Is It Better to Sleep With or Without a Pillow?

sleeping without a pillow

Here is one of those never-ending dilemmas – is it better to sleep with or without a pillow? As it seems, people cannot get to agree on this topic, and that’s fine because we are not all alike. The experts say that this is something you should experiment with, especially if you tend to wake up in the morning feeling pain or stiffness in your neck area. It may be that you are using the wrong type of a pillow, or that you should consider purchasing a new one, but it might be that you don’t need one at all.

There are certain advantages, but also disadvantages of spending the night without that fluffy head support, so it’s up to you to consider if it’s worth trying. But you should know that the position you like to sleep in is one of the most important things regarding this subject and that you should probably base your decision on that.

Benefits of Sleeping Without a Pillow

Absence of Neck and Back Pain

If you ever wonder how to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong, this may be the solution. It is proven that the absence of a pillow during the night’s rest may bring good things to your posture, especially to your neck and back. Sleeping on a too soft pillow can decrease the blood flow to your head and strain your neck while using a too hard pillow or a couple of them at the same time will lead to serious back pain since that position is unnatural to the body.

is it better to sleep with or without a pillow

You will Feel Well-Rested

If you refuse to use the pillow, your body will be forced to find the right position for rest, which is a good thing. When we use an improper pillow, our neck muscles easily strain because they work overtime instead of having time off. So, in this case, the absence of a pillow is better than using the wrong one.

Your Skin will Breathe

But these are not the only reasons you should consider to renounce this piece of sleep equipment. If you decide not to use a pillow anymore, your face will be so grateful. Your skin will finally be able to breathe, to have access to the air, and therefore you will prevent creating blackheads or collecting grease and oil on your face.

Should Side Sleepers Sleep Without a Pillow?

The answer is – absolutely not! Even though this position is considered to be the best possible for a person’s health, you need to use an adequate pillow so your body will be well aligned from top to bottom. No matter what type of pillow we are talking about and what level of firmness it possesses, whether it has the ability to contour your whole body or not, without a pillow, your head will wrench your neck downwards and out of alignment. And please don’t think about sleeping on your arm or shoulder because they will become numb very fast.


Should Back Sleepers Sleep Without a Pillow?

When back sleepers lie down, they need to fill the gaps that naturally form in the area of their lower back and the space between their neck and the mattress. The softer sleep surface, mostly the one with memory foam, will provide them with good support given it will contour well their body. Those are the best mattresses for back pain. But when it comes to their head and their neck, they won’t be in the right position, given they will be left without the proper alignment. This is the reason they also shouldn’t sleep without a pillow. The thin contouring one will do the work just fine.

Should Stomach Sleepers Sleep Without a Pillow?

If you are a stomach sleeper, you will definitely benefit the most from deciding to remove the pillows from your bed. Although experts say that this is the most unhealthy position you can spend the night in because that way your neck will spin to one side and won’t stay aligned with the rest of our body, it is proven that you will most likely stop snoring and experiencing sleep apnea. Sleeping without a pillow will remain your spine and the rest of the figure in one natural line, but you have to make sure to use the right mattress. The best beds for neck pain are those slightly firmer because they will prevent hips from sinking into the sleep surface.

is it healthy to sleep without a pillow

Disadvantages of Sleeping Without a Pillow

Bad Posture

Although sleeping on your stomach without a pillow will keep your body in the right aligned stage, your spine will still be in a bit unnatural position. This is based on the fact that most of your weight will be centered in the middle of your body. If you want to fix that, you can use a pillow and place it under your pelvis and your stomach. That way, you will decrease the pressure on your spine.

Possible Neck Pain

As we previously said, not everybody should sleep without a pillow, and this is something that mostly stomach sleepers should experiment with. But even if their body will be well aligned, their necks will be distorted on one side or another. If they remain in one position for a long period of time and then shift their head, they will probably experience some pain and stiffness because the neck muscles were relaxed and then suddenly contracted. 

Tips on How to Sleep Without a Pillow

You need to have in mind that this change from pillow to no pillow should be done gradually. It’s not recommended to immediately take this piece of bedding out of your room because you won’t feel comfortable enough sleeping without it. Use a folded towel first and then remove it when you feel ready. 

Don’t give up pillows entirely, use them to support other parts of your body, like the pelvis, stomach, lower back, knees, arms, etc. And remember that having the best mattress you can possibly afford is now an imperative. Purchase the one that will suit you the most based on preferences, but also the sleeping position you like to spend the night in.

kid sleeping without a pillow


Although there is not enough information based on proper specific research, sleep experts recommend removing the pillow in situations where you cannot get the right support from it. It is definitely the individual thing, so don’t push it. If your partner enjoys sleeping with nothing but mattress under them, that doesn’t mean you will too. There are some advantages, but also disadvantages when it comes to this subject, so the question – is it better to sleep without a pillow will remain unanswered. Because there is no right or wrong response to that. The only rule you need to follow, whether it’s about choosing the right mattress or the adequate pillow, is the one that suggests finding the most comfortable solution, the one that will make you have a good rest every day.


Is Sleeping Without a Pillow Good or Bad for Your Health? –