Is it Good Or Bad To Sleep Without a Pillow?

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Have you ever tried tossing and turning in bed at night? Do you experience slight sleep interruptions from time to time? You may have been used to experiencing this for quite some time and may have unconsciously settled with the feeling of waking up the next morning feeling tired and restless.

In case you were wondering about the reason behind it, the truth is that it can be the effects of not paying attention to the smallest details when you sleep. The truth of the matter is, no matter how trivial these details are, it can heavily affect the quality and amount of sleep you get at night.

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While there are many factors that can lead to this, there is one factor that a lot of people have a lot in common – pillows. We all know that pillows are staple accessories when we sleep. Some people use it while some people don’t. But what is the truth behind it? Is it good to sleep without a pillow or is it bad? To be honest, this depends on the person himself.

Every person has unique conditions and preferences when they sleep. There are those who find sleeping with a pillow more beneficial to them while there are those who feel worse after waking up in the morning after sleeping on a pile of pillows.

To help you determine which group you belong to, we have prepared a couple of facts about the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with and without a pillow. Together, let’s find out if sleeping without a pillow is truly good for your night’s rest or not.

The Effects of Pillows in Your Sleep

The answer as to whether pillows are good for sleep would depend on your needs and how you use them. You may have been using your pillows wrong all your life and you may not even know it. Or you may have skipped its use and thereby couldn’t maximize the quality of your sleep.

The Good in Sleeping Without Pillows

Whether you believe it or not, sleeping without pillows also has its benefits. Let’s take a look at the good side of not using pillows when you sleep.

  • Eliminates Neck Pain

Have you ever woken up with your neck feeling stiff and sore the next morning? When you sleep on a pillow that is either too high or not positioned well, your neck gets pushed further upward or down. Prolonged periods of awkward neck positioning can cause neck stiffness and pain the next morning. When your neck is not aligned well with the rest of your entire body, you may end up with strained neck muscles and you put yourself at risk for nerve damage.

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  • Keeps You Looking Young

As surprising as it may be, not using pillows can actually keep you looking younger. The mind-blowing explanation for this is that when you constantly put your face in a rubbing motion or in constant pressure against the pillow for long hours in regular frequency, you increase the chances of wrinkle development. Meanwhile, since pillows are used every night and are not changed daily, it becomes a good breeding ground for bacteria. This then can cause acne or breakouts.

  • Optimize Good Bone Alignment

We all know that a bad posture can lead to several forms of pain and discomfort. While we consistently try to maintain a good posture when we are awake, it is important to put our body in perfect alignment during sleep too. In this way, you get to maintain proper alignment for your bones and improve blood circulation as you sleep.

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  • Put off Back Pain

A typical problem people complain about is back pain. Several factors can contribute to this but a bad posture is usually the main culprit. Those who use pillows at night usually wake up with mild to severe back pain. This is caused by pillow positioning that goes against the natural curvature of the spine. If you want to wake up without the unnecessary back pain, you can choose to lie down and sleep on a firm and comfortable bed without pillows.

  • Safety for Infants

Any parent would know that it is dangerous to have babies sleep with pillows. This is because babies tend to roll over from time to time while they are awake and more so when they are sleeping. Since babies have not yet developed the body strength to roll back up or turn on their own, placing a pillow beside them can be hazardous as it makes them prone to suffocation. Pillows may also end up falling on their faces and without proper supervision; this may lead to sudden infant death.

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The Bad in Sleeping Without Pillows

As you have read earlier, there are some advantages to not using pillows when you sleep. But it does not end here, there are actually some drawbacks to sleeping without pillows at night. Let us breeze through them one by one.

  • Worsening of Acid Reflux

For those who have problems with acid reflux, not using a pillow can aggravate the feeling of discomfort and constantly wake them up at night. Since lying down facilitates easier reflux of the acid from the stomach back to the food pipe, it is recommended to sleep with a pillow to prevent discomfort and heartburn.

  • Exacerbate Glaucoma

People who are suffering from glaucoma are recommended to use pillows when they sleep. This is because their condition is worsened by any kind of increase in intraocular pressure. When we speak of intraocular pressure, we are talking about the pressure that is applied on the optic nerve. Pillows can lessen the intraocular pressure during sleep or when lying down.

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  • Posture Impairment and Deterioration

For people who are asked to sleep in certain positions, not using a pillow can actually cause mild to severe pain and discomfort. This is because any type of position that disrupts the proper alignment of the body can lead to poor or impaired posture. Hence, it is recommended that pillows be used to support areas that usually form gaps from the bed. With proper support, the body’s alignment and posture can be maintained even in different positions like sleeping on the side and back.

  • Ineffective Airway Flow

The lungs are opened and better functioning when in a semi-fowler’s position. This is achieved by assuming your upper body into a 45 degree angle with the help of pillows. This is important to be maintained when a person has difficulty in breathing, especially when they are suffering from conditions that produce secretions in their lungs. Having pillows to support them and put them in proper position can spare them from troubles in breathing and feeling as if they are drowning in their own fluids.

  • Neck and Back Pain

Yes, you read it right. Sleeping without pillows can also cause neck and back pain and stiffness. If you are to sleep on your back or on your side, it is ideal to place pillows in areas under your neck and head, or in between your legs when on the side. This is better emphasized for those who have problems with the curvature of their neck and spine. Any lack of support in the back and neck can cause discomfort and future troubles.

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Evaluating the Effects of Pillows in Your Sleep

As you can see, the use of pillows can be used to your advantage. However, improper use of it can push you over the edge too. Looking at the good and the bad in sleeping without pillows will give you an idea on which path to take.

Will you sleep without a pillow tonight and the rest of the evenings? Or will you choose to do otherwise? The decision is up to you. Weigh the pros and cons then determine which of those apply to you. Every person has it different, so choose according to what’s best for you.


There are many things that make up a good sleep. Choosing the right pillows and knowing how to use them properly can be a plus. However, knowing whether using a pillow or ditching it is appropriate for you proves to be a better choice because you automatically take out all the unnecessary issues that may interfere with your sleep.

To help you make the right decision, start by observing and getting to know your body first. Figure out certain issues that you have been struggling with and determine whether sleeping without a pillow can help. It pays to ask professionals for expert advice, make sure to start there.

Read more if you still prefer to sleep with pillows:

Top 8 Rated Pillow For Shoulder Pain

Best Feather Pillows

Best Latex Pillows

Henry Carlson
Henry Carlson

Henry’s first job was in the furniture and mattress industry as a sales associate. From there, he moved up to merchandising specialist for several years and then became an assistant manager. Working in the industry gave him access to a lot of products and also helped him gain in-depth knowledge.

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