Almost everyone sleeps with at least one pillow. There are countless types of pillows with different sizes, shapes, and styles, and you can even find specialty pillows that help with various disorders and conditions.
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However, most people have never considered sleeping without a pillow.
Although it’s not for everyone, many people who have tried not using a pillow have found that it can be very beneficial. Here are four reasons you may want to try getting rid of your pillow:
1. You have back or neck pain.
Sleeping with a pillow can displace part of your spine and neck, especially if the pillow is very thick or if you use multiple pillows. Having your spine misaligned for hours every night can eventually lead to serious back and neck pain. Sleeping without pillows allows your spine and neck to extend in their natural position.
If you have pain and can’t figure out the cause or can’t find a solution that works, getting rid of your pillow may be a good option. Your sleeping position may actually be responsible for the discomfort.
2. You don’t feel well-rested.
Many people complain about having difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or not feeling well-rested in the morning. Excessive tiredness during the day can cause headaches, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and a variety of other symptoms.
There are lots of causes of poor sleep quality, but one might be your sleeping position. Your neck and back may be straining because of your pillow, which keeps your muscles engaged all night. This leads to excessive tiredness and pain. Removing your pillow can let your body relax into its natural position, allowing your to get better quality sleep.
3. You want to reduce or prevent wrinkles and improve your skin.
Sleeping with your face pressed against a pillow can cause wrinkles. The pressure against the collagen can cause it to break down, reducing your skin’s elasticity. Sleeping without any pillows reduces the amount of pressure you put on your face, preventing wrinkles.
Removing your pillow also can reduce acne, especially if you usually sleep with your face pressed against your pillow. Dust, dirt, and oil can accumulate on your pillow and can transfer to your face while you sleep. If you’re trying to get rid of acne, sleeping without your pillow could prevent your pores from getting clogged by grease and oil.
4. You’re stressed and you don’t know why.
Sleeping with a pillow can put physical stress on your body because your spine and back have to strain to accommodate it. This physical stress combined with the effects of poor sleep quality can lead to intense mental stress. If you feel stressed out all the time for no apparent reason, it may be caused by your sleeping habits. Removing your pillow is an easy way to try to relieve stress.
How to Adjust to Sleeping Without a Pillow
If you think you’ll benefit from sleeping without a pillow, it’s important to transition gradually. If you immediately remove your pillow one night, it might feel uncomfortable because it’s so different from what you’re used to. Slowly reducing the size of your pillow will be much more comfortable and will help you stick with the change instead of giving up because it’s too different.
You can start by using a folded towel that’s the same height as your current pillow. After a day or two, unfold the pillow partially so it’s slightly lower. Continue to gradually unfold it about once a week until you’re lying flat on the bed. You can also use a pile of clothing as a pillow and occasionally remove pieces of clothes until the pile is completely gone.
For optimal spine and neck health, it’s recommended that you lie on your back if you’re not sleeping with a pillow. If you sleep on your side, you’ll have nothing to support your head and neck. Sleeping on your stomach can cause lower back pain, so if you’re trying to sleep without a pillow to reduce pain, it will make your efforts much less effective.
Make sure your neck is aligned with your spine when you lie down. Avoid pointing your chin up when lying on your back, which can strain your neck. After a couple weeks without your pillow, you may notice that you feel much better physically and mentally. It’s a safe, easy, and free way to try to reduce pain, relieve stress, and feel better overall.