Get a good night's sleep

Reporter: Siobhan Gleeson

Australians have been warned that sleeping on the wrong pillow can be more than a pain in the neck - it can be a serious hazard to your health. Dr Andrew Lawrence – a chiropractor who has made a living from fixing the damage caused by bad pillows - said side effects included headaches and numb hands. "It can cause quite considerable damage if you sleep on the wrong pillow," Dr Lawrence said.

He claimed the only way to sleep was cushioned by an orthopaedic pillow that keeps your spine, neck and head in alignment.
"The right way to sleep is on your back or on your side, supported properly, so the neck is supported, has a nice curve in it and the skull falls into the valley," he said.The quest for the perfect nights sleep has become such big business, retail stores have sprung up which specialize in helping you find you your heavenly head rest.

Jeremy Goldin who runs such a store - called "Pillow Science" - said pillows were a lot like shoes.
They had to be the right size and the right fit to be comfortable and supportive while you snooze. "We look at a persons body size - what their shoulder width is - we look at what material they like, whether they prefer sleeping on something soft medium or firm, we look at position they tend to be sleeping in on their side or their back or their stomach," Jeremy said.

"The right pillow gives you a much deeper sleep less frequent waking."

But the cost of a good night's sleep doesn't always come cheap.
Pillow Science sells a range starting from $20 right up to $250.

The range includes the Somna Medica Contour Pillow was developed by NASA and is made of viscoelastic and is good for head and neck support. It retails for $129

The Medi Flow Waterbase Pillow has a water bladder sewn into the back of the pillow - the water moves with you as you sleep providing constant support. It costs $109.95.

The Sleep Right Pillow is shaped like a horseshoe and has four zones - a harder section cushions the neck and softer sections shapes around the face. It costs $69.95.

In addition, Denton manufacture an anti-snore pillow that is raised in the centre to ensure the snorer's head is in a position that keeps their breathing passages clear. It costs $73.50

Apart from investing in a brand new pillow - Jeremy said there were some easy things to do to help you get a better sleep.

"If your pillow is more than five years old - throw it away and get a new one," Jeremy said.

"If you sleep on your stomach - don't and if you sleep on more than one pillow, stop."
Some people who have made the investment were not looking back.

Vanessa Owens has been a flight attendant most of her working life, but it has taken 20 years in the job to realize her nights away were causing her more than just homesickness.

"Sometimes dizziness because my neck was out of alignment," Vanessa said.

Vanessa swapped her old favourite for an orthopaedic pillow.

"I have to say within days I noticed a difference with my neck," she said.

"I got a standard one for home and a travel one to take away with me."

Cliff Bastow thought back and neck pain was just a part of getting old, but the problem was not the retiree's age, but the age of his pillow.

Cliff decided to invest in a chiropractor approved pillow and said the results have been terrific.
"Initially it was difficult to get used to - 10 or 12 nights and a bit of adjustment to the spaghetti like straps that you use to adjust the density of the pillow - and once you become accustomed to it its beautiful, a really nice pillow," Cliff said.

Pillow Science is at 539 Whitehorse Road, Mitcham in Victoria NSW