right pillow height contributes significantly to a healthy sleep. And even if the search is not always easy, it is all the more worthwhile to take a closer look at the various product properties and find a pillow that ideally suits your own needs and sleeping conditions. So that you can lie relaxed night after night and wake up really refreshed.

Conclusion

  • The pillow height determines the position of the cervical spine at night and ensures a healthy head posture for a restful sleep.
  • The right pillow height depends on the mattress and our individual need for support, which results from the sleeping position, shoulder width and body shape.
  • Back sleepers need a pillow on which their head rests as horizontally as possible and the spine is stabilized in its natural form.
  • If you sleep on your side, the pillow should be high enough to keep your head and shoulders at right angles and to avoid buckling your neck and shoulders.
  • Stomach sleepers are best placed on a pillow that is as low as possible, otherwise the cervical spine will quickly buckle backwards and neck pain will be more common

Greetings and see you soon!

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