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Is Sleeping without a Pillow Good or Bad for you?

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Sleeping without a pillow might just be the remedy you need for all your sleep troubles. While pillows are meant to offer support and increase our overall comfort as we sleep, other times they do just the opposite.

Poor sleep has been recognized as a major source of illnesses and pillows can help cause this problem. It’s paramount to have a correct sleeping posture and use or no use of pillow might affect this.

Which begs the question, when is sleeping with a pillow good or bad for you? That’s what we aim to find out in this article and we will do so by looking at important sleep factors that determine when it’s good or bad to sleep with a pillow.

When is sleeping without pillows good?

 1- When correcting posture:

If you are looking to improve your posture, napping without a pillow should be the way to go. 

When sleeping, it’s important to maintain the natural curve of the spine by ensuring proper alignment of the head, shoulder, and hips.

The spine’s top section also known as the cervical vertebrae needs to be aligned at all times. Sleeping on an overly soft pillow causes an awkward head position that can misalign the said vertebrae. This is detrimental to your overall sleep health.

Ditching your pillow, on the other hand, helps you avoid this problem forever. 

For those who cannot get a good night sleep without a pillow, you can opt for a firmer one which will support your posture especially if you sleep on your side.

 2- If you suffer neck pains:

 
 

The best way to eliminate pain around your neck is by sleeping without a pillow. 

The curvature of the spine region of the neck can be disrupted when sleeping on a pillow and thus causing immense neck and back pain.

For your wellbeing, you need a good mattress that aligns your back and neck perfectly as you sleep. Sleeping with a pillow is the opposite of this as it will affect the natural curvature of your spine. 

 3- If you are looking to keep your skin healthy and to slow aging:

 
 

You’re probably wondering what sleeping without pillows has to do with your skin and aging right? 

Well, one of the main causes of acne breakouts and wrinkles is sleeping on a pillow. This is mostly so for side and stomach sleepers.

Your skin produces sebum and excretes waste through sweat. All this, combined with dust particles are trapped between your skin and the pillowcase. This creates a good environment for the growth of bacteria. 

The bacteria go back to your face, neck, and all the surrounding areas causing an acne breakout. 

You can opt to wash your pillowcases regularly but can you wash the pillow? 

The weight of the head-crushing against the pillow also means that whichever side you sleep on most, will tend to wrinkle prematurely.

To avoid all this trouble, you can choose to sleep without pillows by adopting the back sleeping style. This will benefit your skin tremendously. 

 4- If you are a back sleeper:

 
 
 
 

Back sleeping is one of the best sleeping styles. This position ensures even distribution of the body’s weight along the back. It reduces pressure points and provides excellent alignment of the head, neck, and back.

Adding a pillow under your head while sleeping on your back causes an awkward raising of the head, disrupting the neck alignment.

Back sleepers should avoid using pillows under their head completely. If you are suffering from back pain, you can use a pillow under your knees for more support.

 5- If you are a stomach sleeper:

 
 
 
 

Deemed one of the worst sleeping styles, stomach sleeping is bad for you in more ways than one.  Apart from increasing the chances of snoring and bad digestion, stomach sleeping causes a poor sleep posture. This often leads to back and neck pains.

If you must sleep in this style, you are better of sleeping without the use of a pillow under your head. To alleviate back pains consider adding a thin pillow under your stomach or hips to help with your posture.

When is it necessary to sleep with a pillow?

1- If you are a side sleeper:

 
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If you are a side sleeper, you undoubtedly need a pillow. Your head and body need to be perfectly aligned.  A pillow helps bridge the gap between the head and the mattress.

Otherwise, your head will hang in an awkward way causing discomfort and at times severe headaches. 

Prolonged side sleeping without the use of a proper pillow can also cause cervical spondylosis, a serious neck condition that occurs from the wear and tear of your vertebrae. You can easily avoid this by using the right pillow and sleeping in a comfortable angle. 

 2- Certain Medical Conditions:

 

Certain medical conditions could demand that you sleep on a pillow, such as:

  • Acid Reflux

If you suffer from acid reflux or hyperacidity, then you need to sleep with a pillow.  Sleeping on your back can cause acid in your stomach to leak into the esophagus. This is prevented by sleeping on a special wedge pillow.

This pillow slightly raises your head, shoulders, and the torso area to offer support but also keep acid reflux at bay.

You are also advised to sleep on your left side as well as using this specific pillow as it offers great relief to your stomach.

  • Glaucoma

Glaucoma causes loss of eyesight by increasing pressure on your eyeball. Unfortunately, this pressure reaches its maximum when you are lying down. Keeping your head elevated helps minimize the effects of this disease. 

A pillow, therefore, goes a long way in preventing glaucoma or managing it if you already have it. 

 

 
 

Final Verdict

Sleeping without a pillow is a choice that one has to make after putting into consideration all of the above. 

You should weigh your options, by reconsidering your sleeping position plus the pros and cons. 

Check with your doctor if you suspect that you have a medical condition that may need you to use or not use a pillow. 

It’s also believed that sleeping without pillows makes people taller. How true this is, is yet to be confirmed.

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After years of not sleeping well and not finding the right guide for natural products online, she decided to do the research so others don’t suffer when buying a new mattress as she did. For the past 3 years, she studied everything about sleep and natural product to put the best natural mattress buying guide online.

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