Category: Sleep products

finding the right pillow

Finding the Right Pillow for You

Poor sleep is one of the topics that people complain about more than just about any other health issue. Who hasn’t heard their co-workers gripe about how they didn’t sleep well or didn’t get enough sleep? Sleep is truly a big deal…in all of our lives.

So it makes sense to do something about the part of sleep that you can easily control: finding the right pillow.

Our patients have enjoyed the benefits of quality sleep and comfort with our Pillowise Pillows. We get such incredible feedback that I thought I’d share the entire story of how we came to offer this sleep-changing pillow.


Discovering Pillowise

For the past 17 of the 22 years I’ve been in private practice, I have set up and run all of our chiropractic conventions for the Maryland Chiropractic Association.  About three years ago, one of my best friends from chiropractic school, Dr. Kevin Wong, was coming to speak to our association.

In the lead-up to the convention, Dr. Wong kept talking about this person named Thijs van der Hilst from the Netherlands who had an ergonomic sleep product company called Pillowise. Dr. Wong inquired if van der Hilst could come from the Netherlands to be a vendor over the weekend at our convention. It struck me as odd that this business person would want to travel all the way from the Netherlands just to meet the doctors in our tiny little association, but I agreed.

After spending the weekend getting to know van der Hilst and his products, I realized that he had something very different and far superior to any pillow I’d seen on the market. I also realized how passionate he is about his purpose in helping others to have quality sleep (a passion I actually share). I quickly fell in love with the Pillowise pillows…and knew I wanted to find a way to offer them to my patients.

After seeing people touch and test out the pillows at our convention, I knew that to offer them, we’d need to do more than link to a website. We’d have to physically have them in the office for patients to experience themselves.


The Pillowise Approach

We started carrying Pillowise and with van der Hilst’s training, I learned how to measure patients correctly and recommend the best pillow. An appropriate pillow, one that is the correct height and shape, will adapt to the contours of your neck, is comfortably soft and gives great support. So to determine your perfect pillow match, you need to get measured. Patients get to lay on them during the fitting process.

Fitting the pillow involves three distinct measurements along with a series of questions about your sleephabits and environment. Many ergonomic pillows come in different sizes but these types of specific measurements, along with the questions, are unique to Pillowise. Most custom pillow products offer a few sizes while Pillowise has six! The Pillowise system yields the perfect pillow fitted to your dimensions, with optimal support to the cervical spine and head.


RELATED: How to Improve the Quality of Your Sleep – Part One


The perfect pillow “fit” allows muscles to relax during sleep. I’m thrilled that the Pillowise products are 100 percent Oekotex certified – the highest certification you can get for non-toxic materials. And finally, the company makes sure you are completely satisfied with your pillow investment. Every pillow has a 100%, 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as a five-year warranty. If you don’t love your Pillowise pillow, just bring it back and receive a full refund.


Our patients’ response

Well, our patients have gone crazy over Pillowise! They love getting to touch and feel the pillows before making their purchase. My mother purchased one and shared that she hasn’t had neck pain from sleeping even once since she started using her Pillowise pillow. Feedback across the board has been outstanding.

We had so many patients in the office getting fitted for pillows that my staff became experts at fitting and now do it with great ease. And we continued to get to see van der Hilst, as he started coming to all of our conventions twice a year. His booth would get so busy with doctors trying to learn about his pillows, that my employee Tiffany once jumped right in and started showing other doctors how to fit the pillows and explaining how they work! Tiffany was such a natural that Pillowise hired and trained her to be van der Hilst’s US liaison. So we have our very own Pillowise representative and expert….working right in the office!

Now the company has expanded the product line to include custom-fit travel pillows and mattress toppers.

Pillowise is such a wise investment – considering you’ll be using this product every single night! And your sleep is so valuable to your overall health. Pillows start at $99 – very typical for custom pillows – and we want to give you a special offer to encourage you to try Pillowise.

From now through October 31, save $10 off the regular or travel Pillowise pillow.

If you’re not sure, please make time to stop by and see what all the fuss is about! We’ll be happy to talk with you about the pillows and let you check them out. If you decide it’s for you, we can get you fitted – and you’ll be on your way to a better night’s sleep.


Dr. Sharman



get quality sleep

What to avoid and embrace to get quality sleep – part two

Last month, we established some strategies for comfort, part one of our sleep series. How else can we create good quality sleep?

Much of sleep quality comes down to do’s and don’ts – basically, what you should avoid and what you should embrace. And while many are small and seemingly insignificant, my recommendations can individually and cumulatively have a large impact on how well you sleep.


What you should avoid

For starters, think about what you are eating and drinking before bedtime. No large meals or foods that cause indigestion too close to bedtime. Research suggests avoiding caffeine, alcohol or other sleep interfering chemicals at least four hours before bedtime. Chemicals to avoid include:

  • Antihistamines – can cause daytime drowsiness
  • Nicotine – can cause insomnia and result in light sleeping
  • Beta blockers – often cause decreases in the amount of REM and slow-wave sleep*
  • Alpha blockers – may increase daytime sleepiness*
  • Antidepressants – can promote insomnia

*Speak with your prescribing physician about how the timing of these medications may impact your sleep.

Long and late afternoon napping can also impact your sleep quality. Studies show that a 10 to 30 minute power nap during the day can have positive affects but anything longer than that can interfere with your sleep cycle. If you must nap to get through your day due to health problems, take your nap early in the day.

As hard as it may be in this day and age of smart phones, avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. Electronics reduce melatonin and keep the brain alert. This also includes readers, tablets and even television.

Believe it or not your water intake can impact your sleep quality. Don’t be so busy during the day that you fail to drink enough water causing you to “catch up” with water at night. This may create the urge to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Balance out your water intake throughout the day instead.

Finally, avoid being a “clock watcher” if you are struggling to fall asleep. This will just cause stress and anxiety. Instead, try to find a comfortable position and focus on how lovely it is to rest your body and mind through relaxation, even if it isn’t sleep. That in itself will help you to stop stressing enough to relax and fall asleep.


What you should embrace

Especially if you are someone who regularly struggles with falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night, you’ll want to consider embracing some behaviors and rituals to promote better sleep.

Remember last month how I talked about having the right bed and mattress? That’s’ a part of creating a soothing and relaxing sleep environment. Go out of your way to create such an environment. Start by allowing your room to be dark, quiet and cool. I think investing in bedding that is super-comfortable is well worth the extra expense.

get quality sleepI also believe that a pre-sleep routine is very helpful. My personal favorite includes taking a nice warm Epsom salt bath with essential oils. Other ideas include reading before bed, doing relaxation exercises or rubbing on some essential oils. You can read more about essential oils for sleep. One company that makes a quality essential oil product is doTERRA (I actually have a doTERRA account, so you can purchase yours from us if you like).

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is also a huge benefit. People often make the mistake of staying up past the time they are naturally tired. In these cases, people often get a second wind due to adrenal imbalances and then they cannot shut off their mind when they have stayed up too late and truly need to go to bed. Some people enjoy a guided meditation for sleep or even biofeedback devices to relax in preparation for sleep.


What to do if you still struggle

If you try everything I’ve already mentioned and still struggle, there are some safe, natural products you can use for sleep – and we sell many of them in our office.

Lunora This product contains melatonin, a natural hormone that helps usher the onset of the body’s natural circadian sleep cycle and valerian root, a plant based herb known to assist in sleep.

Vasayo Microlife Sleep Micromyst This is a product that has a unique delivery system for its ingredients. It is a spray that is used in the mouth. Vasayo uses liposome technology which are like spheres or bubbles that surround nutrients. This helps the ingredients get through the digestive system intact for better absorption and use by the body. The key ingredient is

Melatonin, a natural hormone that helps usher the onset of the body’s natural circadian sleep cycle.

How do you choose between natural sleep products? We often start with Lunora as it is a very simple product with just two ingredients and is priced very affordably. That usually does the trick. However, if that doesn’t work, we stop the Lunora and move on to the Vasayo product which is a bit more expensive.

Some other options include:

GABA This supplement is a neurotransmitter that inhibits nerve activity in the brain, allowing it to slowly relax and support the normal sleep cycle.

NAC This supplement is an amino acid that decreases other compounds that stimulate the brain.

Vitamins B2 and B6 Finally, these vitamins help support normal neurotransmitter and hormone function.

I’m hopeful that with some of these recommendations you start to get the quality sleep that you deserve!

Dr. Sharman