When you look at your bed, you probably have a pillow (or several) on it. You likely sleep on at least one pillow too, but perhaps neck pain, headaches, or something else caused you to consider ditching the fluffy rectangle that supports your head as you drift into dreamland. Typically, sleeping without a pillow may not feel like an option, but since you’re in charge, you might choose to rest on a flat surface if you’re experiencing issues.
The whole point of using a pillow is to keep your spine in what Healthline calls a “neutral position.” Which simply means, your neck is in it’s natural position in line with your spine – not too high or too low. Sometimes, though, the pillow you’re sleeping on, might not work well for you. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, you should choose a pillow based on comfort and versatility. You should be able to change positions throughout the night and still maintain adequate positioning for your neck, keeping it, as they describe, “aligned with the chest and lower back.”
Maybe the pillow you use is too soft or too hard, too puffy, or too flat. Perhaps you’ve tried dozens of different types, and you still feel uncomfortable when you lay down for the day. Is ditching the pillow healthy, though? That depends on your sleeping position (via Medical News Today). You might sleep on your side, back, stomach, or some combination of the three, but not every sleep style is suitable to go without the type of support a pillow provides.
Here's what you need to know before ditching your pillow
No matter which position you sleep in, the goal should be to keep your body in it’s natural alignment (via University of Rochester Medical Center). If you sleep on your stomach, you may see a benefit by snoozing without using a pillow (via Medical News Today). If you use a fluffy pillow and sleep on your stomach, it could cause lower back pain and neck pain, which could go away if you decide to try sleeping without one. However, if you sleep on your side or back, getting rid of the support may end up causing more neck and back pain, doing more harm than good. It’s a good idea to take it slow and gradually reduce your head support during bedtime, Healthline advised.
If you happen to sleep comfortably without a pillow, you may also get some additional benefits. Sleeping without a pillow might help reduce wrinkles and other signs of premature benefits of aging, Medical News Today reported. However, uncomfortable neck and back pain is probably not a suitable trade. Instead, consider sleeping with a silk pillowcase which according to Good Housekeeping can not only prevent wrinkles and help keep skin hydrated, but it’s great for your hair, too!
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