Last Updated On November 10th, 2018

Nobody wants a lousy, restless sleep and to spend their nights tossing and turning. A good night’s sleep can help you feel energetic and ready to tackle the tasks of the day, lower your stress, improve your mood, and even help control your weight. But, receiving adequate sleep can be a challenge. The pillow you choose can make a difference in your sleep each night. But, is a pillow necessary? Is it better to sleep without one each night? Let’s take a closer look at the question of “pillow or no pillow”, which will cover the benefits of sleeping without a pillow, and how to choose the right product if you insist on resting your head on one each night.

Health Benefits To Consider

Health benefits of sleeping without a pillow

When you wake up in the morning, do you ever experience a sore neck? What about a pounding headache? These are just a few signs of a restless night. Fortunately, many of these issues can be solved by sleeping firmly on the mattress without any head support. Here’s why.

It Will Help Extend Your Back

Are pillows bad for your neck? When you don’t use any additional head support each night, you allow your body to relax naturally. There is no added strain in your spine or neck area, allowing you to extend your back and fully stretch your muscles. When you use poor head support, it can cause your spine to curve unnaturally — particularly if you choose the wrong product. If you continue to place your body in this unnatural position, it can cause severe back pain.

Relieve Neck Pain

Do you feel sharp pain each time you turn your head, or your neck feels tight each morning? These are all signs that you are using improper neck support when you sleep. When sleeping without pillow posture, your body naturally searches for the best position to get an adequate rest throughout the night. You do not have any obstacles — such as pillows that are too soft or thick — forcing your neck into awkward positions that cause strain and pain.

Your Skin Will Look Young and Youthful

Sleeping without a pillow

Most pillows do very little for your skin. It can be one of the main culprits for the many blemishes covering your face. When you sleep on a pillow, your skin is pressed heavily against the fabric, preventing airflow to your skin. Additionally, it traps in moisture and bacteria, causing these unwanted blemishes to grow. When you sleep with no head support, your skin has less contact with any fabric or product that can cause sweat and grease to affect your skin.

Plus, the pressure of the cushion pressing against your face every night can, over time, lead to an increase in wrinkles. A cotton pillowcase is harsher on your skin and causes even more wrinkles on your face. If you must sleep with some form of head support, choose a soft material for your pillowcases such as silk or satin.

Less Stress

Sleep is critical if you want to maintain low stress levels. In fact, just one night of poor sleep can affect your judgment, mood, and memory. When you are severely sleep deprived, you are also at higher risk for health conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure. When you sleep without a pillow and your body finds its natural sleeping position, your quality of sleep is improved, meaning your stress levels decrease and your memory, mood, and judgment all improve. Your muscles will be better rested, and you will have more energy to tackle the tasks on your long to-do list.

What Is Your Ideal Sleep Position?

Sleeping positions (back, stomach, side)

Regardless of the health benefits offered, your preferred sleep position is going to make an impact on whether head support is ideal or if you should stay away.

Stomach Sleepers

To eliminate neck pain and added strain on these muscles, stomach sleepers should avoid any head support or choose very thin products. This is because the cushion will cause you to lift your head up and back, which forces it out of alignment with your spine.

Side Sleepers

Individuals who prefer to sleep on their sides should consider some form of head support. Side sleeping is known as the healthiest sleep position because it is easier to keep the spine in alignment, it prevents acid reflux, and even eliminates snoring and sleep apnea. But, without proper head support, the head falls, becoming out of alignment with the spine. With a proper cushion, the head can remain straight and in alignment with the spine, eliminating those dreaded aches and pains you may wake up with every day.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers should use a medium-firm to firm mattress each night. This level of firmness keeps the spine in alignment but still provides enough softness and contouring to relieve pressure on the joints and distribute weight. For back sleepers, a firmer mattress will keep your body on top of the bed and prevents sleeping in unnatural body positions, eliminating the need for any head support. However, if the mattress has some cushion, you want to consider a thinner head support option to keep the neck from tilting downward and causing strain to the neck muscles.

The Product You Choose Will Make a Difference

While there are certainly many health benefits of sleeping without a pillow, it can be difficult to decide whether or not you should sleep without pillows each night. Many individuals struggle taking away the comforts of head support. To help make the transition a little easier, it is imperative that you choose the right product.

If you must sleep with some padding, choosing the right pillow is critical, and not just any item will suffice. There are several things you should consider to ensure you truly receive the full benefits of the product and don’t wake up in stiff and sore. If you choose the wrong item, you are better to sleep without and let your body slowly adjust and find its natural sleeping position.

Things To Consider When Choosing the Right Pillow

A pile of pillows

As you look for proper head support, keep the following things in mind.

Thickness

The thickness of the cushion you choose should be heavily considered in each purchase. A pillow that is too thick, for example, will cause your head to tilt forward and your neck to come out of alignment with your spine. However, products that are too soft will provide little support and cause your neck muscles to strain as they try to find an ideal position, which can cause neck pain and even headaches and dizziness in the morning.

  • Stomach sleepers: You want a thin product to keep your spine aligned.
  • Back sleepers: Consider a thin cushion with little height.
  • Side sleepers: A thicker item that will provide enough support to your neck and your shoulders is ideal.

Fillings

If you must sleep with a pillow each night, you must consider the filling. The type of material inside the cushion will affect the support it provides.

  • Polyester: This is a common filling that offers adequate support and comes in all shapes and sizes. It is one of the most inexpensive types and least durable.
  • Memory Foam: If you need additional head support, many experts recommend memory foam. It adjusts to your body’s movements, making it easier for your body to adjust and realign. It is also designed to distribute weight, so you have less pressure on your body. However, for a high-quality product, your pocketbook will notice it.
  • Down or Feathers: This type of cushion is extremely soft and also shapes with your body. But, it can be bad for your skin because it retains much heat, causing you to sweat easily. It can flatten quickly, meaning it doesn’t provide the support that you are looking for.

So, Are Pillows Necessary?

The research certainly shows that sleeping without a pillow has many health benefits. It not only helps relieve many aches and pains in your neck and back, but it can relieve much stress and even keep your skin looking and feeling great as well. However, your preferred sleeping position should be heavily considered to help you decide is it bad to sleep without a pillow. You want to keep your body aligned throughout the night and allow your muscles the time to properly relax — not feel tight and cramped.

Plus, if you find that sleeping without a pillow is just too difficult at first, then you must choose the right product. This will make all the difference between a good night’s sleep and a lousy night with much tossing and turning. Overall, a pillow can undoubtedly make you feel comfortable and cozy each night, but if it is not needed, you may be hurting your quality of sleep without even knowing it. Try removing your head support, let your body find its natural sleeping position, and start counting those zzzzz’s.