Last updated: September 2022
Disclaimer: I still wake up frequently and commonly experience pain and stiffness in the morning. The pillow placements I talk about below provide additional comfort but do not alleviate all my symptoms completely.
Lately, I’ve had trouble sleeping. I’m trying to lower my prednisone (corticosteroid) dose, so I’ve been experiencing more swelling and stiffness. Additionally, I have become severely anemic, and any time I lay down, my extremities go numb. These issues together equal an unpleasant night.
Good sleep hygiene, great mattress support, but poor sleep
I turn off my devices at least 30 minutes before I want to sleep, only use yellow light at night, and stagger my caffeine. Sleep hygiene, check! When I moved, I bought a wonderful mattress which was a game-changer. Good support, check!
So, what else could I do? I am no stranger to sleeping pills, but I do not want to take one in the middle of the night (like 2 or 3 am). What else? I remembered a great article from Tamara on pillow placement. If you’ve been in this community for a while, you may know it is one of my favorite articles to share. I gave it a once over and began a journey for new pillow configurations.
My favorite pillows
I have a variety of pillows, but I will name the most important ones to me.
Memory foam pillows
The first pillow is a cooling, stiff, memory foam pillow that conforms to my neck and head. This one stays behind my head most of the night. I have 2 husk pillows that have some weight to them. They are also very malleable and mold to my body. The last 2 are your average down feather pillows and nothing special. The husk pillows are my all-stars, and the down pillows are their support.
I bought the husk pillows to help me with my sinus infections. I sleep with one over my eyes. It applies pressure to my eyes, sinuses, and forehead and acts as an eye mask against the light. Lately, I switched their purpose to act more as a weighted blanket. I feel the most relief when one is across my chest/shoulders and the other over my ankles or knees. Oddly, they don’t worsen the numbness, and often I don’t get any numbness with these placements.
I use the down feather pillows for any stray joint that needs extra support. I usually place them below my hands so my fingers can rest comfortably or under my ankles/knees. They create a supportive nest for my joint without adding height or pressure. I will also “hug” it with my hand to ensure a natural position for my wrists and fingers.
Pillow placement is an art
I do not keep the same pillow configuration when I move to my side. Often, one husk pillow goes between my knees to keep them straight, and the other stays over my ankles. I may also place the down pillow under my hip and knees that are against the bed for some support.
The issue with these suggestions is that they change from night to night and hour to hour. Pillow placement is an art I am still mastering, but it does help! I am down to try anything that will make my sleep more comfortable.
Do you have specific pillow placements that you like? LMK some of your tips in the comments!
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