• The Bed Boss

Is It Better to Sleep Without a Pillow?

Updated: Feb 19

Pillows make a tremendous difference in our ability to wake up feeling refreshed every morning. The right pillow will align your head, neck, and spine for restorative sleep. The wrong pillow will throw your posture out of whack by disrupting the alignment. And then there’s what happens when you sleep pillow-less…


Are there benefits to sleeping without a pillow? The answer mostly depends on your sleep position and whether you suffer from particular physical ailments.


What Difference Does Sleep Position Make?

If you are considering whether or not you should sleep without a pillow, be sure to first take your sleep position into consideration:


Back Sleepers

Being a back sleeper means you have options. You can comfortably sleep with a pillow or without one. If you are already sleeping snugly with a pillow, then why ruin a good thing by tossing it aside? But if you are consistently waking up with neck and shoulder paineven a headachethen you may want to try sleeping without a pillow.


If you are familiar with morning soreness, your current pillow may be pushing your neck too far up (pillow stacks, anyone?) or allowing it to bend too far back—these effects can ruin your spinal alignment. Try sleeping without a pillow so that your neck muscles can relax and allow your head to rest naturally.


Sleep on a memory foam or hybrid mattress for best results without a pillow. Why? The contouring effect of memory foam will help straighten your spine by allowing your body to softly sink in. Be warned: a firm bed will only exacerbate the gap between your neck and spine, especially when you aren’t using a pillow. And don’t forget to check that your mattress is still performing as designed.


Our Heir ET Plus memory foam mattress is specially designed to balance the right amount of give with the right amount of support. In short, it’s a mattress we could vouch for when it comes to sleeping without a pillow.


Side Sleepers

As a side sleeper, sleeping without a pillow can be harmful! Without proper support from your pillow (and mattress), your head will unnaturally weigh your neck down and pinch your spine. Ouch. And it all only goes downhill from there.


We recommend sleeping with a contoured pillow to maximize your sleep health. Our Crown pillow is a favorite among side sleepers because it lets you shimmy up into the shoulder notch and relieve any pressure from your neck.


Stomach Sleepers

Of all the sleep positions, stomach sleepers are at the highest risk for spinal misalignment. Not only can a soft mattress put crippling pressure on your body by allowing your core to in sink too far, but almost any pillow can also uncomfortably force your chin and head up.


If you sleep on your stomach, you might not want to use a pillow at all or opt for something extraordinarily thin. Our Superb pillow is soft and thin, and you can even adjust its loft to a minimal height by removing foam.


After considering your sleep position, a few other factors may influence whether you choose to sleep with or without a pillow:


Who Could Benefit From Sleeping Without a Pillow?

  • Acne Sufferers. If your pillow has become germ-ridden, then germs may be wriggling onto your face and exacerbating your acne. Try hindering the germs by washing your pillow case regularly or giving up a pillow altogether.

  • Back and Stomach Sleepers with Back Pain. Since the wrong pillow may do more harm than good to back and stomach sleepers, they may benefit from sleeping without a pillow. By going pillow-less, you can give your head the chance to rest in a natural position for better alignment from head to toe.


Who Could Benefit From Sleeping With a Pillow?

  • Side Sleepers. Pillows can work miracles in helping side sleepers reach perfect alignment. Period. The extra loft a pillow delivers is necessary to sleeping comfortably.

  • Snorers. Sleeping without a pillow does not stop snoring. It can do the opposite by making snoring louder and more frequently occur. How? By creating a tilt in the head that blocks the airways. If you snore, pick a loftier pillow to keep your airways open—our Rejuvenate and Select pillows should do the trick.


Think you’ll try sleeping without a pillow? If you’re experiencing pain, you may also want to try replacing your pillow or getting a new mattress. And remember your goal here: to be comfortable and reach proper spinal alignment, which may or may not require a pillow.


If you still prefer a quality pillow to sleep with, check out this further reading:


If you have questions about Bed Boss pillows and which one would be best for your sleep position, give us a call at (423)681-1478 or contact us online.