How To Choose The Best Pillow For Your Sleeping Position

Anyone who’s been keeping up to the date with the latest studies on human performance and sleep knows that recent scientific data has shown is even more important than previously thought, with lack of sleep being linked to a whole plethora of increased risk such as increased risk of depression, obesity, fatigue, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke even high cholesterol. Equally as important as the quantity of your sleep however, is the quality of your sleep, constant poor quality sleep will also increase your risk factors for the above conditions.

A critical factor that determines the quality of our sleep is our sleeping position. Generally speaking, there are four main types of sleepers: back sleepers, side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and combination sleepers. The different body positioning of each type of sleeper means that they would have different spinal and neck support requirements. Similarly if you have neck issues, you should invest in a good pillow made to support the neck. This shredded memory foam neck pillow is one of the best pillows for people with painful necks. Check it out if you need one. As you will see, there are certain types of pillows that are better suited for each type of sleeper. In this article we will go over each type of sleeper and explain which type of pillow would suit them best and why.

Side Sleepers

sidesleeperThe most common of the lot, with some researchers estimating that as many as 69% of people are side sleepers. In the side sleeping position, the head rises highly above the bed, depending on the sleeper’s shoulder width and arm size. The ideal pillow would be able to provide support that maintains the natural curvature of the neck while keeping the spine aligned. Either memory foam or latex pillows are ideal pillows for side sleepers. Both memory foam and latex provide similar qualities; firm yet easily contours to the curvature of the sleeper’s spine; further these pillows generally do not flatten out over their lifetime unlike other types of pillows. Choose latex over memory foam if you want a slightly firmer and non-synthetic option. Also, if you find regular memory foam pillows to become too hot during the night, opt for shredded foam memory pillows (which allow for greater ventilation) or gel memory foam pillows.

Choose medium to high loft pillows (loft refers to the height of a pillow when it is laid flat on the bed). A recent study conducted by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found the most comfortable height was four inches off the mattress. Also, opt for firmer options as the support requirements for side sleepers are the highest.

Back Sleepers

The second most common sleeping position; back sleepers have unfortunately been linked to increased chances of snoring and sleep apnea due to the position putting direct weight on the throat, either via the tongue or from the rolls of fat on the neck (obese people have a much higher predisposition toward sleep apnea). If you are a persistent snorer or serious sleep apnea sufferer, yet can’t sleep comfortably unless you’re on your back, for whatever reason, try using several pillows to prop your upper body up to prevent throat compression. Back sleepers should use medium loft pillows with a medium level of firmness. Memory foam, latex, or synthetic fills are a good choice.

Stomach Sleepers

stomach sleeperYou want something that’s just enough to lift your face from making a drooling imprint in the mattress. Choose the lowest loft pillow possible, and just try not to suffocate yourself.

Combination Sleepers

Many people shift and turn throughout the night; the sleeping position you went to sleep in is not always the sleeping position you wake up in. Kids are known combination sleepers, and going as far as to roll off the bed is not an uncommon occurrence.  As a combination sleeper, what you are looking for is a pillow with maximum versatility that is able to shift its shape accordingly to whatever sleeping position you happen to find yourself in during the night.

As such, what you want is a medium firm and medium loft pillow that can be easily contoured just by your shifting body weight. The ideal pillow would be a memory foam pillow, that is basically what they were made for. A natural option would either be a latex pillow or buckwheat hull pillows. Buckwheat (no relation to wheat or any sort of grain) is a type of seed that is used to make buckwheat flour (it’s gluten-free so I’m sure you can find it at your local Whole Foods) while the hulls are processed for use in pillows. They are firm, easily contoured, and do not flatten throughout the night. However, they do make small rustling noises when a sleeper shifts positions so if you are a combination sleeper who is also a light sleeper, you may want to skip this one.

clean home

How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House

Apartment living brings a unique set of challenges, and common household pests are one such challenge. In fact, these pests can often prove to be even more of a problem compared to living in a house because you will have less control of the surrounding environment. For instance, you may be a neat freak but your neighbors are slobs. Or you have a crappy landlord who doesn’t maintain the place very well. Or you might not even have pets, but end up having fleas in your apartment because of your neighbors’ pets! And so on.

If you are dealing with a flea infestation in your apartment, whether you have pets or not, then this article is for you! Read on to find out how to get rid of your flea problem once and for all.

Reach for the Vacuum

vacuum carpetWhen you found out you had a flea problem, did you mind immediately race to flea bombs, sprays, and other pesticides? Well, before dousing your apartment in chemicals, the first step is to get yourself a powerful and high quality vacuum. This article on how to get rid of fleas in carpet recommends using the vacuum as the first step in removing fleas at home. Vacuuming is actually the most effective non-chemical tool in your war against fleas for several reasons. One, because fleas don’t really ‘hide’ in nests in your walls, cracks, or crevices like roaches, they are right out there in the open (although you may not be able to see them). And for obvious reasons, fleas are attracted to us, instead of running away when they see us.

Second, fleas are tiny, and vacuuming can easily suck them up. And not only that, vacuums are effective against ALL stages of the flea lifecycle: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults (did you know that adult fleas are only about 10% of the total flea population?). The most challenging stage of the flea to target is the pupal stage because the cocoon is waterproof and protects it from pesticides. However, not only can the vacuum suck these up as well, but even for those pupae it  misses, the vibrations from the vacuum can cause adult fleas to emerge prematurely, exposing them for elimination via other methods (or your next vacuuming run). And third, since fleas like to live in carpets, vacuuming raises the fibers in the carpets, making them more permeable to insecticides. As for frequency, we recommend that you vacuum your apartment every other day until the infestation is gone.

Hot Water Laundry

Depending on the severity of your infestation, you may want to launder everything that can be laundered in hot soapy water. If you have pets, laundering your pets bedding in this manner is a must, and if it’s really serious, you may have to dispose of it entirely. Do this step in conjunction with vacuuming.

Insecticides

When it comes to killing fleas, this is the best method. Generally insecticides come in two types: insecticidal solutions and insect growth regulators (“IGR”). Insecticidal solutions target adult fleas and eggs while IGR does not actually kill fleas but prevent larvae from maturing into adult fleas. Just so you know, flea larvae are not a threat to you or your pets as they are not bloodsuckers (yet), instead they subsist on what is colloquially known as ‘flea dirt’, which is the dried blood and feces of adult fleas.

insecticide sprayWhile it is possible to buy liquid insecticides and IGR separately, most products have them already premixed for convenience. Our top recommendation is to buy a flea spray, which contains both of these in aerosol form, which stick to surfaces better compared to liquid solutions and is of course, much more convenient. Use the flea spray after the vacuuming process.

While mostly harmless, you should be aware at all times that you are still dealing with potentially hazardous chemicals, particularly if you have small pets or children living with you. Pay close attention to the active ingredient of the pesticide you are using (ALWAYS read the labels) as some of them are only suited for certain types of animals. For example, flea sprays for dogs should NOT be used on cats as they likely contain pyrethrins which are toxic to felines (studies have shown a mortality rate of over 30%). If you are using flea sprays or dips on your pet (if any), make sure you treat your pet before treating your house as your pet is the main source of attraction for the fleas.

And finally, we do not recommend using flea bombs unless as a ‘final solution’. This is because flea bombs carry the most potential hazards to your health and your pet’s health. If you must use flea bombs, make sure you vacate the premises entirely first. Do not use flea bombs while you or your pets are still in the apartment.