Pillow isn’t a scientific item, but it can provide a scientific use in our lives and health. With the right support and comfort, it can be used to snooze on as well as prop up your neck or head while sleeping. However, many people still wake up with shoulder or neck pain and ask: Is it better to sleep without a pillow? There is no general answer for all people because it will depend on your sleeping position.
Advantages of sleeping without a pillow
While it’s totally a personal decision to sleep with or without a pillow, there are many medical studies proving that it can provide many benefits when sleeping without a pillow.
a. Spinal alignment
Without a pillow, we can sleep in a natural position, which can greatly support the spine. More importantly, it enables your spinal area to spread evenly along the natural curves of the body.
b. Facial benefit
Sleeping without a pillow might help reduce your wrinkles. This is because your face won’t be squished and pressed the pillow.
c. Sleep quality
Many people find it difficult to sleep on a pillow because it elevates their body to a high level. Also, choosing the wrong model with a firm surface can make you feel neck pain in the morning. WIthout a level, your body can stay in a normal position, thus ensuring a quality sleep.
d. Neck pain alleviation
Sleeping with a pillow can be the main source of shoulder and neck pain. Using the wrong pillow is an often overlooked source of neck problems.
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Sleeping position and the use of the pillow
1. Side sleepers
Side sleeping is often considered as the healthiest position. However, everything can go wrong without the support of a proper pillow. In other words, side sleepers need a combination of a comfortable mattress and pillow to align their spine in the right position, from their head to their head, while sleeping.
Without a supportive pillow, the weight of your head can wrench down your neck and make it out of alignment with the spine. Sleeping on your shoulder isn’t a good alternative because it might cause numbing sensations and undue pressure on the muscles of your shoulder and arm.
Thus, a side sleeper needs a thick pillow to bridge the gap between their shoulder and neck. As a result, it will keep your neck and head aligned and straight with the spine.
2. Back sleepers
When back sleepers sleep on a firm or innerspring mattress, there will be small gaps between the surface and their lower back or neck. A contouring or memory foam model can help you deal with this problem by allowing the hips to sink down deeper into the mattress. However, the gap between your neck and surface still exists. Having a relatively thick pillow below your head can eliminate this uncomfortable feeling.
Many doctors suggest that a back sleeper should fill these spaces with a contouring, thin pillow, which can keep your neck level with the spine. Rounded and cervical pillows are also good options as they can support the divots and neck to keep your head comfortable. To enhance the support, consider placing a small pillow under the lumbar spine or knees. This will help to relieve strain on your lower back.
3. Stomach sleepers
Stomach sleeping can be the only position that might benefit from sleeping without the support of a pillow. While it helps prevent sleep apnea and snoring, stomach sleeping can be unhealthy because it forces your head and neck out of the proper alignment with the spine.
It is advisable for stomach sleepers to sleep without a pillow or with a very thin one if you feel uncomfortable. This will keep your head on the same level as your spine and the mattress surface.
In overall, the decision over sleeping with or without a sleep will depend on your personal needs and preferences. The most important thing is that you should have a good combination of mattress and pillow to create a comfortable environment. We recommend using a cooling pillow for night sweats.
When it comes to the sleeping position, here is the general guideline:
- A side sleeper should use a thick pillow
- A back sleeper should sleep with a thin pillow
- A stomach sleeper can sleep without any pillow