Your general health can be closely linked to the quality and amount of sleep you get at night.
If you often wake during the night because you’re uncomfortable, this can disrupt the vital sleep stages that your body requires to function properly. This means that your number one priority is removing any disruptions or anything that doesn’t directly support your sleep.
Two significant factors that directly relate to the quality of our sleep are our pillow and mattress choices. While many people take a good amount of time to choose the mattress that’s right for them, these same people may just pick a pillow because of availability and convenience.
However, this could lead to issues like back and neck strain, leading you to the question: is it better to sleep with no pillow completely?
Your Sleep Position
In order to answer this question accurately, you need to know what type of positions you sleep in at night. This is because the solution isn’t just a simple no or yes – your sleep position will tell you what type of mattress and pillow you need to be using for a good night’s sleep.
One of the most crucial things you must consider is your body’s sleeping posture and how this affects the alignment of your spine. Because your spine protects your nervous system, comprising it through straining of soft tissue and misalignment can lead to permanent damage which may include chronic pain.
This may inevitably lead to poor sleep.
Which Sleep Position Needs a Pillow?
If you feel that your pillow is causing you discomfort and a restless sleep, don’t be so quick to discard it altogether.
If you’re a back or side sleeper, you may still need a pillow to help keep your back aligned correctly and your neck supported.
If you sleep regularly in either of these positions and wake with a sore back or neck, then it’s important to do your research and find a pillow that’s going to support this part of your body.
If you sleep on your back, this will support the spine better than if you sleep on your side or any other position.
Most mattress, except for an incredibly cushiony one, will support your spine for a comfortable sleep as it will allow it to fall into its natural position without compromising any of the surrounding soft tissue.
Your head should be kept at the same level as your shoulders, and your cervical spine should be supported gently by a neck pillow that can replace the space between your shoulders and head.
For back sleepers, you need a thinner pillow that’s focused on contouring to your shape. If your pillow is too thin or too soft, your head may end up settling too far back, while thicker pillows will have your head sitting too far forward. This will place an unwanted strain on your neck and lower back.
While sleeping on one side is considered healthy, it is only so if you have a pillow and a mattress that supports your body so that your spine is able to keep straight as it would be naturally.
Unlike sleeping on your back which supports the natural positioning of your spine, side sleepers need to sleep on a surface that’s going to contour to their body’s natural shape. It needs to give into the natural pressure of your body to keep the spine nice and elongated.
Gusseted, thicker and extra supportive pillows are often the best pillows for sleeping on your side. This is because it’s better to keep your head level with your shoulders and fill up the large space caused by your elevated head. This properly supports the rest of your neck and the soft tissues.
Which Sleep Position is Best Supported Without a Pillow?
If you’ve ever wondered what kind of sleep you’d get if you threw away your pillow, you may be on track to a better night’s sleep – if you are a back sleeper or a stomach sleeper.
These positions can place a strain on your lower back due to inconsistencies or the cervical alignment. This is most often due to your mattress choice, health reasons or even injury.
Supporting your spine in a way that helps to elongate and stretch it out can encourage you to lie in a much more natural position.
Lots of stomach sleepers find it hard to get comfortable without the support of a pillow. However, the problem with using a pillow if you’re a stomach sleeper is that it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll always be compromising your spine to some degree.
This is due to having to always turn your head one way or another. Interestingly, this is actually one of the worst ways to sleep. However, you can hardly control the position you sleep in. This means that you need to consider what’s best for supporting your body.
If you’re a stomach sleeper and still need a pillow for comfort, you need to use an extremely thin and soft pillow that positions your head as level to the mattress as possible. If you can sleep on your stomach without using a pillow, it’s recommended.
Placing your head directly onto your mattress can actually assist with straightening your spine out. This takes the pressure off your shoulders, neck and lower back.
If you’re a back sleeper, you may also benefit from not using a pillow. This isn’t just a personal preference thing – it also depends on how your body is built.
f you’ve got broad shoulders, you may find sleeping on your back without a pillow uncomfortable. This is when a thin, soft pillow is a good option.
However, sleeping without a pillow on your back has also proven to be comfortable for many back sleepers, especially those who suffer from back pain. This is because it helps to stretch the spine and release any tension.
This is even more true if you have a nice, firm mattress.
Other Ways to Use a Pillow
Even if you know that it’s a good idea to throw out your pillow, you need to think about different ways that your pillow can be a support to you.
When you are a back sleeper, you can use a soft, cushiony pillow to help support the natural curve of your back, which is located just above your hips. This can help to relieve any muscle tension and help your soft tissues to relax.
You can expect the same results from putting a pillow beneath your hips when you sleep on your belly.
If you are thinking about throwing out your pillow so that you can be more comfortable, you may want to first think about the position you sleep in and determine whether it’s better without a pillow or not.
If you sleep on your side, you should always have some kind of neck and head support. However, if you sleep on your back, you may be able to choose whether you sleep without a pillow or not, depending on personal preferences and your body type.
If you sleep on your stomach, it’s highly recommended that you sleep without the support of a pillow. This is so your spine can get the support it needs to keep it aligned. However, you may want to think about using your pillow for support elsewhere, like your lumbar area or hips.