In the September 2015 edition of Korean Journal of Spine, a study was completed to find out the effect of sleeping on different pillow heights and how that effects the neck and upper segments of the spine. 16 adults with no symptoms, aged 20-30 years were involved in the study. For any participant who had a history of injury or accident to the neck or upper back, cervicothoracic spine surgery or was treated for neck pain symptoms - they were not included in this study and excluded.
They tested 3 different pillow heights while the participant was sleeping on their backs. 1. flat (0 cm) pillow, 2. 10cm pillow and 3. 20cm pillows. This study was looking at the effects of three different pillow heights on the slope of the cervicothoracic spine segments when resting in the supine position (facing up). They measured 4 parameters to analyze how the spine position changed with respect to changing the pillow height.
This study found that to ensure a normal cervical lordosis while sleeping, the most proper pillow height is 10 cm.
, Korean J Spine. 2015 Sep;12(3):135-8. doi: 10.14245/kjs.2015.12.3.135. Epub 2015 Sep 30.
Additional Reading Resources:
- What does A normal cervical curvature look like on an x-ray
- Using a larger pillow for sleeping isn't always the best thing for your neck
- What is the best pillow for your symptoms?
- What to do for neck and shoulder pain.