You must have heard a friend say that he/she started sleeping without a pillow and feels much better. But the real question is, is it really a healthier choice to sleep without a pillow for the mind and the body? If so, what can be the benefits associated with it?
There are many speculations going on regarding sleeping without a pillow. A popular school of thought is that sleeping with no pillow helps your back extend and lets you sleep in a completely natural manner. Everything that’s natural means that it can’t possibly harm you in any way. Thus, natural sleep without a pillow is a sure way to wake up without any back or neck pain in most cases.
On the other hand, some people simply say no pillow sleep is something they cannot imagine. They believe they need support and pressure under their head and neck to feel relaxed. This school of thought may only be because of the body’s habit being developed that way.
Pillow or no pillow? Let’s dig down deeper.
Different Sleeping Positions – Who Can Sleep Without a Pillow?
The question thus arises whether or not to use a pillow for sleeping with your current sleeping position? We all have our favorite sleeping position but is the pillow really aiding to our sleep or just adding stress to sleep instead of relaxing the body? Let’s find out by exploring all sleeping habits people commonly have:
Side sleeping is considered the healthiest of sleeping positions. During this position, a pillow provides the necessary support to side sleepers to keep their spine straight from the hip right to the head. Sleeping without a pillow in such a position will result in the head sinking downward causing a complete misalignment in the spine. If you sleep on your shoulder, you put unnecessary stress on the shoulder muscles resulting in numbness and pain.
On the other hand, a side sleeper can simply use his hand as a support under his head and not use anything else. Instead of keeping a pillow underneath your head, you can have both your hands in a parallel position to ensure you are giving your head and neck sufficient support.
Mattresses these days provide all the necessary support for back sleepers to keep their spine aligned but the neck still requires a bit of support. The gap between the neck and the shoulders is still uncomfortable even with the memory foam technology.
Thin pillows are suggested for back sleepers because thick one add more pressure to the neck by tilting it forward, forcing the chin upon the chest. Pillows that provide adequate support to align the neck properly with the spine should be used if you sleep on your back. Cervical pillows and pillows with built-in neck support are also useful. Back sleepers can also benefit from a thin pillow under the knees and/or under the lumbar spine. This provides knee and spine support and releases stress from the soft tissues by relaxing them.
However, sleeping on your back without a pillow is also useful in a few cases. This is for people with back pain and for people who use contouring mattresses. Sleeping on back without a pillow helps the back stretch completely reducing back pain.
This is one of the most common ways people sleep, with their stomachs resting on the mattresses. Some of it’s advantages include having the ability to complete other tasks such as reading before sleeping. In such a position, more light falls on the book from the back. Stomach sleepers tend to use a soft pillow which is helpful in managing the stress on their neck or head.
If you think about it, this means you can actually sleep without a pillow to begin with. When sleeping on your stomach, you may end up not needing a soft pillow either. People who sleep on their stomach usually have their faces on one side of the bed. When they are facing left/right, they are in no position to keep something in between their head and the bed. The head’s temple and the neck’s side becomes sufficient that the head needs.
Are There Any Benefits to Sleeping Without a Pillow?
Our health is dependent on the amount of sleep we get every night. Frequently waking up at night may lead to health problems. The first priority must be to eliminate such things which are a disturbance in your sleep. Choosing to sleep with or without a pillow is the sleeper’s choice as to how it affects their health.
Sleeping without a pillow keeps your back and neck aligned. A pillow too soft can be a source of strain on your neck muscles and even decrease the blood flow towards your head. If the pillow’s support is not enough, the respiratory system may also be affected. These factors can be a source of headache in the morning.
Sleeping without a pillow can lead to slowing of wrinkle development on your face. You will also see how your hair remains fresher and dandruff-free if you have a bedspread under your head instead of a pillow. Furthermore, no pillow sleeping means there is no oil accumulation in the fabric or texture of your pillowcase. This eventually leads to no oil accumulation on your face and hence no outburst of acne. Some people have even gone to the extent of saying how sleeping without a pillow can lead to an improved memory because you feel more comfortable without constantly shifting between positions in your pillow. You also forego the disadvantage of choosing and finding the perfect pillow when you don’t even need it anymore.
However, sleeping with a pillow may be something some people cannot feel at rested with. Some people choose between thick or thin pillows depending on the length of their necks and the space they want in between their head and their beds. Choosing a soft pillow can also result in great comfort and hold to your head while you sleep at night. Your pain will be reduced and the stress levels will be alleviated. A proper sleep helps in keeping your face wrinkle-free and reduces dark spots on your skin. So it is a rather important to take a decision of whether you want to sleep with a pillow or not.
How to Start Sleeping Without Pillows?
Waking up with pain in your neck may be because of your disrupted sleeping pattern. You may wonder whether sleeping in absence of a pillow will help. Our facial skin won’t be pressed for a longer period of time which will result in lesser wrinkles without a pillow; so this is a motivation to begin sleeping without a pillow. The first thing you need to understand is your position to sleep.
Choose your sleeping position which suits you the best. If you’re facing problems, consult a specialist and find the most comfortable way you can lay on bed to fall asleep. Once you’re done choosing your position, you need to find a replacement to the pillow you’ve been sporting. You cannot simply stop using your pillow and expect your body to be adjusted automatically. You need to use a thick fabric which can become a temporary support instead of your pillow. You can then eventually start trying out different positions and get used to staying without a pillow.
The next step should be finding a suitable mattress for you. While your head is not getting a dedicated support system, you need to make sure your mattress is giving it the right support and curve your body needs. After you’ve selected your mattress, you can start your arm and bending sideways to give your head some support. Once you’ve started getting used to your arm being your support, you will eventually stop thinking about your missing pillow. And that is how you can start sleeping without a pillow.