Sleeping without a pillow, good or bad habit?
While some people enjoy sleeping on big, feathery pillows, others find it uncomfortable, causing severe neck or back pain in the morning. There are some benefits to sleeping without a pillow, but not everyone can benefit from them.
Pillows are designed to keep the spine in a 'neutral' position. They separate the neck from the rest of the body, promoting good posture. As a result, a lot of research has focused on just the best type of pillow. Scientists have not extensively studied how sleeping without a pillow affects the spine.
However, those who usually sleep on the boat may benefit from removing the pillow. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, side sleeping places the spine in an unnatural position. This is because most of the body's weight is in the middle. This position strains the back and neck, making it difficult for the spine to maintain its natural curve.
Sleeping without a pillow can keep your head at the same height as the rest of your body. This can reduce stress on your neck and allow for better alignment. However, it must be said that this does not apply to other positions.
If you sleep on your back or side, sleeping without a pillow can do more harm than good. For example, depending on the type of mattress, if you sleep on your back, you may find that your head tends to tilt too far back without a pillow. Research from 2021 also found that pillows can be very helpful for side sleepers because they reduce pressure on the shoulders, hips and the rest of the body.
Better, in this case, to choose a very thin pillow, about 10 centimeters thick. Especially if you tend to snore at night, suffer from gastroesophageal reflux or sleep apnea.
Sleeping without a pillow can also keep allergies at bay, which can greatly affect the quality of your sleep.
From an aesthetic point of view, sleeping without a pillow can bring benefits. Especially for skin and hair. Some studies have found that the material of the surface you sleep on can actually affect the health of your hair. A cotton pillowcase—most commonly used for pillows—tends to absorb the natural oils from your scalp, which can make your hair wavy. In this case, if you want to sleep with a pillow, a silk pillowcase is preferable, as it does not absorb hair oils.
Additionally, sleeping with a pillow can pull on your skin, causing fine lines and wrinkles. You may have woken up in the morning with so-called "sleep wrinkles", caused by the friction of the skin with the folds of the pillowcase. In theory, sleeping without a pillow can help maintain youthful skin.
Another disadvantage associated with using a pillow while sleeping can be the appearance of acne. Sweat and dirt can collect on your pillowcase and transfer to your skin, causing breakouts. A problem that you would have even without a pillow if you sleep on your stomach or side.
As you can see, there are many variables to consider and there is no absolute best solution. So consider what your sleeping habits are and make the choice according to your needs.