It’s always been an age old debate: what is the best way to get the healthiest and most beneficial sleep?
The answer to that is different for everyone. Most people think about the contrasts between sleeping on your back, side, or stomach, but a less thought-about factor is the pillow.
Nearly everyone sleeps with them under their heads, no questions asked, but are there benefits to sleeping without a pillow?
The answer to that is: yes, definitely.
Posture and day-to-day activities affect everyone differently and that means everyone has different needs when it comes to refreshing their bodies for the next day.
Just like people have preferences between firm or soft beds—heads, necks, shoulders, and backs also have their own preferences and needs when it comes to the ever important pillow.
Is is Better to Sleep Without a Pillow?
No Pillow is Always Better than a Wrong Pillow
Depending on how you sleep and what strain you put your joints in every day, it can really change your needs.
Some people sleep better with fluffy, feathery support. Some prefer the stability of foam. And others need the difference in elevation from a wedge to help reduce snoring and to breathe easier at night.
Every kind of pillow has a different effect on who’s using it, and to get the wrong kind could lead to uncomfortable or even potentially damaging repercussions.
Neck and back problems can be made worse when the bones don’t align properly. Sleeping on your back with too many pillows or pillows with too much fluff can push your chin down to your chest and mess up vertebrae going from your neck down your back.
Sleeping on your stomach with too much support under your head can bow your back awkwardly, and sleeping on either side with the wrong amount of pillow support can cause problems for your neck and shoulders.
A wrong pillow that doesn’t conform to your own sleeping needs will naturally cause more problems by trying to overcorrect issues that aren’t already there.
Sleeping Without a Pillow: The Natural Way
Newborns are rarely given pillows in their cribs while they sleep, and young children are known to nap just about anywhere, including a kindergarten classroom floor without pillows.
And that’s not a bad thing!
Without even thinking about it, it’s a way to start a child’s posture and alignment off strong right from the get go. Even as a person gets older, lying down flat on their back feels good because it’s stretching and bringing each part of your back to rest in a natural position that’s often used in yoga classes and other healthy exercises.
Frequent practice of lying flat on your back can even improve your posture and the feel in your spine as you stand and continue your daily activities.
There’s no better way to get into the habit than to assume that position every night.
As you rest, it lets gravity do its own work on your bones, joints, and muscles to help create a refreshed feeling come morning. It can be a bit uncomfortable at first.
Unlike when a lot of us were children, we’ve gotten pretty used to the comfort and support of a pillow under our heads. Perhaps that might turn it into an acquired habit, but it warrants a shot.
It’s even been suggested that sleeping without a pillow can reduce wrinkles in the face as you age, since you aren’t sleeping with your skin quite so squashed against a plushy surface.
This video goes into more detail about the health benefits of sleep without pillows:
Sleep Without a Pillow: The Cheaper Way
Even the best pillows available on the market need to be replaced regularly after months of use for the highest quality of sleep. That can be a pretty stable and recurring expense that might not even be necessary.
Replacing bedding is complicated, so having no pillow makes for one less thing to worry about.
Plus, if it turns out to be a solution that works out well for you and your body, it might even equal savings in unexpected massage and chiropractor bills later on.
So, is Sleeping Without a Pillow Bad?
No. It’s not.
But like with a lot of things, it really boils down to personal preference and what feels best in the long run for you.
Chances are, you’re already in the habit of using a pillow and can’t ever imagine trying things differently. It makes sense.
If you do try a few nights without it, the first few nights will definitely feel a little weird. With it being such an adjustment, it takes getting used to, but the longer you try it, the more you’ll be able to tell if the results are beneficial to you.
Have you tried sleeping without a pillow?