Have you ever had those sleepless nights where you are tossing and turning in bed not able to understand why you can’t fall asleep? You keep stuffing pillows after pillows under your head not able to get comfortable. What if I told you that pillows are part of the problem and not the solution.
The sad reality in today’s world is we do not get enough sleep as much as our overly functioning brain needs. Poor bedding and bad pillows makes it more difficult to fall asleep. If you think it is absolutely impossible to sleep without a pillow, then you need to think again. Many doctors and sleep experts suggest sleeping without a pillow is better than sleeping with a bad one under your head. Bad pillows adversely affect your spinal cord, neck shoulders, and the quality of your lifestyle in the long run.
- Sleeping With A Pillow Is Not Good For Spinal Alignment
If you wake up every morning with severe back pain and a massive headache, chances are that you are sleeping with a bad alignment. What is more dangerous is sleeping in an old and stiff pillow that puts pressure on the nerves of your neck and keeps your neck flexed throughout the night. It can cause stiffness in your neck and shoulder pain.
If you have a mattress that somewhat gives under your weight, which most of the mattresses does you should avoid pillows. The parts of your body that put pressure on the mattress, like your hips make your mattress slightly indented. Such mattresses are good for the body’s alignment during sleep. However, if you sleep with a pillow on such mattresses, your body will make a “v” which isn’t good for your spine.
When you don’t use pillow your spine stays straight and though it feels a bit uncomfortable at first, once you get used to it, it’s the most comfortable thing in the world. And in the long run, it helps you from neck arthritis.
If you are a back sleeper and you feel like there is a gap between your head and shoulder after you put your head on the mattress, then you can go for a thin pillow. Thin pillows do not put too much pressure on your neck and give your head the needed support. Stiff pillows can hinder blood from flowing to your head. For back sleepers, thin pillows are a better option for comfortable sleep.
People sleeping on their face shouldn’t sleep with a pillow. First of all, it’s not a very good position to sleep in, as you have to keep your neck twisted to a side and it puts pressure on your nerves. However, if you do sleep on your face, do not use a pillow it will worsen your back pain by bending your spine upwards.
- Pillows Are Not Good For Your Face Skin
Most pillows are made of spongy material like feathers, raw cotton, synthetic fibre, foam etc. They contain a lot of air inside and can store a lot of moisture as well. People don’t really wash their pillows, what they wash, is their pillows cases that too once in two weeks.
People don’t wash their pillows as it’s not easy to dry, especially thick cotton pillows. They will rot from inside if you try to wash them.
Using a pillow for a long time can cause bacteria to grow inside it. Biochemist estimate that pillows can have far more bacteria than a typical toilet seat. When you place your face against such pillows and keep it their overnight, acne and breakouts are bound to happen. If you already have skin conditions that cause further damage to your skin, you absolutely shouldn’t sleep on pillows.
- Your Pillow Is Causing you Frizzy And Damaged Hair
Most people sleep on cotton pillows. When you are trying to adjust your head to find a comfortable position, your hair is dragging around on that rough fabric which causes your hair to get tangled. It takes a lot of energy and force to detangle the hair and it causes hair damage.
When you are moving around on the pillow, your hair produces fiction against the pillowcase, which causes your hair to frizz up, create split-ends and lead to breakage. The pillowcase can also dry out your hair as it absorbs your hair’s natural oils.
When you are sleeping at night, it is suggested that you put your hair up in a bun but not too tightly that it hurts your scalp. Or you could wrap a soft Silk scarf around your head when you go to sleep. If you absolutely have to use a pillow to try to put a silk pillowcase over it.
- Pillows Cause Early Wrinkles
Our skin is made of collagen which is a protein found in skin and is the main component of connective tissue. You may be spending thousands of dollars to get yourself wrinkle-free but it will do nothing if you put regular pressure on your face by sleeping on pillows every single night.
Constant tug and stretch on face skin loses the collagen’s elasticity especially with age and put sleep lines on your skin. Sleeping on the pillow can cause early onset of diagonal lines on the cheek and vertical line on the forehead that you might have seen on many old people.
It happens because you are repeatedly sleeping in the same position. People have a preferred position and they repeatedly sleep in that same way which puts long-term stress against the facial skin.
An easy solution would be to sleep on your back. However, we don’t really have not much control over ourselves when we fall asleep. So stop using pillows can help you prevent those wrinkles.
5. The Wrong Pillow Cause Bad Blood Circulation
Sleeping in the wrong kind of pillow can cause a lack of blood circulation in the brain. When we sleep our brains are still functional and it needs a constant inflow of oxygen. When there is poor circulation of oxygen, you will feel dizzy in the morning, have memory issues, feel stiffness on your neck.
The neck is the bridge between your head and your body when you use a pillow that is not good, it affects the natural curve of your body between the shoulder and the neck. It can cause a lack of blood circulation in the brain. In such case either you can go for contour pillows or you can give up pillows altogether.
6. Cervical Spondylosis
If you suffer from medical conditions such as cervical spondylosis using a thin pillow is usually recommended up to 3 to 4 cm in height. It helps you to maintain a neutral position that keeps your spine straight and does not put pressure on your spinal cord. You should get special mattresses that add extra support for Cervical Spondylosis since most mattresses do not support your spinal cord properly.
7. Avoid Pillows If You Suffer From Sinus Allergies
As mentioned above pillows hold a lot of space inside them. It can collect dust particles, dead skin and pollutants inside of it. When you are sleeping on those pillows and inhale those dust particles, it will irritate your sinuses. If you are already allergic to dust, it can cause severe allergic reactions.
So How Do You Start Sleeping Without A Pillow?
- The first and most important part is to throw the ugly, old pillow out the window. You need to take baby steps. You can’t go from having thick pillows to no pillow at all on a single night. Habits do not develop on whimsical, they take time.
- Trying to make a drastic change on a single night can put your body under stress. It doesn’t do anything for your body to adapt to the sudden change of position.
- What you should do is use a thin pillow instead of the thick chunky one that you slept on. You don’t have to buy a pillow just to train your body to adapt. You can use soft clothes to rest your head-on. It can be your towel, cotton clothes, bedsheets etc. Build a makeshift pillow and use it for a week or two. You and your body will learn to sleep without a pillow naturally.
- Getting accustomed to a habit is very important. If you really want to ditch your pillow you have to be willing enough you do.
- If you see your problems have increased, instead of decreasing you should probably consider trying different methods such as going for wedge pillow or contour pillows. If the sleep problems still persist change your mattress and see a doctor.
When You Shouldn’t Sleep Without A Pillow?
I gave you 7 reasons not to sleep with a pillow, however, there are certain conditions for which you shouldn’t give up on your pillow.
- If you have a medical condition and your doctor has specifically asked you to sleep with a pillow then you shouldn’t it stop using one. Ask your doctor if there is a certain kind of pillow that they want you to use. The thickness, the softness and everything about the pillow, as a patient you should be well informed about your health.
- If you suffer from Acid Reflux. Acid Reflux is a nasty problem that can bother you at night. It happens when the stomach acid rises up on the food Pipe and make you feel sick. If you are someone who suffers from Acid Reflux you should sleep with a high pillow to keep the acid down.
To summarise it all, sleeping with a pillow is not good for spinal alignment, especially if you have a soft mattress. It is not good for your face and hair. Stiff pillows can cause lack of blood circulation to the brain if you are a back sleeper.
People with cervical spondylosis should sleep on pillows recommended by their doctor. You shouldn’t sleep on dirty pillows if you suffer from sinus allergies. Use pillows for medical condition that needs you to sleep with one and if you suffer from acid reflux at night.