Many people are waking from a full night’s sleep still feeling exhausted.  If you are getting your full seven to eight hours of sleep and still feel tired, the simple truth is that you are not getting a restful sleep.

Whether you realise it or not, the simplest things like your pajamas, your quilt covers, and your pillow can be negatively affecting your sleep patterns. If these items are uncomfortable or restrictive in any way, they can disrupt your sleep by waking you up to adjust them. Most people don’t remember waking, but it can happen several times per night.

Here are some simple tips to help you evaluate your pillow situation and determine if you are doing more harm than good by sleeping with that extra pillow stacked behind your head.

Your pillow

Many people are using a pillow that is past its prime. To compensate, they may add an extra pillow or two on top of the dilapidated one. This is not a great idea because it causes your neck to bend at unnatural angles. This, in turn, pulls your spine out of alignment, which can impact the comfort of your entire body. It may even cause your limbs to go numb, or make you roll out of bed with a headache every day.

At the very least, a worn out pillow will likely make you wake up feeling very tired instead of well rested.

Test your pillow

Pillows are stuffed with different materials. Some are stuffed with feathers, down or polyester. The material that your pillow is stuffed with will determine its prime usable life. Most feather pillows can last up to eight years. Pillows stuffed with down last around five years. Polyester filled pillows only last for six months to two years.

To see if your pillow is still offering your head and neck ample support, take your feather or down pillow and fold it into three sections while squeezing all the air out. If it unfolds and fluffs back up, it should be fine. With a polyester stuffed pillow, fold it the same way but put something on it. The object should weigh between 250-300 grams. If the object is flung off the pillow, and the pillow fluffs back up, it should be fine.

How many pillows

Ideally you should sleep with one pillow, certainly no more than two. If your pillow is lacking fluff, it is best to just replace it. Stacking two or even three pillows on your bed will not help you get a more restful sleep. It is best to bite the bullet and purchase a new pillow. Otherwise you may end up with back pain and restless nights.

However, if you are finding that you are waking with lower back or hip pain, the solution may be to add another pillow to your bed. This pillow, however, should go by your knees. If you are a side sleeper, the pillow should be placed between your knees.  If you normally sleep on your back, you should try placing the pillow under your knees. Using a pillow by your knees relieves stress on the lower back and hips by proper aligning the spine. Making sure your pillows provide support and placing them in the proper positions will help you to get a more restful sleep.

Additionally, pillow technology has advanced over the years. There are therapeutic pillows available for all sleep patterns and body types, from contour pillows and buckwheat pillows to those designed specifically for during pregnancy.