What Is the Best Pillow and Mattress For Me?

One of the most asked questions for Hump Day Conversations!

Last Week Tonight00:07-01:51
Why Are Pillows Such a Big Deal01:52-05:24
Love It or Dump It Pillows05:24-14:35
Sleeping Positions14:36-18:06
The Medium Firm Mattress Study22:08-23:32
Magnesium Recap23:33-26:48
Tying It All Together26:49-30:54

Last Week Tonight

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:07:03] All right, so I’m Dr. Ben Boudreaux and my partner here is Dr. Clayton Roach. This is Humpday conversation number 12. And tonight we’ll be talking about pillows, pillow talk.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:19:21] A little bit of pillow talk. All right. All right.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:24:10] So this is last week what we spoke about last week, tonight, adjustments, fight headaches, so we spoke about how the alignment of the vertebrae can really have an impact on the way that the nerves exit from those canals and they supply the muscles and also the innovation to the head. And so if you have improper alignment, it can cause those headaches and we call them cervicogenic headaches.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:51:20] Yeah. So one thing we touched on in past presentation as well, and we’ll kind of touch on it again tonight because it’s going to be important in terms of the pillow, this flat cervical spine. You never want to see this, guys, and you want to see a nice 40 to degree curve in through the neck area. So this 42-degree curve, what it does, it allows you to have proper spacing in between the vertebrae and what happens then. You have plenty of room for the nerves. And especially here when we talk about the nerves that supply the back of the head, as Ben said, huge link with headaches.

So we want to kind of debunk that last week and what the important was important, the important things were. And definitely taking a Tylenol to mask the pain definitely will not create a curb in your neck. Right. So you’ve got to be careful in terms of what you’re choosing to do and taking care of symptoms. And the last thing you want to do is really take care of symptoms. You want to take care of the cause of the problem. So let’s talk about this, Ben. Go ahead, buddy.

Why Are Pillows Such a Big Deal

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:01:56] Yeah. Why are pillows such a big deal? Everyone’s always wondering what’s the proper pillow? And, you know, I always wake up and I have this neck pain. Could it be my pillow? Yeah, it’s possible. It could definitely be your pillow. So why? It’s important. It’s to maintain that proper alignment of those vertebrae in your neck, also known as the cervical vertebrae, which you can see there. And to maintain that 40 to degree curve that we’re talking about, we look at the individual on the left side there, a perfect, beautiful 40 to degree curve. And we look to our friend on the right-hand side and he’s got very straight cervical vertebrae

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:02:36] I wanna point out guys to sorry Ben one thing that I’ll point out is that the vertebras are starting to look. Not square. Right, and in the spacing between here is also starting to narrow. Go ahead, Ben. Sorry about that buddy.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:02:48] Right. And still, a proper pillow can be able to actually fit the contour of the 42degree curve and help improve the curve while you’re sleeping, because as you’re resting your nest, your neck muscles should rest at night and recover from the strains of texting, computer work and other forward head positions, tasks we do during the day.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:03:10] Yeah, so I just want to talk a little bit about the circadian rhythm, so basically our body uses the night to recover and it does all kinds of metabolic functions and our body gets restored to somewhat a neutral set point in order for you to be able to begin the next day. And unfortunately, a lot of you who have come up to us and ask us questions, the reason you ask that question is that you probably feel that you wake up in the middle of the night or you wake up in the morning with what I called negative equity. And what that means is that you don’t feel like you’ve basically restored your body so that it’s ready to take on the next day.

I just want to get a show of hands here just by a thumbs up. How many do you feel that there could be some improvements made to the quality of your sleep? Just go ahead and give us a thumbs up on that to make sure that we’ve got the right topic for tonight. And I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of thumbs up. So what happens is there’s a lot of things that need to come into play in order. If you have a nice sleep, we’re going to talk about pillows and not just tonight, but other things that are basically, you know, very simple.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:04:13] But some of you might not be doing is the heat in the room. So body, it’s been shown that the body goes into a deeper sleep if the temperature is below 20 degrees. So, you know, we say about 17, 18 degrees. You want to make sure that the room is as dark as it can be. So many of you are going to sleep with some of these. Right. And basically, the electromagnetic frequencies that these devices emit and the blue light and everything. I never recommend using your cell phone as an alarm clock.

Try to avoid that. And that way you don’t have anything affecting your sleep and also try to calm down before you go to bed. So don’t watch CSI Dartmouth, you know, as a show before you go to bed, make sure you watch something that’s calming, that allows you to be able to prepare for that sleep. Sorry, I just had to do that. All right. So that was my tidbit on the circadian rhythms. So, you know, very important to go through that for the next for sure. All right.

Love It or Dump It Pillows

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:05:25] So this is a segment that I like to call Love It or dump it, the pillow edition. And so as you guys can see, we have a few different types of pillows on the screen here. And we’re going to go through each of those and talk about why they’re important, why you should keep them and why there are some that you could probably be kicked to the curb or use as a between-the-legs type pillow. So let’s start from the left top and then we’ll sort of zigzag our way down and across. Right on.

I’d like to first talk about the pillow that’s furthest to the left and top. It’s is actually a nice cervical pillow, you see how it has the centrepiece just for your head to lay in and then on either side, on the back and on the front is a slight bump. That’s where your neck is supposed to sit. And this is supposed to be a back sleeper’s pillow. And so it maintains that cervical lower doses that curve and your spine while you’re sleeping at night.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:06:30] So this is the bump right here.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:06:33] Yes, and that’s supposed to be helpful. That’s one of those pills that I would say love it because it’s not too soft and it’s not too firm. And so it’s not like you put your head on the pillow and your neck will sink directly to the bottom. It has a little bit of cushion there to maintain that circular or. So I love those.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:06:56] So basically, when you go back to this, you’ll see that the pillow, the curb, the pillow with that right in there. And then the hole would be where the skull is going to be, right? Yeah.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:07:10] The next fellow below it is very similar, it’s a wave pillow. And you can see it’s gray just below and it has a nice contour on it as well to suit the cervical spine. One of the things that I have to talk about is that these pillows are fairly rigid. And so you have to be able to decide if you’re ready for a rigid cervical pillow. Because if you have straightening of the spine, it’s confirmed an x-ray, you might not be ready for an extremely curved pillow at this point, similar to wearing orthotics. You wouldn’t want to start with a very high arch. You’d want to make your way up or make our way down. So you want to be able to work it in.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:07:51] And unfortunately, unless these people are getting chiropractic care and that’s working on the curve, they’re going to say, well, you know, two weeks, I’m still not used to it in three weeks. Unfortunately, you’re never going to get used to this one because you just don’t have a curve there. And this is all always going to feel like somebody’s poking in the back of the neck and the muscles by the end, midway through the night, they’re just getting tight. You’re going to wake up with pain.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:08:17] So definitely recommend both of these pillows, one of them for sure, should be supplemented with chiropractic care or chiropractic care, supplemented with the pela. Next, I’d like to go to the middle row top pillow. The top pillow in the middle row is our common down pillow or our feathered stuffed pillow. Unfortunately, and some of you may say, you know, I’ve been using a feather down pillow my entire life, it’s been great. I’d like to say from personal experience, they poke me in the face in the evening, they put me in the eye sometimes. And I was happy to see that the research said that they were too soft of a pillow. They do not provide enough next support.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:09:08] And even though, like, you know what, here’s one thing that why people might like this one temporarily and I’ve always noticed this is if they don’t have a curve in their neck, it allows the neck not to feel like it’s rigid being put on like a big roundness like this. But eventually it starts to hurt because you’ve got a straight neck that’s starting to sink into a mattress, a rosary, a pillow that’s not supporting you. So eventually, even the people that like this pillow temporarily start to hate it. And they are very expensive, by the way. Hey, Ben, we just had a question. What about the half-moon to a pillow made of memory foam? I’m trying to figure out the half tube. Half-moon.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:09:52] Half moon 2 pillow well. I’m going to look it up really quickly,

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:10:02] I like memory foam.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:10:04] We are just about to talk about memory foam, halfmoon memory foam.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:10:06] We’ll get back to that.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:10:13] OK, so I just saw it, so it looks like a half, it looks like a roller Dr. Roach that’s cut in half. That’s what it looks like, a roller cut in half now the pillow below the down pillow is actually the memory foam pillow. And so I’d like to talk about memory foam really quickly. As long as memory foam is rigid, I don’t have a problem with it. But not all memory foam is technically the same. Some memory foam and softer, some is more rigid. Yeah, but I wouldn’t recommend a memory foam pillow because of the reason that memory foam sinks into the type of structure that your body has.

It doesn’t try to correct structure. It only adapts to what your body lets it adapt to. And so if you have a straight and spine, your memory foam pillow is going to adapt into that straighten position. It won’t assume the 42-degree curve.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:11:05] So here’s a good analogy. It’s almost like going to a store and buying like the Dr. Sholes gel pad. They are not going to correct any metal elements in your foot. They may feel OK, but it’s not going to correct anything. The next thing I would say with the memory foam is depending on the type of curve in your neck. So you see the recurring theme here. We’re talking about a curve in your neck. If you’ve got a very, very straight no curve neck and sometimes even reverse, if you go to a hard memory foam pillow, it will really not feel any different than this one right here.

It’s just going to be too much and it’s going to start to poke into the neck where you don’t have a curve. So one of the keys to identifying a pillow that’s really going to work is knowing what kind of neck you have. And if you don’t have a great neck, then a pillow is not going to fix that neck. You’re going to need to get a fix. So I just want to. I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:12:01] Yeah, no. The next pillow I’d like to go to next and basically that’s our tidbit on memory foam is the Tempur-Pedic pillows. These Tempur-Pedic pillows are filled with polypropylene capsules and they also cooled down in the evening. We go back to the idea of sleeping better in a cool room. Everybody usually likes the cool side of the pillow. These polypropylene crystals that are inside of the pillows have been shown to show more support than are downed. And our fellow feather pillows and then your memory foam would be sort of the third off of that. Right. So they provide more than enough support for your neck to encourage a curve and then also have some fluidity in it as well so that you can actually rest into the proper position. Come sleep time. Yeah.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:12:24] And last but not least,

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:12:55] Last but actually least this is your flat and pillow, I would not recommend this for a side sleeper or a back sleeper. Possibly a stomach sleeper, but we try to discourage that so you can dump your flat and pillows

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:13:20] And again, you know, the only time I would apply as you said, would be for the stomach sleeper. But we highly do not recommend sleeping on your stomach. So we had a question here, Ben. We talked about the pillows and how often should you replace a pillow? I’m going to answer that and say, you know, aside from sanitary purposes, if you feel you need to dump the pillow, dump the pillow. But the moment that you feel or even if you want to bring it to your to our practice, that the pillow is not providing the support anymore is really what it comes down to. Right. Like it’s like changing a pair of shoes.

They don’t provide the support, but it also depends on how much mileage you put on your shoe as well, give or take wrong and sleep seven or eight hours a night. So the mileage is going to be the same. So we got to base it on support. Great question. Yeah. OK, well, good there, yep, how are you enjoying this so far to show us a few hearts here? Want to make sure that we’re hitting what you guys were looking for in this episode? What else We good there Ben? Yep, OK, cool.

Sleeping Positions

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:14:37] So what about the sleeping position? So people will say, you know, I’m a side sleeper, is there a better pillow for me or is there something that I should be doing that I’m not doing now? I’m a back sleeper. I’m a stomach sleeper. Or maybe you’re a which is kind of a cross between a side sleeper and a back sleeper. So what the research is saying is that if you’re a back sleeper, you should place a pillow under your knees to take some of the pressure off your back. They say not a large pillow.

And the pillow should fit just underneath your neck to fill that cervical curve, and so we just spoke about the proper pillow to use to fill that cervical curve. And they also say to put a small pillow on your knees to support that low back a little bit. So you can use wedge pillows for that cervical spine or that wave pillow that we talked about.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:15:29] Yeah, so one of the things that I always tell my patients and they’ll bring their mattresses in and their mattresses sorry, they’ll bring their pillow. Nobody’s ever brought a mattress to the practice or so anyway. They’ll bring their pillow in the way to tell if a pillow is good for you while you’re laying on your side is to basically line up the back of the skull. You guys remember in previous conversations, we’re talking about people using their cell phones that have been developing horns on the back of the neck.

So if you feel in the back of your head, there’s a bump that’s called the EOP, the external occipital protuberance. If you line that up with basically the spine at C seven, right at the bottom part of the neck, you’ll feel a bump. And then basically the middle part of your sacrum, your tailbone, all of that should be lined up horizontal parallel to the floor. So guess what? If your head is propped up, it is not going to be lined up. It means the pillow is too thick if your head is lower. So the bump on the back of your head is lower than the bottom part of your neck and your sacrum, then the pillow is too thin.

OK, so that’s one way. And you can do this with a partner, your spouse, whoever it is, and then you can line up those three points and you will see whether or not the pillow is where it should be. Now, one thing that comes into play with that is you can have a great pillow, but if you’re sinking into your mattress now, you’ve got an issue. So both have to work in conjunction. All right. Good to go to the next one, Ben

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:17:11] That’s a great point, I just have one less thing to say about a side sleeper. They say that if you are going to sleep on your side, make sure that everything is nice and aligned. As Dr. Roach said, put a pillow between your knees. It helps to align even more that sacrum up with that C7. So that’s something that they always encourage

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:17:30] And it will reduce people that wake up in the middle of the night with back pain a lot of times because their knees are touching. Right. And their pelvis starts to talk because they’re on their side. The knees come together. And now there’s it’s almost like you’re taking a rag and you’re twisting it and you’re talking the lower back. And if there are any preexisting problems with your back, and then you’re going to start to have problems. So you are going to wake up in the middle of the night or you’re going to wake up in the morning feeling like a stiff board. Right. So we got to be careful about that small pillow between your knees. Really, really good tip Ben. Yeah, OK, we were good to move on.


Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:18:08] So what about the mattress? All right, so there isn’t a lot of research out there to sort of suggest, you know, what type of mattress to get. But they’ll say they do say that a medium to firm mattress is best. So about a six to a seven on the firmness scale. Any any shot that you walk into a sleep country, wherever they sell mattresses, they’ll know what a firmness scale is. And so the type of mattress that gets the best sleeps and that’s the best for preventing low back pain and neck pain is a medium to firm mattress.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:18:48] So we’re assuming a 10 is like a piece of plywood.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:18:53] Yeah, we’re assuming that a piece of plywood, it’s what some it’s what its stomach sleepers should be sleeping on. Yeah.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:18:58] So back sleepers you said need. Are you going into that. Yeah.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:19:03] Yeah. So a back sleeper needs a solid medium to firm mattress and so they should aim for a score of a six to seven on the firm that scale. If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll need a slightly softer mattress and you should look for something in the five point five to six point five range, and if you’re a stomach sleeper, you should be sleeping on something tough as a board with a thin pillow that’s in the six point five to seven point five range.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:19:36] So side was

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:19:39] Side Sleeper’s is five point five to six point five. And our stomachs sleeper’s our six-point five to seven point five. Right on now, they talked a little bit about the type of mattress to avoid, so they say if you’re going for a spring mattress, make sure that it has a really thick cover on it. Because the actual springs in the mattress, if they’re poking through or even if the top cover isn’t, is very thin, they’ve been shown to actually cause more backaches than any other pillows.

And so you want to be able to look or any other mattress. And so you want to be able to look to see. Well, can I get a nice thick topper or a mattress that is coolant as well? And that provides that comfort as well as a mattress that you can try out for a few months if you like it and take it back, make sure that that you’re at a place where it has a good warranty.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:20:50] Yeah. And most of the places now are good for that. And don’t let you try the mattress. I think to some of them are three. You can bring it back three times. Right. And one thing I would say is I’m always cautious when people say, oh, you know, the memory foam. One of the things that I hear when people buy a memory foam is they’re very surprised as how hot they are. So what happens? You sink in to the mattress and it doesn’t have any room to dissipate the heat. And like we said, you know, we like to have the room less than 20 degrees. And that’s all fine and dandy if you do that.

But meanwhile, if you’re boiling underneath your mattress, it kind of defeats the purpose. So always be careful, not just the firmness, which obviously is important, but also the type of material making sure that is going to keep you cool. And I know they say that there’s a cooling gel and all that, but that is definitely a common complaint that I get. And nobody says that their memory foam has been really, really cool. So just be cautious of that and make sure that you’re getting the support that you need based on how you sleep and whether it’s a back or side or stomach. Unfortunately for you guys to sleep on your stomach, make sure that you follow the firmness scale that Ben shared with you. That was great information, but yeah. Anything else.

The Medium Firm Mattress Study

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:22:08] So I just want to talk about the study on the medium to long term mattresses. And so they actually compared people who slept on these medium to fur mattresses versus these firm and not so firm type mattresses, and they found that people who slept on the medium-term mattresses had better outcomes in pain. They had less pain on rising and they had less daily pain and disability compared to those who slept on the softer and firmer mattresses. And so if you’re experiencing back pain, you wake up in the morning with back pain. You’re not supplementing with chiropractic care. You consider switching over to a medium to a firm mattress. You will not regret it.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:22:56] And I will say the more the older you get, the less pliable the spine is. Unless you’re getting regular chiropractic care, the less likely you are to adapt to a soft mattress. Right, because then you’re going to start sinking and then the mobility is just not there. So definitely medium to firm, to begin with. Good guys show us, love, this is good information, this is probably I like this episode has been probably one of the best episodes because, again, it’s probably one of the most common questions that we get.

I’ll kind of touch base on this. Ben, last time we talked about magnesium and the magnesium that we have in her office as either the powder or the capsules, one of the reasons I like the powder is because it’s really, really absorbed quickly. So you need less of the MG less stuff than what you will need with the capsule. So, you know, in terms of cost-effectiveness, the powder is a phenomenal, phenomenal product. Now, why do you need magnesium? It’s a great muscle relaxer. It ties right into our conversation tonight in terms of the prep work you need to do in order to have a great night’s sleep.

Magnesium Recap

Dr. Clayton Roach: Magnesium, phenomenal relaxer also with some of our patients, phenomenal results with muscle cramping legs, all also its patient’s restless leg syndrome. We’ve seen good results with that. So we just want to plug magnesium. And magnesium is one of those supplements that right now in literature is saying that most people should be on magnesium. I don’t know if it’s because of the stress we’re under, but we definitely are seeing more people stressed and with neck pain and more people working from work.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:24:06] And it was funny, I saw the other day then there was like this picture of this lady on Facebook. She was on Zoom as a post. She was on Zoom. And in the back, you could see her child who was taped to the ground with masking tape and everything. So she didn’t interrupt the Zoom call. I laughed so much. So many of us have thought about that. But we never took a photograph of our daughter being taped to the ground, which I don’t necessarily do anyway. Anyway, it was funny.

We see a lot more of that. So definitely it’s almost like you eat more sugar, you get to brush your teeth a little more. If you’re stressed and you’re sitting a lot, then we need to combat that because it all has an effect on the muscles which attach to the spine which can toward the spine, into positions that we don’t necessarily want to create fixations and all that stuff that you guys are seeing us for, you can still get it from natural sources.

Here we list a few dark chocolates, avocados and then almonds, tofu, bananas, leafy greens. You can definitely get your magnesium from this, how much dark chocolate you need to eat in order to get the magnesium that you need, I probably don’t recommend it. Just be careful where you get it from your source. So definitely magnesium is going to be a good one when we’re talking about sleep. What else? I’m going to stop sharing. We need to go through the winner last week of the quieter, right?

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:26:08] Yeah. Yeah, the winner of the Cryoderm is up.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:26:11] So we did a draw of the people that shared our last episode. And again, we want to thank you for sharing that episode because we had over fifteen hundred views right now, so that was pretty cool. So the winner of the Cryoderm was Sylvia Larade. So you won the cryoderm was great because you can kind of put it anywhere you heard. Not your eyes, not your armpit. Don’t recommend the groin either. So keep it away from those areas. And it’s a great analgesic, a lot of natural stuff in there. So you don’t have to worry about any side effects as well. What else?

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:26:47] So just to just to tie everything together. So we talk about the forty two degree curve. What can we do to help maintain that forty two degree curve. And we’re so happy that you guys asked about pillows and mattresses because understanding that the pillows and mattresses are meant to help like a orthotic to help keep your cervical spine at that beautiful forty two degree curve and then you supplement them with chiropractic treatment. It brings your spine to a happier place so that it’s better able to adapt to the environmental components that you place upon it, which is your pillow.

Then we talk about how you can incorporate nutritional aspects into it so that your muscles can begin to calm down. We talk about magnesium and then you can have a better sleep, which then results in better healing. And that’s how you make a holistic chiropractic approach to taking care of your forty two degree curve.

Tying It All Together

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:27:45] Great point Ben. And cut caffeine after four PM. All right. If you have any trouble sleeping, got that caffeine after four p.m. All right. So, guys, we’re going to ask you to do your duty and share this episode. Many people probably need this information because I know we get I get two to three questions a week on mattresses and pillows. So if you feel compelled to help others, click the share button, make sure that if you miss your episode, this episode, if you’re watching now, you can watch the full episode on YouTube as well. So you can subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Kathy, do you take magnesium just before bed, then, if your magnesium depleted, if you’re depleted, if you take magnesium right before you go to bed, it can actually have the reverse action and can actually excite you. So I would take it two to three hours prior. OK, so just make sure that you’re doing that. What else? I think we’re good Ben.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:28:41] Yeah, we’re good. I just want to say one last thing. Thank you guys so much. We’ve had people actually call into the clinic and ask us for topics for Humpday. Can you do this topic? Can you do that topic? And so we’re having an easier time picking our topics for next week. I think we already have one lined up that you guys are going to be really interested in. And it will encompass a lot of the things that we already spoke about and maybe some new stuff, too. So I look forward to that.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:29:08] leave your comments in the section, in the Facebook comment section, what kind of topics you want us to talk about, because for us it makes it a lot easier. And also it’s content that’s pertinent to what you guys want. Right? So that’s what we want to do. So I think we’re done again. Just a sincere thank you. Go ahead and share this episode. Please get this out there. Get people better. Life is too short to be in pain. And there are many little things that we talked about tonight is the little things done every day to make a big difference.

We always overestimate what we can do in a short period of time, but we underestimate what we can do in a long period of time. Having a good mattress. It’s a long-term project, but you’re going to benefit from that big, nice pillow. You’re going to benefit from that and everything we talked about tonight.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:29:55] Absolutely, and I think that’s the number one thing is staying committed to the things that you guys want to do because you guys are worth that. You guys create the reality. You guys create health for yourselves. We just give you guys the tools and you guys build it right. I’m going to drop the cowardly link in the actual comment section. And so when you guys share these posts, your friends and family, whoever it is that you want to see, can see the county link and they can book in themselves.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:30:27] Yeah, OK, again, Thank you so much. And we’ll finish here next week, Wednesday. Same channel, Facebook, Live Channel, nine o’clock. All right, so thank you, guys. Hope everybody is doing well. And if you have any questions, reach out. You know how to get a hold of us. And we will touch base next week and hope to see you in the clinic. Love you. Appreciate you. Take care, guys.