When you vibe with someone, it might feel like it’s meant to be. You seem to work in sync and complement each other to be your partner’s better half — kind of like an unstoppable power couple.
So when you vibe with a product — let’s say an insanely comfortable memory foam pillow — it almost feels like it’s designed for you. When you lay your head down each night, the pillow supports your head and neck while being a relaxing tool for sleep. Ahh, this is ergonomics at its finest. Wait, back up — is that what ergonomics means?
Yes! It’s an applied science concerned with strategically designing things people use so that the people and products interact safely and efficiently. We spoke with Dr Bertrand Doeuk, Director of the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic, to learn more about the benefits of an ergonomic pillow.
First of all, what are the characteristics of an ergonomic pillow?
Memory foam pillows with a distinct curve are an example of ergonomic pillows. The design contours to the shape of your head and neck at all pressure points, which keeps you in perfect alignment all night long. Bonus points if the pillow comes with adjustable height pads to match your build. For instance, a large to extra large body build (think The Rock) would be more comfortable with two pads, plus the pillow, providing a level of support and comfort based on his height and weight.
“The best pillows, in our opinion, are memory foam pillows,” explains Dr Doeuk. “Memory foam pillows adjust and mould to the contour and shape of the person’s neck and head.”
Let’s get a little more specific — here are seven benefits of an ergonomic pillow.
Contouring and neck support
An ergonomic memory foam pillow has a distinct curve with two raised ends and a dip in between them. This design supports the natural shape of the head and neck for back sleepers and side sleepers.
“It is important that the pillow is a contoured pillow, instead of a simple rectangle pillow,” says Dr Doeuk. “This is because the natural shape of the human head and neck is contoured, whereby the neck is thinner in circumference than the head.”
So your neck is meant to rest on the slightly raised part of the pillow, while your head should rest in the little dip. Having a memory foam pillow that is contoured will ensure that the neck and head are fully supported.
Cervical spinal alignment
The cervical spine is the delicate area where the neck connects to the upper back through seven vertebral segments. It’s also where the spinal cord lies. When sleeping, it’s crucial to maintain the alignment of the natural curve at the back of the neck.
“At the clinic, we perform a full sleeping and pillow assessment on our patients. When prescribing a pillow, we ensure there is no gap between the pillow and neck. This is to ensure the neck is fully supported,” explains Dr Doeuk. “We also ensure the head and cervical spine is in alignment with the rest of the spine. Pillows that are fluffy and collapse as you sleep on it, give no structural support and can cause injuries to the neck.”
For instance, a fluffy down feather pillow (as comfy as they are to hug and squeeze) won’t provide the best support for your head and neck. Choose a pillow that’s elevated enough to keep your spine straight instead of your neck forming an awkward angle when you’re asleep.
Increased blood circulation to the muscles
An ergonomic pillow will incorporate the perfect combination of firmness and softness. You don’t want a pillow that’s hard as a rock because this can restrict blood circulation to the rest of your body. Your neck muscles should be relaxed, not tense from a hard surface.
“We advise a medium to soft memory foam pillow is the best,” says Dr Doeuk. “Firm pillows are often uncomfortable and can constrict blood vessels around the neck and head. This can often cause people to toss and turn at night to relieve pressure soreness from the pillow.”
The pillow fits the person
To design a pillow that’s customised to each person is a hefty task, but with a memory foam pillow, the material contours to the individual’s head and neck shape. This essentially makes it a custom fit. Ecosa’s memory foam pillow goes a step further by adding adjustable height pads to match your body type, sleeping position, and personal preference. For example, if you’re a side sleeper with broader shoulders, then you may need a more elevated pillow so your neck doesn’t slope at a downward angle when you sleep. The goal is to keep your neck and spine in alignment.
“The elevation and the height of the pillow are determined by the size of the person’s neck, head, and weight of the person,” says Dr Doeuk. “Ideally, a pillow needs to be fitted to a person to ensure that the head and neck are in alignment with the rest of the spine. An example is if you are standing upright in a neutral anatomical position, you would want to be in the same position when you are lying in bed either on your side or back. Hence, we always advise everybody should have the pillow fitted to their body.”
Less tossing and turning
An ergonomic pillow is comfortable yet stable. Because it supports your head and neck, it lets you relax into a deep sleep. That means less tossing and turning throughout the night! But if your partner has not invested in a memory foam pillow (birthday present??), and they’re tossing and turning, you won’t feel it. Your ergonomic pillow protects you from motion distribution and disturbance, plus it improves sleep quality! So you’ll stay asleep through the night despite the movement from your partner.
Aside from all the impressive head and neck support, Ecosa builds its ergonomic pillow using activated charcoal memory foam, which promotes odour control, antibacterial protection, and no dust mites. The material is also totally breathable as heat and moisture disperse from the pillow surface. If something were to spill on the pillow, there’s a removable, machine washable cover that you can easily clean. But that’s just our humble pillow. Other memory foam pillows might also be made with hypoallergenic properties.
Fewer headaches and migraines
Other than contributing to neck pain or back pain, you’ll also know you’re sleeping on a poor quality pillow if you continuously wake up with a headache. As Dr Doeuk specialises in the treatment of headaches and migraines, he strongly recommends a memory foam contour pillow that’s fitted for you.
“Having an incorrect pillow will and can cause sufferers to have headaches and migraines because the neck and head can be in poor alignment,” explains Dr Doeuk. “Usually, if a sufferer constantly wakes up with a headache or migraine, or whether their headaches are worse first thing in the morning, we often find it is due to a poor sleeping posture, or because of a pillow that is not fitted correctly.”
Why should you consider Ecosa’s ergonomic pillow?
Ecosa designed its ergonomic pillow with you in mind. The curved shape, adjustable height, and compressible foam make it the perfect 38cm x 56cm space to rest your head each night. An investment in an ergonomic pillow means an investment in better sleep. And a good night's sleep is the best gift you could give to your mind and body.