Sleeping Without a Pillow: How-To Guide, Advantages and Disadvantages

Sleeping without a pillowThe practice of sleeping without a pillow to relieve the back pain was not a concept back in 7000 B.C. In fact, pillows were a commodity available only to the wealthy. The main purpose of using those hard rock pillow in old times was to keep the bugs from entering the ears.

Then came the revolution, and it converted those hard rocks into soft pillows that seem to have been imported from heavens. Life became easier, but then came other issues like acne, acid reflux, neck and back ache. People, despite that they could afford to buy pillows, started finding way to make a habit of sleeping without a pillow. Why? Because they thought that sleeping without a pillow would help relieve their aforementioned problems.

Advantages of sleeping without a pillow:

With or without, things have their own benefits for different individuals. Sleeping without a pillow can be beneficial to the kind of people mentioned below:

  1. Individuals with acne:

The one’s bearing the curse of acne have their own reasons to sleep straight, with no pillows tucked under their head. Basically, the infection transfers from a pimple on your face to the pillow cover. Therefore, next time when you put your face on the same infected pillow case, you get more outbreaks of acne. Not only this, but the pillow also acts like a sponge to suck all the sebum and oil from your hair. This adds to the problem of acne outbreaks. Sad, but a true reality. This reality would have been otherwise if humans, as a creation, were able to sleep with those beautiful hands on the side of the face, sleeping peacefully. But that doesn’t happen.

As we grow old, we do not sleep peacefully like those 1-year-old kids. There is drooling, a lot of posture changes, messy hair, and much more while we sleep.

Those who believe in the germ theory of disease would immediately see the importance of either sleeping without a pillow or changing the pillow case on a regular basis. However, as humans have a lazy side to their personality, kicking out a pillow from life is easier than changing the cover each day. There is absolutely no doubt in the fact that this method will help reduce the spread of infection in acne individuals.

Someone might argue that he sleeps straight and so his face is kept away from touching the pillow case. I told you, when you sleep, it is not in the ideal posture. We keep changing positions during the night. It is best for acne cases to modify the pillow keeping habit or simple change pillow covers every day.

  1. Seekers of natural ways:

There has always been a group of people who are interested in finding ways to work their body around nature. Ever seen the monks of Buddhism? They are the top group of seekers of natural ways.  This group believes that if you keep your body in a natural position, it is more likely to prevent issues and also promotes a good quality sleep.

Look at your anatomical position; your neck lies in a straight line with the back. When you sleep respecting a similar relationship, the results are more likely to benefit you. Whereas with a pillow, the neck and head are at a higher level to the back, and that disturbs the posture.

So, here’s the news. Sleeping in a supine position, without a pillow can help reduce the neck and back ache. Seekers of natural ways can adopt this style of sleeping.

  1. Quality sleep lookers:

While quality sleep is important for all, some individuals are more conscious than others. It is the same group of people who research the types of pillows and invest large bucks in the pillow industry.

You may not be aware of the neck ache while asleep, however, as soon as you wake up, the reality is harsh. You have got work and office ahead; already getting late, and there is this neck strain issue. Sleeping without a pillow can come to your rescue. It might work wonders in your case. Do try it if you occasionally get kinked neck.

  1. People who are scared of aging:

Aging in itself is not a bad thing; it is as natural a process as birth. However, it scares people. It’s even funny how people start worrying about the aging process as soon as they enter their thirties. Some just don’t want those wrinkles and gray hairs. While sleeping without a pillow won’t help you with the graying of hair, but it undoubtedly can reduce the advancing speed of upcoming wrinkles. How?

As we sleep, the face gets rubbed against the pillow multiple times. The facial skin keeps getting folded, creating creases for good 8 hours that we sleep. We call those sleep lines. With time, they become more prominent. There are multiple products available to prevent and cure those sleep lines, but eliminating pillows comes handy.

Therefore, the easy way out is to avoid the pillows and sleep straight, not on your side. In any case, if you cannot sleep without a pillow, try using silk covers on your pillows. This helps reduce the friction that you get from the pillow cover while asleep.

  1. Individuals with back pain:

The concept is similar to that of neck pain. As you place your head on a thick pillow, your backbone including spine is forced to change its natural position. Whenever we force things, results are not good. So, sleeping without a pillow can benefit those with the back pain.

Take off the pillow, the natural body posture is retained, back pain significantly improves.

A question arises here. If this is the case, then why everyone who sleeps on a pillow doesn’t get the same problem? The short answer is that not everyone infected with the influenza virus gets the worst kind of flu. The better answer is that there is a range of motion where if the spine is displaced, no harm is done. However, as soon as this range is crossed, things start getting problematic. With back ache, it’s good to sleep without pillows. However, if you want to use one, keep a watch that your pillow is not too high. As soon as the height of your pillow goes above a particular limit, it starts putting a strain on your spine.

  1. The penny hoarders:

If you love to save money, the idea of sleeping without a pillow may come handy. You no longer would have to spend dollars on changing pillows as the old ones go flat. Moreover, with the advent of new types of pillows each day, you are destined to fall in love with some new style that looks even softer than your present pillow. What happens next? You take that credit card and spend some more money on a new pillow, and that too when you were on a budget.

Who hates saving some extra bucks? I don’t.

Disadvantages of sleeping without a pillow:

  1. The problems with side sleepers:

The kinked neck is one thing that comes easy when we are sleeping without a pillow in a non-supine position. In this case, the neck is unsupported, and the muscles remain stretched while we sleep. Results? A painful realization of the sore neck as soon as we wake up. The better idea is to use a pillow if you are a side sleeper.

  1. Acid reflux issues:

They become worse when we sleep without a pillow. As the head rests at the same level as the gastrointestinal system, the content in the stomach finds no reason to not come up to your throat.

However, the problem is less severe with a pillow under head. As the level of the head is raised, acid reflux becomes less of a problem. In order to avoid acid reflux, remember not to forget that too high a pillow will cause unrest to spine. Keep the height of your pillow moderate.

  1. A hard come habit:

If you love that comfort of sleeping on that soft pillow, as you switch to sleeping without a pillow, you may not love the idea. Taking pillow off is a hard come habit.

Frequently asked questions:

Are pillows bad for you?

Pillows are not bad. It all depends on individuals. We can say that smoking is bad for everyone, but same cannot be said about pillows. Some people, for example, the sufferers of acid reflux, need to have pillows under the head, whereas back pain might be relieved once pillows are removed.

Are pillows necessary?

These are necessary if you have certain problems like acid reflux issues or if you are a side sleeper.

Does sleeping without a pillow reduces neck pain?

It can be both ways. The side sleepers get kinked necks when they sleep without pillows, whereas those who sleep straight have reported an improvement in neck pain.

Is sleeping without pillow good for hair?

It’s a commonly asked question. However, there is no specific relation between pillows and hair.

Does sleeping without pillow improves posture?

If you sleep straight i.e. in a supine position, sleeping without a pillow actually improves the posture.

Does sleeping without pillow make you taller?

No, pillows have no effect on your growth hormones. You cannot be tall just by adding in or removing a pillow from life. Though it would have been much interesting if that was the case.

Does sleeping without a pillow increase height?

No, it doesn’t.

Steps to sleep without a pillow:

Those who have been convinced by the advantages of taking the pillow out of their lives would most likely want this answer. Before I tell you about the steps, it is important to mention that you won’t start sleeping without a pillow in just a day. It will take some practice.

We are so addicted to our habits that changing one takes a good deal of effort and time. But don’t worry, we have got you covered. Here go the simplest and the easiest methods to make a habit of sleeping without a pillow:

  1. First you need to reduce the height of pillow that you use.

How to do that?

Simply use a cloth to make a substitute. You can use folded bed sheets or towels. This goes for a few days.

  1. Then you need to reduce the height of your substitute material. If you were using a bed sheet folded 5 times, reduce the folds to 2 or 3.
  2. From 2-3 folds, you move towards a single fold.
  3. Now, Start sleeping without a pillow.
  4. Stick to your routine. Do not try to increase the thickness of pillow substitute once you have reduced it. Increasing the height will only get you to wish back for soft pillows.

Medical advice:

If you have back pain issues, it is quite possible that your high volume pillow is not the culprit. If that be the case, you need to get yourself checked by a physician. Therefore, it is more appropriate to consult your doctor and get the best advice out there. However, you can definitely try sleeping without a pillow.

Acid reflux also needs to be treated from a medical point of view. Keeping a pillow will only alleviate the symptoms to some extent. If you are always facing trouble, take medical advice.

If you feel like changing your pillow keeping habits are causing you neck strains, and this continues for more than a few weeks, you better get that checked.

Remember, no amount of home remedies can substitute the medical treatment and advice. If you have that gut feeling that something is seriously wrong, get going to the hospital.