If we start from the basis that it is during the hours of sleep when our body and mind regenerate, it is very easy to conclude that a good rest is of great importance to maintain our physical and mental well-being.

If you are one of those who do not get that restful sleep or, when you wake up, you wake up with a sore neck, the pillow may be the cause of your problem. One of the solutions could be to do without it, but is this a good decision?

In this post we talk about how and under what circumstances a pillow can favor or harm your rest.

What function does the pillow have?

The pillow is not just another complement to your rest, but rather fulfills an important function, since it is responsible for facilitating the correct alignment of the neck and back and keeping it straight during the hours of rest.

We must bear in mind that, by resting with the spine well aligned, we will be:

  • Avoiding excessive pressure on the cervicals
  • Promoting blood circulation
  • Contributing to improve the complete rest of the body

However, there are specific situations in which the use of the pillow can be counterproductive. Let’s see these cases!

When to sleep without a pillow

After reading the importance of the pillow, you will be able to deduce that (as a general rule) its use is widely recommended.

However, there are specific situations in which sleeping without a pillow has more benefits than drawbacks. For example:

  • For people with a body mass index greater than 25 and who sleep on their stomach on a medium or medium/high firmness mattress.
  • For people with wide backs who sleep on their backs on mattresses of medium firmness or with a high level of adaptability, that is, they sink into the mattress.

In both cases, the use of additional head support can lead to a spinal deviation that will strain the back and neck muscles. In the long term, this muscle tension can lead to tendinitis or, even worse, cervical injuries.

Should babies and children sleep without a pillow?

According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should always sleep on their backs, on a smooth surface and, to avoid the risk of suffocation, without a pillow or any other type of item such as stuffed animals, blankets and large sheets, crib bumpers…

Important It is not until they are approximately two years old when they will be able to start using this rest supplement in complete safety.

When it is not advisable to sleep without a pillow

Featured sleep without pillow_originalMuscles, small mobile bones, nerve connections and blood flow are concentrated in the neck, which can be affected by any type of pressure, so resting the head on the proper support during night rest is highly positive.

Therefore, except for the cases described above, the use of the pillow is widely recommended for the general population.

However, there are situations in which this recommendation becomes a necessity if you want to avoid future health problems:

  • People who move around a lot while they sleep need a head support that allows them to assume the correct position in each and every position they assume during the night.
  • People who sleep on their side should not do without a pillow, since this support is what will allow them to keep their head aligned with respect to the spine.
  • People who sleep on an inappropriate mattress (or need to renew it) can achieve better spinal alignment thanks to the use of pillows.
  • People with specific ailments should use a support with special features that help mitigate the damage they already suffer. For example, for those who suffer from cervical ailments, a cervical pillow can make a decisive contribution to improving their health and quality of sleep.

Type of pillow according to your sleeping position

Before choosing a pillow, it is important that you define the position in which you sleep. This resting element must adapt to the position you usually adopt:sleeping postures

  • Back: When sleeping in this position, a pillow that is too high or too low will cause neck pain and stiffness. Therefore, to maintain the natural curvature of the neck, it is advisable that it be medium thick and firm.
  • On the side: In this case, the pillow must be thick and very firm, since it is the only way to guarantee that the head is perfectly aligned with the spine and to prevent it from being tilted or resting on one’s shoulder.
  • Face down: This position is not recommended at all and, if possible, should be avoided so as not to damage the back. If, despite this, it is the position in which you fall asleep, the pillow must be very soft and narrow so that it can allow the natural turning of the head.
  • All postures: If you move a lot, the most advisable thing is a pillow of medium firmness that adapts to the different positions you adopt while you sleep.

What if we use more than one pillow?

In addition to using the pillow for your head, an extra pillow can help keep your spine in the correct position. Here’s where you can use the additional pillow depending on the position in which you rest:several pillows

  • If you sleep as a couple, the ideal is that each one has their own pillow. Generally, the physical and postural needs are not usually the same for both members of the couple.
  • If your posture is on your side and with your legs bent, placing a small, firm pillow between your knees will prevent your upper legs from pulling your spine out of alignment and will considerably reduce stress on your hips and lower back.
  • If you sleep on your back you can put a small pillow under your knees. In this way you will be able to maintain the natural curvature of the lower back and reduce stress on the spine.
  • In the case of sleeping on your stomach, the back can be stressed due to the spinal column losing its natural position. Placing a flat pillow on your abdomen and pelvic area helps keep your spine in better alignment.
  • A double pillow on the head is recommended if you have respiratory problems. It is also especially useful if you usually read or watch TV in bed.
  • Placing a pillow next to you is also an effective solution to generate a feeling of warmth and protection.

Conclusion: better with or without a pillow?

The answer to this question can be very ambiguous. Like almost everything in this life, there are many nuances that make the use of the pillow a very personal decision that depends on the particular needs of each person.

Advice For a correct body alignment during the hours of rest, you must know yourself, know what suits you well or badly. You can find out which pillow is perfect for you by trial and error.

However, our recommendation is that if you have any physiological problems or poor sleeping posture, see a health professional to help you make the best decision.